July 11, 2007 EditionAlso in this issue...
Summer is a great time for learningMelanie Spence
Summer is here! A time to put school and learning to the side, right? Not exactly. Research says that one of the most powerful tools to help your child be a proficient reader is to have a wide range of schema, or background knowledge. Learning is built upon learning.
Education experts would agree that what a child brings to the page is actually more important than the text itself. What can you do to build your child's background knowledge? A few ideas are listed below:
- Take nature walks. A child can learn the most about science and nature by being immersed in it.
- Splash! Children need to understand the difference between lakes, rivers, ponds, bays and oceans. Seeing pictures in a book can be helpful, but actually experiencing the water will be more memorable.
- Travel. Travel by canoe, car, boat, train or plane. Each vessel brings with it new scenery.
- Read everything! Advertisements, labels, magazines, how-to manuals and various books are excellent sources for analyzing points of view or purpose.
- Talk. In the early years, a child's oral language development is the number one indicator of how well he/she will read. Having meaningful conversation with your child will help develop this essential skill.
- Cook up a treat. Cooking and baking are life skills that involve reading, math and science. Sprinkle in a little history and art with various cultural recipes.
- Play ball! Physical activity will not only benefit your child's health, but the brain learns the best when it balances new learning built upon background knowledge, emotion and physical movement.
- Step into new territory. Look around your community and neighboring communities. Visit a new store, restaurant or church.
- Lend a helping hand and listening ear. Visit the hospitals and nursing homes. Children can learn much from their elders.
- Try a new skill. Dance, roller-skate, join a sport, plant a tree or plant a garden. Encourage your child to try anything ... at least once for the experience.
Be assured that the experiences you create with your child today will be the connection for future learning.
(Note: This series of columns will be written by different employees of the NEA Educational Cooperative to inform the public about the services provided by the co-op. Melanie Spence is the literacy specialist at the co-op.)
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