Immersive learning with books

27th March 2018

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By Sarah Neville – Knutsford Childminding

We have a current cohort of children who love books, so we decided to plan around the stories they enjoy, introducing new ones to extend their experience. The first thing we did was consulted parents, as we do whenever we intend making a change. We talked about their child’s favourite books at home and how often they are read to in the home setting… and, as a result, we set up a ‘send a book home’ scheme to support home learning.

We then looked at how we might extend learning in the setting through the auspices of a good children’s book. We read every day, but wanted to take this to the next level by supporting children’s holistic learning and development through carefully chosen stories… with minimal record keeping because we’d much rather have fun playing with the children than spend our time writing lots of complicated planning that is likely to be ignored as the daily routines take over.

Our thought processes went something like this… read a book linked to the time of year, the weather, a child’s interest or similar … and then think about how the book can be extended through all areas of learning. Parents tell us that their children often watch e-books on devices at home so we wanted to complement this as well.

A book can be linked through music and rhyme (sing a related song or make up a silly poem), dance and drama (dress up or make some puppets and let the children’s imaginations run riot), food (the children cook most days here), opportunities to explore maths or learn about the world around us.

I think art and crafts are a wonderful way of engaging children creatively and encouraging them to explore the characteristics of effective learning as well are learning new processes – we focus on the process rather than the product with our early years children. We have been planning this way since January and Pinterest has yet to let us down when researching a good craft which links to a popular children’s story.

We use our immersive reading alongside high quality, carefully planned continuous provision and a focus on the individual child … and it’s working really well! The children are enthusiastic and motivated, we find them engaging well and using their emerging and developing thinking skills throughout the sessions, often coming back to the story to develop it in a different way through the day.

Why not try it in your setting?  Ofsted say children need to read more … we’re on it!!

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