Thursday, December 30, 2010

Post it Note Genius

Post-it notes are genius all by themselves. One of the non-technological advances of in office and home-management that I love. They are just plain handy for all those notes and reminders Moms handle everyday. They are the perfect bookmark and note-taking solution for library books. The do, after all, frown on taking the notes directly in the library book…! One of the things I love about this inexpensive little wonder is the magic it brings to little ones. When restless little ones needed an activity…and fast…whether at home, in the car, or waiting somewhere post it notes have pulled through for me many times.

Today though, I wanted to share with you a fantastic reading activity using post-it notes. It came from non-other-than good old mother’s inspiration. Something so very dear that I both treasure and depend on!

Some days the challenges of learning to read seem so great, and being able to read big books on her own seems so very far away in her little mind. For mom, (and teacher), finding ways for her to hear herself “really” read something, and not just practice word families, is a constant challenge. But oh my, have we found a great little reading nugget!

*First let me digress for a moment and share a little bit of my philosophy regarding teaching children to read. In a Waldorf purist point of view reading is not taught until around the second grade of a traditional school. Oral mastery and writing are taught first. In the Montessori philosophy children begin working with letters and sounds at a very young age. My husband and I both come from a “traditional” public school education. So with those three facets coming together, Waldorf, Montessori, and public school baggage(!), we have had to form our own philosophies regarding reading instruction in our home. (This philosophy will likely change with each child, as meeting individual needs is always top-priority.) For our family, and for our daughter we (all) have decided to begin reading instruction. She was fascinated with, and began working with letters quite young, and most definitely has oral mastery! Yikes! (Today I actually heard her use the word “obliged” naturally in a sentence while playing with her 2 year old brother!!!) We work with reading a bit everyday, keeping things very positive and paying close attention to her cues. It’s not critical to me that she is reading by a certain time. If she is struggling than we back off, and each time we get back into it it comes easier. Her brain needs time to process and compute the things she’s learning. So…my little not ended up being not so little…! In general we follow her cues, just like in all things regarding her education, but try to get in a little reading practice each day to keep those “reading muscles” going strong.

One of the things that frustrates her when we are reading together is focusing so much on each word that she doesn’t understand the sentence she just read. The other is feeling like she is not “reading”, but is only “practicing.” I had a burst of inspiration while we were working together and found a reading activity that we all love. On a stack of post it notes I wrote down a series of commands that would bring her to different places in the house. IMG_7732IMG_7733

“Hop to the bed”

Run to the nook”

“Crawl to the rug”

“Skip to the tramp”

“Jump 10 jumps”

“Tip toe to the table”

And so on. One note led her to another, the last being an activity, like “Lets read a book”, “Lets do art”, “Lets bake”, etc.IMG_7731

It’s worked marvelously for several reasons.

1. It keeps her moving around the house.

2. She has to register and comprehend the words she has read as a whole to know what to do.

3. She is reading productively, with an immediate (and positive) reward for what she’s read.

4. Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt!

So far this game has not gotten old. In fact the first time we did it, she immediately wanted another one. Oh yes, how I am grateful for mother’ inspiration…and post it notes!!