Top to Bottom

You understand “book smart”.  Your child has learned how to hold a book just by watching you.  The tune “Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes” has been floating through your head for a few days.  Now, it’s time to teach your child how to “read’ a book.  This is so easy to do and has a surprising result!

Change the words in your head to:

“Top to bottom, left to right, left to right,

Top to bottom, left to right, left to right,

My mind knows the story always goes,

Top to bottom, left to right, left to right”

Get your pointer finger to work as you and your child sing the song…..your finger does the motions down the page of the book.  Your finger is tracking.  Your child is watching you and even before they begin to read words they will go “top to bottom, left to right” and be able to keep their place on the page.  They will know how to “read” a book. Children that are able to keep their place on the page are less likely to skip words or skip from the beginning of one sentence to the end of another, losing information along the way.  They are also less likely to skip math problems, or questions on worksheets and tests.  They have a plan….top to bottom, left to right…….

I wish I could tell you who supplied the words to the “piggyback” song but my internet search did not solve the mystery.   Piggyback songs are simply words set to familiar music. There’s probably thousands of them.  They show up at almost every educational conference, on popular children’s educational media and daily in classrooms all over the world.

Oh, I almost forgot!  I promised you a surprising result, didn’t I.  Early in my kindergarten teaching years I had a 5 year old girl with an amazing sight vocabulary. When I mentioned it to her father he said he had been reading her books like Moby Dick and other classics and …………while he read, he put his finger under each word…….yes, ladies and gentlemen, he tracked.  He didn’t have the time to do this with his younger daughter.  She was just as sweet, and just as smart but did not enter kindergarten with a sight vocabulary.  I always thought it was a shame.

Tracking might not build every child a sight vocabulary but it seems like such an easy thing to do not to try it.  What harm could it do?

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