Countdown to Christmas…

IMG_4717As we enjoy another clear, crisp and sunny day in Vancouver this last Sunday in November, our thoughts have already turned to…Christmas.

We’re well past Remembrance Day now, so we’ve allowed ourselves to indulge in thinking about Christmas at home and school.

We’re both early decorators at home for the holidays. Christy has earned

The adorable Christmas Village...

The adorable Christmas Village…

the illustrious nickname of “Christy Christmas” so you can imagine how fun and cute everything is at her house. Me? This picture from my Twitter profile gives you a clue as to what my Christmas obsession has been for the past 15 years.


Some of my favourites from my vintage Christmas ornament collection

Some favourites from my vintage collection.

Some favourites from my vintage collection.

Besides planning for the festivities (we’re both cooking Christmas dinner this year), decorating (Christmas tree, outdoor lights, decorative touches around the house, fresh floral arrangements), baking (cookies, cookies and more cookies for the teenagers) there is the final and inevitable task of…Christmas shopping.

We don’t enjoy Christmas shopping like we used to. When our kids were much younger, Christmas shopping was a lot more fun: we would buy what we, the parents, wanted to give them. We would be able to visit one or two wonderful toy stores and cover the majority of our lists. Now their Christmas lists are very specific, from far-flung stores and might we say…expensive?

Here’s a little poem about Christmas gift-giving we came across a few years ago from a comment a reader left in a personal finance blog….

Something you wish for
Something you need
Something to wear
And something to read.

When we proposed this to the teenagers, it didn’t go over particularly well (“What? Only four gifts?”) But they did understand the sentiment behind it, that perhaps simplifying gift-giving at Christmas might be something to be considered when we reflect on what Christmas is truly about on a personal level.

However, the one gift that we haven’t changed too much is the Christmas Book Bag.

The Self-Regulated Teacher

blogA Christmas tradition from our homes has been to give a book bag every year to our children (thank you to Dianne W. for this wonderful idea).

When they were young, we bought mostly picture books, activity books and comics; and although it’s changed to reference books, novels and magazines as they’ve grown older, it’s a gift our kids still look forward to every year. It’s the one present they can open while they’re waiting for the parents to get up. We have to admit it’s pretty funny to walk down the stairs on Christmas morning and see your kids sitting quietly reading around the tree! But it’s extremely gratifying as well.

We thought we’d share with you some of the Christmas books we’ve selected over the years. All of these books are beautifully written, rich with language and charming illustrations. We hope that you might find one (or more)…

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An Introduction to the Bear in First Nations Art and Stories:  Kindergarten Social Studies

One of things you quickly learn as a classroom teacher is that there is never enough time to teach everything you want, and have to, cover every year.  In addition to the mandated curriculum, there’s also the holidays (for us, an essential part of Kindergarten, and it also ties in with Social Studies) and just the curious and interesting things that you want to do with your class because of your personal interests, ideas you learn about from other teachers or activities you think your class will just enjoy and have fun doing.  Therefore, the process of integration, combining two or more subject areas, comes into play.

We integrate a lot, because it’s the only way we can fit in everything we have to do, and want to do, with our Kinders.

So here’s what’s going on with us this year.

In the new Kindergarten Social Studies curriculum, Aboriginal Education and learning about the First Peoples’ culture, will be an integral part of our teaching and learning.

We wanted to focus on the symbolic meaning of specific animals according to the First Nations.  We were thinking about the salmon, bear and eagle as our starting point as they are familiar animals here on the Westcoast.  The animals are a topic the Kindergarten children will be interested in, understand and make a connection with in their own lives.

At the same time, we are beginning our study of local animals in the Natural World (Science), and we have taught within the theme of Bears because not only are bears local and relevant to our area, but we can tie in a literature focus on well-known Bears in stories, such as “The Three Bears” and Corduroy by Don Freeman.  This also allows us to have a discussion on the differences between fiction and non-fiction stories.

In order to fit everything in, we’re going to have to integrate Reading, Language and Literacy (stories and literary activities on the bear theme), Community (Social Studies) (the bear, and we will extend to include other animals and their symbolic meaning in First Nations teaching), The Natural World (Science) (bear behaviour) and Art activities.

Children’s literature is of primary importance to us and so we always like to begin with a good book.  As Kindergarten teachers, we need to revisit the classic children’s stories with our students through the Primary years to build a broad knowledge base of literature.  We make constant references and cross-references to Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, and other well known books, in our everyday discussions.  We discussed schema theory in a recent post, and the importance of building a common understanding when developing a new topic or idea.

We asked our teacher-librarian, Mrs. Kennedy, to help us with the Aboriginal Education resources, and other Bear books, and she had some wonderful treasures waiting for our classes during Library this week!

FullSizeRender-10We Greet the Four Animals (Terry Mack and Bill Helin) This book describe the four animals, Eagle, Wolf, Bear and Buffalo, and the gifts or teachings that are offered to us.  The children look to the East to thank the Eagle for the teachings of truth or honesty; when they face the South, they greet the Wolf and are thankful for the gifts of being brave and having courage.  The children look to the West to thank the bear who Bear teaches about love; and they face the North to thank for the Buffalo for the gift of being able to listen to others.  

Explore the Animals:  Northwest Coast First Nations and Native Art. FullSizeRender-9 This book has beautiful black and white drawings for the children to colour and a brief explanation of the animals.

FullSizeRender-8Black Bears (Tammy Gagne)  In keeping with learning about many types of bears, our children began with this book.

As the children are learning about the First Nation’s people, they are learning about the similarities and differences between our cultures.  In this way, they can develop an appreciation of themselves and others as individuals, but also how we all work and live together in the broader community.

Hallowe’en Fun in the Kindergarten: Part 2

FullSizeRender-12We’re going to share our Hallowe’en booklist for you in case you missed it.  It was buried deep in last week’s post.

A holiday post from us would not be complete without a booklist.  Here’s the best of what we’re reading to the Kindergarten for Hallowe’en.

  • Franklin’s Hallowe’en (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
  • The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin (Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Egielski)
  • Harriet’s Hallowe’en Candy (Nancy Carlson)
  • Ten Little Beasties (Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley)
  • Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (Jill Esbaum)
  • A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (Megan Faulkner and Adam Krawesky)
  • The Pumpkin Book (Gail Gibbons)
  • It’s Pumpkin Time (Zoe Hall and Sheri Halpern)
  • The Littlest Pumpkin (R.A. Herman and Betina Ogden)
  • Little Goblins Ten (Pamela Jane and Jane Manning)
  • The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (Steven Kroll)
  • From Seed to Pumpkin (Wendy Pfeffer and James Graham Hale)
  • 10 Trick-or-Treaters (Janet Schulman and Linda Davick)
  • Big Pumpkin (Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler)
  • One Spooky Night (Kate Stone)
  • Too Many Pumpkins (Linda White and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Pumpkin Blanket (Deborah Turney Zagwyn)

IMG_0435This Week in Our Room:  October 25-29, 2015

With everything that’s been going on for Hallowe’en, we did not work on our next letter, “F.”  We will be back to working on the alphabet next week.

Both of our classrooms had the protective film on our windows replaced this week.  It helps to reduce the light and glare off of our whiteboards which can make it difficult to see when the sun is shining really brightly.

We sent home the November homework calendar.  Please bring back October’s homework calendar next week for a sticker.

IMG_0437Hallowe’en Centres Party

We had a really fun and exciting time at our Hallowe’en Centres party on Wednesday!  First of all, we must say a big “thank you so very much” to the parent volunteers who helped to make this special event possible.  The children had a truly enjoyable morning making their bat craft and decorating their spider cupcakes, creating a Hallowe’en Math pattern, sculpting with play dough and drawing in their Hallowe’en colouring books.

IMG_2069Hallowe’en Parade and Assembly

The Kindergarten led the way through our school hallways as we led the Primary students in our costume parade.  Thank you so much for helping your child to prepare for our fun day!  The children all looked so wonderful.

During our Assembly, we sang Hallowe’en songs and reviewed the safety rules for trick-or-treating:

  1.  Light your way-make sure you can be seen.
  2.  Let’s talk about the route-be certain you know where you are going.
  3.  Don’t touch that-if you don’t know what it is, back away.
  4.  Follow the rules of the road-walk on the sidewalk and wear reflectors if necessary.
  5.  Don’t run-walk carefully so you don’t trip on your costume.
  6.  Get home safely, stay together-being safe is the most important part of the Hallowe’en night!
Party's over....

Party’s over….

Well, Hallowe’en celebrations are finished at school for another year.  We wish everyone a safe and happy Hallowe’en!



Upcoming Next Week:

Library Day for Division 15 is Monday, and Library Day for Division 16 is Tuesday.

We’re looking forward to seeing our Grade 7 Buddies next week and getting started on our Peace Doves and other art projects for Remembrance Day.

Dates and Reminders:

Wednesday, November 11 is Remembrance Day.  School is not in session.

Hallowe’en Fun in the Kindergarten: Part 1

FullSizeRender-13Five years ago was the beginning of a changing lens on Hallowe’en for Christy and I at school.  Our school hallways are traditionally decorated, and a grotesque figure in the main foyer one year upset a Kindergarten child.  She refused to walk past it, and we had to shield her view to usher her into the library which was our destination.  We’ve never forgotten that incident and it continues to shape much of what we do today.

Outside of school, the children have lots to be excited about on Hallowe’en. The idea of dressing up as your favourite character and collecting candy is very appealing.  But Hallowe’en has become noticeably scarier over the years, with more gore and hints of creepiness evident in costumes and commercial decorations.  We struggle every year as we try to focus on the best and most appropriate parts of Hallowe’en for our young students in the classroom.

Reconciling a calm, self-regulated learning environment and Hallowe’en has required some thoughtful planning and reflection on our part.

IMG_2027We’ve added some beautiful orange fairy lights along some of our bulletin boards. With the cloudy days being a little darker, the lights are warm and welcoming. We’ve actually just been enjoying looking at the lights and listening to a little Charlie Brown jazz music.  (True story:  as I was hanging up the lights during lunch, one of my students asked, “Mrs. Daudlin, why are you putting up Christmas lights already?”  While I was pondering my response, another student replied, “Oh, those are for Hallowe’en.  She’s going to put up rainbow lights at Christmas.”  How cute is that?)

IMG_2026We’re putting up far less Hallowe’en “stuff” on our walls.

Instead, we brainstormed some familiar Hallowe’en vocabulary and created a Hallowe’en word bank with pictures and labels to support the children in their drawing and writing.

We’ll be learning about the life cycle of the pumpkin and the names of the various stages.

And we’re providing more opportunities for oral language as we sing FullSizeRender-15Hallowe’en songs and chant poems.

We’ve created some fabulous Hallowe’en themed art to decorate our classrooms.

FullSizeRender-14We drew and coloured our beautiful monthly self-portraits.  We love looking back at the growth in maturity as the children’s drawings of themselves become more sophisticated over the school year.

Deep Space Sparkle Pumpkins. We introduced warm colour mixing with red, yellow and orange on pumpkins we had drawn with white pastel. We mixed the paint right on the paper.  Then we were inspired by a photo of some pumpkin art from our Principal. We found ourselves cutting out our pumpkins to mount on black paper, then added painted paper stems, leaves and grass.  We’ve hung them up quilt style, and next week, we will add the Jack-o-lantern features for some Hallowe’en fun.  These are our favourite kinds of art projects as we love creating the anticipation for completion.  We will have taken three weeks from start to finish, and our children are learning the valuable lessons of patience, perseverance and delayed gratification.


Hallowe’en Wreaths.  Our wreaths are in progress as we make them with our Grade 7 Buddies.  Each Big and Little Buddy pair use tracers to trace and cut out the four shapes of pumpkin, bat, moon and ghost.  These are decorated simply with crayons, and glued onto a wreath shape.  Bows and stickers are the final details to complete our sweet project.

FullSizeRender-12Of course a holiday post from us would not be complete without a booklist.  Here’s the best of what we’re reading to the Kindergarten for Hallowe’en.


  • Franklin’s Hallowe’en (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
  • The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin (Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Egielski)
  • Harriet’s Hallowe’en Candy (Nancy Carlson)
  • Ten Little Beasties (Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley)
  • Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (Jill Esbaum)
  • A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (Megan Faulkner and Adam Krawesky)
  • The Pumpkin Book (Gail Gibbons)
  • It’s Pumpkin Time (Zoe Hall and Sheri Halpern)
  • The Littlest Pumpkin (R.A. Herman and Betina Ogden)
  • Little Goblins Ten (Pamela Jane and Jane Manning)
  • The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (Steven Kroll)
  • From Seed to Pumpkin (Wendy Pfeffer and James Graham Hale)
  • 10 Trick-or-Treaters (Janet Schulman and Linda Davick)
  • Big Pumpkin (Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler)
  • One Spooky Night (Kate Stone)
  • Too Many Pumpkins (Linda White and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Pumpkin Blanket (Deborah Turney Zagwyn)

One of the benefits of a simpler Hallowe’en has been to downsize our decorations.  We’ll be making the drive to the Salvation Army this weekend.

This Week in Our Room:  October 19-22, 2015

This week we learned the correct formation for the letter “E.”  As we are brainstorming ideas, segmenting words and labelling our pictures, the children are solidifying the sound/symbol relationship of each of the alphabet letters.

In Math, we’ve been creating AB, AAB, and ABC patterns using manipulatives during our Math rotations.  This week we represented our learning by choosing a pattern and creating a patterned frame around our name.


Our school watched our first Cultural Event, “Marimba Muzuva” on Wednesday.  We were delighted with the children’s audience behaviour; they sat politely and listened for almost an hour in a very hot gym.  The children were able to enjoy some of the songs, stories and dances of Zimbabwe and participated with clapping, chanting and dancing with the rest of the student population. Thank you very much to our RPAC for sponsoring this event.


It’s a Professional Day tomorrow and students are not in session.  We are attending the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative Leadership Roundtable tomorrow, “Building School Capacity to Support Student Success:  Creating Quality Learning Environments Through a Self-Regulation Lens.”  We look forward to learning more about creating the best self-regulated learning environment we can for our students.

Library Day is Monday for Division 15, and Tuesday for Division 16. Please return your Library Book so you may borrow a new one.

Our classes are starting to catch colds and coughs and some children have had fevers.  It’s probably a good time to review the use of Kleenex, hand washing and coughing into your elbow at home again with your child.  If your children are sick, please keep them at home.  We know the children want to come to school but they simply do not have the stamina and energy required for the full day.  As their parents, you can and should make that decision for them.  The children need to stay at home, and come back to school rested and in good health.

Next Wednesday we are holding our annual Hallowe’en Centres party for our children, from 9-10:30. The children do not need to dress up in their costumes, but they may certainly wear their Hallowe’en t-shirts, black and orange, headpieces and jewelry.  They will be very busy participating in Hallowe’en themed activities!

All next week Ridgeview will also be collecting non-perishable food items for the “We Scare Hunger” Campaign, sponsored by our Grade 7 Me to We team.  Please send the donations to our classroom and your children will deliver them to the collection area in the main hallway.

Friday, October 30, is another great Ridgeview tradition:  Our annual Hallowe’en Parade and Assembly.  All students are invited to dress up in their Hallowe’en costumes.  Please remember not to send in any items that resemble weapons.  Our Principal will lead our costumed students through our hallowed hallways as we make our way to the gym for a fun assembly of Safety Information, songs and stories.  This will take place from 9:15-10:00.

Reading with Your Kindergarten Child: Establish an Atmosphere for Reading at Home

IMG_4073School’s out, our classrooms are tidied up and we’re officially on holiday, and that includes writing for our blog! But we’re reposting some great articles over the next two months that you may have missed, to read and catch up with the website.

With the summer break and the hot weather we’re having right now, we love to spend some time out of the sun doing one of our favourite activities: reading. Just the thought of freedom to read whatever we want, for as long as we want, is a delicious moment to savour! It’s a great chance to visit your local library, favourite book stores, or even peruse old favourites from your home library, for reading material.

Exploring secondhand bookstores is another fun thing to do with your family. We both love to buy old books to complete collections of series we started in childhood (I own every copy of the original 65 Nancy Drew books; and Christy, the entire A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh series); or old copies of a favourite English series, Thrush Green by Miss Read, wonderful books about a fictional Cotswold village. The two schoolteachers, Miss Watson and Miss Fogerty, remind us that although our methods and curriculum might have changed, the sheer delight in working with young children remains the same.

Visiting new and used bookstores while we travel is a must. If you’re in Victoria, British Columbia, you must visit Russell Books, on Fort Street. It’s just up a few doors from the delectable Dutch Bakery where you can indulge your sweet tooth.

If you’re going down the coast, Village Books in Fairhaven, Washington, is a great destination. They have a wonderful children’s book section, and a lovely gift shop with an old fashioned candy area.

IMG_4067For those travelling through Oregon, you have to go to Powell’s Books in Portland Oregon. Go upstairs to the coffee bar for a coffee and cookie–absolutely fabulous! Warning: we spent only a morning at Powell’s and felt rushed. If you have a family of book lovers, you’re going to need time as it is takes up an entire city block! We bought 18 books on our last visit, and Christy’s family a mere 14, and getting down to those numbers was a huge challenge at best.

So now that you’ve bought all your books, time to start reading at home.

The Self-Regulated Teacher

sunshine readersA few weeks ago we started a Home Reading Program for our Kindergarten classes.

It’s just a simple program of emergent books and readers, where the children independently select a book to take home to read with their parents three times a week.   We have our book exchange during Centre time.  We call the children over to choose their book by our “bookkeeping” method of the ziploc bags where we’ve written their names and keep the individual books.  After the children select their new book and put it into the ziploc, they place the book inside their backpacks to go home.

Home Reading is a fun opportunity for our students to read aloud books appropriate for their reading level to their parents. But it’s not meant to replace the nightly bedtime story.

The cozy and comforting routine of a bedtime story is one of our strongest memories. We still have…

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Once Upon a Fairy Tale

IMG_3890Fairy Tales is one of our favourite genres to read and explore with our Kindergarten children.  They form an important part of our literary culture going back to the stories of French author and poet, Charles Perrault (1628-1703) and the Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859) of Germany.

Perrault took eight existing folk tales of the time, which were shared through storytelling, and wrote them down as stories creating a new genre, fairy tales.  He is known for what might be considered the “classic” fairy tales including “Cinderella,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Sleeping Beauty.”  He published Tales or Stories from Times Past, with Morals (subtitled Tales of Mother Goose) in 1697 under the name of his son, Pierre.

The Brothers Grimm were scholars who were also interested in recording the storytelling tradition of fairy tales. Stories such as “Hansel and Gretel,” Rapunzel” and “Rumplestiltskin” were published in the volume Nursery and Household Tales (1812),  and eventually retitled as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  One interesting fact is that these stories were originally not written for children as the content was considered to be too harsh.  However, over time the stories have been revised as to be suitable for young readers.

There are often references to fairy tales in more recent literature, so it’s important that our students have a firm foundation in these stories to understand what they are reading now, and in the future.

We always start our Fairy Tale theme by reading Once Upon a photo 1-3Golden Apple (1991) by Jean Little, Maggie De Vries and Phoebe Gilman.  This is a fairy tale that incorporates elements from a variety of well known stories and nursery rhymes and can test the knowledge of a children’s literature expert.  We ask the children to try to name as many of the fairy tales and nursery rhymes they know that are referred to in the book.  This year we were amazed at how many they identified.  We spent a fun morning reciting and laughing our way through familiar nursery rhymes such as “Humpty Dumpty,” “Little Miss Muffet,” “Little Boy Blue” and “Jack Sprat” among others.

Our discussions revolve around common elements in fairy tales such as how most stories begin (“Once upon a time….”) and end (“And they all lived happily ever after.”).

We’re looking at some of the more well-known archetypes of heroes and heroines (typically wise children who make good choices) the Baddies (usually an adult of some type, or large furry creature) and talking animals.  Sometimes we find there is a magical person (fairies, wizards and witches) or objects (apples, mirrors and wands).

We also focus on how the number 3 is important in fairy tales (3 Pigs; 3 Billy Goats; 3 Bears, Goldilocks does 3 things (eats porridge, sits on chairs, lies on beds) at the Bears’; the evil step-mother visits Snow White 3 times) as we read each of those stories.

photo 2-3This month’s Sharing Theme has focused on Fairy Tales.  We’ve asked each Special Helper of the Day to bring a fairy tale to school for us to read aloud to the class at Storytime.  What a delightful assortment of volumes, stories and vintage books that have come our way!  Some of our students have brought their parents’ childhood fairy tale books (really fun to look at); we’ve seen the entire Disney Princess line-up; and we’ve been introduced to a collection new to us, Mary Engelbreit’s Nursery Tales: A Treasury of Children’s Classics.  We love it when two or more children bring the same fairy tale as it’s a wonderful opportunity to compare and contrast the different versions.

For teaching purposes, the first story we read was “Little Red Riding Hood,” to teach about story structure (beginning, middle and end) and we worked on our Wolf craft.

Our second story was “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to reinforce our learning about how stories are organized.  We made stick puppets of the Bears to practise retelling the story in our own words.

This week we read the “The Three Pigs,” and sequenced the main events in a little booklet.  We see some interesting times ahead now that our “Little Red Riding Hood” wolves have met up with the our “Three Little Pigs.”


We hope it’s all going to end happily ever after….

A reminder to moms and dads, that it’s Prince and Princess Day in the Kindergarten on Tuesday, June 16.  Boys and girls may dress up in their “royal” attire to celebrate the end of our study on Fairy Tales!


Reading with Your Kindergarten Child: Literacy Awareness – A Book is More than a Story

photo-10Do you love reading as a pleasurable, down-time activity?

Do you have a list of books to read that will take at least two lifetimes to complete?

The importance of regular modelling of reading by all us, parents and teachers, cannot be taken too lightly.  The children are looking to us to see if we place a high value on reading through our words and actions.

Last week we wrote about creating a home environment that places reading as a priority to foster a love of reading and literature in our children.

As teachers, our students see us reading a lot.  From the attendance form to story time books, teaching books to charts and labels, our students see us doing a great deal of purposeful reading in our day.

Here are some things we think about as we are reading to and with our students that you can do during your own daily reading with your Kindergarten child at home.

Reading to Your Child

  • Fluency.  As teachers and parents, we want to read aloud the story as fluently as possible.  We get a lot of practise with some of the favourite read-alouds we’ve read to students many times over the years.  However, when we can, we still read new stories to ourselves first before reading them aloud to the children.  Of course, this is more difficult when you are reading longer texts and novels but for picture books with a lot of dialogue, we want to get the intonation of the character voices “just right.”
  • Expression. Demonstrate your interest, enjoyment and enthusiasm in your children’s selected storybook, and you can make even the most banal of words sparkle with excitement for them.  We really try to have fun with the character voices in a book, and take a great deal of delight in the children’s laughter (sometimes we are laughing so hard at our own reading we have to stop the story…really!). After all, who doesn’t love creating the Wolf’s voice as Grandma in “Little Red Riding Hood”?

Reading With Your Child

  • Take a “book walk” with your child before reading a new book.  Ensure that your child can see the pages, and that you have one hand free to “track” the text (point to the words) as you are reading and to focus on key details in the pictures which may aid in your child’s comprehension of the story.
  • Draw attention to the title of the story by helping your child find the front cover of the book.  Point out the differences between the front and back covers.
  • Make predictions about what the story will be about based on the title.
  • Look at the author’s and illustrator’s names and discuss the differences in their roles, in addition to their names.  Make connections by trying to think of books you’ve already read by them, or anyone you know who has those names.
  • Comment on the title page and the dedication page.  Speculate on who the people mentioned in the dedication might be.
  • Gradually develop your child’s awareness of where stories start (Where is the first word on this page?) and which way the print goes (Show me which way you read; Show me where we read next).

Interacting With the Print

Drawing attention to the print should be an incidental, rather than a continuous activity.  In other words, it’s not necessary to use all of these suggestions each time you read a story; instead, just pick and choose what you and your child enjoy most.

  • The beginning and endings of the story, eg., most Fairy Tales begin with “Once upon a time….” and end with “…and they all lived happily ever after.”
  • Unusual print in the story, eg., words in upper letters (BOOM!); words in speech clouds (speaking aloud) or thinking bubbles (silent thoughts); animal sounds (Woof, Meow, Mooooo).
  • Names and names of places, eg., all start with an uppercase letter.
  • Repetitive words, eg., “Sometimes it looked like a Rabbit.  But it wasn’t a Rabbit./Sometimes it looked like a Bird.  But it wasn’t a Bird.” (From It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles G, Shaw)
  • Rhyming words, eg., “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Encourage Your Child to Participate in the Reading

You can encourage your child to participate in the story by:

  • Pausing at certain points to enjoy the rhythm of the language, admire a beautiful picture or count the number of times the “Letter of the Week” occurs on a page.
  • Being careful to read aloud at a pace that allows for your child’s participation.
  • Engaging in “echo reading,” eg., you read a phrase or sentence and your child repeats it, or your child completes the next rhyming word or line (we use this second idea a lot with rhyming text in class).
  • Taking turns to read the character’s dialogue, eg., sharing the Wolf’s big scene, “The better to hear/see/eat you with” in “Little Red Riding Hood.”
  • Giving your child the opportunity to “read” as much of the story as possible, particularly repetitive text or dialogue, eg., Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle).
  • Praising any participation in “reading” the story by your child.
  • Enjoying the cozy time you have spent together, parents and child, reading aloud a great book.

Source:  “Language and Literacy in the Primary Years,” A Parents’ Information Booklet from Ridgeview Elementary (1997/98).  Updated by The Self-Regulated Teacher at (2015).