Tuesday, October 29

The Measured Mom's Tips and Tricks for Teaching Emergent Readers + Great Battle Bunny Book Talk!!

tips and tricks for teaching emergent readers
To go along with the last post I did about finding those "easy" books for our earliest readers, I am thrilled to share an excellent explantation of emergent readers by The Measured Mom. She did a guest post about this on another great site, Teach Mama. Please go visit the post here and print out your free books! 

I think it's hardest for parents to understand the beginning reading process because when we think of reading, we picture a kid reading The Cat in the Hat or another kid's book. It's hard sometimes to see the value or interest kids will have in those teeny little boring books. Yes, I've had many a parent tell me those little books are boooorrrriiiiinnnnggggg. All I can tell you is that I have never thought those books were boring because I look at them as little treasure chests holding such great possibility for our little readers. Your attitude does play a huge part in your book choices and your child's attitude about books, so try to give the little easy books a chance. I must admit, they are getting better as educators realize that high interest subject matter is super helpful in engaging young children (especially boys!!). I also can honestly tell you that I have never had a child complain to me that those little books are boring. They get excited to actually be able to read a book and they don't seem to compare them to the bigger "real" books like adults do. So don't be afraid to show a little love to the emergent readers!

This also brings me to a new book I heard about over the weekend called Battle Bunny. 
Bay Area picture book author Mac Barnett has co-written a new book, "Battle Bunny," with his writing idol, Jon Scieszka. The two were at a reading in New York on Sunday and will be appearing together in the Bay Area next week. Photo: Rebecca Smeyne
The people on the radio station giving the review could not stop talking about how much they loved this book. It sounds hilarious and like a great idea to share with kids. What happens is that a child gets the somewhat lame book Birthday Bunny for his birthday and then he changes it all around to become Battle Bunny. It may be because I have a six-year-old boy who would completely love this book, but I can't wait to get it! Of course, the teacher and children's librarian in me cringes a teeny bit at encouraging children to color all over books, but in the right context it can be a great encouragement for imagination and writing. So, if you do end up wanting to change around some of those little books, you can always create your own versions! What is so genius about the author of Battle Bunny is that he actually has the whole Birthday Bunny book at mybirthdaybunny.com so you and your child can make your own version! So great!  For those of you who live close to me, I just ordered three copies. So the first two people to email me and tell me you read this post, I will give your child a copy for free!

Tuesday, October 22

Free Emergent Reader Collection from The Measured Mom!

free emergent reader collection the measured mom 590x770 Free Emergent Readers
I recently had a question from a mom about how to find "sight word" books or if they even existed. I told her that if you are reading really simple books, you will usually run into the main sight words quite a bit. I don't particularly like books that overuse them or make them sound unnatural. However, we are all so lucky that Anna over at The Measured Mom decided to create fabulous FREE printable books to focus on each sight word one at a time in a very accessible way. Such a great idea and perfect for beginning readers. Please check out her books by clicking on the picture above or right here! I suggest making a fun little book box of all of the books your child can read. Then once they've got a little collection, make sure they read one to you each night before you read stories to them. Happy reading!

Monday, October 21

Good Article on Creating a Literacy-Rich Home

Just saw this article on the Moms LA blog and thought some of you might like it. She discusses the top ten ways to create a literacy-rich home. I think she hit all of the top ideas with the exception of one. The author didn't mention the huge importance of kids seeing adults read. Have bookshelves and magazines lying around (note the pile of books I keep on my nightstand in the picture). Put your feet up once in a while and saying to your child, "I'm really excited to read this book right now. You can grab one of your books to read too!" Research has shown that both the act of having books, newspapers, and magazines around and modeling your own reading have a significant difference on reading achievement.

I would also say that creating a language-rich home is just as important to building literacy. Talking, asking questions, making predictions, and learning new words are all so valuable to a young learner. As Jim Trelease likes to say, you are pouring language into their ears. A child's vocabulary at the beginning of his or her schooling is a huge determiner of their reading success. So enjoy the Moms LA article and enjoy all of that talking and reading at home! Don't forget to put your feet up! Ooh, and please share your favorite tips if you have any!

Friday, October 18

New Way to Practice Sight Words from Frog Spot

Frog Spot Blog
I just discovered this fun blog from a teacher in Australia. She has a bunch of resources available on Teachers Pay Teachers as well as some freebies on her own website. Her Flip Flap Puzzle Paste worksheets are super appealing to kids (and to me!). Plus they're a great way for them to start to recognize words they need to know. She has super cute word family houses she's created and she even has them for numbers, too. If you visit her website, you can get the sight word sheet pictured below for free!

Thursday, October 17

Great Handwriting Suggestions from Urth Mama

Best iPad Apps to for Kids to Practice Handwriting. From a homeschool mom who has tried hundreds of apps!
I just came across the Urth Mama blog's great post on handwriting apps. The only one I've tried is Wet-Dry-Try from Handwriting Without Tears, but they all look really good. Click here to check out her great reviews!
The other great find from her post is this stylus made for kids using the iPad! It's listed on Amazon here. I've been really wanting something like this so my son can practice his correct pencil grip while practicing handwriting.

Tuesday, October 8