By Michelle Luke As spring begins, so does a new year for people from certain cultural traditions, including the Chinese tradition that my family follows. This Spring Festival is a time to greet the Lunar New Year and welcome a new animal from the Chinese zodiac. In this tradition, each year is the year of a different zodiac animal. People born in the year of a particular animal are said to possess some of that animal’s qualities. For example, those born in the year of the rabbit are . . .
By Michelle Luke We all know reading aloud to kids is great for literacy. And inviting them to retell the stories in their own words afterwards can make it even better. Retelling helps deepen kids’ comprehension and support the oral language skills that underpin successful reading and writing. In this story time activity, we explore Chinese traditions for the Lunar New Year. In traditional celebrations, a mythical Chinese lion dances in the new year to bring good luck and scare away . . .
By Chrysta Naron Happy Year of the Ox! In China, each new year is characterized by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. For 2021, it’s the ox. In this Lunar New Year story time activity, we’ll delve into this zodiac by reading Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee. This wonderful book is a modern interpretation of the traditional Chinese zodiac story, filled with the love of a young girl for her grandmother. (It also shares the classic tale at the end of the . . .
By Chrysta Naron Happy New Year! Lunar New Year, that is. Whether Lunar New Year is part of your family’s traditions or something you’d like your child to learn about, this activity is a fun way to share literacy and learning around this celebration. A book is always my number one choice for diving into any holiday or topic with children. And for this activity, I highly recommend Grace Lin’s Bringing in the New Year. Its vibrant illustrations, fold out pages, and simple text are a joyous . . .
By Chrysta Naron I love a holiday! Any holiday is a reason to change up our reading games and reinvigorate them with a new theme. (It also gives me a reason to use my copious amounts of glitter.) What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and literacy than to weave together love, candy, and letters! This literacy activity lets children draw their own version of those ubiquitous candy conversation hearts and then try to create words with them. Children attempt to make as many words as . . .
By Chrysta Naron Teaching reading and all the early literacy skills that underpin it requires time and repetition. As a teacher, I always seek activities that keep this practice variable and exciting. And as a certified chocoholic, how could I pass up the chance to mix up Valentine’s Day chocolate and literacy into one fun learning game? This activity begins with spending quality time reading a sweet picture book to your child. A part of Rachel Bright’s Love Monster series, Love Monster . . .
By Chrysta Naron If you’ve ever sat with a beginning reader, you’ll notice that knowing letter sounds doesn’t magically jump straight to reading words fluently. Learning how to blend those sounds into a word is your child’s next step to literacy. However, it can be tricky to demonstrate without just doing it for them. With this word slide, your child will learn this key reading skill and be able to control the speed at which they read. This simple activity is a great tool to teach reading. . . .
By Chrysta Naron Letters are keys for children to unlock the written world, and their futures. They’re also shapes—complicated ones. Teaching your child to see and form these important lines and curves will set them on the path to reading. Yet all those letters can look a whole lot alike to young kids. This crafty early literacy activity helps even the youngest kids, who can’t yet write with a pencil, distinguish and remember letters. This easy project leverages the power of talking about . . .
By Maya Payne Smart More and more students enter school with no knowledge of classic nursery rhymes, primary school teachers report. Some traditional poems like Baa Baa Black Sheep passed from generation to generation for centuries, but they hold markedly less appeal for today’s parents. Indeed, many parents admit not recalling the nursery rhymes of their youth, let alone teaching them to their kids. And this has some educators, researchers, and early childhood experts . . .
By Chrysta Naron All my kiddos are top notch chefs. I have eaten some of the best imaginary banana cupcakes and sand buckets filled with stew in the world. I bet you have too. So today, let’s cook up a little “edible” literacy activity for you and your little one to enjoy! Dramatic play (aka “playing pretend”) is a very important part of child development and one of the most enjoyable parts of any day with young kids. It can be tough to ask a child to stop being a superhero in order to sit . . .