I try to incorporate many hands-on activities to keep the learning fresh and energizing for both my kids and me. It’s important for me to find constantly find different ways to get my kids to know, understand, and demonstrate essential life skills and strategies they’ll need later in life through creative play and activities. Over the past few years of being a parent I’ve come to believe that learning has to be fun to make the kids want to keep doing it as a lifelong activity.
One way to help make reading and learning fun for kids is incorporating comic-style textbooks! Many educators have found comic books provide a variety of benefits in the classroom, including: easy to track storylines, bright, attention-getting imagery, and new vocabulary, not otherwise found in children’s books.
When I heard there were comic books that could help my children learn science, I was skeptical. But I’m being won over, because I’ve discovered the magic of Manga learning tools!
What is Manga?
It’s a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at adults as well as children.
Why does it matter? And what does it have to do with learning?
I’ve discovered this tremendous resource for teaching kids science and all about the human body. Rather than a dry text and diagram textbook, concepts are covered in a story-based format that’s also visual, so learners of all kinds have more to glom onto, and it’s easier to recall. Sort of like our trusted and true pal Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus, but for a slightly older children depending on the book. Last but certainly not least – it makes learning fun! Imagine if your child requested to re-read a science text book. That’s what these amazing books can inspire.
Topics covered in this book series about the human body: Human Body (anatomy), Digestive System, Circulatory System, Nervous System, Personal Wellness, Effects of Food on the Body, Medicine & technology, and Genetics.
I learned to read while I was in preschool at the ripe age of four. I don’t remember the methods that were used to teach me, but I do remember reading and literacy wasn’t seen as a big deal in my household. I didn’t have someone who read stories every night before tucking me into bed. Instead, once I learned how to read on my own I would read books and then fall asleep shortly after.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for books and reading. When people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up my first response was, “I want to be a teacher!” For me, being a teacher was a no-brainer since I loved to read and had a passion for helping others succeed from a very early age. By being a teacher I had a desire to transform instruction so that children could become powerful readers, writers and thinkers. My dreams of becoming a teacher never came to pass, however I believe making the decision to be an early literacy and learning consultant will help satisfy my desire.
As an early literacy and learning consultant my goal is to offer a host of personalized learning, tools, feedback, and resources to parents who have prioritized their child’s early literacy.
Through my interactive, online workshops, I help you figure out your child’s reading stage and where he or she is going next. This enables you to tailor home literacy practices to your child’s unique strengths and needs.
During the months of October, November and December I’ll be offering a beta version of my very first workshop, “Why Your Child Hasn’t Developed a Love of Reading by First Grade” as a holiday special promotion for $47. Start a read aloud habit with your children and set your child up to have a successful school year. Let me show you how. I look forward to working with you!
I never gave the “summer slide” much thought until I became a parent. It’s one of those new buzz word phrases that has become more popular over the past few years. When I was growing up, I don’t recall much learning taking place – we simply had fun playing outside with our friends. Since we couldn’t afford to go to summer camp or take elaborate family trips to Europe or elsewhere, we just used our imagination and spent our summers playing things like dodgeball, double dutch and kick the can sometimes until the wee hours of the night. Those were the days! Now looking back, I’m sure we definitely rode the “summer slide” just about every summer. Yet, it didn’t prevent me from excelling in school, making the honor roll every year and graduating second in my class from high school. Yes, I’m tooting my own horn!
Ok, back to the topic at hand – the summer slide. What is it? The summer slide is a decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session. Numerous studies show that kids who don’t read during summer vacation actually slip in reading ability by the time fall rolls around.
But as parents, we don’t need studies to tell us this, do we? It’s evident in all sorts of situations. For example, if your child plays the piano but stops practicing for three months, he/she isn’t going to be as good as his/her friend who continued to practice and play the piano over the summer, right?
The secret to preventing the summer slide is to keep learning all summer long. Now, don’t panic: I’m not talking about year-round schooling, although for some homeschool families, year-round schooling may be a good solution. What I am talking about is providing learning opportunities throughout the summer that keep kids’ academic skills sharp.
I’m not usually a big fan of workbooks, flash cards or activity books. However, on my quest for different resources to use with my kids over the summer break I stumbled upon this series of activity books called Summer Bridge Activities. Have you heard of these gems before?
With daily, 15-20 minute exercises kids can learn a variety of different skills ranging from letters to fractions and everything in between. This workbook series prevents summer learning loss and paves the way to a successful new school year. And this is no average workbook—Summer Bridge Activities keeps the fun and the sun in summer break!
Designed to prevent a summer learning gap and keep kids mentally and physically active, the hands-on exercises can be done anywhere. These standards-based activities help kids set goals, develop character, practice fitness, and explore the outdoors. With 12 weeks of creative learning, Summer Bridge Activities keeps skills sharp all summer long!
After researching these books, using them with my own kids and reading the rave reviews they’ve received online I was completely sold! I ordered the Summer Bridge Activities Grades PK – K book and we’ve been working through it in just 15 – 20 minutes each day – it’s great! These workbooks aren’t too easy either – they incorporate some challenges too which is exactly what I was looking for. The book we purchased covers topics like: patterns, shapes, colors, numbers, phonics, writing and letters.
Following the introductory pages is a “Summer Reading List” that suggests 34 different fiction titles and 12 nonfiction titles. It’s divided into three sections of increasing difficulty; each 20-day section can be completed in a month. Every section begins with a list of Monthly Goals and a Word List, followed by the 20 days of activity pages, and they conclude with a few “Bonus” pages.
Section 1 features shape recognition, fine motor skill development, and numbers and counting activities provide a good variety of potential learning opportunities. Its bonus sections seem to focus on physical activity and character development. Section 2 highlights numbers and counting, handwriting and phonics, and colors. The bonus section following this section had a science activity, outdoor extension activities, and character development exercises. Section 3 focused on classification and phonics, handwriting and phonics, visual discrimination, grammar and language arts, numbers and counting, and the alphabet.
63 flash cards complete the final “learning” portions of the activity book. There is also a certificate of completion you can remove from the book and fill in with your child’s name once they complete all of the exercises. For those who like a visible affirmation of “great job”, a page of 264 star stickers has been included to use as well.
You can find the complete Summer Bridge Activity Series listed below. Now that I’ve started using these workbooks with my kids, I’m excited to complete the entire series in the summers ahead!
Great news! In an effort to bring you more value and more affordable options, our friends over at The Story Box are celebrating their new book packages and they’ve lowered their prices a bit. Hooray!
Receiving a surprise package in the mail is always a thrill for me! My daughter is at the age where she thinks getting mail is so fun too now that she recognizes here name in print. It makes her feel special to open up a box with her name on it. That’s one of the many reasons why I think a kids’ monthly subscription box is a great gift idea.
Owned by speech-language pathologist (Holly) and her husband (Clint), the Story Box is a subscription box that is intended to be an inexpensive way for parents to grow their children’s personal library of books. When you subscribe to The Story Box, your family will receive a monthly box that is curated by a nationally certified speech-language pathologist.
Each book is carefully selected to be fun and appealing to your little readers. The Story Box family also takes great care in selecting books that will facilitate your child’s communication development and emergent literacy skills. Just to name a few attributes, they love books that are colorful, have great illustrations, good vocabulary, good story line, rhyming, alliteration, and so much more!
We received the Family Package box in the mail which is perfect for our family! Our box contained 1 picture book, 1 board book, a tip card and a parent guide. The tip card contained a challenge to make reading a part of your child’s routine every single day. This challenge isn’t hard for us since we’ve been doing this daily since both of my kids were born. I think the parent guide is so helpful and full of excellent information including language concepts and example extension activities to go along with the picture book we received.
Ok, sounds great. Let’s hear about the new pricing structure and packages!
Board Book Package (Ages 0 to 2 1/2 years old)
Includes: 2 board books per month and the monthly tip card
Month-to-Month Plan: $14.99 per month
3 Month Prepay: $44.97
6 Month Prepay: $89.94
Picture Books Package (Ages 2 1/2 to 6 years old)
Includes: 2 picture books and a parent guide
Month-to-Month Plan: $19.99 per month
3 Month Prepay: $59.97
6 Month Prepay: $119.94
Family Package (Appropriate for families with children in both ages ranges)
Includes: 1 picture book, 1 board book, tip card and parent guide
Month-to-Month Plan: $17.99 per month
3 Month Prepay: $53.97
6 Month Prepay: $107.94
Shipping is always FREE for all plans!
The Discount: Here Wee Read readers get $5.00 off the first order! Just use coupon code SPRING at checkout!
Disclosure: I received this complimentary box for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions are my own.
If you follow my blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about a variety of different subscription boxes and services for both kids and adults. I love kids’ monthly subscription boxes because they offer unique educational experiences. They can give kids of all ages the chance to learn by doing fun projects, crafts and activities.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Petit Mail! Have you heard about these cute subscription story cards yet? I met Alison, owner of Petit Mail, last month on Instagram. I saw a picture of the cards posted on her page and immediately reached out to her. As a mom of two kids under the age of 4, I’m always on the hunt for different activities to do that incorporate both learning and fun.
Petit Mail is a monthly story postcard subscription for kids, ideally suited for preschoolers and early readers. Each month, a story card arrives in a bright, fun envelope, addressed to your child. Story themes follow the adventures of characters Oliver and Olivia, and encourage imagination, creative play and family connection. Currently, there are only two characters available, but there are plans to expand the characters to include more diversity.
Parents and children can read each story card together and use the monthly adventure as inspiration for family time activities. Oliver is putting on a puppet show? You can too. Story topics include science, nature, reading, art and more.
With so much of our days filled with technology, it’s a wonderful treat to receive paper mail – children LOVE finding envelopes in the mailbox addressed just to them. (My children are no different.) Some months include little bonus extras, like stickers or bookmarks and every story card includes a link to additional content for parents with activity tips and suggestions.
When our story cards came in the mail my kids were happy to see their names printed on the envelopes. My son received the story card entitled ‘Oliver Loves Reading’ and my daughter received ‘Olivia’s Science Project’.
The activity on the back of my son’s story card was to go to your local library and have a library scavenger hunt. We haven’t done this yet, but I’m looking forward to doing it! My daughter’s activity on her story card was to mix two colors together to make a new color. We had fun using food coloring to mix blue and red to make purple and blue and yellow to make green.
Parents and caregivers might find Petit Mail to be a very affordable gift subscription. Canada and US subscriptions cost just $6 per month (including postage) and international subscriptions are also available. Subscriptions can be purchased for 3, 6 or 12 months, and make a great non-toy gift for kids.
Happy International Book Giving Day (and Valentine’s Day)! A few weeks ago, I mentioned how I planned to celebrate Book Giving Day this year. You can check out that post here if you missed it.
Our friends over at Reach Out and Read Connecticut, were happy to receive my donation of 83 books along with a set of 12 mini board books for babies. I planned on donating books to other locations as well, but honestly it was easiest for me to just dump them all in one box and make one donation at one location. And if I’m really being honest, I was being lazy because it was bone chilling cold that day. I didn’t feel like driving to multiple locations lugging around books. So there. If I continue this book giving tradition again next year, I’ll be a bit more organized and strategic.
In addition to donating some books from our home library, I reached out to several friends and family members for book donations. I didn’t know what to expect so I set a goal to collect at least 50 books. I was surprised when I surpassed that goal nearly reaching 100!
Overall, it was a fun experience and I’d definitely do it again. What a great way to help promote literacy, give to others who may be in need, and get rid of some unwanted books or books that your children have outgrown.
The kids weren’t too happy about seeing some of their books in the box, especially my daughter. She knew once we put a book in that box it was going to be donated and they wouldn’t have it anymore. I know I could have hid the box and kept it out of sight from the kids, but I wanted them to understand the concept of donating and giving – even if some of their stuff was being given away. Now that the books are gone, she seems to have forgotten all about those books. Kids!
I’m delighted I was able to participate and give back this year. I think International Book Giving Day helps serve as a reminder to remember that we can pay it forward even by donating something as simple as a book. If you’re a parent like me, it’s also a great way to encourage kids to think of others.
Your turn: Did you participate in International Book Giving Day with your little readers this year? If so, I’d love to hear what you did. Feel free to share in the comments.
A few days ago while browsing on Instagram, I found out about an awesome initiative that I just had to share! By now you should know how passionate I am about reading and books, so naturally I would be intrigued by this amazing project that Becky Morales from Kid World Citizen has started.
Becky is an ESL teacher and mom to 5 kids. Her husband is from Mexico, and she is from the US. When they had their two daughters, Becky began looking for ways to incorporate Mexican culture into their family life. Soon, they adopted their son from China, and a couple of years later, another son from Ethiopia. As their family grew, they expanded their celebrations, books, and music to include all of their heritage cultures.
Becky decided to start a blog to help other adoptive families honor and learn about their children’s cultural backgrounds. Many of her readers were adoptive families, but she soon realized that many parents – of all backgrounds – were looking for ways to teach their kids about the world. Parents are interested in raising little global citizens who are aware of others inside and outside their communities. Becky wanted this for for their children too, so she expanded her blog to include the whole world. Hence the name, Kid World Citizen.Becky has been blogging for several years reading tons of books set around the world. Yet, when she read the jacket covers, most often the author was from the US. While the books were taking place around the world, they were not written by authors of the specific culture, who grew up in the particular country. Wanting to experience world cultures from the perspectives of their citizens, she began to look for children’s books that have been translated into English.
It’s not a simple task, and may prove to be unattainable: there are many countries that have few publishing houses (or none at all). If they have published children’s books, it is possible that none of have been translated.
Becky decided to start an editable google doc, where she could crowdsource ideas. She called out to her networks and asked friends, family, teachers, librarians, and organizations to suggest book titles.
The project “Kids Read the World” is just at the beginning stages. They are looking for recommendations of favorite, original children’s books (translated) from every country in the world. They are hoping to read classic books that are enjoyed by kids around the planet: picture books, traditional stories, folktales, picture books or easy chapter books.
The best part? The live document is editable, and anyone can read it and add to it! That’s right, Kid World Citizen is asking readers to look over the list, and add any book titles under the appropriate countries. When they finish with the list, they will also share that so that others can read their way around the world! What a neat project, wouldn’t you agree? I can’t wait to see the final list of books!
I hope you’ll join Becky and our friends over at Kid World Citizen in researching books titles and compiling the master list!
Your turn: What translated books from around the world would you add to the list? Feel free to share in the comments.