Reading and sharing Christmas books with young children is lots of fun at this time of year and those stories have a special gift of supporting early learning. For our entire lifetime, much of what we do, what we learn, and how we relate to others will be done using language. No one language in particular, but all of them. It’s obvious to see then why language is so important and so helpful for early learning and brain development. Books and stories are another way to expose kids to language and support early development.
On my radio show, Learn and Play with Mrs. A, I was able to share the whole text of 2 wonderful Christmas stories with listeners. The Global Christmas by Pam Renzi is written by a grandmother who wants to encourage a spirit of ‘connectedness’ of people all around the world. Now You Know The Secret is a grandmother’s answer to a little girl’s question: Is Santa real? It is the story of the very real Saint Nicholas who lived a long time ago and how, once we know the secret about how Santa came to be, we can be real Santas to each other.
These stories will be understood by older preschoolers. There are other wonderful books for wee little ones. Going into a bookstore at this time of year is difficult because there are so many great titles that it’s hard to choose. Libraries will also have a selection. Check out garage sales and thrift stores for children’s books. Think of books as the wrapping on a learning present and share as many as you can with your child. A few stories a day, (or the same one over and over), several times a week, all year long add up to over one thousand!! By the time a child starts school, that can become more than 5000. Children who have been read to at home have a much, much easier time learning to read later on. That’s another gift. What books and stories can you share with your child?
Parents and caregivers often ask what young children need to know before kindergarten; this is the second in a series of blog posts on kindergarten readiness and early learning basics. No matter the age of your little one, this will give you a general picture of what to do as your child’s very first teacher.
If you were building a house, would you rather just set it on the ground or have a good, sturdy foundation? You can help your child build a strong foundation for learning to read from even before your child is born. How? By reading books. Lots and lots and lots of books. Before your child is born, sit down to read a book, take a deep breath, snuggle into the chair, read some parts aloud, and enjoy it!! Not even a twinge of guilt for relaxing with a book because your child’s brain is recording the great vibes attached to books. After birth, when you find your little one is fussy, do that again. Sit down, take a deep breath, snuggle into the chair and read a book, triggering those same great vibes. (This doesn’t work 100% of the time, but you will be astonished as your little one curls up, too.)
Your child may not yet understand the words but the brain is recording them. Babies and toddlers do not always want to sit for a whole book but start with a few simple pages. All too soon, you will find there is a book that even your one-year old will find way at the back of the toy box where you hid it because you really do not want to read it again.
The importance of books is not an exaggeration. In families that read stories to children, did you know that before the kids start school they have already had the benefit of about 5,000 books? It only takes 3 or 4 stories a day, several times a week to add up to more than a thousand. That keeps piling up to be 5,000 or more, and gazillions more brain connections and learning.
To use another comparison, if learning to read were a hike up a mountain, children who have been read to at home are starting way far ahead. Books aren’t just for bedtime but anytime. Can you include some books in your child’s day?
Halloween can inspire lots of kindergarten readiness learning and fun activities and one of the best ones is reading books with your child. Why is reading to your child so important? Because reading is great exercise for brains and helps develop minds.
Young children first learn by experience and moving, then by watching and listening. When children arrive at school they add reading to the ways that they learn. By sharing books with them at home, parents and caregivers are prewiring the brain to learn by reading. Children grow large vocabularies by listening to books and expand their understanding and use of language. Have you had conversations with your child from something you’d read about in a book? At our house, we heard that the moving truck down the street was just like the one in a little girl’s Book Of Trucks.
Children learn the most basic skill needed for reading long before they arrive at school. They learn that the squiggles called letters hold meaning. That is so basic we don’t even think about it but in order for children to understand the print-meaning connection they need lots and lots of exposure to books.
Books also strengthen the pathways for learning by watching and listening. Colors, numbers, sounds, pictures, feelings, and other information are all explored in books.
For a wonderful treat at Halloween and all year, can you share some books with your child?
No matter if you have a child starting preschool or kindergarten this year, next year or a few years from now, do you know what the most important activity is that you can do at home? Best of all, it’s not just for kindergarten readiness but other kinds of development, too. It’s reading and sharing … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Reading
One of the most powerful activities that you can do at home to help develop your child’s kindergarten readiness is to read books and share stories. How about a Reading Olympics? Each day set aside a few minutes to either read to your child or tell a story. To earn a gold medal, read 3 … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness and Reading Olympics
Reading and sharing books with kids is a powerful kindergarten readiness activity. Did you know that kids who have been read to at home have a “brain-bank account” of about 5,000 books by the time they enter school? Just picture how much that will help in learning to read. These kids already know: how a … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks, Books, and Olympics
I’ve been resisting doing a kindergarten readiness post on great children’s books about spring because there were so many and I just couldn’t choose. Then today on the Teach Preschool blog Deborah highlighted a book that can be used for Spring, April Fool’s, and Easter. I was glad I’d waited so I could share this funny story with you. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Spring Fun/Learning Activities #10
Yesterday’s Super Bowl was exciting and today brings all the post-game analysis of key plays and strategies. When it comes to learning and readiness for kindergarten there are some key plays and effective strategies, too. One of the most effective ways to help your child (even before your little one is born!!) is to read … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Super (Bowl) Learning Strategies
Our area had a fresh blanket of snow overnight. Excitement ran high in many houses; kids were hoping for a snow day and parents were hoping it wasn’t! One of my favorite stories is called Snow Day, written and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann. Did you know that snow can help your child with reading? No, … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Snow Helps Reading
Now that we’re closer to Halloween it’s probably okay to start talking about how pumpkins can be jack-o-lanterns. Although kids have been seeing lots of them for days already, earlier blog posts talked about them as another sign of fall. At this time of year, I love to read two favorite stories. One of them … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkin & Halloween Kids’ Books