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read aloud

    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.

    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.

    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.

    children's literacy, read aloud, reading tips

    My Best Tips for Reading Aloud to Young Kids


    Reading to my kids regularly is a fabulous, frugal, habit that I enjoy immensely. It costs little to nothing if you get your books from the library, and it’s a great way to spend quality time together.

    I’ve heard from other moms that reading to your kids isn’t automatically an easy thing to do, especially if you have kids of multiple ages or have a very active kid who doesn’t like to slow down to listen.

    So, in honor of National Read Aloud month, I thought I’d share some of my read aloud tips:

    1. Make it a habit.

    Read aloud every day.  Pick a reading time and put it on your schedule. After breakfast? At bedtime? After lunch? If you work it into your day, you’ll be more likely to do it and your kids will come to count on it.  We do our read alouds either in at bedtime or in the morning before daycare drop off.

    2. Stop before they get tired.

    Some kids can listen to books for hours. Some will only sit for 5 minutes – try to stop before your kids get antsy.  This also applies to you – stop before you get tired too.

    3. Turn the story into a craft.

    If you’re crafty like me, you can find easy projects to go along with most children’s books on Pinterest or other websites.  I’ll be sharing some of our book crafts on this blog as time goes on.

    4. Use audiobooks!

    These are great for quiet time, car trips or when you don’t have time to read books.

    5. Keep a list of books you’ve read together.

    Kids will enjoy looking back over the list and remembering their favorites. You might even get them to write a short review once they get older.  I hope my children will appreciate all of the books I have listed here on this blog that I’ve read to them over the years.

    6. Build up their attention spans.

    If your kids aren’t used to long read alouds, start small.  You can start with short picture books or even read a short chapter in a chapter book.

    7.  Read at least three stories a day.

    It may be the same story three times.  Research shows that children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read on their own.

    Other General Tips:

    • Have fun!
    • Let your child see you reading. (Gotta practice what you preach, right?)
    • Talk about the pictures.
    • Show your child the cover page. Explain what the story is about.
    • Run your finger along the words as you read them.
    • Make silly sounds; especially animal sounds, are fun to make.
    • Choose books about events in your child’s life such as starting preschool, going to the dentist, getting a new pet, or moving to a new home.
    • Make the story come alive. Create voices for the story characters.
    • Ask questions about the story. What do you think will happen next? What is this?  What color is this car?
    • Let your child ask questions about the story. Talk about familiar activities and objects.
    • Let your child retell the story (when they are old enough).
    • Visit your local library often.

    Reading with Your Baby

    Hold your baby on your lap while you read.

    I find that babies like…

    • board books (in case they try to chew on them or put them in their mouth)
    • pictures of other babies
    • rhymes and songs from the same book(s) over and over
    • when you point at pictures – this is how babies learn

    Reading with Your 1-Year-Old

    Let your toddler move around while you are reading if they want to.
    Name the pictures – this is how toddlers learn new words.
    Read labels and signs wherever you go.

    I find that 1-year-olds like …

    • the same book(s) read over and over
    • to choose and hold the book
    • books about food, trucks, animals, and children
    • books with a few words

    Reading with Your 2-Year-Old, 3-Year-Old or 4-Year-Old

    Let your toddler move around while you are reading if they want to.
    Read labels and signs wherever you go.
    Keep different books around the house and let your child choose.

    I find that toddlers like …

    • to help turn the pages
    • to fill in the words in a story they know
    • to point and name pictures
    • to hear the same book(s) over and over
    • books that are silly
    • animal books and animal noises

    I hope these tips help inspire you to start a read aloud habit with your kids if you’re not already doing so.  Read to your child daily because you love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.

    What are your best tips for reading aloud to your kids?

    read aloud, reading tips

    March is National Read Aloud Month


    March is National Read Aloud Month, started by Read Aloud 15 Minutes.  Reading aloud every day is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child to learn.  Pretty cool, right?  Best of all, it’s completely free!

    When every child is read aloud to for at least 15 minutes every day from birth, more children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, more children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school, and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school.

    These facts are at the heart of the Read Aloud 15 Minutes campaign, to get have every child, from birth through age 5 read aloud to each day. Babies are born learning, making these years so crucial to development. Reading aloud for just 15 minutes a day for the first five years impact babies and children through:

    • Language development
    • Literacy skill building
    • Instilling a love of reading
    • Brain development
    • Knowledge gained and shared
    • Bonding

    Only 48 percent of young children in the United States are read aloud to each day. March is a great time to increase those numbers. Join me and read aloud to a child during Read Aloud Month.