What does the magic of reading to your children have to do with them learning to read?

What does the magic of reading to your children have to do with them learning to read?

It is often emphasised that parents should read to their children from as young as 1 year old.

Firstly simple exposure to reading increases the likely hood that a child will develop prerequisite skills for reading (Abraham & Gram, 2009).

Furthermore, reading encourages the use of thinking skills, helps develop concentration and expands the readers’ vocabulary.

“Children who have been read to in childhood are more motivated to learn to read, and they appreciate that reading is a gateway to new ideas” – Abraham & Gram Reading: Breaking Through the Barriers, 2009 p.12

What are these prerequisite skills for reading you may ask?

  • How to hold a book and turn the pages.
  • That words on a page have meaning.
  • That reading is done from left to right and top to bottom.
  • An expanding vocabulary
  • An appreciation for the sounds of words.

What can parents do help develop these skills?

  1. Read
  2. Read and
  3. Read aloud, every day or night to your child.
  4. Have fun with rhyming words
  5. Get them to repeat lines
  6. Guess what will happen next in the book?

“Few children learn to read books by themselves. Someone has to lure them into the wonderful world of the written word; someone has to show them the way”.

-Orville Prescott, A Father Reads to His Children

Sharleen Newcombe

Learning and Support Teacher

2013

The riddle of kids band-aids

Seriously what is the go? Why are kids band-aids so small? Yes, I am not completely clueless, I understand kids are little, but their war wounds certainly are not! And that is the riddle of kids band-aids.

 

Recently JT (3yrs) came a cropper after falling from a swing. The surface they use at parks these days do an absolute number on kids clothing, let alone their skin, see evidence below….

Anyway, I digress. Once the initial shock and howling was over, his first request was to put a band-aid on it. Not a problem says Mum (that’s me). I can fix it with a kiss and a bandage cause I’m a really good mum…..

 

Evidence that I’m a really good mum – I did a pretty good job with this little gouge which is healing nicely 🙂

So, we get home, put some special mum ointment on it (that’s antiseptic to you) and we pull out our hoard of bandages. Now herein is where the band-aid dilemma lies – which size? You see, none of the padded parts in my stash are large enough to cover the area. I can find some big brown material style bandages but they just won’t do (heaven forbid the bandage is useful and not adorned with Wiggles, smiley faces or dinosaurs). Seriously, try telling a screaming child that the big brown thing will work much better than Wags the Dog and you’ve lost before you’ve even started.

 

Nevertheless we soldier on. I pick out the biggest ones we have and place two of them on the graze. It looks good, it covers the whole area, but the reality is that the sticky bits are attached to the broken skin – ouch!!

This is about the 4th time JT’s poor little knee has been bashed and banged about, so this is not an unusual occurrence for kids (particularly boys). So, I ask again, why are kids band-aids so small?

 

If you have found the solution to the riddle of kids band-aids, please share your insights in the comments section below.

 

P.S. I am aware that band-aid is a brand name, but it has also become synonymous for plasters in Oz. It is therefore in this form that I use the words band-aid to cover all adhesive bandages.

 

P.P.S. All injuries were sustained in the line of duty, that of being a little boy. Events occurred falling off swings, foraging in the “tall tree woods” and racing to get to the beach before his father 🙂

 

Till next time…

 

Becc

How finely tuned is your parental intuition?

Women are supposed to automatically tap into their parental intuition as soon as they become mothers, however I am not so sure I was given that gene. My husband on the other hand seems to have tapped into his. Last night for example, he “intuitively” knew that my son was putting reams of toilet paper down the loo – how was this possible? I dismissed it at the time, but sure enough this morning I find my son in the bathroom unraveling the paper straight down the toilet so he could get to the ‘telescope’! When I asked my husband how he knew, he just said “I don’t know, I just had this feeling“.

 

I have a friend who amazes me when it comes to intuition. I remember being at a mutual friends house one time where her husband was on the balcony with her two children. They were not visible to us, but mid sentence she swans out of the room and scolds the children for climbing the balcony rails. Now, I’ve heard of (and possess) eye’s in the back of your head, but x-ray vision!?!? Her husband didn’t even have time to react before she instinctively knew the kids would try to climb up. This woman is clearly connected to her intuition beyond my comprehension.

 

My Mum also possessed this “power”. Many of my friends parents did too. How on earth did they know what you would do before you had even thought about doing it? How is it possible that those mums knew EVERYTHING? You can’t even put it down to past behaviours or even knowing your child, these people seriously have some eerie psychic shit going on.

 

Even though I think my intuition may be a bit skewed, I’m not saying I am a bad parent. In fact, I’m pretty damned good if I do say so myself! I think though that my parental skills are mostly based on knowledge and learned behaviour rather than intuition. You see although I was the ‘baby’of 7 children, my mum used to mind anywhere up to 30 children at my house as I was growing up. I therefore have years of experience in dealing with children of all ages so much of it comes as second nature, but intuition, I’m not so sure mine is that finely tuned.

 

Are my parenting skills based on common sense rather than intuition? Do I rationalise everything too much? Am I too scared to rely on my own gut instinct? Do I fall into the trap of over thinking things. Do my anxieties go into overdrive and cloud my judgement (as you know by now….I worry, I worry a lot!). To sum up, how do I know whether I am making a decision based on anxiety or intuition or even instinct versus intuition?

 

With these questions in mind, I did as I always do….research, research, research!

 

Instinct versus intuition is a much easier puzzle to solve. I think my instincts are sound. The actions I do in an instant without thought are in fine working order, but the intuition side is still a little muddled. So, after wading through quite a few ‘airy fairy’ accounts of what intuition is, I found one that stated that intuition is where you are able to perceive something that is not plainly evident, where you can see beyond the obvious. Ok, so I can think of many times in the past where I have used my intuitive skills with friends or with clients. I can think of times where I’ve slapped myself upside the head because I didn’t listen to myself, but can I think of moments where intuition kicked in with my son?

 

As I pondered this question, I came across an article that explained that sometimes the less you analyse the pros and cons when it comes to decisions, the happier you are in the long term. The longer you mull over the decision, the less satisfied you are. There are many times where my anxieties take over when it comes to my son. Like every parent I want the world to be at his feet so I think about things that can go wrong, but for the most part, I just do what I do not in fear but in love. Maybe that is the answer….I do use my intuition. I do what feels right. Looking at the evidence in front of me, whatever it is I am doing, I am doing a bloody brilliant job of it, so why mess with it by over analysing it? 🙂

 

How well developed is your parental intuition?

 

Do you have a story of when your parental intuition kicked in?

The Interior Designer, a Cushion Tosser

The Interior Designer, a Cushion Tosser

When the film industry portray an “interior designer” images of Martin Short as Franck Eggelhoffer, the neurotic designer from Father of the Bride II come to mind. Designers’ are often portrayed as people who are egocentric, expensive and who spend their day going around say “darling” and throwing cushions around. This description could not be further from the truth. A qualified interior designer is a mine of information, contacts and your money saver. They are your co-ordinator, designer, creative thinker and budget controller. Certainly not terms generally seen as associated with the profession.

So what does an interior designer do? They take the needs of individuals, families or companies and blend aesthetics with function within the constraints of the space and budget. They ensure form and function meet, let’s be honest what attracts you to a book in the first place is it’s cover, and this is the same as the space you live in or work in. If you feel good in a space you will use it or luxuriate in it.

By using an interior designer you can:

  • Maximise the use of your space, ensuring all areas are used efficiently and effectively
  • Save money by preventing costly errors
  • Save money as they often have access to trade prices
  • Access to materials and fabrics that the majority of people do not have
  • Have a list of trustworthy and quality tradespeople, they can be a one stop shop
  • Complete your brand image for businesses by continuing it into your work space
  • Increase work productivity and subsequent profit by ensuring ergonomic work spaces are created. A happy work force means a happy bank balance
  • Make sure you are not contravening any Building Code or Australian standard. For eg did you know that with any new office fit out that the minimum size of any door is 850mm and that egress points must have a walk through area of 1500mm. Probably one rule that most people are unaware of is the maximum distance anyone can travel to an exit is 20m without contravening the fire exit rules. Heaven forbid your were to have a fire and you did not meet these conditions, then you or your company would be liable
  • Make your makeover relatively pain free and save your relationship.

An interior designer is a person with a multi-faceted set of skills who improve the interior of buildings, the living and working spaces of people and ultimately their comfort and/or productivity. Oh yes and they do toss a few cushions around.

What can children do in the Holidays?

For other than HSC students, the end of the year means not only a break from school but also from tutoring. Yet most parents feel a little insecure about such a long break and worry their child will fall behind in the New Year. They often want to schedule some tutorials during the break (not such a bad idea) but still feel anxious about all that free time. So as a tutor, I often get the question – what should they be doing in the holidays?

 

The answer is surprisingly simple. The two most important activities for developing literacy skills are reading for pleasure and keeping a journal. Reading widely and reflecting on experiences in a journal are habits that lead to better literacy and lifelong learning.  And the long Christmas break is the perfect opportunity to start developing these habits.

 

Forming Good Reading Habits

 

 

My daughter reading her new book

Even 4 year olds can Read for Pleasure

Most parents foster the habit of reading from a young age by reading to their children at bed time, and encouraging them with their home readers. There is a point however where children are expected to read independently and this is often when the habits die off.

 

If you have a Primary aged child, support all their reading and reward them for functional reading (lists, instructions, recipes etc)  as well as reading for pleasure.  Keep them excited about reading by going to the library regularly but also give books as presents, read the weekend papers and let them buy and trade magazines and comics.

 

If your pre-teen or older student has become a reluctant reader then reinforcing the joys of summer reading – long lazy days spent with a book or any other reading material – can help to put them back on track Enjoying reading is the key and if they are used to reading in the holidays this will make it easier for them to tackle the large quantities of reading required for the HSC. And the good news is that seeing you read is the best model they can have – so enjoy your holiday reading without guilt!

 

Holiday Journals

 

 

It is one thing to model good reading habits however few parents feel competent to help their children to write. A holiday journal or diary is a great place to start and encourages students to record not only their experiences but also their reading. Reflecting on what they read and making judgements on what they like and don’t like helps develop analytical and essay writing skills – so definitely a worthy activity for primary and middle school students. HSC students can also get a lot of benefit from journal keeping and many subjects require this skill.

 

As well as journal writing, again encourage young students with lots of functional and personal writing – such as cards, lists, menus and letters and emails to relatives for Christmas.  Using the PC there is no end to the writing they can do they can keep a photo-memoir complete with captions – another good literacy skill.  But the pen is still the best and easiest way to record thoughts ( and still necessary for exams ) so keep your child interested in handwriting by giving them  a nice new journal and Smiggles pen for Christmas and watch them go!

 

So to keep your child on track for the New Year just keep them reading and writing and enjoying it. It really is that simple. (But you may want to lose the Wii remote and use the iPad for reading only!)

 

Written by Christina Greenlees

 

Images minor editing by Sharleen Newcombe– Advanced Education Solutions Like us on Facebook

 

Christina is a former teacher of English and Drama and a freelance writer.

She is one of our English tutors specialising in the HSC and creative writing.

Use Special Stuff Everyday and Save

My client was dismayed! Her 1934, delicately painted, fine bone china afternoon tea set was worthless…not because it was poor quality but because she had failed to use it. We were de-cluttering her attic and she decided the tea set inherited from her Uncle could be sold, but upon inspection, the antiques expert advised that it was full of star cracks and would disintegrate once filled with hot beverages. To stay useable, fine bone china needs to be used. By storing it for “good” she had denied herself years of pleasure using it and several hundred dollars from ultimately selling it. The saying “Use it or lose it” is applicable to more than fitness; it can also apply to our possessions.
We have expensive dinner sets, wine glasses and cutlery, which we “save” for special occasions.  For twenty years I hung on to a set of glasses that were a wedding gift. Several years ago the ordinary kitchen glasses needed replacement and I decided not to purchase new ones but to commission the “special set” for everyday use. The whole family commented how nice they were to drink from.
Using “special” items we already own, rather than making another purchase, saves more than our hip pocket.  The environmental cost of purchasing duplicate items for “good” and for “everyday” is worth considering. And then there is the issue of space. A recent survey by the Australia Institute revealed that one in eight Australian families have moved house in order to accommodate their “superfluous stuff”.  Although retailers may wince, one simple step towards de-cluttering your cupboards could be to start using your “special” items for everyday and in doing so make every day more special.
Using quality items means simple pleasures are enhanced. A cup of tea is nicer from a fine cup than a cheap clunky mug. Of course there is always a risk that in using it, it may be damaged, broken or become worn, but you will have had the enjoyment of its use on a daily basis. So I have now resolved to use the special for everyday; as the ad says “because I’m worth it”.  So what beautiful items are lurking in your cupboards that are crying out to be used?

Sue Blake is a Professional Organiser who seeks to give ideas and inspiration to help others become better organised. for more information go to www.organisedfashion.com.au