Tag Archives: Me and Thee Studios

Writing Really Does Matter

In a previous blog I discussed 3 kinds of reading children need to participate in as they’re learning to read;  1) beautiful, language rich Read-Alouds, 2) challenging Read Togethers, and 3) easy Read Alones.

See the entire blog post here…  http://www.meandtheestudios.com/meblog/right-book-really-matter/

In the same way, there are several kinds of writing that help young children build confidence in their early compositions.  For all of the following ideas you can certainly use paper of any kind but I would encourage using old file folders, trimmed and cut in half, to produce “books” with your child.  The production of “books” solidifies the idea that each of us is an “author” when we write down the stories from our life.  My friend, Writing Really Does Matter!

Writing for your child – Your youngest writers will learn much about “concepts about print” from you as you write for them.  Concepts about print include basic concepts like a letter verses a word, upper verses lower case letters, left to right directionality, the return sweep, top to bottom layout for text, punctuation, etc.  When you write for your child, recording an activity from her life or some of her favorite things, you 1) validate her life as being important, 2) create readable text for her earliest reading attempts, and 3) have a valuable opportunity to talk through early print concepts.  These are certainly necessary for both her reading and her writing development.

Book collage 3

Writing with your child – When your child has many sounds and the corresponding letters fairly well mastered and is beginning to learn a handful of sight words (you might call them high frequency or high utility words), they are ready to “share the pen”.  When you share the pen with your child, you write a good bit of the text  yourself and encourage your child to add the parts they know.  I’ve listed two examples below, but this activity can be used flexibly along the entire early reading and writing skill progression.

Book collaaage 2  book collage 1

Your child might know the majority of consonant sounds and the corresponding letters.  You might have him add the first letter for many of the words on the page.  You might be writing about your pet and your child wants to add, “Oscar is big and fat.”  You’ll mention that Oscar’s name starts with a capital letter, like all names, and then you’ll say “Oscar” aloud, stretching out the sounds as you write the letters.  You’ll add the word “is”, stretching the sounds, and stop for the word “big”.  You’ll say something like, “The next word is big (and make the b sound again).  What do you hear at the beginning of “big”?  Yes, the sound “b” and what letter makes that sound?  Yes!  The letter, “b”.  I want you to add a “b” at the beginning of our next word “big”.”  Let your child add the letter then take the pencil back from your child and you’ll add (while stretching to hear independent sounds) the “i” and “g” to finish “big”.  You can write “and” (stretching [always stretching] the sounds) and follow the same process for “fat” that you worked through for “big”.

Your child might know the word “I” and almost know the word “like”.  Create a book about some of his favorites and encourage him to write the words “I like” on every page.  He can also probably add the period at the end of every sentence to help solidify the use of an end mark.

We certainly all have something to say, and early writing instruction helps a child see that his “voice” matters.  In general, use your child’s choice of words to help him record his message.  You’ll be tempted to edit his word choice, but he will likely remember (he has to remember to construct) his own structure and will struggle to remember yours.

Independent writing – When your child is writing most 2 consonant words independently you become the writing mentor.  Your child will still enjoy writing her own books about her activities but she will be doing the planning, layout, and writing for herself.  You are there as a mentor to offer suggestions and prompt when you notice a problem (CAUTION – Do not nit-pick.  You want her to 1) feel confident and 2) have a product she will treasure.  If you nit-pick she will not want to write with you acting as “mentor” and will likely never want to look at her creation again.)

Book collage 4

The early writing activities go hand in hand with teaching a child to read.  In fact, whatever new skill your child is working on in reading can be solidified in writing.  Yes, you’ll have the opportunity to be creative in finding a book idea that incorporates the new skill.  The dual approach makes the new reading skills and “concepts about print” come alive for young children who will all benefit from this hands-on approach to learning early literacy skills.

Happy writing!

Before you leave the site, follow my blog (top, right of this post).  It’s quick and easy! 

For more from Marea, check out Me and Thee Studios’ faith based leveled readers for 1st-2nd graders at http://www.meandtheestudios.com/early-reader-collection.html

Dumping Debt Really Does Matter

My husband and I have led Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in our community for 11 years.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve taken FPU more than 20 times.  We joke that we “drank Dave’s kool-aid” long ago and we thank Dave for teaching us much about personal finances.

Many in our hometown know we lead FPU and as a result, I’ve been asked on several occasions to sit down and visit with friends and acquaintances about finances.  Many men and women who’ve shared their struggles come to mind.

The majority were deep in debt (and we were too when we began this journey in 2004).  Some of those we’ve counseled were ready to change.  Debt was no longer going to control them and they attacked the debt (and their behavior) with ferocity!  Those are the ones who’ve scaled the wall and have, as a result, been able to declare, “I’m debt free”!  It wasn’t easy, not for a single person who’s clawed his/her way out of debt, but for those who’ve done it,  Dumping Debt Really Does Matter.

dumping debt

The others are the ones I think about most often.  Their situations break my heart and I continue to pray for them.  They heard the lessons and many received 1 on 1 support but they weren’t ready to battle.

Choosing to attack debt is a difficult decision.

If you choose to attack your debt, your friends (and possibly your family) will think you’re weird.  You’ll choose to drive a vehicle that is 10 years old and sell the “toys”.  You’ll choose to wear clothes from consignment shops and eat out very rarely.  You’ll choose staycations and Netflix.  You’ll choose hamburgers to steaks and fixer-uppers to granite.  You’ll choose extra, part-time jobs to television marathons.

The beautiful thing about this difficult decision is that the tough choices I mention above will only last for a season.  When you’re out of debt, which typically takes 18 months to 4 years with “gazelle intensity,” you can readjust your standard of living, based on your income, and enjoy a freedom you can’t experience when you’re deep in debt.

Without the $500-$1500+ a month you might be paying in “debt payments” you’ll have some freedom to change careers, open a business, institute “steak Sunday” or “whatever Wednesday”, work for a non-profit, participate in missions around the world, step back to part-time, quit working to home school, etc.  Get rid of your debt and the list is as long as your passions and income can imagine.

The Bible has a lot to say about money.  In fact, if you were to search for the words money, gold, silver, finances, borrow, debt, lend, buy, sell, tithe, wage, wealth, riches, greed, poor, and talent more than 1,300 verses would be found.   The most significant to me when we began this journey was Proverbs 22:7.  The NIV reads, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

We can apply this to our lives in a very concrete way by saying, “I owe money to … and until I no longer owe them a penny I am freely relinquishing my authority over my finances to them.”  Are you willing to relinquish authority over your finances to CapitalOne, Discover, Bank Americard, JC Penny, Bealls, Sears, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Citi, or Chase?  Do they “care” about your family, your walk with God, your children’s college fund, your grandchildren, your health, or your retirement?  I’m sure they would say they do… to each of their 5,000,000 customers.

Dare to do it, my friend!  Dare to be weird!  Make those tough decisions today so your tomorrows are filled with freedom!  I might as well quote Dave one more time; “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else!”

Before you leave the site, follow my blog (top, right of this post).  It’s quick and easy! 

For more from Marea, check out Me and Thee Studios’ faith based leveled readers for 1st-2nd graders at http://www.meandtheestudios.com/early-reader-collection.html