By the time a child can sit or, in some cases, even earlier, children will begin to enjoy picture books. Even before they can begin to articulate words, the children hear and form memories of words. These words then form the data bank from which retrieval helps children to develop language. Colourful pictures and associated words help them to tackle more complicated tasks later.
Though, controversial, the writing ability tends to lag a little behind the reading skill. Controversial, because most reading writing experts and programmes treat the two skills in a parallel manner.
Motor skills develop later than cognitive and sensory skills. thus, it is easier for a child to 'read' a picture book than write a word in the early stages. Writing, when it does develop, aids and speeds up reading proficiency. Language is a learned art.
When a child is exposed to literature early in life, he has a bigger memory bank. This has been shown to give a child a distinct advantage in later learning years.
The child in preschool to kindergarten years should be able to:
- Understand that things have names.
- Name and label objects
- Maintain focus for short durations- say follow a short book of 15 to 16 pages with one to two lines per page and not more than one to two word changes a page.
- Start to make the association of written letter to letter sounds.
- Begin to understand that words are formed of letters.
- Begin to understand the concept of chronology.
- Develop enough skill to start using 'bookish' language- Once upon a time. Long, long ago. etc
- Form letters.
- Decipher small words and form early word memories. A, An, The, their own name.
The early scribbling and squiggles begin to appear on paper and newspaper and even walls. At this stage provide the young ones with several media to experience the words. Paper, play dough, card board, crayons, pencils and even paints. You will be surprised at what a child can accomplish given the opportunity. I still have both my children's 'art' work!
When allowed to DO something with their hands, the motor skills become proficient enough to handle usual writing instruments on usual writing surfaces.
Activities like play dough and cutting- pasting and tearing-pasting tend to promote the development of these motor skills. At the same time, it is important to promote small tasks like zipping up and down, buttoning and unbuttoning, tying laces and untying laces, putting and taking out things from pockets to the same end. It also has a spin-off in making the kids more independent in their daily lives.
Next we will explore the first few lesson plans to have ANY CHILD, yes ANY child reading in the short span of a few weeks. It takes a lot of repetition and reinforcement... and a lot of dedication but it works.
The children's early reading programme Hooked on Phonics or HOP works on the same general principles and gives a ready made easy to follow plan. You can preview the programme at http://www.hookedonphonics.com/
The programme emphasises on early start. There is a programme for babies- upto 18 months, toddlers, preK, Kindergarten, and upwards.
The programme is fun- very important, and effective- equally vital.
So.... on to the lesson plans.