Spotlight on DC General: Letters to the President!

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012

Spotlight on DC General: Letters to the President!

This week at DC General, thanks to our fabulous White House interns, the kids had the opportunity to write letters to President Obama. Here is one of our favorites. Visit our Facebook Page to see more letters! Dear Mr. President: I love you. How old are you? What is your dog’s name? Sincerely, Tyonia (Age...

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Tip of the Week: Summer Reading Rolls On!

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012

Tip of the Week: Summer Reading Rolls On!

image via Meg Fish As our summer reading initiative rolls on, here are three useful and easy tips for reading with kids! 1) Use the “Five Finger Rule” to assess whether a book is too hard for a child.  2) Invite the children to stand up and take turns giving verbal book recommendations to their snack table! 3) If a child cannot read but can talk, ask them to “read” you the story, making it up based on the pictures!More information about the importance of reading & suggestions for building reading into Playtime:Make Reading More EffectiveReading Skills Predict High School Graduation RatesTip of the Week: It’s Your Turn to Read!Tip of the Week: We are Warriors against Summer Brain...

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The Magic of Bubbles!

Posted by on Jul 5, 2012

The Magic of Bubbles!

Kids absolutely LOVE bubbles! Help them make their own with this simple recipe. BUBBLES RECIPE: Ingredients: 1/2 gallon of water 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid (Joy or Dawn works best.) 1/4 cup glycerine, corn syrup, or one package (about 1/4 ounce) of unflavored gelatin. Directions: Mix ingredients together in a wide container. If using immediately, try not to agitate the solution. Foamy solution does not make the best bubbles. If the solution become too foamy, wait for it to settle. Find straws, tea strainers, funnels, sieves, etc. for making bubbles. Dip these in the bubble solution. Blow or wave bubbles into the air. Store any leftover solution in a a closable container. The bubble solution will get better with...

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Tip of the Week: It’s Your Turn to Read!

Posted by on Jul 2, 2012

Tip of the Week: It’s Your Turn to Read!

Summer means more reading at Playtime, and boy do we have a fun tip for you to try this week! Volunteers, take a seat at the snack table and read aloud to your group during snack time! Visit the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement’s database for an abundance of information on reading aloud, and read on for some quick tips!  Reading aloud benefits children in the following ways: 1) Building the brain pathways needed for successful reading experiences2) Developing auditory perception that allows them to think about how words sound3) Stimulating their language development (they are like little sponges imitating everything they hear!)4) Enhancing their vocabularies and help them use longer sentences5) Increasing their attention spans and ability to focus on what is being said6) Making them more curious 7) Expanding their knowledge of the world  8) Calming them down before pick-up (as parents have asked our help to do) 9) Helping children to feel cared for 10) Developing a lifelong love of reading!   Make reading interactive by asking questions: *** Foster critical thinking & sequence anticipation by asking, “What’s going to happen next?”   *** Teach emotional intelligence by asking, “How do you think (the character) is feeling?”   Not only will you help our kids learn and develop, but you will gain public speaking skills with a supportive audience. Especially if you use funny voices for the characters. Definitely use funny voices. Or at least some inflection. Just not monotone. Definitely not monotone.   Happy...

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Tip of the Week: We are Warriors against Summer Brain Drain!

Posted by on Jun 25, 2012

Tip of the Week: We are Warriors against Summer Brain Drain!

“Reading with children demonstrates in a physical way that reading is a worthwhile activity.” Reading facts: *** Results of a recent longitudinal study of 4,000 students find that those who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers.  *** According to a 2008 report, high school dropouts are three and one-half times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested, and more than eight times as likely to be incarcerated. Across the country, 68% of state prison inmates have not received a high school diploma. *** The National Summer Learning Association found that students lose up to three months of knowledge over the summer. For disadvantaged students, reading scores are disproportionately affected and the achievement gap between rich and poor students widened. So what does this mean for Playtime? It means that summer is the time to R-E-A-D!  Here are a few ideas for promoting reading at Playtime! Have other suggestions? Share them in the comments or email us! 1) Create a Reading Tree To create a reading tree, make a leaf with name of the kid at the top, the book title, the author, a description of the book, and the number of pages. After the kid reads a book, have him/her stick his/her leaf on the reading tree.  2) Get a Sticker Make a list of kids and create a chart to keep track of how much the kids have read (whether by minutes or number of books). At the end of each month you can give small prizes to those that read the most or read at least x amount of books. 3) Under the Bed Box Bring in shoe boxes and children can decorate it and make it special, and keep it in under their beds. When they take a book from Playtime, they can add it to the box and let them know they don’t have to share any of those specific books with her siblings or friends. One Playtime volunteer shared, “Every year, parents tell me their kids are so possessive of their under the bed books.” 4) Reading Partnerships Team kids up so that they can read together! 5) Ice Cream Cone Book Report Make summer reading an even sweeter treat with by using this “Ice Cream Cone” outline to help kids write book reports.  Help kids outline what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story that they just read by writing each section into one of the scoops.  6) Progressive Reading Activities With young children who can’t yet read, try asking them questions about the story, e.g., “Then what happens?”; “What did the cat see next?” Let them “read to you”, with the focus being on enjoying the story and using their imaginations.  7) Have fun reading after snack each night!  With children who are learning to read, you can trade off reading to...

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