Posts found under: kids

What is Early literacy

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Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can read or write.

So, we know that early childhood is a critical stage in a child’s learning life, so how do teach them what they need to know?  Well, what they need are Early Literacy Skills.

We are not trying to teach children to read, but we’re giving them the tools they will need to be ready to learn when they go to school.

Teaching these skills begins at birth.  And as we saw earlier, it is important for kids to start Kindergarten already having these skills.

One of the way is to use —Print Awareness.This is noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how we follow the words on a page.

—Some ways to teach print awareness:

◦Let children turn the pages in a book.

◦Occasionally, follow the words you are reading on a page with your finger.

◦Point out “environmental print” which are words on signs, cereal boxes, etc.

—It is more important for the reading experience to be positive than it is to read for a specific amount of time each day.

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Teaching Moral Values

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If there is one desire that virtually all mothers and fathers share, it is the wish to raise a good child. But ask any dozen parents to define “good” and you are bound to get a dozen different answers. One parent cares strongly about manners and politeness. Another will cite responsibility and obedience to family rules as the essence of virtue. A third parent upholds self-control and cooperativeness as the most admirable of character traits, and fourth emphasizes such qualities as honesty, kindness and trustworthiness. But in truth, good behavior is all these things and more, and given the proper opportunity, your youngster will be able to make all of them a part of his own character.

As a loving parent, what strategies can you use to encourage character building? For one thing, you can give your child plenty of reasons to trust you and to feel secure in your care. For another, you can be a good role model, demonstrating the values and types of behavior you want him to adopt. You can also set reasonable limits and positive expectations, appropriate to his age and temperament. You can be firm, fair, consistent and loving disciplinarian without resorting to harsh punishment. And you can help him find his way within the larger community of friends, school and strangers – explaining, interpreting, guiding and lending a sympathetic ear as he meets each new social challenge. But you cannot make your child be good – that in end, is up to him.

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Tips to improve your child vocabulary

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  • Read out aloud to your toddler

Sit your child down and read him a story out loud. Involve your child in the reading process by letting them turn the pages. Show them pictures in the book. Keep on asking questions on what they think might happen next. This practice will help them to connect specific words with what they see in the picture book as well as improve your toddler’s vocabulary.

  • Have conversation with them

Ask your child questions, if you leave her at the daycare then you might be able to ask her what she did at the daycare that day. If grandma takes care of her while you’re off to work, then ask what she and grandma did all day long. Allow her time to think about her answer and do not correct her even if she says something that is not quite correct. You do not want to lower her self-esteem when it comes to speaking. Low self-esteem is a big setback when it comes to trying to improve your toddler’s vocabulary.

  • Get them to ‘show and tell’( Story telling)

Take your toddler to a park, a beach or downstairs play area. Have her collect some items wherever you go. Let her bring them to you and then ask her to name them for you. You can say the word out loud and ask her to repeat it after you. Make it fun, by adding in descriptions and incorporating the show and tell items into imaginative tales.

  • No baby talk to your child

Children will often revert back to ‘baby talk’ because it’s comfortable and familiar. It takes too long to learn the proper words. Don’t let this happen. There is only so long that they should be speaking in baby talk. Just remember that you are on a mission to improve your toddler’s vocabulary!

  • Use Picture reading technique from a book

Use a book with pictures of common objects such as toys, food, clothing and furniture; arrange them all by category. Show the picture of the object and point to the actual item for your child. Then ask her to name the object and describe it.

  • Learn a new Word each day for your child

Pick a vocabulary word and explain what it means to your toddler. Encourage your child to use that word as many times as possible. Make a game out of it or reward them every time they use it appropriately. These are the building blocks that enable your toddler to speak properly and help you to improve your toddler’s vocabulary.

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Milestone on your child reading – Infographic

If you are a parent of a 6-month-old infant or a 5-year-old preschooler, you’ll find here useful tips on how to make books a part of the child’s playtime and bedtime routines.

Reading together with young kids helps them:

–learn to recognize letters,

–understand that print represents the spoken word,

–become aware of how to hold a book, turn the page and start at the beginning,

–realize the relationship between letters and sounds,

–expand their vocabulary,

–begin to develop oral language skills.

How-to-cultivate-smart-readers-infographic

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Your Child’s Curiosity

Child’s Curiosity

Curiosity is something all babies are born with.  They come into the world with a drive to understand how the world works:A newborn follows sounds, faces and interesting objects with her eyes.

-A newborn follows sounds, faces and interesting objects with her eyes.

-An 8-month-old shakes a rattle and then puts it into his mouth to see what this object can do.

-A toddler takes a stool to reach the counter top where the phone is—a “toy” she loves to play with.

 

-A 2-year-old pretends she is the garbage collector and puts all her stuffed animals into the laundry basket “garbage truck” to figure out what it feels like to be in the other person’s shoes.

 

Babies are born learners, with a natural curiosity to figure out how the world works.  Curiosity is the desire to learn.  It is an eagerness to explore, discover and figure things out.  The more curious a child is, the more he learns. Nurturing your child’s curiosity is one of the most important ways you can help her become a lifelong learner.

Parents don’t have to “make” their children curious or “push” their children to learn.  In fact, research shows that it is a child’s internal desire to learn (their curiosity), not external pressure, that motivates him to seek out new experiences and leads to greater success in school over the long term.

Find out your child curious question and answers through our Time to Learn program.

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How to encourage a reluctant reader?

Encouraging a Reluctant Reader

  • Work out why they are reluctant

The most likely reason your child is reluctant to read is because they find it an effort. Talk to their teacher if you have any specific concerns, but a child can find reading hard work even if they have no learning difficulty. Just make sure there are no other obvious reasons why they might not enjoy it: negative responses from others, feeling pressured, eyesight problems, over-tiredness, or being given books that are either too challenging or too easy. Also, think about what times of day they are reading – are they well-fed, well-rested, and have had a chance to play? For some children it’s just that reading is not high on their list of priorities when there are far more fun activities they can imagine doing instead!

  • Be enthusiastic

The most important role you can have in this is to encourage and praise your child when they read, especially if it is a big effort for them. Try to remain enthusiastic even when progress seems slow.

  • Have someone else listen to your child read

Anyone who will be non-judgemental and encouraging. Get them to say something like, “Mum tells me what an amazing reader you are. Can you read me a story?” Small children can also be a good choice, as your child might enjoy the role reversal, but be aware that little ones have a limited tolerance for slow readers and so this can backfire.

  • Use soft toys as listening companions

Get them to be interactive, and every so often have them respond to the story – jump with excitement, hide behind a cushion in fear, look closely at a picture… Illiterate furry animals who fall down in amazement when your child reads a particularly challenging word also go down a treat.

  • Don’t feel limited to books

Any reading is good reading. It could be that your child might prefer to read something other than stories – this is often particularly true for boys. Try comics, junior magazines, toy catalogues, reading apps, kids’ websites – my son loves the Lego site. Even if they only manage to read a few words, and the a lot of the time is spent looking at pictures or playing a game, the important thing is that they are associating good feelings with having to read words.

  • Be patient

Reading involves a lot of different skills that need to come together in order to make sense out of the written word. Some children pick this up quickly, while others need more time. With good teaching and encouragement they all get there. I didn’t enjoy learning to read as a child but when I grew up I loved studying literature, worked in publishing for a while, and now writing is my hobby! A slow start doesn’t have any bearing on what kind of reader your child will be as they grow up.

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Components for Reading with children

ComponentsofReading

Reading with children and helping them practice specific reading components can dramatically improve their ability to read. Scientific research shows that there are five essential components of reading that children must be taught in order to learn to read. Adults can help children learn to be good readers by systematically practicing these components:

Recognizing and using individual sounds to create words, or phonemic awareness. Children need to be taught to hear sounds in words and that words are made up of the smallest parts of sound, or phonemes.

Understanding the relationships between written letters and spoken sounds, or phonics. Children need to be taught the sounds individual printed letters and groups of letters make. Knowing the relationships between letters and sounds helps children to recognize familiar words accurately and automatically, and “decode” new words.

Developing the ability to read a text accurately and quickly, or reading fluency. Children must learn to read words rapidly and accurately in order to understand what is read. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. When fluent readers read aloud, they read effortlessly and with expression. Readers who are weak in fluency read slowly, word by word, focusing on decoding words instead of comprehending meaning.

Learning the meaning and pronunciation of words, or vocabulary development. Children need to actively build and expand their knowledge of written and spoken words, what they mean, and how they are used.

Acquiring strategies to understand, remember, and communicate what is read, or reading comprehension strategies. Children need to be taught comprehension strategies, or the steps good readers use to make sure they understand text. Students who are in control of their own reading comprehension become purposeful, active readers.

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Making time to read to your child each day!

Learning Tech bed time reading

It’s not always easy to squeeze in those extra few minutes into your schedule no matter how much you want to. To ensure that you have time at the end of each night to read bedtime stories to your child, you may need to put some measures in place.

– Make it a priority. It’s not enough if you think it–do whatever it takes to make it work. Put it down on your schedule. Set a cell phone reminder to go off 5 minutes before your child’s bedtime. Let your spouse, boss and others know that you won’t be available during that time. Put ‘Reading to my son’ in your status message if you have to.

-Set realistic expectations. Experts may recommend reading for 20 minutes each night. Your child may demand 45. Figure out how much time you can actually spare and what is right for you and your child.

-Delegate. Don’t let household tasks such as doing dishes, picking up toys and paying bills prevent you from keeping your reading date with your child. Share responsibilities with your spouse, older children and other family members so that it frees up a few minutes for you to read.

-Trade off. If it’s next to impossible to find those 20-30 minutes of time to read to your child, stop and take a look at your daily schedule. Make adjustments to other activities as needed. You may need to swap carpool or other duties with your spouse or another parent, leave work a little early, wake up 30 minutes earlier or stay up a few minutes late to make up.

– Maximize reading time. Given that finding the time to read bedtime stories to children is a challenge in itself for many of us, we should be making every minute count. Store books near the child’s bed or somewhere in her room where it’s super-easy to reach them. Decide what you and your child are going to read this week or month ahead of time so you don’t spend any more time than you have to each night pondering over titles and staring at the book shelf.

It may seem like a small thing, but the few minutes you spend reading to your child at bedtime often pave the way for a restful 8 hours that follow and have the potential to inspire a lifelong love of reading ahead.

 

A Book a day make your child reading away!

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Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

Raise a Reader LearningTech

Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

1. Read to your child from the earliest age.

And not just at bedtime. Buy board books and cloth books as some of your child’s first toys. Carry them around with snacks in the diaper bag. Create “cozy time,” a ritual of connection in which you both associate love and cuddling with reading. Any time either of you needs a break, grab a book and read to your child. Post tantrum, during lunch, after school, while you have your coffee on Sunday, any time can be cozy time.

2. Begin visiting the library regularly

…by the time your child is two and she may well prefer reading to any other activity. Use the time in the library to read to your child as well as to select books. My kids would never sit still at library “story times,” but if your child likes them, by all means go. Write down the names of the books you check out if your library can’t give you a printout, so you can keep track of returning them on time. Keep library books on a separate shelf in the living room or kitchen so you don’t lose them, and so you can always easily find something new to read. (If you don’t take them out of the house, you won’t lose them.)

Supervising a toddler and perusing bookshelves is always a challenge; it helps if you can develop a list of authors and books so you can find good ones easily. Librarians usually have a list of favorite books for various ages, and other parents and kids are always a good source of suggestions.

3. Read to your child as often as possible.

Children could really participate in meals, reading to them during lunch or an early dinner (when the other parent isn’t yet home from work) entertained them enough to keep them sitting.  This is very different from putting kids in front of a screen while they eat. Then, they stare at the screen as they unconsciously put things in their mouth. Being read to is more like listening to the radio; they can look at their food and savor it as they listen, glancing occasionally at the pictures you hold up.

4. Don’t push your child to learn to read.

Most children learn to read naturally once they develop the preliminary skills. Your goal is not to help him sound out words, but to encourage a love of books, both pictures and stories. Teaching him to read may take all the fun out of reading. If you push him, he’ll feel put on the spot, and he’ll feel dumb. That feeling will last his whole life, and it won’t help him like reading.

If you notice that your child seems to have a hard time recognizing letters, or confuses letters, or can’t sound out words, or can’t recognize words that he has seen many times before, it is possible that he has a learning difference such as dyslexia. Discuss your concern with your child’s school and ask to speak to their learning specialist, who should be experienced in diagnosis and early intervention.

5. Don’t stop reading to him once he learns to read.

Read to him every step of the way, for as long as he’ll let you. Continuing to read to him will keep him interested as his skills develop. And it gives you lots of fodder for conversations about values and choices.

Parents often complain that their early readers CAN read, but just don’t seem interested in doing so. Most kids go through this stage, but you can help to keep it a brief one. The child’s problem, of course, is that he can read simple books, but his imagination craves more developed plots and characters. Those books are agonizing work, with too many words he doesn’t know, and the labor distracts him from the story. He needs his parents to keep reading to him, to keep him fascinated with the secrets of books and motivated to become a proficient reader.

At this vulnerable stage, it is well worth the extra time to track down books he can read and will find exciting. Picture books with lots of words work well, since he can use the pictures to help him stay interested and figure out the words. Soon, through his work in school, as well as the books he picks up at home, his reading skills will catch up with his appetite for books. Within a few months, he’ll be able to handle simple chapter books. At that point, look for series books, which often lure kids on to the next book and the next.

6. Ritualize daily reading time.

Set up a “cozy reading time” every day. This can be a perfect chill-out time after school, or after lunch in the summer, or a wind-down time at the end of the evening. It’s amazing how motivated kids are to read if this allows them to stay up a little later. We negotiated a half hour later bedtime that our first graders were ready for anyway, as long as it was spent in bed reading a book.

Some six year olds are just so tired by the end of the day, however, that reading is simply too much work for them then. Until your child is ready for bedtime reading, try setting up his cozy reading time while you make dinner, after homework is done. The only downside to this is that you’ll need to scrape out a half hour to start him off at what is probably your busiest time of the day.

7. Help her tackle the next level.

Pick a book she can read, but that is a bit harder than she might choose on her own — a simple chapter book, rather than a picture book, for example. Read together until you have to answer the phone or start dinner, but a minimum of a quarter of the book, so your child is hooked. Then tell her it’s time for her read-alone time. It’s her choice. Does she want to keep reading the book you’ve just gotten her into, or read something else? Most kids grab the book and finish it themselves. (If she doesn’t, you may need to drop back a level to a slightly simpler book.) Keep choosing engrossing, slightly harder books.

8. Help him improve his reading by alternating pages with him

…during your read-aloud time. But if he stumbles, supply the word. Don’t make him stop and sound things out; your goal is to keep him excited about the book by moving forward with the story. I recommend this only for limited periods of time – it tires kids out — and I recommend that you not be rigid about enforcing your child’s participation (in other words, have them do every third page, or fourth). If you take the fun out of reading with him, you’ve done more harm than good.

9. Try smart comics for reluctant readers.

Some kids get a terrific jump start from comics, which are less intimidating to them than chapter books.

10. Never stop reading to her.

But why give up such an important time to connect with each other emotionally? Why give up the chance to read books that trigger good discussions about values and choices and hardships and hope? Don’t stop till she fires you.

11. Read yourself.

Role model. If they don’t see you read, why should they? Discuss what you’re all reading at the dinner table. Institutionalize family reading time, when a parent reads to the whole family. As kids get older, they can take over the role of reader, or the book can be passed around the circle.

12. Limit technology.

There is no way a book can compete with TV or computer. Most kids, given the choice, just won’t choose the book often enough to make it a habit. Before you know it, they’ll have developed other habits for relaxing, and reading will be something other people do. Limiting or even banning screen usage until reading is well-established may be the most important thing you can do to encourage reading.

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Why Smart Kids Fail??

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Average kids from average homes received 432 negative statements as opposed to 32 positive statements daily.

Words such as “Don’t touch that.” “No, it is done this way” “No, you are not big enough.”

The Best way to help a  smart kids be more confident is to use more Positive words to the child

Here is a list of 15 encouraging words and phrases that will assist your child to keep trying and increase his self-esteem and confidence.

1. “I like the way you handled that”

2. “Wow, you really thought out the solution to that problem”

3. “I have faith in your ability”

4. “I appreciate what you did”

5. “You are really showing improvement”

6. “I know you will figure out a good way to do it next time”

7. “You don’t have to be perfect. Effort and improvement are important.”

8. “I trust you to be responsible”

9. “It must make you proud of yourself when you accomplish something like that”

10. “You are a valuable part of the team”

11. “It is okay to make a mistake, we all do. What do you think you learned from it?”

12. “How can we turn this into a positive?”

13. “I’m proud of you for trying”

14. “I’ll bet by next year you will be able to handle it, you just need to grow a little”

15. “I know you are disappointed that you didn’t win, but you’ll do better next time.”

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Children’s Key Skills on Play and Learn

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Children’s Key Skills on Play and Learn

1. Creating Time Try to plan ahead. Identify 10-15 minutes per day when you can play with the least interruptions. Turn the television off and involve brothers and sisters.

2. Involving Your Child Ask your child what they enjoy playing. Let them choose what they want to play. You would be surprised how many parents automatically decide how, what and when they are going to play. Children learn best and enjoy play more when they decide how they want to play and at what pace. Importantly their concentration, enjoyment levels and good behavior increases as a consequence! Hence there are strong “pay-offs” for both the child and parent.

3. Getting Down To Your Child’s Level Preparing for play is important. Make sure you are close to your child, have eye contact and show that you are interested e.g. if your child is playing on the floor, sit on the floor with them.

4. Describing What You See Let your child pick a play activity and as your child is playing just concentrate on describing what you see in a very positive tone of voice e.g. “you have picked up the red brick and are placing it on the blue brick”. This skill will need a lot of practice as you will inevitably want to direct the play by saying such things as “I know lets put this brick on top of this other brick”. Avoid asking questions and copy your child’s play.

5. Praising What You See When you feel totally comfortable with describing what you see, try to begin to use descriptive praise i.e. “what a good girl for putting that red brick on the blue brick”. Be close when you praise, smile, get eye contact, use touches, hugs and strokes. Be sincere and genuine and praise as soon as possible after the good behaviour in order to encourage them to repeat it. Your child needs to know that you are pleased in order for them to learn self-confidence and to explore further. They are learning to be co-operative rather than to be defiant.

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A Book Is a Child’s Companion

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If we want our children to enjoy the companionship of books, we must allow the child’s contribution to the relationship to be wholly salient. We want the child to know that he is relevant to the book. So as we look at a book with a child, we are flexible about how that process goes. We forget that we know it has a beginning, middle and end, and we allow the child’s pleasure and interest to dictate what it is to which we will attend, and of what the interaction will consist. We attend to the child’s agenda. We do our best to explicate the demands of perspective the illustration demonstrates, and we spend the time we need to cover and uncover, make disappear and reappear, our own faces and hands, until this loses its interest for the child. Only then do we proceed in the book. It is not unlike taking our child to the beach to view the vast ocean or to admire the sunset while acknowledging that the tiny sandcrab that scurries over the toe of his sneaker and totally captures his attention is a wholly worthy competitor for our intent and deserves our closest mutual attention. We are flexible, and we care about what our small friend’s interests are because only then can he bring his whole self to the encounter. And that is what we want. We want the child to know that he is relevant to the book.

Babies and toddlers are enriched by books. Even more important, the relationships between very young children and their parents are enriched by books. Books provide a source of mutual pleasure for parent and child that is likely to last a lifetime. We introduce infants and toddlers to books not simply because of what they will learn from them, but so that they will grow to love them. It is a gift beyond measure.

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