A few weeks ago my sister Diane called to talk about her granddaughter Lanie. It seems her first grade teacher had some concerns about her reading and wanted to meet with Lanie’s mom and dad. They talked as a family about what the stumbling block might be and remembered our conversations about visual learners. Lanie is a visual learner and she loves to draw. She loves to draw anywhere, anytime, all the time. She takes weekly Young Rembrandts classes at her elementary school. Lanie is a visual learner – but not because she loves art. She’s a visual learner because that is how her brain is wired.
- Reading Rainbow: Offers a library of books to users, themed according to a child’s interests (action adventures, magical tales, etc.). Kids can choose to have a book read aloud to them or to read the book themselves. To access more than one book, however, you’ll have to subscribe to the app — a $10 recurring monthly fee or $30 for six months.
- Starfall Learn to Read: an app version of the stellar learn-to-read website, Starfall. The app has the same content as the “Learn to Read” section of the site. There are 15 mini-books, each focusing on a specific vowel, along with videos and activities to enhance literacy learning. As with other Starfall apps, the thorough and careful design keeps kids focused on learning.
- Martha Speaks Dog Party: A US Dept. of Education-funded study found target vocabulary improved up to 31 percent for children ages 3-7 who played this Parents’ Choice Recommended app over a two-week period. Includes FOUR fun-filled games starring Martha, the talking dog from the popular PBS KIDS TV series MARTHA SPEAKS(TM).
February is Library Lover’s Month and there is no better time to revisit your public library than now. Libraries are one of the best parts of a community. Many are a center for activities, learning and community fellowship. I know our local library constantly has children’s programming, adult services and a lot of activities and space for teens to hangout in a structured safe place.
The majority of our students are visual learners, so we need to pay more attention to the development of their visual skills. Our schools are very focused on verbal literacy, but visual literacy is essential to success in the classroom, especially for our visual learners. Visual literacy requires us to be able to read, write and interpret visual images, so we need to help our children gain proficiency.
Last night I had a ‘sleepover’ with my grandson Brayden. Like most four year olds, Brayden loves to read books, or at this stage, have books read to him. And one of his favorite parts of our ‘sleepovers’ is getting jammies on and climbing into bed with a very big stack of books.
Today, much to our daughter’s delight, our grandson displayed an outpouring of all the ways he’s been learning to write. Brayden attends a great preschool and has been consistently exposed to letters, numbers and opportunities to write. Being a kinesthetic, active little boy he does write but often prefers more physical, social activity. Yet, today was a special day. Brayden sat and wrote and wrote and wrote his name! With much delight and pride in what he was doing, he wrote all the letters in the correct order again and again.
It’s Saturday morning—time to take my grandson, Brayden, to the library for a new set of picture books. Oh, how he loves books! First, we go around the house gathering all the books we need to return. As we review them, Brayden has a bit of emotion about letting some of his favorites go, but is encouraged about finding new books—new “friends”. We jump in the car, drive over and enjoy the return process before heading in to select new friends to check out and take home.