Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Don't Forget the Illustrator When Reading Books to Your Child

An illustrator is the person who provides their artwork skills to enhance the value of reading a good story. Who doesn't like to see pictures of what an author is trying to express to the reader? Allow your child to verbally explain to you what he/she thinks is happening. Give them a few seconds to view all of the delightful colors and expressions. Read the illustrator's name aloud just like you would the author's.

You don't have to go to art galleries to appreciate beautiful artwork.  Watercolor, oil painting, pen and ink, collage, and other forms of artwork can be found in quality children's literature. Take time to tell the story of the artwork, too. Why do you think that color was used? Is it day or night? Inside or outside? What is the season?

Many illustrators have distinct artistic styles that even young children can learn to recognize with very little adult assistance. --Oh, that's illustration from Eric Carle, Tomie de Paola, Don Tate, Cheryl Willis Hudson, etc.

Make sure to have different materials and art supplies for your child to use during family-bonding time or quiet time.

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 :)