There is so much temptation in the world and it is so easy just to sit back and not think outside our own little bubble.
There is life beyond our bubble and the things we do effect those both in and out of our bubble.
So how do you raise your children to think outside of their little bubble?
- Read to your child. Reading the books that I have suggested throughout this blog allow your child to see how others live and how they can live a better life for the sake of the world they live in.
- Promote empathy. Ask them to consider how others might feel. Empathy is a skill that many people in the world lack so building this up in your child is important if you are to raise a globally conscious child.
- Get outside – Create new experiences – play.
- Stand up for what you believe in and involve your children – send money to a cause, write a letter to a politician or sign a petition. Encourage your child’s passion.
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“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” – Dalai Lama
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is the act of telling a story – any story. It can be through spoken word, through written word, through art and through acting.
How does storytelling help us and your child with reading?
It expands our vocabulary
By telling stories your child listens to new words being pronounced. Your child hears words in new and known contexts.
When your child tells a story they are practising using new vocabulary.
Instead of asking them to write another boring sentence using a spelling word or sight word – ask them to tell a story instead! These words will come into the story very easily
It is interactive
When we tell stories we are engaging in eye contact with the storyteller and the listeners. We are using body language and facial expressions to engage others or show our interest. We can see how others feel about the story and change where the story is heading if we see our original ending not working for the current audience.
Storytelling promotes visualisation, inferencing and problem solving. It helps us to think on our feet and engage each audience we tell the story to in a different way.
It tells us a story
We all love stories and storytelling through close friends and family can tell tales of the past – rather than just relying on photos and videos. Most cultures passed on advice through storytelling and many still do – telling stories make those rules much easier to follow!
It uses our imagination – both the storyteller and the listener.
Children love being told stories. Some evenings make up a story together before going to bed rather than always only reading books. Borrow ideas from books you have read and make up your own! Your imagination can go wild being the listener or the storyteller and you can have so much fun doing both!
“The power of storytelling is exactly this: to bridge the gaps where everything else has crumbled.” – Paulo Coelho
There is a lot of focus on Literacy skills – and so there should be BUT numeracy is equally important and the embedding of those basic skills in the early years is really important.
However, many parents may feel that numeracy doesn’t play a role in home readers and sight words BUT it can.
- Count the letters in each word in the selected group of sight words. Group them according the number of letters in each group.
- Clap out and talk about or write down the amount of syllables in each word.
- Stretch out each word and count how many sounds there are in the word as opposed to just letters. (e.g. shop has ‘sh’ ‘o’ ‘p’)
- Look at the page numbers – discuss odd and even numbers. Look at how many pages there are and count on from the last number.
- How many illustrations are in the story?
- How many full stops?
- How long is the book? Use informal measurements such as fingerspaces before you measure in centimetres.
- How heavy is the book? What might it weigh the same as?
- What shape is the book? What else is shaped like this? Count sides and then think about why books are square and not triangle or circular!
And perhaps consider this article, a very good reason to help your child to love mathematics: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/a-dire-lack-of-interest-in-students-wanting-to-pursue-maths-careers-20170330-gv9pwa.html
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
Linking literacy to books is a passion of mine (as you may have guessed) but so is learning to read.
The early years of any child’s life and then formal education are vital for building a love of literacy. If we miss those years children struggle through many areas of their lives as reading is such a big part of it!
Here are some simple ways you can start to build phonemic awareness in a fun way which involves books. No worksheets. No writing. No repetition. Just books and conversations!
- When you look at the front cover read it out loud. Read the authors name, illustrators name and perhaps even the blurb. Ask your child if they can think of another name that starts with the same sound as the authors first name. Start with the initial letter but if you child can do it, blend the first two letters and find names with that sound.
- As you read look for pictures that might look like letters – this can be lots of fun and can be done as you drive in the car or go for a play outside!
- If your child is a keen writer – write down their favourite words or sounds from the book. Stick these words on the wall and they can copy them or even make them out of blocks or shapes when the time suits them.
- Make up your own story together – write it down if you like and illustrate.
- Don’t just focus on home readers – make sure your children are reading books they choose for pleasure.
- You don’t always need to read books – try comics or magazines, non-fiction and audio books! . Exposure to different forms of literacy opens their mind and encourages passion from an early age.
Let me know your thoughts!
We have just started bringing home ‘home readers’ and even as a teacher I have found it difficult to really understand the role these books play in my child’s education.
I understand that it is great to expose children to books and texts they can possibly decode BUT I am starting to see it causing more worry in my child than joy.
We have been told to read the story first to our child – but I do not see the point as she can quickly memorise the words and then is she actually reading? Or just copying what I said?
These home readers are the only books we have access to for early reading and although there is are some great new readers out there, we do not have access to them.
If your child does not feel rewarded in an increased ability to read there can be feelings of anxiety developed towards reading. Your child needs to feel confidence and enjoyment from the start. If you can, do these extra activities at home and tell your child it isn’t about the child who reads the most books but rather the child who can sound all the words out and know what it means.
So what are we doing?
- I ask my child to tell me the initial sound of each word. We break down the word into sound chunks and syllables before I tell her the whole word.
- We talk about the letter name and the sound it makes (remember not all children have been exposed to all sounds in Term 1)
- If there are any words which can rhyme easily I write them down and after we have finished the book we think about other words that rhyme and spell the same as the one in the story.
- Try to keep the book for two nights (if possible – I know my child is not keen to do this as she wants to read them all!). If you keep it for two nights you can try the sounds again.
- Make up a new story with simple words in it. Make it repetitive but not as simple as the home reader. E.g. Is Bob in a mop? Is Bob in pot? Is Bob in a hat? Is Bob in a kit? There is a company called Little Learners Love Literacy: http://littlelearnersloveliteracy.com.au/pipandtim-books#. That create books like this. You might be able to talk to your school about using these books?
- Have fun with the home readers -even if it is only for ten minutes each night. Make the experience worth while. A child who can just parrot the home readers isn’t really getting the full benefit of what home readers are set out to be.
Perhaps you have been given a long list of sight words by your child’s teacher with simple instructions as to help your child to learn them.
Firstly, don’t try to learn lots of words at the same time. Try to break the list down into 3-4 words a week. This way the words can be focussed on and learnt properly.
Secondly – give meaning to the words. There is no point just learning a word if your child cannot comprehend the word. Comprehension is key when learning to read. Give your child a sentence with the sight word within that sentence. Help your child to make there own sentence with this word too. Read books that have the weekly sight words in them.
Thirdly – encourage sounding out. Your child isn’t going to sound out the word forever so by helping them to understand the sounds that are in that word you are giving them skills to read more words. Some ‘sight’ words do have different sounds but by allowing your child to attempt sounding out you can then teach them how some letters have a variety of sounds.
Fourth – Don’t rush learning sight words. You need your child to understand what they are reading. You need your child to understand how they are decoding. There is no point just learning a word as this will not help them to be able to read in the future.
Fifth – Find the whole sight word list and reorganise how you introduce them to your child. So you can:
- Rearrange the words into similar sounds (but, by, big etc.)
- Words that rhyme (be/me/he/she/we)
- Group words that are the same base word but with different suffixes (play, played, plays) If one of these words does not appear on the list there is no harm alerting your child to it.
If you have more time, check out some more ideas on this fantastic resource: http://www.spelfabet.com.au/2015/08/reorganising-high-frequency-word-lists/ . It breaks down the sight word list into seven stages of learning words and also different ways you can group the new words.
Follow this blog for some more updates on how to make sure sight words make meaning to your child!
I’m sure many new kindergarten children are very eager to learn to read but what if that eagerness fades with sight words?
Play snap. Talk about the word when a pair matches up.
Mix up the sounds in the words and put the words together. Do this for words that are decodable. (easily broken down into phonemes)
Find the words in a book! This makes links to what the word means in context. Read the sentence the words is in.
Find other words that rhyme with that word and use the same spelling.
Play sight word soccer for those children that can’t sit still!