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Play With a Purpose

I try to structure my 2 yr 4 month old’s play. He will have specific activity to work on, but will also have some open play. Today’s activity is sand discovery. He rubbed his hands in the sand. He played with it a little bit. Once he was comfortable with the texture, I hid some of his toys in the tray. He loved searching in the sand and finding different objects. We played multiple times. Every time he pulled an object out of the sand, I took made sure he named the object in Spanish. It’s another creative and authentic way to include Spanish into our everyday life. I kept sneaking in new objects into his sand tray. After a while, he was hiding objects in there too.

 

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A World Full of Literacy

As a parent and educator, I try to think of real world experiences for my children. I try to make experiences relatable and fun. My son L- is learning Spanish. I teach him through play and authentic conversation. He is at the age now where he can do things on his own. He is very independent and loves showing us all the new things he can do. I decided to push that independence by labeling important areas of his room. This is a great activity for all children. I took pictures of specific areas around my son’s room. Then I printed them out, wrote the Spanish label on it (with the article) laminated them, and he helped me put them around the room. He had a lot of fun doing it. The best part is that, I labeled his drawers. So now he can choose his own clothes and dress himself. So make every literacy experience a fun one! Enjoy the pics.

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Authentic Spanish books for our bilingual babes

We are setting the foundation for our son to thrive in both languages.   I like to research and read through books before purchasing. I look for specific things when looking over the books. Are the pictures detailed? Can he connect the words to the picture? Are the words grammatically correct? If each page has one word, is the correct article in front of it? Does the story make sense? Who is the author/publisher? Asking myself questions like this help me decide whether it’s worth the investment.  I recently found out about this company in Puerto Rico. They are having a sale on children’s books. They have some great choices in books for children of all ages.. Click the link and buy!

https://www.laeditorialupr.com/

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La Luna mami!

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It’s so important to read to our little ones in Spanish. They need to be able to match pictures with words. It’s important for my son to hear his rich language through stories and songs. There are limited authentic Spanish books. A lot of them are translated and they are very bad translations.

I like to read him bilingual books and Spanish only books. I like to point to the word along with the picture, so he makes that connection. I came across these books from Lil Libros. They are a publishing company based out of Los Angeles, Ca. Two moms couldn’t find good Spanish books for their children. They decided to create their own bilingual books. They are colorful and the print is big for beginning readers.

My son loves looking at these books over and over. We talk about the pictures, point to the colors, and the words. I highly recommend purchasing these books for your infants and toddlers. They will love them. The books hard cover which is great for tiny toddler’s hands! Click the link below to find more of their books.

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http://www.lillibros.com/

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Play Centers

It’s tough to keep our little owls busy. We are their main source of entertainment. As my son approaches toddlerhood and shows some independence, I like to create centers for him. Here are some center ideas you can easily create at home.

Reading center: Pick a spot in your home, maybe your child’s room or the living room and create a literacy nook for your child. Have some of their favorite books out. Once they are done reading, give them a cookie sheet like the one below with magnetic letters. Write the letters on the cookie sheet and have your child match it. Start with a few letters at a time.

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Water Table Center: I use this center loosely. We don’t have a water table, I put my son in his high chair and give him different size cups. I fill one with water and his job is to fill the other cups with water. I might give him small objects so he can put them in the cups. He can see what sinks and what floats. It’s messy, but keeps him entertained. He loves it! bath time is also a great for children to play with water. Consider bring different sized cups and plastic bottles. My son loves filling one into the other.

Sensory Book Center: I made this same book with my son. I went to Michael’s and bought all sorts of materials. I bought jagged ribbon, buttons, stickers, material, etc. We used Elmer’s glue to put the materials in the book.

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Cooking Center: My son really enjoys watching me cook, so I try to include him in the process. We recently made pizza. He loved it! We spread tomato sauce, added mushrooms, basil, small turkey balls (I took care of the meat), and cheese.

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I suggest timing each center or letting your child play at the center until he/she loses interest. My experience has been that he doesn’t stay in one place for more than 15 min and that is pushing it. You can also spread these centers out throughout the day or week. . I like using the cooking center for prepping dinner.  I also suggest getting your kids involved by making signs for each center the day before (if possible). Have them write it on index cards and decorate it. They next day, have each card next to the center and explain each center to them. My son loves this. It take practice, so don’t get discouraged if it’s a disaster the first time around.
Happy Center Time!

This post is dedicated to my buddy Cynthia. You’re such a creative mom, thanks for inspiring me!

XOXO, LCS

 

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Phonics and Reading Comprehension: How do they connect?

I repeatedly hear from parents, “my child can read, but they don’t understand what they are reading.” It’s important to take a step back and think about the 5 components of reading and how do they tie in to reading comprehension.  In order for children to have strong verbal and written comprehension skills one must go back to the basics. There are 5  to reading components:

  • Phonemic Awareness– students have to be able to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds. They have to be able to segment (d-o-g) and blend sounds (dog)
  • Phonics– this is learned through explicit teaching (learning the 6 syllable types), children must understand letter-sound relationships, practice and review it, in order to internalize it.
  • Fluency– this is an area that doesn’t get attention. A child must read with expression, phrasing, and at a good rate.
  • Vocabulary– this includes social vs. academic language. Students pick up on social language very fast, it’s important that they use academic language as well.
  • Comprehension– Once students have all of the above, then comprehension can be focused on. If one of the above is missing, comprehension is limited. Some important components for teaching comprehension are learning to discuss a story and summarize, thinking out loud about a story, making predictions (children use their schema), and identifying story elements. All of these comprehension components should be modeled by an adult. It takes practice to understand a story.

(Think of the above components in a circle, Comprehension being in the middle and the other 4 surrounding it.)

Most importantly parents, read, read, read to your child. Enjoy their favorite stories! Make reading fun!

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What type of learner is your child?

All children have special interests and talents. It’s up to parents and educators to tap into their learning styles and needs. One child might love music, while another child loves using pattern blocks and building blocks to create 3-dimensional objects. Whatever their interests may be, one must continue to nurture these attributes, but also expose them to new skills.

Howard Garder, developmental psychologist, best known for his theory on multiple intelligences discusses the 8 different types of intelligences applied to learning. Children do not fall under one category. Your child might be stronger in one than the other, but every child is a combination of intelligences.

Which Intelligence is your child?

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

1.Linguistic Intelligences– speaking, reading, writing, word pictures

EX: poetry

2. Logical Mathematical Intelligence– to see patterns in numbers or reasoning
Ex: puzzles, color patters, adding basic numbers, grouping objects etc.

3.Spatial Intelligence– to be able to see the world

Ex: drawing, coloring, making a diagram, making 3-dimensional figures (legos, mind craft, pattern blocks)

4. Body-Kinesthetic Intelligence – using one’s body as a for of expression

Ex: dancing, movement, jumping

5. Musical Intelligence – is able to produce rhythm and pitch, uses music as a form of expression

Ex: Sing, play, dance, hum, create music, play an instrument

6.Interpersonal Intelligence – is able to talk to others, enjoys talking to new people

Ex: loves working in small groups, partnering, or a cooperative learning environment

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence– is able to self reflect, look inside one’s self, identify one’s emotions

Ex: to make personal connections, have an imagination, strong intuition

8. Naturalistic Intelligence– love of nature and all living things

Ex: loves being outdoors, learning about animals, insects, plants

 

So next time your child shows a passion for something ask yourself what type of learner is he/she? What does this say about your child as a learner?

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Reading for meaning vs. Reading to Decode

Reading is fundamental to every content area in school. There is a big difference between a child that can read far above grade level, completely understand the story and the child that reads, but has no idea what he/she just read.

Here are some quick checkpoints parents and educators can use when choosing “just right book” for their child.

1. 3 Finger Rule: 

If a child reads more than 3 words wrong on a page, it’s not a good independent book. Choose a different book. Remember: children learn to read through storybooks, ALWAYS let them choose their favorite storybook even if they are reading chapter books.

2. Identifying the Elements in the Story (Answering W&H Questions):

Characters- Identify the main character and supporting characters

Setting- Where does the story take place?

Problem- What is the problem in the story?

Steps to Solution- What steps are taking to solve the problem?

Solution- How is the problem solved?

Main Idea- What is the story mostly about?

3. Writing abou the Story

Not only is it important to talk about a story, but it’s also important to write about a story.

If your child is a great reader, but struggles with comprehension, these are a few things you can take into consideration:

1. Can your child read books fluently and accurately?

2. Check to see if there are any vocabulary, language/ processing issues.

3. Does your child struggle with short-term memory?

4. Is your child rushing through the passage?

Maybe your child needs more time, that’s O.K. too

 

FUN FACT: I’ve read some articles that suggest children should learn to read by age 7. There is no evidence that early readers out perform their peers in higher grades/tests.

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Re-Introduction

Hello Everyone! I’ve been on hiatus for a while, but now I’m back. I’ve been enjoying mommyhood and all the perks that come with being a new mommy. I am mom to L-a 20 month old bilingual baby boy. He’s brought great joy to our lives and we love learning about him. Please stay tuned as I plan on posting topics about reading, raising a bilingual and Montessori baby, and much more.

 

xoxoxox

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