Joy of Reading

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Kathy Collins and Matt Glover remind us of a critical component of reading instruction for our young learners:
It’s vital that we support young children’s reading in ways that nurture healthy reading identities, that foster an attraction to books and a love of reading, and that teach them how make meaning in any text they choose, whether or not they can read the words.

—Kathy Collins and Matt Glover, I Am Reading, published by Heinemann

This fostering of a love of reading to connect with others, to gather information, to hear a great story, to laugh, cry or rejoice, etc. starts when a child is born and continues throughout life.
Allison and Watson (1994) in their article, The significance of adult storybook reading styles on the development of young children’s emergent reading, support the idea of reading to infants as young as 0-3 months. They found that the earlier teachers and parents began reading to children, the higher the child’s emergent reading level is at the end of kindergarten. Bredekamp and Copple in the book, Developmentally Appropriate Practice Third Edition, published by NAEYC, share with us that reading aloud to children is a developmentally appropriate practice starting as young as infants . These practices include:
​Infants: Caregivers need to remember the importance of language development through talking, singing, finger plays and reading.
​Toddlers: Caregivers should read frequently to the children- both one child individually and to groups of two or three, always in close physical contact.
​Preschool: Every day, teachers read aloud to children, in both small and large groups. Teachers promote children’s engagement and comprehension through strategies such as questioning and reading with expression.
​Kindergarten: Every day, teacher read aloud to children. Books are accessible in a library area and other places for the students enjoyment and use. Books reflect the children in the classroom.

What are some of the ways that we can promote a love of reading in children of all ages? How can classroom libraries and cozy nooks for reading be designed to promote reading as a fun and enjoyable choice during free choice play time?

Intentionally Designed Walls

 

Another important aspect to consider when thinking about designing your classroom with intention is the walls.

  • How do you make decisions of what to put on your walls?
  • How do you decide the image you want to portray through your room environment?
  • What image of the child are you projecting through your environment? 

As discussed in the last blog post regarding intentionally designed environments, it is critical that we examine the environment as a place for students and should be a reflection of them.

Patricia Tarr in the article, Consider the Walls,  talks about how commercially made posters, etc. that we hang for educational purposes may actually be limiting children’s sense of who they truly are and true capabilities and stifles their imagination and creativity. She states,

“So too does the mass of commercial stereotyped images silence the actual lived experiences of those individuals  learning together. An overload of commercial materials leaves little room  for work created by the children—another kind of silencing.”  The challenge for early childhood educators is to think beyond decorating to consider how walls can be used effectively as part of an educational environment. In Reggio Emilia the walls display documentation panels of projects that children are engaged in. These become the basis of ongoing research and dialogue between the children, teachers, and families. Panels of photos, artifacts, and text make “learning visible” to participants and to outsiders (Rinaldi 2001).”

Think carefully about what pictures, children’s work, or photos you place on the walls. Students absorb a lot from their environment; so, we want to use the space for demonstrating both the learning and the process toward the learning. When determining what you are going to place on the walls, ponder

  • is the item is important to your educational goals and objectives 
  • how can it be  created by the students instead of commercially  or by the teacher
  • does it demonstrate beauty and is it aesthetically pleasing
  •  how does the item(s) display not just the product of learning but also the process of learning
  • is it a part of the children’s world, something that is relevant to their life that they can touch and observe
Classroom that Belong to the Students
Students helped to design the color posters. journeyintoearlychildhood.com

For example: one Pre-K teacher felt it was important to have the colors displayed on her walls- so her students created the color  posters which was much more meaningful to them and since it was created by them,  they tended to reference and look at the posters more often than they would have if it was limited to a commercially made design. They were beautiful and much more aesthetically appealing.

 

 

 

Math and DAP Practices

NAEYC Position Statement on Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings

In high-quality mathematics education for three-to-six-year-old children, teachers and other key professionals should …
-enhance children’s natural interest in mathematics and their disposition to use it to make sense of their physical and social worlds;…

-provide ample time, materials, and teacher support for children to engage in play, a context in which they explore and manipulate mathematical ideas with keen interest.math

INCORPORATING NUMBER SENSE      INTO PLAY

“Early math is not about the rote learning of discrete facts like how much 5 + 7 equals. Rather, it’s about children actively making sense of the world around them. Unlike drills or worksheets with one correct answer, open-ended, playful exploration encourages children to solve problems in real situations. Because the situations are meaningful, children can gain a deeper understanding of number, quantity, size, patterning, and data management (Grossman 2012).” (Making Math Meaningful for Young Children, published by NAEYC)number sense

Intentionally Designed Environments

Pondering about where to start with intentionally designing your environment for the start of the new school year can at times seem overwhelming.

One key aspect to think about that is critical all year but especially at the beginning of the year is making the space belong to the students – not to the teacher! The classroom space should reflect the learners.

At the beginning of year, building the space for the learners would include designing for the importance of building a community of  learners- of creating the environment to assist with being a school family.

IDEAS:

  • Add pictures of each child’s family to a family bulletin board or have them in frames in the dramatic play area.
  • Create identity panel,  with photo on one side and self -portrait on the other side.
  • Create a chandelier or a piece of art work together as a class that is displayed in the room.
  • Allows pairs or small groups of students to work together on art projects to build friendships and have a piece in the classroom that they can continue to discuss and show to others.

What are some ways that you build the classroom to reflect the students and build your classroom community?

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me for this journey!

A couple of my goals through this blog is collaboration among educators to ponder upon the following…

  • Ways to challenge children to construct meaning through exploration and discovery
  • Strategies for the intentional design of the environment
  • Personal and professional insights in regards to the development of our youngest learners

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton