The ABC of Child Whispering: R is for READING








Reading is a huge pleasure for many of us and we hope children will also experience this wonderful opening to many worlds, knowledge and ideas.
I notice that most teachers attending my literacy courses tend to read more non-fiction than fiction and report lack of time to be a major reason for this.
Actually I wonder if this is really true. I would bet even money that most of us spend more and more time on Pinterest,  Facebook, Netflix etc and that reading is not always the chosen “go-to” for spare moments. I also wonder if perhaps there is a sense of guilt associated with reading fiction and “escaping”.
In order to be a model for children, parents and teachers need to read and be seen to read for pleasure. They need to see us reading non-fiction AND fiction. They need to know that reading is an enjoyable and popular pastime and to see it is valued by the people they love the most.
Reading, and in particular reading fiction, opens up other rooms in our minds. It gives us opportunities to develop empathy for characters and to explore different settings, plots, ideas and scenarios. Reading fiction helps us to grow and problem solve. It stimulates our brains and helps our EQ to grow.
Reading fiction does the same for children. There are so many wonderful picture books and novels written for children of all ages.
It is worth spending time to find out about great authors and to help children discover books they can really engage with. Our libraries are a fantastic source of FREE books- both

paper and digital, and there are endless lists of children’s literature to explore.
I have a Pinterest Site to help parents and teachers find great books:
This colder weather is perfect for snuggling up with a book, reading to your children and also establishing a family reading time each evening.
Simple switch off the TV and enjoy 20-30 mins where EVERYONE reads. Play quiet music in the background and at the end encourage  some discussion but DON’T make your children talk about their books if they prefer not to. Don’t turn a pleasurable exercise into a chore!
Happy WINTER reading. I’m off to curl up with a blanket, book and hot chocolate!

IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE. . .by Guest Blogger Joanne Sundra

Think about the first steps you took as a child. You were a baby when you first started walking and even though there were a few wobbles and you fell over more times than you stood up, your parents clapped and cheered. They smiled and encouraged you to keep trying.
Reading music and singing and clapping a rhythm is the same. Children are instinctively perceptive and will often listen to music to identify familiar melodies and rhythms. Music then grows out of an attempt to make sense of the world around them. Parents can encourage their child’s listening and focus by setting the scene with a favourite song so the child is able to instantly recall the sequence of events in the story. Children just beginning to read will often join in with singing their favourite song, even making up the words as they go…
When teaching children their ABC’s, learning occurs best when set to music. Music is everywhere, from memorable tunes in television shows, to background music played in and children learn to associate the beginning of their favourite television programme with the first chords of the song.
Young children are naturally wired for sound and it is so important that parents harness this ability by allowing children to experiment with rhythm, notation and sound. Overturned pots and pans, ladles and soup stirrers magically become musical instruments for the afternoon before returning to their more traditional, somewhat boring, role as dinner utensils by 5 o’clock. Mirrors and hairbrushes have the power to transform into a veritable stage-setup at bathtime, only to find their powers once again harnessed to the top of the tallboy by bedtime.
Music creates happiness like no other medium can. Whether it is singing into a shampoo bottle, dancing like no one is watching, acting out a play for Grandparents Day, or simply belting out a tune to bring a smile to mum’s face on Mother’s Day, music is a whole concept that fosters play, fun and laughter.
Greater mindfulness, improvement in memory skills, better experimental writing, reading with purpose are all skills being introduced and honed through the application of music. If music in the home can create a fun relaxed environment for harmony, cooperation and bonding, then play on!


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