Friday, June 28, 2013

Getting Ready to Read and Write

Reading and writing develop in many ways and at various ages in young children.  These skills can begin forming long before a book is picked up or chalk is used to color on the sidewalk.  Adults can facilitate children’s interest in print at early ages through daily story reading, modeling reading behaviors and engaging children in conversations.  Language usage between adults and children provides the foundation for children’s early reading and writing experiences. Parents who talk to babies during daily routines help children learn language (Lynch & Warner, 2013). 

Studio Drop-in at DCM, Create a Story

Adult influence in reading and writing development is key. So, you might ask, What can I do to encourage reading/writing readiness? Try out some of the suggestions from the        Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory on intellectual development and relevant activities to support reading/writing readiness:

  • Answer your child’s questions about print—as you read together, as you travel, even around the house.  Show children that words identify things in our world by pointing to words and reading them.
  • Ask children to write stories and letters—if they do not seem ready for this step, have them dictate a story to you; then read it over and over again!
  • Develop collections of environmental print—words from their favorite food carton, labels or signs.
  • Label items with your child’s name—the more they see it, the easier it will be to recognize!
  • Set up a writing center in your home. A place where books, papers and pencils are easily accessible could work wonders!

Reference: Lynch, Sharon A. and Warner, L. 2013. “How Adults Foster Young Children’s Intellectual Development.” In Young Children, Vol. 68, No. 2, 86-91. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Camp Kick-Off 2013!

Summer camp season has begun at DuPage Children's Museum!  This year our preschoolers opened up with Earth Science Explorers, which engaged the children in dirt digging, sand raking and much more! In our Cool Chemical Concoctions mini-camp for the 7-10 age group, children took common household items and combined them to make slime, fizz, goo and more!  Enjoy some of the highlights of these camps pictured below.

Earth Science Explorers

Campers read during free exploration
Making predictions--will it sink or float?
Air and art come together!

Cool Chemical Concoctions

How can you make a golf ball float?

Experimenting with mentos and diet coke
What substances can you use to make your car move?

Look for us next week when we return to the broad abilities of the Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Auditory Processing: Hearing is Learning or is It?

Do you ever wonder if your children are listening to you? Or, given a limited use of language, can children understand what is said to them? Are children actually able to absorb what they hear and turn it into meaningful learning?  As one of the broad abilities noted in the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory, auditory processing is defined as the ability to discriminate, recognize and comprehend aural information (Lynch & Warner, 2013).

While enjoying her snack, a 3-year-old sings, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” She proceeds to clap her hands, then sings, “If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet.” A friend joins in and adds a rhyme, “Stomp your feet, stomp your feet and eat.”

Children's language development hinges on their ability to hear, discriminate and interpret the sounds of their language.  Parents and teachers can promote infant development of auditory processing by singing songs, chanting nursery rhymes and playing games like pat-a-cake and peekaboo.  When adults recognize and repeat sounds, they reinforce a child’s ability to differentiate between language sounds and form memories for sound patterns.  Auditory processing is an important ability for beginning reading and development of phonics skills (Heath & Hogben, 2004).

Activities that can enhance auditory processing are:
-Playing listening games
-Teaching nursery rhymes and songs
-Playing musical games
-Making up rhyming songs using a child’s name or other words

Information contained in this blog adapted from:  Lynch, Sharon A. and Warner, L. 2013. “How Adults Foster Young Children’s Intellectual Development.”  Young Children, Vol. 68, No. 2, 86-91. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Heath, S. & Hogben, J., 2004.  “Cost-Effective Prediction of Reading Difficulties.”  Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 47 (4): 751-65.