Sunday, July 18, 2010

Making literacy resources for young children

Welcome to the July Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "English", including Speaking, Listening, Reading and Viewing. I think our bloggers have covered all of these and there are lots of resources and game ideas, plus a giveaway. Please read through to the end to find links to the other participating blogs.


In a previous life I was a special education teacher, teaching students with physical and multiple disabilities. The kids I taught were non verbal and had limited hand skills so we had to be a bit inventive about the way we taught literacy. I was fortunate enough to learn from some wonderful teachers who taught me what I know today. A lot of what I do with my kids stems from what I learnt working as a special education teacher. My most used equipment when making resources has been a laminator, bookbinder and velcro. There are so many things you can make with these things! Here are some of the literacy resources I have made that are relatively easy to make at home.

I make books for the kids that feature simple rhymes. Rhymes such as Five in a bed, Five grey elephants, Five little ducks, Five cheeky monkeys and Five speckled frogs (these are great numeracy resources as well!) You can see, in the pictures below, how both the bears and the numbers have velcro on them so that the kids can move them around the page as well. It's lots of fun to tell the story together and make the bears fall out of bed. We also make finger puppets to go with these books as well and the kids really enjoy putting these on their fingers and playing with them too.

We also have a collection of books with puppets. The kids get a lot out of reading the books and having the puppets act out the story. Luckily, I have a MIL who is a very talented knitted so she makes us a lot of resources ;) The Goldilocks puppets below were made by her. Other books with puppets we have include: The three little pigs, The little red hen and Tiddalick.

Whenever we go somewhere as a family, whether it be on holidays or just a fun excursion somewhere, I make a powerpoint book. You can use the photos from where you've been and write a story to go along with them. I usually print it out, laminate it and bind it. The kids love that they feature in the story and read it over and over again. You can see an example of one of our books here

I have also made a felt board for the kids. Actually it's really just a piece of felt stuck on a blackboard with pictures that have been laminated and have velcro on the back - very easy to make!) I have pictures (cars, trees, people, animals, etc) that Jacob likes to move into different places and tell stories about. A great way to encourage early literacy!

I also have cards for days of the week, weather and feelings. The cards have both the word on them and a compic (I used compics with the kids I used to teach so already had these pictures but it would be simple enough to find some pictures on the internet). The cards on the left say Today is..., The weather is...., and I the kids can choose what they would like to say. Of course, Jacob still needs a bit of help to choose what he wants but he recognises quite a lot of these words by the pictures which I think is great! This activity can be expanded as the kids get older too.


Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.


Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "English."
  • Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey has written about why her family thinks storytelling is so important, some storytelling ideas, and a few of their favorite books.
  • Julie at Works For Me Homemaking is encouraging sound play with preschoolers and not just for fun. It is an important tool to develop sound awareness skills and enhance early literacy development.
  • Staci from Teaching Money to Kids reminds us that sometimes language and interaction need to be explicitly taught and practiced, and has some ways to teach the language of sharing.
  • Leechbabe from Stuff with Thing asks what happens when your child interprets everything said to them in a very literal way? How do you aid their understanding of the funny things people say?
  • Squiggle Mum was reminded recently that you don't have to be a literacy specialist to know how to read aloud to a young child. After all, it ain't rocket science...
  • Lisa at SMMART Ideas has a LETTER MATCHING activity to help you practice spelling words, or even foreign language vocabulary.
  • Deb from Science@home has a giveaway to help you go on an expedition on your bookshelf.
  • Colin Wee at Super Parents is teaching his kids to argue by learning how to create a reasoned argument for English creative writing and the OREO Acronym.
  • The Planning Queen from Planning With Kids had her own bookclub when she and her son read the same book. It was a great experience to have a book discussion with her son where she hadn't been reading the story "to him".
  • Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori agrees with Maria Montessori that young children have a natural love of learning. Thanks to matching Montessori sandpaper letters with small objects, her son decided as a toddler that learning to read was just a fun game.
  • Amanda at HomeAge posts that we all know The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but Eric Carle has so much more to offer to young readers, particularly those interested in the natural world. With bright, beautiful artworks and simple, repetitive stories these books are a wonderful way to entice the young "reader".
  • Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources has steps and advice in creating a literacy rich environment for children of all ages.
  • Christie at Childhood 101 points out that the process of sharing stories through oral storytelling is an age old tradition amongst families, but does it have a place in our busy modern day family life?
  • Sarah at Bringing up Baby Bilingual describes her public library's Writing Buddies program where high school student volunteers lead groups of at-risk fourth and fifth graders through a series of outer-space-themed writing activities. Writing prompts and resources included in the post!
  • CatWay at Adventures With Kids asks What is phonics all about? Is this something I should know more about to help my child learn to read and write?
  • Narelle from A Bunch of Keys has some simple suggestions for making your own literacy resources for children at home. Includes ideas for books with simple rhymes, books with puppets, books about family trips and making felt boards.
  • Zoe at Playing By the Book has gone fishing for words in illustrated dictionaries to support her early reader.

Thanks for visiting our carnival, we hope you enjoy some of these posts and have found some interesting blogs.


Playing by the book said...

Wow what a great lot of ideas! I especially like the idea of the powerpoint book.

Anonymous said...

What fantastic activities! I have a binder and always planned to make our own books with them, but now I am really going to have to get my butt into gear, I think!

When I was younger you used to get charts with spinning wheels and things, like the "today is" activity you have. I have never seen the same charts, but I have seen cloth ones (which must have velcro) which I have always wanted to get. It makes kids think about the environment they are living in, and I think would be a great way to start the day :)

miss carly said...

I absolutely love my laminator. I find that I can do so much with it!

These are all fantastic ideas!

Deb Chitwood said...

What great ideas! And I LOVE the Power Point book idea – what amazing keepsakes those books will be!

CatWay said...

Thanks for sharing the fantastic ideas. I've really got to get organised and make some materials to support storytelling with familiar books - I've been meaning to for ages.

Anonymous said...

I used to love going into Special Education classrooms (as a Speech Path) where the teachers were as organised and well-resourced as you. I am a bit lazy when it comes to making my own resources (for my own kids too) and tend to use whatever I have on hand. These are fantastic ideas though. Maybe one day I'll get motivated...

Anonymous said...

I remember thinking when I first started putting together Heidi's PECS folder that i should take out shares in laminating pouches and velcro.

I've put together some basic social stories for my girls but not stories. That would be fun and we could make some felt puppets too :)

PlanningQueen said...

I would love a laminator. We love making our own books too. Some great ideas that we haven't tried beofre so thanks for sharing.

Your Cheeky Monkey said...

You are so clever!! Some fab ideas here thank you... my sons are 3 and 4 so they will work great in our family too!

Sarah said...

I like making books too! I use French with my son and my nephew and so have had to make books in French on topics I wanted them to read about (like what they do during the day, illustrated with photos).

Making books through Snapfish has been fun--using photos and writing my own narrative--but I've also done very simple ones by inserting photos into Word documents and by printing out poems and rhymes, putting them in plastic page protectors, and putting the pages in a binder. (My solution to not having a laminator.)

I really like your idea of the velcro to make the books interactive. This is great inspiration! Thanks!

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

What a lovely list of resource ideas, I adore the knitted puppets.

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