READING ACTIVITY: FINDING THE MISTAKE

This is an activity to use with small children. It is about identifying, when hearing the story for a second time, the mistakes that the reader or storyteller makes; it can also be called “you are wrong” because of the phrase children will use when they have discovered the mistake.
Participants

Small children that cannot read yet.

Objectives (for the child)

  • To get used to hearing
  • To pay attention to out loud reading
  • Understand what they hear

Method

Once the children are gathered together, the person reads or tells the story, slowly. After some time he tells the children he will read the story again, and that if he makes a mistake, they need to say “You are wrong!”. Read or tell the story a second time, changing names and situations.

Time

Is it recommended not to make it longer than half an hour. It is important to find a short story.

READING STRATEGIES WITH STORIES

We have chosen certain strategies that the teacher can use with groups of children in order to make the most of the reading or presentation of a story.

These can be simple exercises to check how much of the story can the children recall or also activities to do a literary or content analysis. The participants, objectives, necessary materials, time and techniques have been defined and suggestive titles have been chosen. They are not rigid steps to follow: only guidelines. These are simply models; the activities can be changed and adapted according to the needs of the students and the creativity of the teacher.

READING ACTIVITY: WHO ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

It is about discovering the character from a very short description.

Participants

They can be young or older children, depending on the story. Regarding the number of children, it shouldn’t be larger than twenty.

Objectives

  • To understand the story and identify its elements.
  • To exercise the attention.

Method

we need some cards to write down a short description of every character of a story, without naming it; we can write down the feelings, attitudes and psychological characteristics, making as many cards as children (there can be various descriptions, about different aspects of the same character).

Once the story is read or told, the cards will be distributed (facing down), and everyone can read them silently. The session starts. Every child will read his card and will answer the question “who are we talking about?”. The session can end with a discussion about which character is more attractive or the more generous, or envious, etc., and the reasons.

STRATEGIES TO ENCOURAGE READING

The purpose of stimulating and promoting the reading in children, not only requires a general reflection about reading and its teaching methods, but also about the design, planning and realization of a series of systematic activities to which teachers, students and parents should be really committed. The combination of these activities is known as strategy.
This concept can be defined from its main elements. A strategy should have its objectives clearly determined. In the case of a strategy to encourage reading, the main goal is to promote in children the love for reading and writing, in the classroom as well as in other situations. Besides this general objective, every strategy should define specific objectives, set in order to take care of the various purposes of reading. For example, one of these objectives could be to develop the ability to search for information.
To reach the objectives it is necessary to organize activities that, combined with different tools and materials, can be developed systematically, in a specific time, and that can be evaluated in order to improve them during the process.
These activities should be meaningful experiences for the children, and should be included within the school and daily life context.

THE INTERNET AND STUDY TIME

Children associate the Internet with games, rather than with studying. This is why its use is more difficult to supervise. The Internet can be a powerful learning tool, but it can also provide distractions, so if it’s not used properly, there can be a loss of control. New technologies can be helpful to them, and it can be very positive to motivate their learning if they’re used right. To make this happen, parents have to understand how their children relate to these new technologies. For many of them, it’s like a part of them: they know how to use them automatically. Besides, it’s their entrance to the world, a universe where fastness and interactivity are their best allies.

AVOID STUDY “TIME STEALERS”

Video games, TV, computers… these are time stealers that sap at children’s study time. The ideal would be to not have to hide them, but rather control how long they can spend watching TV and playing videogames, but this shouldn’t start when they’re fifteen years old. It should start when they are seven, because these are habits established when the child is young. This way, it’s natural to impose limits and parental authority. Some psychologist recommend to put limits on the time to use them, and only allow it if they’ve finished studying.

ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF CLASS

Specialists say that if the child is getting good grades, it’s good for them to do a couple of extracurricular activities that keep him busy for two or three days a week. But, they insist on the importance of combining activities that require studying (music, painting) with other activities that don’t (sports). These activities help create habits, and you must constantly seek them. It’s not just entertaining; the child can also see his own progress. Keep in mind that the child shouldn’t be overwhelmed with more learning activities after class, and you can’t subtract from his studying time.

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