Recently we've started pinning various fun, inspirational or just cool stuff on Pinterest (and we're starting to see what all the excitiement is about - so much fun!). One element of Pinterest that is so compelling is how visual it is. Being able to see - and not just read - is a powerful approach to communication and learning (a picture is worth a thousand words, right!). I don't need to make an argument to convince you of the power of pictures and visuals (so I won't :-). Instead, I just wanted to take a quick few seconds to illustrate the power of visualizing. And, in particular, visualizing positive outcomes for your and your child. Positive outcomes can look like anything you want. And success - or greatness, as this Nike picture illustrates - manifests in lots of ways. The message in this image is simply wonderful: greatness comes in doing; greatness is in trying; greatness is in challenging yourself. Having visuals such as this to look at and find inspiration is great. What visuals do you create of yourself? How do you define a positive outcome, success or even greatness for yourself and your family? It's different for everybody. But the secret to achieving it - to achieving anything - is in the doing, the trying...taking that first step in a challenge (the first step is sometimes the hardest). A great activity for you to do as a parent is to take a picture of yourself doing something hard, something that challenges you. Take a picture of yourself taking that first step towards whatever goal you want to achieve. And post that picture with a small caption describing the first step and describing the goal. This is a great activity to do with your child, too. Ask them, What's something you'd really like to do that you haven't done yet? Take a picture of the goal and take a picture of your child taking their first step towards that goal. Put them up side-by-side where everybody can see it - the bathroom mirror, the fridge, the bedroom door. Maybe you can even Pin it on Pinterest or post it on Facebook. I'd love to see what you come up with. Visualizing is so powerful, and it's one of the reasons I've started pinning things. Come follow us on Pinterest and tell us what you think. And don't forget to share with us, too!
Prediction skills are an important aspect of reading comprehension. Asking children to create their own idea of what is coming next requires them to analyze the story and is a good indicator of their comprehension. Be sure your child is engaged while you are reading and assess their understanding through their predictions. If your child makes a reasonable prediction and is able to explain their thinking, then they are doing a great job of listening. Model for your child how you make predictions. Set an example for your child before you begin reading. For example, before reading a book, look at the title, the cover images and characters and have your child guess what the story will be about. Your child’s response will tell you what they know about making predictions. You can also work on prediction skills even when not reading. For example, you could ask “What do you think will happen if I dropped this egg on the floor?” More complex questions while watching TV shows or movies will also help build your child's analytical skills. Pause a movie or during a commercial break ask your child about the characters, "What do you think Dora will do next?" "Do you think Woody and Buzz Lightyear will reunite?" You can make the questions simple or complex depending on your child's age. Analysis and comprehension is something that we all use on a daily basis. Have a good time and make a game out of it at an early age!