Saturday, April 21, 2012

Story Time: Can Be So Much More!

One of the most important things I have learned lately is that be you a teacher or therapist, it is imperative that you "teach for transfer."  

This means that we have to explain why we are doing something, (e.g., a song, instrument activity, etc.) and how it will help outside of the therapeutic setting or class.    

A new study just came out that showed how parents and teachers can significantly improve preschoolers' future reading abilities simply by pointing out features in print as they read the stories!  This might simply be showing the differences between capital and lowercase letters on the page or demonstrating how to read from left to right and top to bottom on a page.  

In essence, this research is showing that kids do not just naturally pick up the "topographical" information on a page in their books during story time.  But if you show it to them, they seem to store that information away and start to use it as they begin reading on their own!  It makes sense, but most of us are overlooking this really easy way to improve reading skills for little guys and gals!  

You can find the abstract for the research here.  

I have started to include teaching for transfer into as much of my work as possible.  One example is using a simple egg shaker passing activity while we are seated in a circle to discuss teamwork and cooperation.  Not only do I have the clients relate the activity to key words and facilitate discussion, but I also have them give me examples of what teamwork and cooperation look like outside of music therapy activities.  

Are you using transfer-teaching in your work as a teacher or therapist??  Maybe you have some stories or experiences that support the findings in the research?

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