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Connected: Digital Literacy for Gen Z

Dr. Julie Wood

Julie M. Wood, a former public school teacher and reading specialist, is a nationally recognized educational consultant with a special interest in digital learning tools. Join Julie in 2012 as she shares best practices in using educational technology and media in the classroom and at home.

Making the most of your preschooler's enthusiasm for reading

October 22, 2012

Are you a parent who has a preschooler at home who longs to be in kindergarten? Are you a teacher who is preparing for Open House? Are you an early childhood teacher who is searching for relatively low-cost educational materials to recommend to parents?Do you have access to a tablet or two, a play station, a computer, and young children who are eager to get their hands on them and learn?Well then. Do I have some resources for you! Whether it's learning the alphabet, developing healthy habits for life, understanding the world and how it works, or practicing social skills — digital media can help.

Have you tried any of the following educational media resources?Elmo Loves ABCs for iPad($4.99)Winner of the Parents' Choice Silver Award, "Elmo Loves ABCs for iPad" invites young children (2-3-year-olds) to trace letters, watch short film clips, and find hidden objects while learning the alphabet.

ABCMouse.com(subscription-based)This award-winning program offers a wealth of games and activities for children (ages 3-5+). Children begin by visiting the home page, which is a simulated classroom. Then they click on the subjects that interest them — reading, math, science, maps and globes, and/or the arts. Several different levels of play allow children to succeed at their own pace.

Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover!(Nintendo NS and wii)Consistent with the national "Let's Move!" campaign, "Ready, Set, Grover!" gets kids off the couch — jumping, dancing, and running — and encourages them to develop healthy habits. Have fun with your child while engaging in lively mini-games and activities.

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood(website)Children can visit this famous neighborhood to develop their social and emotional skills as they play games, sing songs, watch videos, and color. Children are also encouraged to write stories and respond to open-ended questions. Be sure to see the guide for parents and teachers, as well as the new feature: "Explore Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood." Yes, Daniel Tiger also wears a red sweater!You probably have lots of ideas about what works with children in this age group. Share your thoughts with us so we can all learn from each other. We're waiting to hear from you!

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"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them." — Neil Gaiman