Children and movement go hand in hand- those pint sized bodies are not meant to remain still for long periods of time. We can't expect our kiddos to absorb much at story time if all they can concentrate on is not rolling around on the floor or poking their neighbor in the leg.
As educators and librarians, we want our kids to get the most out of their story time experience. This being said, we need to find a way to integrate movement so that it helps children focus while at the same time incorporating good early literacy practices. Here are a few fun ideas to do just that:
*Try movement flash cards in between books! "R" can become running in place, forming the letter with your body or moving like a rabbit! A great set of flash cards can be found here.
*Include movement books into story time! While you can add movement to just about any story, there are lots of books that lend themselves to getting up and moving around. Doreen Cronin's books Wiggle and Bounce are two excellent examples. Have children do the movements with the book- who doesn't like to wiggle where their tail should be?
*Take finger plays to the next level: instead of sitting down and doing the "itsy bitsy spider" with just your hands, you can move your whole body! Pretend to climb the water spout and then fall down in a heap!
There are so many ways to incorporate movement into early literacy. Next time you notice little Freddie doing somersaults in the back of the room, give it a shot! For more information about the importance of connecting movement to early literacy, check out this outstanding article by Rae Pika, "Linking Literacy and Movement."