Michael J. Rosen responded to a selection of questions and comments from June 25–29, 2012. Read the questions and his responses below!
While I have worked with young children since the age of 14, it was only seven years ago that I had the chance to focus exclusively on pre-readers. Thanks to the Ohio Children’s Foundation, I was presented with the opportunity to create material for preschool-age children in the care of adults who weren’t sure of the need—or weren’t sure how—to prepare their youngsters for kindergarten.
The goal was to create experiences for adults and young children that would present no barriers in terms of language, concepts, expense, or directions. One of the results of this extended engagement was You, Me, and the ABCs: 100 Ready-for-Reading Activities for Kids and Their Favorite Grown-ups, a book that provides ready-to-execute, non-intimidating, engaging, and rewarding pre-reading experiences.
- Emphasize the enjoyable, interactive, and improvisational nature of learning to read
- Lower the threshold of reading by revealing how language is a part of the home environment and community
- Allow participants to use their own environments, favorite subjects, and community background so they take ownership of the content
- Integrate the learning into creative activities that use all the senses, reinforcing both the learned information and the interest in further learning
- Build a sense of pride in accomplishments within the child, the family, and the larger community as a group
- Value reading not only as the key to academic success, but also as a way to feel proud, open doors and open eyes, and exceed expectations
- Encourage meaningful time each day between caregiver and child that is separate from the week’s duties and distractions
- Use books and materials with subjects that interest and motivate the child