learning

Do you often ask, “How can I make my child pay attention when I try to teach the alphabet?” 

Well, there are two main reasons why young children fail to pay attention when adults try to teach them about the alphabet. For some children, the task seems abstract — why learn all those letter names anyway? Other children appreciate that learning the alphabet is very important and this can make them anxious about their ability to succeed. There are other reasons a child won’t pay attention, but fortunately they all have one very easy solution: make learning time playful, easy, and short!

Devote just a few minutes to alphabet learning time, 5 minutes is plenty. Pick a good game to play that focuses on just one or two letters. Don’t worry about any mistakes your child makes. Rest assured that the more you play, the less mistakes a child will make.

Here are some simple letter games you can play anywhere:

  • Write the letter A on three Post-its and the letter B on another set of three Post-its. Tape them securely to a wooden or linoleum floor. Have your child stand on one of the As. He has to jump from an A to a B and then back to an A and then to a B. If this is fun and easy, try adding the letter C. You can take a turn, too. If you miss a letter, it just adds to the fun.

 

  • Challenge your child to go find three letter As in the supermarket! You can also do this in other places, like the waiting room at the doctor’s office or on the bus.

 

  • Write the letter A on six index cards or Post-its. Hide the cards in a room and let your child go on a find-the-letter hunt.

Instead of A or B, you might begin with the letters in your child’s name. This will give extra meaning to the games. Stop playing before your child is bored. It is far better for a child to complain that a game is ending than want to stop because it has become boring.

 

Let us know how this works for you and feel free to share any videos or pictures on Instagram, of your little ones enjoying these letter game. We can’t wait to see!

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We know kids are amazing and have the most amazing ideas, so we wanted to tap into that imagination to create amazing content for kids, by kids.

Our friends at Kidpass joined us at The Tribeca Craft Studio to watch the exciting creation process unfold. Our team of kiddos rolled up their sleeves and shared their creative, outside-the-box ideas to help us create a new ice-cream store full of imaginative and amazing characters!

We kicked things off with a very serious brainstorming session with HOMER’s panel of fun experts to come up with the next “Make Your Own Story” activity in the HOMER App. If you don’t already know, we have a section in our HOMER Reading app called “Make Your Own Story” where kids place pictures of characters and props onto a background scene to tell a story. This makes storytelling accessible for young children even as they are just beginning to learn to read.

“Even if they’re not saying any words out loud, internally, they’re deciding what a character is going to do and they’re doing it while having a tremendous amount of fun.”

-Peggy,  Chief Curriculum Officer at HOMER.

These amazing kids helped us create a magical ice cream shop with all new characters to manage the shop and customers to visit it. Peggy, helped guide the team’s creativity and Chris Gelles, our Senior Director of Art & Media Production, brought the kids ideas to life.

Want to see their amazing and inspiring ideas? Check out the cool footage we captured right here:

..And don’t worry, that was just the beginning. NOW it’s YOUR TURN!

We need kids everywhere to get involved, so we can continue building this ice cream shop in our HOMER Reading app. Can your kiddo could come up with HOMER’s new, craziest ice cream flavor before it opens on April 20th?

Follow @learnwithhomer on Instagram to learn more about how you and your little ones can get involved. Their ideas could be selected and brought to life in the HOMER Reading app!

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What are Sight Words?

What’s the most common word in the English language?  It’s the. Imagine if every time you saw this word, you had to stop and figure out what it was. It would make reading even the simplest text very slow and painful. Being able to read the at first sight makes things a lot easier: no sounding out, no trying to remember. You recognize it just like your own name. Sight words are words like the. These words occur so frequently that readers, including very young readers, need to know them instantly.  

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Exploring an area of interest helps children grow their vocabulary and background knowledge, gives them an outlet for creative self-expression, and helps them make sense of how the world works can even help them discover new interests. Importantly, it also creates a positive attitude towards learning that can have a lasting impact.

Here are ways you can motivate your child to learn through their passions more and ensure they are  actively engaged in what they’re learning:

 

Engage all of the senses! Help make their interests visual through books, videos, or even trips or experiences like visiting a local fire station. Incorporate the sounds of a fire engine or make it tactile with a themed sensory bin. Experiencing it in these ways will help build a child’s understanding of the topic.

 

 

• Help kids make a connection to something new. Whether it’s really literal like watching the garbage truck come to your house and comparing/ contrasting with your child’s toy garbage truck, to something more abstract like relating how a character from your child’s favorite movie feels in a scene to a time your child is feeling something similar, building on what a child already knows is a great way to learn something new.

• Use it to incorporate something totally unrelated. One time, I tried to do letter play with my son and his magnetic letters, even giving each letter a personality and special voice. He wanted nothing to do with it. But he was in a phase of loving playing with trains on his train track, so I drew a track on butcher paper in the letters of his name. We had the best time decorating the track and creating a new way to play with his trains, and I was able to work the letters into our play (“I’m over here driving on the C, meet me over at the L”) in a way that wasn’t pushing him to do something he didn’t want to do.

• Spark some fun into daily routines or things a child might not want to do. A big mom win for me was when I was able to avoid a toddler meltdown leaving the park by suggesting we pretend to be race cars on the way home. You better believe I added sound effects and some race car vocabulary to the mix, too.

• Use it as an opportunity to connect with your child. This one may seem obvious, but there are so many educational and developmental benefits to simply having a conversation with your child that I couldn’t leave it off the list. Let your child drive the conversation about what interests them, ask questions, and add information to deepen their understanding of the concept. They will feel proud getting to share their interests with you and having some bonding time over something that matters to them. No materials or set-up required!

As parents, what can we do to support our children’s interests and incorporate their passions in creative ways?

Let us know on IG @learnwithhomer using the #KidPoweredLearning

 

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As March begins, teachers and parents across the country are bracing for another season of test prep in their public schools. Even kindergarten teachers feel pressure to show gains on early literacy assessments that prove their students are making progress on critical reading and math skills.

We spent a significant part of our careers in the New York City Department of Education and understand the importance of measuring student progress. As the creators of HOMER, we’re also passionate about keeping a child’s love of reading alive and well.

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