Topics in Early Childhood Education

Friday, November 18, 2011

Children Who are Read To Just Know More!

We were discussing in our reading class this week how research indicates that children who are read to on a regular basis simply know more when they get to school.  Besides preparing the child to be a reader, being read to increases vocabulary and allows for more discussion and conversation. Combine that with the regular model of reading fluency from the adult and you have a prescription for a successful reader. We also know that children must be explicitly taught reading kills. Having the language background of hearing and participating in stories provides a wonderful foundation for those reading skills to make sense. It also provides a connection between print, reading and talking. That connection is not automatic with many children.
We don't know for sure what type of a world our child will have in 15 years. One way we can help him is to arm him with skills he will need no matter what the world looks like. Reading is one of those skills.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

It's All Bones

I was helping in my grandchildren's classrooms recently and was struck by the thought of how easily children will take control of their learning if given a chance.  One of the components of the HighScope curriculum, which I think is the most child-friendly approach to early learning, gives the child an opportunity each day to plan what she is going to accomplish within the guidelines of what is happening the classroom.  This opportunity to plan gives the child control of her learning and gives her a stronger sense of direction and purpose for the play and learning of the day.  I was assigned to help a kindergarten class make skeletons out of macaroni.  Although I did not have the opportunity to allow the children to plan everything they might do for the day, I decided to allow as much planning as possible.  I was given directions for a skeleton project, but decided to allow each child the opportunity to plan how to complete the project.  What great ideas they each had!  I was again reminded about allowing the child to take control of the project and not get caught up in the directions  that we adults may want to give. After all, it should be her project, not a copy of what the teacher wants to see.  That is how I learned that penne pasta makes pretty good ribs on a skeleton.