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children’s literacy

    children's literacy, holiday books, national dictionary day

    Do Your Kids Own a Dictionary?

    Do your kids own a dictionary?  Or are they becoming a thing of the past?  I purchased two for the kids a few years ago, but we haven’t started really exploring them yet since they’re both still young.  However, we have used other age-appropriate children’s dictionaries geared towards the preschool crowd on occasion when we’re not reading board books or picture books.

    Do Your Kids Own a Dictionary-

    Since National Dictionary Day is coming up on October 16th, I thought I’d provide you with a list of different children’s dictionaries to choose from.  Dictionary Day, the annual celebration of all things lexicographical also happens to be Noah Webster’s birthday who was born way back in 1758.  Dictionary Day was founded to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Noah Webster – the father of the modern dictionary.

    Today, Dictionary Day is largely an opportunity for school teachers to organize classroom activities encouraging students to build their dictionary skills and to exult in the joy of words.  Why not take the opportunity to learn some new words yourself or with the kids on October 16th?  It’s fun. I promise.

    The word that I learned today is “mucro.”

    Mucro \ MYOO-kroh \ noun 1. A short point projecting abruptly, as at the end of a leaf or the point of a sword.

    Now, you can start using it in day-to-day language. See? Fun! Useful! Important! (Well, at least I think so…ha ha!)

    Below are a few children’s dictionaries I’d recommend.  Enjoy!

    My First 1,000 Words
    myfirst1000words
    This book is a great tool for introducing children to new vocabulary words. Words are organized into fun categories, and each word is accompanied by a colorful and kid-friendly image. Sample sentences show how the vocabulary words are used.  Recommended for children ages 1 – 5.

    My First Phonics Dictionary

    myfirstphonicsdictionary
    Children who are familiar with phonics will be a step ahead when learning to read. My First Phonics Dictionary is designed to make phonics easy and fun for beginning learners. The dictionary, recommended for children ages 4 and older, is an ideal tool for introducing sounds and the letters that correspond to them.

    The 96-page dictionary begins with simple consonant and vowel sounds like b and e. More difficult consonant and vowel sounds, such as ch and ea, are presented in the final two sections. Each sound is accompanied by several common words that represent the sound, along with a colorful photograph or illustration of the word. A two-page review at the end of each section helps reinforce the sounds just presented. In addition, a sounds chart at the end of the dictionary lists the key pictures and key words used for each sound in the book.  Recommended for children ages 2 – 6.

    My First English Spanish Dictionary

    myfirstspanishenglishdictionary
    The Perfect Primer for early bilingual language development.  This book is divided into two sections.

    1) Favorite Animals – like: Farms, Wild animals, Parks, Pets
    2) Themes – like: Foods, Insects, Body, Transportation, Clothes

    Great for Home Schools and Early learning!  Recommended for children ages 4 – 8 years old.

    French-English Picture Dictionary
    frenchenglishpicturedictionary
    It’s never too soon to start teaching boys and girls a second language, and this book presents pages filled with cheerful color pictures that help teach French words to English-speaking children in early grades. It presents more than 350 illustrations of familiar objects, with nine pictures on each page. Every picture is labeled with its English word, followed by its French equivalent.

    Words are grouped according to themes, such as Sports, The Classroom, Fruit, Vegetables, Party Time, Weather, and many others.  Recommended for children ages 4 – 8 years old.

    My First Dictionary
    myfirstdictionary
    My First Dictionary is the perfect go-to reference. With one thousand entries and pictures, this first dictionary features nouns, verbs, and adjectives that are most commonly encountered by young children, and definitions that give the word’s primary meaning in terms of a child’s experience. Every entry has been checked to ensure it is up-to-date, and new words and pictures have been added to make sure it’s relevant for today’s kids.  Recommended for children ages 5 and up.

    Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary
    merriamwebsterchildrensdictionary
    This revised and updated dictionary for elementary school children includes more than 93 new entries, from broadband and graphic novel to MP3 and smartphone — for a total of 35,000 words and phrases in all. Each entry is fully explained with its definition, usage, examples, and notes on spelling and punctuation.  Recommended for children ages 5 – 9 years old.

    Math Dictionary for Kids, 4E: The Essential Guide to Math Terms, Strategies, and Tables
    mathdictionaryforkids
    Equipped with this handy, updated reference of more than 400 full-color, illustrated definitions, children will be able to quickly find the definitions and illustrated examples that will enable them to solve many of the math challenges they face. Recommended for students in grades 4–9.

    Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary

    merriamwebsterelementarydictionary
    New features include pronunciation paragraphs for every letter, Greek & Latin word root paragraphs, and kid-friendly usage hints in full sentences.  Special sections include geographical names, signs and symbols, an introduction to Greek & Latin roots in English, a guide for writers, and a list of literary works used in the text.  This dictionary is designed to help students and educators meet Common Core Standards.  Recommended for children ages 8 and up.

    Oxford Illustrated Children’s Dictionary
    oxfordillustratedchildrensdictionary
    The Oxford Children’s Dictionary boasts a number of features that make it an ideal reference work for young children. It offers crystal clear definitions, which include pronunciation guides for difficult words (such as guerilla or ricochet) and up-to-date example sentences that show how words are used in context. It has an attractive layout, with headwords in color and numerous illustrations on every page.  Recommended for children ages 8 and up.

    Kid’s Bible Dictionary
    kidsbibledictionary
    Bible dictionaries are a fantastic tool for better understanding scripture – and here’s a dictionary especially for younger readers! The Kids’ Bible Dictionary provides interesting, age-appropriate, often fun definitions for 1,000 Bible words and names. From Aaron, Abba, and Abomination to Zacchaeus, Zeal, and Zion, the Kid’s Bible Dictionary covers all the key terms from the whole of scripture. Fully illustrated, with a colorful, kid-friendly design, Kid’s Bible Dictionary is ideal for personal reading, Sunday schools, and home schooling.  Recommended for children ages 8 to 12.

    Super Heroes: My First Dictionary

    superheroesmyfirstdictionary
    This sounds like it may be a fun dictionary for little boys who love super heroes and comic strips.  Introduce children to first words in this super-cool pre-school visual dictionary.

    A combination of the 500 most popular words for preschoolers along with essential DC super hero names and terms, this unique visual dictionary makes it fun for kids to build their vocabulary and early and pre-reading skills. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash–and other fan favorites–are fabulous guides to first words and the DC universe. The classic comic book art rounds out this entertaining, educational, great-looking package. Each entry includes an illustration, and an example of the word used in a sentence.  Recommended for children ages 3 and up.

    Dictionaries provide children with so much information about words, especially when they’re learning to read. They teach things like: pronunciation, correct spelling(s), word meanings, parts of speech, and syllable divisions.

    Your turn: Did you find this list of children’s dictionaries to be helpful?  Do you feel dictionaries are becoming obsolete with the invention of online dictionaries?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, read aloud

    Picture of Grace: A Book Review

    Picture of Grace
    by Josh Armstrong
    pictureofgrace

    This Sunday, September 13th is National Grandparents Day.  I’ll be honest and say I didn’t even know such a day existed until my adult years.  This is probably because it didn’t originate in the United States until the year 1978.  It’s often one of those holidays that can be easily overlooked especially since it’s right around back-to-school, Labor Day and adjusting to new routines for both kids and adults.

    Of course, one way the kids and I will be celebrating Grandparents Day is by reading grandparent-related books like Picture of Grace written by Josh Armstrong.

    Summary
    Six-year-old Grace aspires to be an artist like her beloved grandfather Walt. Every week, she goes to his house and watches with great joy as he paints.

    Of course, not everyone appreciates Grandpa Walt’s artwork. But as Walt tells Grace, “Some people appreciate the hard work while others just want the painting to be finished. But you can’t be distracted by either group.”

    When tragedy strikes, Grace takes it upon herself to honor Grandpa Walt in a special way. Through her act of love and kindness, Grace’s family discovers an amazing secret about Walt’s final, unfinished masterpiece.

    Reflection
    What a heartfelt story about a little girl who is her grandfather’s biggest fan!  First off, let’s talk about the book cover illustration.  It’s so simple, yet so beautiful!  I think the illustrations used throughout this book are amazing and really do an awesome job of capturing a wide range of emotions: happiness, sadness, shock, confusion, and anger.

    Next, I think the story is very engaging and interesting.  I love the relationship between Grace and her Grandpa Walt.  How cool would it be to have a grandfather who is also a famous artist?  What a treat it would be to sit and watch him paint his masterpieces and have them come to life right before your eyes!  It’s apparent that Grace envied her grandfather as she told him she wanted to be just like him when she grew up.  I loved Grandpa Walt’s response when he said to Grace, “That’s very kind of you, but I can think of nothing better than you simply being yourself.”  Who wouldn’t love a grandpa like that?

    Grandpa Walt was in the process of painting his final masterpiece and Grace enjoyed sitting by her grandpa’s side each day while he painted.  Then one day tragedy strikes and Grace is heartbroken.

    I was surprised when Grandpa Walt passed away.  I wasn’t expecting that at all.  This is the first book I’ve read to the kids where someone actually dies in the book.  Although death is touched upon briefly, I didn’t find it to be disturbing to the kids in any way.  My kids are still too young to have an in depth conversation about death so when Grace’s mother tells her she can’t visit Grandpa Walt anymore, I just told the kids Grace was sad and moved on with the story.  I think it also helped that the author chose not to dwell on the loss of Grandpa Walt with text.  Instead, the illustrations did all the talking and let you know why Grace wouldn’t have the opportunity to see her grandfather again.

    Finally, I really enjoyed the ending of this book when Grace took it upon herself to finish the painting her grandfather started by adding her own special touch.  She painted herself and her grandfather both smiling and having fun – just the way she remembered spending time with him.  It was perfect!

    Although death is addressed in this book, don’t let that deter you from reading it to your little ones.  Besides, there are other topics to be explored and discussed like: grandparents, art, honoring loved ones, love, courage, and respect.

    Overall, I think this is a good, quality book for children, although I would recommend it for children ages 4 – 8 years old.  Consider letting the kids snuggle up with a grandparent and read this touching story.  Or, if your child’s grandparents have passed away read it in remembrance of them.

    Special Grandparent’s Day Deal: The e-book is FREE until Grandparent’s Day on Sunday, 9/13.  Get your FREE e-book copy here.  Hurry, expires on 9/13!

    About the Author
    Josh Armstrong is a bereavement counselor for Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care. This year, he published his first illustrated children’s book, Picture of Grace, collaborating with Tear Soup illustrator Taylor Bills. He has also contributed to several newspapers, including The Mount Airy News, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Elkin Tribune and The Weekly Independent. He and wife Chelsea celebrated their third anniversary this March.

    For more information about the book or the author please visit the website: http://josharmstrong.com/
    Picture of Grace is also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/picofgrace

    Your turn: Did you enjoy this book review?  How will you be celebrating Grandparent’s Day with your little ones?  Feel free to share in the comments below.

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    back to school books, children's literacy, read aloud

    My Favorite Back to School Toddler and Preschool Books

    Ah, back to school, the smell of new clothes, crayons, scented markers, and the excitement of a new school year. For some children, September means starting anew with a clean slate.  For others it’s a reunion of friends being united once again.

    Soon many parents will be scouting libraries, websites and bookstores for the perfect “going to school” books.  I think the most popular topics for these books fall into a few different categories:

    • Making new friends
    • Separation anxiety
    • Dealing with new situations, routines and schedules
    • Helping children (and some parents) cope with feelings of anticipation, excitement and nervousness

    Last year when my daughter started preschool in a program for two-year old toddlers, I discovered that starting a new school year is a big transition for the whole family.  Therefore, to help ease this transition for her I started reading books about school.  In addition, I took her to the school regularly to play in the playground so she became familiar with the outside environment.

    I think both of those things helped tremendously although like many of her other classmates she suffered from separation anxiety the most.  It took most of the kids in her class about two weeks to fully adjust.

    I believe reading a variety of books about school and school related topics can help children relate to various situations they might encounter.  And it may also help to spark conversations about their thoughts on a new school year.

    My “Back to School” list includes books for toddlers preschoolers since that is the age range of my own children.  I hope you’ll find these helpful and possibly a few to read to your little ones as well.  Enjoy! (Note: This post contains some affiliate links.)

    O U R   E S C A P E

    Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
    llamallamamissesmama
    Reading this book to my daughter last year was by far the most helpful in helping with transitioning to school.

    It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn’t so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back?  Of course she will. But before she does, the other children show Llama Llama how much fun school can be!

    Oh My Baby, Little One by Kathi Applet
    ohmybabylittleone
    When Baby Bird says good-bye to his mama at school each morning, he feels sad. Mama Bird feels sad, too. Sometimes it’s hard to be apart. But as Mama Bird says, the love they share is with them always, keeping them close until the best part of the day–when they are together again.

    The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
    thekissinghand
    School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary.

    My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
    mynameisyoon
    This book is similar to the book The Name Jar also featured below.  Such a great book for all children!

    Yoon’s name means “shining wisdom,” and when she writes it in Korean, it looks happy, like dancing figures. But her father tells her that she must learn to write it in English. In English, all the lines and circles stand alone, which is just how Yoon feels in the United States. Yoon isn’t sure that she wants to be YOON. At her new school, she tries out different names–maybe CAT or BIRD. Maybe CUPCAKE!

    First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
    firstdayjitters
    Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

    Dad’s First Day by Mike Wohnoutka
    dadsfirstday
    All summer Oliver and his dad played together, laughed together, sang together, and read together.  Now it’s time for Oliver to start school!  On the first day, Oliver’s dad isn’t quite ready. . . . Suddenly he feels nervous. His tummy hurts, and he would rather stay home.  But Oliver isn’t convinced. What if the first day is really fun? What if it’s the start of an exciting year?

    My Preschool by Anne Rockwell
    mypreschool
    Join a happy little boy during a day at preschool, from cheerful hellos in circle time, to painting colorful pictures and playing at the water table before snack time. The best part of saying good-bye at the end of the day is that the little boy knows he will come back tomorrow.

    Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
    startingschool
    This wonderfully warm and humorous book will put any preschooler’s jitters to rest. “The first four months of school for eight first graders are chronicled in wonderful watercolor detail.

    Pete the Cat: Too Cool for School by Kimberly and James Dean
    petethecattoocoolforschool
    In this funny My First I Can Read Book, Pete just can’t decide which outfit to wear to school! He has so many options to choose from. Fans of Pete the Cat will enjoy Pete’s creativity in choosing the coolest outfit.

    The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
    thenamejar
    I recently wrote a review for this wonderful book.  You can read it here.

    Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from.

    Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard
    missnelsonismissing
    Ok, who else remembers reading this book as a child?  I used to love this one!

    The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzing through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school.  So begins this quirky classic, first published in 1977 and still relevant today as a lighthearted reminder to show our appreciation to those we value.

    Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins
    maisygoestopreschool
    Preschool for Maisy means a day filled with friends and things to do, from the time she hangs her coat on a special peg to the time she says good-bye. There’s painting and snack time, stories and nap time (and a bathroom break in between). Soon everyone is ready to haul out the instruments and make some noise, then head outside for a turn at the sandbox or slide.

    Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus by James Dean
    petethecatthewheelsonthebus
    Join Pete as he rides on the bus to school with his friends and hears all the different sounds a bus makes as it drives. Fans of Pete the Cat will sing along with Pete in this rendition of a classic favorite children’s song.

    Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London
    froggygoestoschool
    Froggy’s mother knows that everyone’s nervous on the first day of school. “Not me!” says Froggy, and together they leapfrog to the bus stop — flop flop flop. Froggy’s exuberant antics, complete with sound effects, will delight his many fans and reassure them that school can be fun.

    The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing
    thenightbeforepreschool
    It’s the night before preschool, and a little boy named Billy is so nervous he can’t fall asleep. The friends he makes the next day at school give him a reason not to sleep the next night, either: he’s too excited about going back! The book’s simple rhyming text and sweet illustrations will soothe any child’s fears about the first day of school.

    Curious George’s First Day of School by H.A. Rey
    curiousgeorgesfirstdayofschool
    It’s the first day of school, and Curious George has been invited to Mr. Apple’s class to be a special helper! George is just the right monkey for the job—until he starts to wreak his usual havoc, that is. Red and yellow paint makes orange, yellow and blue makes green . . . and a mixture of all the paint colors makes a big mess!

    Your turn: What are your favorite “going to school” books to read with your children?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's literacy, read aloud, subscription boxes

    Bookroo: A Children’s Book Subscription

    Have you heard of Bookroo yet?  If not, please allow me to introduce you to this fabulous new children’s book subscription box.

    When Jane from Bookroo contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in writing a review for their subscription box I was so excited and I couldn’t wait for our box to arrive in the mail!  Thank you for this wonderful opportunity, Jane and the rest of the Bookroo crew!

    bookroo

    What is Bookroo?
    Bookroo offers three different subscription types: month-by-month, three-month or six-month. Each month you receive either three board books (if you sign up for board books) or two picture books (if you sign up for picture books).  You are not allowed to select the books you receive, but you can be assured the books will be good quality.

    I know you may be thinking, what makes this subscription box different from all the others out there?  I asked Jane this same question.  What makes Bookroo stand out is the experience they create and the value at which it is offered. While there are other book subscription boxes, by wrapping each book in quality and cute wrapping paper, and including a hand written note, Bookroo brings the excitement of unwrapping and gift giving to books! Also, in every box the retail of the books exceeds the subscription price, so Bookroo customers get the books plus the experience at a discount, rather than at a premium.  Oh yeah, they offer FREE shipping too.  Score!

    In the event you receive books you already own simply take a picture of yourself or your child giving the book(s) to someone else and you’ll get $5 off of your next subscription.  This is great for kids who already have lots of books in their home library collection.

    When our Bookroo package arrived I was thrilled!  I waited until the kids came home from daycare so they could open up the box.  We signed up for picture books so there were two books in our box.  Each booked was individually wrapped by hand with quality wrapping paper and even tied together with twine.  I just love it when companies go the extra mile to make you feel special!

    I wasted no time and read both books to the kids right away.  The book titles we received are: The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner and Dream Away by Julia Durango and Katie Belle Trupiano.  The kids seemed to enjoy both books, but if we had to choose a favorite between the two it would be the book Dream Away.  My kids seem to love books with rhyming text, plus it’s a good bedtime story.

    Ready to find out how you sign up for your Bookroo subscription?  Remember, there are 3 different subscription types to choose from:

    • 1 month – $19.99 with FREE shipping
    •  3 month – $55.99 with FREE shipping
    • 6 months – $104.99 with FREE shipping

    As a bonus: The Bookroo crew was gracious enough to provide an exclusive discount code to share with my readers.  This discount allows you to save $4 off your first order!  Get your Bookroo discount here!

    And it gets even better!  Right now they are also offering a buy one, give one promotion.  Sweet!  More details can be found here.

    Thanks again Bookroo for offering such a great, quality children’s book subscription box to get kids excited about reading!

    Want to connect with Bookroo?  Visit their website!
    You can also find them on Social Media: Facebook Instagram

    Disclaimer:  I did not receive financial compensation for this review.  I purchased the subscription box with my own money.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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    children's literacy, reading tips

    Literacy Expert Spotlight: Kathleen Odean

    Starting this month, I will be featuring a literacy expert on the blog each month!  Exciting, right?  This is one of the “secrets” I’ve been working on behind the scenes in an effort to keep bringing you fresh content and new literacy ideas.

    For now, these posts will only last through the end of this year.  If they prove to be popular and if I’m able to feature more people I’ll keep it going.

    This month’s literacy expert is Kathleen Odean, an expert on children’s and adults books.   Kathleen has spent the last thirty years steeped in books for young people as a librarian, workshop presenter, reviewer, university instructor, and author of four guides to children’s books. All her work is aimed at helping young people connect with books that will enrich their lives and add to their happiness.

    odean_kathleen

    Q: Kathleen, please tell us a little about yourself.
    A: I spent seventeen years as a children’s librarian in public and school libraries. Now I give workshops to educators on new books for young people and do a lot of reviewing. My mission is to connect kids and teens with good books, whether I’m doing it directly or through their teachers and parents. I’ve written four guides to children’s books, published by Random House: Great Books for Girls, Great Books for Boys, Great Books About Things Kids Love, and Great Books for Babies and Toddlers. I also had the wonderful privilege of chairing the 2002 Newbery Award Committee.

    Q: Do you have any literacy rituals that you practice in your family?
    A: Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a mother who read to me and took us five kids to the library a lot. My husband reads to me now when we have time, mostly nonfiction. He and I have been in a nonfiction book group with other adults for about 7 years, which is sheer pleasure.

    Q: If you could give parents one piece of advice about reading with children, what would it be?
    A: Make it fun. You don’t have to teach your children to read, because that’s what schools do. You need to give them positive associations with reading, which means having a good time together around reading and choosing books you both enjoy. Let them see you read for pleasure, too—that makes a big difference.

    Q: What were some of the favorite children’s board, picture, or chapter books you’ve read or come across this year?
    A: A picture book I like a lot is A Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara with pictures by G. Brian Karas. I love Jerry Pinkney’s new version of The Grasshopper and the Ants. I’m a big fan of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books, the latest of which is I Will Take a Nap! All three are 2015 publications.

    Q: What are some of your must-have children’s books for a home library?
    A: Two categories come to mind.  One is your children’s favorite books that they will want to re-read and cherish. Another is poetry anthologies like The Random House Book of Poetry for Children selected by Jack Prelutsky, with pictures by Arnold Lobel. A love of poetry is a gift parents can give to their children, and having anthologies at home is a large part of that.

    Q: Hardcover or e-book (when reading a book on your own)?
    A: Actually, paperback is my favorite but I use e-books when I’m traveling.

    Q: Fiction, non-fiction or some other genre (when reading a book on your own)?
    A: Everything. I love fiction including literary fiction and mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and poetry.

    Name an adult book that:

    a) Inspired you: I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick (a young adult memoir)
    b) Made you laugh out loud: Anything by Terry Pratchett.
    c) You recommend to others often: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

    Q: What books are on your nightstand or e-reader right now?
    A:
    I give workshops to educators on new young adult books, so I’m busy reading the newest ones.

    Q: How can people get in touch with you on social media or on your website?
    I blog about YA (Young Adult) nonfiction at greatcommoncorenonfiction.com. I can also be reached through my website, kathleenodean.com.

    Check out Kathleen’s Books!

    Great Books for Girls
    Great Books for Boys
    Great Books for Babies and Toddlers
    Great Books about Things Kids Love

    Your Turn:  Did you enjoy this post?  Are you interested in being featured?  Do you know someone who might want to be featured?  Feel free to let me know in the comments or send me an e-mail.

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    children's literacy, holiday books, read aloud

    Five Children’s Books to Read for the 4th of July

    The Fourth of July is a day to reflect on the history of our country, and to celebrate the things that make it unique. It is also a time in which many of us celebrate with our family and friends, have cookouts, watch parades, and end the day with fireworks bursting in the sky.

    I hope you’ll take a moment to read a book about the holiday with your children in spite of the racial tensions going on in the world today.  We still have so much to be thankful for and celebrate.

    There are so many good books available that explore the history of our great country and many are geared to children.  Below are a few to choose from.  Happy 4th!

    ABC USA by Martin Jarrie
    Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong
    Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko and Melissa Sweet
    Your turn:  What’s on your reading stack for the 4th of July holiday weekend?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.
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    children's literacy, sight words

    Fun With Sight Words: Water Balloons & Word Walls

    I love discovering new and simple sight word activities to try out with the kids!  Once a month I present a short list of words to both of my kids, specifically my daughter since she’s older.

    Since I started doing this some time last year there are many words my daughter can recognize instantly and effortlessly.  I believe that by automatically recognizing these words it has helped her develop into a fast reader. Repeated exposure to sight words is key so I come up with different ways to expose the kids to the same words over and over until they stick.

    Recently, I created a simple “word wall” using post it notes which turned out a be a big hit with my daughter.  I often catch her reading her words when she wakes up in the morning or when preparing for bedtime.

    Since it’s summertime, I wanted a sight word activity we could do outside that involved water.  Then I came across a simple activity with water balloons.  I thought how hard can this be – Fill balloons with water- Write words on balloons – Throw at each other.  Viola!  Instant fun and learning at the same time.

    Before throwing each balloon we sing a song that reinforces the spelling of the word and then bombs away!  Such a fun activity on a hot day!

    Your Turn:  What are your favorite sight word activities to do with your little ones?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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