Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Discovery Through Read Alouds

Reading aloud to children is so important for their literacy development. During read alouds you are modeling so much. For instance, you are modeling how to hold a book, how to read from left to right, how to read with inflection, how to ask questions and reflect on what you have read etc. There are countless things children pick up on before, during, and after reading a book. Here are a few things to consider when reading with a child.

Before Reading:

Look at the Cover: What do you see on the cover? What do you think the story is going to be about? How can you tell?

Talk About the Pictures and the Text: Flip through the pages and have the children tell you what they see. How is the text arranged? Do you think this will be a long story or a short story? Are there any words that you don't know?

During Reading:

Make Predictions: After reading a few pages, stop and see if the students can predict what happens next. See if the students recognize a pattern.

Synthesize and Summarize: Ask the children what has happened so far? This will help with comprehension. If some students are having trouble remembering, pair them up with another student.

After Reading:

Making Personal Connections: Have you heard a story like this before? Has something like this happened to you? What part of the story did you like? How did you feel during a certain part?

So pick up a book and start reading to your children and see what they discover!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Voices in Early Literacy

Continuing on from last week, in order for children to develop a love of reading they need to be interested in the books they read and be able to relate to them. Freedom of choice is the most important aspect of developing literacy. A great way to introduce new books and create interests in children is having read-alouds. When teachers read aloud to their students, students can develop connections to the readings.
Children respond to texts in a variety of ways. For example:
Personal Connections: Children draw from their personal experiences. If you are reading book about animals in a zoo, a child might chime in saying, “I went to the zoo with my mommy and we saw the penguins and tigers!”
Predictions: Children can expect what is going to happen next in a story if they can find a pattern. Take for instance the story of The Three Little Pigs, after the wolf visits the house of straw and is able to blow it down he goes to the house made out of sticks. The children can predict that the house isn’t sturdy enough and the wolf will be able to blow the house down.
Evaluations of Books: Children know if they like a book or not and they often express their views. A child may really like the story of The Three Little Pigs while another child does not.
Play with Language: Young children often take things literally. For instance an example given by Judith Wells Lindfors in her book Children’s Language stated that a child mentioned a book should be heavy
Acting Out/ Dramatizing: Children can take a book or story to a whole new level by acting it out. Children can create the story of The Three Little Pigs by making houses out of items found in the classroom such as blocks. By acting it out children gain a different perspective on the story.
These are just a few of the ways children respond to texts. So pick a book and read it aloud and see what your child can discover!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

YES, It's Just That Easy!

This past we visited the public library. The library is filled with so many resources for parents and teachers as well as children. Many libraries offer special events for children such as a story hour. Children and their families are welcome to come and enjoy the festivities. At our public library, books are projected on a screen so that all children can see them and enjoy the story. There are many activities throughout the short program to keep the young children entertained such as music and interactive story telling where children can help tell the story through art. This is a wonderful experience for children because it opens up new opportunities for developing literacy. There are other specialized events that are more geared toward individual age groups that would be beneficial for all learners. The library is a great place for children to explore and chose books that interest them instead have to read what was chosen for them in the classroom. This helps children become active engaged learners because they have chance to develop the love of reading on their own.

Renowned author James Patterson provided CNN with some insight on getting children to read. He states, "The best way to get kids reading more is to give them books that they'll gobble up -- and that will make them ask for another. Yes, it's that simple. 1 + 1 = 2. Kids say the No. 1 reason they don't read more is that they can't find books they like. Freedom of choice is a key to getting them motivated and excited. Vampire sagas, comics, manga, books of sports statistics -- terrific! -- as long as kids are reading. Should they read on e-tablets? Sure, why not? How about rereading a book? Definitely. And don't tell them a book is too hard or too easy. "Great Expectations"? Absolutely. "Finnegans Wake"? Well, maybe not. And remember, books can be borrowed free at libraries." 

Getting children to read is simple. Let them choose books that interest them. Let your children get out there and READ and EXPLORE literature!