Thursday, October 25, 2012

Yes! Even Babies Have Concepts About Print . . .

When I was a kindergarten teacher, and parents would anxiously ask me, "What can we do to help our child?', I would always tell them, please just read to your child - enjoy the experience . . . cuddle up with some books and talk about the story. Do this every single day  - and night - and then do it again! The single most important thing you can do for your child is to read to him or her. I still believe this is true. If parents would start reading the minute their child is born (and even before!) and repeat it every single day, I would be happy. Watch this video of a very young toddler and it will convince even the most skeptical person how much a child will learn about reading, if read to on a regular basis. This is a video from a foreign country - you will soon realize you can't understand the father as he speaks to his child! But after watching this quite a few times, what I infer from this scenario is that the toddler had first been looking at a picture book. For fun, the father handed her a piece of adult text, and she surprised everyone by "reading" it!
(Note to iPad users - in order to view  the video, you will have to see this post on a computer.)

This video could also be used for professional development. After viewing it, you could have colleagues "turn & talk" or "stop & jot" and answer the questions:
What characteristics of a reader did this young toddler exhibit?
How would this have been different for a child who had never been read to?
How do you think she learned these things?
What do you think her background is? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

          Portland Maine  Greetings From Maine

Let me first of all introduce myself as this is my very first post! I am a literacy specialist and hence the moniker - Lit Coach Lou! I taught kindergarten for 22 years and I have been a literacy specialist/coach for the past six years - all in the great state of Maine.

I hope to share my love of reading, love of teaching, love of mentoring teachers and love of books, here on my blog. I am always finding lots of great ideas from my wonderful friends and colleagues and I love to share with others. I also hope it might help me keep myself organized in one place frankly! 

Here's my first idea to share with you all. I was at an iPad training today with a rep from Apple. He told us about Project Gutenberg - "Project Gutenberg offers over 40,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online". 


Although many of these books are for adult or older readers and not the latest or greatest, you can go to the search and find just the "children's shelves". I can see a variety of ways to use these stories besides the obvious. There are many different voices reading these stories and with so much emphasis being placed on fluency these days, it would be great fun to listen to the various recordings and discuss fluency. I happen to love the English accents! These recordings would also be great for teaching visualization. Many children are familiar with The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. But how many know the other stories in the series? Or even know there are other stories and it is a series?? It would be great fun to listen to one of the stories and teach visualize while you are at it!