What brings parents and children from all over the city to Chandler Public Libraries? Storytime! High Five is a great addition to Storytimes at Chandler Public Library, and introduces five key concepts in early literacy: Talk, Sing, Read, Write, and Play. But there's more to say about Early Literacy! Read on to learn about another important skill that supports your child's ability to read and write: crossing the midline.
Imagine a vertical line drawn directly down your child’s body, from head to toe. This is called the midline. Crossing the midline is an important developmental skill that, among many other things, supports your child’s ability to read and write. In crossing that imaginary line your child is encouraging the two hemispheres of his brain to cooperate and work together successfully. Children who avoid crossing the midline tend not to develop a strong dominant hand, often leading to difficulties when writing.
To assist your child with this skill, make it a daily habit to find activities that encourage your child to cross one arm or foot over the midline. For example, have your child slowly march in place and touch his left knee with his right hand, then touch his right knee with his left hand, and so on. Keep the pace slow and thoughtful, ensuring that your child is actually making contact on the opposite side of the body. Windmill toe touches are another great example.
Want to make it more challenging for your youngster? We all know how much toddlers love to empty and fill containers. Set your toddler up with two buckets or boxes on either side of her body. Have her remove items from the bucket on her right side and transfer them to the bucket on her left side without changing her lower body position. If she moves the item from one hand to another to accomplish the task, encourage her to use the same hand in order to actually cross the midline. For younger children something as simple as pointing out body parts can get them crossing that midline. Ask, “Where are your toes?” then help her to reach her toes on her right foot with her left hand.
As with all meaningful play opportunities, keep it relaxed and fun. As long as it’s a game they will play along.