Let’s Play!

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Play is the work of the child.
~ Maria Montessori, educator

Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning. ~ Fred Rogers, TV personality

Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.
~Diane Ackerman, author

It is a happy talent to know how to play. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer

If you search for “importance of play” on Google, you come up with 451,000,000 results. That is quite the number of pages to sift through and read. To make it easier, I’ve linked to a few of the videos, websites, and interesting graphics highlighting the importance of play from the adult/research perspective as well as the child’s perspective. Just click the links above.

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Why Reading the Same Book Over and Over Again is a Good Thing…

This is something I talk about whenever I give a presentation on literacy or the benefits of reading. It’s a question that comes up often. “Is it okay to keep reading the same book over and over again?” OR “I’m so tired of reading the same book to my child.”

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Credit: Real Teacher of NY

But there are significant reasons why it is important to keep reading those favorite books again and again. Check out this link for a great summarized list of reasons:

http://www.readbrightly.com/why-reading-the-same-book-repeatedly-is-good-for-kids/?ref=B3D59C1A614B

Homemade Monday: Spelling Words

I stumbled up on this fun idea today while checking out a blog/tumblr. This blog has nothing to do with literacy, but the writer posts fun photos. And it fits in so well with our Start Smart initiative.

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We will probably debate the effects of technology on children for years and years to come, but in the meantime, let’s agree moderation is key! But this post isn’t about the good and bad habits that form from using technology. This post is about a fun idea you can use with your preschooler, Kindergartner, and even first or second grader!

All you need is a laptop or computer. Check out the post by Emphasis Added for more details!

 Tonight we played a game – “Type on the Computer Game.”  
(Riveting.  For real.)

It started as a desperate attempt to distract the girls from a series of ridiculous squabbles- but it quickly proved to be one of my more successful diversions ever.

Hazel is suuuuuper into words & letters, right now.  She wants to know how to spell every word that pops into her head.  It is nonstop….yet endearing.   This march to literacy has been my favorite mama-milestone yet.

As Simon & Felix worked on dinner, Hazel & I sat together on the couch.  My computer perched on her lap.  She gave me a word (first one:  stroller).  We worked together to figure out the letters and I let her hunt and peck them out on the keyboard.  She’d then think up the next word and we’d repeat the sequence of action.  Tonight, Hazel learned to hit the Shift Button after each word and how to employ the backspace when lingering on a key too long.  We even dabbled with Caps Lock when spelling their names.

She belly laughed at least a dozen times during the activity (usually when finding an out of reach letter on the keyboard) – a perfect reminder of how much joy little ones seem to find in every task they undertake.

This was her list.  And the name she gave the doc.  It took us probably 20 minutes to get it all typed up.  I know this exchange could be easily dismissed as nothing more than…um, typing….but I wanted it documented here as a peek into the mind of my 4 yr old.

 What words does your child ask you to spell often?