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Early Years Bulletin

Fall 2017 vol 5 no 1

Focus on Pre-K & K editor: Jennifer Baumgartner

Rich Words for Free: Using Quality Children’s Literature to Bring Language Alive for Young Readers By Josh Thompson, Texas A&M University-Commerce Karen Walker, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana


s each new generation is born, the children are dependent on their families, caregivers, and teachers, to show them their way in the world. Children have tremendous capacity to learn, grow, and develop strengths. The close connections that develop as children rely on others for nurture and protection aid in their acquisition of language. With language comes storytelling—the fabric of “our culture,” the stories of “our people,” the songs of “our nation.” Any child, born anywhere, in any corner of the Earth, could be nurtured and raised by any other family from any other corner; once language is attached, once stories emerge, this child becomes a member of her people, a master linguist of her mother tongue, and a participant in the story of her people (Bruner, 1990). Cultures and civilizations, from ancient times to current, create systems and language protocols to transmit cultural values. Through the fables of Aesop, ancient Greeks taught their children how to get along in their time and culture. Likewise, speakers of Chinese use chengyu, the four-character idiom, to capture and convey history, culture, sociology, and manners in a compact format that is easily digested by native speakers. In the Hebrew tradition, families pay attention to the daily routines, knowing how closely the young child attends to those rituals, rites, traditions, and protocols of language:

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) Quintilian, an exemplar of a “pater familias” of Roman times, considered training a child in rhetoric, the use and functions of language, to be the highest work of a parent. American families also use language in ways that convey cultural norms and values, and researchers have

Contents p. 6 - Activities for the Classroom p. 9 - Focus on Infants & Toddlers

Early Years Bulletin begun to demonstrate how different American cultures use words differently. Often, cultural values are delivered within the context of stories. Libraries and bookstores are filled with quality children’s literature, both classic and contemporary. The relationship between the stories and the experience of the reader/listener at that particular moment in time must be considered. For example, author Karen Walker recalls how the story Owl Babies by Martin Waddell (1992) had different meaning for different children—one whose parent frequently traveled for business, another child whose parent was planning to leave the child for the first time while going on a long trip, and another child whose parent drops him off daily at child care and reliably returns at the end of the day. The text becomes internalized in transaction with an individual’s experience (Rosenblatt, 1978). How the reader shares the text is also important. A story can be read quite literally; an adult reads from beginning to end, and the child listens. Mem Fox’s Tough Boris (1998), for example, is best read straight through, without interruption, during the first read. By reading with children instead of to them, however, adult readers can elevate the experience in a way that maximizes language development. Dialogic reading, pioneered by Whitehurst and his colleagues at The Stony Brook Reading and Language Project (1994), is a method designed to actively involve children in sharing the story, not just listening to the story. The reader invites participation by asking questions, providing prompts and cues, and rephrasing and responding to children’s comments and questions. Children engaged in such conversations about books are more likely to have the oral language skills needed to be successful in school. Expository texts, such as Lois Ehlert’s Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (1991), provide information that provokes conversation and connection, such as jumping up from the reading chair to look for an oak leaf or two outside.

Fall 2017 (italics original) (Hart & Risley, 1995, p. x). What is different in these groups is not the quality of language used and heard by the child, but rather the quantity. “It turns out that frequency matters (italics original). . . . And the consequence is that [children living in poverty] learn fewer words and acquire a vocabulary of words more slowly” (p. xi). The study goes on to enumerate how big the gap is between the number of words heard by children living in poverty versus those heard by children in homes of professionals—the often discussed “30 million-word gap” that develops by the age of 3. Repetition, reiteration, and re-contextualizing are just some of the ways that professional parents and qualified caregivers use rich words for free in children’s lives. Using words over and over again, in identical, similar, and contrasting manners, changes the way children learn, and consequently, the whole trajectory of their lives. Impact of Literacy Habits on the Brain Recent brain imaging research confirms the power of storytelling and book reading on language development. Hutton and others (2015) watched brain activity in 3- to 5-year-old children. They reported noticeable differences in blood oxygen levels in the parietal-temporal-occipital (PTO) association cortex (see Figure 1), which supports meaning making, or comprehension of language. Children from homes with strong literacy habits demonstrated the most brain activity in the PTO area. These habits included more frequent home reading, greater access to books, and a wider variety of content (e.g., concepts, beliefs, and relationships). What Makes a Good Book Good? Choosing high-quality books for young children is truly rather simple. A few key criteria will help the reader identify quality, and leave the rest on the shelf. Review Isabel Baker’s Standards for Choosing Good Children’s Books (Table 1). How do these standards apply the principles of providing children exposure to rich words? Consider what the choice of a hardback or a paperback conveys to children about the value these books have in their lives. Isabel tells a story of a Head Start parent (low income) preferring fewer hardback (more expensive) books over more, cheaper paperback books. The parent told the bookseller: “My child (a toddler) recognizes and ‘reads’ the title spine for each and every one of the 14 books on

The 30 Million Word Gap Hart and Risley’s landmark study (1995, 1999) tracked the language used in three different socio-economic groups (all living in America at the time): children living in poverty, children born into middle-class homes, and children with professional parents. The researchers’ first major theme is that children from these different groups “all have the same kinds of everyday language experiences”


Fall 2017

Early Years Bulletin

Figure 1. Location of three association areas of the brain (left brain)

our home bookshelf. They are classics to him, treasures of his childhood.” Content is important. Rich vocabulary and robust use of language make a difference in quality children’s literature, and in the meaningful engagement children experience with books and their readers. For example, Jimmy Fallon’s Dada (2015), a cute celebrity book, has a certain appeal, but where is the rich vocabulary and robust language? One father reports: This book in particular doesn’t work when read straight through—it’s hardly reading at all, just repetition of one word. M and I have enjoyed it more when narrated, and then filled in—Dad: “The big brown horse says…” M: “Dada!” Dad: “But the little baby pony just says…” M: “Neigh!” Not rich vocabulary, but conversant, dialogic, open-ended. The lists of books selected for awards by various reading and library organizations are good tools for families and caregivers to use in selecting books, classics and new publications, for their own collection (Table 2). Ultimately, it comes down to personal taste and preference. A good book for you is one you will use and treasure. Perhaps it is a book from your own childhood or early career. Sometimes, a great connection with a text enlivens a book for a parent or teacher, and then that book becomes a staple of that adult reader’s life with children thereafter. Josh Thompson discovered Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault (Lois Ehlert, illustrator) soon after it was published


in 1989, and it became a regular favorite of his kindergarten classroom, read rhythmically and cacophonously thereafter by class after class of kindergarten readers. Conclusion Children learn the language they hear. Use of quality children’s books enhances the language they hear, the language they learn. Parents, families, teachers, and caregivers can improve the language they share with young children through a rather rigorous approach to choosing quality children’s books; not just any old book will do. Many aids exist to help adults choose well. Standards for what makes a good book good are readily accessible to readers. Lists upon lists exist from which to choose the very best for our very youngest. All it takes is the will to give our children the very best beginning to their lifelong love of reading and learning, by giving them rich words for free. References Bruner, J. S. (1990). Acts of meaning (the Jerusalem-Harvard lectures). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing. Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1999). The social world of children learning to talk. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing. Hutton, J. S., Horowitz-Kraus, T., Mendelsohn, A. L., DeWitt, T, Holland, S. K., & C-Mind Authorship Consortium. (2015). Home reading environment and brain activation in preschool children listening to stories.

Early Years Bulletin

Fall 2017

Table 1. Standards for Choosing Good Children’s Books, adapted from Isabel Baker Which is best, hardcover or paperback or digital? • Illustrations and printing are quite different in different media. • Weight and volume, size and smell. • Value of a more expensive investment as compared to a disposable consumable. • Fine ceramic china or “Styrofoam.” Art • Bold, not overly detailed. More is not better. • Negative space, plenty of room on the page. • Does your eye know where to go? • Color does not equal quality. • Is the art in good taste? • Does the art add a new dimension to the text? Like a marriage, each partner must add a spark and new direction. Story Content • Do the characters grow, change, and touch our hearts? • Are the characters consistent and believable, as opposed to one-dimensional? • Are the settings clear and authentic? • Is there a theme that holds the story together? Are values being explored rather than being preached? • Is there tension? Is the story interesting to children? Is there a goal? Plot-driven obstacles help good stories develop. • Choose stories you like. Content: Multicultural Mirrors and Windows • Mirrors: children deserve to see themselves in a book. Does your library have racially diverse books? Are there girls in leadership roles? Are males nurturing? Are there female doctors or male nurses? • Windows: we need to provide windows into other cultures for our children—books to educate us about cultures other than our own. • Multicultural books should not be a separate category, especially in nonfiction. All people do everyday things. All people have a family life. • A mediocre book about a culture does not do anyone a favor. In fact, it can be destructive. • Children’s books are a golden opportunity to contribute to our community of humanity. Content: Nonfiction • Is the information accurate? Is it honest? • Children are naturally curious. Nonfiction has a natural appeal, yet is frequently ignored. • Boys (and many girls, too) love nonfiction. They should not be deprived. • Are the settings authentic? • Nonfiction with a sense of wonder and imagination is at its best. Language, Vocabulary • Reading to and with young children may amplify their language acquisition. • Language in books contains more “unique word types” than oral language. • Does the language show respect for the reader? Prosody, Rhythm, Rhyme • Nursery rhymes and lullabies may come naturally to many parents or caregivers. • Rhyme is the start of phonological awareness, the start of literacy. • Rhythm, repetition, pacing. Does it flow? Or is it forced? • Does the rhyme cradle you? Does it soothe? • Poetry or rhyme book—one rhyme per page.


Fall 2017

Early Years Bulletin

Table 2. Award-Winning Children’s Literature •

American Library Association: www.ala.org/awardsgrants/awards

Caldecott: www.ala.org/awardsgrants/randolph-caldecott-medal-1

Newbery: www.ala.org/awardsgrants/john-newbery-medal-2

Coretta Scott King: www.ala.org/awardsgrants/coretta-scott-king-book-awards

Pura Belpré: www.ala.org/awardsgrants/pura-belpré-award

Notable Books for a Global Society: www.clrsig.org/nbgs.php

Guys Read - - & Guys Listen: www.guysread.com/

The Reading Chair: www.naeyc.org/yc/columns/readingchair

Pediatrics, 136(3), 466-478. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/08/05/ peds.2015-0359.abstract Rosenblatt, L. (1978). The reader, the text, the poem: The transactional theory of the literary work. Carbondale, IL: Feffer & Simons. Whitehurst, G. J., & Arnold, D. S. (1994). A picture book reading intervention in day care and home for children from low-income families. Developmental Psychology, 30(5), 679.

Award Books: www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia Book Vine for Children: www.bookvine.com Carvell, N. (2016). Language enrichment activities for preschool (LEAP). Brattle. http://leapintoschool.com Flaherty, M. (2007). Let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Imprimis, 36(2). Available online on September 30, 2016 at https://imprimis. hillsdale.edu/let-them-at-least-have-heard-of-braveknights-and-heroic-courage. Gallinsky, E. (2010). Mind in the making: The seven essential life skills every child needs. HarperStudio. http:// www.mindinthemaking.org Gurdon, M. C. (2013). The case for good taste in children’s books. Imprimis, 42(7/8). Retrieved from https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/the-case-for-good-taste-in-childrensbooks. Hadaway, N. (2007). Breaking boundaries with global literature: Celebrating diversity in K-12 classrooms. Newark, DE: International Literacy Association. Notable Books for a Global Society: www.clrsig.org Thompson, J. (2005). Poems, songs, and nursery rhymes. Retrieved from http://faculty.tamuc.edu/jthompson/ Resources/poems.songs.nurseryrhymes.htm Trelease, J. (1982, 1992, 1993). Read-aloud handbook. www.trelease-on-reading.com Vroom: www.joinvroom.orgPura Belpré: www.ala.org/ awardsgrants/pura-belpré-award

Children’s Books Referenced Ehlert, L. (1991). Red leaf, yellow leaf. New York, NY: HMH Books for Young Readers. Fallon, J. (2015). Your baby’s first word will be Dada. New York, NY: Feiwel & Friends. Fox, M. (1998). Tough Boris. New York, NY: HMH Books for Young Readers. Martin, B., & Archambault, J. (1989). Chicka chicka boom boom. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. Waddell, M. (2002). Owl babies. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press. Additional Resources Ada, A. F. (2016). A magical encounter: Latino children’s literature in the classroom (expanded 3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.


Early Years Bulletin

Fall 2017

Activities for the Classroom editors: Patricia A. Crawford and April A. Mattix Foster

Priming the Pump for Poetry The following “Activities for the Classroom” column was submitted by Patricia A. Crawford, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Pittsburgh.

Keep a Poem in Your Pocket Keep a poem in your pocket And a picture in your head And you’ll never feel lonely At night when you’re in bed.

writing, and appreciation of poetry. Children can be guided to love and learn poetry via myriad avenues; here are a few starting points for priming the poetry pump with young learners. Nursery Rhymes In the best of situations, children learn nursery rhymes and other verses from the time they are in the crib, making joyful language play a natural part of their daily lives and routines. This knowledge of nursery rhymes can be enhanced in the early childhood setting, by inviting children to chant rhymes. Teachers can also emphasize the role of rhyming by leaving verbal openings, allowing children to practice supplying the rhyming words, as in the examples below:

The little poem will sing to you The little picture bring to you A dozen dreams to dance to you At night when you’re in bed. So - Keep a picture in your pocket And a poem in your head And you’ll never feel lonely At night when you’re in bed. —Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

Teacher: Little Jack Horner, sat in a _________... Children: Corner!! Teacher: Baa, baa black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags _________... Children: Full!!


eatrice Schenk de Regniers’ poem has inspired teachers and children alike to consider the power of poetry for enhancing both literacy and life. This verse serves as a reminder of the potential that words and images have to swirl together, evoking powerful feelings, thoughts, and literary experiences. Although poetry is often viewed as appropriate only for older children, nothing could be further from the truth. From their earliest days, children thrive on the rhythms and comforting familiarity of nursery rhymes and other simple poems. Early childhood teachers have a unique opportunity to tap into the natural joy that children find in these language experiences and set the stage for future learning explorations involving the reading,

Children can also explore the content and connotations of nursery rhymes to be found in different illustrated collections, such as Tomie dePaola’s My First Mother Goose, Scott Gustafson’s Favorite Nursery Rhymes From Mother Goose, or Blanche Fisher Wright’s classic The Real Mother Goose. As children come to understand that nursery rhymes can be interpreted and presented in many different ways, they might want to develop their own illustrations to accompany favorite rhymes. These illustrations can be displayed in the classroom or combined to develop a collaborative class book.


Fall 2017

Early Years Bulletin

Finger Plays and Action Rhymes Finger plays and action rhymes are enjoyable activities that serve a number of different purposes. In addition to introducing children to rhythmic poetic language, the interactive nature of these rhymes, as children employ their voices and movements, focuses their attention on a common experience and invites them to participate in group choral activities. These short chants and poems are ideal for transitions between activities, and offer the opportunity to develop children’s listening and expressive language skills and enhance eye-hand coordination.

how the same author can use different forms of poetry to tell diverse stories and evoke very different feelings. Please see Appendix A for suggested poetry picture books and Appendix B for suggested poetry anthologies to share with children. Keep a Poem in Your Pocket Activities Beatrice Schenk de Regniers’ Keep a Poem in Your Pocket (presented above) has inspired a number of simple, yet creative activities for celebrating poetry. These can be easily adapted for a variety of developmental levels. For example, teachers might use this poem as a launching point for exploring different types of poetry. Then, they can routinely carry “poems in their pockets,” copies of short poems on small pieces of paper, to share with their students. Children can be encouraged to celebrate poetry by choosing a favorite poem that they keep in their own pockets and then share with others at home and at school. These are just a few activities in which children can engage as they step over the threshold into the world of poetry. Young learners who participate early and often in these types of playful, yet meaningful, language experiences will be better prepared to appreciate and savor the poetry of others, as well as to create their own poems in the days to come.

Poetry Blocks Combine literacy and play by creating poetry blocks for the classroom. Poetry blocks can be made by covering any box with paper and then affixing copies of poems to different sides of the box. Small square blocks can serve as “poetry dice”; young readers can take turns rolling the dice and then reading aloud the poems that land on top. Younger children might enjoy using larger poetry blocks for building. Gift boxes and even large boxes that hold copier paper can be ideal for these types of activities, bringing poetry into the everyday moments of play and learning. Learn With Literature Although young children enjoy predictable texts and poems with clear rhyming patterns, it is important that they also develop an understanding that poetry takes many different forms—some poems are driven by rhythm and rhyme, others tell poignant stories in the form of free verse, and still others are presented in fixed patterns and formats. Teachers can share a wide variety of poetic literature and engage the group in discussions about both the content and form of favorite poems and poetry books. For example, teachers might introduce children to the playful and reassuring rhyming wisdom conveyed in the popular How Do Dinosaurs? series of books written by Jane Yolen. Later, teachers might share Owl Moon, another classic book by Yolen, that presents the poignant story of a young girl who goes owling with her father. While also written as poetry, Owl Moon is told in free verse devoid of rhyme. As students encounter and discuss these very different books, they can begin to understand


Additional Resources 10 Ways to Use Poetry in Your Classroom (practical ideas for implementation) www.readingrockets.org/article/10-ways-use-poetryyour-classroom Poetry Lesson Plans (strategies for teaching different forms of poetry to young children) www.ncte.org/lessons/poetry Preschool Finger Plays, Action Poems, Nursery Rhymes, and Songs (a source of developmentally appropriate poems organized by theme) www.preschoolrainbow.org/preschool-rhymes.htm Stenhouse Poetry Sampler (collection of chapters about poetry from notable educators and for educators) www.stenhouse.com/sites/default/files/public/legacy/ pdfs/poetrysampler.pdf

Early Years Bulletin Further Reading Birckmayer, J., Stonehouse, A., Kennedy, A. (2010). From lullabies to literature: Stories in the lives of infants and toddlers. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dragan, P. B. (2001). Literacy from day one. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Watts, A. (2017). Exploring poetry with young children: Sharing and creating poems in the early years. New York, NY: Routledge.

Fall 2017 Walker. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Taft, J. (2015). Worm weather. Illus. by M. Hunt. New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap. Wing, N. (2001). The night before kindergarten. Illus. by J. Durrell. New York, NY: Penguin. Yolen, J. (1987). Owl moon. Illus. by J. Schoenherr. New York, NY: Philomel. Yolen, J. (2000). How do dinosaurs say good night? Illus. by M. Teague. New York, NY: Blue Sky Press.

Appendix A Suggested Poetry Picture Books Esbaum, J. (2009). Stanza. Illus. by J. E. Esbaum. New York, NY: Harcourt. Fox, M. (2004). Where is the green sheep? Illus. by J. Horacek. Orlando, FL: Harcourt. Frost, H. (2017). Wake up! Photos by R. Lieder. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. Hesse, K. (1999). Come on, rain! Illus. by J. Muth. New York, NY: Scholastic. Lansky, B. (2016). Mary had a little jam and other silly rhymes. Illus. by S. Carpenter. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Latham, I. (2016). Fresh delicious. Illus. by M. Moriuchi. Honesdale, PA: WordSong. Lear, E. (2017). The owl and the pussy-cat. Illus. by C. Voake. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. Meade, H. (2011). If I never forever endeavor. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. Paul, A. W. (2014). If animals kissed good night. Illus. by D.


Appendix B Suggested Poetry Anthologies Bagert, B. (2005). Giant children. Illus. by T. Arnold. New York, NY: Puffin. Bagert, B. (2007). Shout! Little poems that roar. Illus. by S. Yoshikawa. New York, NY: Dial. McKissack, P. (2017). Let’s clap, jump, sing, & shout; dance, spin, and turn it out! Games, songs, and stories from an African-American childhood. Illus. by B.Pinkney. New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade. Prelutsky, J. (2010). A pizza the size of the sun. Illus. by J. Stevenson. New York, NY: Greenwillow. Rosen, M. J. (2011). The hound dog’s haiku and other poems for dog lovers. Illus. by M. Azarian. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. Yolen, J., & Peters, A. F. (Compilers). (2007). Here’s a little poem: A very first book of poetry. Illus. by P. Dunbar. Somersville, MA: Candlewick. Zolotow, C. (2015). Changes: A child’s first collection of poetry. Illus. by T. Becke. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Jaberwocky.

Fall 2017

Early Years Bulletin

Focus on Infants & Toddlers

Innovative Practice: Five Strategies for the Early Learning Classroom By Elizabeth Garcia, Founder, Discovery Day Academy, Eduthink21 & Edutech21 Originally published December 2, 2014 © Edutopia.org; George Lucas Educational Foundation.


marble rolls down a ramp, and children cheer as it reaches the target they have adjusted numerous times. After a small-group reading of Frog and Toad, children gather in a community of inquiry to discuss the nature of being scared and brave at the same time. In an adjacent area, two children complete their construction of treasure chests. They begin classifying rocks as gems or geodes, sorting them into the compartments of their wooden creations. A child preserves flowers using waxed paper and heavy books in the science center.

These are activities occurring in a project- and playbased early learning classroom, where children are exploring the concepts of living and non-living things. These and other early learning experiences that support inquiry and creativity have significant long-term benefits. Thinking is an art form, similar to the actions of a visual artist perfecting his or her craft. We must focus on creative learning dispositions early, during the brain’s most active period of synaptic growth. I suggest five strategies that can be implemented in early learning classrooms and beyond, to support children’s long-term success with rigorous learning standards. The strategies range in complexity and cultural commitment. Therefore, I recommend starting small and building a culture of student-centered learning and flexibility, prior to full-scale implementation.


1. Practice PBL and STEM Within Community Partnerships PBL (project-based learning) supports teachers in developing authentic learning experiences with a focus on inquiry-based instruction. Content is key, so I recommend outlining flexible project guides vetted through learning standards within the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects. For example, the traditional community helpers project can extend beyond the policeman, firefighter, and grocer careers by focusing on a marine biologist, astronaut, civil engineer, or architect. Then align the project guides to relevant community partners and request that they provide you with authentic problems to solve. You can guide or assist professional project partners to ensure the creation of age-appropriate questions with a focus on community impact. Align each project with a greater good by allowing young students to be change agents within their local communities. Whether it is planting milkweed for an endangered butterfly species or donating excess crops from your edible schoolyard to the local food bank, there are many ways to make impact tangible for children. 2. Engage in Purposeful Play Purposeful play should be the central learning experience in early learning classrooms. It’s a natural way of learning that supports creativity and imagination. Learning centers should include a library, manipulatives, science, dramatic play, engineering/blocks, and art/makerspace areas. Provision these learning centers to support your project work and learning objectives. Intentional teaching opportunities can be incorporated through

Early Years Bulletin open-ended literacy and mathematics games, science experiments, and fine motor skills, to name a few. Couple these materials with oral language and Bloom’s Taxonomy poster prompts placed in each center for quick reference. Use the prompts to intentionally scaffold children’s thinking as you coach and model their play. 3. Provide Opportunities for Student-Centered Constructionism Turn your art center into a mini-makerspace, as it abounds with DIY materials. Engage students in the design process by creating a visual poster about design steps. Include the following steps: · · · · ·

Think it Dream it Plan it Share it Make it.

The title of the poster? Innovate! Add age-appropriate DIY materials, including felt and plastic needles, wood for sanding, wood glue, and simple electronics, to spark innovation. The most valuable supplies are often free—a recycling drive with families can result in a plethora of great materials. You will be amazed at the creatures that are imagined and constructed. During a self-directed project at my school, a 4-year-old created a recyclableeating robot that he used to encourage care for the environment.

Fall 2017 4. “Bloom” Your Books Bloom’s Taxonomy is complex, so rather than tackling the content in its entirety, vet out age-appropriate question prompts and use them to guide your readaloud conversations. Planning ahead and intentionality are key. Repurpose the library pockets that are used for checking out books and index cards to intentionally level comprehension questions in your weekly picture book selection. The tactile prompt can be placed in the back of the book for future use, allowing you to build a library of “Bloomed” books. Support your children’s deeper understanding of the picture book’s purpose through small-group discussions, advancing your level of questioning each day. 5. Partake in Picture-Book Philosophy Picture books hold deep philosophical curiosities. Create a community of inquiry as a social-emotional tool to build a respectful discussion community. Teach children to listen and respect the ideas of others. Give them freedom to change their minds when new information arises. With time and ongoing discussion, you will witness your students’ thinking evolve. A strong house must be built upon a solid foundation. We must nurture children’s minds in early learning through play, wonder, imagination, and exploration to ensure success as they move forward in their learning careers. You have the power to make a change in your school or classroom. I encourage you to take the first steps!

Early Years Bulletin is published quarterly by the Association for Childhood Education International, 1200 18th St., N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036.

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Articles do not necessarily reflect positions taken by the Association for Childhood Education International. Copyright © 2017 Association for Childhood Education International


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Fall 2017 Early Years Bulletin  

The Early Years Bulletin, published four times a year, brings together the voices of practitioners, administrators, researchers, and advocat...

Fall 2017 Early Years Bulletin  

The Early Years Bulletin, published four times a year, brings together the voices of practitioners, administrators, researchers, and advocat...

Profile for acei