This month on Literacy Toolbox, I will share ways parents and educators can motivate children to become readers and writers. This is especially necessary at the beginning of the school year when teachers are building their classroom communities.
This year, I’ve had the pleasure of taking my kids to see Pigeon Party at the Olney Theatre, based on Mo Willems’ book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (and others), Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical at The Kennedy Center, based on Mo Willems’ book, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and How I Became a Pirate at Imagination Stage, based on How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long. We had a blast at all three. I think that had we not been familiar with the stories already, we probably would not have even thought about seeing the musicals.
We have been so lucky that the books we have enjoyed reading have been turned into musicals in our area. Tying in familiar stories with a “field trip” is one way to motivate young readers. My children were fascinated by the idea that the books could turn into real people on stage acting them out. They were even more fascinated with the idea that the musical (at least, How I Became a Pirate) was not exactly like the book. This led to an interesting discussion about how sometimes the musical is written differently, to give more detail to the story.
If there is a children’s theater in your area, I suggest looking into the schedule and seeing what musicals or plays they are performing. Chances are, at least one of them is based on a book your child is familiar with. And what can be more fun (or motivating) than seeing that book come alive in front of their very eyes?
What are some ways you motivate readers in your life?
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