Tag Archives: reading

In Love With: Hallmark Recordable Storybooks

I purchased my first recordable storybook as a Christmas present for my daughter. It was “Frosty the Snowman”. She loved it! Would take the book, sit on the floor in her room, and listen to it over and over again.

Today, I was on the Hallmark website, and saw they have a ton of fabulous recordable story books!  Karen Katz “Counting Kisses”. We LOVE Karen Katz books in this house! “My Little Princess”, perfect for our little princess.  “Guess How Much I Love You” and “Goodnight Moon”, classics that melt my heart every time I read them.

How am I going to choose? (The downside is, they are a little on the pricey side!)




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What We Are Reading Today

Just thought I’d share some of the books is major rotation in our house. Happily, I enjoy most of them (the ones I really loathe seem to magically disappear).

When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth
By Jamie Lee Curtis
When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth

If You Give A Pig A Party
By Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Pig a Party (If You Give...)

Olivia…and the Missing Toy
By Ian Falconer
Olivia . . . and the Missing Toy   [OLIVIA & THE MISSING TOY] [Hardcover]

Llama Llama Red Pajama
By Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama Red Pajama

Clifford Makes A Splash
Clifford Makes a Splash

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Best Christmas and Holiday Books for Kids

I know, I know…there’s only, what 3 days until Christmas and you’re probably done done done with gifts for your kids. I thought I was too. But, can never resist the call of something cute. If you need a few more things, books are always a great idea. I love sitting and reading to my daughter each day before nap time. And, if this list is too late for this year, consider it an early Christmas gift for next year!

(I’m happy to say, we have many of the books on this list, and they are a joy to read over, and over, and over, and over! again!)

Taken from parenting.com

1. The Elf on the Shelf

How exactly does Santa keep tabs on who’s naughty and who’s nice? Turns out he’s got a mole–the elf on the shelf–who comes packaged with a companion book. The elf mysteriously changes locations overnight, and kids love looking for him as soon as they wake up in the morning. Bonus for parents: Since the elf’s always watching, you should be able to milk major good behavior out of your kids.

2. The Night Before Christmas

We all know the magical, evocative words of Clement C. Moore’s traditional holiday poem. This gorgeously illustrated version, which uses collage papers and oil paints, adds a modern twist: Santa wears funky pants, sports dreadlocks and leaves the children traditional African gifts.

3. Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

Nancy’s psyched about the holidays until her ultra-fancy tree topper breaks. Can the ultimate girly-girl learn to love plain old DIY tree decorations? As always, the detailed, sparkly illustrations make this a fave among the princess set.

4. The Berenstein Bears and the Joy of Giving

Does your kid have a case of the holiday gimmes? Brother and Sister Bear do too, until they learn what Christmas is really all about. This holiday-themed book in the series begun in 1962 ends with everyone learning a very important lesson, just like always.

5. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Remember this one from when you were a kid? Older children will love this 1972 classic, in which the six misbehaving Herdman kids — the “worst kids in the entire history of the world” — take over the church pageant and reinterpret the story of Christmas. The mix of outrageous moments, hilarious hijinks and profound surprises makes this one read parents will love as much as kids.

6. Dream Snow

Lovers of Eric Carle’s classicThe Very Hungry Caterpillarwill recognize the same iconic collage illustrations in this wintry tale about a farmer who dreams about a white Christmas. LikeCaterpillar, the pages hold extra interest for young readers, with cutouts and counting.

7. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

Brer Rabbit meets African tradition in this tale of a rabbit looking for something special to give his sick grandmother for Karamu, the Kwanzaa feast.

8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

What would Christmas be without the Grinch? Kids love the dastardly character, who plots to cancel the holiday, only to find it happens anyway, even without the presents. Grinch-loving kiddos will go for the animated and live-action movie versions too.

9. Olivia Helps With Christmas

The plucky piglet gets her house ready for Christmas, “helping” her parents in the most unhelpful ways possible. The charming black and white illustrations–punctuated with green and red accents for the holidays — play off the spare words to tell the whole story.

To continue with the list, click HERE.

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The Importance of Picture Books

We all know/hear/read how books are important to our children. Especially picture books for our little ones. With the pressure of “being the best” and reaching milestones early placed on parents for their kids, it seems picture books are fading in popularity.

The Children’s Book Review takes a close look at the importance of picture books on the development of children.

We all want what’s best for our kids and like the Army commercial, we want them to be all they can be. But parents can often succumb to the pressures of society and other parents to compete. That’s why some parents buy everything imaginable to get their baby to read, they enroll their children in the most expensive preschools, and even skip picture books and encourage their children to move on to more text-heavy chapter books as a means to advance their skills for rigorous standardized testing.

It’s not a new issue, but it was recently brought back to the forefront by the NY Times Article, “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children.” The article sadly reports that “The picture book, a mainstay of children’s literature with its lavish illustrations, cheerful colors and large print wrapped in a glossy jacket, has been fading.” Although the article reports that staples from Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss still sell, publishers have scaled back the number of titles. Citing the economic downturn as a major factor, the article points out that many in the industry see an additional reason—parents.

But while these parents are pushing their kids to be on top of the game, they don’t realize that the intensive coaching can be counterproductive and they’re missing out on an important genre, critical in the role of a child’s development—picture books.

So why are picture books important?

10. Chapter books are not necessarily more complex than picture books and in fact, their vocabulary and sentence structure can be considered simplistic when compared with older level picture books. Many picture books are written at a higher reading level, use amazingly complex vocabularies and offer interesting plots.

9. The illustrations of a picture book help children understand what they are reading and allow young readers to analyze the story. When children are having difficulty, the illustrations can help them figure out the meaning of what they are reading. The illustrations are also a powerful way to help English learners comprehend the story.

8. Children love art. Why do you think they spend so much time coloring, drawing and doing crafts? Whatever the reason children are drawn towards a book, it’s a means to get them to read.

7. Language:  Picture books allow children to practice the sounds of language and as parents it’s our responsibility to introduce new and interesting words at every opportunity. The rhythm and rhyme in many picture books make for great read-alouds and children learn words more easily when they hear them spoken often.

6. Repetition: The repetition in many picture books allows a child to participate in the story. Young readers get excited when they can anticipate a forthcoming line and children learn skills like phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension and fluency.

5. Picture books are multi-sensory, which aids a child’s growing mind and stimulates their imagination. Not only do the children hear the story, they see the illustrations, and smell and touch the pages.

Continue reading the article by clicking HERE.


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Top Ten Read Alouds for First Graders

By Lily Jones at www.education.com
In first grade children are learning how to read. It’s exciting to watch kids be able to decode simple books on their own and become confident in their reading skills. But because first graders are just beginning to learn how to read, they can only read a limited number of simple texts. Reading is very labor intensive for first graders and they may not to be able to truly enjoy the stories they read. Reading aloud to your child is especially important during these years when independent reading may seem like so much work. By reading aloud, you are encouraging a love of reading while getting a chance to practice reading comprehension skills.

With so many children’s books out there, it can be difficult to find the right book for your first grader. Below are a list of picture books that are both enjoyable and hit on some key issues first graders may be dealing with:

  1. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. This incredibly cute book is about a young raccoon going off to school for the first time. In an attempt to ward off homesickness, his mother gives him a kiss in his hand to keep with him at school. This book is great to read to first graders who are feeling uneasy about becoming more independent and/or dealing with separation anxiety.
  2. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. This book is about a girl with a long, unusual name who gets teased by her classmates. This is a wonderful book to read to first graders to help reinforce expectations about being kind and compassionate.
  3. The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers. This book about a boy who eats books and becomes unusually smart encourages kids to love reading in a fun, silly way. First graders find this book hilarious and love laughing at the absurdity of a boy who eats books.
  4. Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr. This is another great book that encourages a love of reading. Kids often get excited about reading when they are reminded of whypeople read. The Incredible Book Eating Boy teaches kids that people read to learn, while this book points out that reading is enjoyable—both great lessons for first graders.
  5. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds. This book about a young boy, Ramon, who can’t draw perfectly encourages first graders not to strive for perfection. When Ramon tries to draw a vase and is disappointed that it doesn’t look exactly like a vase, his sister calls his picture “vase-ish.” First graders can often have strong perfectionist tendencies; this book helps kids to try their best and accept their work as it is.
  6. Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis. First graders go through a roller coaster of emotions and often have difficulty naming the emotions they feel. This book helps kids identify how they are feeling and helps develop empathy with others.
  7. Sometimes I’m Bombaloo by Rachel Vail. This is another great book to guide discussions about moods and feelings. In this book, a girl gets “bombaloo” (extremely mad). Through this book, first graders learn that it’s okay to get mad and okay to express this anger inappropriate ways. This book can be a great vehicle for talking about appropriate and inappropriate ways of expressing anger.
  8. The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss. This Dr. Seuss classic is a good story to use for introducing concepts of diversity. In this story, the Star-Belly Sneetches and Plan-Belly Sneetches teach kids that judgments based only on how someone looks are unjust.
  9. I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. This is a fabulous book for helping first graders build self-confidence and realize they don’t have to be perfect to be confident. Complete with great illustrations and humor, this book is a feel good hit with first graders!
  10. Olivia by Ian Falconer. Olivia is an energetic, quirky pig who likes art and having fun. Kids immediately identify with Olivia, who loves to have fun and often gets into trouble. Olivia also has two brothers and deals with sibling issues that many kids can relate to. Plus, she’s just too cute to resist!

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Raise A Summer Reader

ByKidsHealth – taken from Education.com

When the lazy days of summer arrive and the schedule is packed with swimming, camp, and family vacations, it can be a challenge to find time for learning.

But kids’ reading skills don’t have to grow cold once school’s out. Here are some ways to make reading a natural part of their summer fun:

Explore your library. Visit your local library to check out books and magazines that your kids haven’t seen before. Many libraries have summer reading programs, book clubs, and reading contests for even the youngest borrowers. With a new library card, a child will feel extra grown-up checking out books.

Read on the road. Going on a long car trip? Make sure the back seat is stocked with favorite reads. When you’re not at the wheel, read the books aloud. Get some audiobooks (many libraries have large selections) and listen to them together during drive time.

Make your own books. Pick one of your family’s favorite parts of summer — whether it’s baseball, ice cream, or the pool — and have your child draw pictures of it or cut out pictures from magazines and catalogs. Paste the pictures onto paper to make a booklet and write text for it. When you’re done, read the book together. Reread it whenever you need to fend off the cold-weather blahs!

Keep in touch. Kids don’t have to go away to write about summer vacation. Even if your family stays home, they can send postcards to tell friends and relatives about their adventures. Ask a relative to be your child’s pen pal and encourage them to write each week.

Keep up the reading rituals. Even if everything else changes during the summer, keep up the reading routines around your house. Read with your kids every day — whether it’s just before bedtime or under a shady tree on a lazy afternoon. And don’t forget to take a book to the beach! Just brush the sand off the pages — it’s no sweat!

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Create Your Own Summer Reading Program

Every summer the kids and I trek to our local library to sign up for our summer reading program. It’s been a great incentive to keep the kids reading all summer long. Over the years we’ve earned books, coupons to our favorite places to eat, games, CD’s and other small prizes.

For the kids it’s a way to be rewarded for keeping up on their reading during a time when most kids will toss aside the books in exchange for vacations, trips to the pool, and other activities. For me, it’s a way to keep them learning. Here are some tips to making your own personalized summer reading program.

Design it to your family’s schedule – For us, we do summer sports, day trips to my dad’s house, and this year, we’ll be adding day camp so it’s going to be a busy summer! Your summer reading program shouldn’t feel like work. Set up a time during the week or in the evening when it’s “down time”. Use that time to encourage everyone to get their reading in. Ask your kids when they’d prefer to have “down time” and try to adhere to that schedule.

Make a reading list – If your child likes certain genres (the boys are fantasy and sci-fi buffs), then help them create a list of books that they can check off as they read through the list. My kids will often hear of a book and then forget the title by the time we make a trip to the library. If you create a list that includes titles and authors, the kids can then request the books on their own and have continuous books available throughout the summer. This is also a great way to keep tracks of books that are a part of a series (such as Harry Potter or Series of Unfortunate Events).

Even the newspaper counts – Don’t limit your kids to just reading books. Magazines are filled with informative and fun articles. Comic books bring stories to life through detailed pictures and newspapers put kids in touch with both the world around them and in their own backyard. By not limiting your children in what they can read, you’re giving them the freedom to explore other interests and topics and helping them find ways to make reading more enjoyable.

Build a reward system – Much like the libraries use, a reward system can be a great incentive to keep up on reading. Create a chart with each child’s name and record either the number of books they’ve read or the number of hours they’ve spent reading. For younger children (early readers and even toddlers) you can shorten that time down to minutes. If you’re reading to them, it still counts.

Once you have a chart created, work together as a family to come up with the rewards they’d like; maybe a sweet treat, a new book, or a coupon for special time with mom and dad alone. Be imaginative but set limits as to what you feel is an acceptable reward. If a reward option is not in your budget, say so but offer an alternative.

You’ll find that as your kids get into your summer reading program, they may keep track of one another’s reading time as well or compete for who can read more books. Don’t forget to be a part of the summer reading program you’ve created! This is your chance for some guilty chick-lit reading or to dive into the next murder mystery that just made the best seller list.

Taken from Lifetimemoms.com

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