A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Posts tagged ‘NAEYC’

Week of the Young Child


It’s true.  NAEYC’s week of the young Child begin’s today!  How are you celebrating it?  We’d love to hear your ideas!  Below is a link from their website offering ideas for classrooms (and families) to participate in this week.  Or… Create your own activities for you and your child(ren) this week!

We are celebrating with an Art Show featuring each child work from each room in our center at St. Ambrose University.  We will also have our project work displayed and some of our university student’s work.  On Friday, we will be parading around the university campus celebrating childhood.  For those of you in the area, we will be leaving our school around 930am and heading to St. Ambrose.  From there, we will parade across campus (feel free to join us or wave at us from your office Ambrosians!) and then spend some time enjoying the campus.  We will have guest readers, music, and children’s activities during this time. Help us celebrating childhood as they are the foundation for our future!

Reading Aloud to Children Part 2

My previous post gave information regarding the importance of reading aloud to children of all ages.  The article by NAEYC breaks down the ages of these children into infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners and primary-aged children.  Keep reading to find out what they have to say!


Even though infants may not be able to form sentences to discuss books with you, you are playing a large role in their development by reading aloud to them.  You are encouraging them to use their senses by listening to the story, seeing the words and pictures, and touching the pages.  If you let them get involved and point to pictures, take that as an opportunity to tell them what they are pointing at; that will become beneficial in expanding their vocabulary.  Infants pointing to pictures also represents that they are beginning to understand that pictures represent objects.  By reading aloud to infants, they will eventually grasp onto concepts about print, such as book orientation (knowing which way a book is held) and directionality (knowing which way to turn the pages).

When looking at what types of books will be the most enjoyable and developmentally appropriate for infants, the first two words that come to my mind would be interactive and durable.  Board books will be your saving grace with infants.  Not only are they durable, they are also much easier for infants to grasp.  Cloth and vinyl books would also be appropriate for this age.   Books that infants will find interesting are those that include rhyming, bright pictures, familiar objects, sounds, lift the flap, and ones that include various textures.  Engage your infant as much as possible by letting them repeat words, turn pages, and describe to them what is happening in the pictures.


Toddlers are beginning to be able to make connections between books and real life.  Reading aloud with toddlers increases their vocabulary and listening skills.  Toddlers love when they are able to participate and this also helps keep them engaged.  They love books with rhyming, predictable words they can remember, and flannel stories.  Children at this age are becoming more and more curious.  Support this by reading books that they are interested in.  Books about emotions and self-help skills are beneficial for toddlers.  They are able to connect these books to what is currently happening in their development.  They are growing enough that they are able to discuss these elements with you and love to tell you what they are thinking.


Preschool-age children are beginning to develop higher-order thinking skills.  With that, they will begin to be able to talk about characters, settings, and plot, and be able to relate them to their own lives.  They are building their vocabularies and noticing that book language differs from spoken language.  Their understanding of print concepts becomes increasingly more advanced as well.  Children at this age are beginning to understand that the words in a book are spoken words written down, letters in words are written in a specific order, and that words are separated by spaces.

When reading books, start by choosing books that are relatable to what is happening in their development and lives.  These books should promote their curiosity; read books about topics they are interested in as well as introducing new topics.  I see this so often with project work.  The children are reading and examining books that are about their topic of choice.  Phonemic awareness is a big part of development for children at this age, so find books that include poems, rhymes, and alliterations.  Begin to expand with them by explaining all the parts of the book to them (title, author, illustrator, etc), have them make predictions and ask questions that make them think (“Why do you think she did that?”).

Kindergarteners and Primary School Children:

I feel that I too often hear that once children learn how to read, it becomes unnecessary for them to be read to.  That statement is false and here is why.  Not only are they growing from the three previous stages, but they are also becoming exposed to various writing styles and structures and determining what and whom they prefer.  We can now begin to read them more difficult texts, such as chapter books.  I observed in a third grade classroom where the teacher would read a chapter aloud to her students everyday.  I thought this was great because the children were so engulfed in the book and it was evident they were still enjoying it.  Another great aspect of books for older children is that many of them are series.  Children have the ability to become more motivated to read and see what happens between the characters throughout the different books.  Once again, discussion should be a prominent component of reading.  This can be done to check for comprehension as well as getting the children to think deeper about the plot, their own opinions and reactions, and compare and contrast other books they have read.

Children are constantly developing and by reading aloud to them, we are supporting those areas.  There is so much that children can learn through books; from as simple as touching the pages to reflecting on what they might do if they were ever in the same position as a certain character.  Their language is growing tremendously, as well as their interests.  Read, read, read, and let your child’s imagination soar.

Interested in more information, tips, and strategies about reading aloud to children?  Follow the link to check out the full article!


Stay tuned for more,

~ Chelsea

Reading Aloud to Children

I recently came across an article from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) about reading aloud to children of all ages that I felt was important to share.

Why is reading aloud to our children so important?  I think the opening statement of this article lays out the importance of reading aloud to children in one sentence.  It says, “The single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”  Motivation becomes noticeable when children are read aloud to.  When you show your children that reading is enjoyable, they will become more motivated and enthusiastic about reading as well.  This goes for all aspects of learning for all ages.  If you are showing interest and enthusiasm, children are going to do the same.

Another aspect of reading aloud that is so important to learning is that of background knowledge.  The beginning of any lesson should begin with finding out what your children already know about the topic.  Background knowledge correlates with reading aloud because children are able to use what they know and make sense of what they are seeing, hearing, and reading.  Their vocabulary is expanding with books, especially due to the fact that the language in books differs from your typical language used in daily conversations.  Books are much more descriptive and use more formal grammar.

I think one of the best, most important components of reading aloud to your children is it encourages their imagination to run wild.  In one of our 3-5 year old classrooms at Children’s Campus, we have what the children call our “Friday book” that we read to them every week.  It has popular folktales in it, but almost no pictures.  With that, the children are forced to use their imagination in order to interpret the story.

The best part about reading aloud is that it can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime.  We naturally think of parents reading to their children, but grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc could be included in the mix as well.  Do you have older children at home?  This would be a wonderful opportunity for them to work on their reading skills, while helping their younger siblings and forming a special relationship with them as well.  I see parents come into the classroom quite often and I love when they stick around to read a book to the children.  I think it is important for the children because it is showing them that their parents think reading is interesting and enjoyable.

Discuss.  Discuss.  Discuss.  I cannot stress that enough.  The article describes, “It is the talk that surrounds the storybook reading that gives it power, helping children to bridge what is in the story and their own lives.”  This can be done before, during, or after reading.  Involve your child while reading.  Get their opinions, predictions, thoughts, and reflections.  You might be surprised at how they relate stories to their own experiences.

Be on the lookout in the upcoming days when I break down the importance and provide tips and strategies for infants through primary-aged children.

Stay tuned for more,

~ Chelsea

How to turn a corner?

My assistant and I have been working on a goal this year based off the ideas and concepts in the books Ramps and Pathways, which is a NAEYC publication.  Through reading the book, we felt so excited to begin the process of trying out these ideas.  We decided that each month we would plan a few lessons with open ended materials and questions to support the ten principles which are written in the book.

This is our third month and we have already learned so much.  We have decided to continue the goal through the next year as we feel we can learn so much more from the children.  We learned that we need to put more power in the children’s hands.  For instance, we planned out a lesson with intentions of what the children would use to make these ramps and tunnels.  The children had other ideas, which we followed, and were able to make tunnels and creations far beyond our thought process.

Through using Bloom’s Taxonomy and the questions that support the levels, we have heard how the children are thinking about their work, what the next step is, and what they would like to try.  The children are beginning to ask their peers these same questions such as, “Why did you need that block to make that work?”  and “How could you add something else to make it turn?”

The children have been using the NAEYC book as a reference and decided after their investigations all week that we needed to create our own book.  Currently, we have five pictures of the children’s work and several sketches.  This morning, the children opened the ramp book and began to re-create their work.  They then started to add on to their work and try to determine how to turn a corner.  We will add more photos after today’s work.

Check out our work: How to turn a corner

Has anyone worked with ramps in their classroom? At home?  What are you using to create ramps?

Word Wall

Have you ever thought of adding a word wall in preschool?  Have you felt discouraged?  What went wrong? We want to know!! Please post and share your frustrations with us!

Our center feels that a literacy-rich classroom is important.  In my upbringing, reading and literacy was highly stressed and something our family did together for fun.  I can remember my mom taking my brother and I to the library with a wagon which we would fill to the brim. We would spend a week with these book reading and re-reading the text.  I think this began and fostered my love of writing and reading!  As I grew older, I began to encourage and (hopefully!) instil the love of learning to my children in my classroom.

We use the ECERS (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale) and the NAEYC guidelines as a guide to how we present writing and literacy in the classroom.  Each center in our classroom has writing materials of some kind.  Some materials we have include:

  • magna doodles
  • chalk boards
  • marker boards
  • different sizes of paper
  • small stenos
  • small notebooks
  • markers
  • crayons
  • pens
  • colored pencils

Those are just some ideas!  Our literacy-rich classroom includes books, labels on the children’s cubbies, labels on the shelves, writing to caption pictures, children’s writing, and group writing pieces. As a result of our classroom, children’s interests, and teacher guidance, we have children who were interested in writing and reading. 

In the past, we had created a word wall creating each letter and putting words that correspond with that letter underneath.  Although may children used it, it also became distracting for children who believed that each letter needed a word below it.  We then moved to a word wall which was located in group.  We just put the words that we used frequently in our tree project (leaves, bark, Oak, roots, etc) in columns on our back wall.  The children used this much more frequently!  They started to label their sketches, create their own dictionary (we created one for our classroom one year), and identify letters or letter sounds.

Tag Cloud