Friday, May 9, 2008

Jump Into Literacy by Rae Pica

Jump into Literacy: Active Learning for Preschool Children by Rae Pica
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Gryphon House; 1 edition (June 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0876590091
ISBN-13: 978-0876590096
Source of book: Review copy from publisher

Every now and then I'm going to share some wonderful resources that parents and teachers can use to help their children develop language and literacy skills. Jump into Literacy: Active Learning for Preschool Children is one of these resources.

Theory Behind the Book: The introduction to the book thoroughly discusses the theories behind the book and references a number of studies. The basic gist is that the components of emergent literacy are listening, speaking, reading, and writing and children learn best through active involvement--by moving, by participating, by having fun.

Divided into four sections with activities to help children develop skills in the four components of emergent literacy (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), the book offers fun activities for preschool children.

At the top of each page is a brief description of the activity's role in emergent literature, "Promotes listening skills and auditory discrimination," and "Develops letter recognition," for example. After a very brief introduction, the activity is divided into at least two parts: "To have," which lists the materials you need to complete the activity, and "To Do," which gives step by step instructions.

Some activities have a "More to do," section which gives ideas for expansion activities. The good news is that many of the activities require no materials, and those that do require inexpensive items such as lists of words, chart paper, markers, and a beach ball--probably things you can find around the house or things that are in typical preschool classrooms.

The activities themselves are organized from lowest to highest difficulty for the child to do, so there is a nice variety of activities for children who are different skill levels. All of them seem easy to prep for and to conduct, averaging around 3 to 5 steps.

In addition, they are engaging and diverse, so you and your children won't get easily bored.

Some of my favorites include:
  • "Retell Me a Story:" The teacher/parent reads a short book to children, and the children take turns acting it out from beginning to end.
  • "Little Miss Muffet:" The teacher/parent reads the nursery rhyme to children, and the children repeat each line, acting it out at the same time
  • "Pass out a Rhythm:" The teacher/parent and children sit in a circle. The teacher/parent claps a simple rhythm, and each child in the circle repeats it.
There are over 100 activities like this that will help children develop early literacy skills through moving and through having fun. Parents and teachers can easily flip through the book to find and implement activities that are appropriate for their children. This would make an excellent resource for a preschool teacher, a home school teacher, and parents who have preschool-aged children and want to have fun with learning.

Also check out Gryphon House's website, which has tons of free activities.


  1. This sounds so great! My son is just seven-months old and I'm starting to see him follow the pages--first left side, then right side--as we read. I'm so excited to watch him learning. Sounds like a great book of ideas on how I can help him to do so.

  2. Rebecca,
    Isn't it wonderful when things start to click? My daughter is almost 14 months old, and it's so exciting when she learns something new. This book will definitely give you some good ideas to help your son learn as he gets older. There are simple things in the book you can do with him now, but as he grows, you'll be able to even more of them with him.

  3. Jill, thank you so much for this review! I've passed it on to my publishers, who will be equally thrilled. Jump into Literacy has won three awards, which is very gratifying; but nothing compares to a positive review from a mom and teacher! You've made my day. : )

  4. Rae,
    I'm so glad you stopped by! And thank YOU for creating such a wonderful resource for parents and teachers!

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  9. Jump into Literacy combines children's love of active games with over 100 lively literacy activities. Written by a well-known children's movement specialist, these joyful games will engage the whole child in moving and playing as a way to develop the literacy skills needed for reading and writing.
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