Happy Birthday Seymour Simon - August 9
Many of the benefits of reading non-fiction books with children are right on the surface. Children are exposed to labels, timelines, charts, and graphs. A non-fiction book teaches new vocabulary and concepts. Additionally, children are encountering material that is similar to what they have or will experience in reading textbooks in school. I view all these benefits as secondary to a non-fiction book's ability to spark a meaningful conversation between an adult and a child.
See More Readers books -- Big Bugs, Amazing Aircraft, Emergency Vehicles, Cool Cars, Danger! Volcanoes and Knights and Castles. Many of these books became favorite choices of my children for before bedtime reading. As I read to them, they would stop me on just about every page to make a comment or ask a question. It was as if my children were trying to outdo each other with their knowledge. Often, I was able to add a story about current event or an experience that I have had.
My wife was surprised by the conversations I was having with my young children and said quite a few times this week, "What were you guys talking about up there?" One time I responded "Deep-sea robots." We talked about the important role that deep-sea robots played in the BP Gulf oil spill. My children were nodding as if they understood that deep-sea robots allow us to do tasks underwater that divers are unable to do. Then my son said, "Dad, scuba divers CAN go to the bottom of the ocean. If there is a fire down on the bottom of the ocean, the scuba divers will go down to the bottom and say, 'Stop, Fish!' (he emphatically puts his hand up in the air) and then put out the fire. Then, the fish are safe." I think that statement by my 3-year-old son was a combination of a few non-fiction books we have recently read -- volcanoes and emergency vehicles. It shows that he is trying to connect all the information that he has learned through reading and conversing about the books.
I had the pleasure of meeting Seymour Simon, "The Dean of Science Books for Children" (NY Times) who has written over 250 science books, and his wife Liz Nealon at the Mazza Museum Summer Conference in July. It was an inspiration to observe their passion for helping children understand their world through quality books and various media (website, apps, blog, e-books, etc.).
Congratulations to Mary S. for winning the autographed Butterflies book and to Cheryl T. for winning the iPad App.
|In the first experiment they guessed that it would take 9 or 10 juice containers full of water to fill their water table. They tested their hypothesis and concluded that they were exactly right!|
|In this experiment we picked 3 containers, hypothesized how many yogurt cups of water would be needed to fill each container. We wrote our predictions with sidewalk chalk. We tested our guesses and wrote the results under each.|
|We also tested the floatability and sinkability of many of our toys.|
Their favorite experiment was making an aluminum foil boat for one of the toys that otherwise would have sank to the bottom of the water table.
If you enjoyed this year's Seymour Simon birthday celebration, please check out last year's celebration where we read another book from the Let's Try it Out Series.
Click here to view last year's post that also includes lots of information about Seymour Simon, a personal story from the author, and lots of great links to other resources.
Pre-order your copy of Butterflies today on Amazon!
|We saw butterflies this week at one of the gardens |
at Blossom Music Center