Monday, August 27, 2012

read aloud with your littles

Reading aloud with your children is a wonderful way to spend time together and cultivate a love of reading that will grow with them.
The first step for encouraging reading in preschoolers is to choose good books. Good books can inspire your little learners and expand their imaginations. Snuggle up with a really good book that captivates their attention and show them the joy that is found in reading. The more a child enjoys reading, the more he will desire to read on his own.

Here are some tips for reading aloud with your little learners.
Choose beautiful books!
Choose books that are well written and beautifully illustrated. Preschoolers love books that contain repetition, pictures or symbols in place of words, rhyming words, words that sound like their meaning, predictable story lines, flip-the-flaps and other tactile activities.
Create a routine. Make reading aloud together a regular habit.
A great time to read aloud to your children is during their bedtime routine but that doesn’t have to be the only time to enjoy reading together. Build it into your day and model for them that reading is part of our everyday life. Keep books in several locations in your home and consistently sit down to enjoy time reading aloud.
Bring the story to life!
Read with excitement to your children! Provide good narration by making use of difference voice tones and fluctuations. Use different voices for the dialogue and bring the story to life with sound effects. Involve them in the story by asking questions. Draw them in. Your children will be so delighted when you read to them in this way.
Include activities with your read aloud time.
Make books come alive for your young ones by encouraging creative play. Act out the story and role play with them. Discuss the pictures in books and allow the child to tell the story in their own words. As your preschooler learns to read, encourage them to track {point to the words} as you read and work towards having them read some of the words along with you.
These are just a few tips for cultivating a love of reading with your little ones. The sky is the limit with what you can do with your read aloud time. Be intentional and read aloud with your little learners!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I am a runner

I am a runner.

There was a time when I honestly never thought those words would exit my mouth.
I mean, I am the girl who only ran if something was chasing her. Seriously.  My hubby has been a runner for quite a few years and I always though that was great for him but not really something I was interested in. I just didn’t see the point. My knees are weak from high school sports and I have no endurance. I am not graceful and look totally silly in my stride. I told myself that there was no way I could ever really be a runner.

But something has happened. I have become a runner.

In the spring of 2009 I laced up for the first time. I had recently suffered a miscarriage with our third child. Within a month I totaled our vehicle. On top of that I had been wounded in a friendship. My heart was deeply hurt. I needed something that was for me. Something that gave me a sense of control. God was indeed healing my heart through study in His Word and some very special friends during that time. But with the sound of my shoes pounding the pavement, something in me felt free. During those early days of running, my heart cried out to the Father and I felt His presence.  Running cleared my thoughts of the extraneous and some days I ran through tears as my walls of hurt came down.

God added another blessing to our family in 2010 and when our little girl turned one, I was ready to pick up running again. I had actually missed it! I think that was as much of a shocker to me as the fact that I had even enjoyed it in the first place! The time alone, the cleared mind, the sore muscles….all of it!

I am currently training for my second half marathon. I say that out loud and it still seems so strange to me. I still think of myself as that girl who gets winded after 50 yards and who doesn’t have the stamina to keep up the pace. But I find myself looking forward to early morning runs. I have my devotions and then I hit the pavement. The time running allows me to further dwell on the truth of the Word and sink it deep in my heart. It is so much more beneficial to me than just an activity to keep me in shape. After all this time, I think it has happened.

I am a runner.