Improve reading results with holiday experiences that are enjoyable and take no extra time at all. Over the holidays I am spending quality time with my grandchildren at the Sunshine Coast. My grand daughters are at the age when you can thoroughly enjoy the experience. Our first outing was to a restaurant at The Chopping Board in Buderim. While the girls are confident making decisions about foods that they enjoy eating, they are still young and we try to give them experiences that will stimulate their interest and motivation to learn more. These basic experiences become prior knowledge that is stored in long term memory and needed to read and comprehend text. You probably hear teachers talking about activating prior knowledge. This means using past experiences to help understand texts.
So, as grandmothers do, I am constantly discussing topics of interest with them and I am amazed at what they know at such a young age. The whole time I am extending my knowledge base as well because following these conversations I go home and read around the topic.
CONVERSATIONS IMPROVE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE
Initially we were talking about an interest of one of the girls, crows. Now, I was born and bred in the west so I know a fair amount about crows BUT I didn’t know that a group of crows is called a MURDER. Did you? Now isn’t that interesting. This conversation could lead to why would the group be called a murder, is the name related to the fact that a crow is a scavenger?
Then we ordered and the the conversation led to the words on the menu that originated from different countries. … cappuccino, spaghetti, latte …. And we started talking about those countries and how this influence came to Australia. This all sounds so formal BUT it wasn’t, the conversation just rolled.
BUILDING A KNOWLEDGE BASE
At this particular place there are wall clocks that tell the times in many countries around the world. We started discussing the countries and their capital cities. I have always been interested in mapping and countries and I love exploring and talking about this topic. Children are fascinated by this topic too. The girls have travelled and this experience has increased their interest in other countries. So, here is a topic that we can explore over the holidays and spend some time anchoring the new information to the already known. In this way the known information is extended only a little bit at a time and the child is able to absorb this new content and be able to use it at a later date.
BUILDING EXPERIENCE UPON EXPERIENCE
Experiences and more experiences are the way to help your child improve in many things that are related to world knowledge. This is knowledge that is needed to read and understand texts. Children need experiences of many different kinds, visiting new places, talking as we have discussed, movies and books. These experiences can be as basic as cooking, sewing or ironing, they all add to the child’s bank of knowledge. Every conversation and every activity adds to the experience bank and can be accessed to provide a base to relate and extend knowledge to link old information to new concepts and ideas. Don’t let any day slip by without reflecting on the value it has added to your child’s bank of knowledge.
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Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent to provide back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia and overseas. Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. She has a track record of bringing into action programs that are easy to follow and that achieve results.Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above. Letter Box staff solve problems and puts wings onto dreams www.letterboxlearntoread.com