Learning to read is one of life’s great joys, but it can be one of life’s biggest frustrations!
Anything that can help a child (or adult) to learn to read is marvellous, especially if it is fun and entices someone to want to engage in the learning process with joy!
One trick is getting the foundation right.
Movement helps with this.
Any and every movement is important. Climbing, swinging, crawling, sliding, bouncing, rolling, rocking, canoeing, cycling, surfing, skipping, jumping, hopping, hanging, monkey bar-ing and just plain old frolicking around!
Movement helps to integrate the two hemispheres of the brain and make the ‘pathways’ into ‘highways’! The stronger the road, the more traffic it can take, and the more attention it will receive. Just like real roads!
Strong integration is vital for the language foundation. (and all learning actually!) It assists the child to sit at a desk, read across boards, transfer words to the page, transcribe and view across pages, and use tools to write independently. Without it, a child can strike difficulty.
The main thing then, is to get our children MOVING!!!!
Turn off the tv, computer, video game, screen and help them off their little bottoms so they can move.
Their personal computer (the wonderful tool that is the brain!) needs movement as much, or even more, than their bodies.
Here are 7 fun things to help get started.
- Take your bikes down to the beach and take a family ride along a bike pathway. Stop for a family brunch!
- Rev up at the skate park. Scoot, skate or bike it.
- Kick a ball on the local field. Dribble the ball between markers, weaving in and out.
- Play traditional games- Ring a Ring a Rosy is a good start. Can you think of a game that requires children to weave around a couple of chairs/seats in a figure of eight? Set an example. Do it first. Do it with them. Let them try for themselves. Walk with them again if they have difficulty, until they ‘get it’
- Give them a huge sheet of paper (Your local newspaper may sell you the end of rolls for a few dollars- these are great!) and give them a ‘doodle’ challenge. Draw a few squiggly lines and get them to make something out of them.
- Roll down gentle hills with your children. Laugh out loud!
- Try grass skiiing, or snow skiing if it is winter. Wonderful! Opportunites for co-ordination, cross body movements and spatial awareness build a solid foundation.
(By the way, if your child has had some learning challenges, get them moving now. It is never to late to build a new pathway!)
And what about us as adults? When we stop exercising our arm muscles, they soon become flabby and loose. Result- Tuckshop arms! The brain is just another muscle. If we ignore it, or can’t be bothered, or just decide to sit in front of the tv, our muscle goes flabby!
The saying “What you don’t use, you lose” is very true of brain function.
So, what are you sitting down for? Grab your children, and get outside!! Be creative in your movement masterpieces.
Make movement your mantra!