If you've been following this blog over the past few months, then you already know some of the key stats about early literacy: fewer than 45% of US parents read to their 0-4 year olds. Fewer than 28% of US parents tell stories to their 0-4 year olds. And if you follow Pocket Literacy Coach then you know why these early reading, story-telling and parent-child communication activities are so important: the number of words a child is exposed to during their infancy directly impacts IQ. The wider the range of vocabulary a child hears, the more communication and interaction a child has during infancy, the bigger positive impact it has on brain development. So why is early childhood education so important? Because many parents work multiple jobs, most parents do not have an education degree, and many parents simply do not have the resources or know-how to help stimulate their child's brain development in the ways we know work best. Did you know that "children from low-income families who start kindergarten without any schooling are estimated to start school 18 months behind their peers, a gap that is extremely difficult to overcome." (The National Institute for Early Education Research also has some great information. So too does The Ounce of Prevention.) You may have read today that the US Department of Education will release the winners of the Race To The Top grant for early childhood education to nine states. Helping improve access to early childhood education resources is a great thing. What are some resources that you know of or that you use to help stimulate your child? Below are some activities for you to use with your 2, 3 and 4 year olds. And of course, if ever you want more, you know where to find us :-) 2 year olds: Find text everywhere! Help ur child realize letters & words r everywhere in our world. Point out words at the grocery or while on a walk. Point out specific letters 2. While reading a story together ask ur child to point ot the pic on the page and then the words on the page. Help them run their finger from left to right over the words. Show ur child a magazine. Ask them to show u a page. Next ask ur child to point to the words on the page and then the pic. Ask them how a magazine is like a book. Diff? Cut words and pics from a magazine and put in a bag. Ask ur child to sort the words and pics into 2 piles. While reading with ur child point to the words as u read. After reading a word that is shown in the pic, tell ur child to point to the illustration and show the word. 4 year olds: Gather 4-5 items that are similar in some ways/diff in others (ex:diff matchbox cars).Ask ur child how the items r the same(small,4 wheels) & diff(color,shape). Before reading a new story to ur child skim the pages for new or unusual vocabulary. Talk w/ur child about these words before reading. Read a version of Goldilocks & the 3 Bears. Discuss the concept: big, med & small. Search ur house for the biggest/smallest chair. Point out a med sized chair. Once a mo. take ur child to a place he/she has never been.Go to an antique store,a new park or a working construction site.Talk about the things u see there! Parents-u r doing a SUPER job! Simply subscribing to PLC shows how much u care about ur child. Take some time for urself today. We think ur awesome!
During Chicago Ideas week Pocket Literacy Coach and the Illinois Technology Association co-produced an event that brought together education leaders from across the city. As a result of the work we did before and after, we produced a significant document: "Integrating a 'Technology Mindset' for 21st Century Success in Chicago Schools." The paper was co-written by Dr. Chris Drew, Ryan Blitstein, Pam Cray, April Goble, Dr. Max McGee and Brenda Darden Wilkerson. The document is a roadmap for educators, policy makers and technology innovators to follow for HOW TO initiate innovation in Chicago schools. We all know that teaching tech skills is (or should be) an essential part of what our students are learning, but navigating the terrain for how to integrate innovations is supremely challenging. Navigating state and school standards, curricula needs, student abilities, teacher training and buy-in, vetting the enormous range of software/hardware options, and more are hugely time-consuming and not straightforward. For example, can a school use its eRate funds to pay for program X? Will integrating program Y require additional teacher training that conflicts with union contracts? What has been the feedback from students and teachers about programs Z and ZZ - and what's the real difference? The Technology Mindset document provides a systematic overview for how to begin to tackle some of these issues. The highlights include: Creating a technology vision statement for your school Evaluating the stakeholders and including them in the process - especially the students, teachers and business community members Assessing your school's needs, the skill levels of your teachers and students and the real-world tech skills demanded Creating appropriate local and state technology policy - including IT course requirements Discovering funding issues And a guide for HOW TO navigate these and other issues related to integrating tech innovations at school This is the most substantive contributions yet that any Chicago group has made for leading the way on HOW TO integrate innovation in our classrooms. It deserves serious consideration. We hope that you will give it a read and share it widely with your friends. As a group of tech innovators and leaders it's important to understand the challenges that tech adopters face. This document will give you some insight into that as well.