I’ve been trying to read more children’s book lately to catch up on my pile so I’ve taken to carting around a small pile of books everywhere I go and reading a little here and a little there until the book draws me in such that I am forced to read to the end. Some books are like that. If they have that power for me, I’m hoping they will for your child too.
As the school year is nearing the close, things are heating up. Are they for you too? You might not be needing new chapter books for kids yet for summer reading but I hope some of these will work for you!
What are your kids reading and recommending? Please share! It doesn’t have to be a newly published book either!
If You Read One Book This Summer …
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
This is not a newly published book but it’s a perfect gem of a chapter book for spring. Told from the point of view of disparate neighbors in a rough part of town in Cleveland, a young Korean girl digs out a space in a rundown lot to plant lima bean seeds which starts of a chain of reaction towards positive change.
PickyKidPix did a school project on this book for 5th grade and recommended it to me. She wasn’t allowed to read two of the stories (one is about a pregnant teenager who hates her unborn baby and the other about a boy who wants to grow marijuana) so she had me check out the book at the library so she could read them.
This is a really beautiful multicultural chapter book that is also a fast read. The power of gardening is such that it creates a community that wasn’t there before. And this community ends up changing lives. Does life really work like this? I think it does. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
I’m thrilled to be joining Sun Scholars and 99 other bloggers for 100 Days of Play! Need play ideas? Please join us as we explore ideas for playful learning!
With nice weather finally arriving in New England, I’ve seen numerous lemonade stand ideas pop up in my neighborhood. It’s been fun to support the neighborhood kids and sample their wares. Some have been selling lemonade and brownies. Others have more traditional stands.
One thing that struck me is how much the pricing varies. I thought I would teach entrepreneurial finance for kids today for my 100 Days of Play contribution by looking at pricing your [successful] lemonade stand.
Pricing Lemonade for Your Stand Read more…
I visited some poets in 2nd grade (my son and his classmates) for a parent visiting day and thought they’d be perfect to celebrate National Poetry Month in April.
2nd Grade Poetry
The 2nd grade poems composed color poems using What is Black? by Mary O’Neill as their model. The poem was in my son’s notebook and all marked up. I guess he studied it carefully.
I wasn’t able to find What is Black? online but I did find Mary O’Neill’s What is Red?
What is Red? by Mary O’Neill
Red is sunset
Blazing and bright.
Red is feeling brave
With all your might.
Red is a sunburn
Spot on your nose.
Is a red, red, rose.
Red squiggles out
When you cut your hand.
Red is a brick
And the sound of a band.
Red is hotness
You get inside
When you’re embarassed
And want to hide.
Fire- flicker red–
And you’re angry
Red runs through your head.
Red is an Indian,
A Valentine heart.
The trimmings on
A circus cart.
Red is a lipstick
Red is a shout
Red is a signal
That says “WATCH OUT!”
Red is great big
Red is the giantest
Color of all.
Red is a show-off.
No doubt about it.
But can you imagine
Living without it? Read more…
Hindu Picture Book and Chapter Book for Kids
The great Hindu god Vishnu, greatest of all gods, promises to help bring peace to earth when evil demon kings try to kill all the good rulers of earth. He will be reborn on earth as a child named Krisha. Does this story sound vaguely familiar?! We notice a rebirth theme in World Religions!
The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna by Demi tells the story of Krishna, rescued from certain death to be raised by two cowherds. The evil demon king Kasma not deterred, sending demon after demon to destroy Krishna, to no avail. Krishna prevails in the end, destroying Kasma and wandering the earth teaching people how to live together in peace and joy. Demi, as usual, makes this story easy to read with her gorgeous colorful illustrations.
Teach Kids Chinese Through Songs
When my kids were younger, I found that Spanish Sesame Street, Plaza Sesamo, entertained my kids while also teaching them Spanish. Songs were also an effective and pleasant way to expose my kids to foreign languages. As my kids got older — 2nd or 3rd grade — they rebelled and no longer would allow Plaza Sesamo DVDs in the car. They preferred silence. Ditto to foreign language CDs.
My point is that there is a window when kids are open to learning foreign languages. Both their brains and attitudes are receptive. As they grow older, not only do they not want to learn, but also making the sounds are more challenging.
I was excited to discover that Sesame Street is now in Chinese with a series geared for teaching kids Mandarin. For a CD of fun songs to accompany your Chinese language experience, try A Little Mandarin by NYC mom Toni Wang.
I’m not saying that this combination will have your kids conversing in Mandarin, but you are laying a foundation both for training their ear and for exposing them to the concept of non-word for word translation. Who knows? This might be the introduction that makes them actually want to learn Chinese when they are older. I’m still shocked that both of my girls are choosing to learn Mandarin as their mandatory foreign language in middle school!
How about you? Are your kids getting exposure to foreign languages? How do you manage this? Please share your tips!!! Read more…
School Wide Reading Competition: March Madness
I blogged a lot about our elementary school’s March Madness reading competition and have tried to answer emails about the rules of engagement. The rules have changed over the last 8 years since we’ve first started. Also, my recollection is hazy at best. All I know is that my kids read like crazy to win that extra P.E. session and we all win in the end, no matter what place their class ends up in.
This year, the competition has started again and I am posting the rules in hopes that it inspires your school to pick up the torch and try this reading competition next year. It’s a lot of fun and I do really notice a marked improvement in my kids’ reading abilities after just one month of reading madness!
MARCH MADNESS READING CELEBRATION
- The Peirce School March Madness Reading Celebration will begin on Friday, March 1 and run through Thursday, April 4.
- The kickoff will take place at our town meeting on March 1 and each classroom will be randomly assigned the name of an actual NCAA basketball team.
- Students will earn points for their team based on the number of minutes read daily at home during March Madness.
- Each student will log their daily reading onto the paper reading log and enter their WEEKLY MINUTES read into an online database AT HOME every Thursday evening.
- Students will hand in the paper copy of their reading log to their classroom teacher every Friday morning and should begin to log their weekly minutes read into the online database on Thursday, March 7. Students should continue to log their weekly minutes read every Thursday evening up until Thursday, April 4.
- Team points earned will be tallied and recorded every week onto a large graph in the main hallway.
- Books read in school are not eligible for points.
- Books read as part of nightly reading can be counted. (March Madness reading does not have to be in addition to regular home reading, although we hope students will be more inclined to read).
- There will be a separate point system for grades K-1 and for grades 2-5.
My mom friend Melissa says, “Quietest play date ever! Everyone is reading for the March Madness reading competition.”
Reading and Writing in Kindergarten
I am thrilled to be joining Share a Story, Shape a Future 2013 blog tour with other great literacy, children’s book and education bloggers!
My contribution is the connection between reading independently and writing for Kindergarteners … more specifically the idea of invented spelling as a necessary step that marries writing with reading.
The Importance of Invented Spelling: The Writing Connection to Reading!
We had the most amazing Kindergarten teacher — Ms. C — for all three of my kids. As rookie parents, she held our hand and guided us gently through the academic rigors of Kindergarten. Seriously, Kindergarten is the new First Grade. Ms. C’s goal was and is to get the kids reading by the end of Kindergarten.
She stressed the importance of writing as an important literacy step towards reading independently. In fact, invented spelling — you know that fabulous and funny spelling kids use when they first start sounding out words — is CRITICAL to teaching kids how to read independently.
“Froshus dobrmn pensr” is an example of invented spelling. What do you think the child is trying to communicate? Yes, ferocious Doberman Pinscher!
Best Bedtime Picture Books for Kids
Thank you to Susan Marx for emailing me this lovely poem full of some of my favorite children’s books for young children. Reading aloud is a passion for her and Barbara and they have penned a book about it.
Her lovely poem took me down memory lane at bedtime with my kids. We didn’t read all these great picture books and board books, but we enjoyed many of them over and over through the years!!
Thanks for this trip! What bedtime books or read aloud books are your favorites? Did you spot any in the poem?
by Susan Marx
Let’s read a book Together to settle you down,
Time for Bed in your cozy jammies or nightgown.
Graphic Novels from A to Z
Many teachers are turning to comic books as a tool to develop reading skills as well as a deeper love for reading.
This final collection has some Young Adult (YA) graphic novels that are not Manga (I didn’t cover Manga simply because I haven’t read any. My son is not old enough yet). From gritty to fantasy, YA graphic novels cover the gamut.
Thank you for reading my collection of posts covering the ABCs of graphic novels. You must love graphic novels too!
Day 1: ABCs of Graphic Novels, A-E
Day 2: ABCs of Graphic Novels, F-J
Day 3: ABCs of Graphic Novels, K-O
Day 4: ABCs of Graphic Novels: P-T
Day 5: ABCs of Graphic Novels: U-Z
U is for Underpants. Captain Underpants that is! And now there is Super Diaper Baby too! Read more…