Shake, Rattle and Roll into Reading
Many of you will be celebrating Easter, and as part of the holiday celebrations your family may choose to participate in an Easter egg hunt. Last year, I found that the Easter Bunny left plastic eggs that were filled with a special treat inside. After I shared my treats with friends, I had a bunch of plastic eggs left. Humm...recycling them was an option, but I really wanted to reuse them in storytime.
I was listening to a Cd by musical artist Laurie Berkner when a chicken gave me an idea. In her song, "I Know a Chicken" the Laurie Berkner Band directs children move their shakers up and down, fast and slow, and in circles. Well, after I heard the song, I knew that we had to make musical shakers for storytime. When I created mine, I added colored duct tape to seal the opening so they would be safe for all ages to use.
These movements actually help children develop pre-reading skills. How? Directionality skills are needed for reading the words on a page. In the English language, when a person reads, they start at the top of the page and use visual tracking skills to move their eyes from the left hand side to the right. For those of us who have learned this skill it seems automatic. However, this process is not innate, rather it is a skill that we have learned.
The brilliance of this song, and Laurie Berkner's work in general, is that it makes learning fun. The song, "I know a Chicken," helps children learn very basic directionality skills at an early age. Although the importance of these skills is often overlooked, they provide the foundation that is needed for children to be successful later in their reading goals.
Would you like additional ideas on how you can utilize the abundance of plastic ovals which can be found this time of year? I would like to recommend that you check out a blog by Embrace Your Chaos. In addition, if you have creative and fun ways to reuse plastic Easter eggs I would love to hear about them. Please post a comment below.