Now that I am retired, I get to play and do things I couldn't do while I was raising a family and working. I guess it's not so much that I couldn't do them, but there never seemed to be enough time and I really wanted to concentrate on my children and my husband. I worked long hours and I spent most of my free time cooking and baking fresh food for the family.
Now that I have "all the time in the world," I wanted to explore my childhood love of reading and writing. Back then, I spent a lot of time with friends making up stories and games for our never-ending list of clubs. I don't remember why this was so important to us, but we always had a new club for some new adventure or hobby. We even made invitations for the new club and went through the neighborhood inviting other kids to join.
LOL! That sounds like fun! I wish I was in your neighborhood back then.LOL!
Children love colorful, fun, and silly books. Funny rhymes, silly situations, and the stories that make them laugh need to be in a child's little reading library. With the emphasis on early learning and the fierce competition to succeed today, digital books are an excellent choice for parents who want to introduce concepts to their children.
Children are curious and with the levels included in these books, many children will want to read further. Some will find the buttons and have fun with them, just to see the page move. Other children will be happy to look at the same pictures until they have matured to the cognitive level to learn more. I encourage parents to help their children to learn the joy of reading by interacting with the books they have. At the same time, their children will become curious to learn more, ask questions, and be open critical thinking as they grow and mature.
My second venture into writing for children came with a new series for pre-school children. I wanted to explore the use of interactive functions within digital books. I could just imagine the fun kids would have choosing the correct answer and clicking on a button. All I needed was bright, colorful pictures ad buttons. Starting from birth, these books could start out with just the pictures from which the kids would learn subliminally.
This would have been a nice series of books for each stage of learning up to kindergarten, but I thought it would be much more fun to have all the books in one volume. Each of my children had a favorite book during those years that they wanted to read all the time. As parents, we quickly become bored and tired of the favorite book, but they don't.
To take advantage of this favorite reading habit of young children, all I did was extend the early concepts to take advantage of the levels of learning from birth to age four. This meant children would have their favorite book with all their favorite pictures that grows with them.
There are two books in the series to learn the numbers and the alphabet. Each book has four levels of learning:
- Birth to age one: The goal is to respond to pictures by copying sounds and pointing and patting the pictures.
- Up to age three: Answer questions, identify pictures, and attempt to read with "pretend reading."
- At age three, children are ready to read by themselves, and perform activities for longer periods of time.
- Age four is when children begin to recognize familiar signs and labels, and make up silly phrases and rhymes. At this age, most children can count to ten
Developing the Books
I don't use fancy software or tools when writing my books. All my books are written using Microsoft Word. In this series, the first two levels mainly use pictures and pointing to introduce children to the concept of numbers and the alphabet. In "Learn the Numbers," level 3 is used to teach children to point to each number in a collage of numbers and say the number.
In level 4, children are introduced to counting. They are presented with multiple pictures on a page and given a multiple choice answer. To answer the question, they press the correct button that corresponds to the number of pictures. If the correct button is pressed to answer the question, they proceed to the next question. If the answer is not correct, they are given the opportunity to answer the question again.
In my "Learn the Numbers" book, each multiple choice answer must lead the reader to a function; either the answer is correct or it is not. One answer will take the reader to a new section for the next question; the other two buttons will take the reader to the error message section.
Interactive Fiction Books
My new series, "Nathan, Family & Friends" are fiction stories around 2K words. In 2014 I am going to explore the use of interaction to have the reader decide where the story should go. For example, what happens to a character when different choices are made? This simulates real life and will help children learn to think before taking actions which could negatively affect their life.
I have one quick question for you before we reveal your books and sites to people, Sandra. Do you remember what it was like to learn the alphabets and numbers when you were young?
When I was in school, the process of learning the numbers and the alphabet was so tedious. There wasn't much time spent on these concepts before first grade. Once we started learning about them in school, it was very academic, repetitive, and I thought - very boring. I remember using flashcards; they were black and white and strictly used to test our ability to identify what was on the card. I also remember being very shy as a child and how embarrassing it was for me when I couldn't keep up with the flashcards.
Yes, there were quite few flashcards around when I was growing up today. There are still some today and at times, I think they have their place. I think they are better for self-study than group study though. And, I think they are probably better for learners who are older than the little ones who are learning the alphabet and numbers for the first time. But... I agree, I believe that there are far more fun and exciting ways to learn things besides using flashcards! I am all about the fun in learning here! And, I think interactive books are a great way to make learning fun!
Sandra's blog: www.sandralportman.com
You can also find Sandra on her social media sites:
Here are Sandra's two educational books. Please push the book cover images for the direct links on Amazon:
Notes and Announcements:
*There is still time to win a free copy of the "Clarinda Cloud Activity Book." You can find out more information on the contest on this post. Also, there is a list of names of waterfalls that gives you a hint to the answer. And, Clarinda Cloud gives a couple of new hints in her blog post this week. Good luck!
*I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah this week!