Follow:
Monthly Archives

April 2015

    children's literacy, read aloud

    6 Children’s Magazines for Babies to Nine Year-Olds

    Last December I began checking out children’s magazines to read aloud to the kids.  I saw a magazine on display at the library one day and decided to skim through it.  Needless to say, I liked what I saw so I immediately started browsing through some of the other magazines and ended up checking out ten by the time I was done.

    I want my children to have a varied reading diet that exposes them to different types of reading material and helps them make connections with the real world. That’s important to me and I know it will benefit them in the future.

    As I’ve been reading these children’s magazines over the past five months, I’ve come to realize a few surprising things:

    • A wonderful feature about children’s magazines is their format. They don’t tend to have long items of text. Instead you find short stories, short articles, text boxes with bullet points, illustrations with captions – lots of snippets and textual treats for little ones. For a child who is beginning to read independently, but not sold on the whole reading thing, a chapter book might be off-putting. The format of magazines may be much more attractive.  Food for thought for those of you with older kids.
    • In magazines, you can find articles that further children’s knowledge and interest in all sorts of topics, from pets to gardening. You’ll find different text types too – narratives, recounts and recipes all of it aimed at their interests.
    • Magazines are an excellent vehicle for teaching kids elements of visual literacy. They’re a great source of maps, tables, illustrations, graphs, pie charts, labels, captions, cartoons, and diagrams.
    • I introduced the kids to some new vocabulary words that I probably wouldn’t have come across in some of the books we read.
    • My daughter has become familiar with the different parts of a magazine, like the cover story, the table of contents, the date, and page numbers.

    Pretty cool, huh?

    Here are some magazines I recommend:

    Babybug Magazine
    Ages 6 mos.–3 yrs.
    This board-book style magazine offers babies simple stories and rhymes with lots of photos. It features regular characters, like Kim and Carrots, and includes a page of read-aloud tips and child development info on a page just for caregivers.  Made with nontoxic ink, rounded corners, and no staples.  This magazine is a favorite for both of my kids!

    Highlights High Five Magazine
    Ages 2–6
    Stories, poems, “The Adventures of Spot” comic strip, and activities like looking for hidden objects in pictures appear in each issue. Also included are a read-aloud story in English and Spanish and a removable activity section.  (I also learned there is a sister magazine called Highlights Hello aimed at kids ages birth – 2.)

    Ladybug Magazine
    Ages 3-6
    This magazine offers enchanting stories and poems to read aloud that are just the right length for a cozy cuddle and is sure to spark young imaginations and develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime.  Another favorite!

    National Geographic Little Kids
    Ages 3-6
    Sized for small hands, this magazine is packed with color photographs, animal stories, features about different cultures, simple science activities, puzzles and games. A recent issue asks why mother kangaroos have pouches and has an activity to help children explore the sense of taste.  This is another favorite!

    Ranger Rick Jr.
    Ages 3-7
    Through color photos, stories, illustrations, and games, children learn about nature, animals, and the world around them. Each issue features lots of animal photos, easy-to-follow text, a pull-out poster, games, jokes, and drawing activities.

    Ask Magazine
    Ages 6-9
    Ask is a magazine about science, history, inventors, artists, and more, all written just for 6- to 9-year-olds – the most curious people on the planet!

    There are so many other children’s magazines you could choose from.  I’m excited to know there is an assortment of magazines that focus on various topics including social studies, cooking, sports, and history that are both educational and entertaining.

    Your turn:  Do you give your kids access to a wide range of reading material which includes magazines?  What children’s magazines would you recommend?

    Share:
    holiday books, read aloud

    10 Books to Read for Mother’s Day Plus a Bonus Book

    Reading to my children is the main reason I started this blog.  I love reading and want to help other moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and teachers (and anyone who interacts with children for that matter) find new books. Good books!  Books you can’t put down because your kids ask for them again and again books!

    So, since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, I’m providing you with 10 children’s books starring moms plus a bonus book.  I hope you enjoy them.

    The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman is a favorite around here starring mom, Mrs. Peters.  I love her story and the resolution– and I adore Marla Frazee’s illustrations!  Oh, and seriously, that is a lot of quality rhyming!

    Just What Mama Needs by Sharlee Mullins Glenn is the cutest little story.  Introducing young Abby who pretends to be all kinds of different things & the Mama is just the best!  She always embraces Abby’s imagination- it’s adorable, trust me.

    Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman: When a baby bird hatches all alone and falls from his nest, he goes to search for his mother. He asks everyone he meets, from a dog to a plane: “Are you my mother?” I love the moment of recognition when he finally meets his mother.

    Love You Forever by Robert Munsch: This is a story about the unstoppable nature of a mother’s love. This mother sings to her sleeping baby: “I’ll love you forever / I’ll love you for always / As long as I’m living / My baby you’ll be” and continues singing it through all the stages of her child’s life until the time when she’s too old and frail to hold him — and he holds her.

     I Love You As Much… by Laura Krauss Melmed is the loveliest of books!  Different animal mommies say how much they love their little ones (the camel: as much as the desert is dry).  These statements are paired with wonderful, tender illustrations– I cannot believe I have not seen this book before now!  Thanks to my local library for having it on display.

    What Moms Can’t Do by Douglas Wood is a funny book about things a child thinks his mom can’t do.  This little guy has a pretty entertaining take on his mom’s ability to get stuff done.  My favorite, “Sometimes moms can’t hear themselves think (I can relate).” Cute story!

    If You Were Born a Kitten by Marion Dane Bauer: This book is ABSOLUTELY beautiful.  The illustrations are immaculate and the message is wonderful.  The book talks about many different animal babies and what it’s like for them to come into this world, ending with a human baby and mother of course.

    Mem Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is a fantastic poetic story told by a loving mother about little babies from all over the world, all so different- yet they all have ten little fingers & ten little toes.

    Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney: I love Llama Llama and his wonderful mama!   Here we see them in a totally typical mom/child moment– which thankfully is resolved happily and not by them leaving the store as quickly as possible with Llama Llama screaming in her arms (not that that’s ever happened to me or anything.)

    Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino: When you want a funny book with great rhymes that you won’t mind reading over and over this hits the spot.  My kids loved having this one read to them.  Lloyd the llama is looking for his mama and asks all kinds of bird and animal babies if their mamas are llamas, which gets excited young readers (and their mamas) guessing about what creature exactly each baby is. There’s a satisfying ending and enchanting illustrations.

    BONUS: What Mommies Do Best by Laura Numeroff: This book is SO great.  (and BONUS you get two books in one with this puppy, so you can celebrate Daddies too.)

    Hopefully this list helps get you in a Mother’s Day mood.  Grab one of these and a kiddo and get reading!

    Your turn:  What are some of your favorite children’s books starring moms?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    Share:
    national poetry month, poetry challenge

    Poetry Reading and Craft Challenge for Kids: Week 5

    It’s the final week of our poetry reading and craft challenge.  I hope you and your kids have been following along each week and have enjoyed it!  For the last week of the challenge I selected a poem about summer.

    Finally it seems like the heavy grey veil has been lifted over the Northeast. The trees are starting to get green again. Flowers are starting to bloom.  Spring has sprung and you can already feel summer coming up around the corner. This is my favorite time of year. It’s a time of anticipation, celebration and FUN!

    Here the poem we’ll be memorizing this week:

    This week’s craft was “Popsicles” made out of construction paper and popsicle sticks.  You can also choose to make ice cream cones or another craft of your choice.
    Materials Needed:
    • Construction paper of varying colors
    • popsicle sticks
    • scissors
    • glue
    • pencil
    First, trace and cut out the shapes for your popsicles and decorations.  We used a mixture of circles, squares and rectangles.  Finally, use glue to decorate your popsicles to your liking.~Until next time!

    Share:
    our latest obsession, read aloud

    Our Latest Obsession: Elephant and Piggie Books

    Have you ever heard of the Elephant and Piggie series written by Mo Willems?

    I came across these books by accident.  I was looking for another book written by Mo that I thought was in the easy reader section instead of the picture books section.  Well, I’m so happy I ended up looking in the wrong section because that mistake led me to this awesome series of books!

    Some of you may already be familiar with Elephant and Piggie, but I had never heard of them until a few weeks ago.  First off let me say I love the author Mo Willems so I expected these books would be good, but not this good!

    I may be a wee bit obsessed with them, more so than my kids, but they seem to love these books too.  So far our favorites are: I Broke My Trunk, Waiting is Not Easy, We Are in a Book, Let’s Go for a Drive, I Am Invited to a Party!, Should I Share My Ice Cream? and I Love My New Toy.  I’ll be adding all of these books (plus more) to our list of books we’ve read in the coming weeks.

    I won’t give too much away about each of the books, but I’ll let you know Elephant (Gerald) and Piggie are best friends.  Each book takes them on another “adventure” together.  Apart from the humor, I love the simplicity of these books.  The illustrations, expressions and word bubbles are so well done making reading simple for kids.  Plus, they have a lot of repetition of sight words so they are great for beginning readers.

    I haven’t purchased any of these books for our home collection yet, but I certainly will be adding these gems to our library.  For now I’ve been enjoying checking out as many of them as I can from the library.

    Your turn:  Have you read any of the Elephant and Piggie books to your kids?  If so, what are some of your favorites?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

    Share:
    national poetry month, poetry challenge

    Poetry Reading and Craft Challenge for Kids: Week 4

    Hello Friends!

    Apologies for the late post, but I had a fun-filled weekend and didn’t manage to update the blog until now.

    Hooray!  We made it to week #4 of our poetry reading and craft challenge!  For the last two weeks I decided to choose longer poems and projects geared towards older kids.  Of course I still expect you to read the poems to the smaller children and work on memorization 🙂

    Below is the poem we’ll be working on memorizing this week.  In honor of Earth Day coming up on Wednesday I chose a poem about planting trees.  I hope it resonates with you and your little ones.

    Click here for a larger version of the poem.

    This week’s craft was so simple and fun to work on!  The kids assisted by handing me the scraps of the ribbon.  I did everything else.
    It’s a “tree” made from a stick I found outside, scrap ribbon I had at home, and a piece of twine. Pinterest inspired, of course!

    For this project you’ll need:

    • 1 stick
    • scrap ribbon (I used brown and green scraps)
    • twine
    • glue gun and glue sticks
    • scissors
    • lighter (to prevent the ends of the ribbon from fraying)
    First, decide which ribbon you’re going to use and cut it if necessary.  (Note: in order to prevent the ends of the ribbon from fraying use a lighter to burn them.)  Next, start tying the ribbon onto the stick working from the bottom to the top.  Finally, attach a piece of twine to the top for hanging up your tree.  Easy peasy!  These trees would also be cute for Christmas tree ornaments!
    ~ Until next time!

     

    Share:
    national library week

    Let’s Celebrate: It’s National Library Week!

    If you didn’t already know National Library Week started on Monday and I, for one, am excited!  All right.  I know this week isn’t as highly anticipated Christmas or Thanksgiving, but I believe when our nation gets together to celebrate an institution that gives us access to free literature, it deserves to be acknowledged.  Not everyone has access to libraries like we do.

    First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country, generally the second week each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special libraries – participate.

    I visit the library at least once per week at a minimum – no exaggeration.  I’m either picking out books for the kids, for myself, taking the kids to story time, picking up free passes, or checking out an event.  In addition to visiting my local library I also frequent other libraries in my state.  For me, the library is not just about the books.  It’s a community within a community.  It is a warm place to make new friends, take some time away from our hectic world, and just be.  I love the library!

    Ok, so now let’s talk about some ways you and your kids can celebrate National Library Week:

    1.  Write A Thank You Note
    Yes, I’m still one of the few people who believe in hand-written thank you cards.  You can write a note, have your kids color a picture, or send out an email to your local branch letting them know they are appreciated and valued. This method of showing thankfulness may be old fashioned, but, its effective!  At least I think so.

    2.  Tunnel Your Inner Martha Stewart and Do a Craft Project Together
    There are endless ways to connect your kids to National Library week through hands-on activities.
    • Browse Pinterest and search for ‘book crafts’.
    • Have your kids pick out a favorite book and allow them to brainstorm something you can create based on that story.
    • Throw together some costumes and act out your favorite book. And when I say “costumes”, I am talking raiding your own closets, using construction paper and empty toilet paper rolls for props, and putting a colander on your head for a helmet. Nothing fancy here folks!  Get silly and be creative.

    3. Whip up Something in the Kitchen
    Another great way to celebrate this week is to bring books to life by cooking in the kitchen! Have you ever actually made Green Eggs & Ham? (Neither have I.)  Give it a try this week if you’re so inclined to. Not only does it get kids involved in books in a way that they may not have originally thought about, but it teaches a plethora of skills, including math, following directions, problem solving, independence, follow through, and even teamwork.

    I salute librarians everywhere!  They are some of the unspoken heroes that make up every community.  Why not take time out of your busy week and visit your local library?  Now more than ever libraries need our support as they are just as valuable to our families today as they were 30 years ago.

    Your turn: Will you be celebrating National Library Week with your kiddos?  How do you plan to celebrate?

    Share:
    children's literacy, sight words, storytelling

    Fun With Sight Words: Felt Storyboards

    I finally made two felt storyboards for the kids about a month ago.  Hooray!  It’s something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I became a mom, but then that thing called life got in the way.  You know how hectic things can get sometimes, right?  Anyway, now that I created these two I’m motivated to do more since the kids really seem to enjoy them.

    The first storyboard I created was “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”.  When we recite the nursery rhyme I spell out some of the words like, “sun”, “rain”, “down”, “out”, “up”.

    Both of the kids love the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom so I just had to create a storyboard to go along with it.  Whenever I read the book aloud to them I add all of the letters going up the coconut tree just like in the story.  This helps to reinforce letter recognition.

    I also use the felt alphabet letters to spell specific sight words as shown in the picture below.  So fun!

    I think using felt images and letters are a great way for kids to have fun with sight words without even realizing that they are learning.  Also, felt storyboards are a wonderful way to spice up your storytime.

    I hope you find this activity to be helpful to you and your little ones!

    Do you use felt storyboards with your kids for practicing sight words or storytime?  Do you want to use storyboards with your kids, but don’t have a creative bone in your body or the time to create one?  Check out Playtime Felts.

    ~Until next time!

    Share: