Giving you the tools and skills to help you develop into a stronger teacher of literacy!

Monday, January 31, 2011

February is Dental Health Month: Books to Read to Your Child

February is dental health month!  It's a great time to read books to your child about going to the dentist.  If your child has not been to the dentist, age 3 is a good time to start.  Find a family friendly or pediatric dentist.  They can make your child's dental experience a good one.

Here are some good books to read about dental health:

Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit to the Dentist

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist




Saturday, January 22, 2011

More with Poems: Color Poems


Poems are fun to read with children.  Here are some color poems to read with your child.  You can even extend the activity by making your own or collecting things in your home that are the color of the poem. 

Point to the words as you read the poem.  By doing this you are modeling what is called "voice to print matching".  This shows your child that every time you move your finger to a new group of letters (actually a word) you say a word; when you are done saying that word you move your finger to a new word.  Children learn that the black squiggly lines, or letters, make up words you can read.

  Here is a poem about the color red:

Red is an apple 
Red is a rose 
Red is the color of 
My frozen, icy nose!

Here is one I wrote with my preschooler:

Red is a heart
Red is a strawberry
Red is the color of
the stop sign.

Here is another poem about the color blue:

Blue is the ocean
Blue are my eyes
Blue is the sky where
The lonely eagle flies.

Brown is the mud
Brown is the bear
Brown is the color
Of my brother's hair.
 (poem from: http://www.songs4teachers.com/colorpoems.htm )


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Phonemic Awareness: Using Songs... Apples and Bananas

Here is a fun song to sing with kids that allows children to play with sounds. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear sounds in words.  Teaching this can be tricky, but here is one fun song that can be used.  

I like to put the words on a chart so I can point to the words as we sing.  This helps children to learn that the letters on the paper make words that we can read or sing.  

It will also help your child learn common sight words they will later read in books.  In this song, the sight words include: I, like, to, and the word and.  

Sight words are words that are frequently found in books or text that children need to learn to read on sight.  They should not stop to sound out these words.  Here is a list of sight words your child will need to learn to read.

Apples and Bananas

This song is available, along with extension activities, is available on
Music Mania: A Complete Early Childhood Curriculum

 This traditional song is a classic for drawing children's attention to awareness.

I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas 
I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas 

I like to ate, ate, ate ay-ples and ba-nay-nays
I like to ate, ate, ate ay-ples and ba-nay-nays

I like to eat, eat, eat ee-ples and bee-nee-nees
I like to eat, eat, eat ee-ples and bee-nee-nees

I like to ite, ite, ite i-ples and by-ny-nys
I like to ite, ite, ite i-ples and by-ny-nys

I like to ote, ote, ote oh-ples and bo-no-nos
I like to ote, ote, ote oh-ples and bo-no-nos

I like to oot, oot, oot oo-ples and boo-noo-noos
I like to oot, oot, oot oo-ples and boo-noo-noos

Monday, January 10, 2011

Phonemic Awareness: Playing with Beginning Sounds

Learning to identify letters and their sounds is another step toward reading readiness.  Starting in preschool, children start to learn about letters and words.  As children begin to recognize the different letters of the alphabet, the next step is to teach your child the sound or sounds the each letter makes.

You don't have to think of teaching your child letter sounds as a job...it's more of an extended experience with books, pictures in books and other items in your home.

Here are some things you can do to help your child learn the sounds for each letter:

1.  Read ABC books together and talk about the pictures that begin with the same beginning sound.  Don't try to talk in detail about all 26 letters in one day.  Pick a few each time you read the story.  Remember it's a good thing to reread the same books to your child.  Talking about the pictures will also help build your child's vocabulary at the same time.

2.  Beginning Sound Game:  Talk to your child about things you see at the grocery store, while driving, or at a park.  After identifying an object, talk about the letter the item begins with and then say the beginning sound slowly with the rest of the word so you child can hear you isolate the sound for them.

For example: wagon....."w sound" then "agon", then put it together...wagon.

Ask what sound wagon begin with...after a while your child will try to imitate the sound.  If they don't know it, tell them and ask the child to say the sound.  Praise the child for the great job he or she is doing.  Make it a game and soon your child will ask you what sound does... begin with?

3.  Collect a basket or bowl of every day items around your home.  Play the beginning sound game with these items.  Then add to the bowl or basket more items that begin with the same sound so the child can match objects that begin with the same sound.  For example: a pen and a pencil, or a lollipop and a lemon

4.  I love the song from the dvd: Letter Factory by Leap Frog...
Children quickly learn the song and it helps them to remember the sounds of the letters.  Just remember the l doesn't say "ull" it says "l" and the r doesn't say "er" it say "r".  It also teaches the short vowel sounds, so later, once your child knows these sounds well, you can add the long vowel sounds.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Environmental Print...Beginning Stages of Reading

Has your child ever the seen the golden arches with the word McDonalds and said "McDonalds" or maybe the Walmart sign and said Walmart?  


Children learn to recognize and "read" signs they see everyday in their environment, called environmental print.  This is one of the beginning stages of reading.  Children begin to learn that the string of letters make up a word and the word they see they know from their life experience.

Encourage your child to read words that they know from day to day life.  Even cut these words out and put them on the refrigerator for them to practice reading.

When young children begin to see themselves as readers, they want to learn more about the black squiggly lines called letters and how when they are grouped together make words that adults read.

Children will become more observant about print they say and may begin asking you what the word says.  These are all great discussion to have about letters and how letters make up words.

Things to do with environmental print:
1.  Collect the words your child knows: cereal names, store names, candy bar names, etc.
2.  Place the words in a bag for your child to practice reading.
3.  Collect two of each word to match together or play memory with them where you glue the words on cards and turn them over and your child tries to flip two over at a time to see if they match.
4.  Have your child read environmental print when you are out running errands.  This will give them educational busy time during the drive.
5.  Write simple sentences using the enviromental print.  Ex.  I like __word__ . (Glue the environmental print on a card in the sentence.  Then help your child to read the simple sentences.  Point to each word as you read the sentence to help you child learn the concept of a word and how you say one word each time your move your finger.  This is called voice to print matching.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Best New Years Resolution...Reading to your Child

Happy New Year!  This is the time of year we make resolutions for the new year.  The best resolution you can have is to read to your child 15-20 minutes a day.  This includes your elementary aged children as well.  Just because your child can read does not mean you should stop reading to them.

Children should independently read books they enjoy at their reading level.  Here is a website with leveled reading lists:  http://home.comcast.net/~ngiansante/

You should read aloud books to your child that are higher than their reading level.  You can choose any books that interests your child or pick from from higher grade levels on the leveled reading list.  It is best to read books that are only two or three levels above your child's reading level to ensure your child is comprehending or understanding the story or text.

This does two things.  First, you are building your child's listening comprehension, this is their ability to listen and understand what they are hearing.  When your child's listening comprehension increases, so does the level of the books they can read on their own.  Reading to your child higher level books also builds your child's vocabulary and interests as well.

Strategies to Improve Elementary Listening Comprehension can be found at: