|Posted by meaningmatters on June 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM|
Written by Kim Turgeon
Have you ever stopped to think how many times you read or write during the course of your day?
Our children see us using reading and writing in meaningful contexts all day long.
Every time you write a note for the babysitter or make a shopping list you are serving to model literacy for your children.
Translation: "Dear Macaroni and Cheese, you are delicious."
On a daily basis we can and should provide children with purposeful reading and writing opportunities. However, there are also opportunities that we can expand into even richer experiences. I am talking about opportunities where children can see a project through from planning to production.
I recently had a parent of one of my students tell me a story of her daughter's lemonade stand. It is one of the most amazing examples of a parent listening to her child’s idea and capitalizing on it as a learning opportunity. What makes this example stand out is not the activity itself but the process. Through the entire lemonade stand experience learning was optimized and the child could apply her developing language and literacy skills in a real context.
One of my former posts talked about this in relation to the Dramatic Play area. http://www.meaning-matters.org/apps/blog/categories/show/1352906-dramatic-play
Even the most reluctant writers wanted to write, when it was motivated by making signs for our Haunted House or Post Office. The idea behind having children read and write in natural settings and functional experiences is that children see that they can use written language to make things happen.
The Lemonade Stand
Lilly, a 6-year-old girl with a great amount of self-drive, asked her mother if she could have a lemonade stand. Instead of her mother saying "yes" and just setting up a lemonade stand, Lilly embarked on a rich business experience.
Here are the steps Lilly’s mom took to expand on this interest:
Some Of The Skills Utilized In This Experience:
Projects like this take time, and believe me as a mom of three, I completely understand that it is not feasible to have every interest turn into this type of experience. It is hard enough to get grocery shopping done (in a less than painful manner) sometimes without having your child compare apples to apples. But I do believe that is an invaluable opportunity for children to experience literacy and math in a meaningful context.
Make it a goal this summer to find a minimum of one project that you can help your child see through from start to finish. Please share your experiences with us.
** Remember that numerous studies have shown that children are more likely to engage in literacy tasks when they have a genuine purpose or motivation for doing so.