Ms. Mary Hernandez is the literacy specialist at Big Thought, where she shares her passion for reading with families and students in our programs. Read her advice on how to make reading fun for the whole family!
Books need a valued place in the home. Find a special way to store and display books, whether it’s a bookshelf, crate, or even a little box.
“You can’t love what you don’t know.” Expose children to a variety of genres. Help them select their own books based on their interests.
Public libraries are great resources. There may even be a Little Free Library in your neighborhood! For discounted books, stay tuned for the Scholastic book fair at school. If children are given an allowance, take a trip to Half-Price books, and make it a family shopping stop.
Read aloud. Listening to or reading books out loud helps expand children’s vocabulary. Encourage older kids to read to their younger siblings. Read together so children can ask you questions about things they hear or say. Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams says, “Reading Aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”
Lead by example.Interaction between family members is critical. Children learn from their parents/guardians. They will mirror what they see and value what you value. Demonstrate the importance of reading, by modeling for them.
Dallas City of Learning has partnered with KERA Learn! to show students that summer learning can be fun and full of adventure. We sat down with Denita Malvern, KERA’s community engagement manager, to get to know more about her work, summer programming at DCOL, and tips for parents on how they can prevent summer learning loss at home.
What is your goal for students throughout your programming? Our goal is to prevent summer learning loss through interactive summer programming across DFW.
What is your favorite part of working with students at summer learning programs? Just watching them learn and seeing the a-ha moments that they have while learning new things. I also love showing them that learning is fun. To see the smiles and sense of wonder while they are learning is amazing.
What do you hope kids learn? We hope to show them that learning can be fun and engaging. Also, to connect them to PBS broadcasting as well as give them an introduction to STEM. This shows them what kind of careers are available to them and explore careers through summer learning.
Parent’s should remember that they are their child’s first teacher. Whether it be while cooking and measuring out ingredients or counting tiles while in the bathtub, make everyday an opportunity for learning. There is no user guide to parenting and most parents think that they might not be qualified to educate their kids. But don’t forget that you know your child better than anyone else so you how they learn best!
If you are looking for a way to connect and spend time with your family while learning join the Summer Learning Challenge which is filled with exciting books recommendations, DIY projects and other fun activities.
Our mothers are our first teachers, and we teach others the same lessons we learn from them.” – Caroline Kennedy
Families at Cowart Elementary School celebrated Mother’s Day with a special “Muffins with Mom” event. Big Thought teaching artist Jennifer Kindert led an art activity for moms and their students. Together, they painted a beautiful bouquet of tulips and enjoyed a delicious breakfast before school started.
Click here to view more pictures from the Cowart Elementary “Muffins with Mom” event.
Big Thought is presented with the Texas Medal of Arts Award for Art Education. Given by the Texas Cultural Trust, the TMA Awards celebrate Texans who have enriched the unique culture of Texas. (2013)
Big Thought celebrates its 25th anniversary. President/CEO, Gigi Antoni, co-authors More than the sum of its parts: Collaboration & Sustainability in Arts Education, with Thomas Wolf. (2012)
President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities selects Big Thought President/CEO Gigi Antoni as a “Champion of Change,” serving on a White House panel highlighting best practices in arts education. (2011)
The Wallace Foundation and RAND Corporation select Dallas & Big Thought’s Thriving Minds summer camp program to participate in a three-year longitudinal study on summer learning loss tracking the impact of comprehensive summer programs on the academic success of incoming fourth graders in six U.S. cities. (2011)
The trustees of Communities Foundation of Texas, who oversee the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation, award a $2-million challenge grant to Big Thought to build a coordinated system upon the framework of its out-of-school-time initiative, Thriving Minds. (2010)
The Wallace Foundation awards Big Thought an $8M grant to plan and implement a citywide creative learning system and renews its commitment with a four-year $4.3M gift to continue implementation. (2010, 2005)
The Texas Education Agency awards three five-year grants to manage Big Thought’s Thriving Minds After-School program in 33 Dallas ISD schools. (2010, 2009, 2008)
Americans for the Arts presents Big Thought with the Arts Education Award given annually to the organization identified as the best in arts education program design, execution, as well as leadership. (2009)
Big Thought is selected by the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee to design and execute the largest-ever youth-education program for the NFL in conjunction with Super Bowl XLV. (2009)
Big Thought publishes More Than Measuring outlining the organization’s philosophy and assessment. (2007)
The U.S. Department of Education awards a $1.1 million Model Development and Dissemination Grant to support Big Thought’s ArtsPartners National Model and provides an additional $1 million grant to train arts specialists as arts integration resources to strengthen the program. (2006, 2003)
Big Thought receives the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Coming Up Taller Award. (2004)
The Ford Foundation awards Big Thought grants to develop a family learning and parent advocacy component as part of the Dallas ArtsPartners program (2003)
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