Reading Adventures – Connecting Cloverbuds to Literacy

Recently I spent time with my grandson who is in kindergarten.  When I asked him what his favorite subject is, he responded with reading!  Oh how happy this grandma was to hear those words! Being an avid reader myself, I understand the importance of reading and the love of curling up with a good book.

Why is reading important to our youngest 4-H members?  Being able to read and comprehend is the cornerstone of any child’s education.  Reading introduces educational foundation skills, increases vocabulary, and instills a love of books and reading in children at a young age.  Children who read are better able to make the connection between written and spoken words, not to mention the fact that reading is fun!

Reading just one book per day to a child from birth to kindergarten will result in them hearing almost 300,000 words by the time they start school.  Children will also bond with that caring adult who takes the time to read out loud.

The cool thing about books is that they can be used to begin conversations with children about sometimes difficult or challenging subjects.  Reading provides an opportunity for children to safely explore strong emotions.

Cloverbud volunteers can reinforce the love of reading by incorporating a Reading Adventure (or two!) into their annual Cloverbud activities.  Reading Adventures take popular children’s books and pair them with ideas for healthy snacks, games, and activities.  Reading Adventures are designed to be stand-alone lessons that can enhance your already dynamic Cloverbud program; or, they can be used with different chapters found in the Big Book of Cloverbud Activities.  Each Reading Adventure identifies which chapter of the Big Book can be used with that particular adventure.

Most books featured in the adventures are popular books which you may already have on your bookshelf.  If not, these titles should be readily available from your public library or from an online library source.

Check out the Reading Adventures included in this blog.  Check back often as new titles are added as they become available.  Have an idea for a book that would make a great Reading Adventure?  Send your book recommendation to williams.418@osu.edu.

Reading a book can take us places when we need to stay where we are.  And, a child who reads will be an adult who thinks.

The Power of Words

The Word Collector, by Peter H. Reynolds, is the story of a boy and the love for his very special collection – words.  Jerome was inspired to write down words that he heard, saw, and read.  He organized his collection into scrapbooks.  There were so many books!  One day when he slipped and fell, the words were tossed into a jumbled mess.  Jerome began to reorganize the words into poems which later became songs.  He noticed that words could move people.

My daughter began to discover her first written words at the age of two.  The books became her friends, and she would sleep with them like stuffed animals.  By age four, she was reading books.  She discovered early, like Jerome, that words are powerful.  They have the ability to transport, transform, and transition a person to a new way of “thinking, feeling, and dreaming”.

Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, grew up with a speech impediment.  She used written word as a form of self-expression and practiced spoken word as a way of developing her own “speech pathology” to overcome her speech difficulties.  Gorman was chosen to read an original poem for the inauguration of President Joe Biden.  Words can heal.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a voracious reader, masterful orator, and eloquent writer synthesized words into a symphony of thought that united people during the Civil Rights Movement.  In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King stated, “This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”  Words can unite.

George Washington Carver stated, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom”.  Carver, who was born into slavery, later became an instructor and researcher at Tuskegee Institute, a scientist, and an inventor.  He used his words to educate people in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings, to pen bulletins and newspaper articles on agricultural innovations, and to craft more than 400 uses for crops such as the “peanut, sweet potato, soybeans, and pecans”.  Words can inspire.

Peter Hamilton Reynolds concludes The Word Collector with this quote, “Reach for your own words.  Tell the world who you are and how you will make it better”.  Looking for ideas to guide your Cloverbuds as they begin their word collections?  Check out Cloverbud Reading Adventures.  You will find a diverse collection of books and activities that will inspire our youngest 4-H members to find their words as they “think, feel, and dream” the world better.

Sources:
https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/i-have-dream-address-delivered-march-washington-jobs-and-freedom  
https://www.biography.com/scientist/george-washington-carver

Ada Twist, Scientist – A Cloverbud Reading Adventures Activity

The Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Reading Adventures Series incorporates literature, crafts, games, and snacks into a fun-filled program for children in grades K-2.  In Ada Twist, Scientist, we meet a precocious second grader who looks at the world through a sense of discovery.  Her need to explore and understand everything around her began with her first word at the age of three – “WHY?”.  From that time forward we are drawn into the amazing journey of this young scientist as she pokes, smells, sees, tests, tries, puzzles, and quests to learn “how it ALL works”.

The book is beautifully illustrated with experiments and materials that Ada used in her research.  To determine the cause of a pungent odor, Ada Marie conducted several investigations.  Your Cloverbuds can do their own explorations by using the “How Smart is Your Nose?” activity from The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities.  Place different “identifiable aromas” in sandwich bags.  Blindfold the children and ask them to sniff the contents of the bags.  Have them ask questions to figure out the scents.

Ada also dropped tablets into 2-liter bottles which caused an explosion of colorful soda.  Although this may be a fun messy outside activity, another less messy inside experiment can also be conducted using clear carbonated water or soda, a clear plastic cup, and raisins.  Pour liquid into the cup.  Add a few raisins.  Wait for it – the raisins will begin to rise and fall as if doing a dance.  Why?  Carbon dioxide bubbles are released from the carbonated beverage.  They attach to the rough surface of the raisins and cause the raisins to float to the surface of the liquid.  Once the bubbles pop and the gas is released, they return to the bottom of the cup.  This up and down movement will continue until the soda is “flat”.  Try other foods such as pasta, corn, or candy.  How do they perform?

For an edible science snack, make fruit sorbet in a bag.  Pour one cup of fruit juice in a quart-size zip-close bag.  Seal the bag.  Place that bag into another bag the same size.  Seal the second bag.  In a gallon size zip-close bag, place 4 cups of ice and 3 tablespoons of coarse ice cream salt.  Put the small sealed bags in the larger bag and close tightly.  Have Cloverbuds shake the bags for about 5 minutes while wearing winter gloves.  Take the inner bag out and pour into cups.  Enjoy!  Why did the mixture freeze?  Salt added to ice lowers the freezing point.  The melting ice absorbs heat making the mixture cooler which causes it to freeze (Source: Science Fun with Kitchen Chemistry).

Have Cloverbuds make a picture journal of what they learned.  Encourage them to find out more about other children who sought solutions to challenges by raising questions and developing better ways to make things work in the book, Kids Who Are Changing the World.  May you never lose the wonder of “WHY”.

Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean – A Cloverbud Reading Adventures Activity

Cloverbuds are thirsty to learn new topics and discover new adventures.  One of those is the Reading Adventure Series the Ohio 4-H Cloverbud Design is working on.  This team of Ohio 4-H Professionals is working to make these activities and book ideas available soon.  Summer is a great opportunity for outdoor learning.

Young children, Cloverbud age, love to be read to.  It helps them discover new topics, exercise their brain, and understanding how to read themselves while adding to their vocabulary. Look for your favorite childhood book at your local public library, or take a field trip with your Cloverbuds to the library.  Advisors can choose a book and read to the members.  Advisors can take it one step further and add a themed snack and craft activity to build on the Cloverbuds learning activity.

A Summer Book Idea:

Find Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean by Arthur Dorros.  Reading the book to your Cloverbuds and making a crab handprint craft is the perfect way to tie in some summer learning fun.  You may also visit a small creek or brook and let the Cloverbuds explore for 20 minutes.

At the conclusion of your activity and exploration enjoy a themed snack of crushed graham crackers with blue yogurt and add some craisans for fun.  Wrap up your activity with a game of shark tag or duck, duck goose.  These activities will awaken the outdoor exploration creativity bug in your Cloverbuds and help make learning about the environment fun, safe and interesting.