To find out what children are thinking, it is very important that we talk with them, and ask them questions. Asking the right kinds of questions can give you a lot of information about how children are processing ideas, and how to encourage them to think more deeply and carefully about whatever you are discussing with them.
Here is an examples of questions that adults might ask children to prompt their thinking about the story The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
Use the following PDF chart to guide you in developing thoughtful questions to support a child’s thinking processes.
This resource offers tips for choosing culturally responsive books for children and how to check for stereotyping and bias. There is a worksheet included that can be used when evaluating a children’s book and links to other helpful resources. Check out the Head Start National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness for more information and resources.
Read books to infants while you are holding them on your lap or be sure he/she can see the book. Any book with pictures will do, but board books work well for infants who often want to grab the pages or put the book in their mouth. Read for as long as the infant seems interested and don’t worry if you don’t make it all the way through the book. Allow the infant to touch and hold the book and read the same books many times. As infants gain more motor control allow them to turn the pages.
For a list of books by age click here.
Goal: To begin supporting infant’s language development and book knowledge.
Set up a space where children can create cards and letters for each other. You can include different types and sizes of paper and envelopes, stickers, stamps/stampers, and a list of the names of the children. Encourage children to draw and write or dictate messages to one another. You can create a mailbox space using a box with dividers or hanging shoe storage and label a spot for each child.
Goal: Children will communicate with each other with drawing and writing.
If you would like to learn more about emergent writing check out the Learn, Share, and Grow series about writing development on the Professional Development page.
Ask children to gather sticks (if outside) or provide Popsicle sticks or straws (if indoors). Then have children create shapes or letters using the sticks. Talk about the number of sticks you need to create specific shapes or letters and encourage the children to talk together about what they made.
Goal: Children will use sticks to create shapes and letters
A fun activity with old books or magazines is to create story cards that show a sequence. Cut out 3-6 pictures that show actions as part of a sequence of events. Glue the cut out pictures to construction paper or cards. You could laminate them or cover them with clear contact paper for extra sturdiness. Children can work individually or in small groups to place the cards into order. These sets of cards can be made available for children to choose to work on independently. If children need help you can use sequencing language (first, next, last, etc.) to support children’s vocabulary growth.
Goal: This activity supports children’s language skills and cognitive development in terms of memory, sequencing patterns, and problem solving.