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3 Things Every Parent Should Know

The following is based on the latest in child development and early learning – topics that we like to follow:

  1. Importance of preschool years in brain development: “What our findings tell us is that children’s brains need to get enough and healthy activation even before they enter pre-school,” explains Cristina Alberini, a professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science. “Without this, the neurological system runs the risk of not properly developing learning and memory functions.”
  2. Fathers’ critical role in kids’ development: “There’s this whole idea that grew out of past research that dads really don’t have direct effects on their kids, that they just kind of create the tone for the household and that moms are the ones who affect their children’s development,” said Claire Vallotton, associate professor and primary investigator on the research project. “But here we show that fathers really do have a direct effect on kids, both in the short term and long term.”
  3. Physical education and music are essential to learning: “Over a decade of neuroscience has confirmed that both mental and physical activity produce new circuits in the brain. Different activities will affect different parts of the brain. Continuously engaging in a specific activity or set of activities increases the strength of these circuits… New research has linked both physical education and music to improving brain functions that are essential to learning.”

So what should we do as parents?

  • Make the most of the early years of our children. Provide them with necessary stimulation through all the senses.
  • Fathers should commit to, and spend, quality time with kids regularly.
  • Incorporate physical activities and music into our babies lives as early as possible.

 

Free to preview our program here.

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Way to learn to read for your kids

Learning to read is not a crash course that kids take and are done with once they can read Dick and Jane without any help. Learning to read is developmental and starts when a newborn looks at you and hears you talking to them. Below are 50 pieces to the reading puzzle . 50 ways that you and your child can have fun knowing that they are working on early literacy development and learning to love books. This is not definitive checklist it’s a buffet of options to help support your child as they develop literacy skills and become independent readers. Find ideas that work for your family with your child and their current development. Click through the linked items for more details and how to do the activity with your child.
1.Read to your child.
2.Play rhyming games.
3.Sing the alphabet song with them.
4.Label things with their names from an early age.
5.Go to the library even when they are at that loud voice only stage.
6.Have non fiction books as well as fiction available .
7.Tell stories.
8.Have books all over your house.
9.Teach the letter sounds by emphasizing the sounds in words they hear often from a young age.
10.Provide fun and interesting books for them to read.
11.Get a magazine subscription and read it together.
12.Make play dough letters.
13.Play the alphabet game on road trips.
14.Read the mail together.
15.Make a reading nook.
16.Clap out syllables.
17.Make letter crafts.
18.Make reading play time .
19.Notice letters in the environment.
20.Learn about how books work and other concepts of print.
21.Let them choose their own books at the library or bookstore.
22.Leave them notes in their lunchboxes .
23.Play with foam letters in the bath. Use bath toys to make up and tell stories.
24.Make your own books.
25.Play eye spy with letters and letter sounds. ” I spy something that starts with the letter B. Buh buh book!”
26.Give your children books as gifts.
27.Make up silly songs together.
28.Ask them to read the pictures to you before they can read the words.
29.Play library.
30.Read the book then see the movie for a family treat.
31.Play with word families.
32.Read books with no words and share storytelling duties.
33.Let them see you reading for fun.
34.Read nursery rhymes.
35.Explore and trace tactile letters.
36.Play listening games.
37.Retell and have your children retell stories after reading them.
38.Ask your child questions about elements of the story as you read with them. This works on comprehension.
39.Read books at lunchtime .
40.Take books with you when you travel.
41.Build with letter blocks or make your own.
42.Do word searches.
43.Play sight word games.
44.Download an e-reader app on your smartphone and instead of handing them it to play a game make it a treat to use it to read.
45.Read comics and graphic novels with them.
46.Talk your your kids using regular words not “kiddie” words.
47.Read them poetry.
48.Get their bodies moving to learn letters.
49.Read them their favorite book over and over and over even if it’s making you want to poke your eyes out.
50.Make reading part of their bedtime routine from day one.

How many of the above have you done?

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Parenting = Mothering and Fathering

 

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FrontLine 前线追踪 节目- 儿童看书变听书- Books from Learning Tech

Reading habit start from young. With research showing that the best ways to develop bilingualism being through early exposure, many parents are starting to realize that such learning should not be simply confined to a pre-school setting.

With children spending most of their pre-school time at home, engaging learning aids are essential in supporting your child’s holistic language development needs. Designed to be concise, attention-grabbing and interactive, children are expected to not only develop language competency in both English and Chinese after going through our Holistic Bilingual Program, but also a strong desire for learning.

Request for a Free Presentation on our Bilingual Program here

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New born babies learn even in their sleep

New born babies are such fast developers because they keep learning even in their sleep, researchers have found.

Even though infants may stay awake for just a few hours a day, their brains keep working around the clock, scientists said.

They believe that the brain is constantly adjusting and adapting to the physical world despite appearances that they are dozing.

The discovery was made by experts at the University of Florida after simple experiments with 26 sleeping newborns.

Researchers played a tune to them, and then followed it with a gentle puff of air to the babies’ eyelids. After about 20 minutes, 24 of them had learned to anticipate the puff by squeezing their eyes shut.

The babies’ brain waves also changed.

Dana Byrd, a psychologist, said, “We found a basic form of learning in sleeping newborns, a type of learning that may not be seen in sleeping adults.

“They are better learners, better ‘data sponges’ than we knew. While past studies find this type of learning can occur in infants who are awake, this is the first study to document it in their most frequent state, while they are asleep.

“Newborn infants’ sleep patterns are quite different to those of older children or adults in that they show more active sleep where heart and breathing rates are very changeable.

“It may be this sleep state is more amenable to experiencing the world in a way that facilitates learning.”

The results, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could be used to identify babies that are not developing properly such as those at risk of dyslexia or autism, she added.

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Read and repeat, over and over again

Does your child have a favorite book they want to read over and over again? Or worse, wants you to read over and over again?

Despite its annoyances, repetitive reading — whether you’re reading to your child or they’re reading to you — offers a surprising number of benefits for new readers.

Vocabulary and Word Recognition
The more a child reads, the larger their vocabulary becomes. When a child reads or hears the same book multiple times, they become familiar and comfortable with a greater number of words.

Pattern and Rhythm
Hearing favorite stories read aloud helps children become aware of the pattern and rhythm of text. Language is more than just words — it’s how words sound and connect to each other.

Fluency

Repetitive reading allows a child to read without stumbling or stopping, and reading time becomes more pleasant for everyone. Once a child masters one book, it makes moving on to another more appealing.

Confidence
With fluency and comprehension comes greater reading confidence. Children who can follow a story and don’t stumble over words are more self-assured about their abilities and more likely to enjoy reading.

Request for a Free Presentation on our home reading program here.

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Teaching Phonics to Children?

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Phonics is a necessary part of any good method of teaching children to read. Teaching Children phonics and helping them develop phonemic awareness is the key to mastering words, which is the first key step toward successful reading. Children need to develop a knowledge of the letters, the sounds represented by the letters, and the connection between sounds created by combining the letters where words are formed. This is an essential part of mastering reading, and enabling children to become independent readers. By learning phonics and phonemic awareness, children gain the ability to pronounce new words, develop clear articulation, improve spelling, and develop self confidence.

When it comes to teaching your children to read, it must include three basic principles:

1) Reading for the child, whether it’s a word, sentence, or story, must appeal to your child’s interests.

2) Never pressure or force your child into reading, turning it into a negative “event” in their life. It should be a fun, enjoyable, and rewarding experience. This will take ample amounts of patience on the part of the parents, and some creativity.

3) Teaching your child to read must begin with the mastery of the phonemes – the individual sounds which makeup the words.

The basic process of teaching phonics and phonemic awareness to children includes teaching them the letters and letter sounds; then you teach the child to combine (or blend) various letter sounds together to form words; which is then followed by reading sentences and simple stories. This is a logical progression for children to learn reading, where they develop accuracy in decoding words and pronouncing words. This method of teaching also helps the child to spell correctly. Gradually, the different elements of phonics are combined to produce new words, and leads to the discovery of new words by the child using this process which becomes an “automatic reflex”.

Teaching phonics to children should take 10 to 15 minutes each day, and these “lessons” should take place in several small sessions each day – such as 4 or 5 session lasting 3 to 5 minutes each. For older pre-school children, lessons can be slightly longer; however, several minutes each session is all that’s needed.

One way to start teaching phonics to children with with ear training – by helping them develop the understanding that words are made up of smaller units of sounds, or known as phonemes, and when you combine these sounds, a word is formed. You can start this with very short sessions, as already mentioned. A few minutes a day is all that you need. The key, however, is consistency and patience.

During these short sessions, sound out words slowly and distinctly. You can do this without even making the child aware that you are trying to teach them. Simply take words from your everyday speaking to your child and include oral blending sounds into your sentences. For example, if you wanted to ask your child to drink his milk, you could say: “Joe, d-r-i-n-k your m-ilk.” The words drink and milk are sounded out slowly and distinctly. The level of sound separation can be set by you to increase or lower the difficulty. Thus, if Joe has a tough time figuring out that d-r-i-n-k means drink, you can lower the difficulty by blending the word as dr-ink instead.

Alternatively, you could simply pick different words and play blending sounds games with your child. You simply say the sounds of the word slowly, and ask the child try to guess what you are saying.

This concept of individual sounds forming words may take some time for your child to grasp. Some children will pick it up quickly, while other children may take longer, but one thing that’s certain is that if you keep it up, your child will catch on. Below are some sample words which you can use to play blending sounds activities with your child.

J-u-m-p   J-ump
R-u-n   R-un
S-i-t   S-it
S-t-a-n-d   St-and
M-i-l-k   M-ilk
S-t-o-p   St-op

The first word is more segmented than the second word, and will be more difficult to sound out. Please note that hyphens are used to indicate the letter sounds instead of slashes.

ie: J-u-m-p  /J/ /u/ /m/ /p/

This is done to make things easier to read; however, when you read it, you should not read the names of the letters, but instead say the sounds of the letters. This type of ear training for phonics and phonemic awareness should continue throughout the teaching process, even well after your child have grasped this concept. It can be applied to words with increasing difficulty. Again, please always keep in mind that not all children can readily blend the sounds to hear the word, so you must be patient, and drill this for days, weeks, or even months if needed. Consistency and frequency is the key to success here, and not sporadic binge sessions.

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