Preparation for Presenter: Using cutouts of different shapes (see attachment below) make shapes you can use on the flannel board. If you want to play the matching game in addition to talking about shapes, make more than one of each shape.
Introduction: Today we talked about shapes and alike and different. So let’s see what shapes you see up here. Depending on the size, age-level and attention span of the group, you can put the shapes up yourself or hand them out to the toddlers and have them put the shapes up on the flannel board. Say the name of the shape as well as some additional description. For example, ”Here is a circle, a small blue circle.” Have the children repeat the name of the shape and/or the description.]
Early Literacy Aside–Example: Helping your child notice and talk about shapes later helps them identify letters. When you think of an upper case A, there is a triangle shape in it.
For Matching Game:
You keep one copy of each shape and pass out the additional copies of the shapes. Put up one shape, say what it is and describe it. Then have those children who have the same shape come up to the flannel board to add theirs to yours. Don’t forget to clap for each person. Adults are welcome to help their children.
Early Literacy Aside–Example: Playing matching games helps your child notice what is alike and different. This is one part of developing letter knowledge.
Matching Game Variation:
You can make the matching more challenging by making patterns on your shapes. For example, you may color a couple of circles on a square, or make a design on two copies of the same shape. You can make the matching more or less challenging by how intricate or obvious the differences are. Use the handout of shapes for parents and children to cut out and play with at home.
Early Literacy Aside for Shape Handout–Empower: This handout has several shapes you can cut out at home. You can use them as patterns and cut them out of different color paper. You can draw on them to make different patterns to match as well. You might ask your toddler to put all the circles together, all the ones with straight lines, all the ones with the same color. Sorting is one way of noticing what is alike and different. When children try to recognize letters they will need this skill. Think of a lower case h and a lower case n. They look similar but they are also different.
Shapes for Flannel Board
Shapes for Parent Handout
Early Literacy Aside–Explain: Making book sharing times enjoyable times helps to develop your child’s print motivation, enjoyment of books and reading. Research shows that children who have had enjoyable experiences around books are more likely to stick with learning to read, when that time comes.
Early Literacy Aside–Example: One thing that helps to keep book time enjoyable is to have your child participate in reading the book. This can be done in several ways. For example, having your child turn the pages, letting your child choose the book to be read or a picture to talk about, or having your child chime in with animal sounds or a word or two.
Our book today is called Look at Me. This book lends itself to playful interaction because it has a repeated phrase, “Look at me,” AND it’s a book-a-boo book, making it a game. Everyone, all together, let me hear you say look at me! Good, try it again. Look at me. Good! Now you’ll say that as I read the book with you.
Share book using peek-a-boo game, having children say the animals and make the animal’s sound. [The lion is the first animal. If that is scary for some children, start with a different animal. Some children may be afraid if you cover your own face. Suggestion--Use a doll or stuffed animal and cover it's face to play peek-a-boo.]
Early Literacy Aside–Example: Sharing alphabet books is one way to introduce children to letters. This book My First ABC Board Book has bright, clear photographs of things that interest young children.
Share a page or two: For example, on the B page, we see a baby, bananas, a ball, and bread. We see both the upper and lower case letter so children see that the same letter can look different.
You can give the book to your child and let him choose a page to talk about. Talk about the pictures and point out the letter.
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: Naming the letters and pointing to them is a first step to developing your child’s letter knowledge, one of the six early literacy skills. You can do this with books and also with signs whenever you are out and about. Remember to keep it enjoyable and stop when your child has had enough. No need to quiz your child on the letters, just expose them to the letters.
Early Literacy Aside–Example: Singing the alphabet song is one way to introduce children to letters. Part of letter knowledge, one of the early literacy skills that helps children be ready to read in school, is knowing the names of letters. At first your child may not relate the letters they sing to the written letter. That’s ok; this is a first step.
The alphabet song is to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
Sing Alphabet Song.
Now let’s sing it again to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb. The letters come out in a different rhythm. They are less likely to lump l m n o together.
Sing Alphabet Song again to new tune.
Early Literacy Aside–Explain: The beginning of letter knowledge, one of the six early literacy skills, is seeing and recognizing shapes. Researchers have found that children learn to recognize letters by their shapes. I’ll be pointing out some ways that you can use books to talk about shapes.
Early Literacy Aside–Example: Our next book is Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert. It is really fascinating how you can see the animals just using basic shapes. What animals do you see? Sharing books with stark shapes like this is a first step to recognizing letters later.
Read the book. Talk about the shapes as well as the animals. The back of the book are the separate shapes which you can also point out or refer to from time to time as you read the book.
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: This is quite a sophisticated book and can be used in many ways with very young children and also as your children get older. Start with simply noticing shapes and bright colors and your older children can make animals from shapes themselves.
Introduction: I’d like to share this book with you called Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. It can be tricky to use with little hands. Sometimes children tear the flaps because they don’t have good coordination yet. They do like flap books because they can play with the book and it’s a kind of peek-a-boo game.
Early Literacy Aside–Example: This simple story has signs which supports the early literacy skill called print awareness, helping your child understand that print has meaning. Pointing to the words on the signs as you read the book helps children understand that these are the words we are saying.
Read book. Point to the words in the signs as you read.
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: As you go around your day, point out signs to your children. Even when your children notice logos like on gas stations, stores, or restaurants, this is the beginning of print awareness.
Early Literacy Aside–Explain: Singing songs together is an enjoyable way to start developing expressive language, talking! Young children repeat what we say. This is the first step for them to express their own thoughts. Songs like this one, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, have a repeated phrases which makes it easier for toddlers to learn. Let’s try it.
Song: Five Little Monkeys
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed.”
Repeat for 4, 3, 2, 1
[For babies, bounce child to the rhythm. For older children, use five fingers to represent the monkeys and make appropriate actions.]
Introduction: Our book today is called Please, Baby, Please written and illustrated by Spike and Tonya Lee. Some of the things this baby does may look quite familiar to you! When you read this book to your baby, you can read the words or talk about the pictures.
Read book Please, Baby, Please by Spike and Tonya Lee.
When you read the book with your child, don’t worry about getting through the whole book! Leave a little time when you are talking about the pictures, to let your child babble back to you. Now let’s all say this phrase, “please baby please” together. I’ll read part of this book again and let’s all chime in with “please baby please.” You’ll notice I made this phrase repeat throughout so your toddler can join in. It is easier with the repetition. You may also like to try sign language. For children who are pre-verbal, can’t say words yet, using gestures is one way they make themselves understood. Just be sure to SAY the words as you use the gestures and encourage your child to do so as well. [See attachment for signs.]
Early Literacy Aside–Example: By encouraging your child to speak, to repeat words, you are helping to develop their narrative skills. This is the expressive part of language which later helps to develop comprehension when they read. Even giving time for your baby to babble as you share books together is helping with to develop this skill.
Please Baby Sign Language
Introduction: Our next activity is with animals and what they are called. Baby animals are often called something different from the adult animal. This activity helps your children learn these words.
[Put up adult and baby animal figures as you say their names, having children repeat them with you. If you like you can pass out the baby animals to each child. You put up the adult animal and the child puts up the matching baby animal as you say the name of it. Have children repeat the words for both adult and baby animals. Encourage adult to help if needed.]
Early Literacy Aside–Example: Saying the words for both the adult and baby animals helps to develop your children’s vocabulary.
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: Today you saw how we can expand children’s vocabulary by giving specific names to things. We did it with animals. You can do the same with the vehicles you see all around you. If your child is calling everything that goes a car, you can say, yes, that’s a car, that’s an SUV, that’s a van, that’s a pick-up truck, and so forth. Even if they can’t say all these words, hearing you say them is how they begin to learn these words. You can also add description, like that shiny yellow car with silver hubcaps. These little things you do throughout the day in enjoyable ways all build your child’s vocabulary which later helps them understand what they read.
Introduction: This book Fire Truck, written and illustrated by Peter Sis, has lots of interesting words in it.
Early Literacy Aside–Example: Listen to the many different words your child is hearing, words we might be using in everyday conversation. Because books have three times as many rare words as we use in conversation, it is important for children to hear the language of books. As I’m reading this book, just hold up a finger when you hear a word you would not be using everyday when talking with your child. Then we’ll see how many you heard at the end of the book.
Read the book.
Ask how many words they heard that they would not use in conversation with their children.
Early Literacy Aside–Empower: As you read books at home with your children, you may notice some words they are not familiar with. You don’t have to explain every unfamiliar word, but you might choose one to point out and explain. Don’t replace unfamiliar words, or they won’t hear them. This is how you help their vocabularies grow!