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So much gratutide!

Fall is a cozy season. It’s the season of turning leaves 🍂🍁, of imaginary forests and fairy stories, of bundling up with mugs simmering cider for long meandering walks, of collecting pinecones and spying animals readying for the long winter nap. Most of all, fall is the season of gratitude! And this means GIVEAWAYS!

TWO, to be exact…

ONE.

Recently we stumbled upon an amazing trilogy of board books created by artist and speech pathologist, Tabitha Paige, CCC-SLP designed to help little ones celebrate one of our very favorite things—words! These delightful stories will jump start the young child’s vocabulary and introduce them to early language concepts! 

Lessons include:

  • Spatial Words: Follow along with Little Fox as he plans a surprise picnic for his friend Owl in A Trip to the Farmers Market.
  • Quantity Words: Follow along with Little Hedgehog as he helps his friend Squirrel search for missing acorns in A Trip to the Forest.
  • Colors and Counting: Follow along with Little Rabbit as she gathers wildflowers to cheer up her friend Mouse in A Trip to the Wildflower Meadow.

We love that this little set that captures the magic of language and offers practical tips for this most important pre-reading stage. Mostly we love that these books do this the beautiful way! These stories are a perfect opportunity for older siblings to read aloud to younger siblings.

TWO.

Puzzles are a perfect way to snuggle in to the coziness of fall. When we stumbled upon this puzzle, we thought: “HOW PERFECT!” Celebrating two of our favorite things, words plus the best technology when it comes to writing—the humble pencil. This promises to be an activity the whole family (and extended family too) will enjoy.

How to enter?

Simple!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER TODAY!

 

~From all of us at Blackbird & Company to all of you: So very thankful 🍂🍁🧡

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FREE Spelling!

A wordsmith recognizes the plasticity of language and delights in the potential of a word.

Words are like Play-Doh, moldable, colorful, and brimming with potential.

Learning to spell should be like breaking off a piece of brightly colored Doh, rolling and twisting it to shape, and discovering the wonder of a word!

Did you know that you can make more than 350 words from the word “construction”?

Here are a few examples:

  • Play with making 4-letter words and you will discover: Ruts and Rust
  • Keep going to the 5 and 6-letter words and you will stumble upon the soft and C sound:

           Circus and Citrus

  • And the bigger the words you make, the bigger the surprise:

           Risotto? Unicorn?

Our program, of course, is the perfect pairing with our 2nd and 3rd Grade Collections, but it works well for the budding wordsmith at any elementary level!

We are happy to announce our brand new spelling program. And even more happy to announce that it’s free—yes, FREE! Everything you need to get started can be accessed via the link below.

Set your students happily on their way to literacy.

 

Click through to discover more.

 

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Behold the Egg

Egg

This month my daughter Hannah turned 25, and my youngest son Søren turned 15. Once upon a time Reading Rainbow was a happy part of our literacy routine. Recently Sara came to visit and we stood in my kitchen humming the theme song, laptop in hand, anticipating LeVar. Surprisingly, what we gleaned from this little stroll down memory lane transcended sentimentality. The treasure struck us in the first four words of the episode: “Hi, behold the egg.” LeVar Burton looked us straight in the eye and took the better part of a minute (55 seconds to be exact) to enunciate four words.

Like Mr. Rogers before him, LeVar knew how to settle us into slow motion and slow motion is just what our children need to learn well.

Let’s face it. Overexposure to electronics is over stimulating, diverting precious brain space from creative thought. Letting the mind engage in the stillness of imagining utilizes areas of the brain that will be left inactive while engaging in electronics.

Children should not have difficulty sitting with a book for a long time.

Children should not have difficulty sitting with a pad of paper and colored pencils.

And children should not have difficulty sitting, without implements, enjoying their imagination in silence.

Our world is cluttered with all sorts of noise—auditory and visual. We are saturated. And the outcomes are disturbing. Rampant distraction is diminishing the capacity for contemplation and creativity. The din is overwhelming.

Let’s change the atmosphere. This fall, why not create a tradition of reading? Engaging with books helps children settle into slow motion so that imagination might thrive. And slow motion is stress sapping!

Back away from the vortex of fast-forward-too-muchness.

Sillness is a form of silence. And everyone knows that silence is golden, “Behold the egg.”

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The Backbone of Literacy

 

Bones1

Bones2

 

Bones3

The ability to read and write is complex and involves the integration of numerous foundational skills. Learning to read and write, children must wade through the landscape of phonology (word sounds), orthography (word patterns), morphology (word classifications) and then tackle the more treacherous path through the land of syntax (word patterning) and semantics (grammar) to gather tools that enable them to practice the art of reading and writing. But that’s not all, not at all! We must not discount the child’s EQ when it comes to literacy. Soft skills such as emotional insight, curiosity, and attitude all contribute to motivation and motivation impacts learning. Exposing children to a vast array of language arts experiences in an environment that is brimming with opportunities to enact language from a young age cultivates natural curiosity  and promotes peaceful acquisition of skill over time. This is the magic of the tortoise versus the hare in action! And, just to complicate matters just a tiny bit more, literacy is much more than being able to read and write. True literacy is not just the ability to decode and encode language, true literacy occurs when the child moves from the foundational to the realm of creation, the realm of original communication.

Providing prepared opportunities for children to independently discover the tools of literacy across all domains of learning promotes the ability to enact language. It is vitally important that children not lose heart or become discouraged when mistakes occur. Self-correcting materials allow children to learn through their own errors to make the correct decision without having the teacher point it out to them. When encouraged to discover, children are simultaneously empowered to practice such complex skills as:

scrutinizing to make confident decisions

self-critiquing to assert thoughtful opinions

hypothesizing to draw informed conclusions

When Nelson chose the “Bones of the Body” work during our Discovery session, not only did he work through identifying the Latin names for a selection the election of the human skeleton, he was intrigued and invested in the work and, consequently, rewarded intrinsically. This child, while hard at work, was calm, confidently focused, and enthusiastic about learning. I have no doubt that this little exercise had less to do with learning the names of bones and more about strengthening the backbone of literacy. Discovery provides opportunities for children to, not only gather tools, but to encounter and practice the processes through which great ideas are conceived and forged.

Kim