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Posts tagged ‘reading’

Reading Aloud to Children Part 3 – Flannel Stories

My three part series will come to a conclusion with a post about flannel board stories.  Flannel board stories are a great way to take your standard children’s book and make them a hands-on learning experience.  This is a great way for children to tell and retell their favorite stories.  Flannel stories are great for reading, listening, retelling, sequencing, language, turn taking, fine motor skills, math, and beyond.

Flannel stories can be done in several different ways.  I made my own flannel story for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and used it last year with the Ladybugs (2 year old classroom) and this past week with the Leapfrogs (3-5 year old classroom).  With both classes, I did the story in different ways.  One way you can do it would be to hand out the pieces to the children to hold on to and they can put them on the board when they hear that event or character appear in the story.  With my particular flannel story, I made a caterpillar that the children would feed the food as he ate it in the story.  The first time through I gave the children pieces to hold and when I read a particular food, they would have to search their pile to see if they had that piece and then they were able to feed it to the caterpillar.  photo 2-3

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Another time when I did it, I placed all the pieces on the flannel board to begin with and had the children take turns taking the pieces off the flannel board and into the caterpillar’s mouth.

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For retelling, I had a child place all the pieces on the flannel board and he wanted to feed the caterpillar without looking at the book.  He retold Monday through Friday by figuring out which pieces had multiples and making the connection that one piece would be the first day, two pieces would be the second day, etc.  I was impressed with his technique.

I had an amazing experience when I did this flannel story with the preschoolers.  After going through the story a few times, I had a child ask me, “Where’s your butterfly?”  I told him I did not have one, but maybe we could make one.  He agreed and we went to the table and I opened the book for him as a guide and he got out a paper towel roll, construction paper, markers, glue, and pipe cleaners.  Once other children saw what he was doing I had others join to make butterflies and caterpillars.  They were all so proud of their work.

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If you are looking to make your own flannel story, they are actually quite simple.  I have provided photos of the one I made, along with the pieces for The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a canvas and felt.  I simply laid the felt over the canvas, wrapped it over onto the back and little bit and stapled it.  For the pieces, I looked up real-life photographs of the food.  I feel like the children are able to relate real-life photographs to their lives versus cartoon photographs.  I then laminated them and put a piece of circle velcro on the back.  You can also make the pieces out of felt.  If you are not going to use real-life photographs, I suggest using pieces that match the images in the book; that way children can simply match.  Another route to take would be to copy pages out of the book to use as your pieces (if doing so, the photos must be used for educational, personal, and nonprofit uses due to copyright laws).

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(Note: For the pieces that are multiples, I made them all.  Two pears, three plums, etc.)

For popular children’s book, the internet is a great resource to use for flannel story pieces.  Many of them are free printables that you can either color yourself or print out in color and use.  I have provided a few websites that contain pieces for popular stories that you might find of interest.  It is pretty easy to find printables if you have a specific story in mind that you would like to use.  Flannel board stories are such a simple lesson to do with children and they love being able to interact with their favorite books.  This is something that contains no age limit; all children are able to participate and enjoy flannel stories in different ways.

http://www.dltk-kids.com/type/felt_board.htm

http://www.preschoolprintables.com/felt/felt.shtml

Stay tuned for more,

~ Chelsea

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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!

Infants:

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:

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.

Preschoolers:

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!

http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200303/ReadingAloud.pdf

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

Modeling what they see

Our routine in our classroom has always been to eat lunch, read a book, and do an I Love You Ritual (click here to learn more about these!). We feel this routine is important for so many different reasons. We can build relationships with the children at this time, we begin to calm our bodies for nap, and bond with the children.

At this point of the year, the children are becoming more competent and capable with everyday as we prepare for kindergarten or just getting a year older. After lunch on Thursday, the children gathered their items for their cots and brought books to the area we always read at. The children asked if I would read a book and I shared I’d be right over. When I came over, a few minutes later, the children were split up in to three groups. Each child leading the group was reading a book from memory or word for word to their peers! I asked if I could read to them and the children dismissed me.  They finished reading and followed this same process the next day!

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