“Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow.” – Unknown
You can literally cultivate a love of literacy. Gardening with kids increases their literacy skills in fun and natural ways. Just by being together and gardening, you are not only cultivating soil, but important literacy skills. There are many, many ways gardening with kids increases literacy, but here are 5 good ones:
Encourages non-fiction reading
Edventures with Kids has a great article that includes gardening books and activities. These books would be wonderful to read to your children before gardening. Kids’ Garden Activities That “Dig Into Reading”.
Also, you can check out many gardening books from the library. I love the book by Gail Gibbons, From Seed To Plant.
I came across this great gardening with kids site. It has kids’ gardening news, ideas, family gardening activities, lesson plans, and so much more. It is a fabulous resource to read together. This type of reading role-models to our kids that reading is interesting, and we learn new things by reading.
Conversation builds language skills
Gardening with your kids requires spending time together. A natural by-product of that is conversation. This is rich conversation because your kids are exploring the outdoors asking many questions that build language skills. Not only are you spending quality time together, but your kids are learning to nurture something, watch it grow, and develop language skills.
Gardening with kids allows for carefree exploration of the natural world; this rarely occurs in today’s era of indoor living. It develops science literacy as well as science vocabulary. By getting outside in a different environment, kids learn words that they may have never encountered otherwise. Kids learn many new words by gardening with you. These new words expand their vocabulary repertoire making it easier to read those words and comprehend their meaning when encountered. Life experiences like gardening with kids increases reading comprehension by increasing their vocabulary.
Nutrition- Increased Awareness
“Research indicates that youth who participate in garden-based learning programs have increased their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and gained new enthusiasm for fresh, nutritious vegetables they grew.”
I just got finished planting seeds, pulling weeds, and watering my garden. (Yes, I did do this with my kids.) 🙂 I can definitely tell I worked some muscles in my legs. Exercise increases serotonin levels in the brain which give people a positive outlook on life as well as increased focus. When kids have good levels of serotonin, they are clear thinkers which leads to higher literacy. Gardening with kids is also hands-on learning. Studies show that kids that exercise and have hands-on activities score higher on achievement tests.
Garden-based learning organizations
Click here for a list of garden-based learning organizations.
Gardening helps kids develop academically, personally, socially, and morally. It is a life skill, and a positive trend. Moreover, gardening with kids teaches kids delayed gratification; they plant a seed today and reap the harvest later. It is a rewarding way to teach them responsibility, respect for our environment, and sustainability. In addition to all those benefits, gardening with kids is fun and increases literacy skills without them even realizing they’re learning. 🙂
Let’s make a positive difference~ one word at a time.
Please share this article with others that you think would benefit from these tips. Also, please ask any questions that you may have about teaching children reading or writing. Leave your questions in the comments. I’ll answer.
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Photo Credit: 1. cmchildrensgarden.wordpress.com 2. amazon.com 3.amazon.com 4. miyouthandfood.msu.edu