I occasionally accept substitute teaching assignments. Last week I subbed for a resource teacher in a junior high. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a classroom that was decorated more creatively. Mobiles hung down from the high arched ceiling. The walls were covered with interesting and fun posters and decor. There were shelves of board games and things to do. And there were books–shelves and shelves of books of all kinds.
The students had earned a free day. After the opening happenings, they were left to their own devices. They just sat there. Nobody went over to check out the board games. Nobody went over to the bookshelves. They didn’t even seem to be confident conversing with one another–other than the normal banter of young teens.
It wasn’t until the computers were unlocked and the students had access to technology, their hands and eyes and minds occupied with surfing the Internet or playing a game. were they comfortable.
This happened in each of the class periods. I was amazed. And saddened.
I understand that technology is here to stay. We live in a world where our children need to use technology to learn and function. But surely books haven’t become a white elephant!
I hope that never happens.
Yesteday I was babysitting three of my grandchildren. At one point I was reading a stack of books to them. The just-turned-3-year-old was sitting at my side. Throughout every book, he was constantly asking question after question. It was a little hard focusing on my reading, but I remembered that this was very typical of this age of child.
We learn by asking questions. It isn’t always the most beneficial to answer children’s question. Maybe a better way sometimes is to help them work out the answer themselves.
I have a grandson whose parents read to him since he was born. Last year he started kindergarten but was still a little reluctant to read on his own.
Maybe four months ago his family bought some baby chicks and this little grandson discovered his life ambition–to become a chicken farmer! Not only did he he love taking care of these little critters, he also discovered that there were books about chickens in the public library. He checked out every book he could find about chickens…and ducks…and goats…and every other kind of animal, especially farm animals.
He has now become an expert on chickens…and he LOVES to read! Ahhhh, the magic of reading!
October is the month that the Read Aloud 15 Minutes nonprofit organization has targeted for its “Let’s Talk” campaign. Our lives are busy. It’s a shame that we need to be reminded to talk with each other—especially with our children. Let’s take time each day to communicate—that means to talk and to listen.
I love the quote by Dr. John Trainer: “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” The time we take talking with our children is a wonderful investment that will pay rich rewards.
Grandpa Ralph and I love watching our children parent their own small children. I love how they make it a priority to spend time with them, to teach them, to talk with them. Spending quality time with our family is great, but let’s not discount the importance of quantity time.
We would do well to periodically take a careful look at how we spend our time. Are there wasted hours that would be better spent with our family? Use the GOOD BETTER BEST measuring stick. There are good ways of spending our time, but there are better and best alternatives.
Back to “Let’s Talk”—while you’re at it, make sure you tell your children: “I love you. I love you just the way you are!”
This is a fantastic resource that gives tips for reading with not only beginning readers but newborns and toddlers.
For example, for toddlers:
• Make up games while looking at pictures, such as “Where’s the girl’s nose?” or “Where’s Mommy’s nose?” or “Where’s your nose?”
• Name and then demonstrate actions in a book, for example, “Laughing. Look at the boy laughing,” and then laugh with your child.
KINDERCARE’S SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE READING FUN
Here are some ideas for creating fun reading routines at home:
• Cook with a book. Read a book with a food theme before you head to the kitchen to cook something together.
• Read in a tent. Reading in a tent is a fun way to enjoy reading time together at night.
• Have a pajama party. Children love to gather in bed with their parents. Dress everyone in their favorite pajamas and climb into bed for some fun and comforting reading time.
Learning to read shouldn’t be boring. Thanks to Childhood 101 for this list of fun activities to help beginning readers to master sight words. The activities include: Using Scrabble letters to form the sight words, sight words Tic Tac Toe, sight word hopscotch, and ping-pong ball fun.
I’m all for making reading fun. I ran across a great idea on Secret Stories website http://thesecretstories.com/about/
Fun little pictures and cute stories that help beginning readers remember the sounds a particular blend makes. Here’s an example of the little story:
have a huge crush on each other,
and whenever they have to stand ‘side-by-side’ in a word,
they get so embarrassed,
they always look down and say-
I love this CoolMomPicks blog post on celebrating Patriot Day today–9/11–by volunteering. And what a great opportunity to help beginning readers discover the joy of service–not only once or two a year but on a regular basis! It can enrich their lives. And there are so many creative ways of providing service. And, remember, enhanced creativity makes better readers!
Ipads and e-books have their place, and I’m grateful for the wonderful modern-day technology, but may there always be BOOKS–good old-fashioned books.