Encouragement for those who enjoy teaching young children to learn
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Third in a Series of Musings on Exciting Ways to Motivate Your Young Child to Read
Take out the markers and let's get baking! Markers?... Baking?... Yum? Seriously, one of the best ways I have found to motivate children to read is to give them a reason to read. Children love to get into the kitchen and bake! To get their hands in the dough, to roll it, and pat it...to lick the icing from the beaters, to scrape the last of the icing in the bowl. It is a great motivator!
I have worked with children in the classroom (sometimes 20-some of them), reading the recipe with them, walking to the local grocery and buying the ingredients (each child with a slip of paper with his ingredient to find as we all walked around together), and contributing each of the items to the recipe. We made stone soup one year doing exactly that! What fun it was to have the parents come in and feast on the delicious soup. And, yes, we used a stone in the soup. It was a stone that a friend inherited from her Native American grandmother for the specific purpose of using it for soup. (I would not recommend taking a stone from the garden and using it.)
But, most interesting, with young children, is baking! They especially love to make cookies.
How do markers fit into the recipe? Writing the recipe out, as simply as possible, with different colored markers for different words so the children recognize the words more easily is great fun! For example, every time cup is written in the recipe write it in red, flour could be green, buttercould be yellow, brown sugar could be brown, etc. This helps the child remember the repeated words in the recipe, adding to their vocabulary.
The recipe might look like this:
Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter softened 1 cup brown sugar 2 1/4 cups flour
Cream butter and brown sugar together.
Add flour , mixing at low speed until dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl.
Form into 1 inch balls.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
Stamp with cookie stamp or bottom of glass. Bake at 325 for 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.
This same concept can be used in building something together (reading directions), playing a game together (reading the rules of the game), writing and sending letters together. All provide reasons for reading for the child in an experential way, an interesting way, a way of intense meaning to the child!
One of the most important elements in all of the activities that I have mentioned thus far in motivating your child to read is the interaction between you and your child/children. All of these activities have special meaning because of the love you have for your child. Sweet memories to be locked away in the heart of the child to remember and cherish, and to be associated with the act of reading!