As I have stated many times in my blog entries, sounds awareness is crucial for school readiness. Babies are aware of sounds in utero and continue to build sound awareness and processing skills throughout development. Those babies born with a preference for visual (looking) and/or kinesthetic (movement) processing will need to be guided towards the world of sound, lest they be left behind in terms of speech, language, social, emotional and sensory development.
As these babies develop into toddlers, we see them and are amazed by their visual and kinesthetic processing skills. The visual experts are the little ones that can put complicated puzzles together, sort shapes quickly, stack blocks amazingly, and build fantastic structures much sooner than most. They are the early readers who know all their written letters and numbers by the time they are 2 or so (maybe sooner!). The talented movers and shakers who prefer and excel at kinesthetic processing are the ones that have incredible balance and speed, seemingly leaping tall objects in a single bound. They are our early walkers and runners who, once they start moving, never seem to stop.
Because highly visual and kinesthetic processors prefer these modes of taking in the world, they don’t leave much time for the “world of listening.” This is where the delays in speech, language, vocabulary and other school readiness skills happen. In order to prevent delays for these little learners, it’s important to “force” them to listen every day by following directions successfully, learning new vocabulary words, listening to stories and building sound awareness.
The following materials can help visual and kinesthetic learners focus on the world of sound:
1) Nursery rhyme books: A Treasury of Mother Goose, Mother Goose (de Paola), I Saw You in the Bathtub and Other Folk Rhymes (Schwartz)
2) Picture books: Animalia (Base), The Biggest Tongue Twister Book in the World (Brandreth), Rhymes About Us (Chute), It Does Not Say Meow and Other Animal Riddles (Schenk), Hop on Pop (Seuss), Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (Carle/Martin)
3) Poetry Books: The Usborne Book of Children’s Poems (Amery), Jabberwocky (Carrol), Book of Poems (de Paola), Butterscotch Dreams (Dunn/Parmenter), The Nonsense Poems of Edward Lear, Read Aloud Poems (Prelutsky), A Light in the Attic (Silverstein)
4) Song Books: Nursery Rhyme Songbook (Emerson), Singing Bee: A Collection of Children’s Songs (Hart), First Songs and Action Rhymes (Wood), Mother Goose Songbook (Yolen)
5) Fingerplay and Rhyme Books: Hand Rhymes (Brown), Finger Rhymes (Brown), Eye Winker, Tom Tinker, Chin Chopper: Fifty Musical Fingerplays (Glazer), This Little Pig Went to Market (Montgomerie)