Wednesday, May 23, 2012

L is for Library

If you haven't introduced your preschooler to your local library, this is a wonderful time to do that. Many libraries have special children's programs on the summer, including storytellers and activities planned around selected books. Some libraries are fortunate enough to have librarians who are dedicated to the children who visit--and are knowledgeable about children's literature. They can help  you and your child navigate the shelves for books that might be appealing. Many libraries have comfortable spaces made for reading and enjoying books in a relaxed fashion. And libraries are free. What an easy and inexpensive way to get out of the house and spend a pleasant morning or afternoon.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Read this Book!

Parents, here is a book that will rock your world--and that of your children.

Mike Lanza, father of there young boys, realized something was very different about children's lives today compared with the way he grew up.  He recalled unstructured play time--making up games and rules, building tree houses and forts, playing pick-up ball. Naturally, Lanza realized that things have changed. Today's parents are concerned about dangers of abduction; children are shuttled to organized activities, such as sports, dance, karate; homework is onerous. And of course, the screens of television, computers, and game players are enticing and addictive.

However, Mike Lanza wanted more for his children. He realized the value of unstructured  play in his own life and in children's development. Children need to engage in unstructured play to develop leadership skills, learn to negotiate with others, and experience physical and emotional freedom. So he took action. He figured out how to carve out the play space needed for his family and neighborhood. And in Playborhood:Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Place for Play, Mike Lanza tells what he did, and how he did it. In addition,  he offers a range of case studies from different settings--urban, rural, and suburban. Step by step, in his very readable style, he gives the information and inspiration parents need to create safe play spaces in their neighborhoods.

With Playborhood as your guide, you can provide your children and your neighborhood with an environment that will offer a safe place for unstructured play. That is truly a gift that all children deserve  . . . and need.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Read This Piece!

I want to share a link with you. This link will take you to a Q & A is written by Pam Allyn, Executive Director and founder of LitWorld. Pam talks about the reasons it is so important to read aloud to your child. From helping your child appreciate and enjoy language to building reading skills to simply enjoying the closeness of sharing a story, the reasons are clear. Please take a look. If you need that little push or reminder about why reading aloud is so important, here it is.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Your Turn!

It is time to turn the table. Have your preschooler tell the story. Pull out a familiar storybook. Instead of reading to your preschooler, try something different. Ask her to read to you. She might retell the story, echoing the words she has heard you read aloud in the past. You  might even recognize your own intonation or deliberate pauses, informal asides. Or she might tell a completely different story, embellishing the plot with her own imagination. No matter how she chooses to handle this situation, you are empowering her to be a storyteller. She is driving the narrative. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

What I think . . .

There are all kinds of readers. Some—like my daughter and me—are never without a book to read for pleasure. Others—like my son—are careful, analytical, and curious readers who read primarily to seek information from the page.

No matter what kind of reader your child becomes, you can help him or her get started. After all, you are your child’s first teacher. And, best of all, you can have some fun in the process.

Please feel free to share your own ideas. Tell me about ways you've enjoyed reading with your child.

Madeline Boskey, Ph.D.