Literacy Activities for ages 0-5

Here are some great ideas for practicing literacy with children ages 0-5. These were all easy to create and the supplies was bought from a local Dollar Store. These can be used at home or in the classroom and can be modified for older ages!

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How to Make Use of Your Child’s Screen Time

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that some screen time is okay for children over the age of 18 months. However, they recommend that this time be limited to about an hour or less a day, and suggests that parents stay involved in their children’s screen time. Studies have confirmed that screen time directly relates to weight and sleep issues for children due to immobility and what they are watching/doing on their screen.

With all of that said, there are many positive uses of screen time that can be useful tools for teaching your child various skills. For example, there are many television shows such as Paw Patrol or Jake and the Never Land Pirates. There are also tons of apps that are great for children to be using for educational purposes. Some of these include YouTube Kids, Cookie Monster’s Challenge, Fish School HD or Sparky & The Case of The Missing Smoke Alarms.

We live in a time where students need to learn how to operate technology and it can be a great tool for teaching literacy, so we should be utilizing it to our advantage. However, it is important to participate with your child through these apps and to limit their time on them each day. In fact, in 2017, Apple had over 80,000 apps in its educational category, so get searching and make good use of your child’s screen time!

Resources

https://www.babycenter.com/screen-time-kids

Why Children Need Poetry in Their Lives

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

Poetry is a form of expressive writing that can display rhythm and rhyme while being a fun activity to do with your child. Poetry can help develop self-expression, creativity, reading and writing skills, and much more. It is a fun way to introduce new words to your children and can be done together once they catch on to the words. Here is a popular poem that you can say with your child:

Pizza Pickle Pumpernickel, Dennis Lee

Pizza, pickle, pumpernickel

My little guy/girl shall have a tickle

One for his nose and one for his toes (tickle nose and tickle toes)

And one for his tummy (tickle tummy)

Where the hot dog (any food) goes!

Poems, just like songs, are very easy to integrate into our everyday routines. I still remember poems that I sung with my parents and teachers for things like cleaning up and going to bed. They teach foundational literacy skills and can increase their chances of loving to read and write when they are older. Research has shown that poetry motivates children to read, builds phonemic awareness and builds essential skills like vocabulary, fluency, expression, and writing. Along with the poems, there are many crafts, games and activities that can be added to create a fun evening or afternoon with you and your child.

Resources

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/community/education/everyday-learners-the-benefits-of-children-reading-poetry/article_486c48b1-b90a-5d5d-82a0-050796c5592e.html

http://melissa.depperfamily.net/blog/?p=440

Writing Activities to Do With Your Child

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

Practicing writing skills is important for any age, including adults. However, this can be difficult to incorporate into your child’s life in an enjoyable way for both of you. It is always great to share ideas with each other, so here is a list of some fun activities that I encourage you to try out and to share with your friends, neighbors and family. They may not all be successful, but the ones that are can be the beginning of your child’s love for writing on their own.

  1. Publish a Magazine: Have your child write a magazine full of facts and drawings on whatever topic interests them at the time- a princess, snakes, family, camping, etc. Have them look at children’s magazines before creating their own so that they know where to start.
  2. Start a Blog: You probably don’t want all of your child’s thoughts to be broadcasted to the world, so setting up a private blog is the best option for this activity. Research some free blogging websites such as WordPress or even a private Instagram account.
  3. Find a Pen Pal: Having a good friend to write back and forth with may be just the thing your child needs to be a motivated writer. This could also be a co-worker’s child, a neighbor, a cousin, or even a sibling.
  4. Keep a Journal: This can be a great way to teach children how to organize their thoughts. This is a skill that will be handy for all types of education and even their future careers. They can even decorate their journal book, be creative with it!
  5. Craft a New Ending to an Old Story: Did your child not like how their last book or movie ended? Have them create their own version of the ending and staple the papers to make their first ever book!
  6. Go into the Ad Biz: Does your child really want something? It could be a toy, a bike or a pet, but having them use their persuasive writing and artwork skills to convince you can be a fun way to encourage them to write passionately (tip: you should probably choose an item that you plan to buy them in the near future)!

Resources

https://www.verywellfamily.com/writing-activities-for-kids-4035183

The Importance to Singing to Your Child

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

Using songs in your family can help to improve your child’s communication skills and to develop their language and vocabulary as well. Giving your child a sense of joy about language through the use of song can benefit your child in so many ways. For example, the rhymes in songs can teach children how to play with words and how sounds can combine together to form specific words. It does not matter if you are not an American Idol contestant, your child wants to hear your voice!

Singing with and to your children will have a huge impact on their literacy and language development. Studies have shown that children who can keep a steady beat are also naturally better readers. You can incorporate songs into your everyday routines, such as bath time, play time, in the grocery store, in the car, and bed time. So, talk, sing and read to your child. Have fun with them as you watch them develop their language skills and the benefits will stay with them forever. Here is a list of daily routine songs that you can sing with your child from songsforteaching.com:

Get Up! – Andy Glockenspiel

I Am Dressed – Jeanne Nelson and Hector Marín

Hand Washing Song – Jaycie Voorhees

The Potty Dance – Judy Pancoast

Clean Up – Cathy Bollinger

Goodnight – Prue Whoo

Resources

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/special-features/the-big-read/helpful-stuff/importance-of-songs-and-rhymes-in-the-early-years-1151443

http://www.songsforteaching.com/everyday/everydayroutines.htm

Digital Literacy and its Growing Importance

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

Today’s youth are constantly focused on technology and their devices, but that may not be such a bad thing. It can be argued that there is no longer a gap between online and offline, and that the two have become intertwined with each other. Students can change their roles within seconds of switching from app to app. For example, they are texting as a daughter, then posting on Facebook as a friend, and then updating their LinkedIn profile as an employee. There are many dangers of the internet, such as cyberbullying, scams, malware, identity theft, and much more. That being said, there is a growing need for digital literacy. Digital literacy can prepare students for these risks through being able to decipher what it true and what may be false information on the internet.

It is never enough to assume that “young people automatically have all of the skills, knowledge and understanding that they need to apply to their use of technology” (www.mediasmarts.ca). All young people need to be taught these skills to properly use the apps that they are using in order to safely utilize the amazing technology that we have access to. This means that as adults, parents, and caregivers, we must take the time to educate ourselves on this rapidly changing world of technology in order to equip them for safe use and to build their digital literacy for the future. Dr. Alec Couros from the University of Regina is a great individual who focusses on digital literacy for both students and adults, and you can find more of his videos and articles on YouTube, Twitter, or by Googling his name. This is a growing topic and it is so important to ensure that our kids know how to safely utilize these tools that are impacting their everyday lives.

Resources

https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/11/09/what-is-digital-literacy.html

http://mediasmarts.ca/digital-media-literacy/general-information/digital-media-literacy-fundamentals/digital-literacy-fundamentals

Information Literacy- What is it?

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

Information literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, and communicate information through various forms of research. This is a skill that children can acquire at a very young age. With the transition from books and libraries to Google and Wikipedia, students have a growing need to be able to research information while finding credible resources. This is a great skill to have while doing research projects or to even find information about everyday questions that they may encounter. For younger students, this may be simple skills that include asking valuable questions and giving them the resources to find their answers. For older students, it is important to educate them on searching strategies both online and offline. This way, they are able to find their own information that will benefit them in secondary education as well as their future careers.

Teaching information literacy does not require a month-long research project. You can teach your child these skills in 30 minutes or less by:

  1. Finding a question that interests them.
  2. Locating a credible website, book, or another source.
  3. Read and understand the information that the source has given.
  4. Document the information through writing it down, creating a Word Document, PowerPoint, Prezi, or other documenting program.

Overall, it is very easy to find false information on the internet in today’s technology, so this is a great skill to teach students at a young age in order to gain the ability to find information on a day-to-day basis that is trustworthy and reliable.

Resources

http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/infoforyou/infolitdefined.html

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/teaching-information-literacy-skills

How to Practice Family Literacy

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

There are many benefits to practicing family literacy in your home, such as building your child’s vocabulary, comprehension skills and improving their confidence and attitude towards learning. Although it is widely known that family literacy can be beneficial in so many areas, it is never really discussed on how this may look in a home. The common believe is that literacy means to read one or two books before bedtime and that is it. Although that is a fantastic practice, there are so many more ways in which you can practice family literacy that can double as quality bonding time with your children. Here is a great list of fun activities that can be done in order to promote literacy in your home from abclifeliteracy.ca:

  • Slumber Party Book Club: Choose a book to read as a family, then watch the movie together in your PJs. Talk about what you liked from the book and the movie (and don’t forget, lots of popcorn).
  • Favorite Food Find: Create a grocery store scavenger hunt with your weekly shopping list. Maybe add a few special items you don’t get all the time for a special treat (and an extra challenge for scavengers).
  • Text You Later:Encourage older kids to read and write through texting. Send them a link to an article you think they’ll like and ask them what they thought.
  • The Letter Train: Say a word and have your friend say a new word that begins with the last letter of the word you just said (play, yellow, waffles, snow). This one is great for road trips!

All in all, there are so many fun and exciting ways that you can spend time together while practicing family literacy with your children.

Resources

https://abclifeliteracy.ca/fld/activity-ideas

How to Teach Literacy to Young Children

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

We all recognize the importance of teaching literacy, but there is always a how and where exactly this type of instruction comes in to our everyday lives. There are an endless number of activities that can be done to increase literacy skills such as reading, writing, and communicating. There are many fun activities that can be done in order to achieve these goals and outcomes. For example, quick writes, stop jots, and one-minute essays are fantastic ways to practice literacy skills through one minute exercises. A child’s writing skills are parallel with their development as readers. Writing is a task that includes a lot of thought for a young student, and practicing through these small activities can make a huge difference in their skills and their enjoyment of the action.

Not all literacy assignments need to be formal, in fact, they should be fun activities that stimulate our brains to be creative and build on our skills. Other activities can be even more simpler than these one minute activities, such as asking your child to predict what will happen in a movie or book. You could also ask your child to make connections to the books that they are reading to their own experiences and knowledge in the world. Good readers think actively as they read, and this can encourage them to read with a purpose, instead of acting as if it is a chore to be done before bed. Overall, there are many small actions that you can take in order to increase your child’s literacy development that will help them to grow to be strong readers and writers.

Resources

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/literacy-instruction-across-curriculum-importance

http://www.readingrockets.org/teaching/reading-basics

The Benefits of Reading Books in Series

Shaelyn Knudson

Summer Student, Moose Jaw Literacy Network

Children’s and teen books that come in a series are fantastic for so many reasons. One obvious reason is that if you child enjoys the first book, they will have plenty to read for weeks or months in the future! Another benefit to reading series is that there is more room for developing complex characters and plots that can capture kids’ attention to help them love reading even more. There are two types of series, one being a chronological story that continues through each book, and the other being the type that may have the same characters, but it includes a new story in each book. This type of series can be helpful if you are renting from a library because it does not matter which order you read the books in.

There are numerous amounts of series that vary for different age groups. This list is some of the most popular series that have been around for a while, so they have developed a number of books, which can be a great and easy way to keep your kid’s reading throughout the school year and summer. However, keep in mind that these books may vary in age appropriate material and reading levels, so it is important to look over the book before suggesting it to your child.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia (7 books, fantasy, teen/young adult)
  • The Hunger Games Series (4 books, science fiction, young adult)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (12 books, comedy, fiction, elementary)
  • Nancy Drew (64 books, mystery, fiction, teen)
  • The Magic Tree House Series (28 books, adventure, fiction, children)
  • The Berenstain Bears (121 books, fiction, children)
  • Divergent Series (3 books, science fiction, young adult)

Each of these series were also made into television shows or movies, so a couple of popcorn family nights can be a fun wrap-up to reading their series and to celebrate their love for reading!

Resources

https://www.kidsbookseries.com/general/whybookseries