Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Building Language for Literacy

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Snow Thematic Unit Online Resource Guide for Educators by Midge Frazel

Friday, December 20, 2002

Between the Lions | PBS Kids Children learn to read if they are surrounded by language. The television program, Between the Lions, can contribute to the sights and sounds of words through its programs of stories, tongue twisters, rhymes, and other word games and songs.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Building Blocks LESSON PLANS from Teachers.Net Lesson Exchange!

Personal and Social Development

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

ANCHORS AND SAILS How  to Teach Your Preschooler    to    Read! Teaching little letters to little kids
A 3 year old is usually kind of curious about what the words say on the page. Yet of course nobody could expect a 3 year old to sit down and read "The dog ran through the forest", unless the child was coached and justmemorized the sentence.
So parents have a dilemma. How can we answer kids' questions about reading and help them along with the skill, without overwhelming them with how hard it can be?
I struggled with this for some time, as a teacher of older kids looking at my own toddler. Then I had an insight and I'd like to share it with you. The trick is - simplify. It occurred to me that if the child can name 26 toys and foods, then she could as easily name letters, simply as new toys. If you introduce each letter as a new friend, one at a time, one per day,
then what's the difference between it and a toy? Second, I let the child play. Kids like to mouth things, , manipulate toys
every which way - so I made this new letter friend a real object. I shaped it out of cardboard and plasticene, out of plastic, out of wallpaper material. I made it out of noodles and out of raisins and out of cheese
strips. I let the child touch it, turn it around, eat it if it was food. The learning became tactile. Third, I made the learning auditory. Little kids like to sing and have great
memories for rhymes - so I recalled all the nursery rhymes I could think of that started with that new letter friend - and on its day, we sang them. On the s day we sang Little Sally Saucer and Sing a song of Sixpence and we
played Simon Says and Eensy weensy spider. The new friend was linked to sound.
Fourth, I made the learning physical. I showed actions the child could do that started with that letter. On the t day we turned and twirled and talked, and tugged and twisted. The learning now was multi-sensory- which meant the child was very likely to remember it.
Fifth, I supersimplified the task. Why confuse the child that a and A are the same when they look so different? So I taught only one shape - the lowercase.
And why confuse the child with different fonts? Why show g in some places and g in others? So I showed one font only.
And sixth, why confuse a child with several sounds for each new friend letter? Why show a in apple and in cage and in ball? That's too hard. I decided to teach just one sound for each letter. I made it the sound the letter makes not the letter's name, again to simplify. So h was hhhh not
aytch. That meant the child was lead directly into sounding out words.
And last- maybe most important - I noticed my child remembered best if there were stories. So I made up a story to explain the shape of each letter. W looks the way it does because it is waves on the water. It says wwwww. S
is a snake. p is a pretty flower, c is a curl, m is mittens. In this way the child had the crucial link- there was a reason the letter said what it said, and the world seemed logical.
With this multisensory, play and logic approach, you can do wonders to gently and gradually introduce even a 3-4 year old to the letters. And by those principles alone, showing the child words that are formed by the combinations, you can give a child a reading vocabulary of 600 words. That is such a gift! The child knows the letters, the left-right progression and has a great history of success in sounding out words. Then you can gradually introduce the capital letters (little letters grew up), and the silent letters and other sounds.
I would recommend to you these simple strategies. They do work for very little kids.
I also have a website with tips and a free brochure I mail out with the entire letter poem I created.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Life in the kindergarten classroom - a photo display!


We painted these trees with real Christmas tree branches, which made them appear to have great texture.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist While there’s no perfect formula that determines when children are truly ready for kindergarten, you can use this checklist to see how well a particular child is doing in acquiring the skills found on most kindergarten checklists.