Language skills are so important for kindergarten testing success. If your child is going to take the Stanford Binet, she’ll be shown a picture and asked to describe what is happening in it. The more detail she goes into, the more points she’ll score. When private schools interview children for admission, they are most impressed with kids who are especially verbal and able to communicate their thoughts and feelings.
Here is a wonderful activity that will help you strengthen this ability in your child. Go visit the Norman Rockwell museum site. Just click this sentence and you’ll be taken there. Here’s just some of what you’ll find:
At the site, you’ll be able to enlarge the picture. Show it to your child. Ask him some of these questions:
* Tell me a story about what is happening in this picture? Tell me more? What else?
* What do you see in the picture (have him identify some of the many items that are there)? If you see something that you think your child might not know, ask about it. Then talk about it.
* How do you think the little boy is feeling right now? Is he scared? Happy? Why do you think he feels that way?
* Have you ever felt like that? When? What was happening to you?
Rockwell’s paintings are so wonderful for this exercise because each tells such a big story in just one frame. Steven Spielberg owns the painting of the boy on the diving board. It hangs in his office most of the time (right now it’s on exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.). He says that every time decides to direct or produce a film, he looks at that painting. He feels exactly the way that little boy feels looking down at the water from the high dive.
By doing this exercise with your child, you’ll not only help her build her expressive language skills, you’ll give her an appreciation for the wonderful art of Norman Rockwell and for life in America before she was born. This might inspire you tell your child what life was like when you or Grandma was growing up. If you’re in Washington, D.C. this summer, visit the exhibit of his paintings owned by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Click here to learn more about it. Or, if you are near Stockbridge, Massachusetts, visit the Norman Rockwell Museum. Click here to learn more!