Monday, December 3, 2007

The Lowdown About Learning Activities

Starting tomorrow, I'm dedicating every Tuesday to presenting ideas for learning activities and reading tips you can use with the week's featured book.

Why include learning activities?
Why don't I just write reviews and be done with it, you ask? Well, I'm a firm believer that in order to love ANYTHING or ANYONE, we must be able to identify with and connect with it/them. When children are able to see how something they read relates to their own life, they are much more likely to pick that book up and read it again. I've also heard parents say over and over again that they read books to their kids, but they don't know what else to do besides read it. They don't know how to take it to the next level and help kids make those connections. So, to help you out, every week I will give some ideas for learning activities to help you expand upon the book and to help kids see how the characters and story line relate to their own lives.

What Kinds of Activities do I Discuss?
Don't worry...I'm not talking about having deep, complex conversations here. I'm talking about simple things such as having children look at an animal and then talking about their own pets or favorite animal--ANYTHING to get them thinking about the book beyond the words and pictures on the page. For those of you who want to have deeper discussions about the lessons or themes taught in the book, I will sometimes give ideas for discussion questions. Plus, on every Thursday, I will go into depth on the some of the "life lessons" the book attempts to teach. Because I believe children learn in many different ways, I will try to vary the ideas and even throw in some "arts and crafts" ideas from time to time.

Where do I get these ideas?
I do a little web searching and find some ideas, especially the arts and craft ideas. But I mostly come up with them on my own. I used to be a teacher and was responsible for creating units of lesson plans and activities based on books. If you've tried something or have an idea, please feel free to comment and share.

Do you have to try every activity?
Absolutely not! These are just ideas. You know your child the most and know what he/she is able to do. For those of you with really young children, all you'll be able to really do is read along, point at the pictures, and name things. My daughter is still an infant, and that's pretty much all we do now, but she gets excited when I pull a book out, read it to her, and name all of the things we see on the page.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun! If it seems like a chore and you're not having fun, your child will notice it and will feel the same way. Also realize that you and they will not love every book you pick up, and that's okay too.

I hope you enjoy this Tuesday feature and find more ways to instill the love of reading in your child.

1 comment:

  1. oh, yippeee!!! I am glad you will be posting activities. I just got the jewel box ballerinas book - very wonderful and am going to use it as a read aloud and part of our "character ed" portion in kindergarten. My brain is buzzing with thoughts of hands on activities for the girls (my students are all girls).