I love to hear the horns of trains blow loud and clear through the crisp morning winter air when they come through Opelika.
While growing up in Opelika, I would hear the train horns and dream of going places I had never been. One way my teachers met this dream was reading books to us young students, taking me to places I had never been before.
I truly looked forward to listening to my teachers read a good book after lunch and then settling down to afternoon lessons. This story time created a special bond between the teacher and class of us young students.
During the winter months, preschool children can become tired and irritable if they have to constantly stay inside. In the preschool classroom, we teachers can share winter themes during circle time, activities, lessons and center time.
But how can parents, grandparents and caregivers encourage young children to enjoy winter? I highly recommend for families to read to their children. I personally love to read winter favorites by wonderful children’s authors who capture how to relate the winter theme for young minds.
Librarians at our local libraries are so helpful in making these recommendations. After reading the stories, the students and I then enjoy acting out the stories with simple child-made props in front of the class.
This could definitely become a family project and encourage the enjoyment of reading for your preschooler and the whole family. After reading favorite stories, children may also love to play charades. The same idea from the classroom can be used at home to provide learning and entertainment.
From the Classroom Observer’s Corner, I would like to share some tips of facts and encouragement of reading with your young children that will benefit your child. Reading to children enhances their language skills by expanding their vocabulary and knowledge.
1) For babies, toddlers and 2 to 5-year-olds, reading enhances their language skills by expanding their vocabulary and knowledge of different subjects. They learn new concepts which they can relate to their environment. It increases their thinking ability, which encourages and supports their readiness skills, as well as their quest for knowledge and learning.
2) Reading to even the youngest of children helps them to focus and concentrate on what you are reading through content and pictures. Because of different ages and stages of development, length of reading times needs to be modified to meet their attention needs.
3) Children love to use their imagination. Reading a book to them engages them to use their imagination as they relate to each character in the story and what is happening! Reading and spending time with your preschool children encourages their creativity. Don’t we all love to see young children lean in to the story and get excited as they predict what will happen next? Children put themselves in the story because they identify with the characters. This contributes to emotional development and understanding others.
4) One observation that warms this teacher’s heart is to see a child sit down and look through the pages of a book over other activities. Television, video games, computers, smart phones, etc. are all major means of entertainment in our technologically driven era, but a good book can provide your child hours of entertainment and learning.
5) During the winter months, life can get quite busy for families. Setting aside a few moments each day to spend 1-on-1 time with your children reading a good book can create a special relationship and bond with parents, grandparents or caregiver. Make it a special place and a special time like after a meal, following a winter field trip or bedtime. This special bonding and snuggling time over a good book will become a warm memory for life.
Today is “Library Shelfie Day.” Celebrate this winter day by having your preschool child choose their favorite books to put on a shelf to read and enjoy on a winter day!
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd who has taught her so much about learning. The Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth, and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures, and events by e-mailing her at donnapinyerd@charter.net