Saturday, June 25, 2016

Happy Birthday, Eric Carle!

Today is the 87th birthday of author/illustrator, Eric Carle. He uses hand-painted papers to create layered collages. The first book he illustrated was Bill Martin, Jr.'s classic, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

Soon after that he wrote and illustrated The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the most famous of his almost 70 books.

Several years ago, a first grade classroom at Yulupa colored their own papers and made collages of Eric Carle's creations. You can see them here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Books for Kids Reading Above Grade Level

This is not a topic we talk about often on this blog but it is something I spend a great deal of time on with the kids in my life. The situation described by the author, Joan Kindig, about a teacher reading aloud to her third grade class applies to many kids in elementary school. They have already read and enjoyed the read aloud book and can become bored. The solution to the read aloud challenge in the classroom is headphones and audio-books. Let's stop here for a minute. Did you know that audio-books count as reading? I have been on many car trips where we listened to the great Jim Dale use his 101 different voices to read the seven Harry Potter books. The article, Books For Kids Reading Above Grade Level from the School Library Journal has a list of audio-books that are age appropriate but have more meat. They also are great for read alouds at home and for kids to read by themselves. These are my favorites:

The Sonoma County Library has six copies of Stella By Starlight, the AR is 4.8. The library has ninety copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the AR is 5.5; there are twenty-three copies of Echo and the AR is 4.9; there are eleven copies of The War That Saved My Life, the AR is 4.1 and twenty-seven copies of Dead End In Norvelt, the AR is 5.7.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

My great-niece and her dad:

Look at her focus on the book her dad is reading to her. The picture was taken when she was two months old. Kids are sponges. Their brains are wired to learn from day one. Kids whose parents read and talk to them hear millions more words before kindergarten than kids whose parents do not, and no, TV does not count. They come to school with the building blocks necessary for formal learning.

Brightly has a great post up: Why Dad's Should Read With Their Kids by Tom Burns. Don't think all the benefits accrue to the kids.

For dessert, a PSA from Reading is Fundamental Your Voice, Their Imagination. I love the visuals the kids are creating from their surroundings as they listen to the story.

Are We There Yet?

When our kids were young, we loaded them in the car every summer and took road trips to the west or to the east or north to Canada. We once were on the road for six weeks, so when I saw Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat's new book, Are We There Yet?, I had to take a look because we heard that from the backseat countless times each summer.

The family is in the car headed to Grandma's birthday party. The drive seems endless. A voice from the back seat asks, "are we there yet?" It is so boring that time seems to be flowing backwards to the Wild West, to a pirate ship, to the days of jousting knights, to the Valley of the Kings and  all the way back to the dinosaurs. On the back of a very large dinosaur, they ride quickly into the future.  We have landed on October 24, 2059! Oh no, we have missed Grandma's birthday party! The young man in the backseat drifts off into sleep. When he hears "we're here!", he wakes and runs into Grandma's arms. The book ends in a pun that even kids will get.

The construction of the book is very clever, when we head into the past, to follow the text we have to turn the book upside down. Then we are turning the pages to the left (backward). When  we are racing to the future, the text causes us to turn the book right side up again. This will definitely be in my Schools of Hope bag for next year.

The AR is 1.8. The Sonoma County Library has ten copies.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Something to Do on Father's Day With Your Kids

The Copperfield's bookstore in Novato will be hosting the Scholastic Summer Reading Road Trip on Sunday, June 19th from 10 AM to PM. 

The Novato Copperfield's is at 999 Grant Ave, Novato. Take the DeLong exit to Front Street.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Summer Reading Ideas

I stumbled on this page on GoodReads this morning: What Book Made You Fall in Love With Reading?  So far, there are 373 responses to the question, some folks are even older than I am (who knew that was possible), more are thirty  to forty something and there is a large group of teens and twenty somethings. The number one book/series mentioned by the later group is Harry Potter, no surprise there. That series turned my oldest grandson into an avid reader a decade and a half ago. Charlotte's Web is mentioned by all age groups. My youngest daughter became  an ardent reader after I read it to my kids.  The Percy Jackson series is mentioned numerous times, as is Nancy Drew (and not only by old people), The Baby Sitter's Club series, The Secret Garden (which would have made me into a voracious reader if I wasn't one already) and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Some people gave specific credit to mom or dad for reading to them. A bonus at the top of the page is a preview of  The BFG. Could one of the many books mentioned in this article be the one that hooks your kid?

Our local independent bookstore, Copperfield's is offering their Festival of Characters, kid's summer reading program for 2016. Go online or into a store to register and pick up a reading
bingo card. Five books in a row entitles you to a prize.

The website includes book lists, you might get an idea by looking at the graphics above what some of the books are (Ramona Quimby and Greg Heffley for the uniniated) 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Good Advice for Parents to Prevent Summer Slide

Today was the last day of school in our neck of the woods. It is now up to parents and families to prevent summer slide. What is summer slide? Summer slide is the learning loss that occurs when kids don't read over the summer. An average of 2 months of gains can be lost each summer and the loss is cumulative. What can parents do to prevent summer slide?

Reading Is Fundamental has some good tips for parents to help their kids advance in their reading skills. The second tip is to read every day and offers some ideas including reading the back of a cereal box. I have been telling kids that for years. They usually look at me like I've lost my mind. In the olden days that was a reliable source of reading material in my parent's house. The other day I was making some muffins and happened to read a clever little story on the inside of an egg carton that would appeal to kids. You never know where you'll find interesting reading material! Another important tip is to let your kids see you read. My favorite tip is to let your child chose what he wants to read or what she wants you to read to her. The point is to pull them into a story to find out what happens next. The previous post, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, has links to online games and stories as well as the printables mentioned.

The Fun and Games page on the Sonoma County Library website also has links to online books and games for kids.

What kid doesn't like to get mail? A magazine subscription is a great way to get your kids to read, even in the summer. Erica at the What Do We Do All Day blog did the hard work of looking at kid's magazines that have no advertising. Her  16 magazines for kids posts has magazine suggestions for all ages and interests. One magazine I didn't know that was still around is Humpty Dumpty. My younger siblings subscribed for a long time (there were five of them).

To sum up:

Check back frequently this summer for more ideas to keep your kids reading, book lists and book reviews. And finally for Sonoma County residents is the application for a library card in English and Spanish and their summer reading program for kids 0-12