A Note to Teachers, Librarians and Parents
Stimulate a child's interest in reading and in history by using some of the following ideas, which may be modified for use at home, at school, or in the library. The most important and enduring suggestion is to expose children to books and to people who love books and to provide opportunities for children to read and learn.
Read to your children.
Read with your children.
Read in front of your children.
- Have children create a historical time-line based on their own lives (dates of important events: birth, first teeth, first words, first day of school, etc.).
- Continue with personal family histories. Place the events in the context of larger, global issues and events.
- Ask the children to establish historical time-lines for characters or events in a favourite historical novel. Incorporate actual events and dates of personal importance on the time-line.
- Illustrate the time-line with drawings, photos, cut-outs, and other materials.
- Have children prepare 24-hour charts to compare their daily activities with those of a character in one of their books (include what they do before breakfast, what they eat, what they wear, what time they go to bed, etc.).
- Invite grandparents or people who have lived in the community for a long time to talk to the children about life long ago.
- Write and illustrate the stories.
- Make a book of the stories.
- Have children research and record the history of their community.
- Draw a map of the community.
- Using a world map, have children pin-point the homes of their ancestors.
- Create a family tree.
- Dramatize a favourite scene from a novel or picture book.
- Make toys that would have been familiar to those of settler children (e.g. shadow-puppets, apple-head dolls).
- Play games that would have been familiar to those of settler children (e.g. Fox and Geese).
- Write a letter to a favourite character telling him about life today.
- Create a story quilt (or mural) with each child contributing a piece (or section).
- Prepare imaginary time capsules.
- Create one capsule with objects which will describe life today to children living 100 years from now.
- Create another with objects which would have been important to children living 100 years ago.
- Create a classroom newspaper. Have students prepare book reviews and articles with historical interest as well as current events.
- Have children prepare shoebox scenes or models to illustrate a part of a story or aspects of history which they like. Use playdough, plasticine, balsa-wood, cut-outs, Fimo, paint and other materials.
- Have older children make a BIG book of real or imaginary stories, based on their reading or their own lives, to share with younger children.
- Discuss what memories, questions, or ideas are generated by a story.
- Encourage children to keep a diary.
- Have children make a list of favourite books about Canada's history to share with others.
- Let older children conduct a debate on the values, benefits, or problems of contemporary and past lifestyles (e.g. discipline in the classroom, "children should be seen and not heard", etc.).
- Have a history night: play games, tell stories, sing songs, eat foods of the past.
- Look through family photograph albums and, where available, old department store catalogues and magazines. Discuss the differences between now and then.
- Visit a history museum.
- Research and discuss the way people have recorded time (sun-dials, clocks, calendars, etc.).
- Set aside a time every day for reading at home and in the classroom.