The 2017 Social Skills Schedule is now available. Please see dates above. Contact our office at 440-895-1309 to schedule your child’s time.
With summer approaching and the weather warming up, it’s the ideal time to head outdoors and get creative. There’s no reason that early literacy needs to be limited to an indoor space. In fact, there are lots of ways to encourage a love of reading and writing by spending time outside. Your outdoor area is a literacy-rich environment where children can experiment with language, letters, and words.
We often think that outdoor learning is synonymous with the school trip, but it needn’t be! As a parent you can use outdoor activities and trips to give your children physical examples and experiences to help them with their literacy skills. Children who may struggle with classroom-based learning often excel when learning in outdoor environments because it releases them from the pressures they may associate with school. Outdoor learning can take place in massively diverse settings – whether it’s your back garden, your local park, a heritage site, or a farm, you will find there are many activities and games you can play with your kids to stimulate and extend their literacy skills.
Here are some activities for outdoor learning, many of which I’ve enjoyed with my own children. (Click the links for more information)
- Make a name puzzle that can be played indoors or outdoors.
- Make an experience book highlighting your summer adventures. Many websites make it easy to upload your pictures and put them into books.
- Fill a bin with foam letters for alphabet recognition fun.
- Practice writing letters and words with chalk and water.
- Make your own letter box that can be used all summer long for literacy activities.
- Go on a backyard alphabet hunt.
- Make some frozen letters for a cool literacy activity on a hot summer day.
- Letters on ping pong balls are fun for fishing out of water.
- Practice phonics while playing a letter sound freeze dance.
- Play an alphabet game with water balloons.
- Use water balloons to play letter smash.
- Make your own outdoor chalkboard to practice writing letters.
- Play outdoor riddle games such as “I Spy with my little eye something that grows tall and rhymes with flea.”
- Use nature materials as props for group storytelling.
- Read books about outdoor adventures and nature under the trees.
- Practice letter writing with water and paintbrushes on the sidewalk.
- Build an imaginary garden in the sandbox and tell a fascinating story about it.
- Act out favorite storybooks on play equipment.
- Take a letter walk to look for familiar letters on signs and walls.
- Invite children to label the outside environment.
- Listen to the sounds of nature and try to replicate them.
- Play Letters on the Lawn.
Some ideas can be as simple as writing out a few sight words in chalk. Call out a sight word, and let them use fly swatters to smack the words as hard as they want. Children can spray words with water guns to form the letters. Use bubble wrap and script a sight word onto each bubble then, as students read each word correctly, allow them to pop the bubble! Fun sight word practice and fine motor development in one!
20800 Westgate Mall
Fairview Park, OH 44126
P: (440) 895-1309
A note from Judy…
Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss! Because much of our focus at Accurate Speech is on speech, language and literacy, we are delighted to be joining schools across the country in honoring Theodor Seuss Giesel, aka Dr. Seuss’, 113th birthday. His actual birthday is March 2, 1904. This amazing American writer, cartoonist, animator, book publisher, and artist best known for publishing children’s books sold over 600 million copies of his children’s books, which were translated into more than 20 languages, by the time of his death on September 24, 1991. Dr. Seuss has made reading a fun and successful experience for readers of all levels. Through his use of rhyming, repetition of words and phrases, age appropriate vocabulary and colorful, yet simple drawings, we all felt great success as we read and reread his books.
*March 2- National Education Association- Read Across American Day – take the pledge
*March 2- Dr. Seuss’ Birthday – read more
*March 11 – Social Skills
*March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
*March 25 – Social Skills
*April 1- Social Skills
*April 12 – Connecting for Kids Meet and Greet – read more
*April 14- 24- Accurate Speech will be closed for Spring Break
You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild,
To pick up a book and read with a child.
You’re never too busy, too cool, or too hot,
To pick up a book and share what you’ve got.
for the full poem
Most parents are aware of the importance of reading aloud to their children, and bedtime stories are often a favorite ritual. The practice of reading aloud, however, falls by the wayside as kids become more independent readers and schedules become busier. Reading out loud to children as they get older children is extremely beneficial for several reasons:
- Children listen on a different level than they read. A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. You can read seventh-grade books to fifth-grade kids. They’ll get excited about the plot, which is motivation to keep reading. A fifth-grader can enjoy a more complicated plot than they can read themselves.
- Life Lessons.Not only do you find life lessons in books, they can be easier for a child to internalize in that format as opposed to you telling them. Reading aloud can foster discussion about social issues, beliefs and feelings.
- Enjoyment. Reading aloud is a chance to introduce kids to fun books, to genres different from what they read in school and to new authors whom they may not find in the school curriculum. If kids see a parent enjoying reading, they are more likely to also enjoy it.
- Builds vocabulary. Researchers found that “books contain many words, especially the more sophisticated words that children are unlikely to encounter frequently in spoken language. Children’s books contain 50% more rare words than prime-time television or even college students’ conversations.” Defining a word can be easier when it is heard in context. This can be particularly helpful for tweens, who can struggle to put their intense emotions into words.
- Physical closeness.Reading aloud requires proximity of the listener and reader. It’s tough to pull off from across the house, or even across the room. Although you’re not as likely to snuggle as your child ages, the closeness that comes from reading together can be comforting and benefit both parties.
- Sense of belonging.The tween and even teen years can be marked by a sense of feeling like you don’t belong, whether or not that is the case. Often, great literature and wonderful writing can make the reader and listener feel like they are understood, and reading a book about someone else who feels alone can make the world a bit less lonely.
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Accurate Speech Therapy, Inc
20800 Westgate Mall Suite 510,
Fairview Park, OH 44126
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