Every year, teachers are struggling to motivate kids to read, even starting in kindergarten, because of poor attention spans. While the research does not unequivocally state why attention spans are shorter now, there is new evidence to suggest that technology overuse is not helping. Speech-Language Pathologist Frida Matute, founder of a new class called Playful Literacy, is reigniting that natural motivation kids have to learn by organically combining playing and reading.
Playful Literacy’s philosophy is that kids become motivated to read if they learn early reading skills through movement, games and mostly, fun! Playful Literacy builds upon the premise of many evidence-based reading programs like Orton-Gillingham, which use multisensory activities that incorporate movement of the whole body to read. Playful Literacy involves and captures kids through playing games like ‘Pin the Sound on the Donkey’ and ‘Sound Trivia’ as well as word obstacle courses and vowel scavenger hunts. For older kids, the curriculum builds on literacy by incorporating reading and writing through songs, plays and scripts, which engage kids to write content for their own shows, private YouTube channels and blogs. Playful Literacy aims to combine today’s interests with the inherent love of play. This whole-body, multisensory approach to learning is a well-researched and proven method to increase children’s motivation, confidence and success while learning to read.
Teaching reading through play and movement is becoming popularized as specialists in reading, teachers and parents become more aware of the benefits of learning how to read through multi-sensory activities. The Playful Literacy curriculum changes for each grade level, but always embeds reading and writing into highly interesting activities, making learning to read “sticky” for kids. Classes are led by speech-language pathologists with master’s degrees in language and reading specialists trained in Orton-Gillingham. Classes maintain small groups with specialist to student ratios of 1:5 so learning outcomes are met in fun, structured lessons. Playful Literacy is now an option for parents to help their kids love reading during afterschool or summer classes.
WHY DO I NEED TO START THIS NOW?
The term ‘Literacy’ means reading and writing. In order for kids to learn how to read and write, they need to learn skills that prepare them for reading starting in pre-k. In pre-k, self-regulation and active listening are critical precursors to reading. From there, kids learn early literacy skills like rhyming and sound identification. Kids then start blending simple sounds together to read short words. Children with well-established literacy skills are more equipped learners and listeners. These children excel in a variety of domains and build profound abilities for reasoning, language awareness, self-understanding, and formulation of questions (All Children Read).
PLAYFUL LITERACY | LEARNING OUTCOMES
- SELF-REGULATION: The ability to recall important information and sustain attention while inhibiting distractions from accomplishing tasks. Students that learn to self-regulate earlier demonstrate long-lasting increased language and learning skills.
- ACTIVE LISTENING: Fully listening to a communicative partner is critical to academic and daily life. A large portion of students’ class time involves listening to instruction and newly presented information.
- PRE-LITERACY SKILLS: Early literacy skills like sound identification, rhyming, letter identification, and syllable segmentation need to be secured to dive into reading and writing successfully.
- THE LOVE OF LEARNING: Playful Literacy’s curriculum is fun! A fun and engaging approach to learning motivates kids to participate.