On this lazy, grey Sunday, Maddy requested that Play-doh be the activity of the morning. After pancakes and playtime in the living room, we pulled out all of the still-usable Play-doh and left all of the big sets in the box.
- Play-doh: We molded and folded, rolled and stacked play-doh balls, snakes, birds, and snowmen. I took out the container of dried noodles we sometimes use for play-doh and clay; spaghetti, ziti, twirls, flowers, and shells (I can’t remember all of the correct names. . .) all helped us create different patterns and textures in our smooshed play-doh. Owen made some crazy flower-type things by having all of his noodles poke out everywhere, and Maddy worked on making patterns with hers. We did some pattern-guessing games (“What do you think comes next?/ Who can guess the pattern?”), and then tried for the smoothest/ bumpiest/ craziest textures on flattened play-doh. Even though ours has been around for quite some time now and has become colors that Hasbro never imagined, it always seems to come back to life when little hands squeeze and squish.
At the end of our day, I found my nighttime book-reading with Maddy to be a perfect time to squeeze in one more secret little lesson into our everyday routine.
- Think-alouds: Maddy chose one of our new library books for her bedtime book; it was one that neither of us had read before. It was called “Up, Down, and Around” by Katherine Ayres, and it didn’t appear to be one that I needed to preview prior to our read-aloud. I looked at the cover and simply shared with her what I was thinking: Hmmmm, I wonder what this book will be about. It’s called “Up, Down, and Around,” and I see some plants, lots of little bugs, some dirt, and some vegetables. It might be about gardens or maybe about vegetables–maybe about how plants grow. What do you think, Maddy? She shared what she thought with me, and we opened the book to read and find out. All I did before or after I read a page was share what I was thinking–I thought out loud. I shared the questions I had as I read and my surprise when I realized why it was titled what it was: Wow! I figured it out! The author chose this title because she was telling us that her book would be about vegetables that grow above ground, under ground, and around things! How cool! She was giving us a clue about what her book would be about! And as easy as this sounds, I was actually teaching Maddy a super-important component of reading comprehension–even before she could read herself.
**This is awesome and so easy!! Here’s why you should start doing Think-Alouds tonight with your own kiddos:
Primary grade students who employ active reading comprehension strategies –making connections, visualizing, questioning, inferring, determining importance, and synthesizing–during reading are more likely to understand and recall more of what they read. However, these strategies do not need to be introduced once a student can read independently. Rather, the teacher can model these strategies through think alouds, shared readings, and by promoting critical thinking.
For more info:
Cunningham, A. & Shagoury, R. (2005). Kindergartners explore reading comprehension using a surprisingly complex array of strategies. Educational Leadership, 63, 53-57.
Hickey, M.G. (1998). Developing critical reading readiness in primary grades. The
These are just two very easy ways I tried to bring some learning into our otherwise lazy Sunday.