Monday, March 2, 2009

Read Across America Fun- Day 1

Years and years and eons ago, when I was in charge of children's programming at a large bookstore chain, I held a doozy of a Read Across America Day. It was actually a weekend event with over one hundred children in attendance and did we have a blast! For this Read Across America week I am going to dig into my memories to share with you some of the fun we had. Children love connections between the fun stories they read and their real life. So, what we are going to do today is give you some idea on how to extend some of their favorite stories into arts & crafts and games & fun. Are ya ready?
Today's Dr. Seuss book is Fox in Socks! If you have never read Fox in Socks, get ready to run your tongue through a twister! This book is a great tool to introduce the fun in tongue twisters. Take is slow and have your wee ones repeat after you the silliest of rhymes. Tongue Twisters find their magic in rhyme and alliteration. Children adore alliterations and it is easy for them to mimic.An alliteration is a group of words (usually a sentence) in which each word begins with the same letter. For the best effect, the letter should produce the same beginning sound (sometimes c, j, g and others don't make the same sounds). For example:

"Foxes find flowers fun" or "Senta's socks slip slowly"

The sillier, the better and children do seem to like things that are silly. While tongue twisters themselves seem nonsensical and silly, they actually are powerful in teaching children phonemic awareness. Before children read, they begin to gather an awareness of sounds (phonemes) and rhythms (syntax) in language. When you read aloud from a book of tongue twister or rhymes, you are able to visually show your child what those sounds look like. Fox in Socks can be a great tool in beginning identification of sounds and how they look written down. Though I may stick with the first part of the book and stay far, far away from that tweetle beetle battle. After you have finished trip, trip, tripping those tongues up, have your wee ones create an alliteration of their own using their names as a jumping off point. You can also spend some time thinking up all the words you can that rhyme with socks, fox and box or pick another word that delights your tots.

If you have a large empty carton around, bring it on out and have your wee ones put on their happiest socks and see if they can act out the first part of the book. Try reading it as fast as you can and see how silly they can get.

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