Young students jump into books with dances, movement in Elkhart County (video)
Posted: 10/03/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Marlys Weaver-Stoesz
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Alex Hearld (right) and his mother Angie Hearld listen to the story during Mary Daly Elementary School preschool on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Chris Rodda teaches the Books to the Beat class to preschoolers and their parents combining movement, reading and dance. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Jeremiah Nice watches Chris Rodda read to the Mary Daly Elementary School preschool class on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Rodda leads the Books to the Beat class at the elementary school combining reading, dance and other movement for students and their parents. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Mary Daly preschooler Naomi Diaz dances and shakes pom-poms during the Books to the Beat class at the school on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Chris Rodda teaches the class to preschoolers and their parents combining movement, reading and dance. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Anthony Metzcus (center front) and the rest of the Mary Daly preschool class and parents dance during Chris Rodda’s Books to the Beat class on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Rodda teaches the class to preschoolers and their parents combining movement, reading and dance. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Chris Rodda reads to the Mary Daly preschool class on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Rodda leads the Books to the Beat class at the elementary school combining reading, dance and other movement for students and their parents. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
That’s just when she’s reading the book. When she’s finished, she often dances or moves around the room with several kids and parents alongside her.
Rodda, “the literature lady,” brings together movement and reading to help kids further absorb concepts through her program, Books to the Beat.
“What the movement does is help strengthen what the children have read and helps them retain what they’ve read,” Rodda said.
She’s been working with kids through reading and movement for 20-some years through various organizations. For the past year, those have included teaching at the classes Mary Beck, Mary Daly, Monger and Osolo elementaries offer to help parents prepare their kids for kindergarten.
Tuesday, Rodda read to children and their parents “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” a book about letters of the alphabet climbing a coconut tree. She encouraged them to repeat parts of the book with her, like the title phrase that repeats throughout the book, and answered their questions or made other comments as they read. Once she finished the book, she poured out a bag filled with different colored pom-poms for the kids and parents to each take two.
“It sounds like a coconut tree waving in the wind,” Rodda said, shaking a few pom-poms.
Rodda led the group in different movements with the pompoms while listening to a recorded version of the text of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” set to music.
“This is just one thing that gets them going is this movement,” Rodda said, “but then they can do something smaller, whether that’s writing or drawing or something else.”
Diana Liptak, Daly’s parent support coordinator, explained that Daly’s program really works to give parents the resources to help prepare their child for school, which is why parents also attend the classes. Rodda’s techniques easily tie in to that.
Parents can mimic Rodda’s activities and Rodda provides books and resources for the families to take home.
Liptak said that enabling parents to continue the fun and learning at home is a goal of the pre-kindergarten program.
“Our hope is that we give parents resources to use at home so that when their kids come to kindergarten, whether they’re enrolled in a formal preschool or not, they’re ready to go,” she said.
Angie Hearld and her son, Alex, 4, were at Monday’s class. Both Alex and Hearld’s other son, Logan, 5, were in the class last year.
They remember the books and the activities when they go home, Hearld said, “and they’re excited to learn.”
Rodda is able to teach Books to the Beat at Elkhart’s pre-kindergarten classes through a grant from Chase Bank through Families First.