Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy New School Year! Dedicate This One to Literacy, Life and Love

I don't know about you but I'm excited to see the new school year begin. Fresh new faces replace those we already miss and with those children come new challenges. Here are three tips to get you through the first days (to discover my secret about threes, read beyond these three tips to the end of this post):

1) Do everything you can (with the help of director, other teachers and other staff) to connect positively to every family associated with the children in your class. That will be easy for some - they'll introduce themselves. Others may come from a different place (physically, intellectually, socioeconomically or emotionally) than you and those will be more challenging. Start with a kind word, a complement about their child. Those are sure to get attention. When you talk with that parent, listen carefully to their language, find out a little about their family. That will help you when it comes to literacy in the classroom.

2) Commit that this year, no matter how tired you are when it comes to read aloud time, that you'll take a deep breath, draw on the little bit of energy left in your big toe, and mesmerize your children with that story. You are the commercial for reading; be sure it is a positive, affirmative one.

3) Do a short inventory of your read aloud books. Flag those that have rhyming language in them and make sure that you read at least one of them a day. Whether poems, words to rhyming songs, or traditional story books, keeping that rhythm in your children's ears will open the door for phonological awareness. If you aren't sure about that term, check out TLA's workshops for preschool teachers at to find "What in the Heck is Phonological Awareness". TLA has a program for out of town clients where you can earn discounts for your own presentation/training by recommending additional organizations, schools, parent groups, libraries, etc. in your area who might want to book at the same time. Restrictions apply so be sure to call for details.

Now for my story about threes. My dear mom (now gone two years) is the inspiration for what I do now and she was a woman of threes herself. She was the third or three girls, married a third child, had three children herself, two of which were born on the 3rd of the month, one that was three days late. I find that hanging my ideas on a tripod always makes me feel like Momma is sitting right there on my shoulder.

Create your own lists of three and celebrate literacy every day with your children (do you know that literacy is now considered reading, writing, listening, communicating AND viewing/observing?)

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