Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

It’s Kindergarten registration time! Each year around this time, schools set aside special times to have parents and children register for Kindergarten. Sometimes there is a special program attached to the registration day. Sometimes children get a tour of the school or get to meet the teacher. Sometimes there are also health and academic screenings offered during the day.

Untitled

Regardless of what your school offers for Kindergarten registration, it is important to make sure your child is on track and ready for school. Last year, we wrote about this same subject. You can check out that post here.

The Ohio Department of Education has put together a great little checklist of social, emotional, and physical skills you and your child can work on together to help get them ready for school and ready to learn!

Advertisements

DRA, AR, Lexile, Guided Reading, OH MY!

Depending on your child’s teacher, school, or school district, he might be using DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment), AR (Accelerated Reader), Lexile, Guided Reading, etc…there are a number of ways to level books which can make labeling books and creating lists somewhat tricky. If you recall from this post last week, it is hard for a public library to label its books with so many different leveled reading programs.

One of our favorite resources to use at the Stark County District Library is the NoveList Plus database. (Click the link, and then scroll to the N section for NoveList Plus.)

novelist200

You can use this database to search for read alike books to popular children’s and teens’ titles. You can also search by Grade level, Lexile, and/or Accelerated Reading level.

Here are some other ways you can find books that fit the needs of students.

It’s important to keep this fact in mind as you search: Just because your child is in a specific grade level, does not mean he/she reads at that grade level. These reading systems are intended to help students find books within their reading levels.

It’s also important to remember children need to be able to find books that interest them. They are more likely to read the book and retain the information if it is something they have chosen and want to read. It is also important to note that reading with a friend, parent, or caregiver is also VERY beneficial!

Finding the Right Book

You may have noticed every school district or classroom uses some sort of leveled reading system to help students choose the “right” book based on fluency and comprehension. It is hard for a public library serving so many different school districts to provide this same support for readers–mostly because the books would have so many numbers or letters on them, it would be hard to find the title or author. Instead, we can use a slightly different system to help young readers find just the right book–and parents, you can use this, too!

14968-bibliophilia

  • Find out what your child has enjoyed reading in the last year.
    • What are his two or three favorite books?
    • What does he know a lot about?
    • What are his favorite stories? authors? series?
    • What does he want to know more about?
  • It is important to get an idea of your child’s reading level and fluency rate. Choose one of the books he has read and enjoyed, ask him to tell you what it is about, and read a page from the book. Talking about the book gives you an idea on comprehension and reading aloud gives you an idea on how well he can read without making mistakes for this book. This gives you the opportunity to find something similar in vocabulary and reading level.
  • Once you have an idea about reading level and interests, you can begin searching for a book he might enjoy. It is important to find two or three choices. Browse the books together and talk about them. Get to know what he is thinking about as a reader through casual conversation. Talk about the pictures, the story, the characters, and point out interesting things in the book.
  • The storyline is the most important part during this casual conversation. Don’t get bogged down with vocabulary, yet.
  • Now that he has chosen a book or two, use the Five Finger Rule to determine if it would be a good independent read. Ask him to read aloud the first page, holding up one finger every time he gets to a word he doesn’t know. It’s okay to help him. But if he reaches five words before the end of the page, it’s probably going to be a harder book for him to read on his own. (Don’t put it away, though, as it might be a great choice for you to read aloud to him. Reading independently does not have to be the end goal! Reading together is very beneficial.)
  • Take the book home and read it over and over! Ask your child questions about it. Relate the book to his own life or interests. He is more likely to remember it.

Stay tuned for another blog post next week on how the library can help you find books using Accelerated Reader (AR), Lexile, DRA, and grade level.

Laughing is a Sign of Learning

Did you know having a sense of humor helps children develop self-esteem, learn to problem solve, foster creative thinking, and hone social skills? This is according to author Louis Franzini, who wrote the book Kids Who Laugh: How to Develop Your Child’s Sense of Humor, in an article on Parents.com.

IMG_4430

The root of humor is taking something familiar and changing it in a unusual way. Typically, babies will start laughing around the age of 4 months. Up until this point, they are just beginning to learn how the world looks, feels, and sounds. As a child develops,  she learns to use humor as a way to build up self-esteem for a friend who may be feeling blue or for her own self if she makes a mistake. Laughter or a good sense of humor can help a person look at things in an unusual way.

So what are some ways you can encourage your child’s sense of humor? Read funny books, of course! Play with puppets! Make up stories! Sing silly songs together! Play dress up! Play Peek-a-Boo! Have fun with your food!

Here are some favorite laugh-out-loud picture books from our staff at the Stark County District Library.

  • Goldie Locks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
  • We Are in a Book by Mo Willems
  • The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak
  • This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
  • Steve, Raised by Wolves by Jared Chapman
  • Mother Bruce by Ryan Higgans
  • John, Paul, George, and Ben by Lane Smith

Add to our list! Comment with your favorite laugh-out-loud books below!

 

3 Questions

Have you ever asked your child what his/her day was like? What is his/her response typically? Is it “fine” or perhaps “I didn’t do anything” or maybe even “I don’t know.” Well, I read an interesting blog post today about the three questions you should ask your child every night before bedtime. And these three questions will hopefully cure those “I don’t know” answers–but it may take a little time.

At the end of each day, as you are tucking in your little one, ask him/her these three questions. Put down your phone. Turn off the television remote. You may be surprised by the answers.

  • What is something that made you smile today?
  • What is something that made you cry today?
  • What is something that you learned today?

 

Children need three things as they develop: attention, bonding, and communication. These three questions help you give your child just that. You are giving him/her the one-on-one attention and focus they crave (even if they don’t say so). You are bonding with your child and learning about them in those little moments. And you are communicating with them…talking and discussing things. By talking to your child everyday, hopefully, you can teach them to talk to you about all things…happy, sad, confusing, scary, etc.

Reading Just 20 Minutes a Day…

Today’s post comes from a tidbit posted by Reading with Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers. Children learn new vocabulary by being exposed to new words, exploring new worlds, and experiencing new ideas.

IMG_3643Let’s do the math: If you read with your child for 20 minutes a day, you will have read 7,300 minutes over the course of a year. Let’s assume an average rate of 200 words per minute. Your child will have heard 1,460,000 words by the end of the year.

Multiply that by 5 years (birth to kindergarten) and your little one will have heard 7,300,000 words before entering grade school.

These are words your child may never have heard in his or her own environment and were likely coupled with images, concepts, and creative ideas your little one may also not have encountered.

Simply stated, reading is the easiest, and most entertaining (in our opinion), way to prepare your child for school – and life.

Be sure to visit the Reading with Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Facebook page for more great tips on reading with your child!

 

Let’s Play!

kids_edit_002d3

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.

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.”

reading poster 1png

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

Speech Development

Let me preface this post by saying I am not a speech therapist, nor do I have a background in speech therapy or speech development. I do, however, know speech therapists and have done some research. Therefore, I hope you will find today’s post as a starting point to learning more information. If you have more questions or would like to know more information, please check with your child’s pediatrician or contact your local school district.

In the chart below, you will find a general guide depicting when children typically master each of the letter sounds. Keep in mind, though, every child is different and develops in his or her own time.

speech chart

You will notice that boys and girls develop sound articulation at various times during early development. In general, about 50% of children have the sounds mastered by the beginning of the line at each age and about 90% of children have it mastered by the end of the line.

Take a look at the chart…you’ll notice that some sounds aren’t learned until almost 8 years old, and for some children, it takes several years to master sounds like “ing,” “r,” or “z.” To help children practice letter sounds and identify them, it is important to speak clearly to them. Baby talk is cute (words like lellow, skissors, or pasghetti), but they don’t help children articulate and learn letter sounds. Point to letters and words as you read them in books and ask your child to repeat you.

Thirty Million Words

Remember this post from two years ago (almost to the day!)? Well, talking to your child is still a trending topic. Last week, NPR posted an article based on the book Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain by Dana Suskind, MD.

30-million-cover-hi-rez

Read the article here. And check out Thirty Million Words the website here.