Saturday, December 6, 2008


****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************I'm very excited to announce that Action Alley Education is close to publishing, "Moving Through All Seven Days." This book inspires movement as children learn about the days of the week. The lyrical rhymes also teach them how to spell each day! The activities at the end of the book are designed to reinforce the concepts as well as give impetus to movement exploration.

The illustrations above are from the new book. Tony Glisson is the talented illustrator who cleverly depicts the fun we have moving through the days of the week.


Rae Pica has been a children’s physical activity specialist for 27 years. A former adjunct instructor with the University of New Hampshire, she is the author of 17 books, including the text Experiences in Movement, the award-winning Great Games for Young Children and Jump into Literacy, and A Running Start: How Play, Physical Activity, and Free Time Create a Successful Child, written for the parents of children birth to eight. Rae is known for her lively and informative workshop and keynote presentations and has shared her expertise with such groups as the Sesame Street Research Department, the Head Start Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues, Gymboree, and state health departments throughout the country. Rae also served on the task force of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) that created national guidelines for early childhood physical activity. The following article gives 10 reasons why parents and teachers should incorporate movement into the learning process.

Check out her website at


Early childhood professionals know the many benefits of physical activity and play. They understand that young children are experiential learners, that they need to move, and they move to learn.
Today there is a clamor for more accountability and testing, although children have not changed. They still need to experience concepts using their whole bodies to understand the concepts completely, including literacy and language arts concepts.
Following are 10 reasons why you should use movement and active learning to promote emergent literacy.

1. Children learn best through active involvement. Prepositions, for example, are very much a part of physical experiences. As children move over, under, around, through, beside, and near objects (under the monkey bars, through the tunnel, over the balance beam), these words take on greater meaning and significance.

2. Spatial orientation is necessary for letter identification and the orientation of symbols on a page. The only difference between a small "d" and a small "b," for example, is the direction in which the curvy line faces at the bottom of the straight line. When children form the straight and curving lines of letters by using their bodies and body parts, rather than simply attempting to copy them from a chart on the wall, this experience enhances their sense of directionality and spatial orientation. When children move within a room or within a space from left-to-right or top-to-bottom, they become comfortable with these important directions.

3. Actively experiencing the rhythm of words and sentences helps children find the rhythm necessary for reading and writing. Whether children are clapping or tapping out the beat of a fingerplay or moving to the cadence of a poem, they hear and feel the rhythm of words.

4. When children demonstrate the meaning of words physically, their understanding of the words is immediate and long-lasting. For instance, when children depict such action words as stomp, pounce, stalk, or slither—or such descriptive words as smooth, strong, gentle, or enormous —the words have much more relevance than they would as part of a vocabulary or spelling list.

5. Adverbs and adjectives become much more than abstract concepts. When children perform a "slow walk" or "skip lightly," they learn the meaning in both their bodies and their minds.

6. Playing together provides opportunities for children to speak and listen to one another! When children invent games and rules for games, they are using and expanding their vocabularies and learning important lessons in communication. Talking about experiences, depicting them through actions, and then discussing the actions contribute to language development by requiring children to make essential connections among their cognitive, social/emotional, and physical domains. We know that when young children learn something in one domain, it has a positive impact on the others.

7. Stringing actions together to form sequences is similar to linking words to form sentences (and eventually paragraphs). In other words, whether children are making up their own dances or stories, they must choose components that flow naturally. Both require breathing room (a pause in the action, or a comma) and, finally, an ending (a full stop, or a period).

8. When children act out the words of a poem, the plot of a story, or the lyrics of a song, they must ponder the meanings of the words. And because those words are important to them--and such activities are fun--the poems, stories, and songs take on greater relevance. The children are also using multiple senses, which means more is learned and retained.

9. Movement activities provide opportunities to cross the body's midline. Doing so requires the left and right hemispheres of the brain to communicate across the corpus callosum. This integration of the brain's hemispheres is essential to the ability to read and write.

10. Confucius said it best: "What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I know." When young children experience emergent literacy concepts with their bodies, they are moving in leaps and bounds toward becoming capable listeners, speakers, readers, and writers!

Add to Technorati Favorites

No comments: