Using a Storybook to Involve Families
EDU647: Families, Communities, and Diversity
Children learn important skills from reading. Books engage their minds and help increase their language, cognitive, and social development. The earlier they learn to read the more they grow in their reading comprehension. It enhances their creativity and lets their imagination run wild. There are endless possibilities when children engage themselves in reading. Reading books provides the teachers and parents with the opportunity to interact with their children and give them a chance to explore many different topics. They are multiple books, some with numbers, shapes, or helping them learn the alphabet. Some books rhyme and others teach a valuable lesson. Reading is another way to get parents/caregivers involved in their child’s education. “Parent involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement” (Burton, 2013, para. 1).
The book I chose is called Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle. This book is about a friendly blue truck that greets everyone when he sees them around the farm. Then one day a big dump truck comes flying through in a hurry with no time to speak. He gets stuck in the mud, then Little Blue Truck comes to help him and he also gets stuck. Well no one wants to help the dump truck because he was so mean, but when they hear Little Blue Truck’s beep then they come to the rescue.
I chose this book because it teaches a valuable lesson about friendship, being kind, and bullying. Sometimes it can be the first time that a preschool student has ever attended school or even been away from their parents. They do not understand the rules yet. Teaching them a valuable lesson of friendship and being kind to their classmates is important in order for them to advance in school. Bullying is a major problem in the school system today. When children do not tell their parents or a teacher, then it can lead to other problems. This book is fun and it promotes kindness and what is means to be a friend. Little Blue was kind to everyone, but when the mean dump truck came barging through and got stuck the others did not want to help. However, since Little Blue was so a good friend they all wanted to help when he got stuck. Afterwards, the dump truck realizes that being nice will get him much farther than being mean.
By using this book, I hope I can show the students and their families the importance of always being kind to others. “Kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it” (Currie, 2015, para. 5). Have you ever heard that children learn from what they see and hear? When parents and teachers lead by example, children will mimic their behavior. Therefore, when they see adults or other children exhibit kindness to others, they will sense that is what they are supposed to do. We never know what a student or their family is going through and when they will need our help. According to Amatea (2013), “The experience of stress and crisis is truly individual. What may be a crisis for one individual or family may not be viewed as a crisis for another individual or family” (Chapter 5.7, para. 3). By practicing kindness then it will help others feel as if they belong and help reduce the amount of stress or possibly eliminate a crisis.
Dear parents and caregivers,
I want to take the time to let you know that we will be discussing kindness, friendship, and bullying this week. We will be reading a book to the students called Little Blue Truck. This book will be read to the class on Monday morning. If you would like to join, please let me know. Transitioning from one environment to the next can be difficult for students. Some students may be in a new school this year or for others it may be their first time away from parents. Whatever the reason, we want to make each of you feel welcomed. We want the students to know that being kind to their peers is an important characteristic. Before we read the book, we will ask each student do they know what the word kind or friendly means? Afterwards we will participate in an activity where students have a chance to participate in a skit showing how to be kind to others and vice versa. I look forward to seeing you there so we can educate our children together.
As a teacher it is imperative that you ask your student’s questions to see if they understand what is being taught. Also you want to make sure that the parents understand what the teacher is presenting. There are several questions that I would ask both the students and parents. 1.) What is one way that your family could show kindness to another family? 2.) How can you show your classmates an act of kindness? 3.) What does kindness mean to your family? 4.) In the book Little Blue Truck, how did Little Blue show kindness to the mean dump truck? 5.) In the community what are ways that you could express kindness to others? Provide feedback after each question is answered and praise the students for doing a job well done with showing kindness.
Activities for Families and Children in the Classroom
Classroom activities provide parents with a chance to get involved in their child’s education. Parents and their children can demonstrate how to bake their favorite desert and share with the class. They could have each of the classmates assist with one step in the baking process so no one is left out. Another activity for parents and the students could be for them to read a book about kindness and then have the children act the book out. Discuss kind words from the book and then act out a scene where they are not nice and see how the students feel (BrightHorizons, 2019).
Activity for Parents and Children to do at home
Parents play a major role in their children’s lives. They are role models for the children to look up too. Parents can do multiple acts of kindness with their children. One activity that parents and children can do at home is volunteer at a food bank (Chiavarone, 2018). This will teach kids to perform acts of kindness by helping those in need. Children will see those that struggle and learn to help others in need.
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In conclusion, when parents read with their children and actively participate in the classroom, children have a better chance of enhancing their education. Reading helps the mind to grow, become creative, and imagination runs wild. Reading books provides the teacher and parents with the opportunity to engage with the students.
Activities for Parents to Lead in the Classroom. (2019). In Bright Horizons. Retrieved from https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/activities-for-parents-to-lead-in-the-classroom.
Amatea, E. S. (2013). Building culturally responsive family-school relationships (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Burton, E. (2013). Parent involvement in early literacy. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/parent-involvement-in-early-literacy-erika-burton.
Chiavarone, K. (2018). 17 Activities for Kids to Practice Kindness and Compassion. In Natures Path. Retrieved from https://www.naturespath.com/en-us/blog/17-activities-kids-practice-kindness-compassion/.
Currie, L. (2015). Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying. In Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/teaching-kindness-essential-reduce-bullying-lisa-currie.