Sing into Reading: the Blog

Little ones love literacy.

Music is magic! 

Crossing the Midline

 

Have you ever heard a preschool teacher or occupational therapist refer to "crossing the midline," and wondered what that was? 

In this blog I talk about what it is, why it is important, and how it relates to literacy. 

I also sing some original songs that will help encourage this developmental benchmark.

If you wonder if your child or one you teach is having difficulty crossing the midline, please talk to your pediatritian or occupational therapist.

Keep singing,

Risa

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Have a Peaceful School Year

 

Whether you are a teacher or a parent/ caregiver, we all want to set our children up for a peaceful school year. Making class rules or house rules together helps everyone know what the expectaions are. And when we include our children in the making of rules, this gives them a feeling of empowerment and a greater sense of buy-in.

In Responsive Classroom trainings, I learned a great way to include children in rule-making. After collecting rule suggestions from children, encourage them to make postitive rules about what we want to see, instead of rules about what we do not want. Then rules can be sorted into three buckets: our things, each other, and ourselves. Use the language your children use to make these rules. For example, the rules in one class were, "Use lovely treatment with our things. Use lovely treatment with each other. Use lovely treatment with yourself." What was the one over-arching rule? "Use lovely treatment." 

In my original song, "Be Peaceful," the rules are,...

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Name Songs

 

Name Songs are important. Not only do they help children feel welcome and included, but they teach that words and letters have meaning. 

In this blog I demonstrate how to use name songs for word study, modeled writing, interactive writing, and independent writing.

Here are the name songs in this blog:

  • "Round and Around is the Name of the Game"
    • This song incorporates motions that cross the midline.
  • "Hickety Pickety Bumblebee" 
    • This song helps teach suyllables.
  • "Do You Know This Friend of Mine"
    • The melody of this song piggy-backs on "Do You Know the Muffin Man"
  • "Oh, _____, We Love You"
    • You can get your own personalized recording of this song, with a customized digital book! Get your copy here.

Keep singing,

Risa

P.S. This blog first aired in the Early Childhood Global Mastermind Group. Huge thanks to Atul, Mar., and the gang.

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Encouraging Literacy: Raising Readers with Encouragement

 

Encouragement is having high, but attainable expectations, celebrating every success, and showing compassion in the face of failure.

In How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish write,  “Let us realize that, along with food, shelter, and clothing, we have another obligation to our children, and that is to affirm their ‘rightness.’ The whole world will tell them what’s wrong with them—loud and often. Our job is to let our children know what’s right about them.” (p.191) (I love this book. Their book, Siblings Without Rivalry is also excellent.) The world can be a discouraging place. Our homes don’t have to be. We can choose to encourage our children.

Let’s focus on progress, not perfection. Focus on the wins, employing a strength model vs. a deficit model.

Recognize your child as a reader. (Check out this blog: https://www.singintoreading.com/blog/recognizing-readers)

When I...

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Reading and Writing Poetry with Children

 

Today is World Poetry Day!

Poetry is all about using words to evoke emotion.
Poetry is about using beautiful language.

I often talk about the importance of reading books to children daily. It is important to expose our children to poetry as well. There are many wonderful poetry books for children. My favorite is "Honey, I Love," by Eloise Greenfield.

Not only do we read poetry to our children, but we also encourage them to write it. Children are natural poets. The world, seen through a child's eyes, is poetry. The words a child uses are often poetry.

Collect your child's words. When your child says something poetic, save it. Say, "That is beautiful language." Write it down and hang onto these precious words.

As a classroom teacher, I had a poster on the wall that was titled, "Beautiful Language." When students said something beautiful, I wrote it down, hung it on the bulletin, and read it aloud to the class.

Here is one of my favorites... When my oldest (now 15) was 4, he referred to the...

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Teach Reading with LOVE

 

Get your free booklet, "Ten Tips to Teach Your Child to Read with Music and Love" here: 

https://www.singintoreading.com/ten-tips

Do all things with love. This is my mantra. Especially when teaching or parenting, we want to do it with love and encouragement. When we lose our patience with children, that is discouraging. Facing discouragement puts someone in a state of dysregulation - which is not a state receptive to learning. Instead, if we want our children to be open to learning, we need to encourage them.

Parents in my membership receive a "Rosy Moment Visualization." In this guided meditation, I walk parents and guardians through a special memory of their child. Once this memory is solidified, you can breathe into it at times when you feel you are losing your patience. It is a tool I use to bring me back to encouragement and love.

How do you keep your patience and remain loving when you feel upset? What are your favorite ways to do all things with love? Let...

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#50PreciousWords

 

If you know me, you know that I am the Creative Director of Sing into Reading, and I teach literacy through music. You probably also know that I write songs. 

Did you know that I write stories. too? You might not know because, until this week, I had never submitted a story for publishing. I have been writing stories for young readers since 2001, when I took "Children's Literature" at Bank Street College. And, I want to share them with the world, so I am (finally) submitting! I made two submissions earlier this week (to a contest and an award) and today I will submit to #50PreciousWords.

50PreciousWords is a writing contest run by Vivan Kirkfield. Vivan is a wonderfully talented author for young readers. Check out her books!

Here is my submission for #50PreciousWords:

THE LIGHT SWITCH

“Mommy, why does the light switch say, ‘No?’”

 

“The light switch doesn’t say, ‘No.’”

 

“Yes, it does.”

 

“The...

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Teaching Literacy Through Music: ECGMG

 

I am a member of the Early Childhood Global Mastermind Group.

I recently had the pleasure of bring interviewed by Mar. Harman of Music with Mar. in a Spotlight: "Teaching Literacy Through Music." 

Mar. and Atul have graciously allowed me to repost this interview here. 

If you are an early childhood educator, be sure to check out the Early Childhood Global Mastermind Group.

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Peaceful Holidays with Children

 

Holidays can be a crazy time. There is so much to do and just not enough time to get it all done. 

Let's face it, holidays don't always feel like a Hallmark show. Holidays can be stressful - especially with children.

I invite you to join me in deliberately stopping to breathe whenever you feel stressed.

No matter how much we have to do, we always have time to breathe.

Wishing you PEACEFUL holidays filled with love, joy, and music!

Keep singing,

Risa

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Teach Your Child to Read with Music and Love: Self-Assessment

 

In this Masterclass for parents and educators, I talk about how to teach your child(ren) to read with music and love. Then I guide you through a self-assessment, so that you can recognize and celebrate what you are doing well in building a loving literacy foundation for the children in your life. The self - assessment will also help you realize which habits you want to add to your routines. Finally, through habit-stacking, I can help you craft a schedule that fits your life. 

When we start the journaling, after my explanation, pause the video. You can find the journaling prompts here. Click "Make a copy." (Then you can rename the file in your own Google Drive account.) Then, when you are finished with your own self-assessment, resume the video.

Keep singing,

Risa

P.S. Enroll in the membership here: https://www.singintoreading.com/literacy-foundation

 

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