Many of us have learned the advantages in using songs to teach large classes. Large classes can be amazingly fun, right? In a large class, students benefit from the crowd effect, and the energetic ones pull the whole class into the excitement. Nearly everyone sings. Quieter students either temporarily join in or hide behind the others while soaking in the song.
But in a small class, everyone can hear and see what everyone else is doing! It’s harder to hide behind someone, and there is little or no crowd energy to pull everyone along. And when there’s only two of you? What do you do?
Can you still use music and songs in your lessons? Answer: Yes!
To sing? Or not to sing?
Some students and teachers are shy about singing in a small class, especially because it’s easier to notice that everyone is looking at them. You can’t force anyone to sing, and you shouldn’t insist on everyone singing at the same time. Continue reading →
Children’s books can sometimes be dismissed as “kids stuff.” However, there is often tremendous depth, wisdom, and beauty to be found in the pages of the picture books we read to our children. Teachers and parents would be wise not to think that we are reading these books to our children, but rather we are experiencing these books with our children. Reading experiences enrich all participants.
There are experiences adults have that grant us interpretations unavailable to less experienced readers — just as children may arrive at interpretations unavailable to adults who have forgotten their own childhoods. In children’s books, there is art, wisdom, beauty, melancholy, hope, and insight for readers of all ages.
We just had a post on 5 Simple Reading Tips, and we received some great comments on that post. We weren’t finished! Here are 5 more tips for you to try.
1) Have a familiar story time routine. A routine is useful for helping students settle down for story time. When students are used to a routine, it is easier for them to focus on and participate in the story. To create a routine, try the following:
a) Play story time music. This works well in classrooms, especially if you play the same music every time. The music is a transition cue to the students, who will quickly learn that the next activity is story time.
b) Have a story time area. Yes, it’s wonderful to be able to plop down almost anywhere and any time to read. But when you have a specific area for story time, you minimize distractions from other parts of the room, and you help students focus better.
2) Have a child help you turn the pages. Children love to help you, and they have likely already noticed that page turning is a big responsibility. Choose a child to come up to you and say, “Mizuki, can you turn the page for me, please?” That child can either remain with you to turn the rest of the pages (choose a different child each storytime), or she can sit down and let another child help with the next page.
Many factors go into making a children’s book a hit in your home or classroom. The story, the pictures, and the characters are all important.
Your role in reading the book is an important factor as well.
Here are 5 Simple Reading Tips you can try when reading picture books to children.
1) Create interest in the story by discussing the cover. Before you open the book, read the title of the book. If your children are beginning to read, have them help you read the title of the book. Point out the characters. Count objects. Look for colors. Ask the children what they think the title means. Look at the illustration on the cover of the book. What is happening in the picture? Do you think the picture tells you something about the story? It might!