Thursday, 14 July 2016

Five a Day Keeps the Literacy in Play

This year I have been reading a minimum of five books a day to my Kindergarten students as well as songs, finger plays and chants but if I were to track the number it would probably be closer to ten books. I regularly included re-reading favourite books and actually began every circle time with a familiar song book like Over In the Meadow or Down By the Station. We loved our book times and I was amazed at how easily books grew to become cherished parts of our day.  

My love of books has always been a big part of me and yes I really believed when I was around five that the mobile library, which parked in front of our house each week, was there for my personal reading pleasure. The librarian was kind and passionate about connecting books with children. She always had one or two special books tucked away just special for me.  I would carry my big collection up to my bedroom and sort them into the order that I wanted to read. The collection always included my favourite re-reads, some new books and the special books from the librarian as well as a book for my older brother, Bobbie, to read with me. I still remember making the plan to read every book on the bus. My siblings and I enjoyed lazy afternoons on the sofa, the beach, the boat, in the bedroom or our treehouse. 

Books were an integral part of my childhood and then later when I became a parent it was an important part of our family culture and hopefully will become a part of our children's new family culture. I don't have any memories of my parents reading with me but coming from a large family I do have many many memories of my brothers reading to and with me.

Mem Fox talks about how important it is to read to new babies and shares the impact on the brain. While I have always known how important it the intimacy with your child that lap reading creates; physical touch, hearing your voice, noticing your child's expression and body language are all important and key ingredients for nurturing that loving relationship with your baby. Here is link to Mem Fox. It will inspire you to read with your child ten minutes a day.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Reading to, with and by children


In Kindergarten I am always looking for books to engage children in our read aloud sessions. these books always have district features like repeating phrases, rhyme or silly moments. 

When I find the just right book, I begin with a Read Aloud. Then if I receive the expected response I read it again at the next transition in the day and pause at predictable parts to encourage the students to join in for shared reading. We continue to re-read the book a couple of times each day and every time more students join in until they are reading it without me. After this it goes on our bookshelf where we keep all of our very most favourite read alouds. The students always pick these books for family read aloud as they love to impress their parents/grandparents or guest with their independent reading. It is such a delight to listen to a small group chant through one of their favourite books to a surprised adult.  

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Our Storytelling Learning Centre

Making Up Stories In Kindergarten

What happens when you put together a basket of small puppets, trees, fabric and tree blocks and sit it on a play stand? 

Well in Kindergarten voila! you have a storytelling learning centre. The children make up a story and then practice. When ready, they collect peers from around the room to watch their show. In the afternoon when it is quiet play the two students perform for each other.

PS: It helps when you do lots of modelling and the kids have become very comfortable with story telling.

Sight Word Game

The Button Game

We love this game!! I put our group target sight words in a pocket chart in our group sitting area and hide a button behind one of the words. Students take turns reading a word and then removing it from the pocket chart. If the button is behind it then he/she gets to hide the button and then we begin again. 

I have about 20 words that I use but display 9 at a time. At this time of year it is a mix of Kindergarten and Grade One sight words. Earlier in the year you can play the same game with letter names (upper or lower or a mix) and then later with letter sounds and blends.