Category Archives: Storytelling

ABCs for Young Children

Have you ever wondered what might be the best order to introduce letters to young children? There is no standard for which order to teach the alphabet. Some educators use a letter-of-the-week method that may or may not be based on letter frequency, while others follow the alphabet in order.

ABC Literacy

Very young children may already have some print knowledge. Typically they are motivated by the letters in their own name. When introducing the alphabet to young children, here are some things to consider in your planning.

The two greatest predictors of reading success are knowledge of letter names and letter sounds (phonemic awareness) in the early years. Once children begin to have an understanding of these concepts, they can grasp the relationship between sounds of speech and letters (alphabetic principle).

It is easier to predict the sound of some letters than others. When a letter’s sound can be extracted from its name, it is easier to build an understanding of the alphabetic principle. The name of the letter E, for example, can be heard in its sound. However, when W is spoken, it does not sound like its name: ‘double-u.’ So when choosing which letters to first introduce to your group, consider letters that have an obvious correlation between letter name and letter sound such as: A, B, D, O, T, V, and Z.

There has been much debate about whether to introduce uppercase before lowercase letters. One could argue that most print is in lower case and therefore children should be taught how to read these letters first. But when it comes to learning to print, it is easier for young children to reproduce uppercase letters. These letters are larger and can be more easily reproduced with their predominantly straight lines. With limited pencil control, young children can print large letters with vertical and horizontal lines more easily than smaller ones with curves and diagonal lines. Begin with letters that have vertical and horizontal lines such as H, L, I, and E.

To help you decide what order to teach your children the alphabet, here is a look at what is age-appropriate:

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Toddlers

  • Toddlers can learn to sing the alphabet song and should be read to daily. This age group enjoys simple, rhyming stories and songs.
  • Encourage toddlers to recognize the first letter of their name.
  • At two years of age a child may be able to produce vertical strokes, and horizontal ones by two and a half years.
  • Expose toddlers to print and model adult printing for them.
  • Encourage the development of the fine motor control needed for printing through scribbling, manipulatives and play dough.

 

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Preschoolers

  • Preschoolers may be able to learn to recognize and name some of the letters of the alphabet. To strengthen their understanding of this, focus on beginning letter sounds of a word. For example blue, berry, brown, bag.
  • They can develop dexterity and pencil control through colouring, tracing letters, and completing simple mazes. Children this age may scribble, create mock letters that are unrecognizable, or string random letters together to represent words. Typically at three years old a child can draw circles, print a cross at age four, and a square at age five.
  • Continue to expose children this age to increasingly complex stories. Ask them questions about the stories to encourage development of their narrative skills.

Keep in mind that writing tools for young children should be small. Short, thin crayons are recommended over thicker ones.

Literacy is a journey that takes time and cannot be rushed. Encourage print motivation (an interest in reading) by providing a child-centered environment that is rich in literacy. Incorporate the interests of the children into their learning.

Each child develops at their own pace and there are many cognitive and fine motor skills needed before the process of reading and writing can begin. As educators, our role is to set a strong foundation for success and foster a love of reading in the early years.

Signature - Jo

References: Lucy Hart Paulson, Ed.D, CCC-SLP Communicative Sciences and Disorders University of Montana. Taken from Niagara Speech Services Emergent Literacy Conference 2015.

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Resource Packages

This summer we reached out to our members and Facebook followers to ask what kind of resources they’ve been looking for. Then our little CCPRN worker bees went to work developing new and unique die cut packages to sell. So if you’re looking for some fresh new resource kits in time for Fall – you’ll be impressed by these new ones!

Resource Packages Froggy Gets Dressed

Coming soon: Felt sets based on the Froggy Gets Dressed book by Jonathan London – a funny way to look at putting on all those extra layers once again. Use these props to visually enhance your storytelling and then have your children play with the set to retell the story themselves.

Resource Kits Little Cloud

Felt packages based on the Eric Carle Book Little Cloud are a great addition to your weather theme.

 Resource Packages Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes play kits were designed by Sharon Cunningham of Story Time Felts for your little ones to play with and dress up the felt dolls.

Resource Packages Farm Kit

A farm theme is a natural fit around Thanksgiving and it can be used to enhance so many different learning concepts. This very special limited edition farm felt kit was created by former CCPRN President Andrea Gingras. She embellished each of the die cut pieces by hand. The attention to detail in each piece is really quite something. These kits are a bit more expensive than our regular ones but they are absolutely gorgeous and come with an extensive handout of farm stories, circle time songs and rhymes.

For crafting purposes we also have the following seasonal paper kits for Halloween, weather, and Fall:

Resource Packages Paper Weather Resource Packages Paper HalloweenResource Kits Paper Fall

These kits and more are for sale at the CCPRN office. Call and book a time to come into the office to browse through all of our resources! * Please note: kits are subject to availability.

Signature - Jo

Book: Show Me a Story

Show Me a Story Book

I recently discovered this book that inspires new storytelling ideas and techniques. Show Me a Story, by Emily K. Neuburger, is jam packed with ideas to spark the imaginations of young and old. Inside you’ll find Story Starters and suggestions for encouraging imaginative play for children of all ages. Setting a fancy table for a royal meal, transforming a cardboard box, and going on a walk in search of 5 interesting things are wonderful invitations for open-ended imaginative play – just to name a few.

Show Me a Story offers many ideas for home made props for storytelling too. As an added bonus, the Story Starter prop ideas are simple enough to get your school-aged children involved in their creation.

Show Me a Story - Story Stones

Story Stones

Print images and glue onto stones, wooden blocks, or even wooden disks.

Story stones can also be used to retell a favourite story, like the classic There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, for example.

There Was an Old Lady 1

 

Here the old lady was made out of paper mache using a basket as the base. Then an image of each animal that she swallowed was glued onto a stone.

Another one of my favourite suggestions in the book Show Me a Story is to set the scene for a story within a jar. Or try creating a scene on a mat or blanket on the floor.

 

Show Me a Story - Story Jar

Storytelling and invitations for dramatic play foster the imagination, language, and narrative skills of young minds. CCPRN has purchased the book Show Me a Story for anyone interested in borrowing this great resource from our library. It is also available for purchase through Chapter’s online.

Happy reading!

Signature - Jo

‘Winter Heat’ Children’s Activities

Julie’s been heating up winter with her play-based learning children’s events. Here are just a few of the activities she had waiting for the little ones when they arrived at the CCPRN office earlier this week.

Winter Heat Build a Snowman 2

Children had so much fun building snowmen made from Styrofoam balls. This was a great activity for those gross motor skills, improving hand-eye coordination and sorting large and small.

Next up was a mitten colour match game. Toddlers got to practice their pincer grasp while sorting and matching the coloured clothes pins with the coordinating mittens.

Winter Heat Mitten Colour Match

Those little fine motor skills got even more exercise from hanging mittens on the clothesline. Caregivers discussed the different kinds of patterns found on the mittens such as plaid, diamond shapes and stripes.

Winter Heat Pics Clothesline Mittens

Kids of all ages love to manipulate goo and these extra-large Ziploc bags keep the mess inside for lasting fun! Inside were die cut foam snowflakes, beads, buttons, and the secret ingredient… hair gel!

Winter Heat Sensory Bags

Julie brought the outside in and filled our sensory bin with snow and these beautifully coloured balls of ice. Children delighted in playing with the cold snow as they discussed colours and hot versus cold!

Winter Heat Sensory Bin

To make the ice balls, simply put a good dose of food colouring inside some balloons and then add about 1 or 2 cups of water. Tie them off and place them outside to freeze (or in your freezer). Note that the balloons can take up to 2 days to fully freeze.

At the end of the event, the children enjoyed a snack while Julie told the story “Polar Bear Polar Bear.” They watched in awe as that silly polar bear changed colours throughout the story.

Polar Bear Polar Bear

There are still spaces available for some of Julie’s upcoming Winter Heat events so if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up!

Stay warm!

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