Bringing Back Old Fashioned GamesWith each passing year I notice more children in the class are slow readers or even non readers. And each passing year I notice how the children are less physically active than they used to be. At Show and Tell time they often talk about their latest x box or computer game, and their classmates are intensely interested in every aspect of the game, which level the child is up to etc.
I know from my reading that slow scanning is due to underdevelopment of the cerebellum and that certain physical activities can create the neural pathways necessary for fluent reading. These activities are similar to what is done with stroke patients and astronauts returned from space missions. Typically, they involve balancing in different ways eg crawling on all fours, hopping and tracking hand movements from one side of the body to the other.
A couple of weeks ago I was having a late night coffee out with one of my ex parents who is a friend of mine and we were talking about learning problems as a product of brain development. And she suggested that maybe one of the reasons more and more children are struggling with reading is because less and less children play the sorts of games that we used to play as kids - games that were so good for developing neural pathways.
So I decided today to introduce some old fashioned games to my class: marbles, hopscotch, stocking ball games and elastics. The children had heard of some of these games but no-one knew how to play them. I had to teach them, including the rhymes that go with them.
I am going to be interested to see if their interest in the old fashioned games lasts and whether, over a period of time, it helps to improve their reading skills.