Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 16, 2017

 3 Important Skills Needed for Reading

Rhyming Words

Rhyming words are words like rat and cat or even head and red. Rhyming words are words that have ending sounds that are similar. While there is such a thing as imperfect rhymes {words like home and bone, found in the song, “This Old Man”}, I like to focus more on the rhymes that end the same, like house/mouse or dog/frog. Rhyming words are not always spelled the same; they just need to sound the same. Here are some things we want kids to be able to do with rhyming words:
•       Recognize when words rhyme and when they don’t
•       Produce rhyming words {You ask: “What rhymes with cat?” and they answer, “Rat.”}
•       Play with rhyming words. Create a bunch of words that rhyme with the word, even silly ones.


Syllables are the “big parts” in words. For example, words like cat or fish only have one syllable. Words like happy and table have two syllables. For those who find it tricky to hear syllables, I tell people to put their hand under their chin and count the times they “drop” their child when they say a word. Generally, this is the number of syllables the word has. Here are some things we want kids to be able to do with syllables:
•       Count the number of syllables in a word
•       Combine syllables to form a word. Example: “What word do you get when you put together the two parts, hap {pause here} py?”
•       Say the parts of a word when a syllable is dropped. For example, “What does it sound like when you say rainbow without the rain part?“


This is where I usually lose people. Phonemes. It sounds so teacher-y, doesn’t it? So, what exactly are phonemes? Phonemes are the
individual sounds in words. For example, the simple word cat has three phonemes {or individual sounds} /k/ – /a/ – /t/.
What makes this one a little tricky, especially for adults trying to teach phonemes, is that some words have more letters than phonemes. Take the word light, for example. While it has 5 letters, it only has three phonemes {or individual sounds}: /l/ – /i/ – /t/. We will explore more about phonemes on days 4-6 of this series. But for now, let’s see what we want kids to be able to do with phonemes:
•       Isolate phonemes, such as “What’s the first sound you hear in the word bear?”
•       Blend phonemes. For example, “I’m going to say the sounds in a word very slowly. See if you can listen to what I say and tell me what word it is: /m/-/ee/.” {me}
•       Separate phonemes. For example, “How many little sounds do you hear in the word bug?” {3}
Counting phonemes is a more advanced skill that typically comes AFTER kids have mastered rhyming and syllables. Many children will also be reading easy texts, like those found in Reading the Alphabet, before they have mastered counting and manipulating phonemes.

Phonological & Phonemic Awareness
Phonological Awareness is a broad term. It refers to the awareness of sounds in a word. A child with phonological awareness can identify and create rhyming words, count syllables in a word, or (on the smallest level) identify and manipulate individual sounds in a word.
Phonemic Awareness fits under the umbrella of phonological awareness. It is an awareness of the smallest units of sound (or phonemes) in a word. For example, a child with phonemic awareness could hear that the word bat has the sounds:  /b/  /a/  /t/. A child with keen phonemic awareness could change /h/ at the beginning of hat to /c/ and know that now, it’s the word cat.
Phonological and phonemic awareness activities are things your child can do with their eyes shut.  They only need their ear as they identify and manipulate sounds within words.

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Discovery School

Monday, March 6, 2017

March 6, 2017

Early child development sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, and health. The experiences children have in early childhood shape the brain and the child’s capacity to learn, to get along with others, and to respond to daily stresses and challenges.

 Early Brain Development
There are some important concepts that help us understand early brain development:
Beginning in the last trimester of the prenatal period, brain pathways are formed by developing new connections. This growth increases after birth and follows a predictable sequence.
At birth, newborns start with very similar brains and brain structures.
There are “sensitive periods” during a child’s development, when the wiring of the brain for specific abilities is established.
Providing responsive, nurturing, and stimulating experiences establish the wiring of the brain connections. Children who are well supported and nurtured physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually will develop a multitude of neural connections that will serve them well throughout their life course.

A child’s interest and curiosity are the motivators that create new connections to acquire new skills. Each new skill builds on a skill already learned. The child’s environment can support and enhance his interest and curiosity.
Early brain development establishes a child’s social competence, cognitive skills, emotional well-being, language, literacy skills, physical abilities and is a marker for well-being in school and life resiliency.

Domains of Development
Human development is complex and all aspects are interconnected. Yet, in most texts and writings, early human development has been artificially divided into developmental domains. This categorization can assist professionals in ensuring that all areas of the child’s development are observed and supported, thus furthering his whole development. Professionals must keep in mind that all domains or areas of development are interconnected. For example, learning to talk is usually placed in the language domain, but involves physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. In this resource, children’s development has been grouped into the following domains:

Early Learning
In the past decade, there has been considerably more interest and investment in the early years both in Canada and abroad. By supporting young children and families now, society will benefit later with “healthy, educated, confident and productive adults”.
Supporting early learning is based on the following facts and premises:

·        Children are cared for as their families provide nutrition, shelter, nurturing, stimulation and protection. The        care they receive enables children to learn and develop to their full potential with increasing influence from the world outside the family.

·        Parents want to understand how their child develops and learns. Prenatal and parenting classes, drop-in programs, home visiting and many other opportunities can be explored to support parents from various cultural, educational, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds.

·        High-quality child care settings and pre-school education improve children’s developmental outcomes. Two longitudinal studies, the High/Scope Perry Preschool project and the Carolina Abecedarian project, compared children who received high-quality, early-years programs with children who did not. When comparing the two groups of children over several decades, key differences emerged. The children who received the quality program scored higher on language, literacy, and numeracy tests throughout their schooling; finished more years of school; and had higher rates of employment. In Canada, Quebec has developed an educational program adapted from the High/Scope model that fosters full and holistic development of children through an evidence-based curriculum and has demonstrated positive results.  Other studies have also found that participation in quality early childhood education and care settings has been positively linked to child outcomes such as improved language, literacy, and numeracy development, school readiness and social skills.
·        Parent participation in early childhood education and care settings not only improves children’s development, but also strengthens families and parenting skills through connecting and sharing with other families. When parent and family involvement is planned into the early childhood education and care setting, and relationships between professionals family members are built on trust and respect, the greatest benefits are reaped. Clearly, when children have access to quality early childhood environments and experiences, it can set the stage for positive trajectories later on in life.

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

April 20, 2018

Wrapping Up the School Year The end of the school year brings the expected joy at finishing another year, and perhaps some sadne...