by Lisa Kane (published in Little Star Magazine)
In Nursery, we look at different exciting and ‘hands–on’ ways in which we can lay the foundation for pre-literacy skills. At this stage of development children are building their understandings of how print and pictures in a storybook communicate meaning, and I was looking for a way that children could make personal connections to enable deeper understandings as they develop.
It is delightful to see the children taking ownership of the reading time at school and at home as they share their stories with their families. Their understandings are enriched by the activity and our latest class-made book, Little Monsters, was actioned after one of the students suggested telling our monster stories. We had made paper monsters during a math activity and immediately the activity was extended and links made in other curricular areas as the child exclaimed, “We can take our monsters and stick them on paper and write their name, like a book!”. We also ask that the families post a photo of the children sharing their story at home, and the children are so excited to look at the story share photos the next day – lots of rich home-school connections are being made, as well as language and literacy skills improved.
When planning inquiries and activities for the week ahead, we look at how we can document aspects of the learning as a class-made book. This gives children ownership of sharing their learning journey as well as giving them the opportunity to document and make their thinking visible. At the moment we pitch the idea to the children, then each child contributes a page towards the book as a whole. We are hoping that as children become more confident throughout the year that this naturally transfers into the children making individual books about ideas that interest them. We build the books using photographs or creations that the children select, and then we collect the children’s responses, which make up the text element of the story.
Our first book is titled Colours and is a creative collection of an activity that we did during the settling-in period at the start of the year. We kept it simple, based on content that children would already be familiar with (colour names), which enabled the children to focus more on the process of making the book. Next we made What Is Your Name?, which is a collection of photographs and speech bubbles with each child introducing themselves to the class group – it has really helped children to gel as a class, learn each other’s names and feel comfortable with expressing a simple statement about themselves, such as “My name is…” Little Monsters is our latest addition to the collection that is currently making its way around the homes.
Making books with children has a multitude of benefits, particularly for our younger students who are aspiring to be readers:
Picture and text integration: Children make the connection that pictures tell a story giving clues to the context and meaning of the accompanying text.
Documentation and communication: Children understand that books are a visual tool in which experiences, ideas and thoughts can be documented and communicated.
Collaboration: Working on a shared book that collates different ideas and experiences, and facilitates the experience of working alongside others towards a common goal.
Cooperation: Working together successfully means cooperating. Sharing resources and turn taking is one way that we learn cooperation.
Motivation: Children love sharing the books they make with others. The personal connection to the book gives children the confidence to share the story, promoting the idea that ‘I can read’. We are setting up readers for life!
Who knows! We may even be setting the next Roald Dahl or Ernest Hemmingway on their path to success!
check video here : http://www.wiss.cn/videos/
Look for lots of upcoming exciting events and activities focused on reading this year at WISS! Visit the Reading Changes You tab to learn more.