Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Booking and Cooking

When your unique household cooks, allow children to combine ingredients, mix, stir, and taste: Never eat raw or uncooked dough or batter. They also use the descriptive words of literature--nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs--to describe the what, how, where, and why, as well as the movements, textures, tastes, and feelings, associated with food and cooking.

This combination of cooking and books can be continued at home or during homeschooling. As morning pancakes are cooked, consider referring to Eric Carle's Pancakes, Pancakes (Simon & Schuster, 1990) or Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1976), or Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendack (Scholastic, 1976).  Buy or bake different kinds of bread after you read Bread, Bread by Ann Morris (Mulberry, 1989).

Literature and cooking experiences are limited only by your imagination and creativity. Use your child's food preferences as a starting place and expand the experiences from there. Discuss colors of foods that you cook or serve.

As in any other shared reading time, talking about the story is just as important as reading the book. Make comments about the plot as you read, helping connect events in the book to the child's life.  Ask questions that help your child think about the story.  Or read a child-friendly recipe together and prepare food item.  Discuss the math concepts--measurements, fractions, liquids, solids, too.

Connecting books with enjoyable family experiences--like cooking or conversation--sends your child the message that reading is fun for children and grown-ups, too.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Which is First? Learning Whole Words or Alphabet Sounds

Many children first learn of the initial letter of their own name, which has a great deal of meaning and importance to them.

Some children learn to read without knowing the names of letters or the sounds associated with them. But research shows that for "most" children, associating names and sounds with the alphabet comes before actual or conventional reading.

You may still drill letter names, but include other fun ways of learning them. For instance, children enjoy labeling items that they choose. Sound out the name of the object together to determine which initial letter to use, then cut out big letters from magazines or newspapers and invite the child to tape them on items that he/she wants labeled. Why not try labeling important pieces of household items such as a living room clock--"clock."

Play I Spy letter ... Try simple activities such as reading logos of favorite foods and stores, identifying street signs, writing grocery lists together, and playing with magnetic letters on the refrigerator door while singing the alphabet song. Don't forget to include a routine read aloud or story time tradition in your unique household. Remember, children learn through play and adults do too :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Books Make Wonderful Gifts

Books can be expensive, especially if they are new and hardback.  Paperback and used books are much less expensive yet just as cherished.  Quality children's books, at very reasonable prices, often can be found at half-price bookstores, yard sales, thrift shops, or public library book sales. Your local library often has book lists based on age or themes that you could review before purchasing retail. Take your time browsing for that perfect book gift and be choosy; again, consider books based on child's age and interests. Choose books with quality illustrations and vivid colors.

And remember that when you buy a book for your child, a child-relative, or even the neighbor's child, you are laying a strong foundation for the child's lifelong learning and educational memories.

Book Clubs for Children

Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc.
2931 East McCary Street
P.O. Box 7503
Jefferson City, MO 65102-7503

The Trumpet Club
P.O. Box 604
Holmes, PA 19043