The Inspirational Educators Series

Meet Teri from Petit Book Corner

Teri from Petit Book Corner is one of my all-time favourite instagrammers! She is a kindergarten teacher who is passionate about all things early literacy. Teri is also the lady who started the #bookishplay movement and shares amazing picture book recommendations on her feed. If you’re not following her already, you really should be! Read on to find out more…

Teri, Thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed for the Inspirational Educators series. As you know, I’m a huge fan of your #bookishplay series. What prompted your decision to focus on books in your Instagram feed?

Thank you so much for having me it’s so nice to be involved in this awesome series you’re creating!I have always had a great love for books and stories and when my daughter was 7 months old and the new baby haze was lifting ever so slightly, I was wanting some sort of a creative outlet. I was looking for a way I could share some of my teaching knowledge  about the importance of reading with kids and passion for picture books and Petit Book Corner was created. I wanted to create a resource for parents where they could come and find great quality picture book recommendations and easy to implement ideas and ways to engage with a text to create more meaningful read aloud experiences with their children. We are our child’s first reading teacher and a strong early literacy foundation is built at home. I don’t mean explicitly teaching your child how to read the words on a page but the positive interactions we have around books from a young age have a strong influence on how we see ourselves as a reader. There are so many fun ways to engage with books that teach important early literacy skills and I want to share that with parents.

Did you know you were on to a winner with the #bookishplay hashtag? It has really taken on a life of its own recently!

Heheheh thank you 🙂 I’m so happy you were keen to get on board and help spread the word about making reading playful. BOOKISH PLAY to me means making reading fun and engaging young readers in the process whether that involves reading a story together and talking about the words you’re hearing or the illustrations you’re seeing and also anything in between. So many amazing ideas have been shared under the hashtag it’s really taken on a life of its own ️.

Local libraries seem to be in crisis – I’ve noticed it across the world, particularly in my own hometown where many have closed or are reduced to Saturday openings. Is there any message you’d like to send out to the councils making the decisions to cut funding?

WE NEED LIBRARIES!!! Not only to provide equal access to rich literature for everyone but also to create a sense of community and belonging and provide a space where stories are shared and valued with expert librarians who can facilitate read alouds, rhyme time, and provide recommendations on new and old favourite books. Libraries are a sacred space that is so needed in a community. We’re so fortunate to have a new local library in our area and I don’t know what we would do without it! It even has a slide down to the kids area making reading and being surrounded by books even more fun.It saddens me to think that a treasured resource such as a library is in jeopardy and for what reason??? Digital technologies have a time and place but NOTHING replaces a good physical book!

I love the ideas you have for bookish birthday presents – what would be your top 3 to gift?

Anyone who knows me knows I pretty much ALWAYS gift a book with a special inscription at the front of the book. Choosing a book as a gift is such a personal thing dependent on so many factors such as age and interests. Also choosing good quality books is essential to building any home library as the books grow with the child and can be explored on different levels depending on the age and stage. Can I break it down into age as I can’t possibly choose just 3?!
Babies and toddlers:•Each Peach Pear Plum•I Went Walking •Where is the Green Sheep
Preschoolers:•Anything Julia Donaldson and especially The Gruffalo •Anything Pamela Allen and especially the Mr McGee series•Anything Oliver Jeffers 
School aged:•The Book with No Pictures•Anything Anthony Browne but in particular The Tunnel•Iggy Peck Architect

Many parents get anxious about their children learning to read or being ‘pre-school ready.’ What advice would you give to them?

I think there’s a lot of added pressure on parents these days as their work loads increase and our schedules continue to fill out more and more. I would first say quality over quantity and by this I mean quality time spent reading 1 book a night that involves lots of chatting about the words, illustrations and ideas presented is much more valuable than racing through 3 books to just get story time over and done with to tick off 3 books. When we take the time to talk about what we’re seeing and hearing is where the real learning occurs. So asking our child more literal comprehension questions (can you point to the cat) and inferential questions (I wonder what that charatxwr is thinking when the dog stole her ice cream) engages the leaner to think about what they’re reading and start to make meaning, the whole point to reading! You could point out rhyming words as you read along and say things like ‘hat and bat those words rhyme. Also remembering that book orientation such as distinguishing between the front and back cover of a book, noting the author and illustrator and reading words from left to right are all very important pre literacy skills that can easily be taught in the comfort and safety of your own home.  If you’re child is starting to show an interest in letters I find a fun way is to go on a ‘letter hunt’ starting with the first letter in their name and building from there. Being playful with books in these sorts of ways starts to build a strong early literacy foundation and prepares them for school.

If you had to choose just one bedtime story to read to your daughter for a whole month, what would It be and why?

Ohhhhh thats a tough question! Hahahah we probably do that anyways  kids love repetition and that repetition is so healthy despite it driving parents mad. Again one of the reasons to choose only good quality books! My daughter has been loving the gruffalo at the moment and I could read it over and over again as I love they rhythm and rhyme and that little clever mouse!

You often reference Montessori in your feed. What drew you to that particular style of learning?

We started out Montessori journey when my daughter was 6 months after a mother from my mums group mentioned she was attending classes with her baby. I was curious and am so glad I followed up by signing up to attend the once weekly 2 hr classes. I was guided by extremely experienced early childhood educators who shared their child development knowledge and montessori principles with us each week. I instantly gravitated towards the idea that babies and children are independent learners and our role as parents is to nurture and foster that independence with a prepared environment and providing freedom within limits. It was also a weekly reminder to me to slow down and observe my child with no judgment and to appreciate where she was developmentally and think about how I could best support that. I have a blog post about my montessori takeaways from our parent child program if anyone is interested to read ️ if you’d like to read here .

Obviously, Instagram only shows us a snippet of people and their personalities. What three words would your friends use to describe you?

Hahaha oh gosh I don’t know if I would want to know! They would probably say that I’m :Curious, Organised and Stripes Obsessed

Finally, how can we find out more about Petit Book Corner? 

On Instagram and Facebook @petitbookcornerMy main platform is instagram as I enjoy the short style blog posts and engaging regularly with my community with videos.I also have a blog where I share reading strategies, tips and book recommendations.www.petitbookcorner.com

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British primary school teacher and mum of 2.

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