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The Importance of Movement

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Many educators believe that literacy and movement lessons should occur at different times during the school day; however, numerous studies provide evidence that activities involving literacy and movement provide more benefits when they happen within the same lesson. Lessons involving movement provide not only experiential learning — children acquire knowledge through actions and then have the chance to reflect on their experiences — but lessons that combine movement with literacy also reinforce the skills that are used to read. This reinforcement helps children grasp literacy concepts at an accelerated rate.

So how can you connect literacy and movement?

Carol Totsky Hammett and Nicki Collins Geigert explore the connection between the early literacy framework and the movement framework, while also providing numerous engaging lesson plans, in their book Read! Move! Learn!. The connection between literacy and movement, as explained by Totsky Hammett and Collins Geigert, helps keep children emotionally and physically engaged in Story Time.

The following lesson plan connects literacy and movement through a story that explores exercise and family!

Rolie Polie Olie by William Joyce

  • What's the Book About?
    ​Rolie Polie Olie is a very round robot. After helping clean the house, Rolie Polie Olie and his sister spend the rest of the day moving around. At the end of the day, Rolie Polie Olie is so wound up that he crashes into everything. He apologizes to his family and everything is once again well before they say goodnight.
  • Theme Connections
    • ​Exercise
    • Families
    • Shapes
  • Lesson Objectives
    ​Children will:
    • Experience rhyming text.
    • Explore a variety of movements.
    • Explore interpretive movement.
  • Action Vocabulary
    • Bounce
    • Bump
    • Brush
    • Curl
    • Dance
    • Glide
    • Hop
    • Jump
    • Roll
    • Race
    • Scratch
    • Skip
    • Slide
    • Spin
    • Stamp
    • Stomp
    • Swing
    • Turn
  • Concepts Explored
    • Curve
    • Hide-and-seek
    • Playing
    • Round
    • Swirl
    • Think

  • Developing Literacy Skills
    • Introduce the book’s author and illustrator, William Joyce. Read the title and share the front cover illustration with the children. Ask them to predict the storyline.
    • The children will be fascinated by the illustrations. Tell them to watch Rolie Polie Olie closely as he bounces through his busy day.
    • Explain that the story is written in rhyme. Pause at the end of each rhyming phrase so the children can suggest a word that rhymes.
    • As you read the story, allow enough time for the children to look at the illustrations. If appropriate, ask the children to identify round or curved objects in Olie Land.
  • Acting Out the Story
    • Tell the children that almost everything in Rolie’s life is round or has curves. Talk about what “curve” and “round” means.
    • Ask the children to form curves with their arms, hands, and fingers. In their personal space, ask the children to form their bodies into a round shape, just like Rolie’s shape. This activity will help the children understand the concepts of “curve” and “round.”
  • Developing Motor Skills
    • ​Materials:
      • Parachute
    • Play this circular game outside on a grassy area or in a gym or multipurpose room.
    • All the children find a place around the parachute. As they move around in a circle, walking, side sliding, jumping, hopping, skipping, and so on, they dip down and up, moving as though they are animals on a carousel.
    • Switch directions or change the movement for variety.   

For more great activities that connect literacy and movement, check out Read! Move! Learn!

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