Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Having fun with literacy learning

We recently kicked off the BU Toy Library’s Early Literacy programming!

We are visiting Children’s Country Cottage, Magic Carpet Preschool, 5th Street Head Start, and Town Park Head Start. For Children’s Country Cottage, our main focus for our six-week programming is vocabulary development. Each week we bring in a book and activity from our Elephant and Piggie shelves, which are books developed to increase children’s vocabulary. The themes we have covered so far are outer space, health, and weather.

As for our other locations, we are focusing on one early literacy skill a week and tailor them to the themes of the preschools. For phonological awareness, which is a child’s understanding of a words sounds and syllables, we made our own interactive game with the children focusing on rhyming.

We created mats with pictures on them and when we held up a picture (which was our target word), the children had to hop to the word that rhymes with the word we held up. The children loved this activity, because it got them active and moving and it really enhanced their knowledge about rhyming.

For narrative skill, which is a child’s ability to sequence events and tell stories, we reinforced the concepts of sequencing with the children by singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” along with a bulletin board that mapped out the story. As we sang the song, children came up to the board and placed each event that occurred on the board in order.

Afterwards, we created our own spider puppets using cut outs from our Ellison Die Cut Machine so the children could have a character to sing their song with. The children loved being a part of creating our storyboard and enjoyed being about to create their own spider to take home with them and sing the story along with their parents and guardians.

For print motivation, which is getting children interested in reading and writing through play, first, we read the book “A Closer Look.” This is an interactive book that encourages children to guess what an object is when looking at it very close up. The children had to visualize what the big picture looked like, or what the object actually was when viewing farther away.

Afterwards, we used materials from our Explorer play costumes and our Naturalistic Intelligence Tote to explore close up a variety of seeds that grow in the spring. The children studied the seeds and had to make guesses about what plant they thought it grows in to.

The kids loved guessing the objects within the story and were very active. They enjoyed being able to take their time and examine the seeds with the magnifying glasses and other materials we brought. They had very interesting guesses and they had a lot of fun!
    — Emily Haines is an intern with BU Toy Library.

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