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Archive for November, 2009

More Reading Readiness

boy-bookLast week’s post was about the importance of reading and how to teach/encourage children to read at a young age. It looked at activities for infant to toddlers. Below are some suggestions on the steps to take during the Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten stages of development:

PRESCHOOL (30 months +)

While grocery shopping, ask your child to find an item that starts with a certain letter or find a particular cereal.

While in the park, ask your child to bring you nature items one at a time. Write the word for each item and then write a story using these words.

Show your child speech in the written form. Ask your child what he or she would like to buy at the grocery store and add it to your grocery list together, write notes to Dad or  make “to do” lists.

PRE-KINDERGARTEN (48 months +)

Read with your child. Take turns reading pages, modeling intonation and punctuation cues.

Make up silly rhymes and alliterations.

Help your child cut large letters from old magazines. Talk about words that begin with each of these letters.

While driving ask your child to help you find a particular street sign.

As with everything else in your child’s development, reading skills take time and patience to develop, and be assured that reading will happen when your child is ready. Also remember that children learn by example. Let your child see you read often, they’ll want to do exactly what mom and dad are doing.

Preparing Your Child to Read


Reading is one of life’s most important skills, that’s why parents should focus on reading readiness early in their child’s life. Reading begins with language and how it relates to your child’s world. Creating a language-rich environment will help your child’s vocabulary grow. A print-rich environment may also help prepare your child for reading by making the connection between your child’s world and the symbols we use to communicate.

Below are some suggestions on the steps you should take for infants through toddlers. Our next post will look at ideas for preschool and pre-Kindergarten-age children.


Read simple board books with one picture per page, contrasting colors or simple pictures, and point to the items on each page.

While reading to your child, make faces–it’s fun and your child will notice subtle differences.

Allow your child to point and turn book pages.

Describe everything; name colors, shapes and sizes.

FIRST STEPS (12-18 months)

Read longer stories to your child and allow him or her to interact with the book–pointing, turning pages or even turning the book upside-down.

Name objects as your child points.

Make noises! Imitate cars, animals and eating sounds during play.

Speak to your child in a normal tone to demonstrate accurate sound recognition.

Enunciate words of interest like M-M-Mommy.

As syllables start to represent words, such as “juice” and “more,” expand upon them  (e.g., “apple juice,” “Would you like more apple juice?”).

TODDLER (18-30 months)

Read everything–signs, labels, toys and your child’s name.

Take cues from your child—interested, not interested, read or just look at the pictures, read more or stop before the end of the story?

Find and point out shapes and symbols in your home or community.

Recite rhymes and alliterations; pause to allow your child to fill in the last word or phrase.

Play games where symbols lead to action (e.g., two orange squares on the card means to move two orange spaces).

Top 10 Eco-FriendlyToys Under $30

I had such a great time evaluating and selecting the top eco-friendly toys for the Goddard Systems, Inc. and Eco Child’s Play holiday toy test!

The Toy Test Committee consisted of Eco Child`s Play representatives and Goddard educators. Entries were evaluated based on a number of criteria, including:

  • Affordable price range ($30 and under)
  • Appropriate for preschoolers and early elementary school-age children
  • Creative, social or engaging
  • Eco-friendly
  • Interactive, child-initiated play focus

After a fun month of toy mania, it’s finally come down to this:

Aromatic Play Clay (Mama K, Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $20 – $22.00)
Mama K’s Aromatic Play Clay is 100 % natural, bio-degradable, gluten free play clay. It combines aromatherapy with activity and fun. With seven scents to choose from including soothing lavender, relaxing chamomile and tension-easing bergamot, fun never smelled so good! Mama K’s Play Clay is also suitable for kids with Celiac and Autism Spectrum disorders.

Count Octopus (ImagiPLAY, Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $17.99)
Learning to count is fun with this Octopus Number puzzle. Hand-crafted & hand painted with child-safe paints. Count Octopus is made from plantation-grown rubberwood, an environmentally-friendly hardwood.

Desert Hothouse (DuneCraft, Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $14.99)
Create your own sandy, dusty desert scene with the DuneCraft Desert Hothouse. This kit comes complete with a variety of cacti and succulents including the Giant Saguaro, Joshua Tree and many more. Little ones will have a blast designing a desert landscape with included gravel, sand, boulders and desert friends. These easy-to-grow plants will start sprouting in a week and will last for years.

Green Toys Recycling Truck (Green Toys Inc., Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $24.95)
Now little ones can learn all about the basics of recycling. Made in the USA from 100% recycled milk containers, the Green Toys Recycling Truck sorts bottles, cans and paper. It also has a movable recycling bed and open/shut rear door. It is safe, non-toxic, BPA-Free and packaged in recycled and recyclable materials.

Green Toys Tea Set (Green Toys, Inc., Ages 3 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $24.95)
Pull up a chair; it’s time to serve up some eco-friendly imagination! The 17-piece Green Toys Tea Set includes a tea pot with lid, a sugar bowl with lid, a creamer, four cups, four saucers and four teaspoons. It is made from curbside collected milk containers and also meets FDA specs for food contact.

Hugg-A-Planet (Hugg-A-Planet, All Ages, Approximate Retail Price: $24.95)
A soft, educational toy, Hugg-A-Planet helps children learn about caring for planet Earth. It features over 600 labeled places, showing oceans, continents, islands and more.

Joobles Collection (Fair Indigo, Ages 0 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $25)
Organically adorable, the Joobles Collection features a variety of eco-friendly, fair trade characters. Made out of 100% organic cotton, these soft and squishy characters are hand knit! Children of cooperative workers are helped by the Fair Indigo Foundation, which provides educational programs and supplies.

Ring a Thing (HABA, Ages 1-3, Approximate Retail Price: $24.00)
Ring a Thing transitions children from free play to first games with rules. It’s also a fun way for children to recognize colors and sizes. For 1-3 players, Ring a Thing is made of beech wood. HABA products have passed certification that guarantees a high quality environmental management system.

Veggie Cutting Set (ImagiPLAY, Ages 2 and up, Approximate Retail Price: $24.99)
Help kids learn about healthy eating with the Veggie Cutting Set from ImagiPLAY. This vegetable set helps children develop motor skills and coordination while encouraging them to learn about healthy food in a fun role play environment. Segmented and secured with Velcro, for cutting over and over again, segments can be combined to create entirely new vegetables! This 16-piece activity toy is made from all-natural, earth friendly rubberwood.

Tree Branch Blocks (Natural Pod, Ages 2-8, Approximate Retail Price: $29.00) Bring the outdoors in with this beautiful set of rustic tree branch blocks. Perfect for stacking and building, each set comes with many unique pieces, various diameters and lengths for the ultimate in creative building. Tree Branch Blocks are made with kiln dried, locally (Vancouver Island) sourced Alder with Harmonic unbleached beeswax finish.