Happy New Year!
This blog is all about simple ideas to help busy families incorporate a little literacy fun into the daily routine. Besides reading and writing, my absolute favorite at-home literacy skill builder is the simplest thing of all. It requires no materials, you can do it in the car or at the dinner table, and it takes very little effort or planning ahead. (Score!) I’m talking about just talking! You know, making observations, questioning, elaborating and discussing. When you talk about books, authors, topics and issues at home, you model how good readers and writers interact with text, you inspire new ideas to write or read about, you practice important speaking and listening skills, and much, much more.
Ok. Who’s ready to talk about literacy?
Here are a few ideas to chat about with your kids this month. Use these literacy talking topics during dinner, on the walk home from school, or anytime!
- Brainstorm books that would be great to read in January. Discuss why they are best for this month.
- Pretend to be the author of a book set in a cold climate. How would you introduce the setting? What descriptive words and phrases would you use? How would you convey what it feels like to be in that setting? How might the characters be affected by the setting?
- Make up a January poem together. Take turns saying lines until the poem is complete.
- Take a walk outside and brainstorm words to describe your surroundings. Describe how it feels, looks, smells and sounds.
- Discuss what you know about Martin Luther King Jr. If you were going to write a book about him, what would you write as the first sentence? What would be the main idea? Which details would you use to support your main idea? How would your life be different if you lived during Dr. King’s lifetime? How would it be the same? Talk about books you’ve read about him. How are they the same or different from one another?
- Brainstorm some great “January words” and talk about how you could use them this month. For example, try using the word frigid when it’s extremely cold outside.
- Take turns giving step-by-step directions explaining how to do a winter activity, like building a snowman or putting on ice skates. One person gives directions while the other person pretends to do the activity.
- Talk through the steps involved in making a cup of hot cocoa, or another winter treat. Take turns describing the steps. (You will probably have to make it when you finish talking about it!)
- Take turns giving clues to describe a wintery place, thing or activity. Clues should go from general to detailed. See if your partner can guess correctly in three clues or less.
- List words that rhyme with winter words like snow, plow, ice… Discuss the spelling of the rhyming words. Do you see a pattern?