Monday, February 14, 2011

Building Background with Books - Guest Post

I would like to welcome Deirdre Smith back to The Book Chook today. I first met Deirdre at we teach, a community of mothers who like to teach their kids. I know she loves reading to her son and creating great activities about literature. Deirdre has a review of Alaska's Three Pigs at The Book Chook.

Building Background with Books
by Deirdre Smith

I believe that children need to develop a strong experiential background on a variety of topics from when they're young. It's important for adults in a child’s life to help them develop that foundation on a variety of subjects in a different manners and styles. Young children are building synapses or brain connections at a rapid rate. Their brains are constantly trying to connect what they know to what they are learning.

Books are a wonderful place to start building background. Reading fiction and non-fiction books is one way to learn about and view different subjects easily from the comfort of your home.

If your available books have more text than your child’s attention span can handle, you can still use them. Children can build background and learn about concepts by picture walking. Picture walking involves talking about what you see in the pictures or illustrations in a book.

Once you've read a book together to build background knowledge, children need to explore the new concepts that have been presented to them. This learning can take place through use of manipulative objects, cooking, constructing, crafting, and playing learning games. Exploring this way helps children gain a deeper understanding of the experiences you have shared with them while reading. Children also benefit from going on field trips related to the concepts and knowledge they are learning.

After completing some sort of exploration of the concepts or knowledge, it's important to provide a time for kids to share what they've learned. Sharing can be done in many different ways. Children can orally describe what they have been doing with you. Take the time to ask them questions, This will help them analyze and synthesize that they've done. Using a journal to record their learning experiences is also an option. Young children can draw pictures instead of writing words. Parents can later record what the children have told them about their pictures.

Deirdre Smith was a classroom teacher and technology integration specialist in elementary schools for twenty years. Although she shared a lot of knowledge with her students and learned a lot from them, it wasn’t until she became a mom that she truly came to understand what it was like to share and learn beside a child.

She shares the lessons she is learning and her reflections on parenting on her blog JDaniel4’s Mom. The blog also focuses on reading and learning explorations with her son JDaniel, along with mom related reviews and giveaways.
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