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Sandy's Strategies

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Sandy And Her Book was created  to inspire curiosity, respect and love for literature.  We tailored each illustration and verse to achieve growth in academic outcomes of rhyme and alliteration, introduction to complex language, appreciation and proper use of books and comprehension and response to text. We also gave intentional attention to  critical thinking and social/emotional objectives such as awareness of feelings of self and others, balancing needs and rights of self and others, problem solving and many others that will be further detailed in the contents below.  The following is an instructional guide regarding possible ways to "read" Sandy and Her Book (or any other children's book)  with goals of gaining precious ground on the learning trajectory of each listed objective.  The text is broken down into style of reading, developmental  age and objective benchmarks.  Hopefully you find this to be helpful in your young student's educational adventure.  


                           Learning objective:  Utilizing and appreciating books 


      Age range: 24 - 36 months

*What to look for when addressing this objective-  For children at this age,  look for signs of interest in books.  These behaviors include observing or "gazing" at the pages of a book as it is being read,  recognizing a book by the front cover, appropriately turning pages, asking for a specific book and bringing a book to her/his parent or caregiver.  

*What you can do to enhance the child's literacy experience-  "Picture walk" your child through the story.  Rather than reading the text word for word (or even reading it at all!), simply point out pages that may peak interest.  Here is an example!

-Parent points to Sandy's tears and says "Look at her face.  She is crying". Then point out  damage on the page and say "Oh no ! The page is torn!  That must be why she is so sad."  Let's make a sad face."  

***Helpful tip***Your child may stare and not participate, but they are absorbing the information and making valuable connections.  Repetition, consistency and patience are key when performing this or any other literacy related activity with this age group.  If  the child is not engaged after a few attempts (running away, saying  no etc....) scrap it and try at another time.  


     Age range:  36 - 60 months

*What to look for  when addressing this objective-  Increasing attentiveness to text/illustrations, notices parts of book when prompted (front and back cover, author and illustrator, spine ), curiosity in plot/characters/, asking for the book by name or description, acting out scenarios from stories.  

*What you can do to enhance the child's literacy experience-  Bring attention to parts of the book and their purpose.  Example- Review the front and back covers, spine and title page by asking your child to identify each part.  Explain the definitions of author and illustrator, their role in creation of books and where to find them in the text.  

*When drawing the child's attention to damage in the book, follow up with "How could we fix this page", or "How could we avoid this from happening". Prompt your child to review their own book collection.  Is there damage similar to Sandy's book in any of their books?  If so, how can they fix it, or prevent it in the future?


          Learning Objective: Parent/Child engagement during read aloud activities and book conversations.


     Age range:  24-36 months

*What to look for when addressing this objective-  Listen for topic related language, by way of single words and small phrases/sentences.  Example- While pointing to Sandy's face child says "She's mad" or "Mad".  

*What you can do to enhance the child's literacy experience-  Take cues from the child and build or "scaffold" on their knowledge.  Using the previous example, extend on the child's interest.  Say something like..."Oh you're right.  She is mad" or "You see her face.  She is mad".  Point to the facial expressions of evidence (furrowed brows, frowning mouth)  and encourage the child to verbally and physically engage in the topic. "Look at her mad face.  Let's make a mad  face" "GRRRRRRRR I'm mad!"  Engage in this as long as the child expresses interest.  It may be the only part of the book you discuss that day with this age.  If your child remains interested, continue without the expectation of finishing the book.


     Age range:  36-60 months

*What to look for when addressing this objective-  Children at this developmental age will be addressing reasons for what they are seeing in the illustrations and making connections.  A 3 to 4 year old child may say something like "She is crying. She is sad", with little to no prompting from the adult.  A 4 to 5 year old may identify the illustration and  related events heard through the read aloud, making a deeper connection to the text.  A child at this developmental stage will engage in conversations that move towards "Why" things are taking place in the story.  Children at the upper level of this learning objective may engage in critical thinking and problem solving dialog.  Here is an example:  Child says "Wow!  Look at Sandy!  She looks angry.  I would be angry too.  A page in her favorite book is bent."  Examples of how to prompt this language can be found in the contents below.

*What you can do to enhance the child's literacy experience-  Open ended questions, clues/prompts and extension conversations are key at this stage.  Give unlimited amounts of time (no matter how long or short!) for these exchanges.  They could lead to another area of investigation and interest for the child to explore.  Any way to direct the topic of conversation 

to the child's personal experiences and preferences can develop unique curiosities.  Let the topics flow.  If you began discussing how happy Sandy is at the end, and end with stories of "why I was sad", go with the flow.  Child led is the most effective mindset!


                        Learning Objective- Regulates own emotions and behaviors.

     Age range:  24-36 months

*While this objective is centered around older children, there are signs of development that can be observed at this young age.

*What to look for when addressing this objective:  An older two year old, or younger three year old (developmental age) will be looking for models of language and expression. They may match the discussed affect.  They may also remain emotionless.  This is most often due to the child observing and absorbing the information.  Children are ALWAYS learning.  It is what we teach them that is key to their success.  

*What you can do to enhance the child's social/emotional experience-  Match the affect of Sandy in the picture you are discussing.  Say the name of the expression repeatedly in sentence form (example:  "Look at Sandy's face.  She is happy.  Look at my face.  I am happy.  Let's make a happy face")  


     Age range:  36-60 months

*What to look for when addressing this objective:  Students at this developmental age often have clear definitions of feelings and emotions.  They are beginning to identify these emotions in themselves and others.  Sandy can be utilized to begin child to child and child to adult conversations.  Listen intently, or participate in this dialog.  Gather data concerning the child's views and perspective of the topic.  


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience-  Open ended questions can turn a quiet audience into an explosion of learning.  Relating the text to a personal, emotional experience can spark conversations and curiosities.  Ask a child about a time when they felt like Sandy.  What did they do?  Was it appropriate behavior for the situation?  If not, what could they do differently.  You may find that your are leading and guiding children to an appropriate response to these prompts.  This is a positive strategy, but it is important to be mindful of the child's perspective.  Lead them to their own positive conclusion!


                      Learning Objective- Noticing and responding to emotional cues.


     Age range:  24-36 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  Children in the 2/3 year old age range are learning how to identify changes in emotional states of others.  They are also forming strategies of response.  Observe for interest in posture, facial expressions and emotional happenings in literature.  Your student may mimic these emotional expressions and sounds they imagine are being made in the book.


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience: Draw attention to the facial expressions and emotional happenings discussed above.  Scaffold comprehension of the emotional focus by utilizing language such as "Look at Sandy's face..." similar to previously mentioned social/emotional strategies.  


     Age range:  36-60 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  During this developmental window, students will begin to notice emotions of others.  In a classroom or large social setting, you may see your child problem solve when identifying a classmate that could be experiencing fear, sadness or anger.  The observing child may grab a stuffed animal or blanket and take it to the student in an attempt to help regulate their behavior.  As they conclude this developmental stage, children will correctly identify emotions of others and verbalize a probable cause.  Students will notice and identify emotions and probable causes in literature.  Example- (student after observing a page of "Sandy and Her Book") "Sandy is mad because someone ripped the page.  She does not like that".  


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience: As you read, pause to draw attention to Sandy's eyebrows, eyes and mouth (example language from caregiver- "Look at Sandy's face.  Her eyebrows look like this.  Her mouth  looks like this" *as you say this, mimic the facial expressions while encouraging the child to do the same*).    Follow up with the question "How do you think Sandy feels in this picture?" To go deeper. engage in a conversation that relates the emotion to their own experience.  


        Learning Objective- Consistently exhibits motivation and curiosity to explore a topic.


     Age range:  24-36 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  Students at this developmental age are curious about their immediate environment.  They are exploring ways to change and cause things to happen.  A student may anticipate what will happen next in the story and want to turn the page independently.  Sounds of the page turning, feeling the paper in his/her hands, watching the page turn and the picture change, even the smell of paper can all be engaging to a young learner.  Observe for any appropriate exploratory actions with the book.  This includes previously mentioned strategies such as independent page turning, leaving and returning to the read aloud on their own accord and exhibiting interest in surrounding literature.  


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience:  Modeling appropriate use and handling of the book while adding "self talk" language such as "Look at how I turn the page using safe and gentle hands" will nurture your child to add these skills to their routine.  As they begin to master respectful book keeping, move the language from self to child by becoming a play-by-play commentator of every appropriate move they make.  (example-" Wow, look at you holding that book with safe hands.  You are turning the page gently".  Think of books as new toys for students at this age to explore for the first time. They must be taught how to respect literature if we expect them to reap it's benefits.


    Age range:  36-60 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  3-5 year old students are exploring for answers to their ever-growing list of questions.  Observe what the children are noticing verbally and with physical clues (facial expressions, movement).  As students progress to the end of this developmental stage, observe for signs of resource gathering to answer questions that arise out of curiosity.  An example of this could be an observation consisting of a child collecting books and checking the pages for damage after or during a read aloud focusing on respect for books/book safety.


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience:  Open ended questions are a very effective strategy when nurturing exploratory learning.  These questions are designed to stimulate interest, curiosity and more questions.  There is no incorrect answer to an open ended question.  Examples include "Why do you think...",  What do you think will happen next in the story?  


                Learning Objective- Making connections with previous experience.


     Age range:  24-36 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  At the beginning of this developmental phase, students are connecting names with faces.  Sandy is the only character in "Sandy and Her Book".  For this reason, she will be recognizable and identifiable with each page and frequency of reading/picture walking the book.  As they progress, students will make connections with the routine surrounding read aloud opportunities.  An example of this would be a child anticipating a shared book experience after a snack when it has been part of a daily routine.  


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience:  Name games of people in the room and characters in the book of focus and books readily available in the environment are a highly effective way to nurture progress discussed in the "What to look for...." section of this objective.  Begin with labeling and language modeling (example  " Look at the book.  Who do I see?  I see Sandy looking at me").  Moving forward, alter the language to engage the student in the question. Changing "Who do I see" to "Who do you see".  


Establishing a routine for read aloud experiences will give your student peace of mind. Knowing exactly what will happen before and after "book time" will regulate behavior, giving students the opportunity to access their frontal lobe.  This is the optimal mindset for introducing critical thinking skills.  One of these skills is making connections and educated guesses concerning what will happen next based on what occurs consistently.  Picture schedules are highly effective for this learning indicator.  


     Age range:  36-60 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  3-5 year old students are utilizing prior knowledge to gain further understanding of topics being portrayed in the read aloud.  Observe for students engaging in open discussion,relating a personal experience with what is being portrayed in the story.  An example of this could be when addressing the page in "Sandy" when the page is torn.  The student could notice that the page is torn and Sandy is crying.  The child could remember an experience in which a toy was broken.  Feelings that were manifested in that experience can now be attributed to Sandy.  


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience:  Relating an experience in the read aloud with your own will scaffold student identification with the story. Following up with an open ended question that allows the student to look inward and recall a time when they felt what the character is feeling will nurture an emotional connection that is beneficial for all cognitive and social emotional learning objectives.

Here is an example.  "It says on this page that Sandy is scared.  The page in her book is folded.  I remember when our dog tried to read a book from our bookshelf.  She bent the page and growled. Just like Sandy,

I felt very scared when she did that.  Let's put on our thinking caps and think of a time when you were scared.  Talk with me about that".  


                               Learning Objective- Student acknowledges rhyme.


     Age range: 24-36 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  At this stage, students are learning to "play" with sounds, form words and repeat what is heard.  After hearing a word such as "why", observe for random outbursts of language with similar ending sounds ("I, bye, guy, lie").  These may appear several minutes after the original word of interest is heard.


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience:  Word games can be introduced during read aloud/picture walk activities in which students can fill in a rhyming word.  Example- After reading the page when Sandy has a drawn hat on her head, engage in a word game such as "hat, sat, hat, sat, hat, sat___,___".


     Age range:  36-60 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  When reading "Sandy" word for word, the group will encounter at least one opportunity to address rhyme on each page.  Observe for students to notice the rhyme and verbally express the similarity in the words.  Example- After reading "I am Sandy Bookworm.  This book has made me cry.  If you turn the page for me, I will tell you why", the student says "Cry, why.  They sound the same".


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience:  Define "rhyme" and point out the rhyming words on each page.  Visual charts of rhyming words found in books are highly effective tools to encourage understanding of this concept.  Scaffold by giving the child rhyming word combinations found in the book and challenging them to invent their own.  Example-Caregiver "We heard cry and why in the book.  Cry, why. Your turn"

 Student " bye, high...



                Learning Objective- Student acknowledges alliteration.


     Age range:  24-36 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  Observe for strings of words that have similar beginning sounds after readings.  For example, your student may say things such as "silly, sad, Sandy".


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience:  Point out the beginning sound of focus.  Repeat words in the text that have the same beginning sounds.  Example- "Sssss… Sandy, sad, sit, silly".  Draw attention to your mouth as you repeatedly make the "s" sound.  Encourage the student to repeat this sound, the focal words and any other word they can attempt that shares this beginning sound.  Nonsense words are just as useful as actual words for this objective.


     Age range: 36-60 months


*What to look for when addressing this objective:  Students will begin to verbalize their understanding of alliteration. They could say something such as "Sssssandy and Ssssssad sssssound the sssame. 


*What you can do to enhance the child's experience: Alliteration word games including grouping objects or pictures that have similar sounds and naming the first sound of words are extremely effective when sharpening this skill.


Hopefully, this serves as a brief glimpse into the world of early childhood literacy development.  


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