Monday, May 19, 2014

Preventing Summer Slide

Reading Is Fundamental has some ideas about how to prevent summer slide, the up to two month learning loss over the summer. Here are some simple ideas  from the article:


  • Visit. Head to the library and sign your kid up for a library card if they don’t already have one. In addition to a wide selection of books to borrow, many libraries have free, child-friendly summer reading programs. Going to a baseball game? Read a book about baseball before you head off to that double-header.
  • Lead. Kids look up to you, so lead by example. Read the newspaper at breakfast, pick up a magazine at the doctor’s office, and stuff a paperback in your beach bag. If kids see the adults around them reading often, they will understand that all types of reading can be an important part of their summer days. Storybooks aren’t the only thing that kids can read. Be prepared and keep all kinds of reading material on hand that might spark the interest of a young reader.
  • Talk. Talking with your kids about what you have read also lets them know that reading is an important part of your life. Tell them why you liked a book, what you learned from it, or how it helped you—soon they might start doing the same. Going camping? Have your kids tell stories to their friends.
  • Relax. Reading is supposed to be fun. So relax. Don’t set daily minute requirements or determine the number of pages they should read. Instead, make sure they pick up books that appeal to them and help find ways for them to choose to read on their own.
  • Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Children’s Book Week

    May 12-18th is Children’s Book Week, a celebration of books for young people and the joy reading. Established in 1919, it is the longest running national  children’s literacy initiative.


    This years poster is by Robin Preiss Glaser, the author of the Fancy Nancy and Nancy Clancy books. She is the 2013 Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year award Winner for Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet.

    Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    NYPL: 100 Best Children’s Book for 2013

    NYPL 100 Best Children's Books 2013
    The New York Public Library is out with an interactive list of the best children's books of 2013. You can search by reading level, genre and theme. Click on a book that interests you and it will take you to a short description  of the story. There is something for everyone.

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Celebrate World Read Aloud Day


    2014 World Read Aloud DayGrab a kid, grab a book and enjoy a story together. It just might be the beginning of a terrific habit.

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    Happy 110th Birthday, Dr Seuss

    Back in the olden days when I was a kid (the fifties), a book was written by Rudolf Flesch called Why Johnny Can’t Read (there is nothing new in the universe). Flesch along with the journalist, John Hersey, blamed boring primers, like the Dick and Jane books,  for that failure. Dr. Seuss rode to the rescue with  The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham (and many more) that even with a limited vocabulary were engaging and funny.

     2014 Dr Seuss birthday

    Each year his birthday is celebrated as Read Across America Day sponsored by the National Education Association. Read more about why Read Across America is so important here.

    Read Across America 2014

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    The Watermelon Seed

    The Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal winner for 2014 is The Watermelon Seed  by Greg Pizzoli. The book uses simple  graphics employing the colors of watermelon: pink, green and black. The text is large and well-spaced, very useful to beginning readers.

    The Watermelon Seed

    Our crocodile protagonist LOVES watermelon. He eats it morning, noon and night and even for dessert. One day, he swallows a watermelon seed. In his panic he envisions the horrors that await him. It is growing inside of him, the vines will soon grow out of his ears! He may turn pink, his stomach will stretch! Can someone help him? His stomach feels funny and on a page that will get the reader giggling is a l-o-n-g burp and up comes the seed. He swears off watermelon forever, except for maybe just one little bite.

    The Sonoma County Library has several copies. The AR level is 1.0. This is the author’s first picture book with two more to be published in 2014. You can check out his website here.

    Penny and Her Marble

    Kevin Henkes not only won a Newbery Honor for The Year of Billy Miller but also won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for Penny and Her Marble.

    Penny is feeling  uncomfortable. She didn’t want to help Mama  make sugar cookies, she wasn’t hungry  and had a hard time getting to sleep last night. Why is she feeling uncomfortable? The day before, she was pushing her doll, Rose, in her stroller down the sidewalk. When she passed Mrs. Goodwin’s house, she saw a beautiful blue marble on the grass. Penny thought Mrs. Goodwin was too old to play with marbles, so she picked it up and put it in her pocket and rushed home. In her room, she found that the marble was smooth and fast. She held it up to the blue sky, it looked like a piece of the sky. Through the window, she spotted Mrs. Goodwin in exactly the place where she found the marble. Was Mrs. Goodwin looking for the marble?

    The morning after her rough night, Penny wakes up with a plan. She puts Rose in the stroller and heads to Mrs. Goodwin’s house to return the marble. How is this story resolved? Did Penny take something that wasn’t meant for her?

    In four short chapters, Kevin Henkes explores a common childhood dilemma using age appropriate words and simple sentences.

    Penny and Her Marble

    The Sonoma County Library has several copies. Even though this is a Level 1 I Can Read book, it has an AR 0f 2.5.  I’ll leave it to someone at a higher pay grade than me to explain the discrepancy.