So you think you know how to read a book to your child…? [3 years to school]

plenty of words that stand out in Pamela Allen books

plenty of words that stand out in Pamela Allen books

Did you know there is a direct relationship between the hours a child has been read to and their success in literacy?  It is also linked to their likelihood of attending university, better parent-child interaction and promotes far higher vocabulary, attention span and imagination skills.

Children learn through imitation, so the more you show them that reading is fun, the more likely they will be to enjoy reading too.  Below are some tips to get more out of reading with your child (remember reading to your child ideally starts from birth and occurs daily!!) and to take literacy learning a step further:

  • Point out parts of the book, the author’s name, what pictures you saw in the book that are featured on the back of the book, page numbers, index, and even the letter on the front relating to the author and where it is kept in the library
  • Talk about other books you’ve read that are written by that author
  • Run your finger under the words as you read
  • Point out words that ‘move’ across the page (eg. splash, oops) or those that stand out in some way
  • Point out a word that is repeated in a book (and then try to point out again soon after in a different book)
  • Find a letter such as the first letter in your child’s name
  • After the book, ask your child what they liked about it
  • Think about taking it for show and tell to daycare/kindy which also promotes your child helping to retell and talk about the book
look at those words!

look at those words!

Most importantly! Respond enthusiastically to all attempts to join in.  Don’t get caught up in just reading the book!

🙂 Remember to join us on facebook to see all our posts – I raise my kids 🙂

So you think you know how to read a book to your child…? [12 months to 3 years]

Did you know there is a direct relationship between the hours a child has been read to and their success in literacy?  It is also linked to their likelihood of attending university, better parent-child interaction and promotes far higher vocabulary, attention span and imagination skills.

IMG_4620[1]

Children learn through imitation, so the more you show them that reading is fun, the more likely they will be to enjoy reading too.  Below are some tips to get more out of reading with your child (remember reading to your child ideally starts from birth and occurs daily!!):

  • when at a familiar page, wait and wait some more for your child to join in by saying a word/words, pointing or doing an action previously seen
  • wait before you turn a page to see if your child knows what is coming next (they might say a word or a gesture to let you know they remember the next part)
  • ask questions
    • for ~18mths-3yr olds : what is he doing?, who is that?, encourage naming and pointing
    • for 3-5yr olds : I wonder what might happen next?, have you ever seen that?, what was it like?, encourage more story retell or relating to their own experiences
  • add in actions to add more meaning, particularly for little ones eg. hand showing ‘over’ for cow jumping over the moon, arms doing movement for wipers on the bus, hand movement to show what ‘tilt’ the boat means
  • after you have read that book for the 50th time (!!), encourage your child to help you ‘retell’ the book, by looking at the pictures and asking if they remember what happened. Encourage any attempts and try not to correct them. This is great for learning to sequence stories themselves (and to see what they understand of the book)
  • before the last page, ask your child what they think might happen. A great one for improving imagination! And after their idea, you could offer another possible ending so they can see there are many ways to write a story and different people might think of different ‘ideas’
  • refer back to favourite books in real life scenarios, for example, ‘that’s a pipe, like a water spout incy wincy was in!!’, ‘we fell in the water like the animals in ‘Who sank the boat’!’, ‘look, these are pumpkin seeds, remember like we saw in the book….?’
  • talk about the characters, relate them to your child (‘he misses his daddy when he is away, like you do’, ‘he’s got a little sister, like you do!’)
  • don’t forget to define words your child may not understand by using actions or other words your child knows (think Getting thrown into a new language is not easy.)   Don’t overlook any words as you might be surprised the words you thought your child would understand, they aren’t really sure of what it actually means.
  • Aim to pick a few words per book (do you know what ‘afraid’ means, what do you think a ‘tuffet’ is?) to discuss

Most importantly! Respond enthusiastically to all attempts to join in.  Don’t get caught up in just reading the book!

Stay tuned for some book ideas and reviews for Book Week!!

And for the little ones, So you think you know how to read a book to your child – [birth to 12 months].

So you think you know how to read a book to your child…? [birth to 12 months]

Where is The Green Sheep? will captivate the youngest of audiences!

Where is The Green Sheep? will captivate the youngest of audiences!

Did you know there is a direct relationship between the hours a child has been read to and their success in literacy?  It is also linked to their likelihood of attending university, better parent-child interaction and promotes far higher vocabulary, attention span and imagination skills.

Children learn through imitation, so the more you show them that reading is fun, the more likely they will be to enjoy reading too.  Below are some tips to get more out of reading with your child (remember reading to your child ideally starts from birth and occurs daily!!):

  • from birth to about 6 months – read the story or just point out the pictures or find a book you can sing to, which will interest your baby even more
  • from 6 months to 12 months (or more)…ditch the story!!! 
    • your aim is to keep their attention, whether that be naming one picture per page and flicking quickly, working towards pointing to two pictures per page until eventually reading the story
    • most little ones at this age will not have the attention for words on the page, so pick up any book with good pictures, especially pictures of everyday things your baby might know – single picture books, Spot, Maisy, Where is the Green Sheep, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see?, Old Macdonald, Wheels on the Bus
  • making up the story, just by looking at the pictures, encourages you to use words your child is more likely to understand, rather than relying on the actual story written
  • keep your child’s attention for longer by encouraging them to help you turn the pages.  This can be done from 6 months of age and is best done with board books.  Use the words ‘turn the page’ each time and show them with your hand which way to turn it.
  • discourage turning backwards in a book as this does not teach your baby the flow of left to right.  Most children who turn from the left are just not sure how a book ‘works’ and need some guidance.  Open the page from the right halfway and say ‘turn the page’, helping them to do so.
  • from birth, it can be easiest to lie down next to your baby on the bed and read, so your heads are together. They can turn to look at you (once they are able to) during the book which is more social than you sitting behind them.  You can also keep an eye on what they are looking at and be in a bit more control of the book.
  • let your baby guide the book – don’t get so caught up in reading the book, you miss the fact your child is looking at different pictures to what you are reading about (eg. if you are naming the page with the bear on it, but they are looking at the next page with the cat, skip to that so they hear the correct word for the picture)
  • point to the pictures that correspond to what you are reading, particularly if they are words your child may not know – imagine someone was reading you a book in Russian, you’d learn some new words quicker if someone pointed to the appropriate pictures at the same time
  • for those children that have limited attention span with books, don’t forget lift-the-flap books, touch and feel books, song books (eg. old macdonald) and books with attractive pictures and repetitive phrases (eg. Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?; Where is the green sheep?; Dear Zoo; Peepo; Each Peach Pear Plum)
  • place books here and there throughout the house so your child can find them several times a day

Most importantly! Respond enthusiastically to all attempts to join in.  Don’t get caught up in just reading the book!

Stay tuned for some book ideas and reviews…

literacy begins

literacy begins

Do I get on this ‘baby sign’ bandwagon or not?…

Baby sign has become quite popular lately and is certain to be a topic at mother’s groups.

The trouble is, you don’t have to be qualified in early language development or signing to teach it.  Hence, ‘baby sign’ can thus vary and be very expensive to learn.

What is key concept signing?

The ‘real’ baby sign is called ‘key concept signing’.  Here are some features:

  • it uses individual signs from Auslan (Australian sign language) along with gestures, pointing and facial expression
  • just the key concepts (or words) are signed, not the whole sentence – for example, ‘come get your hat or ‘more or finished?
  • words are always spoken as you sign
  • you might find key concept signing at childcare centres (if they use any)and also by Sofya, the hearing impaired Play School presenter

What are the benefits of signing?

Research indicates that all babies, not just those with hearing difficulties or language delays, benefit from being signed to.  Whilst many parents can only dream of teaching their baby a second language, signing allows your child to experience the same language opportunities of learning an extra language. These benefits include increased neural pathways in the brain and thus enhancing the language areas of your child’s brain.

Just like teaching another language, teaching your baby a sign for a word is teaching it that we can give more than one symbol to the same meaning (eg. flower), that is, a spoken word (‘flower’ or even a hand movement (the sign for ‘flower’).  This develops ‘symbolic thought’, which is the crux of language.

On top of having a ‘second language’, signing to your child gives more information than just saying a word verbally, which teaches them more about that concept.  For example:

  • the sign for ‘cow’, showing horns above your head, teaches the child a feature of a cow
  • the sign for ‘duck’, showing the duck’s bill with your hand, also teaches a feature of that animal
  • the sign for ‘book’, opening two palms outwards, shows that a book is something to be opened
  • the sign for ‘bath’, rubbing fists up and down in front of body, teaches your child the action that takes place in the bath

This all sounds very simple, but is literally building pathways in your baby’s brain and helping them to remember the word for next time, as it would be easier for you to learn a word in another language with someone reminding you with natural gestures (think ‘hat’, ‘come’, ‘stop’).  The sooner your child starts communicating to you, the sooner they get more interaction which is like a snowball effect for their development.

Keyword signing has been shown to promote quicker language development and definitely not hinder speech!  Here are a few reasons:

  • The adult is forced to speak slower and use simpler phrases, whilst they learn the signs.  This allows extra processing time for the child to understand the message.
  • Signing encourages establishing more eye contact and using more hand movements and facial expression.
  • A sign lasts in the child’s visual field until you take it away, whereas a verbal word comes and goes.  Think about someone talking to you in another language.  You would stay ‘with’ someone longer if they were using some gestures, rather than someone just talking.
  • You virtually only need to know a handful of signs at first, and repeat them.  This repetition of early words/concepts, thus helps your baby to learn language much quicker.
  • A baby starts to understand words well before they begin to speak.  They also start to use their hands before their lips and tongue can produce speech.   Hence a child can start to use their hands for signs, before their lips and tongue can produce speech.   Giving them signs is a way to help them express what they want to say much sooner.
  • Signing can help to decrease frustration not only now but also down the track when your one or even two-year-old hasn’t developed clear speech.
  • An example would be being at the shops  and with no context, your child says ‘doo’.  It could be ‘two’, ‘do’, ‘zoo’ – but then they sign ‘zoo’ … Some children develop clear speech quickly, others do not.  Some children don’t mind if you don’t understand them, others do.  Having signs is a good back up, just in case!

Remember, the early years count.  The sooner you get your child understanding and then expressing their thoughts, the more they can interact with you, which builds up the social and language areas of the brain and of course the cognitive areas.

So can you see the benefits of signing to your child?  It is quite easy and quick to get started.  See post Getting Started With Signs for more information.

🙂 Heidi

Declan working out his hands! Signing 'finished' using both!

Declan working out his hands! Signing ‘finished’ using both (his brain hadn’t yet worked out how to only use one)!

My sister and I signing the alphabet song to Hayden when he was about 7 months old.

My sister and I signing the alphabet song to Hayden when he was about 7 months old. Fun!