Posts Tagged ‘parents’

YOU are your child’s best teacher.

March 9, 2008
  Question posted in recent forum I frequent:

Child Reading SaundraG flickrI heard that up until about 20 years ago, you could buy from the Broerderbond in South Africa a child development pack for the first 6 years of you’re child’s life so that they can read, write a bit, etc… by the time they go to school (as well as exposing other parts of the brain to development).

Does anyone know if there is anything good around like that today? I suppose there may be more than one company competing with that sort of thing. Does anyone know who the market leader is?

My response:

Do you really think sitting your child in front of a computer is the best way to go? I teach kindergarten and my experience has been that children gravitate to reading and writing when they are developmentally ready. This happens between 4-7 years of age. My own children love to read. (They are older teens.) I attribute this in part to my good friend Pam who insisted I start reading to my kids from the day they were born. I took her advice and my children began to associate reading and listening with the pleasure of bonding with their parents and caregivers.

I read to my children until they were 12 and they no longer had time. We all missed the togetherness. Visits to the library and bookstore were frequent. Gifts of books were common and interest in books praised. And yes, they also read independently! The read aloud experience is invaluable. If there had been when my children were small I would have exposed them to it, but never require them to do it.

My kindergarten students enjoy the program and the students who entered as readers tell me they learned to read from which is a free phonics based reading program. I also know from meeting their parents that education is an intrinsic family value and they have exposed their children to countless classics in children’s literature. I can guarantee for FREE that if you take the time to read to your child and elicit their responses to reading by asking them to predict, identify common words and engage them in the illustrations they will love to read and learn to read more easily and more naturally from intrinsic motivation.

You are your child’s best teacher. aunty raffi by kim hotep flickrModel enthusiasm for reading and the power of the written word. Don’t completely outsource this very important role in the early years. By the way, I am very high tech in the classroom and do lots of great things with my students using technology to extend literacy skills so I am not opposed to a little software extension or intervention.


High Tech Parenting

October 3, 2007

To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.  ~Josh Billings

I have been trying to foster communication skills in my kindergarten students by creating a forum for their ideas and for their work. Recently I posted three new podcast episodes on small voices. We work a lot on sequencing in Kindergarten so I decided to incorporate cooking into our Language Arts curriculum. The next day students told me they had watched the videos at home because their parents already knew about them! I received several emails including one from a mom who had shared the video with the grandmother in India. Her daughter was just beaming with satisfaction the next day. This is exactly the kind of validation I want for all of my students. I want them to reach all of the people they love.

Today I demonstrated how to transfer typed text from the Alphasmart Neo to the computer. I asked students to select a sentence or two to type from their journals then I posted several of their entries as individual blog posts to show the class. Later when a parent volunteer arrived to help with Math I pulled her aside to explain where to find the student blog and how to comment on the sentence her daughter had posted. Mom was thrilled. “My child is blogging…in kindergarten.”I suggested she post a comment. I had two comment alerts in my email tonight. The mom posted a one and so did the grandmother in Tennessee! Tomorrow their child will be reading the post, sharing the comments, and modeling this new form of dialog over the net. I think other students will be clamoring for the opportunity to post. How often? My plan is to schedule one day a week on the Neos. They will be able to select a journal entry or create a post from scratch.

I am singing the praises of High Tech Parents and those who want to travel the way their child should go. Even today, some parents haven’t ventured beyond email and the occasional youtube video (send via email). I love it when they ask me for help. I will be showing a parent how to get the podcasts on an iPod. Sometimes I let the students lead the way. Communicating isn’t a passing fad nor is it a static activity. Using the net to communicate provides a firm foundation for global citizens. Students come to understand the value of their words. Small voices are so precious.