A Link in the Reading Chain
Are you looking for a fun and inexpensive way to encourage your preschool or kindergarten age child ‘s reading development? Try story bags. Story bags are bags (homemade or purchased) that co michael kors ntain picture books and several props that pertain to the story. Props may be puppets or stuffed figures that depict the characters in the story. Other manipulatives may also be included. For example, a story bag based on the book, “The Hungry Caterpillar” might, in addition to the caterpillar, feature felt or foam replicas of the items that the caterpillar ate through, as well as the beautiful butterfly the caterpillar becomes. When I taught kindergarten, I used story bags in centers. First I would read the books to the students and demonstrate the use of the “props.” Subsequently, in centers, my students would either read, or depending on the difficulty of the book, “pretend read” the story, then retell the story using the props. When finished, the students put the book and other items back in the bag and hung it on the hook for the next time. Story bags are great fun, but also aid in oral language development and encourage creativity.
Jean Piaget, whose theory of cognitive development is taught in the areas of psychology, sociology, and education, greatly influenced the structure of the elementary curriculum. Piaget outlined 4 stages in children’s intellectual development. In the second stage, the pre operational stages, ages two through seven, Piaget expounds on the importance of play and pretend. Because of Piaget’s work , teachers (and parents) of children in these age groups understand the need to provide plenty of toys and manipulatives for children who are learning to use language and make sense of their environment. Story bags are an excellent avenue for children on the road to becoming fluent readers. Now, retired from teaching, I use story bags successfully with my young grandchildren.
The only significant purchase you will have to make is the book itself. I have found that there are several stores that greatly discount children’s picture books. Try T. J. Maxx and Ross for starters. Of course, your child may already have a special book you’d like to use. Once you have a book your child will enjoy, you will need a bag big enough to hold the book and manipulatives. You can make a simple patternless bag michael kors if you own a sewing machine and are inclined. Purchase michael kors dollar a yard material (3/4 yd.) at a discount fabric store. Simply cut out a rectangle the size you want (two pieces) and a long strip two inches wide and the length of the long side of the rectangle. The strip will be the handle. For the bag, right sides together, sew the pieces on the two long sides and one short side using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Now turn the raw edges under 1/4 inch and iron. (This is the top of the bag.) Turn this side under again one inch and sew using a1/4 seam allowance for the hem. Turn the bag right side out and iron. Fold the handle fabric over ,right sides together and stitch one short side and one long side. Turn the handle right side out and iron. Sew the handle onto the bag on the two seam sides.
If making a bag is not for you, try craft stores to purchase an inexpensive polyester bag. Or you may purchase a white mesh laundry bag from the Dollar Tree. These work fine.
Characters and Other Props:
Make a list of characters you want to depict and shop for felt pieces in the colors you desire. Felt usually comes in 9×12 inch rectangles for less than a quarter a piece. Animal and people characters can be represented with simple handpuppets. Cut the puppet out (two pieces) and sew or michael kors hot glue together. Cut features out of felt and use a glue gun to attach them to the puppets. You may also use fabric paint (comes in innumerable shades) to decorate your puppets. Other props can be cut from colorful foam pieces. For example, cut out bologna from pink foam for one of the Hungry Caterpillar’s snacks; green foam for the leaf, etc. Use markers to add as much detail as you wish.
Once finished, introduce the story bag to your child by reading the story and demonstrating the use of the props. Before long, the child will be doing the storytelling and you will be the delighted audience. Don’t be surprised if your child wants to take the story bag along on the next visit to the doctor or dentist. Have fun!