Archive for the ‘
Reading ’ Category
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
We love books! When we lived overseas, the local library was quite lacking and we wound up with quite a collection of board books by the time all three kids were born! ED still looks at these books pretty regularly and we’ll keep them around as she becomes a more confident reader (she’s still just reading simple 3 and 4 letter words). We actually have gotten rid of lots of board books already, but these books are keepers!
I’ll share a bit about them with you below:
I Went Walking is in the same style as Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I read this over and over when the kids were tots.
The Napping House and Guess How Much I Love You were especially beloved when the kids were around 3 or so. ED still really loves Guess How Much I Love You — and she chooses this once every few weeks. She’ll often say I love you all the way to the trees and back… alluding to the lovely message in this book!
Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Put Me in the Zoo were never the #1 favorites of my kids, though we read them pretty regularly.
This row of books, were ones I read to the kids SO SO SO often when they were babies! The rhythm and rhymes of Sheep in a Jeep and Jamberry are really appealing. Baby Chick’s Day was the favorite of all three kids when they were 9-18 months old or so. All three of my kids learned to sign “bird” because of this book! It has a lovely little story and the tummy makes a little squeak. The kids also loved the textured books at that age like Touch and Feel Wild Animals, but they were so well used and loved, they got worn out and passed along. Big Red Barn is by the same author as Goodnight Moon.
Polar Bear, Polar Bear is the same basic storyline as Brown Bear, Brown Bear. For some reason, Brown Bear didn’t make it into this set of photos (it must be hidden elsewhere in ED’s room!). We still have these around because ED will “read” them aloud to herself! Crazy Colours (obviously I bought that in Australia (where all 3 of my kids were born), right?!!) was another favorite of the kids when they were tiny tots (9-18 months) because they lifted the flap as we read. I remember reading I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly to LD every single day, 3-times a day when my son was about two!! Sometimes I thought that book would never end because I was so tired (I was pregnant with DD at the time). The Owl and the Pussycat has lovely pictures (by Jan Brett). And Go Dog, Go! was another must have. Our first copy was loved and gnawed on (by LD) and we got a replacement copy somewhere along the way. My son loved, loved that book!!
All of these books were winners. We did baby-signing with our kids and I signed a lot of the words in Goodnight Moon! Good Night, Gorilla has no words, but I had to “read” it to the kids very, very regularly. My kids loved the books I Don’t Want to Go to Bed and I Don’t Want to Take a Bath. And–who doesn’t know (and love?!) Wheels on the Bus?! I used to read that one with the kids on my knee and would bounce them “up and down, up and down, up and down…. the wheels on the bus go up and down all around the town!”
Eric Carle’s books have been well loved here at the Homeschool Den… and we’ve even done a number of crafts based on his books:
A Chameleon Craft based on Mixed Up Chameleon.
That post shares a slideshow at Eric Carle’s website that I watched with the kids (click on the picture to read more)
Seahorse Craft based on Mister Seahorse.
And a very simple tissue paper craft when ED was about 18 months and DD was about 3 based on Eric Carle’s books:
When friends and family are expecting, these are wonderful books to give as gifts!
What board books would you recommend to other families?
Related Posts You Might Enjoy:
Friday, April 12th, 2013
I thought it might be useful to pull a lot of our letter-activities together into one post, although we didn’t ever focus exclusively on letters. We generally had a theme or unit (astronomy, birds, volcanoes, bears, pirates, princesses and whatever else the kids were interested in at the time…) and we added in these types of activities to supplement whatever else was going on. So, just keep in mind that I pulled these activities out of context.
When my kids were little, we added in a lot of games to learn to recognize the letters, learn the letter sounds and learn the shapes and how to form the various letters. Here’s a glimpse at the kinds of activities we did to keep it fresh and fun!
File Folder Games:
We played lots of matching file folder games. The spider web matching came from a paid website I belonged to called Kidssoup, but the hearts capital-lower case matching came from File Folder Fun. Child Care Land also has lots of free file folder games and other early learning activities.
I purchased a set of sandpaper letters and the kids used them a lot when they were 2-3 years old. It’s a Montessori activity that we did regularly. We got ours from didax.com or you can get them from Montessori stores such as Kidadvance:
Here ED then matched some foam letter stickers to an index card. We usually only focused on a few letters at at time:
Cereal Box Matching:
ED had to put letters in the correct slot in the cereal box. You can find the alphabet printed out in various themes and I used to do this a lot using websites such as Communication 4 All (look in the literacy area)
I always tried to make learning fun and interactive. Here the girls went on a scavenger hunt to find their letters and then they had to mail them as they told me what letter/letter sound they made:
Drawing Letters in Sand:
For those of you who don’t know much about the Montessori method, I actually sat down with ED and “presented” the activity below to her. I show her each and every step…
- take out the blanket and spread it on the ground
- take the tray with two hands and lift it down and place it on the blanket
- lift up the lid
- sketch the letter in the sand
- mail the letter
- take the sand tray with two hands and shake it back and forth
- repeat until done
- put the tray away
- fold up the blanket
- put the blanket away
I think arming ED with EACH step has really made a big difference to how successful she is at doing the various activities and then repeating them on her own.
Hands on Activities:
We often fit the letter activities into whatever unit/holiday we were working on/celebrating such as the bird unit or the Shamrock fishing activities below:
An activity after reading Green Eggs and Ham!
Using foam letters and contact paper to create a matching game:
Clothes Pin Matching:
Using Clothes Pins to match the letters. These letter matching cards are from Honey at Sunflower Schoolhouse (the link I had doesn’t seem to be working anymore), though it would be easy enough to make with a marker and an index card.
This is something similar from Making Learning Fun – Upper – Lower Case Letter Matching
Here is another cute letter matching activity from Making Learning Fun:
My kids loved doing the do-a-dot activities (with bingo markers). The ones pictured below are by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. Erica developed an entire curriculum around the letters of the alphabet. Here’s an example of her Letter A activities or Letter F Activities. Awesome, right?! We just used a few of these activities and fit them into our units (More about that in another post!!). You can also find do-a-dot letters at Making Learning Fun.
You might be interested in these related posts:
That’s about it for now! ~Liesl
Saturday, March 9th, 2013
This activity was a huge hit with ED this past week. I chose some words from ED’s phonics readers and wrote them out on some shamrocks and taped them on popcycle sticks. I covered an empty cereal box with construction paper and wrote the words out on the box as well and used a knife to create a slit for the popcycle sticks.
I sat with ED each time she did this activity so she could practice reading the words aloud.
You could do this same activity for letter recognition and matching (B-b) or to practice addition or multiplication facts.
I couldn’t find the shamrock template I recommended a couple of years ago (the link didn’t work), so I made my own sheets.
Feel free to download these free shamrock templates if you can use them:
You could also use these to do some shamrock fishing like we did last year:
ED did letter matching last year:
While DD did some addition practice:
Last weekend I shared the St. Patrick’s Day Multiplication pack. It’s also free to download.
Here’s the link to all of our previous St. Patrick’s Day activities and crafts or you can go to the categories button on the right sidebar and select the “St. Patrick’s Day” category.
I updated a post from a couple of years ago. It has lots of links to various free St. Patrick’s Day packs for preschoolers:
St Patrick’s Day Units — Free Downloads, Printables, etc.
Monday, February 25th, 2013
A couple of week or so ago I highlighted 14 picture books my girls have been enjoying lately. Today I thought I’d share a few of the chapter books we are enjoying. Each day during lunch I read a chapter from Chronicle of Narnia.
Last week we finally finished The Horse and His Boy and loved every minute of it! It seems that everyone knows and talks about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but we’ve been loving this book as much or more than the first couple of books in the series! We’ve had some really good talks about class differences and how people treat each other.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we are having to spend a lot of time in the car this semester. We need to travel to the doctors twice a week for LD for allergy shots. The drive is 30 minutes each way. We’ve put that time to good use. We are loving Pimsleur German. It turns out that one of my best friends is using that with her kids as well and they like it as well. I think ED (4, almost 5) is a bit on the young side for it, but the other two (ages 7 and 9) are really getting a lot out of the lessons. We keep the lessons to 15 minutes (1/2 of a unit) and so does my friend. Another friend gave us Rosetta Stone for German 1 and we are very excited to try that out. We’ll let you know how that goes.
The rest of the time we’re in the car we’ve been listening to The Hobbit. We are listening to the unabridged audiobook of the Hobbit and everyone including ED loves it!
Finally, I’ve started reading some of the Magic Tree House books with ED. We’ve read the first three. After reading Dinosaurs Before Dark she did a little diorama project… and has had a lot of fun playing with Daddy and on her own with her Littlest Pet Shop critters! We had the materials gathered to make a castle to go along with the Knight at Dawn (book 2), but didn’t get around to that. Life’s like that sometimes!!
Saturday, January 19th, 2013
We read a lot of books here at the Homeschool Den. I thought I would highlight some of our current favorites. The girls have actually been reading a lot of the same books. I’ve been reading to the girls together at night and more often than not, DD climbs into my lap in front of the wood stove in the mornings when I’m reading to ED! The girls are 4 and 7.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I just have to mention Love Splat first. It’s so cute! Splat has a special Valentine for a certain someone in his class. Her name is Kitten. Kitten doesn’t seem to like him at all. And Splat’s rival Spike seems to out-do Splat. It’s a sweet book and I’ve had to renew it twice already from the library!
After putting together the collage of books to share here on the blog, I can see quite a theme running through all these… misfits trying to fit in and find their place in the world!
- The Wish Cat: A girl wishes for a cute kitten that will come and go through her family’s cat flap. What she gets is a rag-tag Tom Cat.
- Pinkerton, Behave! A family has a big lovable dog who just can’t seem to learn the proper behavior of a dog, but saves the day in his own funny way!
- The Clown of God: DD chose this book at the library and insisted that I read it. We both loved it so much we bought a copy for ourselves. It is the retelling of a French legend–about a juggler who become successful but as he ages becomes a poor beggar. At Christmas he offers up the only gift he has to the statue of Mary and Jesus… his talents. It has a sad, touching ending and may not be right for your family so I would suggest previewing it first.
- Stellaluna: The story of a bat who finds herself being raised among some baby birds. She has to adapt to the peculiar bird habits. When she is finally re-united with her own mother, it comes as a relief to know that she is normal after all.
- Caps For Sale: A funny story of a peddler who loses his caps to some monkeys in a tree.
- Tikki Tikki Tembo: The story of a boy with a very, very long name that fell down into a well.
Here are some of the other books ED has been requesting a lot.
- Mars Needs Moms: We read this book every night this past week!! I will say that ED was scared of this book when DD was into it a year and a half ago… so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to the 3-year-old crowd. It’s not that the pictures are scary, but it’s about some Martians who come to Earth looking for a Mom to take back to Mars… One boy doesn’t get it. Who needs Moms? His Moms just make him eat his broccoli and take out the trash. When Martians kidnap his Mom and take her to Mars, he tags along and sees how many things Moms do… and when he trips and cracks his helmet, his Mom comes to the rescue.
- Big Bad Bruce: Bruce has a habit on picking on those around him. When his antics disturb the local witch, she puts a spell on him to make him small. This is a good book to talk about bullying. Bill Peet has a lot of books. This isn’t my favorite, but it’s been a huge hit with ED and DD lately.
- Chrysanthemum: The story of a young mouse who is picked on for her long name… only to find that everyone’s favorite teacher loves her name… and the others wish they had a name just like hers.
- The Chimpanzee of Happytown: A chimpanzee changes the world by planting a tree and adding color and beauty to the world. This book is done in rhyme… and has a wonderful rhythm to it. I love reading this one aloud and absolutely love the message!
- The Big Orange Splot: This is another book that ED has been asking for most every night. It’s a story about a man who decides to be himself — painting his house to be a reflection of his personality. His neighbors are at first horrified… and then one by one re-decorate their own houses to be unique and their own.
I have to mention two other books that the kids have been really into… especially LD!! Life-Size Dinosaurs and Life-Size Sharks. I just had to use kitty as a model to show how impressive these books really are! The kids spent a lot of time reading through these. I kept hearing LD say — “Hey, DD, listen to this…!!” and then he came running into the kitchen while I was making dinner to read me bits and pieces of the book and to check out the pictures!
If you are interested in catching up on some older posts, I keep a running log of my posts over on my Facebook page. Feel free to drop by and say hello! ~Liesl