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!

    national poetry month, poetry challenge

    Poetry Reading and Craft Challenge for Kids: Week 3

    It’s week three of our poetry reading and craft challenge!  Have you been following along with your little ones?  I hope so.

    This week’s poem and craft is all about caterpillars.  I don’t particularly like caterpillars, but I think they are are truly fascinating creatures.  There is something so interesting to me about watching them undergo metamorphosis and emerge as a beautiful winged creature.

    I hope you and your children enjoy this week’s poem and craft selection!

    Here is the poem we’ll be memorizing this week.  Click here if you want to print it out.

    This week’s craft is caterpillars made with pom pom’s, googly eyes and clothespins.

    Instructions:  Simply hot glue pom poms onto a clothespin then add two googly eyes.  Doesn’t get any easier than that.  You can also add antenna and legs using pipecleaners if you want to jazz it up a bit.

    Feel free to do this craft or one of your own.  Enjoy!

    ~ Until next week!

    read aloud

    Reading the Bible Aloud to Kids Plus My Favorite Bible and Prayer Apps!

    One of my goals for this summer is to start bringing my 2 1/2 year-old daughter to Sunday school.  I want both of my kids to understand God and have a relationship with Him that lasts into their adult lives.

    Since my son is still too young to start Sunday school I’ll also be getting him involved in learning about the Bible and God with the help of an awesome series of books I recently learned about.

    The Read Aloud Bible Stories books are simply amazing!  I ordered the first book in this series: Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 1 a couple of weeks ago.  This award-winning series has been a bestseller since 1982.  It’s currently available in five volumes and draws from both the Old and New Testament stories.

    read aloud bible stories

    I love that each story is followed by simple application questions to teach children that although the Bible was written many years ago, it can still be applied to our everyday lives.

    When I read this book to the kids the first time I was surprised at how attentive they were.  The rich and vibrant illustrations and writing is what kept them engaged.  I’ll definitely be purchasing volumes 2 – 5 to add them to our home library collection.

    Here are the other 4 volumes:

    Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 2
    Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 3
    Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 4
    Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 5

    How do you teach your children about the Bible?  Have you read any of the books in this series?  I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions.

    My Favorite Bible and Prayer Apps

    Perhaps you’re also interested in deepening or strengthening your relationship with God.  I know getting to church on a regular basis when you have small kids can sometimes be difficult.  Therefore, I thought it might be helpful to share my favorite apps to use for prayer, meditation and reading the Bible.

    I hope you enjoy this list and perhaps find an app that will help enrich your prayer life too!  Note:  I know all of these apps are available for iPhones, but I’m not sure about Android.

    1. Olive Tree

    I like this app for reading the Bible when out in public like when I’m at church.  The main reason I like it is because you can download the entire Bible and you don’t have to be connected to WIFI or the internet in order to read.  It’s available for Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, Kindle and Nook.  Free to use, but there is also a paid version you can use too.

    2. Verse a Day

    Get a new Bible verse delivered to you every day in a clean, simple format.  It also gives you an option to click “Show Commentary” to read a short reflection on the verse.  This app doesn’t require a login. Free to use.

    3.  Holy Bible

    With this app you can have the entire Bible at your fingertips with several different translations to choose from.  My favorite part of this app is that it will actually read the Bible to you.  Free reading plans are also available as well as a verse of the day.  Free to use.

    4.  Echo Prayer

    Has anyone ever asked you to pray for them or keep them in prayer?  Well now you can have an actual list of people you are praying for right on your smartphone.  Use this app to easily add their name and a prayer description to your list.  You can also set a prayer reminder such as: “Uncle-surgery Friday at 9am” to help you pray for someone at a certain time of day.

    When your prayer time is limited, set an in-app timer so you can focus on your prayers and not the clock.  Prayers marked “answered” are added to a list for easy reflection.  Use hashtags (#) to organize your prayers into groups.  A simple login is required the first time you use this app.  Free to use.

    5. 3 Minute Retreat

    I love this app and use it daily!  Sometimes you only have three minutes of peace throughout your busy day.  Why not spend it with God using this app?

    Every day is a new retreat, which begins with a Bible verse, followed by a short reflection and simple questions to help you relate it all back to your own life.  It also includes a short prayer at the end of the retreat.  An added bonus is calming music in the background (which can be muted if desired).  Free to use.  Note:  Make sure your volume is turned up and your phone isn’t on silent or vibration mode if you want to hear the music.

    Bonus App:  If you’re into making your prayer requests public and want to join a supportive community, you can also check out Instapray.  Think Facebook, but for connecting people through prayers. (I do not use this app.)

    There you have it, my five favorite Bible and prayer apps.  Did I mention they are all FREE?

    Do you currently use any of these apps?  Which ones would you add to the list?  Let me know in the comments if you care to share.

    adult books, currently reading

    What I’m Reading (in April 2015)

    Below are the two books I’m reading for the month of April.  I started reading another book, but didn’t like it so I picked up Gretchen Rubin’s latest book instead.  I’d love to hear what book(s) you’re reading this month.  Let me know in the comments if you care to share.

    ~Happy Reading!

    Status: Finished

    I read Gretchen’s other book, The Happiness Project years ago and loved it!  I’m hoping this book will be just as good if not better.  It’s supposed to answer the question, “How do we change our habits?”French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon

    Status: Finished
    As the cover of the book states, Karen Le Billon and her husband moved their family from North America to France where they “cured” picky eating, quit giving their kids snacks, and started living by 10 simple rules that eventually taught her kids to be happy eaters who eat healthy food.
    children's literacy, sight words

    Fun With Sight Words: Cup Stacking

    Since my daughter Sparkles will be starting preschool in the fall, (she’s currently in a toddler preschool program for two-year olds) we’ve been playing with sight words quite a bit around here.  Therefore, I thought I’d share some of our sight word activities through a series of different posts called “Fun With Sight Words”.  This is the first post in the series.

    I believe in play-based learning for kids instead of drilling them with worksheets and flash cards.  So I try to add as much movement, interaction, and fun to our sight word practice as possible.  We practice our sight word lists throughout the week in various ways. The more exposure to the words that the kids get, the easier it seems to “stick” with them.  Along with books and lots of time spent reading comes learning phonics and sight words.

    Before I get into the activity, let’s talk about the importance of why children should learn sight words.

    When children enter school they are asked to learn these words by sight because they cannot be sounded out due to exceptions to phonetic rules.  They need to simply be learned by sight. Hence the term “sight words.”  Many sight words are “service” words. There is no “picture” to go with them. Words like “and” and “to”  are examples of these kinds of words. Learning these words helps children become fluent readers and also aids in comprehension.

    In order for sight words to be effective, create opportunities for your children to be exposed to high-frequency words through various activities including poems, songs, and word games. With the proper exposure and practice with sight words, children eventually recognize them instantly when reading independently or if they are being read to.

    Sight Word Activity: Cup Stacking

    My kids love stacking cups and so do I.  Something about it just makes me feel like a kid again.  Oh, and let’s not forget the best part – knocking them down afterwards!

    To do this activity all I did was cut out various sight words and glued them onto paper cups.  Easy peasy.  There are several different games that can be played stacking cups, but since my kids are still small we only use these cups in one of two ways.

    Activity #1
    We stack all of the cups and I read each sight word as we go along.  Once the “tower” is built I then point to each sight word and say it aloud again.  Sometimes the kids will say the words with me and sometimes they just listen.  Then we knock them all down!

    Activity #2
    I form short phrases or sentences and read the words aloud to the kids.  Again, I point to each word as I say it.

    As the kids get older we’ll incorporate more fun games with cup stacking.

    Do you have fun ways to learn sight words and/or spelling words?  Please comment below and share your ideas.

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    national poetry month, poetry challenge

    Poetry Reading and Craft Challenge for Kids: Week 2

    Happy Easter!

    This week we’ll be memorizing a poem about raindrops and flowers growing.  Please note the original author of the poem I selected is unknown in case you’re wondering.

    Here is the poem:


    You can either choose one of the two crafts we did or create your own.  The raindrops and umbrella craft should be pretty straightforward.  To do this you’ll need:

    • Cupcake liners (we used 2)
    • Scissors (or a sharp object to poke a hole through the top of the cupcake liner)
    • Pipecleaners (we used 1 and cut it in half)
    • Sharpie marker
    • 1 piece of construction paper (we used blue, but you could also use white or another color)
    • blue paint and paintbrushes (or a blue marker/crayon for the raindrops)
    • gluestick or glue gun
    If you and your kids want to tackle the paper plate flower craft you’ll need:
    • 1 white paper plate
    • 1 piece of green construction paper (for the flower stem and leaves)
    • 1 piece of white paper (for the flower petals)
    • scissors
    • paint and paintbrushes (we used purple, pink and yellow)
    • glue gun
    Here is a pictoral tutorial for both craft projects:
    Again, I’m not going to include step-by-step written instructions as I think these should be easy to figure out on your own.  As always, please ask questions if you need to.  I’m willing to help!I hope you and your little ones enjoy this week’s poem and craft project(s)!


    currently reading, read aloud

    What the Kids are Reading (in April 2015)

    I seriously cannot believe we’re already in the month of April!  I swear time goes by so much faster when you have kids…or maybe it’s just me.

    Below you’ll find all of the books I’ll be reading to the kids for the month of April.  Since it’s Easter, National Poetry Month, and Earth Month I think I’ve selected a nice variety of books.

    This book is super cute!  It’s a wordless picture book, but the overall message of teamwork and working together is great!  Oh, and the pictures are just so adorable!  This would make a really cute Easter gift.  Sparkles cannot get enough of this book and neither can I.
    Through the story of a little boy named Felix, this charming book explains to children how being kind not only helps others, it helps them, too. As he goes about his day, Felix interacts with different people — his sister Anna, his grandfather, other family and friends. Some people are happy, but others are grumpy or sad. Using the metaphor of a bucket and dipper, Felix’ grandfather explains why the happy people make Felix feel good, while the others leave him feeling bad — and how Felix himself is affecting others, whether he means to or not.


    This book brings counting to life with a cute story about friendship!


    When Felix wakes up one morning, he finds an invisible bucket floating overhead. A rotten morning threatens his mood–and his bucket–drop by drop. Can Felix discover how to refill his bucket before it’s completely empty?


    Emma’s family is celebrating Easter! Emma and her little brother hunt for Easter eggs and candy. They go to church. Then relatives come over for a big meal.


    Giraffes Can’t Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.  Another favorite for the kiddos!


    Haiku poems just for boys…yes please!  My library had this on display so I snatched it up for my little man.  It contains a nice assortment of poems.


    Yes, this book has a hole right in the center of it…brilliant!  The kids get a kick out of putting their hands or any other objects lying around through the middle…so cute!  The Book with a Hole blasts a hole through the middle of the book itself. Sometimes the hole is an eye the reader can look through; sometimes it is a mouth and the reader’s fingers make the teeth! The next minute it is a plate (with food drawn by the reader on a sheet of paper behind the book), an obstacle to jump across, or a saucepan.


    This book has been on my “to-read-to-the-kids list” for a while and I finally got it.  Iggy has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could forget the tower he built of dirty diapers?


    A classic favorite finds six lovable animals using humorous rhymes to help Lloyd the llama discover what kind of animal his mother is.


    I love this book more than the kids do.  Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful.


    This is definitely a book to add to your home library if you like prayers and teach your children to pray.  I bought this for the kids for Easter…so beautiful!  This poem is nice to recite at bedtime.


    This is another book I’ve been wanting to read to the kids for a while.  Such an inspiring book for girls and boys alike!


    I adore this book!  What a beautiful story about a tiny snail and a giant whale.  The overall message is fantastic…another winner from Julia Donaldson!


    The poems in this book are funny!  We love the one entitled ‘Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight’.
    Join Little Mole as he travels over land, air, and sea in search of an answer to his question: “How big is the world?”  Lovely story and beautifully illustrated.