The Importance of Group Storytime

By Lauren OBrien

group storytime.jpgAs a parent of a little one, we know you’ve done your research on the importance of building early literacy at a young age.

You’ve built literacy into your daily routine — maybe over breakfast, during bath time, and that nightly story before bed. But, do you know the importance of exposing your child to storytime outside of the home? Specifically, storytimes where your child is part of a group and there is someone else reading?

When you take your child to a group storytime, they are actually building DIFFERENT early literacy skills than the ones you work on at home!

Here’s why…

  • Listening to another adult narrate a story. Everyone reads differently — different tones, different character voices, etc. By watching and listening to another person read, you child is learning social queues and body language expression.
  • Allowing others to pick the story. Not only does this mean YOU could get to hear a new story (aren’t you tired of reading Cinderella for the 100th time?), but your child gets to hear new authors and genres that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise have been exposed to otherwise.
  • Building social skills. Reading in a group exposes your little one to the experience of participating and sharing their ideas. It gives them an opportunity to practice their listening skills, use learned vocabulary/language skills and build confidence.
  • Learning new things…for you! That’s right! During story time, you might learn new rhymes, songs, reading games that you can do at home.

Visit your local Gymboree Play & Music, where we bring storytime to life!

8 Tips to Build Early Literacy

April’s theme is LITERACY. We’ve put together preschoolsteps_2-3y_storytime_7705some easy tips for your family to implement in to your daily routine to help build those early literacy skills and develop young readers!

  1. Start ’em young…really young! Studies show that early literacy skills begin immediately! It helps with brain development and lays the foundation for language and writing skills.
  2. Make it a daily routine. Making reading part of your daily routine (ex. read two books at bedtime) not only establishes it as the “norm” but also creates an activity that both of you look forward to. They also find comfort in having routines.
  3. Try different textured and colored books for babies. Cloth or board books and brightly colored or high-contrast illustrations are great for babies as they begin to interact with the book that you are reading.
  4. Talk to your baby as much as possible! When you talk, you are helping your baby learn different words. So, tell them all about everything! What you’re cooking, what you’re seeing while driving, what the weather is…it all helps!
    1. And, for toddlers, have conversations with them! Having a conversation with your toddler and encouraging them to participate in the conversation, helps develop their communication skills.  Example: Ask them how they are feeling or what they want for dinner (and why!).
  5. Ask questions while you read. Make your daily reading an interactive and fun experience by asking questions while you read the story. You can even pause before a character’s name and let them complete the sentence!
  6. Read the same book 100 times. By about age 3, toddlers will be able to complete sentences in stories they know. Reading those favorite books over and over helps them learn through repetition and familiarity.
  7. Point out familiar words and sounds. Children begin to recognize letters by age 4. Point out words that begin with the same letter of their first name. This will help them associate certain words with that letter.
  8. Be a Role Model. If your child sees you reading books it will help them develop their own love of reading.

Contact your location to start building early literacy skills today! 

 

Build Early Literacy with these April Book Recommendations!

This April we are highlighting early literacy! The journey of learning to read and write starts long before your little one is actually ready to do either. In fact, early literacy begins in their first three years! Your child’s interaction with books and reading will provide the foundation to develop critical early literacy skills.

Literacy begins with a love of books so let’s whip out those books and teach our children the joy of reading! We’ve picked books for ALL AGES!

poutpout

The Pout-Pout Fish, By Deborah Diesen

Repetitive language in story books builds oral language skills. Pout-Pout Fish’s sing-songy text repeats over and over making for a fun educational read aloud that your toddler or preschooler will repeat again and again!

 

junglytails

Jungly Tails, By Jollybaby

A full sensory experience! Introduce your babies to books as early as possible. This soft squishy sturdy book can be enjoyed in tummy time or simply allow baby to explore with their hands and even their mouth! That’s how they learn!

 

wakeupmagicduck Wake Up, Magic Duck!, By Moira Butterfield

Storytime doesn’t have to stop during bath time! Magic Bath Books bring literacy and learning into the tub! Magic Duck has a special surprise when she gets wet…she changes colors! Enjoy the fun that comes with books that are interactive and inspire babies and toddler to love reading!

 

polarbear Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do you Hear?, By Bill Martin Jr/ Eric Carle

Children love repetition and this book is full of memory building writing. Your child will be able to repeat the story back to you! Build early literacy by choosing high quality texts like this one!

 

 

babysfirstcloth Baby’s First Cloth Book: Zoo, By Nosy Crow

Charming cloth books with high contrast images are perfect for baby’s first reads. This book can also go with you when you’re on the go. Its convenient Velcro strap lets those tiny hands keep “reading” wherever you are!

 

 

Build those early literacy skills at your local Gymboree Play & Music! 

 

It’s Not Just Green Eggs & Ham, Sam I Am!

dr-seuss-birthdayBy Lauren O’Brien

 

Earlier this month it was the King of Rhyming’s birthday – Dr. Seuss! Both kids and adults alike love the rhyming fun of Dr. Seuss, but there was a method to his rhythmic madness!

 

The Benefits of Dr. Seuss and Rhyming: 

  • For Newborns: Dr. Seuss’s prose is literally like music to your baby’s ears.
  • For Toddlers:
    • Improved memory and cognitive development – the short rhythmic passages are easy for children to digest and understand, committing Dr. Seuss’ educational message to memory!
    • Increased vocabulary — Dr. Seuss’ use of made up words actually mirrors the way kids speak! And, even though “barbaloots” isn’t a real word, those pretend words help your little one explore language and learn new words.
    • An early love of books and storytelling — Dr. Seuss’ wacky words and ideas delights young readers with their ridiculousness. Did you say GREEN EGGS?! Little ones love the extreme silliness of his stories.
    • Better listening skills — Dr. Seuss is anything but boring! His crazy stories keep the little one’s attention, anxiously waiting for the next silly word to come out of your mouth!

So grab a book, find a nook and take a look at your favorite Dr. Seuss stories! Because it’s aways a good time to rhyme! 

Sign up for a Gymboree Play & Music class near you! 

BUBBLES, BUBBLES, BUBBLES!

By Lauren O’Brien

There’s nothing like blowing bubbles — it doesn’t matter how old you are. But, bubbles provide more than just a fun time! They are the PERFECT playtime activity, and we are big into bubble play here at Gymboree Play & Music, because bubbles help children of all ages with key development skills! Check out all the benefits of bubbles! 

Bubbles blog post

Bring your little one to your local Gymboree Play & Music and enjoy endless bubbles, while helping your child build crucial early childhood development skills! 

CLICK HERE TO FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU!

March Book Recommendations!

This month we’re paying homage to the greatest rhymer of them all – Dr. Seuss!

Not only does rhyming and wordplay help with early literacy development, it’s a lot of fun! Remember that regular reading is important for your little one so let’s get to rhyming!

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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

By Dr. Seuss

Nonsense rhymes with silly words create for an entertaining read-aloud with this classic Dr. Seuss favorite!

 

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Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom

By Bil Martin Jr and John Archambault

This classic alphabet rhyming book creates a fun read-aloud that children will want to hear again and again! The rhymes are quick and fun and easy for little ones to remember!

 

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Is Your Mamma a Llama?

By Deborah Guarino

A wonderful rhyming story where children can finish the rhymes! Beautiful illustrations and the rhyming text supports teaching children how to make predictions.

brown bear Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? 

By Bill Martin Jr

Simply a classic! A “singsongy” text will capture children of all ages, while bright simple pictures will delight babies, toddlers, and preschoolers alike!

 

peekawhoPeek-a Who?

By Nina Laden

Cut out images add to the anticipation of who is peeking through! An interactive rhyming book that supports making predictions and teaches children how language works!

Become A Gymboree Play & Music Franchisee!

Thank you for visiting the Gymboree Play & Music booth at the recent Franchise Expo at the Meadowlands Event Center in New Jersey!

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If you weren’t able to attend our event, or would like more information about new Gymboree Play & Music market opportunities for NJ and NY (or local resale centers), please visit our website at: GymboreePlayFranchise.com

or call us at 415-604-3093.

We look forward to supporting your interest in the serious business of PLAY!

L is for LOVE!

There are a million ways to express love for your little one, whether it’s physical affection, quality time, words of affirmation, active listening…you name it. Any acts of love are supporting your child’s early development and have a huge effect on how they decide to take on life!

L “L” is for LET your little one(s) know they can take risks! When children know they are loved and safe, they build confidence and are more comfortable testing their limits and taking risks. it helps them build the confidence to take risks and try new things.

O “O” is for being ON their side! Children need fans! Your love and support lets them know that somebody is always on their side in life. Having someone cheering them on makes them excited to improve and learn new things.

V “V” is for showing they are VALUABLE! It’s great to show love and encouragement after your little one reaches a new milestone, but it’s also important to relay that your love is because of WHO they are and not only based on WHAT they’ve done.

E “E” is for EVEN when they make mistakes! Kids actually learn MORE when they fail then when they succeed. So, encourage them to keep on trying and reassure them that failure is OK! If they know they are allowed to fail, they will push themselves to try new things!

 

Show your little one(s) how much you love them at Gymboree Play & Music!

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February Book Recommendations!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this month’s theme is LOVE! We asked our knowledgable programming team to put together a list of books recommendations around bonding, love, and affection. So, grab that cozy blanket and snuggle up with your little one for some heartwarming reads!

llamallamaLlama Llama I love You
By Anna Dewdney
What could be better than Llama Llama on Valentines Day?! We LOVE Llama Llama books! The simple rhymes support language development, and repetition helps build memory and builds your little one’s vocabulary. The sweet message is all about how to show others you care by making them something special. A sweet and simple message perfect for all ages.


kissinghandThe Kissing Hand
By Audrey Penn
The Kissing Hand, now a classic, is a sweet story about the bond of mom and baby. If you are starting to discuss leaving your little one at pre-school, with a caretaker, or camp, the Kissing Hand is a wonderfully simple story that helps with any kind of separation. We recommend this story for anytime, but especially when talking about feelings.


guesshowmuchiloveyou

Guess How Much I love You!
By Sam McBratney
A lovable story about the boundless love between a child and a parent. As Little Nutbrown Hare shows dad how much he loves him, dad shows Little Nutbrown that he loves him back just as much or more! A sweet story to snuggle up with no matter how old your child is.


lovehungrycaterpillar

LOVE from The Very Hungry Caterpillar
By Rebecca Witford and Martina Selway
A visit from a very famous little caterpillar brings LOVE to life! With colorful images and fun phrases that support language development, this book SHOWS us how special people can make us feel important and loved. A wonderful addition to your February book list!