I just read this, children learn best not by being “taught” but through enjoyable interactions with the important people in their lives. I would have to add meaningful to those interactions, aside from being fun. [hanen.org]
As parents, while being light, we need to be intentional.
Experts would recommend that all it takes is to have the time and mindfulness to view each time spent with children to be a teaching moment.
We know, as working mothers (and fathers), whether at home or in the office, that finding time and mindfulness are exactly the challenges we face.
We all try to be holy! ☺ I admire those who are able to pay attention to what their children are saying despite the tasks and issues of the day that await them.
I hope this blog could entertain an exchange of ideas.
First, I’ll share what definition of literacy hits home for me. Traditionally, it’s been defined as the ability to read and write or the competence or knowledge in a specific area. I personally like UNESCO’s take on literacy, “from viewing literacy as a simple process of acquiring basic cognitive skills, to using these skills in ways that contribute to socio-economic development, to developing the capacity for social awareness and critical reflection as a basis for personal and social change.” [www.unesco.org]
If we are to take this perspective, then we are promoting literacy with the purpose of lifelong learning, a perspective that is local and global, and a sensitivity that extends beyond the self and family.
As a working parent, I value the time I have for reading books to and with my children, which I try to do, if not every bedtime, possibly, on most bedtimes. Good children books are really good conversation starters especially when we are aware of the specific issues we would like to have a dialogue with. It does not put children on defense; it makes them reflect on their own situations, which then facilitates joint or independent problem solving. There are too many benefits to mention, but here are some when children read or listen to books. However, how do we maximize these benefits, how do we read and process books with children? We will get to that after.
- Strengthening a bond between the child and adult reader
- Experiencing the pleasure of escaping into a fantasy world or an exciting adventure
- Developing a favorable attitude toward books as an enrichment to their lives
- Stimulating cognitive development
- Gaining new vocabulary and syntax
- Becoming familiar with story and text structures
- Stimulating and expanding their imaginations
- Stretching attention spans
- Empathizing with other people’s feelings and problems
- Learning ways to cope with their own feelings and problems
- Widening horizons as they vicariously learn about the world
- Developing an interest in new subjects and hobbies
- Understanding the heritage of their own and other cultures
- Learning new knowledge about nature
- Bringing history to life
- Stimulating aesthetic development through illustrations
- Exploring artistic media used in illustrations [www.education.com]
As adults, some of us buy self-help books to gain another or obtain an objective perspective on our personal situations or self, this is the same for children but through stories. Stories and a guided reading response process engage and open up children. From watching teachers and my own personal experiences, and with academic research and dialogue, below are some guidelines that will not hurt to try.
- Identify. Determine and discuss the problem. It should be meaningful, interesting, and appropriate for children.
- Brainstorm. Encourage children to think about possible solutions. Listen to and respect all of their ideas. Keep a record of the solutions suggested in case the children want to try more than one.
- Select. Help children examine the advantages and disadvantages of various solutions and then choose one that seems workable.
- Explore and implement. Let children gather the necessary materials and resources and then, if it is feasible, implement the solution they select.
- Evaluate. With the children, observe and discuss whether the solution to the problem was successful. If appropriate, help the children think of changes in the solution implemented, or encourage them to explore new solutions. [Eric Digest]
Have a go at these to spark a discussion with your children. Please do share your experiences here.
I remember how I was scolding Mayumi, our five year-old of misconduct I forget now, Gabriel, our ten year-old reminds her, and “Mayumi remember Big Anthony of Strega Nona?” The punishment fits the crime,” warning her if the possible consequences of her actions. That was powerful! Mayumi stopped and thought about that for a moment. [Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola]