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Friday, July 19, 2013


Have you ever watched children when they are doing a finger play?  It’s a perfect example of  TPR= Total Physical Response.  You can almost see the synapses firing in the brain.  If I were in charge of early childhood, children would spend at least 5 minutes a day doing finger plays, and here are some reasons why:

Engaged – Doing a finger play is a natural way to engage children’s attention and help them focus.
Oral language – Repetition of finger plays builds oral language skills.
Auditory memory – Children activate their short term memory as they memorize finger plays.
Comprehension – Most finger plays have a simple story plot for children to follow.
Imagination – With so much time spent in front of a screen, finger plays encourage children to make pictures in their brains.
Sequence – Remembering the sequence in finger plays can help children retell stories.
Phonological awareness – Finger plays build a foundation for rhyme, rhythm and alliteration.
Eye-hand coordination – Visual connections with finger plays are important for writing and reading.
Small motor skills – Doing finger plays is like sending the fingers to the gym to exercise.
Executive function – Children develop self-regulation and impulse control when they participate in finger plays.
Social skills – All children can be successful with finger plays with this group experience.
Common Core State Standards – You got it!  Speaking, listening, comprehension, phonological awareness all rolled into one!
Skills for the 21st Century – You’ve got those, too, with communication and cooperation.

Best of all, finger plays are FREE!  They can be used to entertain children during transitions or any time you’ve got a minute or two.

*If you’ll go to my website, you’ll find 5 free videos where I demonstrate finger plays. 

*Go to my September, 2011, website and you’ll find a download with the words.  I would suggest taking one each week and putting it on an index card.  (You could also write it on a language experience chart or use it on an interactive white board for choral reading.)  At the end of the week punch a hole in the rhyme and attach it to a book ring.  If you’ll do this every week, in a few months you’ll have a whole RING OF RHYMES.

Free Reading Recover APP

My friend Dr. C.C. Bates at Clemson University has developed an app called “Record of Reading” that you might want to check out.  Here is what she says about it:

I have developed an app with some computer scientists here at Clemson University. The app, Record of Reading, is available for free in the App Store. It is basically a digital running record for oral reading assessment. It correlates the Reading Recovery levels with the Fountas & Pinnell levels and with the Lexile levels when appropriate. All the formulas for accuracy rate and self–correction rate are embedded in the app and there is a fluency rubric as well. I think the neatest feature is that it records the child reading and syncs it with the teacher's record. When it is replayed the record appears as the child reads. The record can be emailed - so if a teacher was participating in a staffing meeting on a child he/she could send the record to the others attending.  We have had several releases to fix minor glitches, but the latest version is solid. We have had over 15,000 downloads.