Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Toddler Storytimes

One of the foremost educational influences on the programming we do here at Please Touch Museum is the Harvard-educated psychologist Howard Gardner. Gardner is most well known for his theory of multiple intelligences, which postulates that there are eight categories of intelligence which comprise the totality of human intelligence. One area of intelligence proposed by Gardner is that of linguistic and verbal intelligence, or language skills. In our programming we seek to address this area through the Toddler Storytimes we hold in our Fairytale Garden.

One author that is featured regularly in Toddler Storytimes at Please Touch Museum is the beloved Eric Carle. In addition to the originality and artistic brilliance of his books, they have many other qualities which make them ideal for story times in a toddler setting. Carle's stories are simple and engaging, while his collage-style artwork is unparalleled in children's literature for its inventiveness and brilliant colors.

Another thing about Eric Carle's books that make them unique is that in addition to being an artistic and literary experience, they are also a tactile one, with numerous fold-out panels, flaps, and other devices to explore.
Here are some simple ways to help make reading together with your family more fun and engaging:

• Don't be in a rush to get through the story, picture books are designed to stimulate young readers in a variety of ways, so give them time to absorb the illustrations
• Encourage your child to actively participate in the story reading session by asking them questions about the story and illustrations, or asking them to make predictions about the story, or having them act out scenes from the book
• Many children enjoy the use of props (for instance, toys or stuffed animals) that relate to the story, this helps children to make connection between the words of a book and the outside world
You can attend Toddler Storytimes in our Fairytale Garden at 10:00 AM, Monday through Friday.

Here are some helpful books that grown-ups can use as resources:

Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner
How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Reading Magic by Mem Fox

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Join Pinky, one of Please Touch Museum's resident puppets, on an inside look into all the fun, educational things happening at Philly's Children's Museum. This blog is not just about what we do at the museum, but about the educational philosophy behind why we do what we do.