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Q&A with Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

Many children feel that unless they read with the fluency of adults, then they are bad readers. Other children see classmates having an easier time learning to read and it makes them insecure. Children rarely accept the “everyone learns at a different pace” line — although it’s the truth. They don’t accept analogies like baseball players need a lot of practice before they are master athletes.

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Q&A with Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

No one knows more about children’s books than librarians who work in the children’s room of a library. The librarian at your child’s school is an equally valuable resource. There are also bookstores with excellent children’s departments and very knowledgeable clerks.

Before talking to any of these people, I recommend making a list of books your child has particularly enjoyed and consider what kinds of books are the most appealing: books about kids like them, books about magical worlds, books with lots of action, books with lots of silliness. This will help you to select stories that your child will be more interested in reading.

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Q&A with Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

Children who love books and stories before they are readers are very likely to love reading.  Children who get lost in stories they hear, who imagine characters and feel for the problems characters face, are likely to also get lost in stories as they start reading. Being swept away to other worlds as you listen to stories is the path to being swept away to other words as you read for yourself.

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Written by Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Chief Curriculum Officer

Featured on Jim Henson’s Family Hub

We’re big fans of learning AND playing. In fact, we often find ourselves doing both and don’t even realize it. Our very own Peggy Kaye, shared a few activities to get your family reading and playing, which were featured on Jim Henson’s Family Hub!  

 

Reading and play – do the two intersect? They can and they should – because when they do, the mix can be magical. Presenting reading tasks, or any other skill, in games or engaging activities lowers children’s anxiety and increases their involvement.

TREASURE HUNT:  

Saturday morning… nothing special on the agenda… might be time for a treasure hunt.

First, decide what the treasure will be. It could be a small toy, a cookie or a special trinket.  Then find a hiding place.  Next, take five to ten index cards (the more cards, the longer the treasure hunt) and write clues on them.  

The first card will direct your child to the second card.  “Look under the red pillow in the living room.”  The second card — which you will hide under the red pillow — directs your child to the third card. Your child goes from card to card until…the treasure…. is revealed.  

This game will take you about ten minutes to prepare, but the fun will last a lot longer than that.  Better yet, your child has a powerful motivation to read each card, which is the unspoken agenda for the game.

SCAVENGER HUNT:  

Next week, you might try a scavenger hunt.  This game works best when there are several players. Make a scavenger hunt list: something soft, something blue and red, something green you can eat, something orange you can wear, and so forth. Each hunter gets a bag to gather their goodies. The first to find everything on the list wins.

FAMILY JOURNAL:  

A shared journal offers a perfect way to make reading and writing an integral part of your family’s life.

To begin, you need a book with unlined paper to use as a journal. Drawing books work beautifully for this job. Once a week, each member of the family picks something that happened during the week that was great, or awful, or especially fun, or something worth remembering.

On the top of a fresh page, write the date, and then each person adds their experiences. Take dictation for young children, or let them use invented spelling. If what’s written isn’t understandable, you can translate underneath.  You might decide to use drawings, with or without captions, to share the week’s memory.  You might decide to include something you all did together rather than have different contributions.

After a few weeks, go back over the book and remember together.  Leave the book in an available spot so that anyone, including your child, can pick it up and thumb through it. If making this a weekly event isn’t optimal in your house, that’s fine. You can pull out the journal when it makes sense to do so.

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Use GoNoodle for learning breaks and beyond!

In partnership with our friends at GoNoodle, we wanted to share the benefits of exercise and movement for young minds, especially as a reenergizing break after a span of learning (and before the next!).

Everyone knows that movement is good for the body, but studies have proven that movement is good for the mind as well – especially for children.  Exercise has a long list of brain-benefits including: “improved attention and memory, increased brain activity and cognitive function, and enhanced mood and ability to cope with stress” (via Edutopia).

Teachers rely on GoNoodle’s hundreds of movement and mindfulness videos to break up the day for their students with fun and purposeful content.  After a quick dance party or yoga session, students are ready to sit back down and learn with clear minds and relaxed bodies. Parents can use movement and mindfulness breaks at home as well to channel energy, manage emotions, and reinforce activity from the classroom.  Give GoNoodle a try at home for FREE – sign up for a family account on their website!

Here are some of the different types of activities GoNoodle has to offer:

Dance:

Perfect for an energy burst, family dance-off, or sing-along to your favorite GoNoodle song!

JUMP! in the NTV: Noodle Television channel

 

 

 

Mindfulness:

Kid-friendly mindfulness videos reduce stress, settle anxiety, and boost confidence.

Melting in the FLOW channel

 

 

 

Yoga:

Learning yoga poses and stretches help empower children and get the blood flowing.

Release Your Warrior in the Empower Tools channel

 

 

 

Fitness:

Movement videos are focused on fine and gross motor skills, cross-lateral movement, coordination, and balance.

Full Speed in the Fresh Start channel

 

 

 

Try these breaks and others at home with a FREE GoNoodle account!

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