Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Encouraging Literacy in the Very Young, Part 3

Tip #3 - One of the things I love most about children is their ability to find joy in the small stuff of life. The definition of "walk" to a toddler or preschooler is far different from our adult definition. Adults walk in order to get exercise, to try to shed those extra pounds. Not so with young children. Speed is not a part of a child's stroll around the neighborhood, and I believe, that can teach us as parents to slow down and enjoy those little things that children take such delight in.

Allow your toddler time to feel the cool dampness of mud, the tickly grass, the sounds of honking geese. Then…guess what comes next…read about what your child is naturally drawn to. Find books about mud, grass, and geese. Get fiction and nonfiction. If a thunderstorm rumbles through town, talk about it with your child, and then go get some books on lightning and thunder. The great thing about children's books is that you can find a book on a certain topic for any age.

For example, when I share my book Cheep! Cheep! with preschoolers or young grade-school children, I often show them other books (not necessarily mine) that have similar themes. Cheep! could lead to several different thematic ideas:

- a new sibling joining the family - read Cheep as well as books like Mercer Mayer's The New Baby

- other farm animals - look at Garth Williams' Baby Farm Animals or Margaret Wise Brown's Big Red Barn

- welcoming spring - look at a book by Lois Ehlert, like Planting a Rainbow

For an reader (adult or child), the key is finding what you like to read about--baseball, solar eclipses, giant squid, flea markets, or yes, possibly, even baby chickens. Whatever you like--enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. What a great series Julie - creative, useful ideas. I love the idea of expanding on your child's everyday experiences with books that take him to the next step. (And you've recommended some of my favorite authors and books too!)