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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Best Magazines for Preschool Children

Because it is important for preschool children to be exposed to magazines, as well as books, it is essential that parents and teachers are familiar with the recommended magazines for the preschool / 4-year-old learners.

It’s been said that elementary students learn to read while older students read to learn. Children in grades one through three are taught word recognition to develop reading skills. Once children have mastered the basic reading skills, they use the skill to acquire knowledge. However, preschool children / 4-year-olds must be considered in the development of reading readiness and the motivation to read, as well. 

How Preschool Children Learn

The preschool years are the ones in which children mostly learn how to learn, and that is accomplished greatly through guided play, observation, forming visual pictures in their heads, and by doing. They learn about the properties of matter in the sand box and water table play. They learn phonics by singing songs together. They learn about balance when they are stacking and building things with blocks. It is important to note, however, that most preschool / 4-year-old children are not developmentally ready yet to hold more than one concept in their heads at a time.

Developing Reading Motivation in Preschoolers

Parents should begin fostering a love of reading books, and magazines by being avid readers themselves. Children often model parent behavior. Children who are surrounded with books and magazines in the home also tend to be more motivated to want to learn to read. Parents should read to their children frequently at home. They should arrange library visits for their children so that they can browse the age appropriate books and magazines, as well.

 Preschool teachers read aloud stories to their preschool students, showing the words and pictures to them in the process.  This is the first lesson for the little ones that text runs from left to right.  In addition, the process of reading aloud to children is a most effective way for preschool teachers to introduce vocabulary, letter sounds, and rhyming words. After read-aloud sessions, it is imperative that teachers and parents help children talk about the stories that are read to them.

Using a Variety of Texts to Help Preschoolers Learn

Researchers from Duke University stress the importance of having a variety of types of text available to children in the home, in preschool and in elementary classroom. Early learners need to comprehend different kinds of textual information, including, not only fiction and nonfiction story books, but also pamphlets, letters, recipes, newspapers, and magazines. For children who are mostly accustomed to just storybooks, exposure to colorful magazines full of pictures, puzzles and games is a welcome and exciting change. The research from Duke affirms, then, the importance of magazines in an early learner’s education.

The Best Preschool Magazines

A good collection in school and public libraries should include, not only a variety of books that engage and challenge children, but also magazines that offer a different kind of textual challenge and interest. Preschoolers and four-year-olds should be afforded the opportunity to enjoy magazines, as well. 
Young children see their parents get mail on a daily basis. How exciting it would be for the little ones to receive mail addressed just to them, especially if the mail is a fun magazine. Since some preschoolers may not yet have library access, until they do, parents might want to consider subscribing to a good magazine for their young children to enjoy at home.

Below is a list of some of the most recommended magazines for preschool children and 4-year-olds: 

Babybug  - This magazine is a sturdy, quality magazine. Each issue begins with a seasonally suitable story, a finger-play rhyme with diagrams for parents to demonstrate the finger movements to use. Colorful illustrations accompany the magazine’s many stories, songs and poems. Babybug also includes a “First Concept” section that provides a concept for parents and their little ones to share and discuss, such as things that are green or things that help them stay warm in the winter. Parents will especially like the "Guide for Caregivers" section listing additional activity ideas. For ages 6 months to 3 years. (Purchase information) 
·       Chirp -  Each issue of Chirp provides children with fun stories, comic strips, jokes, puzzles, word games, and crafts for parent and child to do together. It also provides interesting information about travel, and animals. Chirp is especially good for preschoolers as the features are just short enough that little ones with shorter attention spans will not get bored with any of them. For ages 3 to 6 years. (Purchase information) 

·       Click Magazine – This magazine, an offspring of Cricket Magazine and created by the National Wildlife Federation, introduces science concepts to children. By offering colorful illustrations, engaging and informational articles, stories, puzzles, games, crafts, and contests, Click teaches young learners to care for nature and their environment. It has a companion website that also offers additional activities. For ages 4 to 7 years. (Purchase information) 

·       Disney Junior - Each issue of this magazine offers fun and enticing stories, activities, games and coloring pages featuring  children’s favorite Disney characters.  For ages 3 to 5 years.  (Purchase information)  

·       Highlights for Children – This magazine has long been a standard bearer of children’s magazines. It is more age inclusive than most of the recommend magazines. Each issue provides poetry, imaginative stories, rebus stories, puzzles, jokes, riddles, crafts, and the all-time favorite hidden pictures. For ages 4- to 12 years. (Purchase information) 

·       Highlights High Five – An offspring of the popular Highlights for Children magazine, Highlights High Five offers similar content as the original Highlights does, but for a much younger age group. Read-along stories, poems, crafts, recipes, and sundry educational puzzles and games that encourage child development and provide perfect ideas for parent &child one-on-one fun can be found in the magazine. It reinforces skills designed to prepare preschool children for reading, math, character development, self-confidence, and other learning and developmental areas. For ages 2 to 6 years. (Purchase information) 

·       Ladybug The emphasis of this magazine is mostly to develop and promote, in preschool children, a love of reading and a motivation to learn to read. The stories, poems, and songs are appealingly illustrated with colorful artwork. For ages 3 to 6 years. (Purchase information)   

·       National Geographic Little Kids - This magazine that opens up preschoolers’ horizons by featuring stories and interactive games that teach them all about science, animals, and other world cultures. For ages 3 to 6 years. (Purchaseinformation) 

·       Ranger Rick Jr. - This magazine employs stunning photography to illustrate age-relevant reading about the ever-fascinating animal world. Included also are brief illustrative and interesting tidbits about animals that make a nice companion piece of fun facts with more in-depth learning. The magazine challenges the child by asking thought-provoking questions and providing puzzles and fun activities. For ages 4 to 7 years. (Purchase information)

·       Zooties -  This is another magazine for young children who are fascinated with animals. It is filled with spectacular wildlife photography with accompanying facts and stories about animals. It also offers puzzles, backyard games, and other learning activities to entice and educate children who love animals. For ages 2 to 6 years. (Purchase information) 

Note: Most of the recommended magazines in the list can be purchased by using a discount magazine subscription service that many librarians use, EBSCO

Picture credit: Alena Ozerova 


PBS Parents: Grade by Grade Learning: Preschool Meagan K. Shedd - Using Multiple Texts to Guide Children's Learning 


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