Part 2 of June = Summer. The most crucial, fundamental, key concept in learning to read is that visual material has meaning. Now, while that is obvious to us, it is not so evident to little children. Kids need to discover over and over that there is a connection between something on a page and their world. They are surprised and thrilled to find this amazing link.
How can we foster this understanding in our children? By giving them experiences with meaningful visual material–either on paper or on the computer. For really little ones start with pictures. Show a few pictures of things you will be seeing and doing on your vacation. These might be camping sites, a huge bridge, a unique building, a boat or ferry. You might be travelling on a train, a bus, going beachcombing, riding a cablecar, sliding on a big slide, whatever. Talk about what’s in the picture and how the picture will be coming alive. For older kidlets, read about what you might be seeing or doing and when that happens it’s easy to say, “Just like we read about!” And just like that a connection is established in the brain linking what’s on a page, screen or photo to an experience. Suddenly, that page or screen has meaning. And that’s how we build the foundation for learning to read.
Parents and caregivers please do not underestimate the importance of what you do at home before kids ever get to school. Now, does this activity seem hard or time-consuming? You are probably doing it anyway, but didn’t know how truly important it can be. From this side of the desk, it makes a powerful difference in the classroom. Bon voyage… Oh, by the way, do you have suggestions for a great family vacation spot, staycation or activity? Send them via comments.