Whoops! I thought I had a two-post Wednesday but it appears I never officially sent this:
- Newspaper Reading: Today at breakfast when we were glancing through the newspaper, we ran across a very interesting article in the Kids Post (She Can Whistle? Hear, Hear! Valerie Strauss, March 4, 2009). It featured Bonnie, an orangutan who lives at the National Zoo in DC. Maddy and Owen remembered reading a previous story about Bonnie in the paper, and they also recalled seeing her at the zoo last summer, so they were totally excited for me to read this one to them.
The minute I started reading, they were hooked. The Kids Post articles are written for a younger audience, and Strauss did a great job of really getting little readers involved and interested in Bonnie and her new talent–whistling. Who wouldn’t be interested in a whistling orangutan??!!
I stopped after each paragraph or two and commented about what I read–my surprise at her whistling, my wonder at what ‘inquisitive’ meant, and what I remembered about Kiko and Kyle. This “think aloud” seems like it’s not a big deal, but it actually helps emerging readers learn to interact with the text; even if they are not the ones decoding the text, it is important to teach reading strategies at this age.
But wait! The most awesome part of our breakfast-time newspaper reading was that the Kids Post made it incredibly easy for us to take our learning one step further–there was an actual video of Bonnie whistling on the Kids Post website. I ran for the laptop, and we watched it right there–over and over and over and over and over. The first few times my kiddos were silent, and their Cheerio-chewing came to an abrupt halt. But then the unstoppable giggles started which were followed next by their own mimicking of Bonnie’s little whistle.
It was a riot. But more than that, it was an opportunity for Maddy, Owen, and Cora to become curious about something new that they learned from the newspaper and then take it a step further by watching the video. It also demonstrated to them the importance of reading the newspaper to learn information about the world around us, which we try to do every day at breakfast. And using the Internet as a follow-up for more information shows them that the computer is not just used for games, email, or storing our pictures.