Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Read Across America

Read across America

Read Across America was started in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA). The goal is to have every child in every community celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The purpose of Read Across America is to motivate children to create lifelong successful readers.

Research shows that children who read independently do better in school and on achievement tests. Fifteen minutes a day of independent reading translates into 1,146,000 words read per year and scoring in the 80th percentile on the tests. Twenty minutes day is 1,823,000 words read per year and a score in the 90th percentile. So grab a book and your favorite child(ren) and start reading!

Note: Yulupa teachers ask for 20 minutes a day of independent reading.

Happy Birthday Dr Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Even though he published his first book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1937, Dr. Seuss earned most of his income until 1957 in advertising. By then, he had written 12 children’s books. In the late fifties, there was concern that children were not learning to read. Some writers like Rudolf Flesch (Why Johnny Can’t Read) and an article by John Hersey in Life magazine, blamed boring primers like the Dick and Jane books for that failure. William Spaulding, who headed his publisher’s education division, challenged Dr. Seuss to “Write me a story that first-graders can’t put down!” It was to be limited to 225 different words out of a list of 348 words. The result was The Cat in the Hat.

And to think....on Mulberry The Cat in the Hat

In 1958, Seuss, his wife Helen and Phyllis Cerf started Beginner Books, a division of  Random House headed by Bennett Cerf. The mission of Beginner Books  is to publish books that help children learn to read. Some of the first books published were The Cat in The Hat Comes Back, P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog, Go and Stan and Jan Berenstain’s The Big Honey Hunt.

Go, Dog, Go The Big honey Hunt

Bennett Cerf bet Dr Seuss that he could not write a book using 50 or fewer words. He won that bet with Green Eggs and Ham which is his best selling title.

green eggs and Ham The Cat in the Hat comes back

Other beginning best sellers include One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and the favorite in our family, Hop on Pop.

One fish, two fish Hop on Pop

All eight of these books are available in the Yulupa Library and the Sonoma County Library.

March Children’s Museum Events

children's museumThere will be two free events sponsored by the Sonoma County Children’s Museum in March.  The Green is Good Workshop will take place at Freidman’s on Saturday, March 3rd from 9AM to 12 PM at 4055 Santa Rosa Avenue. Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with science. This event is part of the monthly KidsWorx Creative Workshops.

The Lawrence Hall of Science will bring The Art of Math Festival to the Children’s Museum on Thursday, March 8. This event is limited to 120 participants. Please e-mail Anya Kennerly by March 6 to reserve space for your family at anya.cmosc@gmail.com .

Note: The Art of Math Festival event is closed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tower of Books

tower of Books

Pictured above is a 34 foot tall tower of books written about Abraham Lincoln at the Ford’s Theatre Center for Education. To find out more click here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Read for My School

We Give Books

We Give Books, an initiative of the Pearson Foundation, is giving 150,000 books to pubic schools in the United States. From their website

Starting this Valentine's Day, you and the children in your life will have the chance to read and give to your public elementary school! We Give Books' Read for My School campaign is your chance to support your school, or another school you care about, as together we highlight the importance of public education and support learning in our communities.

Altogether, We Give Books is making 150,000 books available to U.S. schools, so get ready to read! Read for My School will last until we've given all these books to public schools nationwide.

Earning free books for your school is fun and easy!

1. Enter your school name on the campaign sign-up form so that we can track the number of books that your school earns. If you're already a member of We Give Books, please click the orange “Support This Campaign” button to enter your school.

2. Choose a great children's book and read! Click "Give a Book" at the end of the story to be counted toward your school's reading total.

3. Share this campaign: Encourage friends and family members to participate and earn even more books for your school! Each school must have 50 or more books read on its behalf during Read for My School to be eligible to earn up to 500 free books donated by We Give Books!

Some of the books on this website are books we have featured in this blog: The Snowy Day and The Mitten. There are books for toddlers and early readers and non'-fiction books such as Dinosaur Detectives. So grab your favorite kid and get reading for our school!

Note: This program has ended. All 150,000 books have been earned.


Schools of Hope tutors are using a research based reading program called Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies or PALS. It was developed by Vanderbilt University about ten years ago and is being used in classrooms in Nashville, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Arizona and now at Yulupa. As developed, students are paired and one is the “coach” and one is the “player”. For Schools of Hope tutoring sessions, the tutor is the coach. In first grade, unless a student is new to Yulupa, they have done student paired PALS in class.

First Grade PALS emphasizes decoding skills and fluent reading by using Game Sheets that reinforce letter sounds, practice sounding out words, first by s-t-r-e-c-h-i-n-g the letter sounds in a word and then by sounding it out and saying it. Sight words are introduced and reinforced in each lesson and the last exercise is a short reading (the photos below are from a later version of the program than the one we are using).

PALS lesson 16  PALS lesson 16b

The right hand column is the coach’s “script”. You can find out more about this program at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.

Second graders at Yulupa are using advanced PALS:

PALS lesson 66 Pals Lesson 66b

The format is similar to the earlier PALS but the stretching exercise is replaced with more sight words and longer stories.

When I began to use the PALS program, I was a bit skeptical of the stretching exercise. But as the weeks progressed, I found that it helped the students blend the sounds of the letters into the word. Most of your students will know the letter sounds but have problems blending those sounds into words.

Tutor Training Video from Spring Creek

The United Way website also has a seventeen minute Schools of Hope tutor training video from Spring Creek Elementary in Santa Rosa. They use different materials than we do but it is helpful, especially for new tutors and for learning some new cues for experienced tutors. You can watch this video here.

Letter Sounds

The Schools of Hope page on the United Way of the Wine Country website has a phonics song on an audio player to to review basic letter sounds here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love is Electric Workshop

The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County’s Museum-on-the-Go will be at Friedman’s Home Improvement in Santa Rosa On Saturday, February 4th 9AM-Noon. The KidsWorx Creative Workshop with a Love is Electric theme will be there to celebrate Valentine's Day with science. This is a free event. Friedman Bros. is located at 4055 Santa Rosa Avenue.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nonfiction for Primary Grade Readers

The Horn Book website has a post up about four science picture books on the food chain, Arctic migration, animal communication and  evolution. Check it out.