Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why Read Aloud With Your Child?

How Can Something as Simple as Reading to a Child Be So Effective?

We read to children for all the same reasons we talk with children: 
to reassure, to entertain, to bond; to inform or explain, to arouse curiosity, to inspire. 
But in reading aloud, we also condition the child's brain to associate reading with pleasure, create background knowledge, 
build vocabulary, and provide a reading role model.

Reading Fact No. 1: Human beings are pleasure-centered

Human beings will voluntarily do over and over that which brings them pleasure. That is, we go to the restaurants we like, and visit the in-laws we like. Conversely, we avoid the foods, and music, and in-laws we dislike. Far from being a theory, this is a physiological fact. When our senses send electrical and chemical messages to the "pleasure" or "unpleasure centers" of the brain, we respond positively or negatively.
An eminent animal psychologist at the American Museum of Natural History built a case for reducing all behavior to two simple responses: approach and withdrawal. We approach what causes pleasure, and we withdraw from what causes unpleasure or pain.
Pleasure could be called the glue that holds our attention – but it only holds us to what we like. As long as we're enjoying a movie, we're connected. When we cease to enjoy it, we disconnect. It applies to nearly everything we do willingly. Every time we read to a child, we're sending a "pleasure" message (glue) to the child's brain. You could even call it a commercial, conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure. There are, however, "unpleasures" associated with reading and school. The learning experience can be tedious or boring, threatening, and without meaning – endless hours of worksheets, hours of intensive phonics instruction, and hours of unconnected-test questions. If a child seldom experiences the "pleasures" of reading and meets only the "unpleasures," then the natural reaction will be withdrawal.

Reading Fact No. 2: Reading is an accrued skill

Reading is like riding a bicycle, driving a car, or sewing: in order to get better at it you must do it. And the more you read, the better you get at it.
The last twenty-five years of reading research confirms this simple formula – regardless of sex, race, nationality, or socioeconomic background. Students who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Conversely, those who don't read much, cannot get better at it. And most Americans (children and adults) don't read much, and therefore aren't very good at it.
Why don't they read much? Because of Reading Fact No. 1: the large number of "unpleasure" messages they received throughout their school years, coupled with the lack of "pleasure" messages in the home, nullify any attraction from the book. They avoid books and print the same way a cat avoids a hot stove burner.
Excerpted from The Read-Aloud Handbook (2001). Jim Trelease.

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is one of the most important things parents can do with their children. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Family Time in the Kitchen Incorporates Three Important Life Skills - Math, Reading and Cooking :)

07/24/2012 04:08 pm ET | Updated Jul 25, 2012

Cooking With Kids: Boost Your Children’s Math And Reading Skills With These Recipes

Written by Alice Currah, PBS Parents Kitchen Explorers Weekly Contributor
Most of us who grew up watching “Sesame Street” are familiar with the song by the lovable blue Cookie Monster called “C is for Cookie.” It is recognized by millions of people around the world for its catchy tune and predictable outcome: the Cookie Monster gets his cookie. The lesson for parents is that learning to read should be fun, interactive, and engaging.
For the Cookie Monster, “C” may be for cookie, but in our home, “C” is for cooking. From the time each of my children was old enough to stand on a chair next to the kitchen counter, I have tried to make our special time cooking or baking together into a learning opportunity disguised as fun time spent well in the family kitchen. I’ve tried to incorporate three important life skills that will serve them well into their adult lives: math, reading, and cooking.
With math, the focus for my preschool-aged son has been to count cups slowly in goofy voices as we fill each one with ingredients for a recipe. We count them again every time we dump them into a mixing bowl. With my older daughters, my focus has been to help them understand fractions contained in recipes. It’s not unusual for a conversation to go something like this: “We are going to make a half batch of brownies. This recipe calls for 1 ½ cups of flour. How much flour do we need?” Helping my 9-year-old daughter visually comprehend fractions through cooking measurements has turned out to be a valuable teaching tool considering her struggles with understanding fractions. Using whole cups, half cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons, I showed her how to multiply and divide in a way she could understand, which led to a light bulb moment for her. Much frustration seemed to be wiped from Mimi’s memory once she got it — and boy, did she get it.
Building literacy skills through cooking not only gives children confidence in the kitchen; it also encourages them to develop a hunger for reading and an appetite for home-cooked meals. For preschool-aged kids, one tip I give parents is to cook from easy recipes using ingredients familiar to their children. This will instantly engage their interests if it is a dish they love. For example, read the recipes together, and focus on enunciating words slowly and clearly, then having the child repeat them. Aaaaaa-pple. Apple! Consider singing each ingredient in silly ways to captivate them and keep their attention on task. As your children grow a little older and begin to recognize letters, spell each ingredient out loud. Milk. M-I-L-K. Milk. Teaching young children how to read and say each word out loud correctly lays a strong literary foundation to build upon. As an added benefit, when kids get to eat the fruit of their labor, they learn another valuable life skill — cooking with confidence!

Cooking in the kitchen can be fun and educational without seeming boring or mundane — and the quality time spent working together is a great way to strengthen not only your child’s reading and math muscles, but also great relationships.
Here is a link to 5 easy and delicious summer recipes from PBS Parents Kitchen Explorers to cook up in your family kitchen with your children:
More yummy recipes :

Monday, January 23, 2017

Math Tips for Parents


Math is No Mystery

Is that 16oz. can of tomatoes a better bargain than the 12oz. can?  You make dozens of calculations in your daily life, from balancing a checkbook to figuring how long it will take to drive to a cross-town soccer game.  That’s math at work.

As a parent, you can help your child be a whiz at math, even if it wasn’t your best subject.  Here are Tips for Parents on how:

Be positive about math.  Express confidence in your child’s ability to do math.  Don’t stress either your own fear of math or how difficult math is or how much you admire anyone who can do math.  Remember, everyone can and does use math all the time.
Show your kids math at work in their world.  Get your kids used to math by thinking out loud when making calculations.  Then, let your children work out some real-life puzzles themselves.  For example:
  • Let them measure when you bake.
  • Ask them to figure out how long of a hose you need to reach from the faucet on the side of the house to the garden.
  • Let your child figure out how many miles you’ll be driving on your next trip by using the information on a map.
  • Sort silverware by knives, forks, and spoons.  Sort cards by suit or numbers.
Make math a game.  Math games are fun and inexpensive.  They are a wonderful way to get your kids to enjoy working with numbers, as well as improve their number skills.  Here are a few suggestions:
  • Many games that we take for granted are excellent math lessons.  “Go Fish” teaches counting and grouping in sets.  Games that use play money teach how to make change.  Board games that use dice teach addition and counting.  Backgammon teaches addition, subtraction, and strategy.
  • Beans, stones, or marbles can be used to play number games.  Let your child develop his or her own games by sorting beans into different sizes or types, setting up the rules for a counting game, or using different types of pasta to make a picture.
  • Give your children a geometry lesson by letting them create a collage of circles, squares, and triangles.  Challenge them to come up with as many different shapes as they can using only triangles.
  • Play store with the items in your cupboard.
  • A pan of water and some jars or cups of different sizes will amuse a child for hours while teaching capacity and volume.

Math Tips for Parents: Beyond 1, 2, 3, 4…

Encourage creative problem-solving.  Problem-solving is the basis of good mathematical thinking, and the problems don’t have to involve numbers. 
  • “How many different ways are there to walk to school?”
  • “What’s another way to arrange the furniture in this room?”
  • “How many different ways can I measure flour to get half a cup?”
Try to come up with more than one solution for everyday problems.
Choose gifts that develop problem-solving skills.  Blocks, building sets, geometric tile sets, puzzles, board games, weather stations, maps, puzzle books, calculators, strategy games,  scales, and origami are just a few of the gifts that will give your child pleasure and knowledge at the same time.

Get Involved at School

Talk to teachers.  Teachers have materials that you can copy and ideas that you can use at home.  They also have access to books, kits, and professional organizations that can enlarge both your own at-home math lessons and the math program at your school.
Volunteer in your child’s class.  By being in the classroom during math, you can see how concepts are taught and follow through with the lessons at home.  This has two advantages.  First, it reinforces the classroom lessons.  Secondly, you are more at ease with math and with the concepts your child is learning.

For more information:

Helping your Child with Math from the US Department of Education:
Math videos available from IOX Assessment Associates:
28170 Boberg Rd. Suite 1
Wilsonville, OR 97070-9205
(800) 330-3382
Titles available:
“Making Math Meaningful: Tips for Parents”
“Math & Reading:  There IS a Connection”
“How Do You Spell Parallel?  Visiting Middle School Math”
You may also find these Tips for Parents helpful:
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015