Nurturing the Family Literacy Circle with Your Infant (7-12 Months)

The only time I ever felt qualified to be a parent was before I had kids.  ~ Father in comic strip “Baby Blues”

Infancy, the first year of a child’s life, comes from the Latin for “without Nurturing the Family Literacy Circle with Your Infant (7-12 mos.)words.” Watching your infant’s glee when s/he begins to independently roll over is one of many physical feats s/he is working hard to master. Pulling up, sitting alone, and crawling opens your baby’s world in a new way.

Now, learning to walk is what all these efforts  your infant is guiding him/her self towards. How your baby achieves these physical goals can give you some understanding of her/his personality.

Rahima Dancy, who authored You Are Your Child’s First Teacher offers some insightful observations.

Does your baby:

  • Constantly “work” at moving his/her body along OR is s/he content to stay in a seated position?
  • Seem to understand falling is part of the process & “forge” ahead OR become discouraged & seem hesitant to keep trying?
  • Use her/his arms & hands to reach for things OR just pick up things close by?
  • Howl & continue with his/her efforts OR stop & whine?

Praising and encouraging your striving infant will definitely help, but remember- it is her/his body that s/he needs to conquer. Sooner or later, the will to JUST DO IT overcomes the frustration and “growing pains.” Your infant’s growing brain is an important part of this process.

Our Brain

The 2-Sided Brain - Seanbatty
The 2-Sided Brain – Seanbatty

Curious about what the brain does? I found an interesting brain image listing some of the separate brain functions scientists have discovered.  The “corpus callosum”, the Latin word for the brain, is divided into 2 parts – the right side & the left side.

The Right side of the brain is labeled the Creative and controls:

  • the left side of the body
  • gross motor skills (large body movements)
  • visualization: the big picture, images & symbols 
  •  long term & visual memory
  •  “outside of the box”  & spontaneous thinking
  • feelings & encoding (creating secretive messages)

The Left side of the brain is labeled the Logical and controls:

  • the right side of the body
  • fine motor skills (hand tool control)
  • language: letters, numbers,  grammar, punctuation, detail
  • short term & hearing memory
  • rules, patterns & planned thinking
  • analysis & decoding ( solving secretive messages)

Which brain-side rules you? Some people’s brain-sides have equal control or an interweaving of skills from both sides. For example, I love language , but numbers-not so much.

Gifts of the Brain

 In Dr. John Medina’s book Brain Rules for Baby , he shares 5 of the intellectual gifts with their characteristics your baby has nestled within her/his brain:

The Visionary: Desire to Explore

  • loves & needs to experiment, test & “tinker”
  • asks extraordinary questions about ordinary things
  • sees connections between unrelated ideas, problems or questions
  • asks “what if” “why not” “how come you’re doing it this way”
  • does not value “right” answers over challenging questions

The Planner: Self-Control

  • loves to plans & problem-solve
  • has the ability to shut out distracting thoughts
  • sets goals with the foresight to complete them

The Creative: Power to Invent

  •  copes with puzzling situations
  • sees new relationships between “old” things
  • thinks up ideas & things not currently existing
  • engages in healthy “risk-taking”
  • Stirs positive and/or negative emotions in others

The Orator: Influence of Language

  • communicates using a variety of vocabulary & sounds
  • understands the social meanings of words
  • born with the ability to learn & speak any language

The Mime: Silent Messages

  • interprets nonverbal communication
  • uses facial expressions to communicate
  • uses body gestures to communicate

Some brain gifts are stronger than others in each person. Sometimes a little “exercise” will encourage and strengthen quieter gifts. Which ones do you feel particularly “gifted” with  in your life? How will you nurture these gifts in your infant?

Nurturing Your Infant’s Brain Growth & Development

Baby in Thought-Amy Elizabeth Quinn
Baby in Thought-Amy Elizabeth Quinn

Remember your infant will grow & develop in her/his own way at his/her own pace. S/he will progress in a sequential, or orderly, way & build on the skills s/he has already learned.

Depending on your baby’s personality, s/he may focus on only one task/goal at a time. So, if s/he is working hard on walking, language may be slower. Once the walking goal is met, you may hear an increase in babblese.

My son walked very early ( at 8 months) and didn’t start speaking until much later. He was enamored with his physical world and how he was able to “grasp”  it!

Dr. Margot Sunderland, a child psychotherapist & author of The Science of Parenting,  wrote ” your baby’s frontal lobes are in front of her/his brain. Their many important functions give us the following abilities:

  • to learn
  • to pay attention
  • to concentrate
  • to plan & problem-solve
  • to manage stress
  • to control impulses

Those frontal lobes need a lot of stimulation from relationship interaction to increase social, emotional & intellectual growth & development”.

Dr. Sunderland goes on to offer several strategies & techniques for nurturing the growth & development of your infant’s brain:

  • talk to you infant ALOT, using “normal” , yet simple language
  • always make eye contact & smile
  • use words with body gestures for everyday language: eat, drink, I love  you, hug, sad, happy, hurt, mad, scared

Talk to your infant during the day when s/he is with you. Pretend you are his/her Tour Guide to a new world. S/he is ready to learn & be a part of your world because you are the most important part of his/her world.

Brain Boosters for Your Infant

Baby Loves to Eat -Public Domain Pics
Baby Loves to Eat -Public Domain Pics

Talking & playing with your infant are necessary to help his/her brain grow & develop. Child research supports this interaction as a major key to a healthy & responsive intellect.

Words of Caution: Dr. John Medina listed a few major Early Learning Stunters in his book, Brain Rules for Baby:

  • Keep the TV, video games & computer off
  • Keep your baby physically active
  • Keep giving your baby lots of face-to-face interaction

In July 2016 Mom of 11 Kids posted an infographic: “Seven Ways to Boost Baby Brain Development”. They are simple, daily activities you will do without much “to-do”: 

      • Play peek-a-boo & other hiding games
      • Play patty-cake & other hand games
      • Read together every day
      • Play with toys that teach, like blocks
      • Get messy with water, mud, puddles
      • Sing songs & verses together with repetition, rhythm & rhyme
      • Teach as you eat different foods – taste, touch, smell, colors, shapes, cold, sweet

These brain boosters build vocabulary as well as oral language. Both are strong literacy elements. Don’t forget to ask questions. You might get your first nod and/or head-shake.

How To Use Oral Language for Your Infant’s Literacy Growth

I Wonder How These Taste-PublicDomain Pics
I Wonder How These Taste – PublicDomain Pics

Continuing with Dr. Sunderland’s  techniques for brain growth, she has specific strategies for parents to use when communicating with their child(ren):

  • Watch, wait & listen after giving your infant a toy
  • Copy & comment on her/his responses
  • Use comments & choices instead of commands
  • Use lots of facial expressions & touch

Go Out into Nature Everyday for At Least  20 Minutes

  • It will calm your baby
  • It positively impacts your infant’s brain wave patterns
  • It lowers the frequency of stress
  • The variety of textures, sights, sounds & smells are wonderful for your baby’s senses. Tasting can be , well you know……

My children ALWAYS loved being outdoors, regardless of the weather. When my son was an infant, I would settle him under the trees while I hung up his daily dozen diapers. His babblese was joyful and expressive!

Yes! Your Infant Is Talking to You (in Babblese)

The Language of Babblese-EME
The Language of Babblese-EME

Responding to infant’s language is one of the most important things people can do to encourage & increase more talk. Having conversations with your infant is a major pathway to literacy.

Oral language has 2 parts: Expressive Language – actual speech and Receptive Language – hearing & understanding what you hear. Between the ages of 9 and 12 months, you may see & hear a steady increase in both what your infant is saying and understanding.

Remember each child learns in her/his own way. Some are listeners,  some are talkers; some have a lot to say, some have a few special words; some love to talk, some not so much. Know any grown-ups like that?!

FYI-here’s a chart (love making these!) with some Expressive & Receptive Language milestones your infant may have met:

Infant Oral Language Milestones (7 - 12 Months)

AGE IN MONTHSEXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE
( SPEECH)
RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE
(HEAR &UNDERSTAND)
By 9 months*Imitates sounds
*4+ sounds in babblese
*Takes turns in vocalizations
*Begins using hands to communicate wants/needs (reaches to be picked up)
*Consistently responds to own name
*Looks at familiar objects & people when named
*Follows some routine directions when paired with gestures
*Not fearful of everyday sounds
By 12 months*Says 1 or 2 words
*Begins speech sounds
*Babblese has "strings"of speech
*May nod "yes"
*May shake head "no"
*Babblese has the sounds & rhythms of speech
*Understands up to 50 common words-baby, bottle
*Responds to simple directions- "come here"
*Follows your gaze & points
*Notices when hurt

If you and your loved ones are looking into your infants eyes and talking to her/him every day,  oral language will continue to grow. Playing with your infant is a great time to have conversations. Encourage loved ones to participate daily.

Literacy Needs Playtime

Wanna Play with Me? -Public Domain Pics
Wanna Play with Me? -Public Domain Pics

Your infant is probably no longer in an Unoccupied Stage of play (Kalokyri’s “Facts About the Importance of Play”), but comfortably immersed in the Solitary & Constructive Stages of play.

Having mastered some movement goals-sitting up, pulling up, crawling- means your Infant is ready to discover his/her world. Make sure your home is a safe place for your crawler (and those babies can pick up some speed!) to explore. Get low on your hands & knees (with padding, of course) for a dust bunny view (I mean…..).

Try not to “teach” too much, but help her/him find out what’s making the world around him/her come into his/her experience. Again, instead of you all the time,  have older siblings and/or loved ones attend to your infant’s fussiness or frustration when it happens – and it will! Taking your grumpy cub outside is usually a great soother and/or distraction.

When playing with your infant, remember to See & Play, Hear & Play, Touch & Play, and Grab & Play. Involving as many of the 5 senses as you can during playtime encourages literacy through language, interaction and experience. Building on the skills your baby knows will give her/him confidence to try new activities and make the physical world more familiar and exciting.

The Game Play of Literacy

Interactive games are your infants (and most children’s) favorite ways to play. They promote language, discovery, surprise, fun & laughter. Games using hands and feet bring giggles. Hiding games bring loud laughter (and hiccups). Make sure to maintain eye contact. Use rhyming & repetitive language.

Interactive Game Ideas

  • clapping to rhymes & songs
  • face-to-face play
  • lap movement
  • bathtime bubbles
  • song & dance

The Power of Music

During your pregnancy and your newborn’s first 6 months of life, I’m sure you used the power of music to soothe, calm & entertain the 2 of you. Lullabies, classical music, new age, jazz, and, even some soft rock were/are great ways to communicate with each other.

Now, you may notice a little rhythmic wiggling when certain songs & music is played. Using music as a fun way to “teach & play” with your infant. Try some of these musical activities:

  • Sing songs with rhymes, like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in the tub.
  • Sing songs with body play, “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
  • Sing songs using your infant’s name while doing activities together, like “This is the way we…”.
  • Use toys as instruments while you sing songs, like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star & Mary (or baby’s name) Had A Little Lamb”.
  • Sing or hum (make up some words) while you dance with your baby.

You can, also, sing while creating interactive games with toys. It is lots of fun! Listen to how siblings & other loved ones talk, sing and play with the “new baby bird in the nest”.

Games with Toys as a Power Strategy for Literacy

A few words about toy selection- Gender Stereotype Freedom. Make sure all kinds of toys are available for your baby. Girls need to know about cars & trucks -how else will they learn to drive & maintain them. Boys need to know about dolls -how else will they learn to care & nurture their own children. Believe it or not, this can be a literacy opportunity-stretching both sides of the brain.

In my Home-Care & Day-School for children (yes, it’s going to be more than a few words-but this is true-life data), my toddler girls loved playing with cars, trucks, blocks. Think engineers, architects & designers. My toddler boys loved playing with stuffed animals, kitchen sets, dollhouses. Think veterinarians, chefs & designers. Not to mention what great partners they will be in a marriage. I’m just saying……

Does your infant have TOO MANY TOYS? Think your infant is feeling overwhelmed and/or overstimulated to the point of boredom?????

Try putting away some of the toys. Hold several choices in your hands to see which ones s/he reaches for. After a few weeks, bring out the “new” toys and see if s/he has an interest in them.

Babies usually enjoy playing with toys that:

  • Have different textures
  • Are very bright & colorful
  • Are musical
  • Make noises
  • Have mirrors
  • Have knobs, pushers, etc (reaction toys)
  • Can be banged on to make music
  • Can be easily grasped
  • Can be chewed on

Check out the Six Games with Toys activity list with directions I created for some play ideas:

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/infant-literacy-toy-games/

Don’t be too surprised if that $100 toy you absolutely had to have because you knew it would be your baby’s favorite toy is ignored for the box it came in. Your home is packed with “toys” your baby will love and play with all the time.

Your Home Is A Toy Land

Although there  was a playroom in my Home-Care/Day-School, the toys were always dragged out of the playroom and into the living room and/or dining room.

Couches & chairs became stages, platforms, building sites & race tracks. The kitchen table – the same- with additional puzzles, papers, play-doh, & crayons.

So, I  tucked toy bins in these areas for clean-up time. Those filled carriers, then, were stacked in the playroom at the end of each day.

Scarves, towels, socks, & pieces of colorful, textured fabrics become capes, hats, doll blankets, animal tents, meadows, ponds, puppets, beds, & rooftops-once they pass the taste test, of course.

Putting on & taking off hats, socks & shoes can entertain your older infant for quite a few minutes-over & over & over again. Day after day after day….

A favorite Toy Land spot-the kitchen!

Baby’s Kitchen Play Land

Keep in mind – play is your baby’s work. Where ever you are, s/he wants to be near. My baby’s food was handmade as well as our daily bread (I love to cook!). I spent quite a few hours a day in the kitchen. I discovered, as did my baby, the kitchen is a full of toys.

When my son began his search-and-see, I made sure the bottom kitchen cabinet had large bright plastic & wooden spoons, measuring cups, a colander, some pots & pans with their lids, plastic mixing bowls,  & some storage containers with lids. His clang- bang music was quite a dinner bell!

Sturdy empty boxes in a variety of sizes , especially those large, appliance ones, are worth the trees that donated their lives to make them. Be ready to cut out some windows & doors. Creativity & exploration will last longer than the boxes will!

Sounds like lots of messes every day, you say?!? 

Creativity + Discovery =  A Learning  Mess For Literacy

The Bliss of A Mess-Lubomirkin
The Bliss of A Mess-Lubomirkin

Personally, I would be considered a Master Messer. Not in a destructive way, but messes are part of the “creative & productive process.”  Making a mess and, then, cleaning or putting things away teaches cause & effect, freedom of expression, etc. The way I see it-” making a mess is part of success!” For me & children, anyway…..

When children are busy having fun & learning – be ready & hope for- a mess. Listen & participate in the language of exploration, sequence, cause & effect, details, etc. All the “story” elements are present. The Story of Discovery!

Of course, some are bigger than others…..

Try these messes on for size:

  • Water play in the tub: splash, squirt, pour, fill, sink, float, full, empty & bubbles (say the words to match the action)
  • Water play in the sink (see above)
  • Water play outside in the pool, water bucket, wagon, wash tub
  • Fill &Dump with water, toys, sand, dirt, mud (stay very close)
  • Finger-painting- find an edible recipe, like one made with cornstarch
  • Scribble with large pieces of paper & fat crayons (talk about color, shapes & pictures/stories)
  • Paint with a large paintbrush & colored water

BTW-Those plastic kitchen utensils make great water toys , sand, mud & dirt toys, too. A word of caution– use big rocks, pebbles are  too temptingly taste-worthy!

Sing a “Clean -Up” song. Wipe your baby down & maybe change clothes. Have a drink & a snack. Settle in for Book Time!

 Book Time & Infant Literacy

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. ~ Emily Buchwald

“Brain Wonders” is a joint project by Boston University Medical Center, Erikson Institute & Zero To Three (see link).  

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1056-beginnings-of-literacy

Their 2003 study on Early Literacy supports, not only the “new   understanding of early literacy development”, but also, “its critical influence in shaping brain development.”

The research  states:

  • Language, reading & writing (early scribbling in infants) develop at the same time , making them interconnected.
  • This development process that begins in the first 3 years of life is continuous.
  • Real life settings through positive interactions with people, books, stories, paper & crayons are important factors in literacy skills development.

Please note: early literacy does NOT mean early reading. Trying to teach infants & toddlers to read before they are developmentally ready can cause more harm than good. The frustrations and failures will have a negative impact on their motivation to read.

How To Create Your Infant’s Love of Books & Stories

InfantLiteracy-Public DomainPics
InfantLiteracy-Public DomainPics

Believe it or not, chewing on a book page is part of early literacy behaviors. So, plastic, vinyl, cloth & sturdy board books need to be part of your infant’s hands, feet & mouth-on library.

Place them in the crib, playpen (if you use one), tub, diaper bag & a floor bin/basket for ready-access. Don’t forget to put a few books in the kitchen play-cabinet- fruits & veggies, breads & milk, pasta shapes & kitchen tools.

Include books with bright colored real-life images of everyday, familiar objects & toys, shapes, colors, animals, other babies’ faces & faces of loved ones, including pets.

Handmade books will become well-loved. Get your camera ready for “Baby Book Time Publication”. Click & slip photos into a mini-foto book with plastic sleeves. Here are some Book Titles:

  • My Family At Home
  • Other Family & Friends
  • My Pets
  • My Toys
  • In My Bedroom
  • In the Kitchen
  • Play Time Outside

If your infant has become a curious crawler, make sure you have a basket of books as part of his/her path. Cloth, plastic & sturdy board books will suit your infant’s “taste” at this time.

How To Read Wordless Books

 Bright, bold colored picture books without words are a wonderful beginning into her/his discovery of the book world. You & loved ones can make the “stories” personal & suitable for your young learner.

Whether you’re inventing a story to go with the pictures or just talking about the actual pictures, think about using these few tips:

  • Make sure there are no more than 3 images per page
  • Trace the images with your finger and, then, your baby’s finger
  • It’s okay to skip pages if your baby’s interest seems to lag
  • Talk about the images using short, simple sentences
  • Try to use rhyming words: cat, hat, mat, bat
  • Sing the book
Take A Minute to Read-NickelBabe
Take A Minute to Read-NickelBabe

 

Wordless picture books will inspire a story for many years into your child’s life, even after s/he becomes a reader of words. It will amaze you how many different stories can be told about the same pictures as s/he gets older. And the story being told can depend upon who & when it’s being told. If only stuffed animals could talk…….

Picture books without words encourage many literacy development skills, while answering the following questions:

  •  What is happening in this picture? comprehension/understanding
  • Why is this picture important to the story? vocabulary, oral language
  • What makes you think this picture is important? inference. drawing conclusions
  • What do you think will happen next? prediction
So, What Else Is New?-Yusuhyun
So, What Else Is New?-Yusuhyun

Well if you’ve made it to the end of this post-

Thank You so much for reading!

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P.S. Click on the link below for access to Your Baby’s First 12 Months of Growth & Development in the BLB Resource Library.

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/babys-first-12-months-growth-development/

 

 

 

Exploring the Family Literacy Circle with Your Pre-Toddler (12 – 24 months)

A person’s a person no matter how small. ~ Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Seuss

Can you believe your tiny, cuddly Newborn, though still pretty new, especially to you & yours, is already A YEAR OLD!?!Exploring the Family Literacy Circle with Your Pre-Toddler

Have a fun party? Take LOTS of pictures for that interactive Literacy book?

Crawling? Walking? Running? If not yet, your Pre-Toddler will soon be moving faster it seems than, at times, the speed of light!

Physical Mobility & Sensory Exploration with these newly acquired skills is the name of his/her action plan! And when those gleeful giggles & babblings become quiet, “UH-OH”……

S/he is SO ready to get hands & lips on all those previously unattainable & exciting  discoveries. Cabinet doors are the most inviting. Pulling up on everything is fair game. Grabbing & mouthing anything within reach is a given (think pet food on the floor….). Childproofing is a definite MUST! My little cub could be found foraging in the refrigerator unless he was asleep!

Wondering Why I Name This Age Group “Pre-Toddler”?

My Pre-Toddler seldom crawled on hands & knees. He preferred the “bear-crawl”, cub that he was,or moving on his  hands & feet together. He was upright & run-walking before 12 months. A mixed blessing for me -immature access, but easier on my back!

Not all babies are toddling by the first year. Some personalities love to sit and, if the mood strikes them, crawl. Some crawlers are very happy, and very fast, moving on hands & knees for quite a while into their mobility development. They’ll pull up and, maybe, even stand solo for a while. But, to travel, crawling is preferable.

Some Pre-Toddlers will pull out of a walkers’ hands to get down on the ground. For a lot of babies, a walking/running comfort-zone is usually by 24 months, or 2 years old.

Then, there’s the “attitude”…..

Briefly, Pre-Toddlers are too busy happily traveling, exploring & inspecting the premises. Scrutiny, confusion & willful decisions are too time consuming. This mental & emotional probing, I feel, belongs to the emerging & resolute Toddler.  More on the teeny adolescent in the next, upcoming blog: “Managing the Family Literacy Circle with Your Toddler”.

Have You & Your Pre-Toddler……..

  • been counting fingers & toes? #This little piggy…
  • been naming body parts? #Hands, shoulders, knees & toes…
  • been swimming at a big pool? #Rec center
  • been to a petting zoo, park and/or playscape? # neighborhood map
  • been on a playdate with other children? # Mothers’ Day Out
  • been exercising with your baby? #Airplane take-offs & landings

Are You & Your Pre-Toddler……

  • playing together without screen time?
  • reading together for a period of time everyday?
  • having fun together being silly & goofy?
  • talking about the shapes & colors of things?
  • singing & dancing together?

Are you and/or loved ones remembering to document your baby’s Milestones in that beautiful baby book someone gifted to you?

Speaking of Baby Milestones in Growth & Development, check out  https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/babys-first-12-months-growth-development/ in my Resource Library for a quick overview. Remember your Baby’s brain continues to grow!

Your Pre-Toddler’s Brain

The article, “It’s All Connected” posted on the website, Sesame Street in Communities   states the brain creates 700 new connections EACH SECOND in the first few years of your baby’s life. By the age of 3, your child’s brain is 80%  as big as an adult’s.

bay brain power 12-24 months
Baby Brain Power-LuidmilaKot 12-24m

Important fact to remember~

No two brains grow & develop at the same rate. 

Interactive movement using the 5 senses is critical to your pre-toddler’s healthy brain growth and development. Yes, taste-feeling is still a natural response at this age, so monitor closely because everything is “fair game”. Seriously.

Indoor & outdoor exploration is exhilarating for your baby, especially now s/he is moving with some independence. However, as Dr. John Medina of Brain Rules cautions, “over-stimulation can be just as hazardous as under-stimulation.”

Building Your Baby’s Brain Power

Grover, a Sesame Street character, narrates a video-book for children, ages 2-6, on the Sesame Street in Communities site. YOUR AMAZING BRAIN shares these tips:

  • The brain is your body’s first organ to absorb nutrients.
  • Brain food for kids are – salmon, eggs, peanut butter, whole grains, oats, berries, beans & colorful veggies.
  • Use all the 5 senses when- reading, coloring, talking, listening, moving & playing games.
  • Repeated physical activities – banging, throwing & choosing help develop the reasoning skills of cause & effect, compare & contrast, and predictions. (from “It’s All Connected”)

Remember – some babies pour ALL their energy & curiosity into Movement & Manipulative Mastery. In other words- “No time for talk! Gotta go! Places to see! Objects to taste!”

So. if you are waiting anxiously for Baby’s first words-other than babblese- it might be a while. And it’ll be worth the wait. Just keep stimulating your pre-toddler’s brain with meaningful oral language.

Learning The Language of Speech & Literacy

The only place you find perfection is in a dictionary ~ Old Saying

New, advanced  research is helping scientists understand more about the mysterious workings of the brain and how we, as humans,  learn language.

In Dr. Sandra Crosser’s article, “Enhancing the Language Development of Young Children” contributed to the website, Early Childhood News.com , she states the young child’s developing brain is very flexible, or open to new knowledge. The critical time for learning language occurs before the age of 8 or 9.

If your infant has been hearing the same sound combinations repeatedly, the brain forms a response map to those specific sounds.  So, then, a child “usually” tends to understand and speak  the language of her/his environment with reasonable fluency by the age of 3. Clarity, on the other hand, will sometimes come and go with “baby” and permanent teeth.

However,  the rate that children learn and speak language is strongly influenced by his/her surroundings. Trauma, neglect, stress, or abuse can interfere with normal language development.

How Is Normal Language & Speech Learned ?

Communication is interactive experience between two people. It involves listening, understanding & expressing.

pre toddler speak
Pre-Toddler & Language-tel13588006626

There are several theories offered by Dr. Crosser’s article to help explain how children learn to understand and, then,  speak their native language.

The Nativist Theory states that children are born with the desire to make sense of the world and can understand the different sounds in any language. By 12 months their babblings will only use familiar sound combinations.

Social Learning Theory says children imitate  words & language patterns they hear by watching & listening to the familiar people in their environment. They repeat sounds that are rewarded with smiles & praise, dropping sounds that are not rewarded.

Finally, the Interactionist Theory proposes that children need more than their inborn traits  and desire to speak. “They need to speak and be spoken to. Neither one, alone, is enough.” (Bohannon & Bonvillian, 1997)

Personally, I think, depending on the child, and her/his environment, a combination of all these theories contributes to language & speech development. But, I’m not an expert linguist or speech pathologist….

What Are the Signs That My Baby Is Learning Language?

Remember~each child learns at her/his own pace. Some pre-toddlers are too busy exploring their physical world to talk about anything. Some are very ready and motivated to talk, talk, talk. These are personality traits NOT signs of intelligence.

Babblese , a baby’s first  language, is a sure sign your baby is learning language. Keep talking with your baby about everything, looking directly into those beautiful eyes and responding to the responses you’re receiving.

Even when your pre-toddler begins to use words (“Use your words, dear.”), the communication of cries will still happen. Need a memory jog? Probably not, but if so- re-read the section titled “Baby Talk: The Communication of Crying” in this post: http://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/nurturing-your-newborns-literacy/

Understanding How Listening & Speaking Happen

Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician, who has authored several successful parenting books, offers this explanation for the physical side of speaking:

pre-toddler language development
I’m Talking Here!-JFGagnon

To “say” words, you have to perfectly coordinate your lips, tongue, throat & diaphragm. The first bunch of words are gestures. The second bunch of words are invented. The third of words are learned from you.

Some experts support the practice of teaching & using sign language (hand & arm gestures as words) to  encourage language skills.  Sign language, which strengthens the same area of the brain used in speaking, can bridge the communication distance between listening & speaking. (White & Harper: Signs of A Happy Child 2017)

A Listening & Speaking Development Chart

In the ” Language Acquisition” world, the words Receptive & Expressive describe the major players. Receptive is how language is being received, or understood. Expressive is how language is being expressed, or spoken. Here’s another one of my charts:

Pre-Toddler Oral Language Milestones (12-24 Months)

AGE IN MONTHSEXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE
( SPEECH)
RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE
(HEAR &UNDERSTAND)
By 15 months*Combines sounds & gestures
*Imitates simple words & actions
*May use 4-10 words
*Consistently follows simple directions
*Shows interest in pictures
*Can ID 1-2 body parts when named
*Understands 50 words
By 18 months*May use 10- 20 words (mostly nouns) for favorite things
*Responds to ?s
*Continues to produce babblese
*Repeats words overheard in conversation

*Understands early direction words-in/out/on
*Understands & responds to simple directions
*Points at familiar objects & people in pictures
*Responds to yes/no ?s with a nod or head shake
*Enjoys music, rhythm & tries to dance
By 21 months*Uses words more than gestures
*Consistently imitates new words
*Names objects & pictures
*May have a vocabulary of 20-50 words
*Understands some emotion words-happy/sad
*Understands some pronouns-me, you, my
*Can ID 3-5 body parts when named
By 24 months*Uses at least 50 words
*Begins to use 2 word phrases
*Uses pronouns-me,you,my
*Uses gestures & words during pretend play
*Understands more than 50 words
*Understands action words
*Can follow 2 step-related directions
*Enjoys listening to stories

How You Can Help Your Child’s Language & Speech

Studies show that children at 16 months can speak an average of 40 words, but understand over 300 words. However, children can experience a “language burst” around 18 months or later. (White & Harper: Signs of A Happy Child 2017)

According to new (2016) research provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “every additional 30 minutes a day children under the age of 2 spent using handheld screens, like smartphones & tablets, meant they were 49% more likely to have speech delays.”(Time Books:The Science of Childhood “Tips for Toddlers” p.29)

Parentese  

Many people of many different cultures & languages, including ours, use a style of speech called “parentese” when speaking to very young children. (Gelman & Shatz, 1977; Pine, 1994)

Parentese is NOT baby talk. The speaker:

  • uses a slightly higher than normal pitch
  • exaggerates vowel sounds
  • speaks in short, simple sentences
  • uses repetition
  • stresses/accents certain words
  • pauses between sentences

Other Tips for Your Child’s Language Literacy

Annabelle Humanes stated in her  March 2016 article, “A Few  Simple Little Things You Can Do to Increase the Amount of Language Your Child Hears, and In Turn, Help Them Learn” for The PiriPiriLexicon that researchers have found children who can say the most words by the age of 24 months were the children who heard the most child-directed speech at 19 months (during that “language burst”).

Talking with & to your child (interactive) is not the same as talking at your child (commands & discipline).

Here are her  helpful tips:

  • Describe & label EVERYTHING. Repeat.
  • Tell stories, using your imagination about every day objects.
  • Ask questions, wait for a response & answer it, especially if your child doesn’t (or can’t)reply.
  • Be positive, repeat what they say & add to it.
  • Use simple but real language-no baby talk (googoogaga).
  • Pair gestures with your words.
  • Stop & Listen.

Just a note from me: Don’t be afraid to play with sounds. Be silly. Make up words & try to give them a meaning.  This activity not only exercises their speech patterns & physical skills, but also, encourages their creativity. Besides all that, it’s biggley, tiggley & giggley fun!

Need more info? Check out this  list in my Resource Library:

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/language-speech-development-sites/

What I Learned About Language, Playtime & Literacy

Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn. ~ O. Fred Donaldson

Decades ago when I had a Home Day School for infants through 8 years, interviews with parents & child(ren) were part of my “acceptance” process. A few parents, not many,  were curious about the structure, or schedule of the day. 

play, language & literacy pre toddler
Outside for Play-Cuncon

“What time was art/reading/numbers/puzzles/ etc?”

“Is there a nap or quiet time?” “When & for how long” “My  2 year old doesn’t take naps……(oh yeah ?!)”

“Will my child have instruction time ? What will s/he be taught  & for how long throughout the day?” (7am-5pm ?!)

My responses to these questions were, basically- “Your child will receive enough structure in a few years when they attend kindergarten. Although all these activities are available, your child must make those choices.  I encourage coloring/drawing, making puzzles/play-doh sculptures & building with blocks every day. Your child will play outside a lot because they LOVE to be in nature. I do, however, read a story during the daily ‘Quiet Time’ after lunch. ”

Very few of those few parents wanted their child to attend.

I learned SO MUCH about children during those years (and I had a degree in Education). Listening to children’s literacy grow through interactive language with each other & with their toys (tools, really) is absolutely fascinating. I never had a child who didn’t want to hear a story read. Observing & listening with the occasional, necessary interaction will give you great insight into what they are reacting to and absorbing from you, others, and their environment.

“Old School” Becomes “New School”

Interestingly enough, “Old School” thinking has returned as today’s “Modern School” thinking regarding the Importance & Power of Play in Childhood Growth & Development.

In fact (Gopnik, Alison: The Philosophical Baby 2009) “psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered that babies, not only know more and learn more, but also, imagine more and experience more than we would ever have thought.”

In the “Hurray for Play” section of Dr. Medina’s book, Brain Rules, he  states open-ended activities during play partnered with (monitored, of course) free play increases:

  • memory
  • creativity
  • language
  • problem solving
  • less stress
  • social skills

Whether indoors or outdoors, children play to learn and make sense of the real world. They will choose ToyTools to help them explore and discover how to understand their environment.

The Wonderment of Nature Play

Except for toy vehicles for outside use (low-riders, wagons, scooters, bubble lawnmowers), my Home Day School children stayed very engaged using Nature Toys: grassy hills, rocks, nuts, pine cones, seedpods, sticks, leaves, flowers. Amazingly, they even found fossilized shells, large & small, to include in their play!!!!

pre-toddler water play
I Love Water!-Rujhan-Basir

Speaking of playing outside, unless the weather is very hot, bitter cold or pouring down rain, my children & I bundled up to go into Nature for however long we (mostly me) decided. Summer weather is especially fun because water play is a HUGE favorite! Lots of different household items can become water toys: spoons, bowls, cups, colanders (a good one). But, toys are optional because water itself is a GREAT toy. Ahhhhh! Such is the life of ducklings!

Simple Nature walks around the neighborhood is oxygen-food for the brain & body. It will, also,  give you the opportunity to engage children in the Language Literacy growth of new vocabulary. Although I used this time to introduce different words, I preferred to ask questions. This allowed them to ponder and discover answers independently – an important step for critical thinking. Nice food for thought during Quiet Time…..

Pre-Toddler Developmental Toy ~ Tools & Activities 

Right now at 12 months, your Pre-Toddler is enjoying Solitary Play. Around 18 months, or so s/he might begin to play along side others without interacting with them, also known as Parallel Play. However, as a child nears the 2 year old mark, the pronoun “mine” becomes an expression of property rights. Constructive Play (Explore & Discovery through the Senses) continues to develop & grow. (Kalokyri, “Facts About the Importance of Play in Early Childhood” June 2016)

Although role play is a frequent & popular part of Child’s Play, there are developmental activities to encourage Literacy Growth & Development cited in the article, ” 20 Fun Activities for a Toddler, 12-18 Months”on the website chicklink.com. Here’s a few of them, along with the skills these activities encourage:

  • sorting into container with holes / skill: hand-eye coordination
  • hiding hand-sized objects  in sand, torn paper, etc / skills: sensory, language, gross motor
  • painting with water, brushes, sponges & fingers on construction paper / skills: creativity, sensory, fine motor
  • using sticky notes to create object flaps for peek-a-boo book play / skills: fine motor, vocabulary
  • blowing games using bubbles, whistle, straw in water / skill: speech muscles
  • making a cardboard house / skills: LOTS

Growth & Development Toy Ideas for Your Pre-Toddler

Rahina Dancy, author of  You Are Your Child’s First Teacher,  supports choosing these toys to encourage growth & development in your child. They :

  • represent the real world
  • are aesthetically pleasing
  • have large components
  • encourage exploration & discovery

Suggestions:

  • open & closing containers with lids
  • shape sorters
  • stacking cups
  • pop-up beads
  • blocks
  • push/pull toys
  • balls for kicking & throwing
  • bubbles for blowing & chasing
  • finger paints

Your Home As One Big Playhouse

As toy tools dribbled out of the playroom (HA HA) & their boxes, landing (and hiding) in every nook & cranny of my Home Day School, the only source of irritation for me was an unprepared barefoot discovery (OUCH). Puzzles, play-doh, crayons & paper managed to stay on the table (safety issues-little ones & “because I said so”- not afraid to use that one). I was definitely outnumbered in the work / play domain of my children.

Couch cushions & pillows (sometimes with draping sheets) became a variety of structures. The kitchen, with its utensils, plastic bowls & pots / pans (with their lids, of course,) became the music room & its instruments. Dining room chairs & table became an obstacle course. Thank goodness the bedrooms were upstairs. The playroom was just a holding tank for unused toys. The bathroom wasn’t particularly inviting for play….only serious business went on in there.

WHAT’S A TEACHING MOTHER TO DO ?!?!?!!!!!

Believe me, in my public school classroom, children picked up (part of their jobs). They liked & appreciated an organized, neat environment. Even their desks (well, most of the desks-mine not included) were arranged for quick materials access-no digging needed. But I digress…

Every Toy in Its Place & A Place for Every Toy

Organizing is a pleasure for me and an important learning activity for children-young & old (maybe not teens). They enjoyed it, at first (most of the time for them / all of the time for me). 

the order of Toy tools
The Order of ToyTools-MarkusSpiske

Rahina Dancy, author of  You Are Your Child’s First Teacher provides support for this project. “Giving each toy a ‘home’ or place teaches:

  • sequential thought processes
  • order in the larger world arena
  • work habits (putting things away where they belong).”

Felicia Sklamberg, a clinical specialist in pediatric occupational therapy, added, “Babies are easily overstimulated, which  makes a catchall toy box overwhelming.”

And so, we created toy baskets, bins & boxes. Nothing fancy that required additional funding-wooden boxes, fruit baskets, milk crates, etc. Some parents even donated some bins for the cause.

Here’s The Scoop !

  • Nature’s Treasures (some of these might need to be washed before coming into the house)
  • Art Basket: pencils, crayons, markers (for older kids only- too many young, rainbow-colored lips), finger paint, water colors, brushes, sponges, stickers, paper, play-doh, cookie cutters, alphabet tracers, old magazines, scissors, glues, craft stuff
  • Puzzles Box: including a smaller, lidded container for wandering pieces (a good rainy or too hot/freezing day activity)
  • Motor Vehicles Garage
  • Blocks Building
  • Legos & Duplos
  • Work Tool Box: hammers, screwdrivers, etc
  • Dress-Up Trunk (still a box)
  • Talk & Media Mix (a must-have): phones, microphone, walkie/talkies
  • “Role” Play Basket (a must-have): dolls, action figures, animals, puppets
  • Book Box (oh yeah!)

Ready to go indoors? Park the vehicles and store the outdoor toys in their own plastic, outside storage (a large clothes basket). The children “enjoyed”  hosing & soaping them down, though I put them in the dishwasher for a sterilizing blast, as needed-usually once a week.

Older children are great supervisors & helpers for this end-of-the-day exercise. Here’s a little ditty to go with Clean Up Time:

It’s Clean Up Time! Clean Up Time!

Let’s go, Everybody! Clean Up Time!

Toys in baskets, boxes & bins!

We know where they’re landing (or going /sleeping /resting)  in!

 If you put this practice into play, I’m curious to know if & how this works out for you & yours. Let me know in the Contact Me form at the end of this post (just have to talk about books, of course).

 Time for  Book Talk & Literacy with Your Pre-Toddler !!!

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is best of all. ~ Jacqueline Kennedy

For many children at this age, books are a very important ToyTool for them.  If reading a book with loved ones has been a pleasant, common, every day experience, they will continue to want easy access to meaningful ones they can enjoy again & again.

Teaching Early Literacy & Behaviors are skills that will continue to benefit your child as well as your Family Literacy Circle.

Dr. Judith Schickedanz, a professor of Education at Boston University & author of the book: Much More than the  ABCs, was the first to describe early literacy behaviors of very young children. How children interact with & respond to books are building blocks of the literacy growth & development.

She lists these categories with their skills as links to language, reading & writing  process of Literacy:

  • the physical handling of books- chewing &  page-turning
  • the interaction with books – looking, recognizing, pointing & laughing at pictures of familiar pictures
  • the understanding the pictures & story of books – talking & imitating about events / actions
  • the reading behaviors of stories – talking to the story, babbling imitations of the story & running fingers under the printed words

Book Reading Habits & Routines with Your Pre-Toddler

Besides being a great bonding experience and increasing her/his knowledge of the world, reading with your Pre-Toddler has many Literacy Building benefits (Hamilton Reads/Ontario, “The Early BIRD Program Manual”). You are helping your child to:

  •  learn early book-handling habits-holding it the correct way & turning pages
  • increase his/her attention span, listening skills & memory
  • access early brain exposure to letter shapes & forms
  • connect printed words to the spoken word & related pictures
  • be exposed to story frameworks & imagination
  • engage in beginning critical thinking skills- who, what, why, next

Daily Reading Time Tips (12-18 months)

Anita West contributed some very useful ideas to Ruethling & Pitcher’s wonderful book, Under The Chinaberry Tree:

  • Choose a time when your pre-toddler is “winding down”.
  • Let her/him choose the book(s) and/or  “read” to you.
  • Read the book the same way every time & with expression.
  • Talk about the pictures, but don’t stay on one page too long.
  • Start reading easy-to-read, simple books with bright pictures & few, large-print words.

Daily Reading Time Tips (18-24 months)

  • Choose books with a bit more text that tell a simple story.
  • Talk about the pictures instead of the text if child is squirmy.
  • Connect the story & pictures to real life.

  Reading for Meaning/Understanding with Your Pre-Toddler

Reading for pleasure is one of life’s rewards, once you know how to read. Understanding what you read gives that pleasure meaning.

When reading with your pre-toddler, especially after s/he reaches 18 months, try to follow this sequence with a few interactive questions about the story:

  • read & talk about the book’s title & its cover (what do you think this book is going to be about)
  • do a “picture-walk” from the  beginning pages to the last page (now, what do you think this story is going to be about)
  • track your finger under the words & encourage your pre-toddler to do it, too
  • point to the pictures that have words to match (can you point to the dog)
  • ask prediction questions before turning the page (what do you think will happen next)
  • encourage him/her to ask questions about the story (do you want to ask me about something in the story)
  • ask some questions at the end of the story (what do you think will happen now; did you like the story; what did you like about the story; does this story sound like something else you know about)
rdgonalap-stocksnapre-toddler reading on a lap
Reading on a Lap-StockSnap

Of course, you don’t need to ask every single question I’ve included. Sometimes your pre-Toddler will just want to hear the story (hand-over- your-questioning-mouth signal).

This  is the reading sequence I used with my beginning, reluctant, and, even, my independent readers. Conversations  greatly increase the understanding of what is being read, as well as the vocabulary being used to tell the story.

“I Want Us to Read This Book !”

A house without books is like a room without windows. ~ Heinrich Mann

First of all, the stories need to be “short”. Books with rhyming words are usually favorites. Pre-Toddlers over the age of 16 months enjoy “me” books. After 24 months, make-believe books are understood & fun to read. Here are a few suggestions from Brain Wonders of the website, zerotothree.org:

pre-toddler reading a book
I Can Read-Nickelbabe
  • sturdy board books that can be carried
  • books with real-life photos of children doing every day things, like eating, playing, moving, sleeping
  • simple books about animals
  • beginning alphabet books
  • hello & goodbye books
  • good night books for bedtime

You can, also, make a book:

  • of words your pre-toddler is saying with pictures
  • of drawings s/he has made, writing words &/or a sentence about it

Children’s natural love of animals & the sounds they make (which children love to imitate) inspired me to create a little, make & take downloadable book entitled :

Animal Talk : Exploring 20 Common Animal Sounds

You can find it in BLB Shop or click on the link below to check it out:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/animal-talk-exploring-20-common-animal-sounds/

Need some board book ideas? Check out a list of my favorites in BLB’s Resource library. Just click on this link:

http://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/baby-board-booklist/

Reading for Literacy with Wordless Picture Books

Reading a wordless picture book is one of the most enjoyable ways to share a story. Listeners get to tell the story using their creativity, imagination & perceptions. It’s a GREAT way to build the literacy skills of listening, oral language, vocabulary, words with picture connections, and understanding the flow elements of a story. I absolutely LOVE them!

“But you don’t have to take my word for it!” ~ Levar Burton on PBS’ Reading Rainbow

Click on the link below for a list of some of my favorite Wordless Picture Books for children, ages 0-3 years.

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/wordless-picture-books/

OMG!!!! This is my longest post yet! I thought about dividing it into 2 parts, but I couldn’t decide how….

Thanks for reading through it. I hope you found some useful & meaningful information.

Any questions &/or comments?  Just fill in the Contact Me form below……(and she’s still talking…..). You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!

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Discovering the Family Literacy Circle with Your Post-Toddler (36-48 Months)

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Your precious darling is growing from a baby into a young child.Discovering the Family Literacy Circle with Your Post-Toddler(36-48 Months)

Look at the birthday party pictures last year and compare them to this years’ party. Notice anything different? (not you-your child)

Yes, some Toddler  expressions and behaviors are still present, but something else is taking place in your dear little one. 

With an almost full set of baby teeth, more body control, and a larger, spoken vocabulary, your three year-old is becoming more confident & comfortable in his/her world.

Does it feel like many (not all, of course) of the “Two” behaviors have calmed down?

Not as many fits, tantrums, & NOOOs?!?

Fewer bites, hits, kicks, spits & throws,  rather, launches ?!?

I am talking about your three year-old, NOT you…..

Well then (BIG sigh), your Post-Toddler has arrived.

Post-Toddler, Huh?!?

Life Is Good!-CrisCris1
Life Is Good!-CrisCris1

S/he appears less frantic & can sit still for longer periods of time when engaged in an interesting activity. S/he is using words more & “body” less when expressing feelings.

S/he is showing more interest & patience with exploration & discovery. Notice how s/he is spending more time observing & imitating others.

That is why I named this stage of growth & development: Post-Toddler. Still some Toddler-stuff present, but outbursts & frustrations are less frequent. Unless s/he is tired, sick, hungry, and/or just having one of those days (don’t we all?!?).

And sometimes those “growing pains” can be….well, you know…

Some “Changes” You May Be Seeing

Body & Movement Skills

  • appears taller & leaner
  •  puts on shoes & dresses with some help
  •  feeds oneself with a spoon
  • throws overhand & tries to catch
  • jumps & climbs
  • pedals a trike or low-rider
  • holds a crayon with thumb & first 2 fingers
  • enjoys manipulating play-doh/clay, sand & water
  • YOU CAN: show your child how to hop, tiptoe, waddle, slither

Brain Growth & Expression

  • understands “now”, “soon” & “later”
  • asks who, what, where & when questions
  • shows an interest in alike & different
  • identifies the colors red, blue, yellow & green
  • talks in 3-5 word sentences
  • may stumble over some words, but is NOT stuttering
  • YOU CAN: add small, new bits of information to your child’s sentences

Emotional & Social Development

  • follows simple directions
  • accepts suggestions
  • makes choices between 2 different things
  • enjoys making others laugh & being silly
  • enjoys playing with other for short periods of time
  • wants adult attention & approval
  • likes looking at “when you were a baby” pictures
  • YOU CAN: ask for help with simple household tasks

Now that wasn’t your three year-old a year ago, was it?

Need more info? PBS Parents is a great site loaded with specifics. Click on the link below.

http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/three/socialandemotionalgrowth.html

Speaking of Speaking….

How Does That Fit?BrunoNascimento
How Does That Fit?BrunoNascimento

Your Post-Toddler’s Language Literacy continues to develop & grow.

S/he can enunciate most consonants & vowels with a few consonant blends, too, like “tw” & “kw”.

With over 300 words in his/her expressive vocabulary, s/he is talking A LOT more – to you, toys, pets, nature. Although your child, at this stage, still thinks each word has only one meaning, s/he is, also, spending much of the day asking A LOT of questions.

Think “who, did what, when & where”. These questions/answers are actually the building blocks of reading comprehension’s Main Idea. You are finally discovering what is in that hard little head of hers/his.

Your 3 year-old believes there is an answer to every question asked (isn’t there?!?). Even “Magic !” is a reasonable answer to him/her.

Be ready, though, s/he may answer your question with a question. Or water the dog to make it grow…..

Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician who wrote The Happiest Toddler on the Block, suggests using “Okay?” at the end of ideas, directions, etc. This simple word shows your child you, not only, have an interest in her/his point of view, but also, hope s/he   agrees with yours……possibly…..

How You Can Continue to Encourage Your Post-Toddler’s Language Literacy Growth

Iowa State University Extension & Outreach’s Info-Sheet on Developmental Milestones, “Ages & Stages at 3 Years”, offers these suggestions:

  • Use directional words, such as “in/on/under” when explaining &/or answering.
  • Use comparison words, like “big/little, same/different, front/behind”.
  • Sing songs, rhymes, sounds, words & simple sentences.
  • Ask your child to tell you a story.
  • Have many back-and-forth conversations, using short sentences, asking questions & listening.
  • Talk about colors, shapes & numbers everyday.
  • Take a Nature Walk. Look for & talk about shapes, sizes, colors, textures, smells & sounds.
  • Teach your child to memorize his/her first & last name.

Play Power = Brain Power

A mind once stretched to a new idea never returns to its original size. ~ Oliver Wendall Holmes

Play is the essential tool we use, as humans, to develop our 5 senses, gross & fine motor skills, receptive & expressive language, as well as emotional & social skills.

It, also, influences the amount of brain cells we produce.

Hmmm, I Wonder....Bessi
Hmmm, I Wonder….Bessi

Exploration, curiosity & determination are the necessary paths we use to discover how to understand our world, whether large or small.

Nothing child-like about it!

It’s a survival skill we use everyday and all day long. Well, most of us anyway…..

Currently, your Post-Toddler’s brain continues to develop in 2 areas: the Limbic, or emotional part of the brain & the Cortical, or thinking part of the brain.

Emotional/Social growth begins around 12 months and continues until 48 months. This stage of development can be encouraged with play involving teams: winning, losing, taking turns & sharing.

The growth of concrete & abstract thinking begins around 36 months and continues until 6 years old. Play involving humor, language, arts & games will encourage this stage of development.

Serious Play Is Hard Work

And hard work can not be successfully accomplished without serious play….

So, if you equate play with fun ~ it doesn’t always work that way. Play is the action, or process used during creation, exploration, & experimentation until we reach the destination, or discovery.

A bit wordy, I know, but  synchronizing work with play is “how I roll”.

I combined Kristina @ Planes & Balloons’ 2016 article, “Some of the Many Benefits of Play”   with Perry, Hogan & Marlin’s 2000 article, “Curiosity, Pleasure & Play: Skills Developed Through Play”  to create an info-table explaining the impact of play on your child’s brain development.

Play & Your Child's Brain Development

BRAIN AREA BRAIN AREA BRAIN AREA
Emotional & Social
Development
Self Growth Thought Development
Empathy Control Problem Solving
Stress Management Expression Language
Negotiation Confidence Mathematics
Social Interaction Reliance Creativity
Teamwork Goal Setting Concentration
Follow Rules Memory

Additionally, your child’s desire & ability to Role Play, I feel, is developed within all 3 of these brain areas. Creativity & self-expression may influence the particular role s/he is “playing”. Is s/he fantasizing, imitating, and/or coping ?

Be Your Child’s Play Promoter

Tunnel Play-OmarMedina
Tunnel Play-OmarMedina

Although your Post-Toddler still enjoys playing beside others & watching them play, soon, s/he will have the tools to play WITH other children.

The ability to share, take turns and cooperate continues to grow & develop with each passing day.

Remember, some people are more socially-driven than others.

In 2016 NourishBaby displayed Shoptwinkie.com’s infographic, “The Importance of Play in Early Childhood”. Learning through discovery will happen if you:

  • don’t take over (Here, let me….)
  • ask questions (How are you going to….)
  • allow him/her to find the answers independently (Oh, I see…….)

Interactive Talk & Play

If your child enjoys interactive language while playing, another part of the material included script suggestions for supporting the different stages in your child’s play:

Planning

  • What will you need ?
  • Let’s think about what you are going to do.
  • Tell me how you will start. What will happen then?

Wondering

  • I wonder what this is.
  • What do you think that is for?
  • Why do you think that happened?

Remembering

  • Tell me how it all started.
  • Can you remember what happened when….?
  • How did that feel?

Predicting

  • Can you guess what will happen next?
  • What do you think will happen if you….?
  • What do you think will happen if you don’t….?

Providing A Defined Play Space At Home

Not all parents want to turn their homes into a giant playground. Many children enjoy having a “space of their own”.  This “office of play” is part of your child’s growth & development.

Keep an ear out though. Too quiet for an extended period of time and you may need to “step into the office….”

Creating an area with sturdy (so you can sit in them, too), child-sized chairs & a table encourages your child to sit and focus on independent play. Building with blocks, having a tea party, working puzzles, making a race track or construction site, creating art, and even reading a book can become a part of your Post-Toddler’s learning.

Any amount of time, even a minute or two, during which  children sit and entertain themselves with one thing helps them grow. ~ Felicia Sklamberg, a clinical specialist in pediatric occupational therapy at New York University Langone Medical Center

With Open-Ended Toys & Free Play

Open-ended toys are really the discovery tools of learning & growing. By definition they are “things” that can be used in a variety of ways to encourage:

  • play
  • creativity
  • imagination
  • problem solving
I Can Play A Lot with a Ball-CherylHolt
I Can Play A Lot with a Ball-CherylHolt

Does your child like to stack block towers, sort objects by size & colors, and/or put a 3-6-piece puzzle together? Play outside with large wheeled toys, all sizes of balls, and/or sticks & rocks ?

Are you wondering what other kinds of toys will encourage your child’s brain health, growth & development ?

Will these toy-tools encourage discovery within the Family Literacy Circle ?

“Yes” to all questions?

Here’s a list of some other open-ended, free play tools (with their skill sets), your 3 year old will probably enjoy :

Sensory

  • musical instruments
  • music for song & dance
  • play-doh & clay
  • sand
  • water

Gross Motor

  • tricycle/low-rider
  • slide
  • wagon
  • any large-wheeled toy
  • different-sized balls
  • medium & large blocks

Fine Motor

  • nesting & stacking toys
  • pegboard
  • 3-6-piece puzzles
  • crayons, paint/brushes, glue & paper

Role Play

  • dress-up clothes
  • pretend costumes
  • community helper hats & tools
  • tents & teepees
  • kitchen stuff
  • castles & houses
  • barns & fences
  • racetracks
  • street signs & stores
  • puppets & dolls
  • habitat animals: farm, jungle, forest, water

Problem Solving

  • matching games
  • building blocks with a variety of colors, sizes & shapes
  • construction toys (needed to be put together)

And BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS !!!

Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would never read yourself. ~ George Bernard Shaw

By now some of those well-loved books might need to be replaced with a second copy. Some of those “baby books” may need to be tucked away for another time & place.

Hmmm-This Book Looks Good!-Bies
Hmmm-This Book Looks Good!-Bies

Are you taking your Post-Toddler to a StoryTime at your local library, play group, elementary school or rec center? If so, observe what kinds of books are holding your child’s interest.

Many 3 year-olds love to hear stories about other places and people.

Pull some age-appropriate books from the library shelves in the children’s Picture Books, or Easy Books section.

Sit down & spread them out.  See which ones will get “checked out” for home reading.

Have your 3 year-old try these 10 books on for size:

  • DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! ~ Mo Willens
  • THE OLIVIA SERIES ~ Ian Falconer
  • A FISH OUT OF WATER ~ Helen Palmer
  • WHOEVER YOU ARE ~ Mem Fox
  • THE MIXED-UP CHAMELEON ~ Eric Carle
  • GREEN EGGS AND HAM ~ Dr. Seuss
  • CARS AND TRUCKS AND THINGS THAT GO ~ Richard Scarry
  • THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY ~ Oliver Jeffers
  • BLUE HAT, GREEN HAT ~ Sandra Boynton
  • GO, DOG, GO ! ~ PD Eastman

Be forewarned – I had to replace most of these books at home and in my classroom…….several times….

Need a few more suggestions ?

Click on my Resource Library links below.

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/wordless-picture-books/

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/building-baby-and-toddlers-first-library-of-25-book-titles/

   On – The – Go Reading Nooks With  Your Post-Toddler

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift. ~ Kate DiCamillo

If you have been steadily reading to your Post-Toddler since s/he was in-utero, you probably have a little bookworm in your home.

Alas…..Maybe not….

And Then What Happened?-DeeNurpalah
And Then What Happened?-DeeNurpalah

Some children love being read to until they can hop off  the cuddly lap of story-land.

Catch  ‘Em & Read:

  • before bedtime
  • during bathtime
  • before or during quiet time
  • during snacktime
  • under a tree outside
  • in a hammock outside
  • in the tent or teepee
  • under some covers with a flashlight

Some children would rather hear a story-telling instead of a book-story. “Stories can and should be part of your household routines & schedules. They can be as short or long as your listener’s attention.” Lisa Lipkin, Bringing the Story Home

Non-Book Literacy Stories

Spinning Tales:

What's Next?-Lichdinhtb
What’s Next?-Lichdinhtb
  • Make sure to include the story elements: beginning (characters & setting), middle (action & problem), ending (solution & prediction)
  • Ask & answer  interactive questions throughout the story
  • Invite your child to contribute to the story-telling
  • Capture your child’s attention while on a drive or a walk, in a waiting room or line, at the bus or train stop, during bathtime or before bedtime
  • Use fantasy, humor & family history as part of the story
  • Dress-up in role-play clothing  & ask your child to tell you a story about the character you are
  • Include simple props & toys for settings, characters & dialogue

Every Time We Read A Book…..

Whether the book is fiction or non-fiction, here are some tips for building literacy while reading aloud at this age & older:

  • Encourage solid pre-reading habits- daily reads, book handling, word tracking, time & order (first/middle/last), retelling with complete sentences.
  • Ask interactive questions while reading a story- what will happen next/how does the character feel/has this ever happened to you.
  • Read slowly & wait for her/him to turn the pages.
  • Answer your listener’s questions.
  • Make up rhyming words with some of the simpler words.
  • Use the story’s pictures to make up more stories.
  • Let the listener “read” the story.

I Think My Child Is Ready To Read…..

The first time my son (at 3 years-old) said, “I can read this book to you!”, my wide eyes glistened with anticipation. I couldn’t wait to hear my little genius read ME a story….at 3 YEARS OLD!!!!!

Sure enough, he proudly held the book and  carefully “read” each page of  The  Little Red Car, one of his favorite boardbooks.

He didn’t miss a word. I clapped with glee!

Over the next few weeks, he read & read this book to me….faster & faster. I guess he was becoming one with the little red car.

One day I asked him to point to the words as he read them…….uh huh…..

Smiling, I never said a word, and he continued to read the story to me everyday for the next few years.

We, also, continued playing colors, shapes, letters, sounds & word-picture rhyming games.

Learning, knowing , and applying the concepts of same & different shapes is a major step for success in letter recognition. Seeing the same & different shapes in the world prepares your child to make sense of “visual discrimination”.

BLB Shop has a collection of Interactive Color & Shape games created to prepare your child to recognize these pre-reading concepts:

I Can Sort & Match: 15 Shape & Color Games

Click on the link below to check it out.

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/15-shape-color-games-ages-3-up/

I became more consistent tracking words with their pictures when I read simple sentence stories.

What Are Pre-Reading Behaviors?

Is your child  showing you some of these Pre-Reading behaviors :

  • Makes comments about language & unusual words
  • Makes up word games
  • Creates & plays with words using rhyme
  • Invents “silly” words
  • Plays with sounds
  • Plays with magnetic letters
  • Likes to read alphabet books
  • Sings the alphabet song
  • Points out “environmental print”, like the S in a stop sign
  • Knows it is the print that is read in stories

Hmmmm, Not Quite Ready….How Can I Help ?

What Will I Learn Today?-Tung
What Will I Learn Today?-Tung

Bookoola Ink from Australia produced a wonderful infographic, explaining what your child needs to know before learning to read:

  • Rhyme the sounds that letters make
  • Track / follow objects with eyes
  • Talk with an increasing vocabulary
  • Build things using fingers & hands independently to hold books & turn pages
  • Do puzzles to differentiate sizes, shapes, lines & directions
  • Look at books frequently for discovery & fun
  • Listen to someone read every day

The 5 Must-Know Skills for Reading Readiness

First of all, how is your child’s vocabulary progressing ? S/he has learned most words indirectly through your daily conversations, interactive read-alouds, both fiction & nonfiction as well as  movies/screen time. Build his/her vocabulary for understanding in these 4 areas:

Did You Know?-BenWhite@upsplash
Did You Know?-BenWhite@upsplash
  • Listening Vocabulary are words we hear & understand when hearing directions & a story
  • Speaking Vocabulary are words we use when we talk about our day & ask/answer questions
  • Reading Vocabulary are words we understand when we read, retell stories or create story from pictures we see
  • Writing Vocabulary are words we use when we write & draw pictures to tell a story

 

All About Learning Press, Inc has a concise list with tips for your eager-to-read child. Do be sure your Post-Toddler is comfortable and consistent with these skills:

Motivation to Read

  • Enjoys being read to
  • Pretends to read or write
  • Often asks for read-aloud time
  • Is enthusiastic about books
  • Thinks reading is fun

Print Awareness

  • Realizes print on a page are words with meaning when spoken
  • Holds  book correctly
  • Understands the direction that books are read-front to back
  • Knows print is read top to bottom
  • Recognizes sentences are read from left to right

Listening Comprehension

  • Understands story sequence
  • Can retell a familiar story with accuracy
  •  Answers simple questions about a story
  • Asks questions during read-alouds
  • Understands the meaning of words being read
  • Relates to the words being read in some way
  • Understands both verbal & visual information

Letter Recognition

  • Can sing the Alphabet song with help
  • Recognizes upper & lowercase letters
  • Begins to associate letters with sounds

Phonological Awareness

  • Can hear & identify different sounds in spoken words
  • Can rhyme words
  • Knows a sentence has multiple , individual words
  • Can blend sounds to make a word
  • Can identify the beginning & ending sound of a word

How Do I Teach the Alphabet

If your child is is ready, you might want to begin with her/his name. You can try to use upper & lowercase letters, but for beginning readers & writers, uppercase letters are not only easier to differentiate & recognize, but also, easier to write.

Read lots of engaging alphabet books ~ here’s a few my children & I have enjoyed:

Rhyming Text

  • ABC ANIMAL RHYMES ~ G. Andreae
  • ABC AT HOME ~ A. Hawthorne & D. Zawada
  • CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM ~ J.Archambault
  • DR. SEUSS’ ABC ~ Dr. Seuss
  • MY FIRST RHYMING PICTURE ABC ~ B. Miles

Vivid Illustrations

  • BRUNO MUNARI’S  ABC ~ B. Munari
  • MISS SPIDER’S ABC ~ D. Kirk
  • THE PHONICS ABC ~ K. Dare

Real-Life Photos

  • ALPHABET CITY ~ S.T. Johnson
  • FARM ALPHABET BOOK ~ J. Miller

Playing alphabet games is another way to continue the learning process. It is a process, so let your ABC learner set the pace. Several five-minute lessons each day may be good. So will skipping some days.

Don’t forget to repeat, maybe with a different lesson for review.

Let your child select the letters. Unless ABC order is insisted upon by your Post-Toddler, here are a few sequences to consider:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/teaching-alphabet-sequence-guide/

Make Alphabet Learning Fun!

Exploring each letter with hands-on activities is  definitely the way to keep your Post-Toddler engaged. Using the 5 senses and physical movement is necessary as well.

Change up the learning-approach with a variety of activities. Use your child’s interest (and attention span) to guide you.

Include lessons as part of your daily routine. Remember to review & repeat to build confidence & risk-taking when introducing a new letter & its sound.

Let your Post-Toddler be the teacher. It will help you know what s/he knows and needs to learn.

Click on my Resource Library link below for some great ABC activities websites:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/15-abc-activities-websites/

Literacy’s Secret Pathway: Writing to Read

Many of my Reluctant Readers learned to read NOT by reading books, but through their own writings. They were always ready to read their own words instead of another’s words.

Once A Huge Red Ship.....IIlcsuszka writing to read
Once A Huge Red Ship…..IIlcsuszka

Their stories, surprisingly, with a few  prompts, usually included all the elements of a fluid tale: beginning (characters & setting), middle (problem & solution), and ending. Another follow-up story was always in the tank, so to speak.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself here….

Drawing, painting, coloring & writing are all very powerful expressions. For parents &  educators, they offer magical windows into the heart, mind & soul of anyone, especially a child.

But holding & controlling a paintbrush, crayon and/or pencil is a developmental feat for your young child. It takes a lot of practice with some determination, usually.

Fine Motor Skills Mastery

The mastery of fine motor skills, paired with the ability to create images in your head, is an incredible accomplishment for anyone, especially a child.

I am always amazed when watching a child in the creative zone!

In 2011 Katie Norris @ Mommy with Selective Memory and her friend Susan Case, an experienced Kindergarten teacher, created a GREAT list of Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills  :

  • pouring elements using funnels, tubes, colanders
  • sorting small objects
  • pushing objects through a slot
  • picking up marbles
  • building with blocks, logs, legos
  • lacing with lacing cards
  • grasping & placing puzzle pieces
  • arranging a variety of objects
  • picking up & placing stickers
  • playing with play-doh: pulling, pressing, stretching, rolling, pounding, squeezing, pinching
  • squeezing
  • shaking
  • beading with yarn & string
  • marking with fat pencils, fat crayons, sidewalk chalk
  • cutting with safety scissors
Self-Portrait EfraimStachter writing to read 36-48m
Self-Portrait EfraimStachter

Writing & Drawing : Same But Different

Although  your child is using the same physical skills to write & draw – the brain has other ideas. Your Post-Toddler needs to understand that writing & drawing are different.

Print carries a message. Show your beginning writer the many ways to use writing:

  • names & addresses
  • shopping lists
  • greeting cards
  • love notes
  • phone messages
  • to-do lists

Put big dots with a connecting line in a column on paper. Encourage your Post-Toddler’s “scribblings” for making a list of :

  • favorite toys
  • favorite activities
  • wish list
  • favorite foods
  • favorite colors
  • favorite animals

Write in large, traceable letters what the words are underneath or beside each entry.

Bookoola Ink from Australia produced a wonderful infographic, explaining what your child needs to know before learning to write:

  • Imagine – make up stories when painting & creating
  • Scribble & Draw – make marks & shapes to communicate messages
  • Play with letters & words
  • Manipulate – paintbrushes, crayons, pencils & chalk
  • Build – use fingers independently
  • Climb – need strong arms & body muscles to sit up & write
  • Someone to show me how important writing is everyday

What Is Pre – Writing

Learning to write in a legible way can be very challenging (see a note from your doctor). Muscle control is key as well as grasp & flexibility.

Doodling & pathway lines are good ways to prepare your child’s fingers & hand for handwriting. There are pages you can find at teacher stores & on line with fun ways to get to the “treasure”.

Anna Luther @ CincinnatiChildrens.org has a few pre-writing activity suggestions for your 3-year-old:

  • Name Tracing with your child using a highlighter on paper; try using upper & lowercase letters
  • Cutting Practice out of magazines & catalogs; glue on paper & write the simple names underneath
  • Play Doh Rope Letters formed on top of a large chosen letter you have written on paper
  • Dot – To – Dot Letters written on paper for your child to connect

Please remember to keep in mind every child grows & develops at his/her own pace. These ideas are suggestions for creating Literacy opportunities when your child is ready. And s/he will let you know as long as the activities are available & FUN!

Isn’t this an exciting time for you & your Post-Toddler?

Please share any accomplishments, questions, comments and/or concerns by filling out the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing to BizzyLizzyBiz. I look forward to hearing from you!

However if you wish to join the BLB Exclusive for additional  tips, ideas, updates & resources, please fill out the form below to Subscribe for FREE!

 

 

Encouraging the Family Literacy Circle with Your Kindergartner’s Language Skills

Welcome to the Family Literacy Circle’s Kindergarten Series

This year is a HUGE one for your 5-year-old ! Kindergarten is one (yes, another one) of your child’s milestones. Many preparations for changes are needed for a successful launch into his/her first, big school year.

Five of the major Literacy Acts influencing this new Play are: Language Skills, Play Power, Choosing a School, Reading Skills , and Writing Skills. So, I am dividing this incredibly important year into a series of 5 separate blog posts.

You should listen to even the smallest voice; someday it could be the one that makes a difference. ~ Crystal Marcos

ACT ONE : Language Skills

Your lively, spirited, and VERY curious 5-year-old child is SO ready to embrace theEncouraging the Family Literacy Circle with Your Kindergartner's Language Skills wonders of the world !   Those tools s/he has so diligently been working on and with are beginning to show some mastery. Frustration levels are lessening and confidence levels are rising. S/he is even amazing him/herself. “Look what I can do !” & “Wanna see me……?!?” are  frequent expressions now.

Within just one year, from age 4 to age 5, s/he has experienced tremendous growth in his/her gross & fine motor skills (moving & grasping) , language skills (understanding & speaking), cognitive skills (thinking & learning), and social skills (feeling & relating).

Here are some “new ” Motor & Social Skill developments you might be seeing during this incredible year:

Gross Motor Skills

  •  throws a ball overhead
  • jumps over low objects
  • rides a 3 wheeler with skill
  • skips ~ a thrilling  moment
  • catches bounced balls ~ another thriller
  • can change the direction, speed & quality of movements

Fine Motor Skills

  • shows a right or left hand preference
  • controls & uses a fork & knife
  • dresses oneself with little help
  • can manage zippers & buttons
  • can lace shoes, but not tie yet
  • cuts on a line with scissors
  • uses pencils & crayons in a more exacting way

Social Skills

  • is eager to try new things & take risks
  • makes decisions for oneself
  • notices the feelings of others
  • likes to feel grownup, especially when relating to younger children
  • has a basic understanding of right & wrong
  • understands & respects rules
  • enjoys giving & receiving
  • wants to collect things
  • needs to have a “hide-away” place for alone time

Encouraging Your Child’s Motor & Social Skills

Tired 0r Bored? Blake-Meyer
Tired 0r Bored? Blake-Meyer

Iowa State University’s Extension & Outreach program suggests these teaching & learning opportunities:

Gross & Fine Motor Skills

  • using a broom
  • pouring from a pitcher
  • playing “Follow the Leader” with skipping, galloping, hopping
  • tossing a ball at a target
  • helping to ride a bicycle with training wheels. if your child expresses an interest
  • cutting out coupons

Social Skills

  • setting the family table
  • providing that comfortable “hide-away” place
  • helping him/her understand strong feelings
  • giving her/him words to cope with strong feelings
  • praising specific behaviors specifically

Loving & Learning Language (with Some Deletions)

Believe it or not, your 5-year-old can understand between 4000 & 5000 words AND will gain 3000 more words within the year. Many new words will be learned through new experiences with new books, particular areas of interest (animals, plants, community helpers), and category names (weather, planets, cooking).

S/he has a speaking vocabulary of between 2200 and 2500 words with few pronunciation or grammatical errors. S/he is constructing 5-8 word complex & compound sentences, including conditional “If” statements!

I know you might be thinking, “Do we even say that many different words when speaking to him/her ?!?”

And now you’re saying, “Where did you hear / learn that word (or those words)?!?!?”

Your directed speech to your child may not contain a big variety of words, but s/he is listening to  and watching a LOT more language than your expressions from a LOT of different sources. Think ~ other people, young & old, everywhere…….

If your child  listens to what s/he hears,  understanding what is being said may, or may not be part of his/her language experience. Remember spelling certain words around certain ears….. 

You’ll know what s/he knows as the words (like them or not) come tumbling out of your “babe’s mouth”……

The Difference Between Understanding & Speaking Skills

Understanding Language Skills

  • follows 3-step directions without cues*
  • makes sense of what is said at home & at school (most of the time)
  • comprehends short stories &  answers question with accuracy

*Problems with Following Directions? Check out Meeting the Following Directions Challenge in my Resource Library : https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/meeting-following-directions-challenge/

Speaking Language Skills

  • speaks in multiple sentences at a time
  • enjoys conversations/dialogues with adults
  • likes to tell stories, riddles & jokes
  • will argue, debate & occasionally bargain
  • makes direct requests, using cause & effect reasoning

A major perk at this time of your child’s speech & language development is his/her ability learn a second or third language ! This will improve how quickly your child understands and, then, applies new information as well as using it in creative ways.

Encouraging Your Child’s Language Skills

Using 5 Senses for Language-Abigail Keenan
Using 5 Senses for Language -Abigail Keenan

During the last 5 years (and even before that- in utero), you have been engaging & interacting with your child. This is why his/her language skills are developing so nicely.

The “Ages & Stages” content for a 5-year-old in  Iowa State University’s Extension & Outreach program and I suggest continuing your productive work with these teaching &  learning opportunities. They will encourage your child’s   language growth  in  listening, understanding & speaking :

Listening & Understanding Skills

  • talk with your child as s/he learns & practices new tasks
  • ask your child to create new & different endings to familiar stories
  • help your child memorize his/her address & phone number
  • discuss community helpers & their jobs
  • have your child give you directions on how to do something

Speaking Skills

  • ask your child to tell you a story
  • encourage your child to recount an  adventure and/or outing
  • urge your child to use her/his 5 senses when describing an experience and/or object
  • engage your child in a conversation using questions
  • have conversations that promote your child’s curiosity

Carrie Clark, a speech pathologist, has LOTS of wonderful resources, tips, ideas & games on her website to promote your child’s growth & development in her/his language skills. Click on this link: https://www.speechandlanguagekids.com/

Speaking of Language & Literacy….

Understanding and using language to speak are building blocks for the reading component of Literacy. The beginning skills included in Phonological Awareness are followed closely by Phonemic Awareness and, then, Phonics.

Sound like the same stuff???

They are related, but skill specific. (See “Phonology, Phonemes & Phonics….Oh My !” in Reading & Writing with Your I Am Four !) Click on the link: https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/building-reading-writing-skills-with-your-preschooler/

During your child’s 4th year, s/he really showed an enjoyment for rhyme (can, fan, man, pan, ran) and alliteration (Freddy found forty fossils).

Between 5 & 6 years old, s/he can learn to:

  • recognize and produce rhyming words: bug, hug &_______?
  • clap and count syllables: cat (1), rabbit (2)
  • blend a beginning sound with a rime:  /m/ /at/ (mat)
  • identify a beginning sound: in “dog” /d/

This last component bridges into the Phonemic Awareness realm of  The 41 English Sounds. More on the Land of Phonemes the Family Literacy Circle post for age 6.

“J” Is the First Sound in ………….

 Starts with a J-Anissa Thompson
Starts with a J-Anissa Thompson

Wondering how  your child’s Phonological Awareness skills are progressing?

Jen, a K-12 Reading specialist, & Kathi, a K-6 Literacy coach are “hellotwopeasinapod”. They have combined their expertise and graciously freebied a great Phonological Awareness Assessment, which, also, tests Phonemic Awareness. This diagnostic will help you identify what your child’s skills are.

This verbal & audio assessment comes with teacher directions and is aligned with reading curriculum expectations. It  includes rhyme, syllable counts, & Phoneme objectives. Use it as a discovery tool every few months to help you & your child know which skills are mastered and which skills need review.

Click on this PDF link below for this thorough diagnostic tool:

https://www.sess.ie/sites/default/files/Temp_Upload_Files/2014-1/8%20Pg%20PhonologicalAwarenessAssessmentAFoundationalReadingSkillsDiagnosticTool.pdf

Remember Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear & manipulate individual sounds. Your child may not be ready to distinguish, identify & play with all 41 sounds yet, but s/he will as the year progresses.

  Phonological Awareness Skills Teaching Sequence

Language & Speech research agree on the following recommended order for teaching children these skills. The latter parts of the skill sequence are the beginnings of Phonemic Awareness. Dr. Rhea Paul, an expert in Psycho-linguistics, has published many books in this field. Here are her recommendations:

  1. Rhyming words
  2. Dividing words into syllables
  3. Combining syllables into words
  4. Identifying words with the same beginning sound
  5. Identifying words with the same ending sound
  6. Counting the individual sounds in words
  7. Identifying the different sounds in words
  8. Blending individual sounds into words
  9. Manipulating sounds in words
  10. Identifying the sounds each letter makes

This may all “sound” like a bunch of “hair-splitting mumbo-jumbo” to you, but being able to play with   word sounds  is a critical part of how your child will make sense of the words s/he is reading.

Teaching your child these skills doesn’t need to be a “sit down and do” affair. Informal, everyday, anywhere practice is a very productive way for learning the sounds of words. Oral interactivity is the only material needed.

Okay….So, Where & When Do I Teach These Skills?

Sounds of Ball-Baphael Biscaldi
Sounds of Ball-Baphael Biscaldi

You can practice Phonological Awareness skills with your child while standing in a line, sitting in a waiting room, shopping for groceries, driving in the car, watching your child bathe, picnicking  in the park, eating meals/snacks, reading books, looking at environmental print, reading cereal or juice boxes, playing in the pool, and/or walking the dog.

And How Do I Teach These Skills?

Carrie Clark, the speech pathologist @speechandlanguagekids offers some tips and ideas:

Rhyming words : point out rhyming words when reading rhyming books; make up rhyming word lists together

Dividing words into syllables : clap, stomp, jump & count syllables together and/or alone

Combining syllables into words : say syllables of words with pauses in between & ask your child to put them together to make the word; start with 2 syllables

Identifying words with the same beginning sound : help your child come up with a list of words with the same beginning sound (like in his/her name or favorite toy)

Identifying words with the same ending sound : help your child come up with a list of words with the same ending sound (like in his/her name or favorite toy)

Counting the individual sounds in words : start with a short word (dog) & divide the words, slowly,  into its individual sounds (d…o…g);  ask your child to count the different sounds

Identifying the different sounds in words : have your child choose a word, divide it into each sound, and repeat it to you

Blending individual sounds into words : say the separate sounds of a simple word (c….a….t) & ask your child to say the word

Manipulating sounds in words : remove the first letter of a word ( say the word “cup” without the “kah” sound); substitute letters in words (take off the “m” in “mop” & put in “t” to make the word……”top”)

Identifying the sounds each letter makes : reverse sound and letter (what letter has the sound “muh” / what sound does the letter “t” make); point out letters & print in books and everywhere

Click on Carrie Clark’s website link (speechandlanguagekids) found in the Speaking Skills section of “Encouraging Your Child’s Language Skills” for more tips & ideas.

 

I hope you found some useful Language Skill tips & strategies to help you & yours prepare for this eventful step in your family’s lives. Let me hear how you are ….

Any questions &/or comments?  Just fill in the Contact Me form below……(and she’s still talking…..). You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!

Copyright©2018BizzyLizzyBiz

 

Encouraging the Family Literacy Circle with Your Kindergartner’s Play Power

And Now for the Second Part of the Family Literacy Circle’s Kindergarten Series…

Play continues to be a significant part of your child’s growth & development.   Free Play, which is highly recommended by brain & child experts as well as children themselves and  Pretend Play, which is the natural-occurring form  of daily learning, are both important parts influencing the Brain’s wiring for Thinking & Learning skills as well as Creative & Social skills.

Even the toys, or tools, your child chooses to include in his/her play are essential. They influence creativity & imagination everyday.

ACT TWO : Play Power

Free Play, Toys as Tools, and Pretend Play all are important parts of FLC K Play Poweryour 5-year-old’s ability to problem solve, brainstorm & understand her/his immediate world as well as explore & discover new & different ones.

You can encourage how your child participates in & learns from these ongoing  adventures in a variety of ways.

Guidance without too much interference will strengthen in your child’s decision-making abilities, confidence & independence.

Of course, there will be times when issues of safety (and sanity ) have definite boundaries…. I mean, risk-taking has its limits in the REAL world…..

 Yes, Your 5 Year Old Is A BRAINIAC !

Teach a child how to think, not what to think. ~ Sidney Sugarman

Her/his brain is almost the size of an adult’s. It will continue to develop for the next 20 years. And just a “heads-up”…. you’re in for some REAL brain-wave excitement in about  10 years time….

Some these Cognitive, or Thinking & Learning Skills your child may be displaying are:

  • creating more imaginative ways to complete a task
  • asking more analytical questions while weighing the choices
  • understanding & using concepts like: big, bigger & biggest; first, middle & last; yesterday, today & tomorrow; first, then & next; more, less, same; before & after; above & below
  • asking & answering a variety of questions, including “how many”
  • inventing games with simple rules
  • identifying basic colors of blue, yellow, red, green & orange
  • beginning to understand how to sort & classify objects by size, shape or type
  • showing interest in cause & effect

Promoting Your Child’s Brain Growth & Development

Your continued interaction with your child, not only strengthens brain cell connections, but, also, builds skills in language, cognition & socialization as  well as self-help skills. Specifically:

  • Encourage independent problem solving; however make suggestions & decide on solutions together
  • Suggest your child use all 5 senses for more in-depth observations
  • Allow for an  extra “get ready” window to promote independence during time-sensitive preparations 
  • Promote Literacy through drawings, pictures & lots of questions
  • Make sure your child plays OUTSIDE a lot, especially with other children because, yes, s/he is preferring activities that involve others

Free Play and The Brain

When my children become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out. ~ Erma Bombeck

Free Play-Justin Young
Free Play-Justin Young

Whether alone in her/his “hide-away” place or playing with peers, child development and brain experts agree on the significant power of free, unstructured play.

During free play, children express their emotions & feelings, which helps them to identify who they  are.

Unorganized play without lots of rules  promotes the development and growth of creativity, flexibility , and adaptation to future challenges.

Sergio Pellis, a neuroscientist from Alberta, Canada, observed that “the brain rewires itself under the positive stress of play, as children figure out how to navigate the world and each other.”

As part of a peer-play group, children learn to share, resolve conflicts, make decisions, and be assertive.

“If You Play with Me, I’ll Be Your Best Friend….”

Children Play Together-Ed Gregory
Children Play Together-Ed Gregory

Your 5-year-old wonder has moved quite comfortably into the Social stage of play partnered with the Expressive stage of play. S/he enjoys playing with others in his/her age group, seeking and creating opportunities to engage in this type of play.

S/he is interested in exploring new playgrounds, parks and friends’ houses. Community play-spaces can have a positive effect on youngsters, making them feel more connected to their neighborhoods.

Swinging on playground swings & trying out new jungle gyms are especially enjoyable to your 5-year-old. You may notice her/him initiate conversations & play in a familiar way with other children, even though they’ve never met.

Free, physical play is SO important for your child’s development of his/her body awareness. It stimulates growth  as well as strengthens her/his fine & gross motor skills. S/he may bring toys to the play area and invite some peers to play with them. Together, of course !

YAY ! What A FUN Toy !

Creating A Toy-Emma Roorda
Creating A Toy-Emma Roorda

Your child’s toys should  stimulate & engage his/her imagination, communication, collaboration, creativity, and cognition, as well as her/his gross & fine motor skills.

You’ve heard the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. It may have been created while watching children at play. Believe me when I tell you, I have seen & heard children create amazing worlds with little and/ or nothing but their incredible  imaginations, a few pebbles, sticks, leaves, and a pile of dirt……

So, What Are Some Brain~Food Toys ?

Open-ended toys, or play tools can used in many, many ways, depending in your child’s imagination or learning-needs.

Here are a few ideas child development experts suggest for your child’s growth in these areas:

Games

  • board games for pre-readers, like Chutes & Ladders, Connect Four
  • card games, like Uno, Go Fish, Old Maid
  • dominoes
  • memory & match games
  • puzzles with 15-20 pieces

Construction

  • large & small wooden/plastic blocks
  • Duplos
  • Lincoln logs
  • tinker toys

Arts & Crafts

  • play-dough & clays
  • scissors & glue
  • pencils. crayons, washable markers & watercolors
  • drawing & construction papers

Outdoor

  • jump ropes
  • high bouncing ball (utility rubber ball)
  • wagon
  • 3-wheeler
  • bicycle with training wheels

Dramatic & Pretend

  • puppets, dolls, stuffed animals
  • action & animal figures (Play-mobiles)
  • trucks, cars, train sets/race tracks
  • pretend walkie-talkies, phones & cameras
  • dress-up clothes & costumes
  • play tools
  • LARGE cardboard boxes

I know I repeat myself, but at my Home Day School, I observed my children create everything from blocks, rocks & sticks. And there were HUGE crates of toys readily available in their playroom !

Powerful Pretend Play

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination. ~ Albert Einstein

A Castle of the Imagination
A Castle of the Imagination

At the age of 5, your child is becoming more & more project-minded. S/he is planning play scenarios that include buildings, different roles, materials & tools with the drawings to implement them. A script may not be in writing, but the appropriate dialogue is in place…..with assignments  for each person, animal & object.

Not only are your child’s Pretend Play plans “elaborate”, they will be enacted for long periods of time with new (and improved) details added each time.

Feel like your child is ready to try  some new & different Pretend Plays ?  Visit my Resource Library for a Pretend Play website collection: Pretend Play Power : 8 Helpful Websites.

Or click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/8-helpful-pretend-play-websites/

How You Can Contribute to Your Child’s Pretend Play

In The Play Kitchen-Shlomaster
In The Play Kitchen-Shlomaster

During Pretend Play, especially with others, your child is engaging in problem solving and building new understandings about the world , other people & oneself. New ideas are tested, many questions are asked (and some answered), and discoveries through exploration are numerous.

Although your 5-year-old has some definite ideas & plans regarding his/her Pretend Play, you can make some “suggestions” on what s/he might want to include into the setting. Ask questions, like “How will you….., What if the……, When will you….., Where are the……?” to promote details, cause/effect and expansion.

Six (or Seven) Simple Pretend Plays

As children we LOVED to play House, Mommy, Daddy, Baby, Cook, etc. Dressing up in our parents’ old clothes & accessories, including humongous shoes delighted us for hours, days, months, and, yes, years.

You might like to view a collection of 6 Simple Pretend Play ideas in a quick-read, table format, so I cheerfully created one (LOVE those info-tables). I included materials you will find around the house in the attic, basement, recycle bin or closets; at yard sales (gold mines); or neighborhood discount stores.

Six (or Seven) Simple Pretend Play Scenarios & Material Lists

SCENARIO
OR
ENVIRONMENT
LARGE-SIZED ITEMSMEDIUM-SIZED ITEMSSMALL-SIZED ITEMSCLOTHING & LINENS
Housebroom, mop, vacuum. ironing board, lawnmower, rake, washing machine, dryer, clothes baskettrash and/or leaf bags, feather duster, clothesline, cleaning spray bottles, cleaning caddy, phone, storage binsiron, cleaning & yard gloves, clothespins, drinking water bottle, message pad/pencil, small clipboards for listskerchief, cap, cleaning rags, sponges, laundry
Nurserycradle/crib, highchair, baby carrier, stroller, bathing tub, changing tabledolls, cuddly toys, diaper bag. storage binsbottles, rattles, chew toys, tub toys, board booksdoll clothes, diapers, wash & burb cloths, blankets, baby pillow
Kitchenstove/oven, sink, fridge, table, chairs, cabinet/shelves for kitchen stuffpots/pans, dishes,bowls,cups, mixing bowls, colander, dish rack, cookbooks, clipboards, storage bins cooking & eating utensils, food pictures, play fruits & veggies, play canned & boxed foodapron, wash cloths, dish towels, napkins, tablecloth, place-mats
People's Health Clinic
&
Vet's Office/Clinic
table & chairs, pet carriersscale,clipboards, medical bag, patients:dolls,stuffed animals, storage bins medical gloves, medical tools: stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, reflex hammer, bandages, gauze, band-aids, cotton ballslab coat, wash clothes, blankets, towels
Construction Site
wagon, table & chairs, trucks, earth movershardhats,tool box, shovels, clipboards, storage binstools: hammer, saw, screwdrivers, ruler, t-square, measuring tape, nuts, bolts,, screws, nails, vices, paper/pencils, phone, ropes, chains, safety goggleskerchief, boots, vests, work gloves, toolbelt
Restauranttables, chairs, stools, menu board, kitchen-to-server window, cash registerdishes, bowls, cups,vases & flowers, order wheel, trays, bus tub, storage bins eating utensils, play food, salt/pepper shakers, sugar & creamerpackets, ketchup/mustard containers, play money, order tickets/pencils, small clipboard, clothespins, phone, calculator, to-go bagsaprons, table settings: napkins, place-mats, tablecloths

To promote additional Literacy skills in these 6 Pretend Plays,  I created signs, bin labels, hat symbols, forms and lists to accompany each scenario. They are gathered together in a DIY Collection Manual : Prop~Templates for 6 Simple Pretend Plays complete with Construction Instructions as well as Tips & Idea Suggestions. Here’s the link to this product in BLB Shop:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/simple-pretend-plays-proptemplates/

 

I hope you found some useful Play Power tips & strategies  to help you & yours prepare for this eventful step in your family’s lives. Let me hear how you are ….

Any questions &/or comments?  Just fill in the Contact Me form below……(and she’s still talking…..). You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a  FREE subscriber!

Copyright©2018BizzyLizzyBiz

 

Encouraging the FLC with Your Kindergartner’s Reading Skills

This is Part 4 of the Family Literacy Circle’s Five ~ Part Kindergarten Series

This post’s main focus is on developing & engaging the Reading Skills of your 5-year-old, Part One of this Series ~ Your Kindergartner’s Language Skills ~  offers key content regarding the growth & development of your child’s Phonological Awareness Skills, which is a major component for pre-reading skills. You can read the Language post by clicking on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/5-year-olds-language-skills/

ACT FOUR : Encouraging Your Kindergartner’s Reading Skills

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. ~ Richard Steele

As I stated in the first few sentences, your child’s oral language FLC K Reading Skillsskills in both understanding, or receptive, and speaking, or expressive, is beginning to extend into the written language of reading. Rhyming words play a big part in this progression. I put together a 50-word rhyming list for you & yours. Click on the PDF link below:

50 Beginning Rhyming Words

Understanding a variety of  letters in words represent a variety of sounds helps your child comprehend the purpose of the written language in stories & books.

Environmental print has given her/him clues for several years now. Still working on matching uppercase letters to lowercase letters? Here’s a PDF Literacy Game for learning that skill. Click on the link below:

We Go Together

This specific understanding is how s/he learns how to “sound out” letters and “smush” them into printed words ~ READING!!!!! It is such an exciting accomplishment for your child and kudos to you, their First teacher, who has been the springboard of this New World!! 

WOW ! How Did I Do That?!?

Reading with your child since the beginning of his/her life ~ maybe in utero? ~ has provided a great many stepping-stones onto the path of learning how to be an independent reader. Here are just a few of the lessons taught by example that your child has  learned through your patient,  gentle, fun & interactive persistence:

  • Books have a title, author & illustrator.
  • Books are read from left to right & top to bottom.
  • Stories have a beginning, middle & ending.
  • Some stories are make-believe, or fiction & some stories are real-life, or non-fiction.
  • Words in stories are made up of letters & sounds, some of which your child may be able to identify.
  • S/he loves to retell some favorite stories.
  • S/he wants to “read” picture books from memory.
  • S/he might be able to recognize some words by sight.

However, learning to read is not a natural skill. Our five senses can help, but the brain does not have a “reading area”.

Reading & The Brain

Reading & The Brain-Public DomainPics
Reading & The Brain-Public DomainPics

Jan Bernard@dragonsdencurriculum.blogspot.com has some suggestions for brain-based reading instruction in her blog post:  “Seven Ways to Use the Brain to Make Reading Easier”.

National Reading Panel

Research supports that good phonics development is critical to effective reading. Playing with words, knowing the sounds of letters, and  manipulating these sounds are the foundation skills of understanding print.

Personal Connections

Using memories and personal life experiences to relate with the text increases the comprehension of the  text being read.

Reflection Connection

Engaging your reader in hands-on activities centered around the read gives him/her time to process  the content and discover meaning within it.

Pace

Teaching several points instead of many will ensure your reader is understanding the content s/he is reading.

Fun & Movement

Making the lesson entertaining and providing opportunities for physical change, such as group work, partner activities and/or games helps the brain retain information.

Interaction

Turn & Talk, group discussions, and student-teaches are all  effective  ways to engage readers when learning the content.

These ideas, also, promote Critical Thinking skills.

What Are Critical Thinking Skills?

Asking “what if” & “why” questions are  great ways to encourage and inspire expansive, creative thinking. For example, what if you found a dragon’s egg? What if you found a genie in a lamp? What if a neighbor of the 3 Bears knocked on the door while Goldilocks was there? 

You may already ask “big thinking” questions during a read with your child. Heidi Butkus @ heidisongs does a nice job of presenting how to engage critical thinking in young children.

Some of the beginning interactive questions are:

  • Connecting Text to Self : Has anything like _________ ever happened to you or someone you know?
  • Compare & Contrast: How are _______&_______the same? How are they different?
  • Form an Opinion: How did you feel when________?
  • Evaluate: Do you think __________was a good or bad idea?
  • Prediction: What do you think will happen next?

The next set of questions are a bit more “thought-provoking”.

  • Cause & Effect: Because ________began, ___________is what happened next.
  • Hypothesize: Since__________is always happening, __________is probably why it happens.
  • Develop a Logical Argument: I think___________is true/not true, because_____________and____________.
  • Infer: What is happening and why?
  • Draw a Conclusion: What do you think about the WHOLE story?

How about using these questions with a story you’ve read to your child a few hundred times, like…….?

 Critically Thinking About Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes

This author & illustrator of numerous award-winning books has created many well-loved picture books as well as a “cast” of mice characters for his mouse stories collection. I’m sure you’ve heard of Owen, Julius, Chrysanthemum & Sheila Rae. Chester & Wilson,  two of the main mice in Chester’s Way, like to do things a certain way everyday, until Lily moves into the neighborhood with her own way of doing things every day…..

  • Connecting Text to Self : Do you like to do some things the same way every time you do it?
  • Compare & Contrast: How are Chester / Wilson & Lily the same? How are they different?
  • Form an Opinion: How did you feel when the older mouse boys circled Chester & Wilson ?
  • Evaluate: Do you think Lily squirting those boys away was a good or bad idea?
  • Prediction: What do you think will happen when Victor moves into the neighborhood?
  • Cause & Effect:  Because Lily “squirted” those big boy mice way,  ___________is what happened next.
  • Hypothesize: Since Chester & Wilson are  always playing together, __________is probably why it happens.
  • Develop a Logical Argument: I think Victor will/will not become friends with them  because_____________and____________.
  • Infer: Although Chester & Wilson enjoy doing things differently from Lily, they still enjoy her differences because____________? Will they feel the same way about Victor?
  • Draw a Conclusion: What do you think about the WHOLE story?

Are you and/or your child Visual Learners/Teachers? Check out your “Style” in the FLC post: Choosing A School for Your Kindergartner: Learning & Teaching Styles by clicking on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/choosing-a-school-for-your-kindergartner-learning-teaching-styles/

I have, also, included 3 beginning- to- read comprehension graphic organizers for you and yours to use on a BIG sheet of paper. Click on the PDF link below:

K Rdg Comp GOrgs

How Will I Know If My Child Is Ready To Read ?

Certain common concepts can be woven throughout a story. Does your 5-year-old understand near/far, same/different, through/over/under? Here’s a PDF checklist to help review positional & directional words.

 Beginning Directional & Positional Words

Understanding, using, and applying Time concepts  continues to be developmental since the  “language of time” is such an abstract idea.    Emphasizing words such as soon, later, early, yesterday, today, tomorrow, next week, morning, noon and evening when doing concrete activities will help to give meaning to these ideas.  Even my Third Graders struggled with defining “when” in the Setting story element.

BLB Shop has a Calendar Kit you can use as a daily activity lesson at home. You can view it by clicking on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/my-calendar-corner-daily-prek-thru-3rd-grade-literacy-activities/

The expectations for Kindergartners has changed A LOT within the last 15 years. Previously,  objectives revolved around interactive, hands-on learning centers, like blocks, kitchen, painting, etc. Currently, those are preK objectives with Kindergartners expected to be emerging readers, writers & math problem solvers. Here’s a list of pre-reading skills  your 5-year-old needs to know when ENTERING Kindergarten.

  Beginnings : A Book Tells A Story

Open A Book-Comfreak/CCOCreativeCommons
Open A Book-Comfreak/CCO

If you & yours are a family of readers, these book skills are already in place:

  • Books have parts: front & back covers with a title page.
  • Books are held safely & pages are turned from left to right.
  • Books’ words are read from left to right & top to bottom.
  • Groups of letters can make words.
  • There are spaces in between complete words.
  • A sentence is a group of words “strung” together with different ending marks that are not letters.
  • Letters & words on a book’s page are spoken with meaning & messages.

You have taught these skills by:

  • Making read-alouds a routine part of each day
  • Promoting the above skills & concepts each time a book is read
  • Finger-pointing the words as you read.
  • Helping your child become aware of environmental print, such as building & road signs, food labels, billboards, etc
  • Reading interactively with your child by asking questions, making connections, explaining unknown words, & having her/him retell the story
  • Identifying story elements, such as  beginning, middle & end; characters & setting; main idea & details; problems & solutions

During your child’s Kindergarten year, s/he will learn many more specifics about books being read.

Kindergarten & Book Growth

Your child’s “book knowledge” will include several new aspects as well as preferences.

As non-fiction books become a more important tool when teaching curriculum objectives, s/he will learn about the Table of Contents, a glossary & an index. Engaging in longer discussions as content is being shared will, also, be part of your child’s growing knowledge within books.

Having  extensive libraries in the classroom & as a media center available to your 5-year-old will provide opportunities for growing interests in specific authors, fiction verses non-fiction, and entertainment independence.

The attention span of your young listener will expand into chapter books, more in-depth discussions & responses, and greater  comprehension of specific content details.

You will notice your child pointing to words  as s/he “reads”. This strong characteristic shows a progression from his/her Phonological Awareness to Phonemic Awareness ~ yes, READING!!!!

What Are Phonemic Awareness Skills ?

S0, is your child ready to master the Phonemic Awareness Skills? This set of skills includes your child’s ability to hear, identify & manipulate the sounds letters make.

BLB Shop has two games ready to help your child learn these powerful reading skills. S Says SSSSSS has Beginning Letter & Sound Games. M Says MMMM has games for learning the Ending Letter & its Sound.  Just click on the links below to access a view:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/beginning-letter-word-sound-games/

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/ending-letter-word-sound-games/

Modeling As A Teaching Tool

Let us read and let us dance ~ two amusements that will never do any harm to the world. ~ Voltaire

Throughout the years you have read countless books countless times. Your little pupil wants to read how you have been reading to him/her for the past 5 years. You have probably noticed how dear this time is with your loved one, even if s/he is squirmy. Benefits of read-alouds are:  sharing quality time, especially at night; being a book resource for sharing different stories; thinking together; and getting an insider view into your child’s interests, humor & comprehension.

There are a few Read-Aloud Tips, courtesy of readingeggs.com, heatherhaupt.com & I to further your modeling/teaching tools when reading aloud to your young listener.

Kinder Listening-Anissa Thompson
Listening-Anissa Thompson
  • Make time to read interactively every day without distractions.
  • Choose well-written & beautifully illustrated books (not too easy/difficult) with your child’s interests in mind without a lot of dialogue.
  • Be ready to read favorite books again & again & again because your child is learning sounds and words through repetition.
  • Try to read using lots of expression & animation without imposing your own thoughts onto your child.
  • Opt for books related to your child’s current learning experiences.
  • Finish a book once you have started it unless you discover your child is not engaged in the story/subject.

The Complex Worth of Simple Wordless Picture Books

Wordless picture books are NOT just for toddlers & pre-schoolers. Some of those books you “read” to your “baby” might continue to be interesting, but in a very different way. (See    https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/wordless-picture-books/

Their amazing, detailed illustrations offer numerous opportunities for imaginative & creative thinking. Not only do they emphasize the power of illustration, but they, also, encourage verbal & vocabulary skills, promote point of view recognition, and develop your child’s confidence as s/he “tells” the story.

Spend some time asking comprehension questions about the Story Elements:

  • Setting – place, time, unusual/familiar, things to do
  • Characters – thinking, feelings, desires/needs
  • Plot – problems/solutions
  • Predictions – next, opinions, choices
  • Lessons – themes, if/then, symbols

As a Family Literacy Circle activity, have each family member and/or friend , choose a page to tell the story and, then, pass the book to the next person.

Need some Wordless Picture Book ideas for your older “reader”? Check out More Wonderful Wordless Picture Books for Readers, Ages 5-8   in BLB’s Resource Library. Just click on the link below:

  https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/wordless-picture-books-older-readers/

“Just One More Chapter, PLEEEEEZE!!!”

Reading an interesting & entertaining chapter book aloud is one of the pleasures you can share in your Family’s Literacy Circle. It is SO MUCH FUN!!!

Whether it is part of your night-time ritual, a rainy afternoon past-time or a vacation ride diversion, your captive audience will usually want just one more chapter read.

Did you know there are benefits to reading aloud chapter books to your young and older one(s) ? Here are some of them shared by readingeggs.com:

  • Develops stronger vocabulary through listening & hearing new words in a new context
  • Builds connections between spoken & written words
  • Strengthens thinking by exposing your child to sophisticated language
  • Improves attention span & concentration through listening
  • Provides enjoyment &, then, views reading as a positive experience
  • Allows a safe way of exploring strong emotions of oneself & others
  • Promotes bonding & strengthens relationships
  • Helps your child develop his/her social, communication & interpersonal skills

I can tell you from my experiences as a parent & educator, all of the above are true. Plus as a lover of reading, it is FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Here is a list I compiled as a Resource in BLB’s Library of some captivating chapter books I have shared with children. Just click on the link below:

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/read-aloud-chapter-books/

You Can Help Your Child Become A Reader

The greatest good you can do for another is not to share your riches, but to reveal to him/her his/her own. ~ Disraeli

I Can Read You A Story-Jill111
I Can Read You A Story-Jill111

Your 5-year-old is becoming aware of book type diversity. S/he knows the difference between real & make-believe stories. S/he realizes some  made-up stories that could really happen, or realistic fiction.  Some books are all about facts, or nonfiction. Some are ABC books & some are song books.

Making sure your child has immediate access to books -everywhere at home- s/he enjoys will encourage lots of reading. Bring books on car trips, the store & visits. Hand him/her a book instead of a device. Ask teachers, librarians & other parents for book suggestions.

Create an “I Am A Reader” poster together to hang up in his/her room. Or use the one I created  for you to make with your budding reader. Just click, download & print on the link below:

  I Am A Reader poster

The 5 Components of Reading

Before beginning to teach someone to read, it is important to administer a Reading Inventory. Throughout my decades as an educator, I have given a wide variety of assessments. Click on the Reading Rockets link below for an example:

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/informal-reading-assessments-examples

My successful tried & true method of teaching a child -who wants to learn how to read- how to read consists of 5 major elements:

  • a solid Sight Words, or High Frequency Words base
  • a strong, developmental phonics program
  • an ongoing receptive & expressive vocabulary list
  • a reliable group of comprehension strategies for fiction & nonfiction reads
  • a daily opportunity for reading aloud to improve fluency

You can work with your child’s teacher to assist in your child’s reading  progression. S/he will know specifically in which of these 5 areas your beginning reader needs more practice. 

Otherwise, continue reading interactively with your child every day.

HELP!!!! My Child Is A NON-Reader!

If a child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must teach in a way the child learns. ~ Rita Dunn

Lost in Kindergarten -Cole Stivers
Lost in Kindergarten -Cole Stivers

Your bright, energetic 5-year-old has waited all summer to enter the exciting new world of Kindergarten with all of his/her friends. New clothes, shoes &  a cheerful lunchbox have been carefully selected. Lots of colorful school supplies have been purchased & tucked away into his/her new, hand-picked backpack. The first few weeks of school, s/he comes home happy & exhausted. By week 3, s/he is not as thrilled with Kindergarten. S/he is becoming more confused & almost reluctant to go to school…..

During Meet the Teacher night, her/his teacher gently pulls you to the side and quietly urges you to schedule a conference as soon as possible. You swallow back some tears, replying, “Of course…” as the teacher reassures you, “We can work this out together.”

Do I Have a Resource for you!!!!

Just click on this link below for Guiding Your NonReader Into The Reader’s World:

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/guide-nonreader-readers-world/

YOU GOT THIS!!!

 Any Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!

Copyright©2018BizzyLizzyBiz

 

Enriching the FLC with Your First Grader’s Reading Skills

 Greetings! You have arrived at Part Four of The FLC  First Grader’s Series: Enriching the FLC with Your First Grader’s Reading Skills

Depending on the expectations of your First Grader’s campus, s/he may or may not be reading grade level text.

Most public school systems want their Kindergartners reading at a certain level before going into First Grade. Some private schools feel the same way.

Other  schools offer a different approach entirely when preparing a child to read. There are MANY different methods you can try, especially if your child is a reluctant reader.

Reading Rockets cited Understood.org’s article, which  listed 11 Methods for teaching reading, especially if your child is struggling with this all-important skill. You can check them out by clicking on the link below:

 https://www.readingrockets.org/article/11-methods-teaching-reading-help-struggling-readers

As a trained Special Education teacher, I used a variety of methods, even when I was teaching in the Gen Ed classroom.

PART FOUR: Enriching Your First Grader’s Reading Skills

So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well:They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky. ~ William James

I was, and am, a book eater, I mean reader. I have been devouring books since I was 5 or 6 years old. Not that I didn’t enjoy other recreations as most children do, but reading is a Passion for me. It is one I love to share, especially with children. Teaching a child how to read is one of the most exhilarating things in the world that I can share…..

And like Mr. James says, it’s not just about the actual reading & understanding of the letters, words, sentences, paragraphs & pages. It’s more about the participation in and the inspiration of thoughts, imaginations, inventions, and, yes, “worlds”. 

As a child, and now, as an adult, my inquiring nose can usually be found in one of many genres of books.

How I Learned to Read

The other day I read an interesting & nostalgic memory shared by Theresa, a teacher & fellow-lover of reading. She has a site called Theresa’s Teaching Tidbits. While introducing her great nephew’s reading progressions, she, also, offered her ” Becoming A Reader” experiences as a child. Here’s the link to her post:

https://theresasteachingtidbits.blogspot.com/2018/09/becoming-reader.html

It sparked some recollections in me as well. My parents were both avid readers. My mother, especially, loved reading to us ~ we, who could sit still long enough, loved it, too. She read patiently, deliberately, interactively, and always with lots of expression. Lots of books, both novels & informative as well as STACKS of comic books were always in our home. Saturday trips to the library (a favorite of mine) were a frequent part of our errands.

And let me be clear……this reader-nurturing environment does NOT guarantee you’ll raise a Book-Lover. Several of my siblings (and my child), bright as they are, had “better things to do than sit around and read a book!”

However, college & life influenced changes in that opinion…….

Reading at my school was taught with the Dick, Jane, Puff & Spot primers (yes, I’m that old) in small reading groups named Bluebirds, Red Robins, etc. ;  spelling lists with sentences & book reports~written with oral presentation (YIKES!).

My parents’ expectations & participation with teachers ensured all of their children were reading on or above grade level. No foolishness allowed!

Teaching methods have changes A LOT since then (more on that later), except, of course,  within the setting of your child’s First Classroom ~ at home.

My Child Can Read……When S/He HAS TO DO IT

I Can Read Anywhere! -Madalin Calita
I Can Read Anywhere! -Madalin Calita

Feel fortunate s/he can read. Promoting ENJOYMENT during the read, especially with a very, physically-active child & the instant gratification of tech EVERYWHERE can be a challenge….

To quote Dr. Frank Serafini, a professor of Literacy Education & Children’s Literature~

There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who haven’t found the right book.

In addition to reading with your child since in utero, having lots of different types of reading material (yes, magazines & comic books count) lying around, visiting the library, and reading yourself (WHEW!!), there are a few other things you can do (as if that’s not enough…). Dr. Tiffani Chen, the author of School Sense & creator of the site edboost.org has some other suggestions (with a few of my ideas thrown in). Just click on the PDF link below:

Encourage Reading for Pleasure

You know you can always ask your child’s classroom teacher and/or your school’s media specialist for some assistance as well.

well….I Don’t Always Understand What the Teacher’s Reading Terms Mean…

As teachers we get very comfortable with our “environmental language.” Met with the blanks stares of our students usually gives us the visual clues we need to re-state and/or define some of the vocabulary words we educators  use constantly all day long.

Do NOT hesitate to ask your child’s teacher to do the same for you. There are quite a few of them, like Fluency, Tracking, High Frequency Words, etc. So, instead of being shy and/or confused during a parent-teacher conference regarding his/he reading progress…..

I created a PDF list of the Literacy terms educators use to define reading elements with explanations for you, written in the sequence I use in my Reading Program. Click on the link below:

 Literacy Terms

Your First Grader has a long, on-going list of Reading Goals to achieve by the end of the year…….

TARGET: Your Child As An Independent Reader

I Am A Reader! Lutfi-Gaos
I Am A Reader! Lutfi-Gaos

If your child attends a  school, public or private,  that has adopted the Common Core, you’re probably familiar with the academic objectives & expectations his/her teacher uses to guide instruction.

Although your BIG First Grader continues to enjoy being read to, s/he is becoming more interested in the actual skill of how-to read. Soon, you will be read to by her/him!

His/her listening & speaking language skills are growing at an almost accelerated pace. S/he understands opposite concepts & how things are the same & different. S/he uses adjectives, adverbs &  prepositions when expressing thoughts. 

LinguiSystems, Inc. compiled a Communication Milestones Guide as a general growth & developmental reference for reading & writing during your child’s year in First Grade.

Beginning of First Grade

  • Identifies more & more sight words with accuracy
  • Begins to decode new words with more independence
  • Uses a variety of reading strategies to increase comprehension
  • Reads aloud & retells familiar stories easily

End of First Grade

  • Recognizes 100 sight words
  • Understands words make up sentences
  • Reads & comprehends grade level material fluently

Common Core basics for Reading is divided into 3 areas:

  • Understanding & locating Key Ideas & Details when reading grade level Literature (Fiction) & Informational Text (Nonfiction)
  • Identifying & explaining the content structure of Literature & Informational Text
  • Knowing & applying the reading skills of phonological awareness, phonics (spelling), word recognition & fluency

The National PTA has written a downloadable PDF Parents’ Guide to Student Success, which you can access by clicking on the link below:

https://www.pta.org/home/family-resources/Parents-Guides-to-Student-Success

Keep reading for how~my~students~learn~to~read “skeleton” formula……

My “Skeleton” Reading Skills Formula Sequence

Reading a book is like looking through a window. ~ Zetta Hupf

Or  the “bare bones”……. in baseball lingo:

The Warm-Up/On Deck

  • Sight Words & Phrases
  • Fluency Phrases
  • Phonetic Structures

The Pitch/In the Box

  • Picture Walk
  • Silent Read with Vocabulary Search
  • Vocabulary Definitions

At Bat/The Swing

  • The Read
  • Fluency Check
  • Student Inquiry

In Scoring Position

  • Student Retell/Key Elements included?
  • Comprehension Q & A if any missed on the retell
  • Independent, Hands-on project

Sound like a lot???? Actually it depends on the levels of each reader. After assessment, I use the areas of strength to support & promote the areas that need more stability.

A Quick Beginning

I Know Some of These Words- PublicDomainPictures
I Know Some of These Words- PublicDomainPictures

Prepare your emergent reader’s  brain with his/her current, leveled Sight Word review. Whether you’re pointing to the word(s) or s/he is handing you known Sight Word cards, this “warm up” activity is a effective way to begin the Reading Circle.  Each word should be recognized in seconds without needing to be decoded. I use Dolch’s Sight Words & Phrases. This PDF link  includes Sentences as well.

 https://education.yourdictionary.com/for-teachers/dolch-sight-words-in-phrases.html

Liz, a teacher, parent & creator of the site “The Happy Teacher” shares lots of sight word games you can play with your child as a “practice” for these words. Here’s the link to these activities:

http://www.thehappyteacher.co/2017/09/sight-word-activities-for-parents.html

The next quick, beginning warm-up addresses 2 skills together: Fluency & High Frequency Words. Here’s a downloadable, copy & print PDF list: 

Kindergarten & First Grade HFW

The Curriculum Corner offers reading-leveled Fluency sentences  choices, using Fry’s 500 High Frequency Words list as a downloadable PDF. An assessment tracker is included. Here’s the link to this very helpful resource:

https://www.thecurriculumcorner.com/thecurriculumcorner123/2015/09/fry-fluency-sentence-resources/

BLB Shop has a collection of High Frequency Word games. Just click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/yes-i-am-reading-high-frequency-words-games/

What Is Fluency?

Fluency is the skill affected by the speed, accuracy & expression of your child’s oral reading. Here’s a downloadable PDF resource for A Parent Guide to Understanding FLUENCY as a Reading Skill:

 Parent Guide to Understanding FLUENCY

The accuracy of words being read is built on your child’s ability to use these  2 skills: decoding & context clues.

 What Are Decoding Skills & How Are They Used?

Your child’s Decoding Skills rely heavily on her/his Phonological Awareness Skills. How s/he tries to figure out a new, unknown word during reading depends on what s/he has mastered regarding the letters & their sounds.

Need to know what your child knows in the phonological realm?

An educational site, Heggerty, has created a group of serious, Phonemic Awareness Assessments, complete with how-to-administer instructions. It  has downloads for grade levels PreK and above. Just click on the link below to select a downloadable PDF:

 https://heggerty.org/downloads/

BLB Shop has several games & activities for strengthening your First Grader’s Phonological Awareness Skills.

  • Beginning & Ending Letter Sounds in Words:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/beginning-letter-word-sound-games/

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/ending-letter-word-sound-games/

  • Word Families

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/i-am-jam-reading-word-families-games/

Becky, a parent, reading specialist & author of the Fabulous Reading Resource site: “This Reading Mama” shares a BUNCH of Phonological Awareness tools on the link: https://thisreadingmama.com/ultimate-list-free-phonics-activities/

Helloooooo…….Are We Reading A Story Yet?!?

Picture Walk-Samueles
Picture Walk-Samueles

I know this sounds like A LOT of prep before getting to the book, but all this groundwork is building confidence in your young reader.

Once you form a “getting ’round to reading” routine, this predictable~prep pattern will become a successful stepping stone your beginning reader expects. S/he, even, looks forward to its repetition & will remind you if you forget something.

Okay…….time for a Picture Walk. This is a confidence & comprehension builder. Your child will actually delight in his/her ability to predict & understand a new story just by carefully studying the pictures. Here’s downloadable PDF guide for Going on A Picture Walk with Your Child: A Pre-Reading Tool :

 Going on A Picture Walk

Onto understanding & defining the Vocabulary element……

Solving the Mystery of Those New Vocabulary Words

A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket. ~ Chinese Proverb

Many new vocabulary words can be understood using context clues, that is, reading the understood words before & after the unknown word to solve its meaning.

I have found that after the Picture Walk, some readers enjoy reading silently to see if the predictions they made are true.

As another pre-reading strategy for understanding, I make a list of vocabulary words I think may be new & challenging. Of course, a new word in isolation can be difficult to define, but you’d be surprised to learn what your First Grader knows.

A vocabulary word can be heard & correctly understood, spoken with accuracy, and, even, read exactly. Applying, or using the word during  writing or as an answer to comprehension questions is another skill altogether.

Organizing words into groups can be an effective way to understand vocabulary words. BLB Shop has a game for learning this Critical Thinking skill. Check it out by clicking on the link below:

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/category-word-sort-groups/

I, also, created a downloadable PDF Parent Guide for helping your beginning reader learn & use New Vocabulary Words:

Solving the New Vocabulary Words Mystery

Need some other ideas for keeping those big, new words in your child’s usable vocabulary? Lisa Van Gemert, teacher & author of the site, “Gifted Guru” has some fun ideas.

http://www.giftedguru.com/21_ideas_for_teaching_vocabulary/

THE READ

Time To Read- Public Domain
Time To Read- Public Domain

Now for the FUN part!!!!!

Reading a new story is a very exciting activity. Using picture clues & context clues gives your beginning reader the tools s/he need to recognize words accurately, fluently & with understanding.

Decoding Skills play a huge part in the flow and comprehension of the text. Like a mystery, a new, unknown word can be daunting (YIKES!) or challenging (WAIT~I GOT THIS!). There are several ways your young (and older) reader can “attack” and succeed.

And, YES, I created a downloadable PDF Parent Guide for Helping Your Child Use Decoding Skills:

Cracking the Code of Decoding Skills

Does your child want to reread the story? How about taking turns, page by page? This activity will reinforce the understanding of the text as well as give you the opportunity to model fluency & expression.

Was S/he Thinking About What S/he Was Reading?

Understanding the question is half the answer. ~ Socrates

WOW! What a beautiful read!

Most emergent readers take great pride in the ability to “read” & decode all the words in a story. However……

Some readers struggle with Thinking While Reading….

Is your child asking questions before, during & after reading the story? If so, YAY! That means s/he is Thinking While Reading.

If s/he has been thinking & understanding what s/he is reading, his/her  re-tell of the story should be fairly accurate.

Re-telling the story in a sequence might be a little difficult, so, listen, first. Jumping into the plot, or actions of the story may be where s/he begins.

You can use prompting questions, such as: What happened at the beginning of the story? Then, what happened? Why did that happen? and so on.

Need a little guidance? Here’s a downloadable PDF you can use to help your child  understand what s/he is reading:

Tell Me A Story Abt the Story Read

Here are some great Post-Reading ideas shared by Alison, a literacy specialist, consultant & author of the website: “Learning at the Primary Pond.”

https://learningattheprimarypond.com/blog/12-post-reading-activity-ideas-for-shared-reading-k-2/

AND…….. here are 50  book-reads for First Graders recommended by Lindsay Barrett on the site, “We Are Teachers”:

https://www.weareteachers.com/first-grade-books/

My Child…….Almost…..HATES to Read….

You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book. ~ Dr. Seuss

There are MANY reasons your child, or anybody, is reluctant to read, even, though you’ve been reading to him/her since s/he was born and s/he likes listening to you read….

Does s/he:

  • Start misbehaving when it is her/his turn to read ?
  • Say reading gives him/her a headache or makes her/his eyes hurt ?
  • Think  reading and/or its assignment is stupid ?
  • Say reading is boring ?
  • Get confused and/or lost during his/her reading ?
  • Say s/he doesn’t understand the content being read ?

Here’s a Help! My Child HATES to Read downloadable PDF list of tips & ideas for you to try with your Reluctant Reader:

Help! My Child Hates to Read

BLB’s Library has a Resource that might help you navigate your Non-Reader into the Reading World:

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/guide-nonreader-readers-world/

Sometimes, it’s the book, NOT the reader.

I Want to Read THIS Book to You !

You'll Like This Book !-Tim & Annette
You’ll Like This Book !-Tim & Annette

Most children, Reluctant Readers included, LOVE to read a book to another, usually younger, child.

Offering a variety of choices within a genre can spark your Reluctant Reader’s interest. Check out these options from BLB’s Resource Library:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/creative-arts-book-list/

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/read-aloud-chapter-books/

Repetitive pattern books with predictable text can coax the most reluctant reader into reading. Here’s a list from BLB’s Resource Library:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/repetitive-predictable-pattern-books-for-emergent-readers/

Here are another Predictable Book List: 

http://marcialmiller.com/wordpress/2010/12/predictable-books-for-emergent-readers/

AND, if you & your child prefer a more DIY approach to books, I created a downloadable PDF with Sentence stems to get you started:

I Can R, W & D Bks Repetitive Prompts

 

If you’ve read to the end of this post ~ Thank You! I hope you found some information that was helpful. Your First Grader deserves every opportunity to continue his/her education in the excited way s/he has approached learning this year. Reading is a MAJOR key to his/her success ! Let me know if I can help!

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