TinkerStories

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Get out of here and Take a Story Walk, eh?

Storywalk Cards from Norfolk Public Library

Storywalk Cards have a velcro back and can be attached to stakes.

One great way to learn how to read is from picking text out of the environment.   Literacy rich environments encourage children to make meaning from printed words around them.  Recently, we attended the local Library Showcase and learned about StoryWalks.  StoryWalks are a fun way to bring books to life by exploring a storybook world in a real space.  These “StoryWalks” feature popular children’s storybooks separated into glossy pages to be found throughout a physical space. You  read a page, then walk and read some more. This encourages literacy exploration, and children learn how to seek out text in the environment. You might also end up reading road signs, public notices, or other print encountered by happenstance.

Storywalk Bag

Your StoryWalk will arrive in a neat bag, and you can either velcro them to walls or attach them to stakes.

As you walk around,  ask children to point out similar features matching the book to your physical location. “Do you see a pine tree that he could be hiding in?” “Could this be the hunny tree from the Hundred Acre Wood?” “Did you hear that bird, sounded like he was giving us a clue?”  Adults can also help children decode the words at each marker, or ask about the plot. “What do you think will happen next?”  Point to the words and let them fill in words you think they might know. “Corduroy waited for…– let’s sound it out– what letter is this and what does it sound like?”   Pretend to be looking for clues to the next part of the story. Remember to use your stage voice when reading aloud.

You can find more resources to download StoryWalks here:

  • http://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/storywalk
  • https://www.kellogghubbard.org/storywalk
  • https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/0f622b_fa5c4096972d49a9ae03dd3dd01cff00.pdf   – There’s also a guide on making your own story walks here.

Children 3 and up will enjoy this activity, but we think the whole family can join in. Once children learn to recognize words in their environment, you might find going out even more fun. On a recent trip to the supermarket, a five-year-old was pointing at all the signs that she could suddenly read.  It is empowering when young children realize that people can get information from print in the environment.

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The funny expressions are the ones that we remember

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What’s your line, anyway?  As parents, we might approach reading together as a solemn task. We may focus intently on the words on the page. Realize, however, that the words are merely a lubricant for conversational practice. What your children will remember is the unique expressions we share as we communicate. When we make a funny face, stick out a tongue, or express surprise “Whoa– what?” we are conveying our style and mannerisms in an intimate way. It’s these habits that make conversation interesting.  Saying “That’s a stinky mess, isn’t it?-eww!” while we hold our nose, will make the story memorable.  Kids relish learning your unique sayings, and you may find them not just laughing. but giggling to try it.  So next time you read, think about how you can glam it up some unique-to-you gestures and expressions.  It will be a special shared joke for that particular book.

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