Building Literacy Skills One Block at a TimeWhit Honea
Move over, peanut butter and jelly. Take a hike, Batman and Robin. There is a new combo in town, and it pairs the building fun of LEGO DUPLO with the fun building of early literacy skills, so keep dancing, Loggins and Messina.
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), administers of the Newbery and Caldecott book awards, respectively, has released their LEGO DUPLO Read! Build! Play! 2013 Summer Reading List, and it reinforces the importance of play. That means books and play are not mutually exclusive. It’s official!
The thought here is that “play encourages healthy brain development while fostering exploration skills, language skills, social skills, physical skills, and creativity.” That’s a lot of skills. Also, creativity.
Ten books created for young children (ages 1-5) were picked by the ALSC and combined with LEGO DUPLO activity suggestions that help inspire kids to build with the story. A complete book list and downloadable activity guide for parents can be found at www.readbuildplay.com.
My youngest son and I read “Press Here” by Herve Tullet, which combines simple, whimsical artwork with interactive instructions of its own—adding the DUPLO bricks to it all up a notch. Granted, my son is 7-years-old, and he’s a great reader, so we went outside the box, and he did the reading and the building. It was his idea. That’s right, he’s a triple threat!
We read. We built. We played. Then I had a meeting and he kept reading, building, and playing while I did none of those things, which hardly seems fair.
What I really like about this partnership between LEGO DUPLO and the ALSC is that it plants the seeds of future read and build activities. Kids can pick their own books, create their own stories, use additional DUPLO sets, whatever they want. The important thing is that fun and creativity are fostering strong literacy skills, and that’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.