Thursday, February 18, 2010

Focus on Early Childhood (Do You Have A Infant, Toddler or Preschooler)?


Tomorrow I'm attending a wonderful north AL institution:  the NW Alabama Childcare Conference.  I always get excited because I get to see all my friends in the early childhood world (teachers and directors) from across the northern part of our state.  And this year, we have a keynote speaker I know will be incredible:  Steven Layne.  I wish those of you who are parents could be here to hear him.

I met Steven at a conference several years ago and so applauded his message:  we need to spread a PASSION for reading!  Check out his books, Love the Baby and My Brother Dan's Delicious, now available on audio too!.  What I like most about Steven is that he isn't your typical stuffy researcher from the university environment.  He indeed has a passion that is contagious and we need that kind of epidemic.  Don't be afraid to catch this bug!

(and teachers)

I also want to share with you parents of 3-6 year olds a new video from TLA, Inc. that teaches you how to play a game, Rhymin' Simon, with your young children.  It's drawn from my new book, Anytime Reading Readiness, and its partner for educators, Before They Read, and is a quick easy way to build early skills while having a great deal of fun. 

Rhyming is the doorway into the world of thinking about words for the sounds within them (apart from their meaning).  The ability to recognize and even generate (eventually) rhymes comes as early as age 2.5 or 3 but it starts with simply playing with the language.  As you talk daily with your child, you have given him many great tools in the language he uses; this activity and others like it are the way to effectively build on those experiences as he/she moves on the road toward getting ready to read. 

My last gifts to you: 

1) a list of books to support rhyming and other early childhood literacy skills.  Enjoy!

2) a chance to win a copy of Anytime Reading Readiness!  Just cut and paste this email address with the words ANYTIME CONTEST in the subject line and you'll automatically be entered.  Contest runs through the end of February.

A Few Tidbits - A Little Off the Channel But Always Returning to Children and Families and Books

Over the last few days and week, I found a few resources sure to help you in your busy days with children of all ages (and in your own life).  This seems a hodge-podge to me' just consider it a smorgasbord!

All these topics connect to parents (or any other adult) and kids and learning and reach across the spectrum of beginning and pre-readers into the world of older more independent readers (my two alternating focuses in this blog).

You know, reading with your children is really bigger than the book.  It's about developing a relationship and learning to share and listen, it's about playing and all the terrific tidbits you learn when you take those few minutes out of your busy day to connect with your child, it's about identifying everyday learning experiences and encouraging that nature "investigator" in our children to shine.  In the real world, it's difficult to separate out literacy from any other type of learning; it often happens at the same time, overlapping and intersecting.

1)  Work of Childhood.  This blog is for home schooling families but it's actually a great resource for anyone who has children (I always said when people asked me if we homeschooled our son, "Yes, but he goes to public school too - after all, there should be no lines where learning happens). 

2) Although I'm not into pushing products, I have found two new friends who often search out the very best for young families and share them.  Here are links if you'd like to check them out to My Wee View and Mom Audience.  If you are a mom who is in business for yourself, Mom Audience also gives you a chance to list your great idea and business for free!

Now back to the business of literacy.  Every month this year, my friend, Anastasia Suen, is hosting a Carnival of Children's Literature!  I made a note on my electronic calendar to "buzz" me as a reminder to visit each month for terrific information about reading and children of all ages.  This month it is hosted by Jenny's Wonderland of Books and next month it will be Sally Apopkadek, a blogger on publishing and published children's literature.

Do you know that my friends at the The Reading Tub have a blog?  Terry and her friends always put together terrific resources for families AND educators so share this one!  In fact, they've also listed the Carnival in their February 17th post!

Look for The Literacy Ambassador to be featured in their Author Showcase soon; we'll give you a heads up when that's available.  In the meantime, you can find a few young adult books that are in need of reviews, listed to the right of the February 17th blog!  If you're looking for great books for your children to read, why not get them involved?

Last but not least, my new friend, Hester Bass, has been visiting all over the country to celebrate and share her book, The Secret World of Walter Anderson.  Learn more at Hester's website.  Here's a picture of her beautiful book at an artist we all need to know (I almost feel when I look at this illustration as though I'm out there on the water).