Lego Duplo’s “Read! Build! Play!” initiative strives to develop early literacy and strengthen learning through their Read and Build series of simple story books paired with easy construction activities.
Last year, Lego Duplo and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) partnered to create resources that combined reading and play. “Through play, young children learn about their world. With this knowledge, they can understand books and stories once they begin to read,” says Starr Latronica, Vice President/President-Elect of the Association for Library Service to Children.
This summer, Lego and ALSC have created the first Summer Reading Lists/Activity Guides for toddlers and preschoolers. Two free guides (one for Ages 1-3, one for Ages 3-5) pairs 10 already-published books with Lego projects designed specifically for each one. The books, easily available at local libraries, were chosen by ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs and Services committee. A Parent Activity Guide is also available for free, to explain the importance of play and to offer advice on how to interact with kids.
Parents can preview a list of the chosen books below and click on the jump to see a photo of the suggested activity for Meeow and the Pots and Pans by Sebastian Braun. Visit ReadBuildPlay.com to download the entire activity guides (which includes the full lists of Lego projects with instructions, plus coloring pages).
We loved meeting Momastery blogger and brand-new author Glennon Doyle Melton when she dropped by Parents’s offices recently to talk about her new book, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed, which went on sale today, and to tell us more about her online fundraising mission Monkee See — Monkee Do.
Just as appealing in person as she is online, Glennon’s like your favorite girlfriend: game to talk about anything, unafraid to take chances, and refreshingly honest about her past and present struggles. Plus while Glennon’s a blog-world rock star, she’s still a busy, multitasking mom like the rest of us. (Via her cellphone from New York, she was helping husband Craig find the girls’ leotards back home for gymnastics.) Among the many reasons we were instantly smitten:
1. She’s refreshingly unselfconscious: ”There are tons of things I do that I’m horrible at, like dancing. I mean, painfully bad. Singing? Horrific! But they make me happy. These are things we’re just made to do, and telling our stories, even if we don’t think of ourselves as writers, is one of them.”
2. She’s a great listener: ”I spend half my day reading stories from women—I get tons every day. People just have amazingly complicated and beautiful lives. And that’s one of my favorite parts of my job: reading other people’s stories. That’s my safe place, my adventure place, and where I get to know other people.”
3. She’s wise about toxic people: “I was reading some of my criticism recently, which I’m not allowed to do—my sister even sneaked into my computer to block some of the websites that criticize me!—but I do anyway. And there was this website and they said, ‘She was a total drunk, and she’s overly dramatic, and she only got married because she was pregnant.’ And I called my sister to complain and she said, ‘But that’s all true.’ And I said… ‘You’re right! I should not be upset about this!’ My sister says everyone comes to a party to have a good time or to fight. There are going to be people who come to your party to fight.”
4. She says things others won’t: “When I began Momastery, I was feeling very isolated at the time, and I wanted to see if others were feeling the same things I was feeling. We think it’s safer to stay on the surface of things, to talk about our jobs or our husbands or our kids’ temperaments—we think those things are safe, but I think those things actually isolate us more, because those surface things are different for everyone, and can make you feel alone. But the deeper things we talk about, like our fears and joys: Those things are universal. When we do go to those places, we end up feeling less alone.”
5. She’s classy: (Glennon and Craig recently separated.) ”Talking about separation doesn’t have to be trashy. It doesn’t have to be one person pitted against another.”
6. She totally inspires us: “Just a few weeks ago we did a ‘love flash mob.’ Do you remember a few years ago when everyone was doing flash mobs? I love those. I know it’s over, I know it’s like three-years-ago, but I still watch those, because it’s so…metaphor! One person starts dancing, then everyone starts dancing! That’s what I decided to do on the Internet and is the idea behind Monkee See — Monkee Do: I’m just going to start dancing, and then everyone else will start dancing. What I do is find a need in the community—usually it’s someone who’s reached out to me, and it takes us a long time to vet it and plan it—so recently when my book went to #4 in pre-orders on Amazon, I wanted to do something to express my gratitude. A woman in Indianapolis who ran a nonprofit for teen mothers had written me and essentially said: “We don’t have any money, and there’s no reason you’d help us, but these teenage moms having babies need help.” So we forged a relationship and they had some extra space in their home for another girl to come in, and had a teenage girl with a 4-month-old baby on the waiting list, but they didn’t have the state funding to have her. They needed $83,000. I asked if we raised it would she be able to move in, and the answer was yes. So we started a ‘love flash mob’ online: The rule is no one’s allowed to donate more than $25, because I want the single mom who is working her butt off and has just four extra dollars to feel as good about contributing as someone who can easily donate 25 dollars. In this case, five hours later we had $83,000—the average donation was 17 dollars, and there were tons of women giving five or six dollars.”
March may be National Reading Month, but it’s important to focus on reading every month of the year. In addition to setting aside time to read regularly during the day (or night) or visiting your local library and bookstore, consider subscribing to the Book of the Month service offered by GiftLit.com.
Founded by two moms, GiftLit allows parents to choose age-appropriate books (all curated by librarians, editors, and other book experts) to be mailed on a monthly basis. Each book arrives with a personalized card and bookplates, and GiftLit also donates 10% of their profits to schools, libraries, and literary organizations.
Happy New Year! We’ll help you get off to a happy start by giving away 11 new baby books for your child’s library. I feel like I can never have enough books for my two kids; they want a story (or two, or three) a night and it gets tough being the narrator if you have to keep going over the same tales.
We like to compare favorite books here in the office. Our executive editor tipped me off to Little Fur Family, which is by the classic children’s author Margaret Wise Brown. She wrote Goodnight Moon and one of my other favorites, Big Red Barn. Her books are sweet and poetic and make you want to drift off alongside your baby! But the book that became my goodnight song to my kids is If You Were My Bunny. My 10- and 7-year-old still go to sleep only after I recite the whole thing in song!
The eleven books we’re giving away are all new, recent titles, and include both board books and paper pages. Maybe one will become a favorite! In total they’re worth about $110. To be entered to win, leave a comment below between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, January 9. For the full rules, read here. Goody luck!
Looking to buy your kids some new books for Christmas? You may want to check out the publishing company’s environmental policies before you purchase.
Last week, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) accused HarperCollins publishing company of using fiber from Indonesia’s endangered rainforests for some of their children’s books, including one of their bestsellers, Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas. RAN is calling on HarperCollins to boycott the Indonesian paper firms that supply them with these materials. But HarperCollins is firing back, saying that they stopped using the fiber last February. RAN however, doesn’t believe the publisher: “This is the second time that HarperCollins has claimed it has stopped using controversial Indonesian fiber,” says Robin Averbeck, a Forest Campaigner with RAN. “While RAN is encouraged by HarperCollins’ latest public statement, we see it as a statement of intention without the teeth of verification and transparency that a truly robust policy requires to credibly ensure controversial fiber is no longer entering its supply chains.” While RAN’s campaign just focused on the top ten U.S. children’s book publishers, it is also possible that other smaller publishers printing overseas may be using the fiber as well.
So what should you do if your daughter loves Fancy Nancy? RAN recommends contacting HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray to tell him you don’t want books linked to rainforest destruction. In addition, kids and parents can write to their favorite authors and urge them to advocate directly with HarperCollins. “I am sure that no author wants paper from rainforest destruction in their book, and authors, encouraged by their readers, can help by becoming internal advocates with HarperCollins,” Averbeck says. And if you aren’t sure what materials went into making a book by a smaller publishing company, you can ask publishers if they have an environmentally-friendly paper policy in place (and if they don’t, encourage them to adopt one!).
Looking for a last-minute gift for your adult friends and family? Check out Livrada! These e-book gift cards fit perfectly in holiday cards or even make great stocking stuffers. The best part is you don’t have to know which tablet your friend uses. The included code works for the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and devices that can use their reading apps (such as the iPad). The gift cards are $10 and up. Click here for more information.
The benefits of reading aloud to children are numerous, but for bilingual families, cuddling up with a bedtime story isn’t always a simple task.
Infinity Car Insurance seeks to help bilingual families read together through its Read Comingo program. Read Comingo is a literacy program that promotes bilingualism by providing parents with free bilingual children’s books bimonthly.
Children and parents can learn from each other with these books that are written in both English and Spanish.
“Read Conmigo is important for Hispanic families because many parents who don’t read English fluently hesitate to read to their children at home in Spanish. Studies show, however, that bilingual reading is equally effective at maintaining and improving reading skills and educational levels,” said Greg Fasking, Infinity Auto Insurance’s vice president of consumer marketing. “This is why our books are in both English and Spanish, so that parents and children can read aloud together at home.”
Since Read Comingo’s launch in March of 2011, it has provided schools and families with over 350,000 free books.
Read Comingo gave us some tips for making the most of your story time:
Point to the words in the book, as you read aloud together with your child
Create a regular schedule every week to read together as a family at home
Asking your children to recall parts of the story in the books, and use the illustrations to help identify words
Back in April, I blogged about the deliciously funny and clever “Book People Unite” video from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). The video showcased various literary characters (Pinocchio, Curious George, Humpty Dumpty) along with media and music celebrities (Jack Black, Regina Spektor, LeVar Burton).
Reading Is Fundamental sent me the follow-up video below, an equally fun behind-the-scenes look at the making of the original. Several cast members are interviewed, including Raggedy Andrew and a very funny Big Bad Wolf, and there are snapshots of how the magical elements came together.