November 2013

Play Time is Learning Time

We wrapped up our Fall Storytimes this week - there are still plenty of special storytimes coming throughout November and December, but tips will be on a hiatus until January.

So what did we talk about this week? One of the most important pre-literacy angles of all: playtime.

Mr. Andy quoted Dr. Michael K. Meyerhoff this week in storytime: “For infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, having fun and learning are one and the same…Never underestimate the power of play in promoting optimal educational development.”

Miss Jennifer said, "Supervised sand and water play is a wonderful way to engage with your child. Playing with natural materials helps build sensory awareness and is just plain old messy fun!"

Miss Genevieve sang "Ram Sam Sam" this week, which is full of silly words. That's OK! You don't need to use real words when you're singing or rhyming, your kids will still benefit from hearing patterns. Plus, it's lots of fun.

Miss Shelley suggests pulling out dress up toys, tea sets, train tables, etc on a regular basis and playacting with the kids. Imaginative play helps kids naturally expand their narrative skills.

Miss Heather suggested, "Turn book time into playtime by acting out scenes from the book, building with books (yes, you can stack them like blocks), sorting books by color/theme, dressing up like the characters, adding sound effects from household objects, making up silly songs with any rhyming text, reading aloud to a stuffed animal "crowd", and just making reading time more interactive and fun!"

Mr. Ben pointed out, "Interactive playtime helps build early literacy skills by encouraging kids to act out stories. Try choosing books with lots of silly action, and act out the parts with your youngster!"



Share and Share Alike

All of the literacy tips we've been sharing this fall have been about, well - sharing. All the fun activities you can share with your kids to get them on the path to reading, no matter how many years off that may be. Here are some of the tips we've shared recently:


Sharing stories is a great way to build reading skills! Try choosing books that encourage kids to make up silly stories, or just talk about their day. -Mr. Ben

Your kids love to hear the same songs and rhymes over and over. The repetition is comforting, but also helps reinforce the sounds and meanings of words. Plus, fingerplays like "Where is Thumbkin" help them focus on how to use their fingers individually. It may be hard to bring up Mr. Ring Finger by himself now, but they'll eventually be able to do it! - Miss Gennie

Animals are fun to imitate! Using silly voices and sounds as you read about animal characters. Roars, Peeps and Moooos add to the fun and help little listeners join in the "reading" fun. - Miss Jennifer

Remember you can always fold- or draw- characters from what you're reading.  Put your imagination to the paper! - Mr. Ian

Sometimes books have unfamiliar "big" words - don't just change these words to ones your kids know when you're reading aloud. Use the new word, but define it as you read. Then, keep using the new word in your everyday life! - Miss Gennie
Books: Make reading together part of your daily routine, but let it happen spontaneously too. Lift the flap books are great for fostering interaction books in the very young. (Tip: Cover the hinge of the flap with tape before your child handles it, and the flaps will last much longer.) - Miss Jennifer