Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kids Need Play to Learn

"Playing to Learn", an article by Susan Engel in the NY Times, does a great job showing how schools could be exciting environments for true learning for children. I can't do it justice here but so many of her points are exactly what happens in a Sit Stay Read program. I hope you'll read the article but here's a favorite part of mine:

"Research has shown unequivocally that children learn best when they are interested in the material or activity they are learning. Play — from building contraptions to enacting stories to inventing games (I'd add: "to reading to dogs")— can allow children to satisfy their curiosity about the things that interest them in their own way. It can also help them acquire higher-order thinking skills, like generating testable hypotheses, imagining situations from someone else’s perspective and thinking of alternate solutions.

A classroom like this would provide lots of time for children to learn to collaborate with one another, a skill easily as important as math or reading. It takes time and guidance to learn how to get along, to listen to one another and to cooperate. These skills cannot be picked up casually at the corners of the day."

I'm sure all you SSR program volunteers will agree that working together in small groups and taking turns to go read to the dog teams helps our kids learn to collaborate--as does brainstorming for their stories.

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