CLAMDIGGERS’ Summer Literacy Enrichment Collection

  Welcome

To

CLAMDIGGERS’ Summer Literacy Enrichment Collection               

CLAMDIGGERS’ Summer Literacy Enrichment Collection is a HUGE combination of my Product Units, Resources from my Resource Library, and Freebies guaranteed to engage your youngster(s) with lots of entertaining activities and projects ~ involving LOTS of too-busy-to-be-bored time….

But, before I begin & you read on, let me share some things my many Summers with Kids of various ages taught me:

  • a DAILY routine is a SANITY ~ SAVER for you & the kids
  •  Outdoor time EVERY DAY is a MUST, especially if it’s water-related
  • Multiple opportunities for arts, crafts & projects is a NECESSITY

Click on this link for some wonderful website helpers:

Website Helpers for Summer Fun with Kids

And now to the Resources, Freebies & Product Units…..

Every Day’s A FUN DAY During Summer !

Hello Summer-Daniel Dan-outsideclick
Hello Summer-Daniel Dan-outside click

One way to avoid the Boredom Blues during the long, hot days of Summer is to have a long  List of Options.

Here’s a short “rescue”  list with links:

https://funcheaporfree.com/100-summer-activities-for-kids-free-printable-included/

https://www.verywellfamily.com/summer-fun-ideas-kids-and-parents-3542627

https://redtri.com/things-to-do-with-kids-during-summer-vacation/slide/1

https://thewanderingrumpus.com/index.php/2018/05/03/50-fun-things-to-do-with-your-kids-this-summer/

If you need something more organized and day-to-day, I’ve created  Celebration Calendars for June, July & August. This project-unit consists of a monthly-themed activity list and a daily celebration list with over 65 specific activities. Recipes & Activity Sheets are , also, included. Here’s the TpT link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/CLAMDiggers-Summer-Celebration-Calendars-6831968

I, also, created a 138-page Summer Literacy Camp jam-packed with activity ideas/projects and their directions, images & planners.    

Here’s its link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summer-Literacy-Camp-Handbook-for-K-3-

And, if you are planning a Family Vacation…

Going On Vacation

Going on Vacation
Summer Foot-Wear – CFI

Some of the best memories are made in flip-flops. ~ Kellie Elmore

If your family wants to go on vacation, but is still undecided, here are a few family-friendly suggestion sites:

https://travel.usnews.com/rankings/best-family-summer-vacations/

 https://www.familyvacationcritic.com/best-family-vacation-destination-in-every-us-state/art/

https://www.today.com/parents/40-must-see-places-take-your-kids-they-re-grown-t74481

And if travel will require some time and distance, I created a Road Trip Fun Activity Booklet to entertain your youngster(s) which you can access on this link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Road-Trip-Fun-Activities-Booklet-4650274

Not able to travel away from home this Summer? Keep reading for a few FUN Stay-Cation ideas.

Stay~Cation Wanderings

Stay-Cation Wanderings
Wander & Wonder – Comfreak

It’s summer and time for wandering….~ Kellie Elmore

Summer’s weather and long days of daylight are a perfect combination for family & friends to exploration and discover.

Here are a few ideas listed in this freebie: 

20 Stay-Cation Wanderings

Yes, lots of time spent with family & friends….

Family, Friends & Me

Family, Friends & Me
Summer & Me – ZzzVector

Friends, sun, sand, and sea; that sounds like a summer to me. ~Unknown

All children do some serious growing during the Summer. Usually their bodies and brains experience those changes.

The Healthy Body, Healthy Brain Nutrition Guide will help your child learn the importance of eating healthy foods: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Healthy-Body-Healthy-Brain-A-Nutrition-Guide-6025336

Here’s a Freebie Brain Foods Poster:

Brain Foods Poster

You may even notice some “emotional maturity” begin to develop….

 Here are a few product units for your child to enjoy and share about him/herself:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/THIS-IS-ME–4908531

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/ITS-MY-PARTY–4910852

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/MY-PAST-PRESENT-AND-FUTURE-4910521

You can, also, purchase these 3 product units as a Bundle. Here’s the link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/My-Celebrations-with-Family-Friends-Who-I-Am-5911297

All the above units have friendship & family elements included as does the following link for creating & playing a Friendship Board-game:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Friendship-6449292

A few more Friendship unit products about Picnics, Bicycle Fun & Safety & Pets are available by clicking on these links:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lets-Have-A-Picnic-6779852

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Bicycle-Fun-Safety-6779767

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/We-LOVE-Pets-6022312

Check out these Family-Friendly Movie Sites from the Resource Library:

Ten Websites with Family~Friendly Movies-to-Watch Lists

And this freebie Screen-Free List:

80 Screen-Free Activities

Creativity and the Arts are part of the list of activities to promote the growth & development of Critical Thinking Skills.

I Can Be SO VERY Creative!

I Can Be SOO VERY Creative
Anything Is Possible – Anand Kumar

Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly. ~Van Morrison

If your child needs a little confidence nudge and/or inspiration, my Resource Library has a reading list as well as a few ideas for beginning a creative hobby that might help:

Creative Arts Book List: 20 Reads to Share with Your Aspiring Artist

Hobbies & Collections: Promoting Creativity & Discovery

Does s/he need some ideas on how to Use Your Imagination and/or Writing that blockbuster Script?

Click on this product link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Use-Your-Imagination-6581911

Here’s a product link for your aspiring Comedian: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/HUMOR-Now-THATS-Funny-6582236

Is your youngster seem to always have his/her nose in a book and you’d like to see some diversity in the reading material choices? Keep reading…

I Can Read All Summer Long!!!

I Can Read All Summer Long
Reading – Nathalie_art

One benefit of Summer is that each day we have more light to read by. ~ (paraphrased) Jeanette Walls

How wonderful to be able to read into the night and early morning without a care in the world except for what’s going to happen next in the book I am devouring….

Of course, my Reference Library has several Book Lists for you and yours in several genres:

NOW THAT’S FUNNY!! Books for Smiling, Giggling & Laughing Out Loud

Poetry Collections for K~5

FABLES & FOLKTALES from AROUND THE WORLD : K~3 Book Lists & Websites

Read~Aloud Chapter Books : 20 Engaging Reads for 5~8 Year Olds

A Dozen Long & Short Reads About Summer for Kids, ages 8~12

And a Fairy Tale Board-Game product to make & play: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fairy-Tales-6686403

Invite your friends and Start A Book Club:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lets-Start-A-Book-Club-4659723

Or you can always write your own book for others to read…..

Have You Ever Read A Book About…..

Have You Ever Read A Book About...
Write On – NGarman & BartekHdd

I could never in a hundred Summers get tired of this. ~Susan Branch

Recording Summer’s events in a personal journal or diary is a wonderful way to keep your youngster(s) writing throughout the vacation days.

Composing stories, creating poetry and/or doing research will help those Critical Thinking skills stay sharp as well.

BLB’s Resource Library has a read & link for encouraging the Writing Process.

Reading About Writing: 15 Books to Encourage Your Young Author’s Writing Skills

Inquiry Investigation Investigators?

Inquiry Investigations: Authors, Books & Websites for Your Child’s Exploration & Discovery

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/OH-YAY-A-RESEARCH-PROJECT-Processes-Templates-Resources-4762269

Need some Paragraph Writing assistance?

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Paragraph-Planner-A-Literacy-Tool-for-Primary-Writers-4735915

And a few Writing & Research  Freebies:

It’s in the Mail

Asking & Exciting Beginnings

Make That Letter A Capital

Home Research Projects

KQRL Template

Got a few “mad” scientists, geographers and/or historians wandering around the lab searching for their next Research Topic ?

Read on for Science, Social Studies, Geography and/or History options.

Scientific Subjects

Scientific Subjects
Wild & Wonderful – Simon, Batista & DRock

Yellow butterflies look like flowers flying through the warm summer air. ~Andrea Willis

The following links are all products I have created relating to Scientific Discovery.

Four Primary Science Labs: Earth, Ecology, Life & Physical

A Bundle of the Four Primary Science Labs

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Four-Primary-Science-Labs-Bundle-5912092

Plant Studies

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/THE-TINY-GIANT-An-Interactive-Informational-Text-Features-Learning-Tool-4761688

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Bushel-of-Apples-5902626

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Arbor-Day-A-Celebration-of-Trees-6686564

Animal Studies

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hibernation-6353928

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Baby-Animals-6779721

Conservation

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Earth-Day-Every-Day-6686518

Weather

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/SNOW-6353844

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Windy-Weather-6582041

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Clouds-Rain-6686444

Read on for Social Studies, Geography & History Resources & Activities are coming up next….

Studying Our World

Studying Our World
The World At Your Feet – CFI

If you’re not barefoot, then, you’re overdressed. ~Unknown

Studying Our World ~ to me, anyway ~ is ABSOLUTELY fascinating. If your  youngster (or three) loves finding out how the civilizations of Our World have affected us today, I have a few drops in that bucket to hold his/her (their) interest.

The categories I’ve listed, of course, have cross-over elements and events.

Social Studies / History

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Then-and-Now-6120874

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Neighbors-in-the-Neighborhood-6779824

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Community-of-Helpers-5902019

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Civil-Rights-6353888

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Native-Americans-6120967

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lets-Learn-A-Little-Spanish-4194820

Celebrations

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Celebration-of-the-USA-4196470

15 USA Holidays

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/US-Presidents-Day-6449419

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/USA-Multicultural-CelebrationsBook-Lists-Activities-Recipes-for-15-Fests-4765824

Ten Major Global Celebrations: Traditions, Symbols, Foods & a Book List

Geography

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Old-World-Explorations-6022465

If your youngster(s) need a little boost in Reading & Writing this Summer, keep reading for LOTS of Resources, Product Units & Freebies. Your Home-School efforts just got a little easier !

Your Home-School Summer School

Your Home-School Summer School
Summer School Bummer – Kidaha

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it in summer school. ~ Josh Stern

My son, a smart as he is, was NOT an avid reader `like his mom, the school teacher. However, during the Summer Vacation months, a 30 minute DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time was NOT an option. He chose when to spend those reading minutes during the daylight hours. Hottest time, preferably….

So, if you need some Home-Summer-School action and need some additional assistance, I’ve got some support for you & yours.

Here’s the BLB Resource Library link:

School in Summer!?! What A Bummer!!!

Hope these tips, ideas & resources help to make your Home Summer School a success!

And make sure you take some “do nothing” time ~ it’s important….

Taking Some “Do Nothing” Time

Taking Some "Do Nothing" Time
Doing Nothing Is Doing Something – Completely Shaw

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~ Sam Keen

On August 11, 2017, Parent Co. published an article on their site entitled, “Why the Lazy Days of Summer Are Actually the Most Memorable for Kids”.

Podcast host/writer Shauna Niequist & writer Tish Oxenreider traveled extensively with their children. When they asked them to cite the most memorable events of the vacations, the extraordinary was not expressed. What was shared were the ordinary things like “swimming in the  hotel pool, wandering through fields, playing with new friends, and eating”.

Consequently, both moms came to the same conclusion ~”When everything is awesome, nothing is awesome.” Their children remembered everyday, ordinary events when they had their parents’ undivided attention.

“Uh huh”….. I mused. So, I created a little 18-page Freebie with Lots of Together activities and a Scrapbook template for capturing, recording, and  keeping those Summer Memory Makers.

Here’s the link to download:

Summer Memory Makers

You can, also, try Daydreaming ~ it’s a scientifically proven remedy for Beating the Boredom Blues! Just click on this link for more info:

You Can Beat Those Boredom Blues By Daydreaming

WHEW!

And as the Summer sadly with some gladly comes to a close and  a New School Year quickly approaching, here are  a few items to help you & yours prepare:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Back-To-School-5902175

SCHOOL ROCKS !1!

Hopefully,  this CLAMDiggers Summer Literacy Enrichment Collection of Resources , Product Units & Freebies will keep you & yours engaged all Summer long with its new  ideas for your Family Literacy Circle.

Let me hear from you with questions, concerns, comments.

Please share them by filling in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. I look forward to hearing from you & will try to respond as soon as possible.

However, if you wish to be a FREE subscriber to the BLB Exclusive for more tips, ideas, strategies, updates & more, please fill in the form below.

COPYRIGHT 2021BIZZYLIZZYBIZ

 

 

Nurturing the Family Literacy Circle with Your Newborn (0-6 mos.)

Our children will teach how to love, how to forgive, and how to be full expressions of our deepest selves, if we only let them.  ~Ann Ruethling & Patti Pitcher

When I first “organized” this series on The Family Literacy Circle, I thought “Nurturing the Family Literacy Circle with Your Newborn” would be its own post. However, after completing the research, I knew one post wasn’t going to be enough. Nurturing the Family LiteracyCircle with Your Newborn (0-6 mos.)

Your baby’s first year is  HUGE !  Continuing with the Literacy Circle  is one of the most important gifts you can share with your newest family member.  

Learning to control the physical world with her/his body is your baby’s primary focus: eating, grabbing, rolling over, sitting up, babbling/talking, crawling, walking, climbing, “toddling”. These skills are gained through imitation and repetition. You can see your baby’s personality begin to emerge while “working” on these accomplishments.

How To Make a Nurturing, Literacy-Friendly Home

There's No Place Like Home -Carlo Navarro
There’s No Place Like Home -Carlo Navarro

Cynthia Aldinger, founder of Lifeways North America & author of Home Away from Home , coined the phrase “Living Arts”. Creating a supportive and caring home has 4 major elements, according to Ms. Aldinger:

  • Domestic Activity– Model the work necessary to keep a home safe, healthy & secure. Include your child(ren) so they have opportunities to imitate what is being done and, then, participate with the family.
  • Domestic Activity’s  Literacy Value: oral language, sequential order, following directions, cause & effect, problem/solutions, details
  • Nurturing Care – Share your life experiences while focusing on your child(ren) as major contributors to the family’s history.                           
  • Nurturing Care’s Literacy Value: oral language, main ideas, characters & setting, fact & opinion, compare/contrast
  • Creative Discovery – Recognize your child(ren)’s desire to be physically & mentally active while exploring & mastering new skills
  • Creative Discovery’s Literacy Value:   experimenting, risk-taking, brainstorming, problem solving, sequencing, critical thinking
  • Social Ability – Build confidence in your child(ren) that will help grow & nurture relationships with others outside the family’s sphere, such as friends, schoolmates, clubs, teams.    
  • Social Ability’s Literacy Value : inference, prediction, character, settings, generalizations

Your Newborn’s BrainPower

Grasp of New Life-Jelly
Grasp of New Life-Jelly

Did you know ?

  • Newborns  have about 100 BILLION brain cells at birth
  • 75% of your newborn’s brain develops AFTER birth
  • Your baby’s brain DOUBLES in size within her/his first year
  • Your newborn can feel pleasure, fear & distress
  • Your newborn’s 5 senses quickly develop once outside the womb
  • His/her hearing is not fully developed, but s/he recognizes & prefers mother’s voice
  • S/he  recognizes mother’s smell at birth
  • S/he is sensitive to sounds, light & temperature
  • S/he can distinguish light from dark, but not different shades of color (pastels), which will develop later

Your newborn’s sensitivity to bright light does not affect his/her need to sleep 15-17 hours a day. During the first few weeks, s/he usually doesn’t know the difference between night and day.

How Smart Is My Baby?

Dr. John Medina, a brain scientist & author of the book, Brain Rules For Baby , shares a few facts about intelligence:

  • No intelligence gene has been isolated
  • IQ (intelligence quota) measures one’s ability to take IQ tests
  • Researchers can’t agree on what IQ tests measure
  • IQ can change throughout one’s life & is affected by stress, age & cultural environment
  • Family life affects a child’s IQ

He, also, says the human intelligence has 2 “essential ingredients”:

  1. The ability to record & keep information-the memory
  2. The capacity to use that information – reasoning & problem solving

You and your loved ones can support & nurture your newborn’s brain development in several ways.

How To Boost Your Newborn’s BrainPower for Literacy

Hello Baby!-Public Domain Pics
Hello Baby!-Public Domain Pic

Babies enter the world with a lot of love and trust. Bonding between parents and child is a major key to the healthy  growth and development of your baby’s brain.

Rahima Dancy, an internationally- known  early childhood educator & author of You Are Your Child’s First Teacher and Susan Sloop from the University of Illinois Extension (I combined the lists) offered some suggestions:

  • Touching, cuddling & rocking your baby a lot promotes brain growth and  a sense of security & well-being
  • Responding quickly to your baby’s cries or fussiness with a soothing & calming voice builds positive brain circuitry in her/his brain as well as emotional security
  • Giving your newborn some peace & quiet time so s/he will adjust to her/his physical life
  • Spending time face-to-face & being attentive with your baby gives her/him  the confidence to explore, discover & learn about the world BUT DO NOT overstimulate or force physical development
  • Talking, humming & singing with your newborn stimulates his/her brain for understanding speech, producing language, & gaining skills for reasoning as well as planning

Your Newborn’s Oral Language Development & Literacy

Enough Talk Already -Tim Bish
Enough Talk Already -Tim Bish

Yes, talking, singing & humming with your newborn helps develop language & literacy. Believe it or not, s/he is communicating with you, too!

Another way to communicate with your newborn is through sign language. “Between 6 to 8 months, babies’ long term memories are developmentally ready to retain the words they hear and the signs they see.” (White & Harper: Signs of a Happy Baby 2017)

Pathways.org, who is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings, provides some great information on early childhood growth & development abilities & milestones.

0-3 Months

  • Quiets and/or smiles in response to sound and/or voice
  • Turns head towards sound and/or voice
  • Shows interest in faces
  • Makes eye contact
  • Cries differently for different needs: hungry, tired, uncomfortable
  • Chuckles, gurgles & coos

Literacy Boosters

  • Talk about everything you are doing: washing your hands, getting dressed, cooking food, feeding baby & family, putting away toys
  • Use short sentences
  • Stress important words
  • Speak slowly & vary your tone
  • Use pictures and/or objects to help your baby understand
  • Read books (more on that later)

4-6  Months

  • Reacts to sudden sounds and/or noises
  • Listens and responds when spoken to
  • Begins to to use consonants when babbling: da da; ma ma; ba ba
  • Makes different kinds of sounds to express feelings
  • Notices toys that make sounds
  • Uses babbling to get attention

Literacy Boosters

  • Hum, chant, rock & bounce in a rhythmic way
  • Give your baby a rattle to shake while you sing and/or listen to music together
  • Use a mirror to play “who” & “where” games
  • Play “Peek-A-Boo” games
  • Make sure your newborn has musical toys
  • Give your newborn toys with a variety of textures

Baby Talk: The Communication  of Crying

You’ve probably noticed your infant:

  • playing with saliva (spit spray is fun)
  • raspberry-tongues (always a favorite)
  • blowing bubbles (they LOVE to do this)
  • vocalizations (yells, shouts, growls, howls)
  • cah-rrrryyyy-ing ( yes, it’s baby talk)

A few words about the Communication of Crying –  As a new mother, I was nervous about “understanding” the different cries my baby “spoke”. Very quickly, I learned to recognize what his cry-speak (just made up that term) was communicating. My Mother-Sense alerted me to what he was loudly “saying”. Believe me, they’re not ALL distress signals. Your tired-self will clue you in. And, you, like I, will be amazed at the variety of wails.

Here’s What I Discovered

The Distress Calls were no-brainers for me, as with many parents. My body went into immediate, reflex action. The other cries’ solutions came with a trial-and-error approach. No one wants to hear a baby’s mournful moans, but, sometimes, s/he is just expressing a feeling and/or thought of the moment. Listen closely to your little one and you will be able to distinguish the difference between a cry for help and a cry of frustration. It’s the language of babies-your baby- so, interpreting his/her cries will strengthen the bond between you. “Yay! S/he gets me!”

Here’s How I Discovered What To Do

  • Distress Calls or Pain: hunger, indigestion, teething, injury, sickness Mother-Sense: hair-raise on the back of my neck, increased heartbeat, stomach-clench, cool sweat, drop every & any thing to address the call, uh- alarm
  • Annoyance Alerts: diaper duty, clothing adjustment, sucking &/or attention need, toy access desired  Mother-Sense: respond & assist in a timely manner or escalation is imminent
  • Grumble Yowls: dissatisfaction, discomfort, irritation, moodiness Mother-Sense: distract with silliness or fake crying, change of scenery-going outdoors works great, everyone has days like this
  • Whimper Whines: confusion, tiredness, boredom, mild frustration, lonely, sound exploration, maybe some aches due to growing pains Mother-Sense: wait a short while to see if Baby will self-soothe (IMPORTANT), if not- talk to Baby calmly, offer toy to distract, give teething biscuit or ring, pick up & rock when big tears occur

Disclaimer: I am not a child expert – just a loving parent & elementary educator. well, that was more than “a few words” now, wasn’t it ?!

Literacy Needs Playtime

BabyBlocks-BethL
BabyBlocks-BethL

Watching your baby play is one of the most fascinating and revealing activities you can do. Listen to his/her babbling while at play. You may recognize some of your tones and expressions (in babblese). Not only will you learn how & what your baby is learning, but also, what keeps his/her interests.  Seeing glimpses of your baby’s emerging personality and the way problem solving happens is a treasure. Try not to interfere too much when you hear groans or wails of frustration. These, what I call “growing pains”, are helpful to your baby’s brain growth & development.

Kallokyri’s “Importance of Play”

 In June 2016 Anastasia Kalokyri created a whimsical  infographic : “Facts About the importance of Play in Early Childhood” for shoptwinkie.com.

Within  the 8 Stages of Play, from birth to ages 6 & 7, she describes several stages of your newborn’s play. 

During Unoccupied Play from birth -3months, your baby’s movements seem to be random without a clear purpose. However, researchers have found these movements are an important first step in the early stages of play.

Constructive Play, which also begins at birth, starts with infants putting things in their mouths to see how they feel & taste.

Beginning at 3 months your newborn may not notice others sitting & playing nearby.  During Solitary Play your baby is exploring the world by watching, grabbing & rattling objects.

 How Play Affects A Child’s Development

Here are some other facts Ms. Kalokyri shared:

  • How s/he learns & works out who s/he is
  • How the world works & how s/he fits into it
  • Helps build confidence
  • Helps to feel love, happy & safe
  • Helps to develop social skills, language & communication
  • Helps connect & refine pathways in her/his brain
  • Helps him/her learn about caring for others & the environment
  • Helps her/him learn physical skills

Playing with your newborn is a very important part of her/his literacy development because it stimulates brain and oral language growth & development. Remember to encourage quiet, solo playtime in your newborn because it is just as important to her/him.

  Games, Toys & Literacy

I'm Playing! -Colin Maynard
I’m Playing! -Colin Maynard

Playing games with your newborn is a wonderful way to bond and stimulate brain health. Learning  through our 5 senses is the human way to make contact with the physical world.

Choose toys that encourage creative and interactive play. Toys made with bright colors and a variety of textures, especially wood , wool, cotton, help your baby connect with the real world.

Talking, humming & singing during play is a great way to boost literacy. Oral language is an important building block when nurturing the Family Literacy Circle. encourage loved ones to participate.

When your baby is tired of playing & needs some quiet time, s/he may: begin sucking, wrinkle face, stare vacantly, yawn, squirm, cry.

Developmental Play for Your Newborn

Because games, toys & books are the POWER tools of your baby’s Literacy World, I researched several different sources to help bring this information to you. It was encouraging to read the repetition within the variety of authorities, scientists & specialists. Here are a few I used and combined their findings.

Dr. Glade Curtis, a pediatritian, and Judith Schuler, MS, co-authored 2010’s Your Baby’s First Year. They help parents  understand how they can help their baby’s first year of growth & development with a week-by-week approach. They divide play into: stimulate vision, talk & sing, and vocabulary & language.

Of The Hearth.com cited ZerotoThree.com & Maternal Child Nursing Care as sources to help her create her “Developmentally appropriate Play for Babies ” chart. It is divided into 4 types of play: visual, auditory, tactile & kinetic.

I created tables to share  the information. Remember to continue and build on each activity every week.

Developmental Play for Your Newborn (Birth to 1 Month)

AGE SEE & PLAY HEAR & PLAY TOUCH & PLAY GRAB & PLAY
WEEK 1*Show bold-patterned objects
*Show pictures of loved one's
faces
*Talk & sing to baby
*Play soothing music
*Hold, caress & cuddle baby
*Rock baby in a rocking chair
WEEK 2*Look closely into baby's face
*Look closely into baby's eyes
*Sing nursery rhymes
*Play lullaby CDs
*Swaddle baby*Put baby on his/her back
*Take baby for a stroller walk
WEEK 3*Move simple bright pics and
see if baby tracks
*Show bright toys close
*Vary the tone of your voice
*Say baby's name often
*Keep baby warm*Wear baby in a carrier
WEEK 4*Show pictures of loved one's
faces
*Read anything aloud
*Dance with toys while you sing
*Give butterfly kisses*Gently shake a rattle
WEEK 5*Show bright toys close *Take baby on a house tour, pointing out objects*Place baby on tummy with bright toys*Roll a ball while baby is in your lap or in a carrier
WEEK 6*Hang a mobile above baby*Describe what your doing when doing chores & caring for her/him*Play with baby & a mirror*See if baby will grab colorful rings
WEEK 7*Make funny faces*Take baby outside & point out trees, plants, sky, clouds, etc*Touch baby"s parts & name them*Shake toy keys & move them

Developmental Play for Your Newborn (2-3 Months)

AGE SEE & PLAY HEAR & PLAY TOUCH & PLAY GRAB & PLAY
WEEK 8* Make room bright with high contrast colors* Tell baby what you're doing while dressing him/her* Give baby a gentle massage
*Use an infant swing or bouncer
WEEK 9*Show baby bright toys & slowly move them right/left * Laugh when baby laughs* Comb baby's hair with a soft brush*Place baby on tummy with a mirror
WEEK 10*Show baby bright toys & slowly move them up/down * Dance with toys while you sing* Help baby touch different textures*Place baby on tummy with toys
WEEK 11*Show baby bright toys & slowly move them in a circle * Play CDs with nature sounds* Play "Little Piggies"*Utilize toy bars
WEEK 12*Show baby a small doll in the mirror*Make up a story to tell baby*Point to one of your body parts & then touch baby's same part*Utilize infant mats
WEEK 13*Show baby how to shake a rattle in the mirror*Talk to baby about using 4-5 word sentencesPlay "Pat-A-Cake"*Hold up a variety of toys to see which ones baby reaches for
WEEK 14*Wave bye-bye with baby in the mirror*Ask baby short questions: "Are you ready to eat?""Do a gentle horsey-rock*Hold a toy in each hand to see which one gets grabbed
WEEK 15*Read wordless books with bright, simple pictures*Expose baby to home sounds & different outdoor sounds*Blow on baby's fingers*Gently move baby's arms & legs in a swimming motion

Copy of Developmental Play for Your Newborn (4-6 Months)

AGE SEE & PLAY HEAR & PLAY TOUCH & PLAY GRAB & PLAY
WEEK 16* You might need to remove mobile or place out of baby's reach* Expose baby to classical, jazz & pop music as well as different languages* Look for toys with multiple sensory feels
* Bounce baby in lap while holding in a standing position
WEEK 17*Make a family & frequent friends photo display* Tell stories about the people in the photo display*Show baby the real person next to the photo & touch the person* Make sure loved ones are playing on the floor with baby
WEEK 18*Hang prisms to "catch" rainbows*Talk about the colors of the prism rainbows* Place your hand in the prism rainbow & then baby's hand* Place prism in baby's grasp
WEEK 19* Blow bubbles * Pop blown bubbles* Touch & hold blown bubbles*Catch a blown bubble & place on baby's hand
WEEK 20*Play peek-a-boo in the mirror*Look in the mirror with baby & make faces* Introduce wooden & plastic kitchen utensils*Put kitchen utensils on baby's play mat with baby
WEEK 21*Place some fruits & veggies in a variety of shapes & colors in front of baby*Talk about the fruits & veggies shapes & colors*Pick each one up & place in baby's hand using texture & temperature words*Place a few fruits & veggies in baby's reach
WEEK 22*Have baby see you make a bubble bath*Drop some toys to hear different splashes"See if baby will imitate your drop & splash play*Hold a bath toy in each hand to see which one gets grabbed
WEEK 23*Show baby a few books & see which one gets chosen*Change your voice when talking about different images in the book*Talk about the different textures of books: board, cloth, plastic, felt*See if baby will hold book & read to you

It might be fun to record some of the changes you see in your baby’s play. How’s the babblese progressing? Any new sounds? Preferences? I’m sure you’ve noticed a few books your baby likes to hold & eat.

Reading with Your Newborn in the Family Literacy Circle

Reading with My Feet-Iha21
Reading with My Feet-Iha21

Reading to a Newborn? Really?

Remember, you’ve already introduced reading to your baby-in utero. Reading aloud to your newborn has many benefits:

  • presents a perfect bonding opportunity: snuggle & read
  • watch & learn what interests your baby
  • interaction teaches your baby reading is fun
  • teaches your newborn new vocabulary & ideas
  • encourages different sound expressions for oral language

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended reading to newborns. Evidence supports the fact your baby actually understands what your are reading, unless, of course, it’s The Theory of Realitivity or War and Peace .

Your baby’s brain is still developing; and reading stimulates the brain’s growth & development. Reading books with your Newborn nurtures the Literacy Circle, preparing and developing the habit of lifetime reading.

When & Where Do I Read to My Newborn ?

Yes, your baby is spending most of her/his time eating. sleeping & trying to master the physical world. Reading can be done during the day and for a few minutes at a time.  Make it part of your daily routine.Try “weaving” some pages or a short book throughout each day and/or evening:

  • when your newborn wakes up in the morning or from a nap
  • right before a nap or nightly bedtime
  • repeat some of the rhymes you’ve read during bath time

Or you can change up the reading routine:

  • while you are waiting in a restaurant, doctor’s office, the car
  • choose different places to read: the floor, at the table, on the bed, outside in the hammock, on a park bench
  • have loved ones read to the baby

How Do I Read to My Newborn ? 

  • Read with expression, changing your tone & pitch
  • Read slowly, pointing & describing the images
  • Pause in-between the pages so your baby can have time to look
  • Look to your baby for clues on interest /focus
  • Maybe you need to share a different book or read at another time
  • Re-read favorites often
  • Give your baby a chew toy while you read
  • Be interactive with your baby during the read: ask questions

What Kind of Books Should We Read to a Newborn?

There’s no substitute for books in the life of a child.     ~Mary Ellen Chase

 So many books! So little time! Fear not!  

I Remember This Picture! - Nickelbabe
I Remember This Picture! – Nickelbabe

Many of my Third  graders continued to read wordless books as source of enjoyment to themselves & others. They created vocabulary-rich stories around the pictures.

Parent & child development sites will give you “tried & true” recommendations. Siblings, relatives & loved ones will share their favorites, too. Mommy & Daddy can probably recite their favorites from memory.

Your child will let you know which books are the “preferred” reads. You’ll hear them being shared with friends, dolls, pets & stuffed animals in another year or two..

Book Choices

Some experts say select books with black & white images for babies under 6 months of age. Just a thought… Some other suggestions for book choices are:

  • Books with large, simple pictures
  • Thick, sturdy board books
  • Cloth & soft, vinyl books
  • “Bath-time” books

Remember books will first be explored in your baby’s mouth. Make sure your baby knows s/he is more important than the chewed & shredded book. It is well-loved!

Here’s a list of several of my “tried & true” board book choices from the BLB Resource Library: 

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

Go to your local library, elementary school library and/or bookstore to “check” them out.

A Little P.S. Note

While researching more sources, tips & ideas to add to this Family Literacy Circle Series, I came across Elizabeth of Frugal Mom Eh!’s post ” 20 Things to Do with Your Baby Before They Turn One.”  Here’s a few suggestions for the 0-6 months window:

  • Capture your newborn’s hand & foot prints. Looking at my adult son’s newborn “prints” still brings a gulp to by heart.
  •  Learn and/or compose some songs to sing to your baby. Remember “rhyme, rhythm & repetition.”
  • Take TONS of pictures. You’ll be amazed how much your little one changes in a matter of days. Seriously!
  • Go swimming in water if weather permits. Your baby will sigh with the memory.
  • Fill in that Baby Milestone Book while your emotions are present. You will absolutely LOVE re-reading it. Your growing child will love hearing about it, too!
  • Baby Milestone Book suggestions: bottle to high chair food, baby bath to bath tub, cradle or bassinet to crib, baby food to finger food, major movements, favorite toys & showing teeth

Need a Baby Milestone Book ? BLB Shop has one you may like.

Baby’s First Year of Firsts : A Memory Keepsake Book

Click on the link below to check it out.

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/babys-first-year-of-firsts-memory-keepsake-book/

I’m sure you have some wonderful tips & ideas to share. Are there any questions and/or concerns you have about your newborn’s first 6 months-regarding Literacy, of course? Isn’t it amazing how our everyday lives affect our children’s? Fill in  the Contact Me form below, but you don’t want to subscribe….yet. I’d love to hear from you!

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

Copyright©2017BizzyLizzyBiz

 

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!

I really enjoyed researching, writing & reminiscing! Please share your comments with me by filling in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. I look forward to hearing from you!

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

Copyright©2017BizzyLizzyBiz

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.

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Managing the Family Literacy Circle with Your Toddler (24-36 Months)

Characters  and moral development, as well as spiritual reflection and moments of joy, are crucial for fully developing the nature of each child. ~ Michael Gurian PhD Nurture the Nature

 And how is your little angel doing? Flying, Landing? Managing the Family Literacy Circle with Your Toddler

Climbing up & down? Up & down? Stairs? Furniture? You? Trees are next (OMG)!!!!

Doesn’t need or want help walking (holding your hand ANYWHERE can be a struggle)? Running, and, oh, yes, the newest favorite- JUMPING, JUMPING, JUMPING ?!?

S/he has worked very hard during the last year or so to master upright movement (I DO IT!!!- is a favorite phrase now-more on that later).

Balance & coordination are improving, so prepare for some physical risk-taking.  Think tricycles ( we called them low-riders), lots of throwing (FORE!!!  INCOMING!!!!), and galloping (yes, like a herd of wild horses). With sound effects….

So ~ have you re-baby-proofed your home? S/he is a lot taller and more-much more-mobile now. Still loving to get into EVERYTHING!!! Cabinets, drawers, hampers, refrigerator doors, and, yes, toilets. Moving a chair to reach a door knob and/or latch can be expected in the near future. So, time to upgrade those knobs, handles & latches.

“No, no, no!” is pretty much meaningless. Exploration is being driven by confident mobility and boundless curiosity. YES !!!! It’s a good thing ~ a GREAT thing, actually.

Understanding Your Toddler’s Brain

Ready or Not !-Kazuend/toddler
Ready or Not !-Kazuend

If you’re like me, you’re thinking the brain’s the brain. I, however, did a little research to help me (and you) understand our most powerful & mysterious “organ”.

Dr. Bruce D. Perry, an American psychiatrist with a PhD in Behavioral Sciences, has written several books on children in crisis. Here’s what he taught me, thanks to the article – “Using Play to Build the Brain” @ gooeybrains.com.

Our brains grow from conception  in a sequence/order,  beginning with the most basic areas first. Then, the other more complex areas start to develop. Each area (there are 4 broad brain areas) needs to grow in a healthy, functioning way before we can move on and focus on building the next area- in order. 

Ready to Know More?

  • The most basic building block in the brain is the brain stem, which keeps the body functioning-heart rate, temperature, sleep & fear states, etc. It develops in us as infants during 0-9 months of age.
  • Between 6 until 24 months of age, the midbrain is developing. This area helps to build  movement, or motor skills- both gross & fine. Our 5 senses are, also, combining and fine-tuning at this time within our bodies.
  • The limbic area is all about emotions. We can gain the skills of tolerance, empathy, belonging & social relationships during the ages of 12 to 24 months.
  • The most complex area of the brain is the cortical area. Developing between the ages of 3 until 6 years of age, this part of the brain controls concrete (factual) and abstract (creative) thought. Language skills, imagination, morality & respect are gains at this time of growth.

Since the brain grows & develops each of these sections in order, don’t ask  or expect your toddler to do something s/he is not ready to do. S/he is a “work-in-progress”. Remember each child develops in his/her own time/rate.

Keep reading for a few tips you don’t have to be a brain specialist to use.

 Encouraging  Your Toddler  Brain’s Growth & Development

Toddler's World of Wonder-Jennifer Wai Ting Tan
World of Wonder-Jennifer Wai Ting Tan

Did you know by the age of 3, your child’s brain is 80% as big as an adult’s brain?

Keep in mind your toddler continues to experience the world through all 5 of her/his senses. You & loved ones can encourage your toddler brain’s healthy growth & development everyday with a few things you are probably already doing. Dr. Gurian, a brain scientist, family therapist & author of Nurture the Nature, provides these guidelines for parents:

  • Nutrition: eating right means avoid junk food or sugary snacks & try not to have long lag times between meals
  • Rest: increasing sleep might help ease cranky/whiny behaviors
  • Discovery: exploring nature is an easy way to use all 5 senses
  • Readiness: teaching every “little” thing is “big” to your toddler, so not too much at once and only when s/he is developmentally ready
  • Independence: hovering  will interfere with your child’s need to develop, play & learn as an individual
  • Behaviors: providing lessons in “right & wrong” whenever you can

Now, just a few thoughts about video screens : television, computer, tablet, game console & phone……

Your Toddler’s Brain & Screen Time

More & more early child development studies are supporting the negative effects of too much screen time. Dr. Gurian and other developmental brain specialists shared some of the recent findings:

  • It can affect: behaviors, sleep, future obesity & mood development.
  • It can increase behavior problems: even after 1 hour of educational programs-is your child more aggressive, more passive and/or more lethargic?
  • It can translate into lower reading & short term  memory scores.

When I had my Home School, the TV was never on until the end of the day for PBS’ Reading Rainbow, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood & Sesame Street. The children, ages 1-5, wandered in & out of the room during Reading Rainbow & Sesame Street, watching for 2-3 minutes at a time. Mr. Rogers, however, held their attention for much longer periods of time. Often, they responded to his soft, calm questions earnestly, sitting very still and focused……

As my child grew up, television privileges were a sure-fire way to achieve behavior adjustments. It usually took about a week or so (withdrawal period-seriously) before my lovable, communicative & creative son returned.

Environment Matters in Brain Growth & Development

Once your Toddler has mastered many mobility skills (first building block), s/he will continue to use that movement & begin working/playing on the next building blocks. Early childhood authorities generally agree your young one is working on these  4 areas of growth & development at the same time:                                                                                                                             

Toddler Learning-Bessi
I Am Learning-Bessi
  • Physical-gross motor skills (the big muscles of crawling, walking, climbing, etc) & fine motor skills (hand-eye coordination of holding, coloring, cutting, throwing, catching, etc)

  • Language & Speech-understanding & expressing thought (vocabulary, sentence structure, etc)
  • Social/Emotional- understanding self & others (playing, sharing, feelings, etc)
  • Self-Help/Adaptive-being independent (dressing, feeding, etc)

Cognitive, or reasoning, develops later, usually beginning around 3 years old.So, now, you (and I) understand why our toddlers (and we) suffered misunderstandings…..

According to Dr. Margot Sunderland, a child psychotherapist with more than 30 years of experience working with families, creating an engaging environment for your growing child needs to involve all 5 of the senses, movement, social interaction & thought-at the same time. The benefits to your child’s brain health are:

  • lower levels of stress chemicals
  • decreased anxiety in an anxious child
  • new brain cell growth

“What I’m Trying So Hard To Say!!!”

If I accept the sunshine & warmth, then, I must also accept the thunder & lightning. ~ Kahlil Gibran

One minute your dimpled darling is full of giggles, hugs & kisses and within seconds (it seems), your red-faced toddler is crying, yelling & (yikes!) biting with an almost-full set of teeth.  Try to remain calm because your puzzled frustration is small (maybe) compared to the large tantrum going on now (AGAIN!!).

A major contributor to this repetitious scenario is your toddler’s inability to speak in words.  Those articulation muscles are not keeping up with what your child is able to think & understand.

Although s/he understands A LOT of words, your Toddler continues to work on the actual physical components of speech:

  • Articulation- how we make sounds
  • Voicing- how we use our vocal cords
  • Fluency- tone & rhythm

Your toddler’s slower, physical ability to express may not be keeping pace with what s/he is thinking & understanding. However, here’s a little chart on what may be happening and/or what is to come.

Speech & Language Chart of Growth & Development

Age in Months Receptive / Understanding Expressive / Speaking
By 30 months*Follows 2-step directions
*Consistently understands basic nouns, verbs, pronouns
*Understands "mine" & "yours"
*Can point to many body parts when asked
*Consistently uses 2-3 word phrases
*Knows & says own name
*Produces direction words, like in, out, on, off
*Begins to name requested objects
*Can say 400 words
*Participates in simple. take/turns conversation
*Repeats words heard in conversation
By 36 months*Understands opposites like hot/cold, big/small
*Simple understanding of colors, space, time
*Recognizes how objects are used
*Understands "why" questions
*Understands most simple sentences
*Produces 4-5 word sentences
*Uses plurals
*Answers simple "who, what, where" questions
*Answers more "yes/no" questions
*Can say almost 900 words
*May begin telling stories about experiences
*Able to express some simple feelings
*Sings favorite songs
*Likes to make up silly words
*Talks aloud to self & in imaginary play



Special thanks to North Shore Pediatric Therapy 4 Kids Infographic: “Speech & Language Milestones” and Katie’s October 2012 article: “Your Child’s Speech & Language-24-36 Months @ Playing with Words 365 for sharing their information.

And by age 3, WHOA!!! Be prepared for an explosion of brain-fueled questions, answers & anything else needing to be expressed. You’re going to be amazed !!!

You Can Boost Your Toddler’s Language Literacy

The ability to think, reason & problem solve grows out of language. ~ Rudolf Steiner

You can  help grow your mini Powerhouse’s ability to speak, using  some of  these tips collected from The Early Bird  Program Manual,  “Boosting Your Toddler’s Speech & Language” @ the piri-pirilexicon & Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Toddler on the Block  :

  • Point out interesting sights & sounds at home, outside, on errands, trips
  •  Use simple, but  real language-no baby talk
  • Repeat words a lot, so your child will remember them
  • Describe everything your child is interested in
  • Gesture more
  • Ask questions in a questioning way, but don’t push for an answer
  • Tell stories
  • Sing songs, especially rhyming ones
  • Let your child hear you talking to other people, pets, birds, etc
  • Stop & listen
  • Be positive & fun

Rhyming, interactive poems are very enjoyable to your Toddler. Remember “Itsy Bitsy Spider” & “Hickory Dickory Dock” ?

I have create 5 games using 5 short, simple rhymes to play with your child to encourage  speech while having fun:

Toddler Talk : 5 Interactive Body & Picture Play Rhymes

Click on the BLB Shop below & check it out.

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/toddler-finger-picture-play-rhymes/

The 3 Stages of Speech Development

There are 3 stages of speech development once your child is speaking, according to Dr. Karl Konig, a therapeutic pediatrician:

  • Saying – Your child uses one-word sentences to communicate a desire (more)  or emotion (here).
  • Naming – Your child can label a thing and, then, be specific (toy/truck).
  • Talking – Your child is using whole sentences during dialogue.

Need more information? Click on this link from my Resource library:   https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/language-speech-development-sites/

Some Other Pieces to Your Toddler’s Puzzle

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~ Louisa May Alcott Little Women

Toddler-I Am Me!!
I Am Me!!

Yes, the Family Literacy Circle would not be complete unless the “personality” of your toddler is included. Believe it or not, this part of the growth & development is very important to understanding how learning is taking place as well as the communication being shared.

Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician & author of The Happiest Toddler on the Block, offers a humorous & unique approach for meeting the challenges of your “cave-kid”. 

Many toddlers are a blend of easy, cautious & spirited, depending on their mood of the moment. Dr. Karp provides 9 behavior traits for parents to observe while trying to solve the “problems” s/he is gleefully creating.  They are:

  • Activity – Does your child enjoy playing quietly OR is s/he fidgety & constantly moving?
  • Regularity – Do you have a daily, predictable routine?
  • First Reaction – How does your child react to new situations?
  • Adaptability – How does your child handle change or unexpected events?
  • Intensity – Is your child mild/gentle OR boisterous/passionate?
  • Mood – Is your child usually happy/easy-going OR grumpy/easily frustrated?
  • Persistence – Does your child “go with the flow” OR fight all the way?
  • Attention Span – Is s/he focused during play OR  easily distracted?
  • Sensitivity – Is s/he unaware of small changes OR reactive to them?

Karp estimated 40% of toddlers are easy-going/flexible, 15% are cautious/sensitive  & 10% are spirited/challenging. He goes on to say that about one-third of toddlers don’t fit into any category.

My toddler was very spirited, could be cautious with some flexibility sprinkled in, but most of the time, he “steam-rolled over limits”. YAY…… What an eye-opener for adolescence-to-come!!!

What’s A Parent To Do ?!?!?

I’m not saying those few years were easy because I understood what was going on with my Mighty Mite…….  However, there were a few strategies  that worked for us, most of the time……

Having a Home School, my children & I relied on 3 of my Four Rs: Routine, Repetition & Ritual. Relax-not so much….

If you’re interested in some schedule-planning tips…..

BLB’s 10 R’s Schedule

How About a Little Chat ?!?

And now a few thoughts about communicating with your toddler-

  • Deep breathes before you begin speaking in short, simple phrases

    I'm Listening...-BarunPatro/toddler
    I’m Listening…-BarunPatro
  • See & speak eye-to-eye
  • Use gestures & facial expressions
  • Ask (see key words & phrases)
  • Re-phrase your negatives-no, don’t, can’t- into positives
  • Help your child to use words, not actions
  • Give choices-this or that?
  • Follow through on consequences-“when you/then”
  • Pick your battles, especially with a strong-willed toddler, because if you don’t – that is all you will do all day long for months & months

Grab your Relaxation whenever you can- it is a little easier in the evening, but Quiet Time is Quiet Time. In the meantime, enjoy watching your Toddler during play. It’s a powerful thing!

Follow this website link for more Parenting Your Toddler Tips:

https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/growing-independence-tips-parents-toddlers-and-twos

The Power of Play & Literacy

Play is the work of the child. ~ Maria Montessori

Even though your 2 year old toddler continues to play along side not with, others,  s/he may imitate some of their play movements. Parallel Play builds non-verbal & observation skills.

I Love To Play! -Kruszyyzna0
I Love To Play! -Kruszyyzna0

S/he will begin to notice patterns in the world, identify things that match & label, sort & organize things using color words. I observed toddlers at this age lining up their toys according to size & color or putting them in groups.

Around 2 1/2 years old, you may overhear your toddler engaging in fantasy, or pretend play. S/he might play simple games that require taking turns. S/he is preparing to be interested in Cooperative, or Associative Play, which usually occurs as a 3 year old.

The article, “Using Play to Build the Brain” @ gooeybrains.com, included an infographic by Bruce Perry, a leading psychiatrist at the Child Trauma Academy, explaining the developmental skills children gain through play. Here’s my version.

BLB's Bruce Perry's Play Skills Model

Encouraging & Nurturing Your Toddler’s Imagination

Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein

Listening to Pretend Play is one of the most enlightening ways to gain a glimpse into your child’s heart, mind, and spirit. It is fascinating! Even with minimal dialogue, his/her gestures, facial expressions & body language will communicate what s/he is saying during the serious work of play.

Funny Me! Frank-McKenna
Funny Me! Frank-McKenna

In the past 40 years, there’s been a revolution in our scientific understanding of babies & young children. Long before they can read or write, they have extraordinary powers of imagination and creativity, and long before they go to school, they have remarkable learning abilities. ~ Alison Gopnik “The Start of Thinking” for Time Magazine’s The Science of Childhood

Ann Ruethling & Patti Pitcher, who co-authored Under the Chinaberry Tree, observed that creativity is necessary to imagine new solutions  with new ways of living to solve the world’s problems. They offer suggestions that really work for engaging your budding critical thinker.

  • Allow time for your child to experience hours of fantasy & outdoor play with very few toys that have only one answer & are prepackaged.
  • Allow your child to be bored without rescuing him/her because it stimulates creativity.
  • Always have materials to make things available at home, like string, sticks & boxes.
  • Limit structured daily time because it closes opportunities for open-ended play.
  • Make messes & mistakes

For centuries, children have created their toy-tools out of whatever they can find around them. They  model for us-who have forgotten- how to synchronize work with play !

Your Toddler Is A Toy Maker

My parents , who raised 5, yes 5 giggly girls, love to tell the story of the rocking horse we received one Christmas. “Red” was a large, wooden, hand-painted, red horse, accented with black detail. He had heavy, coiled springs attached to a frame and lived in our living room for almost 10 years until the youngest had her last ride.

The huge box Red arrived in received most of the attention-for days-until it couldn’t stand anymore.

With nothing more than a little imagination, boxes can be transformed into forts or houses, spaceships or submarines, castles or caves. Inside a big cardboard box, a child is transported to a world of his/her own, where anything is possible. ~ National Toy Hall of Fame

Your toddler enjoys playing with a variety of  toys. Until around 3 years old s/he will continue to “mouth” them. The list is simple:

  • push & pull toys
  • large & shaped blocks
  • cars & trucks
  • rocking horse
  • tricycle or low-rider
  • small & large balls
  • musical toys
  • dolls & stuffed animals
  • dress-up clothes
  • table, chairs & play dishes

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles ! A Perfect Toy!

 Do we ever “outgrow” our love of bubbles?!? Hmmmm, let’s see… bubble baths, bubbly drinks, bubble gum, foam, froth, frolic…

BUBBLES!!!!Leo-Rivas-Micoud/toddler
BUBBLES!!!!Leo-Rivas-Micoud

Bubbles are fascinating fun, especially to your toddler.  Chasing them can engage him/her for a while, especially if those bubbly “toys” make a landing before popping.

Oh yes, and popping them is fun, too! Big ones, small ones, wiggly ones, windy ones! 

Learning to make & blow bubbles is a proud moment for her/him. Added bonus-speech muscles are being worked & new vocabulary is being learned.

Besides being introduced to a few scientific facts & skills, your child is, also, learning about:

  • cause & effect
  • visual tracking
  • hand-eye coordination
  • shapes
  • imagination & creativity

Here’s a wonderful “bubble” website you can link to connect on:

https://leftbraincraftbrain.com/how-bubbles-work-20-things-to-do-with-them/

Bubbling with Excitement Over Books

You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be – I had a mother who read to me. ~ Strickland Gillilan

Your toddler’s brain is like  sponge, soaking up enormous amounts of information. However,  s/he needs constant repetition because s/he forgets most of what s/he is absorbing.

What Research Has Discovered

Reading is a crucial part of bonding and brain development. Although s/he is not understanding many of the words yet, his/her future depends on the number of words heard when spoken & read. (Dr. Michael Gurian, author of Nurture the Nature, 2007)

The first three years of exploring & playing with books, singing nursery rhymes, listening to stories, recognizing words & scribbling (more on this topic later on in this blog) are truly the building blocks for language & literacy development. (“Early Literacy” @zerotothree.org/BrainWonders, 2003)

Toddler Reading- Public Domain Pictures
Toddler Reading- Public Domain Pictures

When parents & loved ones show their young children how positive the reading experience is while sharing books, they play a powerful role in their children’s reading achievement. (Strickland & Denny, 1989)

Children who have had many loving, enjoyable reading experiences before coming to school “feel the joy of making sense of the mystery of print”. (Cullinen, 1989)

Research has discovered, reading favorite stories again & again (be ready to purchase several copies of several, well-loved books-I did), is very important to the literacy development of children. After repeated readings, children will “respond more frequently to questions in more complex ways”. (Teale &Sulzby 1987)

 Discovering Your Toddler’s Favorite Books

Does your toddler carry around some of his/her books?

Have you noticed her/him reading them to stuffed animals & dolls?

Good job, Parents! Reading & books are part of your child’s life.

Ready to introduce more books into your Toddler’s library?

My Very Own Library - Pexels/toddler
My Very Own Library – Pexels

Choose books with simple, realistic life images; touchy/textured parts & look-and-see discovery flaps. S/he will begin turning the pages back & forth. Soon, s/he will noticed the print and ask you what it says.

Here are some suggestions from “BrainWonders & Sharing Books with Babies” @zerotothree.com:

  • books with simple stories
  • rhyming books that can be memorized
  • bedtime books
  • books about: shapes. sizes, numbers & the alphabet
  • books about: animals, vehicles, playtime
  • books about saying hello & goodbye

Need a few actual book titles? Check out these book lists in BLB’s Resource Library:

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

 Making Books Together

Draw a  book with your Toddler watching. Make  books with photos. Including your Toddler’s life in these photo books is fun and a great ways to build language, literacy & self-esteem. Here’s some ideas for  (Baby’s Name) Helps At Home:

  • Cooking in the Kitchen – Mommy mixes in a bowl / I can mix in a bowl;  I put water in a pot / Daddy makes pasta; etc
  • Cleaning Around the House – Mommy & I dust; Daddy & I vacuum; I help Mommy & Daddy wash, dry, fold & put away clothes
  • Playing Together – We read together; we sing & dance together; we build together; we walk the dog together

BLB Shop has a short e-book full of ideas:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/make-25- interactive-babylovephoto-books/

 A Few Words About Literacy & Wordless Picture Books

Sharing wordless picture books with your Toddler is a great way to encourage the growth of important Literacy skills. It builds oral language, vocabulary, comprehension & listening skills. Since you are creating the story, be sure to include a beginning, middle & end.

Spend time looking at the cover and talking about the book’s title. Enjoy the pictures, point out a few things,  and stay on one page as long as your Toddler is interested. Here is a Wordless Picture Book reference list from BLB’s Resource Library:

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

How to encourage Your Toddler’s Literacy with Reading

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child. ~ Dr. Seuss

Let's Read Together -Dassel/toddler
Let’s Read Together -Dassel

Interactive reading- talking with your child about the story while the story is being read- encourages language development. Questions about the pictures & the story engage your Toddler’s attention. Comments & predictions will soon follow.

Your 2 year old Toddler may want the story s/he has heard before to be read exactly like you’ve read it the previous 10 times.  You may hear him/her reading this same story to pets & toys.

S/he will not only be pointing & identifying objects in the pictures, s/he will begin identifying the actions, too. S/he may want to hear longer and more complex stories read at different times.

When reading a book with your Toddler, encourage good reading habits by using this sequence:

  • reading the title/author/illustrator
  • looking at the book cover, ask your child to make a prediction about the story before opening the book
  • occasionally asking your child “what is happening” by looking at the pictures, especially if s/he seems “fixed” on a picture
  • tracking the words as you read
  • occasionally asking “recall” questions – what/how/do you think
  • introducing “surprise”
  • using expression as you read/changing voices for characters
  • reading the story again
  • enjoying the story with your child & make it entertaining

NOTE: If your wiggly Toddler is not interested in reading a book together, please do not push it. S/he will bring a book to you soon. Just make sure s/he sees you & loved ones reading & writing. Yes, maybe, s/he is more interested in writing…..

 A  Writer or Artist  In Your Family Literacy Circle?

Your Toddler’s fine motor skills are becoming more defined.  S/he is able to stack block towers, string  beads, hold  a spoon when eating & turn the pages of a book.

Include your child when writing short messages- phone, greeting cards, love notes. Show your child the difference between writing & drawing. When you write the grocery shopping list, include some drawings- apples, milk jug, macaroni.

Toddler & Chalk-Debsch
Toddler & Chalk-Debsch

Make sure fat pencils, crayons & sidewalk chalk are available for your Toddler to use at home.

If your child likes to draw on paper, you can make a very special “book” together.  After her/his drawing is completed, ask about it. Write the sentence, or words, on a sticky note. Ask if you can write it on the front or back of the picture. Make a collection of these in a book you can read together.

Your Toddler’s oral and written expressions are important ways to build growth in literacy. There are no rules-just opportunities!

If you’ve read to the end of this (WHEW!) long post about your child’s BIG year, I have a little something for you & yours. Click, download & print on the link below for some PlayDay ideas with your Toddler.

Toddler Playday

 Fill out the Contact Me form if you have a question and/or concern, but don’t want to subscribe…..yet.

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

Copyright©2017BizzyLizzyBiz

Choosing A School for Your Kindergartner : Learning & Teaching Styles

This is Part Three of Your Family’s Literacy Circle Kindergarten Series

Preparing your 5-year-old for Kindergarten can be a daunting task. There are so many questions and concerns parents have regarding the  groundwork needed for your child to enter in this totally new learning environment. Academic & social skill abilities usually top the list of worries. 

Is my child really ready to enter Kindergarten?!?

ACT THREE: Learning & Teaching Styles

When one teaches, two learn. ~ Robert Heinlein

Hopefully, this post will address some of your concerns. It explores the different Learning Styles of your child as well as the variety of Teaching Styles available to help you & yours decide on the best learning environment for your Kindergartner.

Your Five-Year-Old Wonder Child

Choosing a School for Your KindergartnerRemember last year…around 12 months ago… when your child was 4?  Toddlerland  was in the distance with fewer & fewer bouts of frustration….S/he was building  & planning & talking about it….a lot, but, still experienced some….well, you know.

Did you notice the closer s/he came to his/her 5th birthday, some pretty big changes were beginning to occur? Or should I say evolve? Like a larger understanding & speaking vocabulary? Completing tasks without being told and, maybe, in a “different” way? Longer focus & concentration? Some serious debating going on?

 Hmmm… let’s see what else you’ve observed in this young child, who is now only a baby to you and anyone else your age….

Does your child:

  • show eagerness to learn new things?
  • like to solve problems & puzzles in creative ways?
  • use her/his imagination when doing most activities?
  • ask a lot of  “analytical ” questions?
  • consider a variety of options before making a decision?
  • enjoy challenges that require “long-term” thinking?
  • like to participate in a variety of new experiences?
  • prefer activities that involve other children?

S/he is DEFINITELY a 5-year-old, bursting with exuberant enthusiasm and an abundance of creativity.

Kind of….weird…and oh, so, refreshing…Not that this stage of growth & development doesn’t come with its own set of challenges…. But you got this! Your parenting teaching skills are preparing for this next HUGE adventure…..

I Got This, You Say ????

If your child is displaying some, if not all, of those above mentioned characteristics, here are some of the learning skills with confidence building blocks you have successfully and diligently put into play:

  • given her/him chances to make simple choices
  • helped him/her complete something new without too much interference
  • fostered creativity with new experiences with tools & adventures
  • exhibited patience during your child’s activity involvements
  • recognized her/his achievements
  • encouraged his/her progress

PBS Parents’ Child Development Tracker/Approaches to Learning offers a more in-depth study of your 5-year-old’s growth in these areas. Click on the link below:

http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/five/approachestolearning.html

Need a few more ideas? Check out my 10 Amazing, Info-Packed Websites for Parenting & Child Development in the BLB Resource Library. Just click on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/10-amazing-info-packed-lwebsites-parenting-child-development/

Your Child’s Learning Style

5 Senses Learning-Caroline Hernandez

I recently (today) read an article in my daily feed regarding people’s learning styles. It was debunking the theory, stating there was no significant data to support using this as a teaching tool ~ even though 90% of teachers continue to inventory their students as a basis for diversifying their lessons……

As an educator, I tried to design my lessons with the 3 major Learning Styles in mind. However, I found most Early & Primary students are Hands-On, or Kinesthetic, learners. Most students showed a preference for listening or seeing. Again, a lot of Visual learners.

Even as learning teachers going to workshops/ professional development seminars, we preferred “Make & Take” sessions instead of lectures with power points. The “hand-outs” served as our “hands-on” tools, which we used for…..

What IS My Child’s Learning Style ?

Anywho ~ there are numerous informal inventories you can do to help you “discover” your child’s Learning Style as you prepare for his/her “Going-To-Kindergarten” journey. Your observations are probably enough, but here are a few ideas I gathered from a variety of simple surveys:

My child learns best when:

  • watching someone else
  • listening to someone
  • touching or building

When in a new place, s/he :

  • notices the people & sights
  • listens to the new & different sounds
  • moves around a lot, wiggles & taps

While waiting somewhere, s/he:

  • looks around, reads or doodles
  • talks or listens to others
  • walks around, touching things

My child enjoys:

  • reading & drawing
  • talking & singing
  • running & building

When I read to him/her, s/he:

  • loves to point to & talk about the pictures
  • repeats the words I am saying
  • fidgets & squirms

S/he remembers things more easily when:

  • pictures are involved
  • verbal repetitions are made
  • movement is present

When my child writes or draws, s/he:

  • worries how it looks
  • talks to self
  • pushes hard on the pencil/crayon

S/he needs a learning environment that is:

  • free from clutter & lots of movement
  • free from a lot of noise
  • free from sitting still too long

Now, your child probably does ALL of these things at some time or another. Think in terms of “most of the time”.  First choice is a Visual Learner, second choice is an Auditory Learner & choice three is a Kinesthetic Learner.

Want a few more characteristics? Visit the link below for Dr. Molly Pennington’s 2015 article:

https://www.noodle.com/articles/how-to-identify-your-child-learning-style

Does My Child’s Learning Style Equal Intelligence?

First of all ~ Major NO !

Explore & Discover-Dimitri Svetsikas
Explore & Discover-Dimitri Svetsikas

Intelligence is one’s ABILITY to learn, solve and/or create. Learning Style is the WAY one prefers to learn, solve and/or create. Some experts say these are “personality traits” instead of learning styles and intelligence. Your call. 

I think being aware of people’s “learning” preferences is an effective way to teach AND learn. I wonder if that’s a smart, er-intelligent way to approach life…..

As a matter of discussion, there are “multiple intelligences”, according to several experts.

In particular, Howard Gardner’s Frames of the Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence, states there are at least 7 (8, if you count Naturalistic).  SOOO, how about a Table of these “Smarts” & their characteristics?!?

Gardner's 8 Multiple Intelligences

Intelligence TypeThinking ProcessPreferencesLearning Tools
Word Smart: Verbal-Linguistic words & languageread, write, tell stories, speak other languagesbooks, writing tools, journals, word games, puns, tongue twisters, multimedia
Art Smart: Visual-Spatial images & spacedraw, paint, photography, sculpt, puppetry, daydreamart, mazes, puzzles, museums, maps, charts, diagrams, videos
Math Smart: Logical Mathematical
logic & reasoningnumbers, science, exploration, patterns, codespuzzles, investigations, experiments, mysteries, brain teasers, calculators, analogies, planetariums
Music Smart: Musical-Rhythmic
melodies & rhythmsing, whistle, hum, tap, listen to music, play an instrumentconcerts, multimedia, rhythm, rhyme, poetry, songs, recordings
Body Smart: Kinesthetic-Bodily
physical sensations & movementdance, run, jump, build, touch,role-play drama, athletics, tactile experiences, manipulatives
Nature Smart: Naturalist
connections with natureplants, animals,rocks, nature connections, outdoorsdata collection, exploration, classify natural objects, natural materials, growing things, animal care
People Smart: Interpersonal
social interactionsfriends, social events, discussions, interviews cooperative learning, board games, peer tutoring, clubs, group games, phones, multimedia, social networks
Self Smart: Intrapersonal
deep inside selfset goals, meditate, dream, quiet time, hobbies, reflection secret places, solo time, self-paced projects, journals, books, creative materials

PS Think you are smarter than you thought?!? Me, too!!!

Speaking of Brain Waves

Remember those Right & Left Brain choices discussed in “Our Brain” ?

See https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/nurturing-literacy-with-your-infant-7-12-months/

There are a few strategies you can put in place to assist with your child’s learning skills. You may need to mix it up depending on the subjects s/he is trying to understand.

Left Brain Needs

  • a quiet, well-lit space with an individual desk
  • structured, independent work
  • step-by-step with exact details
  • some assistance with defining Main Ideas & Inferences

Right Brain Needs

  • a softly-lit group work space
  • open-ended, group work
  • graphic organizers
  • manipulatives & experimentation

And there are a FEW things your 5-year-old needs to know how to do before entering a Kindergarten classroom that have little to do with his/her smarts…..

Ready (or Not) for Kindergarten Class

You don’t remember the times your parent held your handle bars. You remember the day s/he let go. ~ Lenore Skenazy

Creativity Tools-Mike Fox

If you enter “Kindergarten Readiness Skills” in a search engine, you will receive a LOT of responses. My advice ~ choose one written by a Kindergarten teacher. S/he not only is a voice of experience, but tips & strategies will, also,  be included on how to fill in some gaps your child may have before the BIG day.

So, some of the lists are quite lengthy…. Education.com lists 10 Kindergarten Readiness Skills with some tips & strategies.  I’ve combined it with other ideas, which you can access in the BLB Resource Library. Just click on the link below for Kindergarten Readiness Skills: A Parent & Child Checklist:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/kindergarten-readiness-skills-a-parent-child-checklist/

In addition to a healthy number of Literacy skills your 5-year-old needs in preparation for Kindergarten, s/he will be, well, bombarded with a KAZILLION classroom & school routines.  To be fair, these can change according to school district policy, campus policy and/or teacher preferences. 

Karen Jones, an elementary educator with 12 years experience & a parent came up with this lengthy, but accurate inventory of “Routines & Procedures”. Sit down with a snack & a tall drink while you check out this list…..

http://www.mrsjonessclass.com/2014/06/routines-routines-routines.html

Ready For Kindergarten ?

One of the most popular  Primary classroom activities with children is the Daily Calendar. Students gather as a group around a colorful board to interactively participate while learning some  life skill concepts, such as time, weather & vocabulary. I have created one for you & yours ~ My Calendar Corner ~ in BLB’s Shop. Just click on the link below & let me know what you think:

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

How to Choose A School for Your Kindergartner

The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see. ~ Alexandra K. Trenfor

Playscape- Noah Hurricane
Playscape- Noah Hurricane

As your child’s first teacher, you are very aware of how s/he learns, successfully. Kindergarten is a critical year and can set the stage for many years to come. Expectations & curriculum may vary with school/district policy, but most schools, regardless of classification, want your child reading, writing & problem solving with math computations before entering First Grade.

Here are a few of the  10 Factors to consider when selecting a school for your child, according to publicschoolreviews/2017:

Finding a Good Fit

  • Will the school provide a specific, rigorous course of study ?
  • Will the school accommodate my child’s learning style and/or special needs ?
  • What is the level of social contact with peers ?
  • How do scheduling & extracurricular activities fit with our family’s ?

Choosing a Focus

  • Does the school offer a second language study ?
  • Does the school offer opportunities in the Fine and/or Performing Arts ?
  • How important is Science & Math ?
  • Is new & innovative Technology used as part of the curriculum ?

 Looking At Basic Campus Effectiveness

  • High expectations
  • Great teachers & staff
  • Engaged, visible children
  • Rigorous curriculum
  • Active parent participation

Visiting the School

  • Meet teachers, staff & principal
  • Talk to other parents & students
  • Check out a PTA meeting
  • Ask questions

Have A Few More Questions ?

Speaking of questions, readingrockets.org has an article, “Four Steps to Selecting a School for Your Child”, written by the US Department of Education & other websites offering an EXTENSIVE list of questions to address your concerns. You can even download a booklet. Connect with the link below:

 http://www.readingrockets.org/article/four-steps-selecting-school-your-child

So, What Are the Choices ?

Free Play-Jessica Tootoo
Free Play-Jessica Tootoo

There are lots of options including Homeschools, Private Schools & Online Public Schools. The options I will offer in this post are Neighborhood Public Schools & Alternative, or Non-Traditional Schools, which can be considered private.

As an parent & educator, I found the regular availability of Free Play, or Recess was just as important to learning as Nutrition & Academics. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as other studies, children, who had indoor or outdoor Free Play/Recess as a regular part of their school day:

  • were more attentive & more productive in the classroom
  • developed the thinking skills that are positively linked to learning & academic performance
  • created fantasies to help them cope with difficult situations
  • provided stress-relief

There are several types of Neighborhood Public Schools to consider:

  • the one around the corner or across the street from your home that your child(ren) can walk or ride their bikes to
  • a Charter School that may offer an unique, smaller class-size, learning environment and are free from  many traditional public school regulations
  • a Magnet School that exists outside of “zoned school boundaries”, but is part of the local public school system with alternative methods of instruction

Read below for several other  Alternative Schools with unique approaches to educating minds.

Is A Non~Traditional School Right for My Child ?

Several effective methods of teaching do NOT include lectures, homework, report cards or formal assessments. I have only listed these 3 : Montessori, Steiner,  and Reggio Emilia, but there are more.

Montessori

The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn. ~ Maria Montessori, M.D.

  • Children select learning activities independently each day.
  • Learning tools are tactile.
  • Teachers observe, not direct.
  • Classes  are grouped for 3-year movement.
  • Methods are usually found in preschool & elementary schools.
  • Several hundred US public schools utilize Montessori practices.

You can learn more by clicking on the link below:

  https://amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori

 

Waldorf

The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility – these three forces are the very nerve of education. ~ Rudolf Steiner, founder

  • Children are prepared for “living”, emphasizing creative expression with social & spiritual values .
  • Learning tools are :(4-6) sensory-based, (7-14) creativity-based, (15-18) structure & social-based.
  • Teacher & curriculum- directed.
  • Classes  are grouped for 7-year movement.
  • Methods are found in K-12 Waldorf schools.
  • There are eight hundred Waldorf schools internationally.

You can learn more by clicking on the link below:

 https://www.waldorfeducation.org/waldorf-education

 

Reggio Emilia

Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colors. ~ Loris Malaguzzi, founder 

  • Children self-direct a variety of creative projects.
  • Learning tools are art & discovery-based.
  • Teachers guide, not instruct, without set lesson plans.
  • Classrooms mimic home environments.
  • Methods are used for teaching children ages 3-6 .
  • Schools all over the world utilize this inquiry-based practice.

You can learn more by clicking on the link below:

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach

Need More Educational Options Info ?

There are other traditional & non-traditional school options available for you to think about. Educational World. com can help you with this.

Click on the link below for multiple articles, reviews, resources & links regarding teaching approaches, philosophies & practices:

http://www.educationworld.com/preservice/learning/methods.shtml

You, Your Child & School

Kindergarten School-HPGuesen
Kindergarten School-HPGuesen

As an educator in Primary & Intermediate classrooms, I discovered one of the most important ways to ensure a student’s success was the parent’s involvement with his/her child’s school activities & academic engagement. Putting habits and expectations in place during  this first year will lay the foundation for self-motivation and responsibility in the future (until adolescence…..). You will see a resurgence, usually, during Senior-itis & college, hopefully.

Your child will benefit by your involvement in his/her education at school. Send him/her ready for school by:

  • Making sure s/he is well-fed & rested
  • Checking s/he is dressed appropriately
  • Has the necessary school supplies
  • Has completed homework and/or projects

I created a mini~picture “Ready For School” poster help your Kindergartner each school morning & evening before. Post it at eye level in your child’s room or by the front door. Click on the link below to print the PDF:

K Ready for School Pic-List

Parent Involvement Strategies

Tiffani Chin, PhD, the founder of EdBoost & author of School Sense, suggests several  general strategies for parents to follow when becoming involved in your child’s education in school:

  The School

  • attend school events, like “Meet the Teacher”, Open House, festivals & fairs
  • visit the website
  • talk with teachers, counselors, administrators & staff
  • volunteer

School Is A Priority

  • check the backpack every day for school notes & correspondence
  • help with homework
  • visit your neighborhood library
  • attend educational events & places
  • go to conferences

Partner with The Teachers

  • ask how to help your child
  • voice your concerns about your child performance & behaviors
  • listen carefully & follow the advice
  • respond to notes, emails and/or phone calls
  • show you appreciate their efforts

The relationship between you, your child & school is best expressed as one of teamwork. Strengthening this bond tells your child his/her “work on the job” is important, meaningful & necessary.

Remember to keep the Family Literacy Circle alive & well as your child’s First classroom.  Read Your Educational Home Environment in BLB’s Resource Library by clicking on the link below:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/your-educational-home-environment-activities-to-boost-your-childs-literacy-growth/

So, How Was Your Day At School ?

In spite of my child “doing nothing” at school everyday (because I always asked) for 12 years, or let’s just say the last 8 years of K~HS, he was able to graduate from college with honors and go on to graduate school…..

Fear not, Liz Evans @simplesimon&company offers some creative,  answerable questions  to ask your child each day after school. Click on the link below:

https://www.simplesimonandco.com/2014/08/25-ways-ask-kids-school-today-without-asking-school-today.html/

 AND… if and when Homework is involved……I created a a read with some Parent Involvement Strategies in Your Homework Help HOTLINE,  available in BLB’s Resource Library. Just click on the link below:

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/homework-help-hotline-parent-involvement-strategies/

 

I hope this post has been helpful to you. These decisions can cause anxiety with some sleeplessness……

Let me know if you have any questions, concerns and/or additions you would like to see. 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

 

Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Learning & Language Skills

Upgrading the Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader

In Second Grade ALREADY!!!!! Prepare for Academic Acceleration in Learning & Language Literacy Skills. Listening & Speaking Vocabulary become increasingly…complex. Reading & Writing expectations approach independence. And the ongoing Research Projects….

Yes, there’s a TON of Academic Acceleration happening during your 7 year-old’s Second Grade year! And, yours truly is here to try & offer some helpful strategies & tips for “dealing” with this “BLOW OUT” year, which, BTW, will set the tone for next year’s “I Totally Got This !” Third Grade year….

So, Faithful Reader, I’m, again, writing a 5 ~ part Series. This time for Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grade: Language Skills, Celebrations (Part 2), Research Skills (Part 3), and the ever-ongoing Literacy Skills of Reading (Part 4) & Writing (Part 5).

This is Part One :

Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Learning & Language Skills

  Your Second Grader’s Learning & Language Skills

There are no seven wonders in the eyes of a child. There are seven million. ~ Walt Streighttiff

Notice anything different about the way your 7 year-old looks? Some of that “baby-ness” may be slowly melting away as his/her motor skills continue to mature. S/he may even grow a few inches taller. Ready to take the training wheels off that two-wheeler?

Not only is his/her curiosity continuing to increase, the abilities to investigate & analyze the mysteries of the world are growing as well.

Those limitless questions are part of the excitement s/he is feeling about the exploration and discoveries of new environments  as well as all those social situations. (OMG ~ did s/he just ask me THAT question?!?)

S/he is beginning to prefer playing with friends instead of adults, although family outings are still very enjoyable.

Once answered, s/he is eager to share the new knowledge s/he has learned with others, making your child a perfect candidate as a Peer-Mediator for a school-wide program called “PMII”, or Peer-Mediated Instruction & Intervention.

Yes, I’ve Heard About That Program

As a Peer-Instructor, s/he may act as an assistant during classroom instruction, cooperative learning, and/or peer-tutoring.

S/he may, also, be asked to help as a peer-supporter with social skills connections, such as easing reluctant students into group-share situations (cafeteria, recess, activities).

One of the most successful roles s/he will participate in is as a peer-interventionist during conflict resolution scenarios. As an educator of the young, I can tell you these youngsters work wonders with their peers as situational problem solvers without the company of an adult or teacher. Here’s a sample of an effective dialogue a Peer Mediator  may use. This PDF includes strategies with  options as well as typical student conflicts.

http://www.uft.org/files/attachments/peer-mediation.pdf

However,  because your Second Grader is beginning to show concerns about what others (especially peers) think of him/her~ growing self-criticism & some confidence-shrinking may become an issue occasionally.  And  then, there’s the Worry-Wartness symptoms….

What’s to Worry About?

That malady called “Peer Pressure” is beginning to take hold now.  Longing to be part of a group, your 7 year-old does not appreciate having attention called to his/her actions and/or accomplishments…. unlike the last few years…..oh dear…

Your child may worry about things that never seemed bothersome in the past, like clothes (“Too babyish!”), homework (“I’ll NEVER get all this done !”), physical irritations (“I think I have a deadly disease!”), bedtime (“I know there’s something hiding in my closet…”).

According to Hank Pellissier, founder & director of the Brighter Brains Institute, many Second Graders ” HATE making mistakes, not finishing tasks, and losing at anything. They have to be first, correct, punctual, best & perfect.” Sound familiar???

He further states that all this particular area of angst is part of your child’s brain growth. Understanding concepts like time, space, direction, distance & time are influencing the expectations s/he has on the completion of activities.

You Can Learn from Your Mistakes

You must never feel badly about making mistakes…as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons that you do by being right for the wrong reasons. ~The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I came across this great piece of helpful information when trying to boost a child’s confidence, especially when s/he is feeling insecure during the learning process. It is an anchor chart,  Jen of Runde’s Room discovered created by a group of elementary school teachers. I did some editing, so please feel to use it with your little WorryWart:

So, of course,  a safe, reliable, predictable & reassuring environment is necessary for maximum learning to occur. Keep those routines in place!

Your Child’s Classroom Learning Environment

I Love Learning!-DavidSluka
I Love Learning!-DavidSluka

Although having high expectations for your child may seem a bit harsh, they are, in fact, a match for those s/he and her/his classroom teacher has already put into play. Your Second Grader loves a good challenge ~ even thrives on it ~ as long as the limits are not too stressful. Rigor is a part of the curriculum.

The Second Grade classroom is filled with SEVERAL libraries: fiction readers ~ Picture & beginning Chapter trade  books;  nonfiction readers ~ earth, physical, ecology & life science concepts; social studies concepts ~  world culture, community helpers, economics, historical biographies, & atlases;  math concepts ~ measurement, computation, fractions, money, geometry. There are bins of manipulatives, tools, instruments, notebooks, writing supplies, art supplies, etc. Center nooks are usually in place : reading, writing, science, math, social studies, a large, interactive calendar, maps, and, maybe even, a globe.

Your Child’s Home Learning Environment

Your Home Learning Environment probably shares many of the same elements. My Resource Library has some information for you regarding Your Educational Home Environment. Here’s the link:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/your-educational-home-environment-activities-to-boost-your-childs-literacy-growth/

And a PDF Materials list for you to download, copy & print:

A Materials & Activities List for the Home~Learning Experience

And, then, there’s your Brain’s favorite Learning environment ~ the Great Outdoors! Nothing like fresh oxygen!

Your Seven Year-Old’s Brain

Call for brain power. ~Barbara Jordan

Outdoor play is critical to all children’s growth & development. They need to walk, run, jump, twist, turn, spin & play. Not only are 7 year-olds ready for free physical play, they are, also, ready get those training wheels off their speed racers, skateboard (YIKES) and participate in organized sports as well as back yard games. You remember these, right?!

  • Hide ‘n Seek
  • Hopscotch
  • Jump-rope
  • Jacks
  • Marbles
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Mother/Father/Granny/Granpa/Auntie/Uncle, May I ?
  • Simon Says
  • Multiple Tag Games
  • Freeze Dance
Outdoors & the Brain-Schmid-Reportagen
Outdoors & the Brain-Schmid-Reportagen

In a recent article “Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature”, written by Danielle Cohen & published on the Child Mind Institute website, research supports what we  humans, have known all along. 

As educators, we all agree indoor recess is just not the same as being outside on the playground. Being outdoors is beneficial, not only to your physical health, but also, to  your mental wellness.

“Most of the studies agree that kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less  anxious than kids who spend more time indoors.”

Here are links to the complete article with an additional link for Ideas:

https://childmind.org/article/why-kids-need-to-spend-time-in-nature/

https://childmind.org/article/ideas-for-getting-your-kids-into-nature/

Lots of research, also, suggests students who engage in physical, outdoor play are able to learn more easily in academic environments. Dr. John Ratey, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist & author of the book, Spark : The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain states exercise elevates a brain-building chemical he calls “Miracle-Gro for the Brain” because it encourages its growth & development.

Here’s another interesting article regarding Green Spaces & the Brain : https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/research-finds-surprising-thing-that-can-boost-your-childs-brain-development/

And there are lots of indoor Brain exercises you can do.

Inside the Brain Activities

Second Grade requires students to participate in a more rigorous learning environment. Their Critical Thinking skills are engaging them in more complex reading, longer writing compositions, and greater problem solving concepts.

Ready!-AlainAudet
Ready!-AlainAudet

Because they are improving their brains’ processing skills, creating & presenting research projects become a significant part of their everyday classroom  expectations. Technology will be used for these investigations, but…..go easy on Screen Time….it’s a Brain ~ Eater, but more on that in Part 2…..

Memory & rational brain areas are growing, giving them more impulse control, independence & planning power. Three-step directions should be easier for your child to follow ~ clothes in the hamper, bath with soap, pajamas on. Oh, and brush teeth & hair….guess that’s more than 3….

Need some support ? Gotta a Resource in the  Library for you: :https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/meeting-following-directions-challenge/

I, also, have the Resource “Your Child Is A Brainiac” available for you :

 https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/parent-guide-building-thinking-skills/

And a few Critical Thinking List PDFs for you to download, copy, print & use for ideas :

A Short List of CT Questions   &   Questions for Brain Food Menu

And, speaking of Brain Food…..

Yes, There ARE Brain ~ Healthy Foods

Numerous brain scientists & nutritionists agree ~ there  are certain foods, when part of our daily diet, actually help brains grow, develop & function more effectively. I created a little PDF reminder you can put on the fridge next to your grocery shopping list. It’s a broad, general list, so Go Julia (Child) !   Brain Foods Poster

Many lists I read, listed Oatmeal, Blueberries & Eggs as the top 3 foods, especially for children. Hmmm…sounds like Breakfast & Cookies……  And because I LOVE to cook, especially with children, I  adapted a few recipes using these ingredients for you to make and eat with your child (ren). They’re in a PDF, recipe card format with front & back covers, so you can download, copy, print & cut apart to include as a section in your kitchen recipe box or notebook :

Brain Food Recipes

This GREAT website is packed with loads of links, activities & recipes to include in your family’s health & wellness regimen:

 https://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/brain-games-for-kids/

Plus a few more:

https://www.myrecipes.com/kids/back-to-school-brain-food

https://www.delish.com/cooking/g4136/healthy-foods-for-kids

https://www.parents.com/recipes/scoop-on-food/4-brain-foods-for-kids

The Brain continues to influence the healthy development of your child’s Language skills ~ yes….finally…for the Language part of this post. It is in the title, after all…..

Your 7 ~ Year ~ Old’s Literacy Language Skills

 Remember the Receptive & Expressive ~ Listening & Speaking ~ components of your child’s ever-growing  Language Skills? Well, talk about Academic Acceleration….

Your Second Grader’s curriculum content, trade books, grade-level readers AND critical thinking vocabulary expectations are escalating to new heights….

Conversations-JosephGonzalez
Conversations-JosephGonzalez

If your child’s school district follows the Common Core, here are a FEW of the Listening & Speaking objectives being taught in the Second Grade classroom:

  • actively participate in collaborative discussions about grade-level content with peers as well as adults in small/large group settings
  • use complete sentences to ask or answer questions, tell a story with details, recall & describe an experience, verbalize comprehension of learned content/concepts with key ideas
  • orally present & explain research projects to include details

Speaking of Concepts…. Does your 7 year-old understand:

  • Opposites
  • Left/right
  • Ordinals ~ first, second…
  • Differences & Similarities
  • Comparatives ~ small, smaller, smallest
  • Time ~ yesterday, tomorrow, last week, etc.

And how’s his/her grammar ?

Got Grammar!?!

Then, there are a bunch of the “Conventions of Standard English” to be used when writing and/or speaking. Some of these, I’ll call them Grammar, include:

  • Pronouns
  • Plurals ~ regular & irregular
  • Collective Nouns
  • Possessives
  • Past Tense verbs ~ regular & irregular
  • Adjectives & Adverbs

I created a few PDF Grammar activities for you to download, copy, print & play with your Second Grader:

One Frog Hops      &      Collective Nouns

My BLB Shop has a game to help your child learn how to Categorize Nouns, which is, also, a Critical Thinking skill. Just click on the link below for access:

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

Then…………there is, also, the Vocabulary Acquisition & Use components….for Understanding & Using when Speaking, Listening, Reading AND Writing….. uh huh….

MY, What a BIG Vocabulary You Have…..

Among the expectations in THIS category…..

  • root words /prefixes / suffixes
  • compound words
  • synonyms
  • critical thinking words
  • high-level, academic words
  • difficult common content vocabulary
  • beginning dictionary & glossary skills

My Calendar Corner collection in BLB Shop can help your Second Grader master some of these Vocabulary concepts in a fun, engaging way:

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

I, also, created a specific product for learning those BIG High-Level & Common Content Vocabulary Words :

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/second-grade-wow-words-vocabulary/

The website, studenttreasures.com, published an article ~ “Effective Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary to Second Graders” with these ideas:

  • Engage in oral & hands-on Wordplay
  • Use visual elements, like a Word Wall, Word Collages
  • Locate vocabulary during read-alouds

OMG!!!! Now you see why I had to divide this content into a 5 ~ part series…..

Just one more thing….I promise….

SOOOOO, By the End of Second Grade….

Your child, approaching or celebrating 8 years-old, will probably:

I Got This !-Nappy936120
I Got This !-Nappy
  • Continue to improve his/her reasoning, processing & focusing skills
  • See connections between concepts for compare & contrast purposes
  • Experience a MAJOR vocabulary expansion
  • Increase her/his reading fluency, decoding & comprehension skills
  • Utilize dictionary skills to locate irregularly spelled words, harder words, definitions & synonyms
  • Improve his/her editing & revising skills during the writing process

Onto Celebrations !!!

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!

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Upgrading The FLC with Your Second Grader’s Research Project Skills

Upgrading The Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader’s Research Project Skills

Within the first few weeks of school, I’m sure you (and your Second Grader) tried not to be too overwhelmed by :

  • the amount of content in ALL subject areas being covered ~ ALREADY!?!
  • the amount of Homework being given ~ where’s that WEEKLY checklist?!?
  • the amount of classroom expectations with their accountability ~ REALLY!?!
  • the amount of changes your child seems to be going through ~ QUICKLY!?!

With you  celebrating these changes with your seven-year-old, s/he will be preparing to embrace an even bigger change in what your young Scholar will achieve ~ the successful completion of…. THE RESEARCH PROJECT!!!

This is Part Three :

Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Research Skills

Your Second Grade Scholar

The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation. ~ Ray L Wilbur

By now you & yours have created a “work-space” for getting those academics done. Homework has been coming home for most students since Kindergarten, even if it was just reading together for minutes every night and a weekly spelling list and, oh yeah, some math problems…..

Yes, the Homework load will definitely increase, following your district’s guidelines for Second Grade. It should be a review of content to be done independently by your child. It will, usually, include independent reading for a certain amount of  time with a  a few sentences about comprehension to be written, a weekly spelling list with a daily study activity, and a few math computations with a word problem or two to solve. S/he should be able to complete these assignments independently in under 30 minutes, including the read time…. Issues?

Maybe BLB’s Homework Hotline Resource can help: https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/homework-help-hotline-parent-involvement-strategies/

Until…..it’s time for the Research Project, but that’s in the future (and not so distant…)

So…. your BIG Second Grader may be ready to move away from the kitchen table and into a more private, “serious ” study space. It may require some research….

A Private Study Space of My Own

I came across a helpful little article, “Quick Study” by Caylin Harris in the September 2017 edition of FAMILY CIRCLE. She collected some ideas from Amanda Titchenal, Leslie Josel & Kate Varness and offers these suggestions:

  • Make the creation & design a “joint effort”. The sense of ownership will encourage use & maintenance of the work-space.
  • Choose furniture with the flexibility to “grow” with your child, physically & aesthetically.
  • Keep going through that “Goes Home” folder together. Is there a separate Homework folder? They may be color-coded.
  • Music ? Yes/No ? Some types of music is actually beneficial for studying. Check out what moves, motivates or distracts your child’s focus & concentration. Headphones ? Maybe not….
  • Use organizational boxes, bins & racks. Have your child label them. I used dividers in drawers for easy, quick access to tools & materials. Not a fan of Junk drawers, myself…..
  • Open shelving on pegboard allows for easy access & visual organization. Big fan of that option especially in a closed space.
  • Make sure a Celebration Board is part of the work-space ~ cork, magnetic, plexiglass with ribbon.

Don’t really have space for a work-space?

A Home Project….and Some Research

Actually, you do. Josel suggests making a tri-fold privacy shield out of a presentation board. It does need to stand on its own and the height may need a trim.  Your child can decorate & stick on pockets for organizing. When the shield has done its work,  your child can fold it up and slide it under the bed, beside a chest of drawers or inside the closet.

Setting up a Home Learning Environment can be  challenging, especially if space is limited and other “stuff” is taking up space ~ DO NOT get rid of the dishwasher…. This BLB Resource may have some helpful ideas for you & yours:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/your-educational-home-environment-activities-to-boost-your-childs-literacy-growth/

You know your child has not only been engaged in research at school since Kindergarten, but, s/he has, also, been conducting informal Research Projects at home. They may be totally verbal, but…”Here’s why we need a dog..”; “There’s tons of stuff to do at….”; “I really need to join….”~ to mention a very few…

Collecting and ~ yes ~ writing down the information is an entirely different “project”. So, I thought I would create a few  Family Fun Home~Grown Project Templates with an idea list : Home Research Projects

Of course,  you  obviously are an important partner for developing those Critical Thinking Skills your child so readily uses to “present” a potential Family Research Project…

The “Brainiac” Project

Growing Those Critical Thinking Skills-Sulaco229
Growing Those Critical Thinking Skills-Sulaco229

The braininess of your young Scholar is really beginning to “present” itself. If you’re unsure, click on this Resource to confirm his/her state of mind: https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/parent-guide-building-thinking-skills/

And it’s only going to increase in growth & complexity…

There are 4 Big areas you can  continue to help develop your child’s cognitive skills:

Observation

  • Improves descriptions
  • Increases meaning & comprehension with details

Spatial Thinking

  • Defines shape characteristics: same/different, sequences/patterns, classifications into groups
  • Uses directional & positional words with increasing accuracy

Verbal Thinking

  • Shares picture descriptions with greater detail, using part to whole
  • Selects living & nonliving things with similarities & differences
  • Orders living & nonliving things into a sequence by characteristics
  • Classifies living & nonliving things by traits or characteristics

Academic Vocabulary

  • Understands subject-specific words that describe, classify & compare/contrast
  • Begins to apply or use subject-specific vocabulary during verbal & written explanations of key concepts

Academic Vocabulary development can be a tricky, if not confusing area to address. BLB Shop has a product with games & activities  to help understand and use these words in Second Grade : https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/second-grade-wow-words-vocabulary/

And speaking of Academic Vocabulary, did you know there are 4 types of Knowledge & 6 Cognitive Processes (Bloom’s Taxonomy ~ remember him…) !?!

Yes…There Are 6 Levels of Thinking within Those 4 Kinds of Knowledge…

And now for some 25-cent words to include in this SHORT explanation of Knowledge & Thinking… which, believe it or not, your Second Grader is already hearing in the classroom…

FOUR TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE

Factual

  • terminology (specific words/vocabulary)
  • specific details & elements

Conceptual

  • classifications & categories
  • principles & generalizations
  • theories, models & structures

Procedural

  • subject’s specific skills & algorithms (rules of process)
  • subject’s specific techniques & methods
  • criteria for determining when to use appropriate procedures

Metacognitive

  • strategic (careful design/plan)
  • appropriate cognitive tasks
  • self-knowledge

SIX COGNITIVE SKILLS

COGNITIVE PROCESSFACTUAL KNOWLEDGECONCEPTUAL KNOWLEDGEPROCEDURAL KNOWLEDGEMETA-COGNITIVE KNOWLEDGE
RememberListDescribeTabulateAppropriate Use
UnderstandSummarizeInterpretPredictExecute
ApplyClassifyExperimentCalculateConstruct
AnalyzeOrderExplainDifferentiateAchieve
EvaluateRankAssessConcludeAction
CreateCombinePlanComposeActualize

Again ~ not only does your young Scholar understand many of this “terminology”, but s/he will, also,  be  (if not already) using this Knowledge and Cognitive Thinking Skills during the Research Project Process. UH HUH!!!

Need a bit more info ? Click on the link below:

 https://galileo-camps.com/why-galileo/blog/a-parents-guide-to-blooms-taxonomy/

There are a few things you can do at home to help build the skills s/he needs to successfully & accurately produce a Research Project.

Home ~ Grown Research Project Prep

You can not open a book without learning something. ~Confucius

Open Your Mind & Learn-DavidClode
Open Your Mind & Learn-DavidClode

You are probably already doing this if you and yours are Nonfiction book readers ~ you have taught your child the value of learning how to use Informational Text Features like: the Table of Contents, the Glossary, Captions under images, Labels, Diagrams, Bold & Colored Print, etc.

Informational Text Features Infographic
Informational Text Features Infographic

Second Graders learn how to use at least 17 of these helpful clues when trying to understand and discover which pieces of information will be necessary to include in the Research of a Topic. Here’s a little workbook you can use for reviewing and/or reteaching these all important Research Skills:

I Understand Informational Text Features

I, also, painstakingly, created a fun and very concise Literacy Learning Tool for teaching Informational Text Features that includes an interactive Nonfiction book I wrote ~ THE TINY GIANT: A True Story About Watermelons~ with a mini comprehension workbook. Here is the BLB Shop link:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/interactive-informational-text-features-learning-tool/

An Informational Text Features Mini ~ Lesson

What Kind of Crab Is This?-Bmewett
What Kind of Crab Is This?-Bmewett

Your beach-loving boy has just caught a crab of some kind. A nonfiction book about Ocean Animals needs to be found because he needs to know EVERYTHING about this small, interesting creature. Wherever you decide to look for a book, it needs to have the right information. “So, where’s the first place you should look in the book?” you ask your eager learner.

He quickly opens to the Table of Contents, but doesn’t want to read that much yet. “Where else could you find what you’re looking for ?” If he doesn’t know about the Index ~ here’s your teaching moment~ and “SO, you know you want to find out about…” “A crab!” he exclaims. “Look! Here it is on page…!” Well, it’s a Section with all the different crabs found in the ocean. Guess, he’ll have to do a little more……research.

If there are pictures of different crabs, encourage him to study the photo and think about what he already knows. Then, it’s time to read the Caption underneath it to see if this crab could be the same, or a similar one. Is there a Map or some other Location image ? Ask your child to look for them.

Kind of like a Treasure Hunt, huh!?!

These interactive questions mirror how your Second Grader is learning how to use Informational Text Features in the classroom.

The Teacher ~ Parent Connection

Have you connected with your child’s school and the teachers ? We Are Teachers created a short PDF loaded with tips and ideas regarding the relationship between you, your child & school. Just click on the link:

https://www.weareteachers.com/free-school-success-guide-for-parents/

Classroom Research Project Sequence

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom. ~ Socrates

Although author and book studies can be part of a Research Topic, Geography, Social Studies & Science are heavy hitters in this category.

The “I Wonder…” phase of the Inquiry is usually begun in a KQRL template. Here’s an example  : KQRL Template

Your Scholar is participating in a monthly Research Project which usually begins as a whole class lesson presented in sequential mini-lessons. Peer editing is usually part of this Process with a final, strongly visual Presentation piece, such as a flyer, poster, or even a sculpture.

His/her teacher may assign cooperative groups of 3-4 classmates a variety of Topics for them to discuss and, then decide on a specific Topic Question / Sentence.

A partner Project may be next with an independent Project as a cumulative study towards the end of the year. One, or several may be given periodically as an ongoing homework task with a deadline schedule for the different parts of Project research until its  Presentation due date. 

The Topic usually starts out BIG : Animals to a Smaller Topic: Birds to a specific, simple Topic: The Life Cycle of a Robin.

Possible Second Grade Science Topics

Leaf Study-Stocksnap
Leaf Study-Stocksnap

These Topics may, also, be part of a Science Fair Project ~ again, Big to Small to Specific:

  • Animals: traits & characteristics as in diet, habitat, seasons, life cycle
  • Habitats : plants, animals & land-forms of ocean, forest, desert, tundra
  • Earth : properties & characteristics of rocks, soil, waterways, land-forms
  • Weather : characteristics of the seasons, elements, extremes
  • Human Body Systems : nervous, digestive, muscular & skeletal
  • Matter: properties & states of solids, liquids & gases
  • Forces: properties & management of electricity & magnetism

BLB Shop has 4 Science Labs: Physical, Earth, Life & Ecology to help you and your young Scientist explore these Topics:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/homegrown-primary-physical-science-lab/

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/homegrown-primary-earth-science-lab/

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/homegrown-primary-life-science-lab/

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/homegrown-primary-eco-science-lab/

Social Studies & Geography Topics are next.

Possible Social Studies & Geography Topics

WWhere Oh Where ? BenKerckx
Where Oh Where ? BenKerckx

Here are some Social Studies & Geography curriculum objectives that may be explored during this Second Grade year :

  • Maps & Globes : identify geographic features
  • Communities : explore the different helpers, careers, goods & services
  • Governments : discuss purpose, elections, laws &  differences of local, state & federal levels
  • Historical Figures : impacts, contributions & biographies
  • America : history, customs & celebrations

You can check out my previous Second Grade post on Second Grade Celebrations for some ideas :

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/second-graders-celebrations/

Need a few  mini-lessons on Community Helpers, USA Symbols & USA Celebrations ? Click on these links :

Community Helpers

USA Mini Lessons

15 USA Holidays

Finally, BLB Library has a  Nonfiction Independent Reads Book List as a Resource for these 3 subject areas to assist your Second Grade Scholar with her/his Research :

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/nonfiction-independent-second-grade-reads/

And now, for the Feature Presentation ~the actual Research Project Process with its steps & expectations…..

The Research Project Process

Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children. ~ Walt Disney

Research-BessHamiti
Research-BessHamiti

Many school districts, including several of the ones I taught in, use the The Big 6 Research Model developed by Mike Eisenberg & Bob Berkowitz in 1987.

This Information Literacy Research Method continues to be used throughout the world because of its grade level & subject versatility.

This Research Model :

  • provides a plan for engaging students in the learning experiences of problem solving and critical thinking
  • helps them evaluate which pieces of information  will  answer the specifically defined Topic Question/Sentence
  • encourages students to create ideas for unique products or presentations of their research.

Many Primary educators adapt the Big 6 sequence into the Super 3, which provides students with the same basic elements using a simpler vocabulary.

Here’s a mock-up table comparing the 2 methods :

THE BIG 6 METHODTHE SUPER 3 METHOD
Task Definition : What am I supposed to do & what information do I need?Plan: What am I supposed to do ?
Information Seeking Strategies: What sources will I used to help me find this information ?Plan : What do I need to find out ?
Location & Access : Where can I find these resources & who can help me find them ?Do : How do I find what I need to complete the task ?
Use of Information : How will I record the information I find ?Do : What can I make to show what I have learned ?
Synthesis : How will I show what I have found & stay organized in a timely manner ?Review : Did I do what I was supposed to do ?
Evaluation : I will know I have done my best & use an editing checklist to be sure.Review : Did I do my best work or do I need to do something else before I am done ?

Pitt County Schools in North Carolina offers a 35-page, thorough, parent-friendly explanation of these 2 methods in a PDF.

https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib6/nc01001178/centricity/domain/34/0910_files/big6andsuper3pdf.pdf

BLB Library, also, has a Resource for  understanding the Inquiry Investigation Process:

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/inquiry-investigations-authors-books-websites/

And, if you need an easy-to-use, step-by-step Instruction Handbook with Templates & Reference Checklists for The Research Project AND The Science Fair Project, you can find this Guide in BLB’s Shop. Just click on the link below :

https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/shop/blb-press-writing-collection/research-project-toolkit/

About That Science Fair Project…..

Need specific Science Fair Project info ? This site, Science Kids, offers grade level ideas with a help-guide for using the Scientific Method:

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/projects.html

Speaking of a help-guide….

Dear Parents of Project Researchers……

Oh Yay! A Research Project !-White77
Oh Yay! A Research Project !-White77

As a parent and educator, it’s really difficult for me to know where to “draw the assistance line” .

There are so many “variables” to consider when your child, especially your Second Grader, comes home with The Project to complete.

So, again, I did some research, and, I think I found a few pieces of sound advice to share with you.

Diane Divecha of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence defines too much help basically tells your child s/he is not capable of doing the work. Instead, she recommends support your child by helping him/her develop the skills to do the projects independently with experiencing the stress  big projects can bring.

The Advice…..

  • Teach those organizational skills needed for effectively completing all the parts of a Research Project ~ to-do list, materials list, task schedule
  • Show how time management can help make the Project advance more efficiently, even if it means s/he needs to modify some of the product.
  • Review, if necessary, how to use some of the tools, materials & supplies.
  • Act as a sounding board for ideas and a discussion resource to encourage your child’s ownership of his/her work efforts. 

I’m sure you’re not surprised by the length of this post, but there was a lot of ground to cover….Believe me ~ I did the Research…

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