Weekend Literacy Challenges (posted each Friday on Facebook) sometimes require a little more time or effort than our "regular" reading tips. Sometimes they are a new way to think about reading, or a quick way to refresh your reading routine on a day when you are most likely to have a bit more time with your little one. All of them, however, will strengthen your child's connection to books.
We know you are up to the challenge!
For Weekend Literacy Challenges - Page 2, click here.
Share a book with your little one at a time when you might not normally read. You might read at the breakfast table, while in the stroller, while waiting in a line, at a park, after a feeding, or while your little one is bathing. We would love to know how you meet this challenge.
Create (or update) a "book nook" in your child’s room or nursery. If you have not already, provide a bookshelf especially for your child. Next to the bookshelf place a few pillows, a small chair, or other comfy seating arrangements. Remember that spending time in a book nook should be a privilege, and NEVER a punishment. If you already have a book nook, we would love to see a picture!
Take a picture of your little ones "reading" or being read to, print it out, and give the picture to your child to use as a bookmark or a bookplate. "Capturing" your child reading is a lovely way to reinforce the idea that reading is important and noteworthy. We would love to see your weekend literacy challenge pictures and possibly use them in the future!
Looking for a new home for some of your used or well-loved children’s and adult books? Consider taking a box of them to a local laundromat, so waiting families may have something to read, or be inspired to share a book with their little ones. Enlist your child’s help by first reading Knuffle Bunny (Mo Willems) and pointing out the Laundromat that Trixie and her daddy walk to in the story.
It is always best to keep books available in different areas of your home. This weekend, take some time to shuffle the selections and relocate books to a new spot. You might move a few favorites from the bedroom to the bathroom, from the kitchen to the playroom, or from the playroom to the bedroom. Something as simple as a location change can give books a new feel or inspire a new interest in an old favorite.
Take some time to organize your child’s bookshelves or bins. Sorting and categorizing are skills your toddler and pre-schooler are developing. Have your little ones help you organize their libraries in different ways: by size or cover color, by books in a series, by books starring different characters, by books about families, etc. We would love to see a picture of your child’s book collection as well, and possibly use it in the future.
Read an age appropriate how-to book (or story) before completing a related activity. How-to books are fun to read and provide early experience with steps in a process, attention to detail and picture to text connections. Use the book as a jumping off point and brainstorm additional materials or ideas you might enjoy. Older children can also demonstrate for siblings. Is there snow where you live? Read: All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle, then go outside and build one! Are you enjoying beach weather? Read: Watch me Build a Sandcastle by Jack Otten. Just stuck inside? Read: How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room? by Jane Yolen or Kids Show Kids’ How to Make Balloon Animals by Elizabeth and Emily Chauffe.
Share a personal story/memory with your child related to a favorite book. For example, after reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Numeroff), tell your little one about a time you baked cookies or about your favorite type of cookie. Reading The Little Engine That Could? Talk about a train/subway ride you took, or about a time you thought you couldn’t accomplish something, but you eventually persevered.
As you shop for household supplies, the holidays, birthdays or other gifts, consider adding a new TYPE of reading material to your child’s home library. Studies show that children who have the four main types of reading materials in their personal library (fiction books, non fiction books, magazines, & newspapers) score (on average) HIGHER on literacy tests. Take stock of your little one’s library and choose a non-fiction book, child friendly magazine, or newspaper to add variety to their growing collection.
To reinforce the idea of owning (and caring for) favorite books, consider purchasing or making a small, reusable, tote bag dedicated to carrying around favorite books. You might even want to affix a special luggage tag naming your child as a "reader extraordinaire". Then, use the new tote to carry one or two special books for outings. This is also a gift for your child to give to another for a birthday, special occasion or holiday.
Complete the following sentence: My favorite reading memory with (your child’s name) this year was ______________________.
Make a list of your child’s interests. Your list might include legos, dolls, trains, running, drawing, crafts, balls, animals, puzzles, cooking, gardening, horses, dinosaurs, cars, or books, among others. Then, head to your local library (or bookstore) and pick up a few new books related to the interests on your list. Read the new books at select times during the day when your little one is playing with one of his or her favorite things.
(Submitted by a Fan): With your child, use magazines, catalogues, or crayons to create stick (pencil, straw, ruler) puppets to inspire creative play and storytelling. Directions: “Cut out animal characters, glue them on ice cream sticks, name them - and a story is born.”
Read at least one picture book DIRECTLY associated with a weekend activity. Spending time with family? Picnicking? Traveling? Planting? Find a related book. Practiced in many classrooms, making connections between books and real life events is an important reading skill proven to increase comprehension. Connections also honor experiences and your child’s books.
Though it may seem inconceivable, there will soon come a time when all your favorite picture books take a back seat to early readers, chapter books, comics and other types of reading materials. You may not be able to picture a life without illustrators such as Eric Carle, but when children develop new interests, they are drawn to new books, and those beloved staples from infancy and toddlerhood may find themselves at the back (or bottom) of your child’s book shelf. This weekend when you read an old favorite (again), take a moment to enjoy those beautiful, familiar pictures. Older children often enjoy introducing younger siblings to their well-loved books. You may still have a few years ahead of you, and you may re-visit a familiar picture book or two now and again, but like all stages of childhood, this time is precious.
“Some of my fondest memories are of sitting quietly wrapped in my mother’s arms, listening to her read to me. Little did I know that she was doing much more than providing comfort and entertainment – she was paving the way for learning and success in school.”
~Former First Lady Laura W. Bush