Brain research indicates the best early indicator of a child's success is "a strong bond to at least one loving, predictable, responsive caregiver." Creating such a bond with a child "is the most important factor in creating a healthy brain" (Jill Stamm, PhD, Boosting Brain Power). The greatest thing you can impart to your children or students is not information. It is how much you care about them. One easy way to do this? "Reading to children ... stimulates the pleasure centers in their brains and strengthens the caregiver-child bond" (Jill Stamm, PhD, Boosting Brain Power). For more information, get it @yourlibrary:
The question I get asked the most by early childhood educators is, "How do you hold their attention when reading aloud?" While easy to answer, the skill takes a lot of practice. The best way to capture a young child's attention with reading is to enjoy reading aloud. Regardless of what you are reading, children as young as infants recognize that you are focusing your attention on them. They observe you sitting calmly and hear the variations in your voice. They are watching your facial expressions and your non-verbal movements. All of this information is being processed in the child's brain. The attention you give to a child when you read aloud activates the reward center of their brain, causing them to want to repeat the experience. So chose a book that you enjoy reading and let the kids watch you have fun with it!
SUPPLIES: empty paper towel roll 3 pieces of cardstockdark blue light blue brown frog print off glue stick ruler scissors pencil 2 paperclips STEPS: take the dark blue card stock sheet and lay it down on your work station “landscape”. Then take the ruler and make a mark every two inches, you want to create five columns. From the top to the bottom draw a straight line for guided cutting. Do the same for the light blue and brown cardstock sheets. PDF for the frogs I used: Five Green Speckled Frogs On the light blue cardstock, between the newly drawn lines take creative liberty and draw a wave across the page. It can be one continuous wave, or 5 small waves that all look the same. On the brown card stock, go up about two inches and cut lengthwise along the paper, you should have 2-inches x 2-inches brown squares. Cut out all the green frogs, waves, and blue strips. Take the blue strips and make a small glue strip on one of the ends, fold it over (without creasing), it should make a teardrop shape. Repeat step for all 5 strips. Starting from the middle of the rounded edge, glue a brown square on each of the 5 teardrops. From there, glue a frog on top of the brown square. Flipping the teardrop over you want to put the wave on the opposite side, make it flush with the square part of the teardrop, where you glued it together earlier in step 5. Your teardrops are now ready for the tube, simply slide each one on, putting a paperclip on each end between uses to ensure all pieces stay together. Written by: Teresa [...]
Racing to Read’s sticker mosaic is underway! Last year, kids used the sticker board to create the mosaic of a tiger. What will it be this year? Makerspaces are all the rage, but it’s not just hype. Makerspaces promote higher-order problem-solving skills according to the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report for 2015. When kids are creating, designing and constructing, they are building the necessary skill sets for students in the 21st Century (NMC 2015). […]
Just in time for Thanksgiving and fall, Racing to Read has added a Native American themed deposit collection for preschoolers. Request the collection today. 859-962-4062 Written by: Richelle Rose, outreach programmer for the Kenton County Public Library and children's book critic.
Racing to Read is excited to offer our teachers STEM related kits for preschoolers. Our first kit is an interactive coding game where children “code” their own music! Osmo Coding Jam is a fun game where you can explore different types of rhythm and code your very own personalized song. This is recommended for children aged 3-6 years old. Our kit includes the Osmo Coding Jam game tiles, the iPad, iPad charger, and iPad base. Our second kit is just as exciting and comes pre-packaged with an attitude. Cozmo is an interactive robot that can not only recognize your face, but is very competitive. You can play with Cozmo, and his three cubes, in either free game mode, or you can code him in the “code lab” to complete tasks. When he’s not occupied he will explore his world and sing to himself. But, make sure you take care of Cozmo, he has to be properly calibrated, fed, and played with! Cozmo is intended for children aged 3-6 years old. Our kit includes Cozmo, Cozmo’s charging pad, Cozmo’s three blocks, plus the Asus tablet pre-loaded with the Cozmo App, and tablet charger. Our last kit is the most exciting of all, our Parrot Minidrone! Use the tablet to fly our minidrone!. This is an activity that can be either indoors or outdoors, but always with teacher supervision. Our kit includes the minidrone, along with the charger, plus the Asus tablet that is pre-loaded with the in-flight simulation app, and tablet charger. Call us at 859.962.4062 to reserve your STEM kit today! Written by: Teresa Curtis, outreach programmer at the Kenton County Public Library, and Pete the [...]
The Racing to Read team is always looking for new and improved ways of serving their teachers and children. We are excited to share with you our latest addition to the van; our revamped “Teacher Resource” shelf. This shelf offers a collection of books that teachers exclusively get to check out. They range from informational picture books, that help teach a variety of early literacy topics, to topical pop-up books; that are just fun to share with children during circle time. I’m going to highlight some of our newer additions to the shelf, and what you should be on the look out for this upcoming school year. Our new teacher resource shelf will replace the moving book shelf on the van. We want the books on the highest shelf to reinforce the notion that these specific books are for teacher checkout only; not for children to checkout and take home. We have flagged these books with a green teacher resource sticker. One of our newest teacher resource books is titled “My Body Belongs to Me: a book about body safety” by Jill Starishevsky.“This straightforward, gentle book offers a tool parents, teachers, and counselors can use to help children feel, be, and stay safe. The rhyming story and simple, friendly illustrations provide a way to sensitively share and discuss the topic, guiding young children to understand that their private parts belong to them alone. The overriding message of My Body Belongs to Me is that if someone touches your private parts, tell your mom, your dad, your teacher, or another safe adult.” – Provided by publisher. There are recommended tips for using this book with a child, in easy to follow steps located at [...]
Learning about other cultures and holidays builds compassion in young children. Try these books for learning about holidays from around the world:
The temperature is dropping, making it difficult for you to take your class outside and expel their never-ending energy. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite activities for you to try with your class. Fruit and Veggie Sorting: All you need is a pocket folder, some glue, a pair of scissors and a printer! Just print out the below attached PDFs, glue the veggie crate to one pocket of your folder and the fruit crate to the other pocket. Pass out the pieces of vegetables and fruit (make doubles if necessary) and have the kids bring up their piece to sort. food-quietbook-and-busy-bag-fruit food-quietbook-and-busy-bag-veggiest food-quietbook-and-busy-bag-fruit-crate food-quietbook-and-busy-bag-veggie-crate Read Funny Stories: One of my favorite stories to read aloud is "Bark, George" by Jules Feiffer. Pair the book with the activity below by having the kids try to remember the sequence of events from the book. All you need is the book, "Bark, George", a paper bag, some glue, a pair of scissors and a printer! To get the book, contact us at 859.962.4062! Bark, George! Get up, and Move! Here are a few of my favorite rhymes to get kids up and moving: Green Says “Go” Green says, “Go!” (march quickly) Go! Go! Go! Yellow says, “Slow!” (march slowly) Slow…slow…slow And red says, “Stop!” (stop and freeze) Go! Go! Go! (march fast) Slow…slow…slow (march slowly) and STOP! (stop) Handy Spandy Handy spandy, sugar and candy, we all jump in. (jump inside the circle) Handy spandy, sugar and candy, we all jump out. (jump outside the circle) Handy spandy, sugar and candy, we all jump up. (jump up) Handy spandy, sugar and candy, we all sit down. (sit down in the circle) Bicycle I have a [...]
This adage isn't just for the aging. "Use it or lose it" applies to young kids as well. The brain goes through a process of neural pruning, where it will eliminate anything that isn't being used. How can early childhood educators take advantage of "use it or lose it"? Provide lots of opportunities for kids to practice what they learn. Here are a few ideas: Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Reinforce through repetition. Reading the same story or playing the same game 50 times may bore caregivers, but young kids will benefit from the repetition. Ask about a child's experiences. Bringing up the memory of events reinforces the initial learning experience. "Tell me about the animal noises you learned today." Create similar experiences. Link prior experiences to new experiences. "Does this chicken puppet look like the chicken we saw yesterday?" Contrast experiences. Link previously learned skills to things that are not the same. "This turkey is different from the chicken. How are they different?"
Even though three to five-year-olds can't read, they are still eager to know what's going to happen. Try using a visual schedule to keep preschoolers focused and on task. When kids take ownership of checking off activities, they are more engaged in every facet. Here are some simple pictures I use to keep kids engaged during storytime.