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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ladders to Literacy

Another resource I received from Brookes Publishing (thank you!) is called "Ladders to Literacy."  This book is jammed packed with activities; however, it is not as ready to go as Road to the Code .  (Don't forget, my readers get a 20% discount by using this code on their website:  KA1102 until August 15th).  But, because it doesn’t have all the printables in the appendix, there’s more room for activities.  I wouldn’t recommend this for parents, because it is definitely geared towards teachers.  Yet, I found some activities that you can do right at home:

Call attention to words on books that indicate the title, author and illustrator.  Isn't that a good title?  It's the first one I could find with an author and illustrator, I promise!
baby with book

Have your child flip the book around to begin reading.  Then have him/her turn the pages to learn concept of print.

Write your child a note on a larger sheet of construction paper.  This teaches your child that print is a tool to communicate.  Point to the words as you read them.  Can your child identify any letters, sounds or words?

Have your child keep a journal.  Now, don’t fret about spelling words correctly, or even making letters at all depending on your child’s stage of development.  Imaginative letters and inventive spelling is a great stepping stool towards literacy.  Do make sure that the “imaginative letters” or “inventive spellings” go in the right direction.  And hold your child accountable for letters or words you have discussed.  Also, have them illustrate writing to make it easier for you to help identify what is being said!  Make sure you get a fun, but small journal.  Large ones can be daunting!

Use meal time as a learning opportunity.  On index cards, write what your child is eating.  After your child finishes, have him/her illustrate the food on the index card.  Keep the cards around so that your child is repeatedly exposed to these words.  Maybe he/she will even be able to identify items on menus after some practice!

Use nursery rhymes to help your child become more aware of the sounds in words.  Have your child memorize one of his/her favorite rhymes.  Then, have him/her draw pictures on index cards of the rhyming words.  Make him/her scramble the picture cards and place them in order as he/she recites it.  If that’s too easy, write the rhyming words on the back of the index cards and see if your child can arrange those!

Teach your child to listen for words through songs.   Your child must mimic the actions of the words said in the song.  This book suggests using some songs by Red Grammer- “Can You Sound Just Like Me,” “Finger Play” and “Ready Set.”  You can easily use simple songs such as “The Hokey Pokey” or “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Have any musical instruments in your home?  Play them for your child.  Can your child discriminate between high and low sounds?  Loud and soft?

Practice syllables through art.  Have your child draw pictures of multisyllabic words (candy, elephant, etc.).  Then, have him/her cut the pictures into however many syllable are in the word.  For example, PENCIL would be cut into 2 sections and CALENDAR into 3.  As you say the words aloud, model putting the pieces back together, making sure to enunciate the syllables.  When all the pieces are put back in place, it completes the puzzle, just like when all the syllables are put into place, it completes the word!

I could keep going on… and on… and on!  I’ll stop there to note that the book does include a Parent/Family Guide to Early Literacy Activities.  This section is perfect for the busy parent!  Here are a few examples:

When you have no hands free- sing nursery rhymes, ask for rhyming words or break a word into phonemes and have your child say it back fast (example: MAR… long pause… KER, and your child says MARKER)

When you’re sitting down- write messages to each other, or describe objects using adjectives

When your child’s friends are around- use magnetic letters in play, measure food for a recipe, scribble together or write secret messages

On rainy days- make books, read books in silly voices, act out books

At the store- have your child go on a letter hunt, searching for letters printed, or even words printed on signs, labels or tags

Bedtime- read aloud and model what fluent reading sounds like

PHEW.  Great resource for teachers and parents who are willing to take a little more time to plan for activities and apply group activities to individuals (which is very easily done)!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Road...


I’m going to take another quick break from read-alouds to tell you about some exciting things going on with Brookes Publishing Company .  If you access their website HERE  and use the code KA1102 until August 15th, you will receive 20% off your purchase.  There are some amazing resources out there, so at least go check them out.  You can’t pass up a SALE! 

Brookes has sent me several resources that I’ve been gobbling up.  I particularly enjoy Road to the Code for all the young learners out there.  Although it is intended for classroom teachers, why not give your child a head start?  Here are some sample lessons .  Don’t be afraid to try them even if you have no educational background!  There are a wealth of materials ready to be copied and used in the back section.  

Some ready to go materials:

Large or small alphabet cards you can copy onto cardstock and hang up around your child’s room, or even use as templates to paint on their walls!  These cards have pictures around them that begin with each letter and even a little jingle to accompany each one (“Big boy bouncing on a bed”).

Sound Categorization Cards- great for rhymes!  There are 4 pictures on each page that all rhyme.  They even give you the names of the pictures, which is important.  You don’t know how many times I’ve sat around with other teachers trying to figure out a picture’s name!  Throw in a picture from another group and see if your child can identify the non-rhyming card!

Initial Sound Categorization Cards- same thing, but pictures are grouped by the beginning sounds.  Once again, throw another group’s card in and see if your child can pick out the oddball!

Sound BINGO Cards- I love these!!  Who doesn’t like a little BINGO in their lives?  The cards are a mixture of pictures and letters.  This is an activity the whole family can do for Games Night!  There are almost 40 pages of different cards, so it will last you awhile!

Elkonin Cards - Remember all the times I’ve said to have your child push out an item for each time they hear a sound in a word?  Well these cards are made just for that.  Each one has a picture at the top and three boxes beneath.  The child can point to each box as they hear a sound, or even fill the boxes in with the letters they hear.  All the pictures are three letter words (map, net, fan, etc.).  Have your child write the alphabet on rectangles that will fit in each box in fun markers and have your child drag the letters over as he/she hears them!

I love resources that come ready to go.  None of us have time to make all the millions of activities I’ve been describing, so this is worth the investment, whether you’re a parent or teacher.  I would like to see more syllable activities, but you can use the ideas I’ve mentioned before and easily add them to this guide.  Just think, what better way to grow and learn with your child than taking 10 minutes a day to open up this book and literally GO!?

I will post about another one tomorrow.  Use your code and go browse Brookes!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Side By Side Reading

Exciting News…

I have received some teaching resources from Brookes Publishing .  I am currently plowing through them and hope to have some examples for you to use later this week.  I love getting this stuff (especially for free) so that I can see what great things are already out there.  If you have anything you’d like me to include on any of my posts PLEASE SEND THEM TO ME!  I will take them with open arms J

Today, I stumbled upon a series of books from Scholastic called Side By Side.  They are intended for adults and children to read together.  One page has very simple writing for children to read, while the other has read-aloud material for adults.  The one I found today was “Miss Moo Goes to the Zoo.”  Poor Miss Moo, the cow, is misplaced at a zoo.  You can read her journey together with your child’s help!

LISTENING -  Have your child on the lookout for whenever you say MISS MOO.  When he/she hears you say it, he/she must jump up, or hug you, or repeat her name, etc.

RHYMING -  Emphasize rhyming words when you hear them.  You will notice a pattern of rhyming words with each stanza on the read-aloud pages.  See if after a few pages your child can fill in the missing rhyming words.  At the end of the book, have your child create a cow out of construction paper.  On this cow, use markers to write down any rhyming words (real or nonsense) that your child can think of to rhyme with COW or MISS MOO.

WORDS/SENTENCES -  Use the child-friendly pages to show yours the different words.  At each page, point to the words as you read them.  Have your child do it on his/her own, after you model.  Use a pointer, such as a fly swatter, fancy pencil, decorated clothespin, etc. to point to the words.
Hand Pointer

SYLLABLES - Have your child make some small cows out of construction paper or toy farm animals.  Give your child words from the book and have them use the cows to illustrate how many syllables are in each word.  For example, your child would give you one cow for the word MOO.  Try these words: city, animal, strange, turning, around, elephants, giraffes, lions.

INITIAL/FINAL SOUNDS - Create an M box.  Grab a shoebox, empty juice/milk carton, etc. and have your child design it.  Place a large M somewhere on it.  Go around the house or search through magazines to find words that begin with M.  For a bonus, make another box to fill with words that end with M.

PHONEMES - Bring back out the cows from the syllable activity (or if you have farm animal toys, use those).  See if your child can name all the phonemes in the animals’ names by pushing an item forward with each phoneme.  For example, for LIONS, your child would push forward a farm animal for L, I, O, N and S (5 farm animals).  Try these words: COW (c-ow), HORSE (h-or-se), CHICKEN (ch-i-ck-en), SHEEP (sh-ee-p), etc.

LETTERS/SPELLING - Have your child read the child-friendly pages with you.  Grab a markerboard, shaving cream or construction paper with a fun writing utensil.  See if they can sound out and write some of those phrases after seeing them.  Don’t be picky with spelling, but help your child sound out words he/she may have really gotten wrong!

Ladybug’s Birthday is another Side by Side book from Scholastic.  I don’t have it personally, but it’s probably a great read for you and your child!