Monday, December 1, 2014

Pre-readers: Bein' Adorable and Literate...Almost

Text by Ashley Aue

It’s vacation time at the Family Support Center!  As the designated “story lady,” I thought it would be fun to do some group reading activities.  Along with reading Matilda with the pre-teens and teens, I have had the distinct joy of working with our “pre-readers,” Yadira, 3; Eduardo (Gordito), 3; Amy, 4; Jonathan, 5; Oscar, 6.  Also – Ingrid, 7, who is deaf and learning sign language along with written language, and Anibal, 14, who is developmentally delayed and began attending the special needs school in Xela a few years ago. 

These 3-6 year olds have yet to begin the process of classrooms, homework, tests and stress. Storybooks are still a fascinating land of imagination, and learning is still a fun and exciting process of play.  The pre-readers wriggle with anticipation as we discuss the plans for the class, and can barely contain their excitement as they clamor to be first to share all of the letters they know.

Throughout November, in addition to the beloved storytime, we have incorporated singing, dancing, games, and videos into our class time.  We do a mixture of group and individual activities, as each child is at a slightly different level and each has their own learning style. 

Yadira is eager to place letter cards in order as she sees them in a video, Jonathan likes to think of all the words he can that start with each letter, Amy loves to watch the alphabet videos, Eduardo is happy to read books all day, Oscar is starting to identify letters in books he reads and put together the sounds, Anibal can listen to stories without end, and Ingrid tries her best to sign along as fast as she can to the alphabet song.

Practicing signs for letters along with their compaƱera, Ingrid.
These little learners are unique in many ways from their older peers in that they are happy to try something new, not afraid to make a mistake, and are unburdened by the stress of homework.  The energy, curiosity and self-confidence that drives their learning right now is what we hope to see propel them through the ups and downs of school in the coming years.  They are learning more than just the letters – they are learning to see themselves as smart, capable, and creative.

Yadira with her letters

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