Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Utilizing car time to build reading skills.

I touched on this topic briefly earlier, but wanted to do a posting on it as I've found it so helpful.

As a busy mom, formerly a law professor and now a CEO, I’m always looking for ways to utilize time most efficiently. And in car time to and from the grocery store, swimming lessons, the post office, the library, and grandparents’ homes and in spare “I’m bored” times at home before supper, I’ve found a golden opportunity to build vocabulary, creativity, and reading skills for my two sons.

The “gold” is book tapes, records, and cds. We got a Fisher Price record player and some assorted book stories at a garage sale last summer. Kirk loved everything about these. He would put on a record (Star Wars is a favorite), pick up the book and listen over and over.

This helped with pre-reading skills from following a story well enough to turn pages at the right time and checking to see if the pictures matched the narrator’s words. The sound effects add to the excitement and I’ve been spared reading “The Empire Strikes Back” thirty times in two days;-).

Recently I’ve been picking up Curious George book cds at the library for two year old Kai. I’m fascinated at his ability to follow the story turning pages at the correct time by following music tones – good for concentration. He now will point at words as well. He doesn’t point to the “right” words, but he is getting the concept that those letter configurations are linked to the story.

Today in the car, he set aside the book and just listened to the story repeating phrases after the author. He loved the line, “And there were bubbles, and bubbles and bubbles!” And he echoed this line with great expression and enthusiasm.

I’ve started keeping a small basket of various children’s stories in the mini-van. Many were picked up at library book sales and have lost their accompanying books, but the kids seem to enjoy listening just the same. And as they have to make pictures in their heads this way, I hope it leads to more creativity.

In closing, I’m grateful to all those virtual aunts, uncles and grandparents telling my children amazing tales as we drive along County Highway B or as I mix up the Kraft macaroni and cheese at night. Best wishes. Eileen

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