Word Play

The Children’s Theater

About 15 educators of children ages 3 through 12 met at Fairytale Town’s Children’s Theater last night to learn about reading aloud effectively. CSUS Children’s Literature Professor, Francie Dillon, led the workshop titled, Giving Voice to Children’s Literature. A similar workshop for parents will take place on May 3.  The program is free, but reservations are required and can be made through rsvp@fairytaletown.org.

At the teacher’s workshop, Dillon shared information on the importance of reading aloud and demonstrated useful tips on how to use your voice to make books come to life.

You could say she taught us how to play with words.

It’s a good reminder that play comes in all forms. Word play is just as important to a child’s growth and development as active play. Word play helps children develop communication skills and vocabulary, and also a sense of humor and love of language.

Below are three examples of how you can use words playfully.

– Rhymes are a great way for kids to begin playing with words. Through rhyme children can learn about individual letter sounds. Take advantage of this opportunity by substituting rhyming words in a favorite book. For example, if P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother is a favorite, substitute Brother for Mother from time to time. Your child will enjoy correcting you, and you can use the opportunity to talk about the different letters and their sounds.

– Children also love to use new words.  In conversation or during play, use as many words as you can to describe or identify something. For example, in conversation the word silly can become goofy, crazy, wild, or even inane. This helps children build their vocabulary and learn about context and meaning.

– Acting out words and stories is also a great way to bring them to life.  You can ask your child to show you their happy face, sad face, sleepy face, etc. You can also cast family members to play roles while reading a book together. The activities help children learn meaning and expression, and help them gain confidence is speaking and reading.

Children’s Masterpieces

So, before or after some good physical play, engage your child in some fun word play as well. As Francie demonstrated at last night’s workshop, you will both enjoy it!

Note:  The tips above are not taken from Dillon’s Giving Voice to Children’s Literature workshop. Please attend the workshop on May 3 to learn more about reading aloud effectively. Details are at www.fairytaletown.org.