Monthly Archives: February 2016

Family Dinner Project

Since we came back, after the holidays, 4IM have been completing homework from a website called “The Family Dinner Project.” The Family Dinner Project is a nonprofit organization currently operating from the offices of Project Zero at Harvard University.

They say “Over the past 15 years, research has shown what parents have known for a long time: Sharing a fun family meal is good for the spirit, brain and health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family meals with the kinds of behaviours that parents want for their children: higher grade-point averages, resilience and self-esteem.”

Another article says “Harvard Graduate School of Education professor, Catherine Snow – one of the world’s leading experts on language and literacy has conducted research which shows that talking with children leads to a larger vocabulary, and that leveraging this broader vocabulary through further discussion and storytelling leads to improved literacy outcomes.” This basically means that you can get better at reading, and writing, by having more conversations with your parents. Easy. Right?

“A 2006 paper by Snow and Diane Beals found that children between the ages of three and five heard about 140 rare words when caregivers read aloud to them from picture books. At the dinner table, they heard about a thousand rare words.”

“Kids who have bigger vocabularies learn to read more easily and earlier, because they can decipher the meaning of more words when they’re reading.”

For the homework, students have a question that they have to ask at the dinner table. The questions they’ve used so far are:

“What was the best vacation you ever had? Or the best you can imagine?”

“Who or what exemplifies the meaning of “love” to you?”

“Choose a situation from a book or a movie that you would like to find yourself in, such as visiting Narnia, playing Quidditch at Hogwarts or ___.  Explain why you chose what you did.”

“what would you like to get better at this year and why?”

There are lots more conversation starters here so why not give it a try.