Many four year olds start to show an interest in reading. Once they have figured out that the little squiggles on the page mean something (i.e. having print awareness), their curiosity grows and they may tell you “I want to read”. Then what? You may want to start whipping out sight word flashcards or sign your children up to reading apps like ‘Reading Eggs’. But here are three things any parent can do that will boost their child’s readiness for reading and set them up for literacy success in years to come. All three tips are based what research tells us are the foundational skills in reading, demonstrated by the Reading Rope (Scarborough, 2001).Continue reading “Tips for helping your beginning reader”
We all know that reading books is important for our child but do we know why? If we truly understood the benefits of read alouds, would we change the way we read?
Little Birdie Book Boxes provide RichREADING activity cards in every box to accompany their carefully-selected, quality picture books. These cards provide a key focus for parents to think about when they are reading the book. These small changes in HOW you read will give your child an ‘educational edge’ and make your read alouds RICH and your child’s future RICH in opportunities. Here’s how:
1. The best things about books
Books introduce our children to new worlds, helping their minds to grow and develop. Books and pictures are concrete, always there be to read again and again unlike speech which ‘disappears’ as soon as we are finished talking. Stories and words in books come back to us the same way each time we read a book. This repetition makes learning new words and ideas easier for your child. So read their favourite story again and again…you are doing your child a solid.
Sneak Peek: Little Birdie Book Boxes give you access to our very own YouTube channel that allows your child to read along to their new favourite picture books being read aloud by ‘yours truly’. You can thank us later 🙂
But how can we go beyond just reading the story over and over again so much so that we can we can recite it in our sleep?
2. Not your everyday conversation
The ability to use language to think and learn is developed through the pre-school years and is fundamental to literacy and success at school. We want to foster more complex kinds of language children need to learn about the world e.g., to compare and contrast two things, to pretend and imagine, to provide explanations and descriptions. Your child will start to learn this type of language long before they actually start school and quality picture books provide the perfect platform to start these conversations.
3. Turn book reading into a conversation
Books are a rich source of language for thinking and learning. To build this type of language, we want to encourage the children take turns to contribute their thoughts and ideas throughout the reading. It involves an ongoing conversation – stopping, asking, listening, responding, explaining and commenting.
Studies show that children who participate frequently in extended conversations with adults have better language and literacy outcomes.
4. Ask, don’t test
Testing questions are not useful because they are usually too simple to be cognitively stimulating. Questions like, “What colour is that?” “What is this?” (a familiar object) or “What is he doing?” (when it’s obvious) are testing questions. Your child may answer these questions correctly but they are learning little from them, and often these questions end the conversation.
5. Balance comments and questions
If we are asking too many questions throughout our book reading, it becomes an unbalanced conversation. We all know those people who make us feel as though we are in an interview answering twenty questions – it is unnatural. Over questioning during book reading limits the opportunities for your child to learn from you.
If adults use more abstract and sophisticated language in their conversations with children, children will raise the level of their language.
BE A RICH READER
Our RichREADING activity cards give you information about the language for thinking and learning and a comprehension skill is targeted in each book box. We provide you with facts and practical tips for how to extend comprehension for your child. Every box includes specific examples of comments and questions to try during your read alouds.
Out 6 month memberships are great for building a home library or purchase a gift box for a special someone on our SHOP page today.
We know you are reading aloud to your child everyday, why not get more bang for your buck, and become a RichREADER today!
Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies
Weitzman, E. & Greenberg, J. (2010). ABC and Beyond: Building Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood Settings. The Hanen Centre: Toronto.
As speech pathologists, we love books because they support conversation, turn taking skills and language development and we regularly use them to therapy. Our new series will highlight five picture books each month that we have chosen for their message, vocabulary, text features or illustrations that we believe you will enjoy reading with your kids at home! Continue reading “3 new books in June 2019”
“Papa Penguin and Pippin run the best cafe in the Antarctic, serving fish for breakfast, fish for lunch, fish for dinner, and even… fish ice cream! Everyone loves fish. Or do they?” What’s for Lunch, Papa Penguin? takes a penguin chef on a chaotic roadtrip around the world in search of new exciting foods to try. It is one of the two books featured in our Cooking Kit book box, we are celebrating its release with this 5 question chat with the author and illustrator of this hilarious picture book, Jo Williamson. Enjoy!
What does “language” even mean? What is it? Well, it can be tricky to define because language is actually a lot of things! But, for the purpose of this post let’s say that language is a form of effective social communication. According to the Raising Children’s Network, language skills support your child’s ability to communicate, and express and understand feelings. It also supports thinking and problem-solving, and developing and maintaining relationships. Learning to understand, use and enjoy language is the critical first step in literacy, and the basis for learning to read and write. Continue reading “Why are good speech and language skills important for children at school?”
The holiday season is upon us and we have curated the perfect book box for you, whether you are going away or staying home. Our books and activities will keep your kids’ minds and bodies busy! Let’s show you what’s inside this FUN-FILLED book box!Continue reading “Unboxing Happy Holidays”