There is a window, a clear view into the moment a child “knows” … the look on the face when a detail has moved from the outside to inside that little mind. I saw that again yesterday.
A mom and her toddler son visited Counterpane wanting to sign up for the free Souns Early Literacy Workshops (ELW) we have about every two weeks during school sessions. Meeting a lovely, engaging mom and a lively, smiling, attentive young man of about 14 months was a delight.
I had the time and chose to share the concept of Souns so they would know what to expect at her first ELW this Friday. I fetched the first four Souns letters – /o/m/s/t/ – and sat down on the floor with the child. I introduced each, one at a time, and he spent several minutes exploring their shapes, sometimes two or three in hand at a time. Ready smiles intertwined with play with the symbols…moving them from one corner of the room to another on tip-toes all the way. He would place one on the floor, exchange one for another, dance about, and repeat.
When it was time to go, I asked if I could write the four sounds on his hands. Both mom and child agreed. I carefully wrote the /o/m/s/t/ – one on the top of each hand and one inside each hand. As he was walking out, mom and I discussed how she could reinforce the work at home. When the child heard us say /o/ that lttle body stopped, he looked at the hand that had the /o/ on it and then over at us. It was one of those moments where the eyes speak, “I know!”
This blog shares the good works of out Counterpane Interact Club, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Peachtree City, GA, in RD6900. Students go weekly to the IRC (International Rescue Committee) in Atlanta to train teachers and learners
Two Interactors and a parent and/or teacher go to the Atlanta location of the IRC each week to assist in the training with Souns for the refugees. These lovely people from so many places in the world are often not literate in their own language and then must adapt to our culture within a short period of time. Souns has helped them tremendously and helping with the program helps our students as well. For a time we worked with the refugee children as well, but they are not there long enough to make a difference and it is the mother that is our focus now. The mothers most often do not feel competent as teachers of their children. We are changing that, as we train them to train their children with Souns, in the same way they learn themselves. It is pretty impressive to see the difference it is making. We have been doing this for nearly five years now. It is no small outcome to see the compassion demonstrated by our students.
Counterpane Interact Club sponsored by Rotary Club of Peachtree City, GA (D6900) supporting Babies-Can’t Wait 2013!
If your child is enrolled in Georgia’s Babies Can’t Wait program in Fayette or Coweta Counties, he or she is eligible to receive, free-of-charge, certain materials from the Souns for Literacy program. This is being provided through the generous giving of those who support the Counterpane Golf Classic. Counterpane is grateful to our community and for our ability to give to children beyond our walls. Together, we have helped hundreds of Babies Can’t Wait families build literacy through Souns.
Recent national research in early learning is pointing to the need to expose children under three to the printed symbol, thus combatting our rising problems with childhood literacy in this country. The research also confirms that the method of teaching reading to children that shows significant success is one that exposes children to learning the sounds of the alphabet. The Souns method works by caregivers giving their child lower-case letter shapes (4 inch, hard, nylon symbols) and using the most common letter sounds instead of the letter names to describe them to the child. The method uses natural learning through play and parent interaction. For a full description and photos please
read the Souns White Paper.
Babies Can’t Wait is committed to helping children achieve their full potential through supporting a family’s capacity to give their children all the opportunities available to them. Providers in the Babies Can’t Wait program in Fayette County are trained in implementing the Souns method of literacy and can guide caregivers through the process while they are enrolled in Babies Can’t Wait. Once the child exits the Babies Can’t Wait program they can still continue to work with Souns materials and receive support through monthly visits to the Peachtree City Public Library, or attending Counterpane School’s free Early Literacy Workshops The only thing requested of the caregivers is open communication about their needs as they implement the program with their child. We realize importance of individualization for families and children.
The image above comes from our archives and reflects when each letter was crafted in wood. We thank United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta for funding molds for Souns. While wood is beautiful, it breaks and is not as easily cleaned as the nylon. Counterpane seeks support for this outreach program. Consider playing in our annual Golf Classic, designed specifically for our literacy outreach locally.
Please consider joining in our extended community to help this cause.