On the 15th May it is the UN’s international day of families. Families play a vital role in the education of their children. Families are the first educators of their children and it is within the family group where the love of literacy can blossom.
Reading is a gateway to imagination, being literate and developing empathy. If you can take the time to read as a family then these skills are being embedded into your child and also reinforced within yourself. Reading as a family gives you time to be close together and to discuss things that aren’t happening in your daily lives (imagine talking about dragons, talking trees and magical stones!)
Show your children that reading is a pleasurable activity, show them how important searching a library for the perfect book is. There are no bad authors or books, you just need to take the time to find the books that suit you or perhaps open your mind to new ideas.
As a family take the time to visit your local library, the school library or even the online library catalogue. Borrow some loved books and books that will stretch your mind. Read together or read apart and then discuss what you have read. Reading is the key.
As Albert Einstein once said: “If you want your child to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales”
There has been a bit of a focus on my blog about sight words and home readers – which both play a role in learning to read but how can we ensure our children love reading? And continue to love reading throughout their lives?
Here are a few tips:
- Let them see you read. Let them see you read a variety of materials – not just the tablet or iPhone! Grab a book from the library, read the newspaper, subscribe to an informative magazine. Show them that reading is for pleasure – not just for school or work.
- Take them to the library. Show an interest in what they are passionate about. Borrow books prolifically rather than always buying them. You can borrow up to 20 books at a time for those younger readers – encourage that and show that you love doing it to.
- Take the pressure off. Don’t make your child sit and read a book they don’t enjoy. If you find they are not enjoying reading – find something they will enjoy. Many older children love reading graphic novels as there are pictures alongside the words (Smile by Raina telgemeier )
- Try and read out loud every night or morning – whatever works for you. Listening to a story being read aloud has a calming effect on many children and adults. It’s a space where we can sit, listen and imagine. (We loved reading Mopoke and Juniors will love Time Travelling with a Hamster
Why should you take the time out of your weekend or afternoon to visit the library if your child already does so during school hours?
Here are my seven reasons as to why you should visit your local library:
- You’re promoting the idea of sharing within the community. Many children have been brought up to expect everything new. Libraries promote the idea that we can share wonderful resources, take care of them and lend them to someone else. Lucy’s Book is a great read to instil this!
- Community activities. Many libraries run after school clubs and activities. This is a wonderful way to meet other people in your community who are like minded. These activities are often free or at a minimal price and may run over school holidays.
- Libraries promote a love of learning – forever. There are many different sections and types of reading material in the library which allows your child to see beyond the picture books.
- Borrowing books promotes a love of reading which in turn helps literacy skills!
- You learn how to research through books and well designed online material. Help your child to know that research isn’t just a google search – show them a book and the index page – they will gain so much more knowledge this way!
- You can borrow talking books, music and movies! There are so many different ways to learn and through the library your child can find the best way they can enjoy literature.
- Librarians are great. They are passionate about books and are there to help the youngest of readers. Say hello to your librarian and tell them what you are reading – there is a chance they haven’t had time to read that latest book and they love hearing your thoughts!
Why walk when you can drive?
The first step to saving yourself is saving the planet – how?
Explore the new diet trends of the western world – are they doing more harm than good to our planet?
This book reminds me a little of myself….a mum who is trying to help my children to understand more about looking after the world around them and small children who wonder what their mum is getting up to!
Shock Monday by Gillian Bradshaw starts with ‘ Mum always drives me to school……but this morning was different‘ and from there we see through the young boys eyes the transformation of himself, his mum and his sister as they walk to school.
So many of us rely on cars – and many of us do need to BUT there are also many opportunities to walk and we need to make more use of this time we are given.
Tom notices things he has never seen before, meets new friends along the way and actually starts to enjoy himself.
Shock Monday is a great book for parents to read with their children to show them that walking to school and just being more eco-friendly isn’t too weird!
Inferring skills – use these questions to help build up the skills of inference. Inferencing is thinking about and searching text to construct meaning beyond what is literally stated.
– Before you begin : what could Shock Monday be about? Who are the two children? Read the blurb on the back and then re answer the questions.
– As you read: Where do the children live? Why are they walking to school today? How long does it take them to walk to school? What is the weather like? Why does Tom think his mum should have been a teacher? What time of day are they walking to school? Why does Tom’s bag feel lighter?
– Write your own story about something that would be shocking in your house to make it a more eco friendly house.
– Read the packaging of some products that are claiming to be eco-friendly. Are they really?
When we go camping by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Cat Chapman is a rhythmical story that the youngest of readers will love. Rhyme incorporated with onomatopoeia provides a book that makes you want to move about, point to the pictures and possibly even pack your car for a family camping trip!
Zip petty zap petty flopp-io
Jumpy bumpy gigg-lio
When We Go Camping highlights all the wonderful things about camping – making friends, sleeping in a tent, helping out as a family and catching your own fish!
It also mentions the trials of camping – but we don’t need to worry too much about them when there is so much fun to be had boiling up the billy, splashing in the river and singing by the fire.
If you have a family member who is apprehensive about camping you need to read this book to them, it’s a gem!
How can I develop my child’s literacy and create a globally conscious child?
- RHYME – The three sentences on each page end in a rhyming word. Explore other words that rhyme with the final word.
- Start with a sentence: When we go fishing, When we go riding, When we go bushwalking, When we go running (Make sure the sentence has something to do with outdoor play). Children then create their three lined poem using rhyme.
- ONOMATOPOEIA: Explore the different uses of onomatopoeia throughout the story. How does it make you feel when you hear those words? Look back at the three lined sentence that has been created and now add some onomatopoeia to it.
- Plan a family camping trip or if you can’t do that an outside activity. Children learn so much when they play outside.
- Write a diary entry, recount over dinner about the activity. Talking and listening reinforces fun times and allows for more family interaction – embedding the importance of talk from a young age.
How does music allow us to connect with others?
If waste did not exist, how would your lifestyle be changed?
Poverty is a necessary evil – do you agree or disagree?
Ada’s Violin (The story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay), written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport is a true story is told about the people who live in Cateura in Paraguay, a town on the edge of a garbage tip.
Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the rubbish you put in your bin?
I am sure many of us never put a second thought to it, especially if you live in a developed country where tips are away from human habitation.
What we put in our bins should be on our mind as landfill is taking up more space with more things that will never break down. In a perfect world there would be no landfill as people would make their own food, recycle, reduce consumption and reuse products themselves or gift to others what they don’t need.
In the story of Ada’s Violin, The main character who is a young girl named Ada lives on the edge of the tip and often views the garbage truck as a vehicle of surprises – it could be full of toys, jewellery or even plastic which had a going rate of ten cents per pound.
Ada’s grandmother notices a sign up for music lessons and promptly enrols Ada but a large problem arises – the lack of instruments to learn on.
It was the creativity and persistence of Senor Gomez , Tito Romero and Senor Chaves that led to the creation of instruments made totally from junk !
After many hours of practise the Recycled Orchestra was born! This orchestra has since toured the world, enthralling audiences with their talent, amazing sound and ability to rise up from the poverty that bequeathed them.
So what can you do with this story?
OI.3: Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems.
OI.4 : World views that recognise the dependence of living things on healthy ecosystems, and value diversity and social justice, are essential for achieving sustainability.
- Investigate where your landfill goes in your neighbourhood. Are their any tips that recycle rubbish?
- Investigate how long different items take to break down.
- Investigate poverty in the world – how many people in the world are living on the edge of a tip? How many people live off a tip. Is it fair that people live like this?
- Reflect on your own waste habits – do you do enough to minimise landfill? Keep a rubbish diary and note how much you throw out to waste for a week. How much do you recycle? Use for compost/wormfarm/backyard animals?
Music & Science
- Create your own instrument out of rubbish. How can you make it solely of rubbish? What can you use for glue? binding?
- Investigate the word ‘recycled’. What does it mean to you? What did it mean to Ada? Explore how we can go beyond the meaning in the dictionary depending on perspective and context.
- Investigate the word ‘orchestra’ . What does it mean to you? What did it mean to Ada? Explore how we can go beyond the meaning in the dictionary depending on perspective and context.
- What does this quote mean to you? They had discovered the surprise waiting in the landfill. Buried in the trash was music. And buried in themselves was something to be proud of.
How do the illustrations help the story? Explore different pages throughout the book to highlight how they work together.
** Create your own recycled instrument, write a description of it – how it looks, how it is made and the items you would need to create it.
** This is a story about music. Does it make music throughout the story? How does this book sound? Explore musical words and sounds throughout the story.
Two lessons for you:
To help students re ne their understanding of the word recycle, have them complete a concept wheel about the Recycled Orchestra. Have students answer the following questions on the appropriate section of the wheel, using both words and illustrations:
- What does recycled mean? What does orchestra mean?
- Who recycled? Who is part of an orchestra?
- Where did this recycling take place? Where can orchestra’s be?
- What did they recycle? What music did they play?
- Why did they recycle? Why did they want to be in an orchestra?
- What were the results of the recycling? What were the results of creating this orchestra?
In order to create the Recycled Orchestra, Favio Chávez had to solve several problems. Explain how he solved the following problems:
- Problem #1: There were not enough instruments for the children.
- Problem #2: It wasn’t safe for the children to have expensive instruments.
- Problem #3: There were no classrooms.
• Problem #4: The children struggled as they learned to play their instruments.
So you might have a child who is not interested in reading books and are wondering what you can do to engage them in literacy?
This is a great question.
My first question to you would be what sort of books are you reading with them ?
Picture books are a fantastic place to start any child who is not interested in reading. But make sure you involve your child in the process of choosing books. Find out what they interested in and seek out books on that topic. If your child would prefer non fiction books, by all means, go to that section of the library! Any reading is a step in the right direction!
it could be comic books, lego instructions – (now you may be thinking that there are no words here but literacy isn’t always about reading).
It is also about understanding diagrams, listening to instructions, retelling stories and following directions.., so also try recipes – Try anything and find out what your child loves doing and go from there.
How else can you engage your child in literacy?
- Just in conversation with your child anywhere you can ask them “I wonder what sound tree/car/football starts with? Ends with? This can be done with billboard signs, at the supermarket.
- Play a clapping game where they need to clap out the syllables in their name – this will help them later on with spelling and sound chunking.
- Write words outside with chalk, in the sand/dirt or mud!
- Create words with sticks.
- Ride over words – following the letter with a tyre of a bike or scooter.
- Play eye spy in the car using sounds and colours. This game is great as it isn’t just about sound/letter recognition it is also about listening to instructions. Make sure you don’t just focus on the name of the letter – focus on the sound. There are letters that make different sounds so make your child aware of that.
- Talk in rhyme and make up nonsense rhyming words and sentences such as “Would you like to play all day in the hay? Or what would you like to munch and crunch for your lunch?”
- Tell stories – make up imaginary lands and ask your child to join in with the storytelling process. This develops their talking and listening skills as does talking about what they did during the day.
- Encourage them to make their own book. Staple some scrap paper together and they can write or draw anything they wish and then tell it to you.
- Go on a scavenger hunt – ask your child to find things outside that start with a certain letter. They need to find and bring back (or tell you if it can’t be carried!)
So just remember that literacy isn’t just about reading books – it is about talking, listening and writing as well. Make literacy fun and your child will find the way that they enjoy it too.