Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down,
Autumn leaves are falling down, red, yellow, orange and brown!
Rake them up and pile them high, pile them high, pile them high,
Rake them up and pile them high, till they reach the sky!
Just reading these simple words paints a vivid picture in my mind: being sent out to clean up the yard before the holiday guests arrived for dinner. They bring back childhood memories of working so hard to rake up leaves into giant mounds that called to me to drop my rake and jump in! I can almost smell the slightly sweet odour of decay and hear the crunch of the brittle brown leaves as I scattered all my hard work.
So many opportunities for building literacy skills can be found in the simple act of cleaning up the yard. You and your child can talk about:
- all the different colours and shapes of leaves you find
- how the wind sounds as it blows through the leaves still clinging to the branches
- why some plants lose their leaves while others stay green year-round
- the different textures of the leaves—some brittle, some pokey, some soft and flexible
- how many empty bags will be needed
- what happens when it gets cold—where do the bugs go
- why do the days seem shorter and so much more!
Literacy is about so much more than just reading a book or writing a letter. It encompasses learning vocabulary and how to put the words together to get an idea across, problem solving on your own or working together to find a solution, learning the meaning of our numbers—the one to one correspondence of word, numeral and object.
Autumn also means Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and literacy is embedded in the preparation and sharing of the meal. Talk with your children about:
- recipes that have been tweaked just that much to make them unique to your family
- how many more chairs will be needed so everyone has a seat
- what is the true meaning of Thanksgiving and why do we celebrate it in the fall
- the difference between a yam and a sweet potato
- family traditions that have been passed down over the ages
- how many pieces that pumpkin pie has to be cut into!
In our Literacy Links workshops, we focus on how you can find literacy in just about everything you do. We help adults, parents, and caregivers discover the many simple activities they can do at home and out in the community that support and build numeracy and literacy skills. As for me, I am going to go back to painting some pictures!
I made a jack-o-lantern for Halloween night,
He has three teeth, but he doesn’t bite,
He has two eyes, but he doesn’t see,
He’s a happy jack-o-lantern, as you can see!
Please visit the Centre for Family Literacy website for more information about Literacy Links workshops. If you are interested in either hosting or attending a workshop, please call the Centre, 780.421.7323