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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Animal Guessing Game

Sorry I have been so MIA.  Life has just taken over!  I think I was holding my expectations to high with posting daily.  Until school is over, I’m going to make a more realistic goal- to post weekly.
Anyways, this is such a cute book that ties science into fun reading.  This book allows readers to guess which animals are pictured based on seeing one body part.  For example, when guessing the animals on the “tail” page, you only get to see the animals’ tails.  The next page shows the entire picture.  It’s a wonderful book to get readers engaged!
Here are some suggestions to do while reading to your child:
LISTENING :  Have your child close his/her eyes.  You hide somewhere in the room and make the noises of the animals in the book one at a time.  See if your child can point to where those sounds are originating.  Additionally, you can ask your child to make the noises of popular animals as you read about them.
RHYMING :  Make up silly words to rhyme with each animal you read about.
WORDS/SENTENCES:  Have your child pick a few of his/her favorite animals from the book.  Write their names on index cards and show your child each.  Read over them together a few times.  Then, write all the names together in one long train.  Give your child a highlighter.  Can he/she highlight one of the animals’ names?
SYLLABLES :  Have your child pick his.her favorite animal.  As you read the others’ names, have your child move like the syllables in those words for each one they hear.  For example, in giraffe, your child can act like a cat and make two claw motions for the two syllables.
PHONEMES :  Do an animal safari hunt.  Try to think of all animals that start with different letters of the alphabet.
LETTERS/SPELLING :  Have your child draw pictures of his/her favorite animal and write a caption underneath.  Help your child sound out the sounds, but don’t force perfect spelling.  Your child can even create an animal book, with a few sentences underneath hand-drawn pictures.
Have fun guessing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Once I Ate a Pie

Got a dog?  Then, this book is perfect for you and your child!  It is the cutest, if you are a dog person (and who isn't?).  There are different breeds of dogs depicted through short poems.  See if you and your child can pick out the dog that's most like yours!  Here are some activities:

LISTENING :  Have your child act out what each dog acts like depending on its description

RHYMING :  Draw or trace a large dog on a sheet of construction paper.  See how many rhyming words your child can come up with (real and nonsense).  Or, use your dog's name instead!

WORDS/SENTENCES :  Together, write a short sentence about your dog (or one you know).  Cut up each word and scramble it.  See if your child can put the words back together in order.  Try this with several other sentences about your little guy!

SYLLABLE S:  Clap the syllables in each dog's name.  Or BARK the syllables!

INITIAL/FINAL SOUNDS :  Read this book with your dog.  Have your child pet his/her each time they hear a word that begins or ends with your dog's name.  For example, I would look for words that start or end with M because my dog's name is Macon!

Dog?  Bear?  Monster?

LETTERS/SPELLING :  Practice writing your dog's name.  Write a short poem about your dog.  Don't get bogged down with spelling, rather encourage your child to write.  Spelling will come, but the motivation to write won't if we keep pestering them!

I also found these great activities from the Read Aloud Book Club !

Just to leave you with a sweet picture of my precious first-born...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back! And Help!


I'm back and even survived Hawaii's mini tsunami.  We had a great time, but I can't seem to get Japan off my mind.  In lieu of a post, I'm asking you to spend some time talking to your child about nature's disaster and make a donation to the Red Cross .  Even $1 will help!  Think of your biggest problem right now.  I can almost guarantee that the people of Japan would gladly take it off your hands in exchange.  This would be a great learning experience for your child to see how we can help people thousands of miles away.

Here are a few articles to help you talk to your child about this catastrophe:


Mom Information 

Information on tsunamis and earthquakes 

Tsunami information for the younger guys 

Consider making a donation.  I will donate $10 more for each donation made from this page, so let me know that you did!  And, if you have already- THANK YOU.

Friday, March 4, 2011


My husband and I are off to a vacation in Hawaii, so I will be MIA for a little over a week.  I did want to leave you with a WONDERFUL book I came across while visiting the VMFA last night in Richmond.  This book is beyond amazing.  It gives children (and you) interesting and unknown facts about common animals.  But, it does it in an extremely creative and interactive way.  There are flaps that cover most of each animal.  You can see enough to make a prediction as to which animal is hidden.  The facts are too advanced for the very young, but perfect for 4-10 year olds.  Children will enjoy guessing the animals and turning the flaps.  You can even create your own version by having your child draw a picture of an animal, glue or tap a flap over it and write the animal's name on the inside of the flap.  

Here is a quote from Amazon about this book, which I think basically sums it up...

K-Gr 2-This book is a visual treat for budding zoologists. The oversize, boldly graphic volume showcases a wide range of animals and interesting facts about them, all hidden beneath flaps of black-and-white animal silhouettes and paw prints, cutouts, and, in one really attractive spread, richly painted patterns of animal hides. It has pop-up figures beneath, truly making it the apex of the book. One pair of pages has the animals tucked under black tabs punched with eye holes through which the critters peek. The facts are short, simple statements, and their randomness contributes to the hide-and-seek spirit of the volume. One can't be sure what creature or tidbit of information is waiting beneath the next flap. A stunning departure from the typical introductory volume about animals, this must-have will inspire a second look. And a third and a fourth.-Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library

For the younger learners, I found this one to be perfect, and paralleling the ideas in "Out of Sight."  Instead of sliding a flap and learning facts, you learn words.  
Take a trip to the VMFA if you happen to live in Richmond, or find these books!  They are definitely going to be staples in my library... I suggest you do the same.  Have a great week while I'm gone!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Max Cleans Up

A funny story about a kids way of cleaning!  Max, the bunny, solves his mess problem by stuffing everything in his pocket.  Maybe this will even encourage your child to pick up a few things?


LISTENING :  Have your child act out what Max does throughout the story.  Once the book is done, find different objects around the house (that aren’t breakable) and drop them while your child’s back is turned.  Can he/she figure out what was dropped?

RHYMING : Max has many rhyming words.  Since bubbles are used in the story, blow some.  For every bubble your child pops, he/she has to give a rhyming word to go along with Max.  You can try Ruby also.

WORDS/SENTENCES : Use popsicle sticks for this activity, since they are mentioned in the story.  Choose a favorite sentence in the book and write one word on each popsicle stick.  Model putting the words in the correct order after your child has read them through several times.  Then, scramble them up and have your child put them back together.

SYLLABLES :  Have your child clap his/her pocket for each syllable heard in these words: POCKET, RUBY, MX, SOMETHING, STICKY, MIRACLE, BUBBLES, ANT, SQUEEZED.  Even Write these words on popsicle sticks and have your child sort them into ONE SYLLABLE, TWO SYLLABLES or THREE SYLLABLES.

INITIAL/FINAL SOUNDS : Create a pocket using paper (fold it in half and staple the sides).  Allow your child to decorate it with the letter M for Max.  have your child fill it with pictures from magazines or newspapers (or hand-drawn) that begin or end with the letter M.

PHONEMES : Using another hand-made pocket, have your child put an object inside it for every sound he/she hears in the following words: MAX (m-a-x), RUBY (r-u-b-y), EGG (e-gg), DUCK (d-u-ck).

LETTERS/SPELLING :  Have your child point out his/her favorite item that went into Max’s pocket.  Help your child write that on shaving cream, a markerboard or paper several times.  Then, have him/her find the word in the story.  Or, search newspapers, magazines or other books for the word.  Another activity?  Use the word CLEAN to make others.  Have your child write it on a markerboard, then erase a letter to make LEAN and follow this sequence CLEAN- LEAN- BEAN- BEAM- SEAM- STEAM- CREAM- SCREAM- READ- BEAD

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Books to Hook Your Young Reader to Reading!

Sorry I've been MIA this past week.  It's been a busy one!  Had a friend ask yesterday which books would get her daughter more into reading.  While it depends on the child, I found these great book lists from Scholastic's website .  Also, interactive books are always a good bet.  These include flip book or books with texture.  For beginning readers (Ages 3-8) Bookflix is a great program to checkout.  However, you need to buy a subscription.  Check out the free trial though!

For ages 0-2

Good Night Gorilla

by Peggy Rathmann
In this almost wordless book, Gorilla opens the cages in the zoo and the animals follow the zoo keeper to his house and into his bed.

Goodnight Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown
In this classic of children's literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the...

Kitten's First Full Moon

by Kevin Henkes
From one of the most celebrated and beloved picture book creators working in the field today comes a memorable new character and a suspenseful adventure just right for the very youngest. It is Kitten's...

Lasso The Moon

When April Hunter moves to St. Simon Island, Georgia, to live with her father, a recovering alcoholic, she becomes involved with an illegal alien from El Salvador and learns about his life and country.

No More Yawning!

by Paeony Lewis
Florence must be tired — her yawns are getting bigger by the minute. But neither little girl nor toy monkey can possibly go to bed. Good thing Mom knows the secret to falling asleep. With a story...

Oliver Who Would Not Sleep

by Mara Bergman
For all parents with an Oliver (or Olivia) in their lives, and every child seeking a little fun before shut-eye, "Oliver Who Would Not Sleep!" is an ideal bedtime adventure. Full color.

Polar Bear Night

by Lauren Thompson
A little polar bear cub wakes up on a still, Arctic night and walks out to explore her snowy world. Suddenly, the stars stir in the sky and begin to fall like snowflakes. Soothing words and luminous pictures...

Sleepy Bears

by Mem Fox
Mother Bear is ready to go to bed for the winter with her children. She promises each of them a rhyme if they will get into bed without any kind of fuss. Mother Bear's many rhymes help to send her young...

Sleepy Bunny

by Dorothy Kunhardt

Song of Night

by Katherine Riley Nakamura
Beautiful illustrations show the bedtime routines of rabbits, ducks, mice, and more.

Sweet Dreams

by Kimiko Kajikawa
With very simple language and beautiful pictures of sleeping animals, learn how koalas, bears, flamingos, and hippos sleep. The book even shares which animal sleeps with its eyes wide open!

Sweet Dreams, Sam

by Yves Got
It's bedtime for little Sam, but which plush animal friend should he take to bed with him? With charming, colorful illustrations and a variety of textures for little hands to explore, "Sweet Dreams,...

Time for Bed

by Mem Fox
As darkness falls, parents everywhere try to get their children ready for sleep.

For ages 3-5

Amanda Pig, First Grader

by Jean Van Leeuwen
Amanda is excited about starting first grade, but she becomes worried when she isn't able to read on the first day. In first grade, Amanda does learn how to read and many other lessons as well.

Get Ready for Second Grade, Amber Brown!

by Paula Danziger
Amber Brown and her classmates are worried about the new teacher. The students' concerns are soon put to rest as Ms. Light meets them at the door wearing cool earrings and revealing an upbeat attitude.

Amelia Bedelia, Bookworm

by Herman Parish
When she returns her books to the library, Amelia Bedelia gets caught up in helping children with bookmarks and reports.

On the Dog

by J. C. Greenburg
When Andrew's latest invention, the Atom Sucker, goes haywire, Andrew and Judy are shrunk down to microscopic level! They find themselves lost on their neighbor's dog, where they encounter everything...

Arthur's Eyes

by Marc Brown
His friends tease Arthur when he gets glasses, but he soon learns to wear them with pride.

Eloise in Moscow

by Kay Thompson
Six-year-old Eloise travels to Moscow as only Eloise can in the fourth book of the series. Hilary Knight's pictures are the perfect complement to Eloise's adventures.

Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl

by Tedd Arnold
Fly Guy has met his match, and her name is Fly Girl.  Fly Guy can do fancy flying.  Fly Girl can do fancier flying.  Fly Guy can eat gross stuff.  Fly Girl can eat grosser stuff.

Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas

by Cynthia Rylant
When Henry and his dog Mudge go with Henry's parents to visit Great-grandpa Bill in the home with lots of other grandpas and learn how much fun all grandpas can be. Full color.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk...

What a great story to model expressive reading!  If you haven’t heard of Mr. Chatterbox, you can certainly relate to it.  Everyone knows that one person that just talks incessantly!  When you get to Mr. Chatterbox’s speaking parts, try to say the whole paragraph in one breath.  This will emphasize how talkative the creature is and add a little more humor to the story!   While you are reading, pause right after Mr. Bowler gives him the magic hat.  Have your child predict what the hat will do.  Predictions are a great way to keep your child engaged in books.  It sets a purpose for their reading.  When you are done reading, as your child why the hat was given to Mr. Chatterbox to make sure he/sure understands the big picture!


LISTENING :  Have your child listen for the word Chatterbox.  Every time you say it, have your child model talking with his/her mouth or hand showing an actual chatterbox.

RHYMING :  Give your child a sheet of construction paper and ask him/her to draw a big Mr. Chatterbox.  Inside the drawing, you list words your child comes up with that rhyme with TALK or CHAT.  Go back afterwards and point to each word as you say it.  See how many your child can remember!

WORDS/SENTENCES :  Give your child a pointer (clean fly swatter, spoon, straw, etc.) and have them GENTLY point to the word Chatterbox whenever it appears on a page.  This teaches children to look for isolated words in context.

SYLLABLES :  Have your child draw miniature Mr. Chatterboxes and cut them out.  Model pushing a little creature forward each time you hear a syllable in a word.  Try these words from the story:  CHATTERBOX, MISTER, TALKING, HAT, GREW.  Even try names of people you know!

INITIAL/FINAL SOUNDS :  On a sheet of construction paper, draw CH in bubble letters.  See if your child can draw pictures inside the CH that make the same sound (church, chocolate, chip, chain, chin, etc.)

PHONEMES : Play the Back and Forth Phoneme Game.  You say a word aloud and you and your child alternate turns saying one of the phonemes.  For example, Player 1 says “HAT.”  Player 1 then says the sound of H, Player 2 says the sound of A and Player 1 says the sound of T.  Try these words: CHATTER, TALK, BOX, MAGIC.

LETTERS/SPELLING :  Grab a marker board, shaving cream or anything erasable.  My nephew has one of those mats where if you write on it with the water markers, it appears for a few seconds.  That would be great on this activity!  Have your child manipulate letters to move from one word to another.  Have his/her write TALK, then change one letter to make WALK, etc.  Move in this sequence: WALK-TALK-BACK-SACK-STACK-STOCK-ROCK-RICK-SICK-STICK

Have questions or think I can help your child?  Contact me :)  Stay tuned for a CONTEST!