My husband and I aren't avid readers but somehow by chance we have managed to instill the love for reading in our 3 children. It was somewhat accidental really, but I am so glad we did! It all started when my eldest was born, like all new parents, we wanted the best for her. We started reading to her at bedtime, then it was throughout the day. Often we would end up on the couch with a pile of books with her (sometimes we dozed off while reading...). We did the same for our other 2 children. They are much older now, and don't need us to read to them anymore but at times, they like it when we read to them. I am so glad we started them reading. These days, they read at any opportunity they get, sometimes it drives me crazy (especially when there are chores or homework to be done) but I have to stop myself and remind myself how much books have enlarged their world. They know so much and now write beautiful stories. Read to your child today, you won't regret it!
Here are 7 ways caregivers can use songs and books to help their children get what they need when it comes to learning languages:
1. Find singalong books. Singalong books offer a chance for younger kids to learn with added visuals, and for older children to make the connection between sounds and printed words. By learning the song first, older children will begin naturally reading the words on the page. It is a respected method to boost literacy in young children.
2. Choose singalong books and songs that are relevant to your child's daily experience. Songs about familiar subjects and experiences, like getting ready for the day, resonate strongly with young children. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, which shows 4 children from different cultures getting ready for their day, is a great example. If you've recently visited a farm, reinforce the experience by following up with a singalong about farmyard animals, like Driving My Tractor!
3. Find songs that utilize pleasant repetition. Babies need repeated input. Find songs that won't make you crazy while also repeating key words they can use. For example, The Wheels on the Bus has a repeating structure, and refers to moms, dads, children and babies. These are all relevant to a young person's experience, and the built in repetition is a bonus.
4. Follow your child's lead. Notice how your child responds to different types of music - do they like a reggae beat, a hip-hop thump, or maybe a variety? And don't forget your own needs; you're listening, too!
5. Take advantage of your child's unique ability to learn an additional language. Use songs, books and loving caregivers. You don't need to be multi-lingual yourself - learn together! This is a gift you can give kids - for them it's much easier to learn language NOW, than in those awkward teenage years! Bilingual books like Bear on a Bike (bilingual with Spanish) and Bear at Home (bilingual with French) are a fantastic introduction to a new language.
6. Encourage children to make gestures to represent lyrics. When we move our bodies while learning, we put the learning into longer-term memory. It also helps children to link meaning with sound. For instance, when singing Whole World, making a big sun with arms overhead will help connect the word "sun" to something big and circular. Plus, it's fun!
7. Sing, sing, SING with your child! Singing releases stress, brings people together, and is a powerful learning tool. Don't be shy. Kids don't care if you're a little off-key. Just sing!
Article published by Barefoot Books . Author :Piña Madera, M.A
*Piña Madera, M.A., has been working as an educator since 1987. She is co-founder, Creative Genius and Research Curator of SingALingo, an award-winning language learning program.
Thank you to Piña for these helpful tips!
Creating your own “lending library” system with one or more partner families is an easy way to help friends interact with one another from a distance. Plus, it’s an economical way to mix up your home book collection. This activity is great because you can keep it simple or you can weave in lots of creative side projects as you prepare your swap.
1. Reach out to another family to invite them to do a book exchange. (Send them the link to this blog post!)
2. Ask your child to select a few books that they’d like to lend to a friend.
3. Label the inside of each book with your child or family’s name so that the recipient family can keep track of which books they’re borrowing. This can be an activity in itself if your kids use the paper and colored pencils or markers to create decorative name plates to glue inside the front cover of each book.
4. Place all the labeled books in a tote bag or box for delivering to the other family.
5. Insert a book list that inventories all the books you’ve included. To make this piece extra engaging, print out and fill in this Book Log so that the recipient children can quickly indicate whether they liked each book.
6. Optional: Print out and send along “Book Review” forms so that the kids receiving these books can create book reviews to send back to your children!
7. Arrange to safely exchange book collections with your lending partner.
After you’ve done a first round of swapping books back and forth, try again with the same family and a different set of books, or invite a new family to participate!
Article adapted from Barefoot Books. Author: Stefanie Paige Wieder, M.S.Ed
Celebrate the playful spirit that connects children all over the world (by Barefoot Books)
Every child has a story - and a favourite game, food, hobby, special treasure and more! With The Barefoot Book of Children, you'll rediscover the everyday moments, joyful occasions and big ideas that make childhood special all over the world. The kids in your life will love seeing themselves and their friends reflected in the hand-painted, richly detailed illustrations; and you'll treasure the conversations you have together as you pore over page after page.
But don't take our word for it! See inside The Barefoot Book of Children in the video here.
Both playful and thought-provoking, The Barefoot Book of Children makes for a delightful family read-aloud that's sure to spark timely discussions about diversity, inclusion and acceptance. For ages 3-10.