Sing into Reading: the Blog

Little ones love literacy.

Music is magic! 

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 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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Recognizing Our Children as Readers

 

In this "Edutalk" I explore recognizing our children as readers, no matter what level they read at currently. I redefine literacy, reading, and writing to a wider definition of these words. In this talk, I explain how this wider view of literacy is more encouraging for our children. 

I want to thank Noha Barrania of Edulane. Noha has given me permission to post this on the Sing into Reading blog. You can find more edutalks by other educators at https://www.facebook.com/edulaneeg

Keep singing,

Risa

 

 

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Freedom to Read and Sing!

 

We just finished celebrating Independence Day.

This holiday is all about FREEDOM.

What does freedom mean to you?

For me, freedom is not necessarily doing everything we want to, all the time.

(Let’s face it, nobody gets to do everything we want all the time. We all do the dishes and the laundry - even when we don’t want to.)

For me, freedom is all about having CHOICES.

I value choice and freedom.

That’s why as a teacher, and also as a parent, I offer choices whenever possible.

I give my students a sense of ownership over our classes, and I give my kids a sense of autonomy over their own lives.

Whenever possible.

Be free!

Keep singing,
Risa

'Cause I'm Free
by Risa Cohen

I’ll do what I want to do
And I’ll say what I want to say
And I’ll be what I want to be
‘Cause I’m free

I’ll do what is good for you
And I’ll say what is good for us
And I’ll be what is good for me
‘Cause I’m free

I’m kind! I am kind to you.
And...

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Zipper Songs

 

Zipper songs are fantastic tools for teaching literacy. A zipper song is a "fill-in-the-blank song." I ask the children to fill in the blank, and zip their ideas right into the song. For example, my song, "Holidays are For Family" is a zipper song, since I can ask the students their favorite holidays and then sing about them.

In this blog, I talk about how to use zipper songs to teach literacy. Zipper songs can be used for modeled reading, shared reading, modeled writing, interactive writing, independent reading, and independent writing. The suggestions students make for zipper songs can easily be a springboard into word study and phonics work.

What is your favorite zipper song?

Keep singing,

Risa

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A Child in the World: The Developmental-Interaction Approach

 

At Bank Street College,  I learned the developmental-interaction approach, or "The Bank Street Approach." This progressive approach to education is a whole-child approach that places as much value on a child's social and emotional development as on a child's academic development. At Sing into Reading, we value SEL (social emotional learning). 

One of the hallmarks of the developmental-interaction approach is the child-centered social studies curriculum. We start our social studies curriculum with the center: the self. A child moves through the curriculum in ever-widening arcs of experience, progressing through a family study, a community study, national studies, international studies, and then astronomy. Just as Maria Montessori talks about "sensitive periods" - periods of time when a child is easily able to learn certain concepts, the developmental-interaction approach recognizes that a child is self-centered, and that their interest in the outside world expands over...

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Literacy in Progressive Education

 

I am a progressive educator - to the core.

I received my M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Bank Street College, where I learned the developmental-interaction approach. This is a constructivist approach. Teachers using a constructivist approach facilitate a learning environment where a child is encouraged to construct their own knowledge. Constructivist theory says that students do not simply soak up knowledge "like a sponge." They see children constructing knowledge as a more active task. The developmental-interactive approach distinguishes itself from other constructivist approaches by the emphasis placed on the child's emotional life. In the developmental-interactive approach, a child's emotional life and SEL (social emotional learning) skills are seen as equally important and intrinsically connected to academic skills.

I also studied at The Reading and Writing Project (TRWP) at Teachers College, Columbia University. There, I learned balanced literacy,...

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Montessori Songs

 

Today I presented "Montessori Songs" at the Early Childhood Global Mastermind Group, a group of early childhood educators from around the world. They has asked me to present "Montessori Songs." 

I wanted to share the presentation with you!

Learn songs that help a child develop a sense of self, and their place in the world. These songs are perfect for a Montessori classroom, or any preschool setting. 

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New Year

 

Happy New Year!

 January is my favorite month of the year. It's my birthday month, and, in January we celebrate one of our country's heros: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

I also enjoy setting New Year's goals. Let's be clear - I always enjoy personal development - any time of year.

The concept of a year, and time in general, is enigmatic. Time is a continuum, and dividing it into units - seconds, days, weeks, months, and years - is a big concept for kids to understand. So be sure to teach and review it often. Sing days of the week songs, and months of the year songs. Sing "It's a New Year!"

It's hard for grownups to understand time, too. All I know is, the older I get, the faster it moves.

I wrote a new song, "It's a New Year." Listen to it on the blog, and let me know what you think of it.

Ask your children (four and older) what they want to do this year. Maybe they want to learn to ride a bike, swim, or tie their shoes. Maybe they want to sing more. Or, maybe they...

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