On our route to and from preschool, we run into some really great signs along the way. We pass by at least six BUMP signs, eight STOP signs, and about seven other interesting, “you’re coming upon some really crazy curves” signs. Because there is an opportunity for learning even on our everyday drive to school, today we more closely examined signs.
- Signs: Maddy and Owen have been spelling BUMP for well over a year now, since, like I said, we drive over six huge speed bumps a gazillion times a week. They usually yell, B-U-M-P, BUMP! each time we drive over the speed bump. Occasionally, they’ll add a S-T-O-P, STOP! if they are really into sign reading that day. Their yelling-spelling is really great, especially if I want their dozing baby sister to stay awake until I can get her home and put her in her crib. Their yelling-spelling is also cool, though, because it’s showing me that they are becoming aware of the many words around them.
Today, I focused on all of the signs we passed on our way to school so that my riders noticed the signs themselves and realized that signs communicate messages to us, even if the signs did not have words. We screamed the letters of BUMP and STOP and came up with as many rhyming words as we could. We tried to spell the rhyming words and laughed at the silly words they came up with as rhymes.
They asked me to read every single sign we came across, and we talked about why we need a BUS STOP AHEAD sign, a ROAD NARROWS sign, and SINGLE LANE BRIDGE sign. They were proud to explain a STOP AHEAD sign and the reasons it was there.
We talked about directions as we drove past the curvy road signs and they hollered, The road is curving! Mommy! Watch out! The road is curving again! Thank goodness someone put a sign there for you! I was reminded that I need to start on left and right, but that’s for another day. . .
As I made dinner later that day, I asked Owen if he would spell bump or stop for me on the refrigerator with the letter magnets. He started with bump, then he did stop. Pretty cool, even if he did yell the letters as he went.
By sheer luck (and I mean luck!), we picked up a perfect book match for today’s little lesson when we were at the library last week. Maddy brought it up to her room before bed as one she wanted me to read. It’s called Bus Stop, Bus Go! by Daniel Kirk, and it totally rocks. Daniel Kirk writes awesome books for children; the colors are bright, the pictures are funny, and the words have a catchy rhythm that all readers enjoy. (We love Dinosaur, Dinosaur; My Truck is Stuck; & Tugga Tugga Tugboat just to name a few.)
Bus Stop, Bus Go! is not only a hysterical story about a hamster who escapes from his cage and goes on a little school bus adventure, but the language Kirk uses is just plain smart. It’s packed both with rhyme and our word from today, stop. I felt teacher-giddy when I realized how perfect this book was to read tonight. Before I began, I asked them to remind me about the signs they read on the way to school today. Then I read the title and asked if Maddy or Owen could point to either the word, stop or go. Owen said, Hey! There’s stop! and I saw a little light in his eyes. They were both hooked even before I began. . .
Today was far, far from perfect, but this little part of today–the learning that happened with a clear connection to our every day drive to school–to me, is just plain awesome.
**It is important for children to become cognizant of the fact that they are learning to read, even if they are not always reading words on a page. Even recognizing that they can read the signs on the road or certain words on the cereal box will help build their confidence, increase their store of sight words, and encourage them to continue “searching” for things they can read every day.