Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow

A couple of years ago, I came across at book for early readers called The Cat on the Mat is Flat by Australian author Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton. I have been using it with some of my second graders because there is lots of rhyming and alliteration and the type is large and well-spaced.  The nine stories are only a few pages long,  and both the text and line drawings are funny. Kids seemed to like reading the stories. Rhyming helps kids increase their vocabulary rapidly.

The Cat on the Mat is Flat

Thanks to the Imagination Soup blog, I have discovered another Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton collaboration, The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow. The ten stories in this volume are less wordy but still very rhyme-y (and according to the cover, slimy)  and the text and drawings are again,very funny. 

The Big Fat Cow that goes Kapow

One copy of The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow and four copies of The Cat on the Mat is Flat are available from the Sonoma County Library. The Yulupa Library has one copy of The Big Fat Cow Goes Kapow and lists its reading level as 1.7.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Trip to the Bottom of the World With Mouse

One of the books recommended by Melissa Taylor in the previous post for 5 and 6 year olds is Frank Viva’s A Trip To The Bottom Of the World With Mouse. It has been sitting on my bookshelf for months, so it is about time to get around to it. Mouse and his explorer friend are on a ship headed to Antarctica. The seas are rough and Mouse would like to turn around and go back home, but the trip becomes worth it when they get to see penguins, whales and swim in the warm water of a submerged volcano. The book is based on a trip the author took to Antarctica (he is Mouse). You can read more about it and see some pictures of the trip here.

What makes this a terrific book for beginning readers is large, well-spaced type, few words on a page, repetition and pairing words with pictures. Not to mention, it is a good story.

A Trip To The Bottom of the World

The Sonoma County Library has a few copies.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Easy Readers

Melissa Taylor of the Imagination Soup blog has compiled a very long list of beginning books for 5 and 6 year olds. She includes a brief description of each book or set of books. You can find it here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

10 Ways To Help Kids Who Get Stuck on a Word

Jodie Rodriguez of the Growing Book by Book blog has a great free printable with 10 ways to help  kids who get stuck on a word when reading. It is a great tool for parents and for tutors. You can find out how to use each tip here.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Teacher Is a MONSTER!

Peter Brown, the author of one and illustrator of two of my favorite picture books of the last few years , Mr Tiger Goes Wild and Creepy Carrots, has written and illustrated a perfect back to school book, My Teacher Is a MONSTER! (No, I Am Not).

My Teacher Is a Monster

Bobby’s teacher, Ms. Kirby, doesn’t like a noisy classroom or paper airplanes thrown during class or dawdling. She stomps and she roars. Bobby decides she is a MONSTER! One Saturday, on his way to play in his favorite park, he runs into his teacher sitting on a  bench reading. Her hat blows away and Bobby runs to retrieve it. He catches it just before it blows into the duck pond. Ms. Kirby tells Bobby that he is her hero. That breaks the ice and they spend some time quacking with the ducks and Bobby shows her  his favorite spot, high on a hill in the park. Ms.Kirby pulls a sheet of paper out of her handbag and gives it to Bobby to make a paper airplane, then they watch it fly all the way down the hill. They decide that, perhaps, that was the greatest paper airplane flight in history. Back at school, Ms. Kirby still stomps and still roars but is she a monster?

I love the slow evolution of Ms. Kirby from green monster to a pretty, young woman as the two get to know each other in the park. It is an experience my seventh grade class had with one of our teachers. She had a fearsome reputation. We were prepared to loath her but because we got to know her outside of class (after school), she became our favorite teacher. Who knew teachers were people, too?

The Sonoma County Library has several copies and the AR is 1.7.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How To Get Your Kids to Love Reading

Jon Scieszka, author of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Stinky Cheese Man and the Time Warp Trio series, has some terrific ideas how to get your kids to love reading. Before he started writing children’s books, he was a teacher, so his ideas have been field tested. Find out what your child really loves and then find books, magazines, or any kind of text about that subject. Whether your child loves mysteries or space or fairy tales, there are chapter books, short stories, picture books, graphic novels, comics and audio books. One additional thing he does not mention is READ to your kids! Start early and keep reading to them even when they can read what they want on their own. You can read the whole interview at the Musings blog (Parnassus Books).

Luckily, John Scieszka has a website devoted to getting boys to read called Guys Read. He has organized his recommendations into categories like, How to build stuff, Realistic kids in realistic situations and one sure to be a hit with my grandsons, At least one explosion. Other categories include Series, Ghosts and Action/Adventure and several more. Scieszka includes comics (Gary Larson’s The Far Side comic books are prominently featured), graphic novels, magazines and audio books.

Hat tip: Imagination Soup

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.