Read, Play, and Learn! Storybook Activities for Young Children: Collection 1 [Storybooks and Teacher's Guide; Modules 1-8]
Toni W. Linder
Read, Play and Learn! is a play-based curriculum designed to promote growth across all of the areas of development important to a young child. With a school-year's worth of ready-to-use lessons or modules, the curriculum provides story-related activities centered around themes such as enjoying seasonal festivities, sharing emotions, making friends, understanding other cultures, and just having fun. This set of module booklets comprises the first collection of storybook activities for the curriculum. Providing 2 weeks of theme-based activities, each module booklet covers how to use the curriculum, the story, planning sheets, vocabulary, materials, classroom areas/centers, involving families, and additional suggestions. The module booklets each relate to a particular children's story: (1) "The Kissing Hand;" (2) "Somebody and the Three Blairs;"(3) "Picking Apples & Pumpkins;" (4) "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything;" (5) "The Knight and the Dragon;" (6) "Abiyoyo;"(7) "Night Tree;" and (8) "The Snowy Day."
Toni W. Linder. Read, Play, and Learn! Storybook Activities for Young Children: Collection 1 [Storybooks and Teacher's Guide; Modules 1-8] (1999). Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.: Baltimore, MD.
Summary for Teacher's Guide:
This teacher's guide provides guidance in encouraging early learning and development by creating a literacy-rich environment for preschool and kindergarten children of all ability levels. The guide explains how to arrange the classroom, organize the day, introduce modifications for children of varying ability levels, and involve family members in their child's education. The guide also offers background information on the importance of play and literature in early learning, provides an overview of developmental domains, and discusses what to expect at various levels of children's development. The guide's appendix provides reproducible master planning sheets and illustrations to use with module activities.
Reading Level: Average
Formats Available: Printed Material
(Price is for storybooks and case, teacher's guide cost $45.00 )
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Read, Play, and Learn! Storybook Activities for Young Children: Collection II [Storybooks and Teacher's Guide; Modules 9-16]
Intended User Audience:
Users maybe anyone who works with pre-school children 3-6 years old. Users can be from all disciplines: occupational therapy, psychology, social work, early childhood education, audiology, etc. The curriculum is inclusive and is meant to be used with children from all developmental abilities.
The author's background is educational psychology and special education. The team of developers included teachers, occupational therapists, psychologists, and speech therapists. Team members are European American; however, contributors to the modules included professionals from African American and Hispanic backgrounds, as well.
This material has not been formally evaluated. However, it was field tested in a number of different settings throughout the U.S. with children from many backgrounds, including Hispanic, African American, European American, Native American, Asian, and Indian.
Approximately 500 have been distributed from Fall 1999-January 2000.
Gail Becker - Elementary teacher, Champaign-Urbana IL
If I were teaching an early childhood or kindergarten class, I would definitely incorporate this curriculum into my classroom. It is literacy based but expands into every other curriculum area. I like the idea that there are many suggestions given for expansion of the story, but that the teacher and the children can take the expansion in any direction they want to go. The structure is there, but it allows for creativity.
The graphics, illustrations, and photos in this curriculum include children with disabilities and children and families from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., Hispanic, African American, and Native American) in a nonstereotypical manner. Although more stories are Eurocentric, there are also stories that include characters and customs of other cultures. Suggestions for adapting the curriculum are not specifically given for children and families from different backgrounds. However, finding additional multicultural and multilingual books that follow the themes and philosophy of this program would be a relatively easy adaptation a user could make.
It is easy to recommend this curriculum to others because it is so child centered. The idea that activities for every day are specifically written out in a concise manner makes it easy to incorporate into most any classroom for young children. There are planning sheets for "at-a-glance" reference. A list of key words and concepts, including labels, action words, and descriptors to which the children can be introduced are given for each story. A list of toys, playthings, equipment, supplies, food, and other items needed for each module are specifically given for ease of organizing. A description of 10 days of different activities for each area or center in the classroom, plus suggested modifications for the sensorimotor, functional, and symbolic levels of learning, are adequately provided. There are recommendations for involving families or other caregivers, including sample letters to send home. In most instances, this program offers more activities than the teacher will be able to incorporate, which is intentional so that activities can be selected that match the interest, abilities, and educational and developmental needs of the children being served. The teacher's guide describes the foundations of the curriculum, provides instruction in using the curriculum with children of different ages and ability levels, offers suggestions for classroom set-ups, and reviews the stages of literacy development. The guide also provides information on how to use the modules with transdisciplinary teams.
The advantages of "Read, Play, and Learn" are many. The use of the same storybook over two weeks (or longer if desired) allows repeated encounters with themes and concepts and the modification, adaptation, and generalization of skills related to those ideas across time and from school to home. The reiteration of concepts and themes provides opportunities for understanding in multiple ways. The development of projects allows children to work at their own pace. Repeated exposure to activities builds memory skills. Actions, events, characters, language structures, and vocabulary are increasingly understood, retained, and applied. In short, each story and its related activities serve as the stimulus for discussion.
Letticia Alvarez - undergraduate student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The books are wonderful in that they present important universal themes. "The Kissing Hand," for example, is an endearing story that discusses separation anxiety, and "The Knight and the Dragon" teaches about friendships and problem solving. Although cultural diversity is encompassed, it is not necessarily emphasized. Of the 16 books included in this curriculum, only 3, "Abiyoyo," "The Three Little Javelinas," and "The Snowy Day," present characters representing minority groups. More books highlighting people of different backgrounds would enrich the curriculum. Children need to see themselves in the books they read to promote self-esteem and pride in their diverse backgrounds.
Within this curriculum, language may be a deterrent in some settings. Children who are learning English as a second language, or those who receive a bilingual education, may have difficulty understanding these materials. Although the professional could search for more appropriate books to fit his or her classroom's needs, the task of finding books to follow this model may be difficult. It would be useful if versions of this curriculum were available in other languages as well. The curriculum was designed to assist teachers in their ongoing efforts to engage parents; however, the sample letters to parents would be more effective if they were shorter and written more simply. Parents' varying educational backgrounds were not considered when these were written; however, they do provide a format from which professionals could derive their own letters.
Although this curriculum attempts to serve all children, professionals should keep in mind other circumstances in which they will need to make alternate arrangements. For example, this curriculum would not be the best tool to use in teaching a child when language may be a barrier. Also, this curriculum does not consider possible low literacy rates in families, which should be taken into account when implementing strategies to engage families. Also, it may not be feasible to ask parents to take their children on excursions, as some modules suggest, if the families have limited income.
Despite these limitations, this transdisciplinary curriculum is a good tool for teachers to implement in a classroom when a broad range of abilities are present. The curriculum is well organized and allows for flexibility in the classroom. The modules are well designed, with predictable formats and meaningful activities. Also, the educator will appreciate the details included in the modules, which save preparation time.
Camille Unzicker - Graduate student in early childhood special education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
I would use the "Read, Play, and Learn" curriculum because (in part) it explains the type of activities that are done in the early childhood center for two-week blocks of time. It also explains how to set up the classroom (e.g., what materials go in each center) to follow the storybook theme. The language is easy to understand, and when there are technical terms, they are fully explained. In addition, "Read, Play, and Learn" is literacy based and has a lot of suggestions for involving parents in school activities (e.g., notes sent home for parents to do storybook activities with their child). Another impression I had was that "Read, Play, and Learn" is a transdisciplinary play-based curriculum and is meant to be used by a team. The greater the impact of other professionals on giving input for adaptations and intervention strategies to use, the more effective curriculum implementation will be for each child.
The curriculum can be used with all cultural groups; however, it does not give specific adaptations or suggestions for working with children with disabilities and their families who come from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds (except that the material does suggest that storybooks can be translated for families whose first language is not English). The curriculum can be strengthened for these families by including outside information on activities and strategies to support children's emerging literacy in their dominant or main language. Information should be readily available to those who work with families who do not speak English, along with information on their culture. For children and families who come from different backgrounds, there are different adaptations that give support. For example, if English is a second language, the teacher can bring cultural items (i.e., traditional dress) and teach the children simple phrases to say "please" and "thank you." Overall, I believe the "Read, Play, and Learn" curriculum would be challenging to adapt because it does not recognize that families maybe nonliterate, non-English-speaking, and low income. Some schools may not have the funds to provide outside resources to meet these families' needs (e.g., buying books).
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