Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Storytime: Say Goodnight

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

 Today we read Say Goodnight

Say Goodnight is a very short bedtime story (the book contains 8 pages) that depicts the tumbling, fun-filled day activities of infants with their parents/caregivers. The bumpity bumpity day of play closes with a soft, loving wish to rest and sleep. The ending is easily changed so that parents can read, "Assalamu alaikum" instead of "Say Goodnight".

This book comes in a large board book version that makes it easy to read to infants and young toddlers. This version is larger than standard board book size but not too large that infants and toddlers will not be able to handle the book independently insha'Allaah. And the fact that the book is very short makes it a good read for young toddlers whose attention span is....short *smile*. The well-known Oxenbury babies are once again presented in real-life situations that many children will be very familiar with. This is a book that you may enjoy reading aloud as you prepare your child(ren) to end their day and prepare for bed...waallaahu a'lam.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Parents Can Help Children Choose Just The Right Book

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

There is a method called the 'Five Finger' rule that aides children in selecting books that are on their reading level. This rule helps eliminate the frustration a child may feel when they pick up a book with a genuine desire to read it, only to find that it is a). too easy or b). too difficult.

Before your next trip to the library or bookstore, you can teach your child the 'Five Finger' method very easily insha'Allaah by introducing him/her to use these simple steps:
  1. Open the book to any page.
  2. Start reading.
  3. Whenever you come to a word you don’t know, hold up 1 finger.
  4. When you finish reading the page, look at your hand and count how many fingers you are holding up.
If you are holding up:

0-1 Fingers the book is too easy
2 -3 Fingers, the book is just right
4-5 Fingers, the book is most likely too hard; choose another

Parents can also find additional tips for helping their child pick developmentally appropriate books here insha'Allaah.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Storytime: A Closer Look

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

 Today we read A Closer Look

A Closer Look is a book that encourages childrens' imaginations and may help them sharpen their observation skills. In this book, children are presented with a close-up of an object and the author asks them to "Look!". On the next page, the view pulls back and children are given a larger perspective of the object. Now they are asked to guess what it is that they see. Upon turning the page the child's guess is either affirmed or they see what the object really is. 

The illustrations in the book are done using handmade paper and collage and the result is bold and vibrant. This book is intended for children from preschool to grade 2 but this is a book that even infants may enjoy during storytime. As parent/teacher sits with baby and turns each page, the child can be engaged in a stimulating conversation. You can whisper in an excited voice, "Look!" and after giving the child time to look at the page, turn it and ask the infant what they see. They cannot respond but offer suggestions of what the picture may depict. In this way, you can begin giving your infant a store of vocabulary words that he/she will later use insha'Allaah. And when you turn the page to reveal what the object is, talk about it. Mention how Allaah created the object and how He gave it its form and beauty. Mention how it is only Allaah that can do this. You can then say in an awe inspiring voice, "Allaahu Akbar!"

This is a wonderful book to be used during storytime as the text is very brief, the illustrations vibrant and detailed and the child is given the opportunity to begin the amazing, joyful experience of guessing. This is an excellent way to broaden childrens' knowledge of Allaah's creation. By guessing with them, giving suggestions, you help them learn new words and you help stimulate their imagination insha'Allaah. 

What is Early Literacy?

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Here is a parent-friendly explanation of how parents and caregivers can aide in the development of their child(ren)'s early literacy skills insha'Allaah. This brief explanation also gives parents an idea of the type of foundation children will need that will help ensure (after dua') literacy success in school (or homeschool) insha'Allaah.

What is Early Literacy? 
Early Literacy is what children know about reading before they can actually read.
You are your child's first teacher! 

The Six Skills
Help your child get ready to read by helping them with these six simple skills:
  1. What are words?
    Vocabulary - knowing the name of things
  2. Words and pictures
    Print Awareness - understanding that print has meaning; noticing print everywhere, not just in books; knowing how to handle a book
  3. Learning my ABCs
    Letter Knowledge - knowing that letters look different from each other; knowing letter names and sounds
  4. Words and sounds
    Phonological Awareness - being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words
  5. Let's read together
    Print Motivation - being interested in and enjoying books
  6. Tell me a story
    Narrative Skills - being able to describe things and events, and tell stories
Source: Chandler Public Library

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Five Easy Steps for Sharing Books With Your Baby

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Quick steps that may help parents incorporate reading aloud with baby each day insha'Allaah. And of course, the first and best book to read to baby is al-Qur'aan!
  1. Pick the best time
    A time when you and your baby are in a good mood
  2. Show baby the book
    Point to the pictures and talk naturally and cheerfully
  3. Talk and have fun
    Remember to touch and love your baby the whole time
  4. Watch what your baby does
    Let your baby play with the book (this includes trying to eat or chew it) if he wants to and stop for now if she gets upset
  5. Share a book with your baby everyday
    Even just a few minutes a day is important

Enjoy your reading insha'Allaah!