Hear and Say Reading

How we read to children is just as important as what we read to them. How we read can make a big difference in their attention, their comprehension, and their interest. We use several methods for reading books during storytime. One of the easiest methods is Hear and Say Reading (or Dialogic Reading).

generatedtext (1)Simply take your cues from your child. Find a book he/she is interested in. The book should have a simple story, clear illustrations, pictures of familiar things, illustrations with action and detail, and shorter in length.

The child takes the lead when it comes to reading the book. You will be talking about the pictures–not reading the words. This will help build oral language and comprehension. Once you do it a few times, it may even become part of your everyday conversations with your child–no book required!

  • Start by asking simple what questions. (What do you see on this page? What else do you see? What is happening?)*
    Build on your child’s answers. (Child: I see an elephant. Parent: That is a large elephant!)
    Follow your child’s words with simple questions. (What is the elephant doing? Why does the elephant have a sad face?)
    Repeat. (Child: I see an elephant. Parent: That is a large, gray elephant! What color is the elephant? Child: Gray.)
    Help your child as needed.
    PRAISE your child’s answers and observations.
    Follow your child’s interest.

*Once you have started asking simple what questions, transition into open-ended questions that require more than a one-word answer.

 

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Celebrating Thanksgiving with Books

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Alex. You’ll find Miss Alex sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at a couple of our branches.

This week, I am thankful to be a children’s librarian. I got to get hoarse reading Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich-Smith to a group of 49 kids and get peaceful reading Julie Flett’s Wild Berries to a smaller group. I chose these activities to promote literacy around 51tDYvMpZML._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Thanksgiving because, as Debbie Reese suggests (2014), “for very young kids, I’d stay away from historical contexts and focus on Native people of the present.” There are links leaf_man_coverbelow to a few interesting reads if you want to explore this topic further. Since I am thankful for this opportunity to share my own post and for your attention as well, I will keep the rest short and sweet.

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During my November school visits, I was also blown away by how enthusiastically the kids practiced how to write thank you cards, and I was happy to crack a “Thank You” card joke similar to this quote. Laughing with the kids was a fantastic mood-booster in this time of sniffles and shorter days. 51fKqT-Ze5L._SX387_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

As we did in my storytimes, I also found it was great to focus on shared small joys like crunching on leaves as we walk outside or play pretend. I am sharing my story time handout on fall and winter as well, in case you feel like singing and reading, too. You are always invited to our library 6174fX8kYwL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_and our programs and always welcome to share your feedback and ideas.

Preschool Winter-Seasons Story Time Handout 1

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Constant creativity and encouragement are so important when working with kids. Thank you to my colleagues and students and to the parents, teachers, and others who may be reading for your infectious openness, curiosity, and support. I am going to follow this blog’s title and “laugh, play, read” all fall and winter, listen to my kids, look for gifts and resources from others, and share my own. Thank you.

Resources:

The Braid of Literacy

Reading. Singing. Talking. Playing. Writing. Together all of these actions can help children become skilled readers. Weaving these practices together vocabulary, phonological awareness, narrative skills, print motivation, print awareness, and letter knowledge are acquired.

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Strands of early literacy development. Reprinted from Connecting early language and literacy to later reading (dis)abilities: Evidence, theory, and practice, by H. S. Scarborough, in S. B. Newman & D. K. Dickinson (Eds.), 2002, Handbook of early literacy research, p. 98, Copyright 2002, New York, NY: Guilford Press.

We are going to get technical for just a minute, so bear with us. In 2002, literacy researcher Hollis Scarborough released a study dealing with the Braid of Literacy. In the study, Scarborough found literacy could be broken into two simple parts: Language Comprehension and Word Recognition. But more importantly, it is within these two parts that more complex things are at work. As you can see in the illustration, when all of the pieces and parts of literacy come together, they form a tightly woven braid. But it is only when they are working together.

That was too technical. But what does that all mean?

Let’s go back to reading, talking, singing, playing, and writing. When you read with your child or talk with your child, when you play and sing together, and when you write and let your child use a paper and pencil, you are weaving together these different parts of literacy.

Spend a few minutes each day trying to do at least two of these simple practices with your child.

Just Write About It…

Writing is a very important skill for children to master. Writing involves creativity, comprehension, fine motor skills, sometimes the ability to follow directions, reading, and so much more. Writing is one of the five early literacy practices helping prepare children for school.

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Here is a simple activity you can do with your child to incorporate writing into your day.

  • Supplies:
    • Paper
    • Crayons, Markers, or other item for coloring
    • Pencil
    • A favorite book

For my example, we read the story Orange Bear Apple Pear by Emily Gravett. It is a simple story with four words: orange, bear, apple, pear. The author uses the words in fun ways through her illustrations.

Image result for orange bear apple pearAfter we read the story, I asked my group of children to think of four words. They could use any four words. When they had a little trouble thinking of words, I asked them to name their favorite color, fruit, and animal.

We moved to the table. I gave them each a large piece of paper, and I told them to use their four words to write a story and draw a picture to go with it.

The most important part of this activity was letting the children be creative and work on their own. The hardest part of this activity was letting the children be creative and work on their own. Yes, you read that correctly. As adults, we have a tendency to want to make our children’s work perfect or help them the entire way. For this project, it’s important to let them figure it out on their own. Let them sound out the words and “kid spell.” Let them draw an animal the way they “see” it.

We did this with a mixture of age groups from 3 to 8 years old.

This mixes a little bit of process art (letting them create on their own) with a little bit of product art (there’s a specific end result with a few instructions). You will be surprised what your child comes up with!

Book Review: Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Elizabeth. You’ll find Miss Elizabeth sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at one of our branches. She shares her review of the book Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak.

Image result for goodbye summer hello autumnSome say nothing is more beautiful than nature.  There are vibrant colors, lakes and rivers, and animals noisily scurrying or perhaps lazily wandering.  When seasons change, so does the sky, wind, and temperature.  All of those pleasant experiences are captured so masterfully in the beautifully illustrated book Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak

Pak uses conversational text between a young girl and nature throughout the book.  The girl greets everything she sees on her journey through her hometown in late summer, and nature responds as it prepares for autumn. 

This watercolor wonder is my top choice for the Caldecott Award this year.

 

Book Review: Pete the Cat’s Got Class

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Elizabeth. You’ll find Miss Elizabeth sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at one of our branches. She shares her review of the book Pete the Cat’s Got Class by James Dean.

51Zg+cghrYL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_It’s the perfect read for children as they are preparing to head back to school.

Pete heads to math class in this story, which is one of his favorite subjects. He’s such a great mathematician that he volunteers to help his classmate Tom learn to add and subtract using Tom’s favorite toy, racing cars. Using something of great interest to learn a new task was successful! Maybe Pete will grow up to be a teacher?

Be sure to checkout this book at your local library, and let your librarian know how you liked it!

Tall Blocks, Small Animals

Books become more meaningful when you can expand the story to a hands-on activity. Here is one extension activity you can do with very little supplies.

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You’ll need to read the book Tall by Jez Alborough. (Hint: Stop by your local library and pick up a copy if you don’t own it.) Tall is about a few jungle animals who help a little monkey feel taller than he really is. This is a great book with very few words. You can use the illustrations to talk about what is happening on each page.

Next, get out the blocks or the LEGOs. You will also need a couple small animals or action figures. Now let your child’s imagination go wild. Let he/she build towers as tall as can be (just make sure no one is on the other side in case it falls!). When he/she is done building, place the small animal on top of the tower. Just how tall can the tower be before it falls over? Experiment with different shapes.

This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about the tower he/she is building. Ask questions like how tall do you think it can go before it will fall? What kind of tower is it? Why is the animal or action figure climbing so high? What is it the animal is trying to see?

Try to avoid yes/no questions as they require no other answer. To help expand your child’s vocabulary and comprehension of the story, you want to ask open ended questions.

Credit for activity idea: Teach Preschool.