One thing I’ve found out this year, ever since I’ve been on the board of my local moms’ group, is that there’s never any harm in asking for a little something from your local businesses. I’ve tried to let our local businesses “show us what they’ve got” since June, and all I’ve had to do is some advance-planning. And I’ll tell you what– our moms and children have really seemed to enjoy our trips and tours of our local florist, fire station, ice-cream shop, etc. Today was our January tour date, and we hit our local bagel shop. You better believe there’s some learning to be done there, and even if you’re not a part of an organized group, I’m sure that your local businesses would be excited to show you and your kiddos around if you give them some advanced notice.
- Bagel Store tour: In order to prepare my already-excited children for our morning at the Bagel Store, I used some typical pre-reading questioning with them at breakfast: Okay, guys, today is our bagel store tour day! (I started simple.) What do we know about bagels and our bagel store? (Then, I tried to have them make some logical predictions and connect to what they already knew.) What kinds of things do you think we’ll see in the bagel store? How do you think they make bagels? (Finally, I gave them set a purpose for the tour.) What questions do you have for the baker about bagels? I was wary about what types of questions they’d develop, but Maddy and Owen got really into the idea of finding out the answers to Why do bagels have holes? and Can you put anything into a bagel? It turned out that we had an awesome store owner who really knew how to work with children, and the bakers seemed almost more excited to share their bagel-knowledge than we could have ever hoped. It turned out to be a great morning, topped off with free bagels and drinks for everyone! I continue to be surprised at how eager our town is to help make every day a learning day for our little ones!
I thought the morning would surely wipe out everyone, but immediately after lunch, Maddy and Owen insisted on working on their Alphabet Books. We did exactly what we did yesterday, but I stopped them after “D”. I was beat. I could tell they were on their way, too.
Instead of a book before bed tonight, Owen wanted to work on his rhyming cards. We finally located four of the previously missing ones earlier in the afternoon, so we were all happy to have the set reunited.
- Rhyming Cards: This is a really awesome set by Melissa & Doug. It’s proven to be really helpful for Owen with his work on sounds and rhyming, and I love that the pictures are clear and the cards all fit together like a puzzle. We usually spread them all out on the floor and each take a turn searching for the other half of the pair. I’ll grab one card and say the word, “Gate, hmmmm. . . gate, horn? No. Gate, tree? No. Gate, hmmmm, is there a plate somewhere? or maybe a skate? Oh! Here it is, a skate! Gate, skate!” He gets a kick out of it every time, and after we have our finished pairs lined up, we always try to add more rhymes to the list: “Sock and clock–that’s a pair. What other words do we know that rhyme with sock and clock? Hmmmm, sock, clock, rock, lock. . . ”
**Rhyming at any age–even beginning with babies on up through pre-schoolers–is muy, muy importante. Here’s why:
Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sound units in words. It is one component of a comprehensive reading program, and it is the precursor to solid literacy development. Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in words; it is one element of Phonological Awareness. Phonological Awareness activities can involve work with rhymes, words, syllables, and onsets and rimes. Phonological Awareness carries significant importance in students’ reading development; students must be able to hear sound units in words so that they can encode, decode, and comprehend texts.
Stahl, S. (2002). Teaching phonics and phonological awareness. In S. Neuman & D. Dickinson (Eds.). Handbook of early literacy research (333-347)
Ehri, L., Nunes, S., (2002). The role of phonemic awareness in learning to read. In A.E. Farstrup & S. Samuels (Eds.) What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 110-139).