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Reading with children develops their language and literacy skills. Words can be found all around us, for example, on cereal boxes and advertisements. Recognizing such environmental print allows children to differentiate text from pictures at an early age by reading the words in their immediate surroundings.
Reading books to children teaches them how to handle books as well as how text flows from left to right and from top to bottom of a page. In addition, books expose children to words they may not learn through daily conversation. Parents should also talk to children about what they have read together to help them understand the story.
Are you ready for a smashing good time with your child? All you need for this activity is a piece of paper, writing materials or any alphabet toys and modelling clay. Write the alphabet or lay out alphabet toys on the piece of paper. Mould the modelling clay into balls. Say out a letter and guide your young child to smash the letter on the paper with the clay ball. Not only will they learn the letters, but they will also develop their sensory skills as they touch and feel the modelling clay.
For older children, you can prepare simple words or images for them to smash. If images are used, it can even be a sorting game where they use a different modelling clay colour to smash the odd images.
Adapted from: How I Teach With Smash Mats
Tell Me a Story
Sharing stories is a nice way to bond with your child. Besides reading books, you can also create your own story with your child. You just need to choose some items available in your house and tell a story to your child based on the items. For younger children, this helps them develop their vocabulary as they make connections between the word and the object it represents. Try getting them to touch and feel the objects and describe to them the features of the objects.
For older children, you can take turns to tell a story with your child by saying a line based on an object. This can be done repeatedly as the story can be retold by changing the order of the objects.
Read on the Go
Reading is an activity that can take place everywhere. Have some fun looking for reading opportunities when you spend time with your child outside. Point to words you see on signages and buildings and say it out clearly. Younger children would try to imitate your speech or if they cannot do so yet, you are helping them internalise new words. Children can also develop print awareness through this activity as they learn that functions of print rely on the context it occurs, for example, words on signages and words in food menus.
For older children, you can make it more exciting by getting them to spot words that begin with a letter or recall words that rhyme with words they see outside.
Title: A B C
Author: Lemon Ribbon Studio
Illustrator: Lemon Ribbon Studio
Publisher: London, UK: Ladybird Books, 2021.
Location: Early Literacy Sense & Sensations
Call Number: English 421 A
Introduce your baby to their first letters with this large touch-and-feel playbook.
Say and touch the alphabet, from A for aeroplane to Z for zebra.
With textured patches to touch, feel and explore, this bright and sturdy board book will engage young children from birth upwards. High-contrast colours and touch-and-feels stimulate a baby’s senses, while encouraging interaction and play.
A perfect first alphabet book for all babies and toddlers.
Title: Baby’s First Spot & See
Author: Kate Lockwood
Illustrator: Joel and Ashley Selby
Publisher: San Diego, CA: Silver Dolphin Books, an imprint of Printers Row Publishing Group, 2021.
Location: Early Literacy Emergent Readers
Call Number: English LOC
Read about how the cow jump over the moon, rock the baby’s cradle and gaze at all the twinkly stars in the night sky before bed in Bedtime Rhymes. Toddlers will love using the chunky push, pull and slide mechanisms to bring these classic playtime rhymes to life. Scan the QR code to sing along together too! With bright, bold illustrations from Joel and Ashley Selby, this is the perfect bedtime read for little ones.
Title: Daisy’s Dragons: A Story About Feelings
Author: Frances Stickley
Illustrator: Annabel Tempest
Publisher: London: Studio Press, 2021.
Location: Early Literacy Picture Books
Call Number: English STI
Warning! Contains dragons.
Nobody but Daisy can see her dragons. And usually, they all get along in their own wonderful chaotic way, but Daisy’s dragons aren’t like ordinary dragons; Daisy’s dragons are her feelings. So when Daisy has a very tricky day, suddenly, all is not harmonious amongst the dragons. Sad keeps growing and growing, and Angry is breathing fire at everyone and everything he sees while Scared’s screaming is driving everybody to distraction. Suddenly, some of Daisy’s dragons feel bad. And Daisy doesn’t want bad dragons.
But Daisy soon discovers that without Angry, Sad and Scared, her other dragons are nowhere to be seen either. Could it be that to feel truly happy, calm and brave, Daisy needs all of her dragons together?
Daisy’s Dragons is a mindful metaphor that helps children understand the importance of all their emotions - even the negative ones. It addresses the necessity of difficult feelings and celebrates their capacity for self-preservation, self-esteem and reflection. After all, you can’t be brave if you’re not frightened first.
Author: Alexis Deacon
Illustrator: Viviane Schwarz
Publisher: London, England: Walker Books, 2021.
Location: Early Literacy Picture Books
Call Number: English DEA
Ergo wakes up and sets off to explore the world. The first things she discovers are her toes. Wiggle, wiggle. Then she finds her wings. Flap, flap. Then her beak. And her legs. She has discovered everything! I am the world and the world is me, she thinks. Until she considers the wall around her. Is that part of her, too? And is that noise from beyond the wall . . . something else? At once humorous and inspirational, this light-hearted foray by Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz is for dreamers and philosophers, the foolish and the enlightened—a picture book experience told with simplicity and style.
All synopses taken from the respective publishers. The book covers are the copyright of the respective publishing companies.
For more activities and book recommendations, click here.