Literacy and the Senses

I love using the five senses as a springboard for writing in the classroom. When a child writes a simple sentence about how much they like ice cream, the five senses are a natural way to invite the writer to tell you more.  We talk about the flavors and how it feels on your tongue on a hot day.  We’ve all had a time when it was so hot that the ice cream starts melting down your hand into a sticky puddle.
We use the five senses all the time in our poetry unit.  I love teaching five and six year olds to use their senses when they compose poems.  Suddenly, their writing becomes more thoughtful and memorable.
Our senses evoke memories.  Every time I make cinnamon rolls, my son tells me how he loves the sound of the knife slicing through the dough.  I always tell him that it’s a sound he will never forget.  It will always bring back memories of home, good food, and sweet treats.
 The smell of lilacs always take me back to my childhood home.  My mom lined our yard with lilac trees and every May there would be vases filled with lilacs to share with friends and neighbors. 
 Our senses take us back to another time and place.  As you are spending time with your kids, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses… literally.  The things our kids touch, taste, feel, smell, and see will help them in their literacy lives.  They will make deeper connections with the books they read and create more meaningful writing.
I’d say that’s a good excuse to go eat ice cream!

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