Reader Poll!

Reader Poll!

Okay, all, I need your input! I’m working on my favorite booklist of the year —  my 2020 90 Books for 90 Days of Summer booklist! And, I need your help… I’ve got a massive list of finalists (WAY more than 90, because it’s just so hard to narrow it down!), but I want to make sure that this list is extremely easy for you all to use. Continue reading “Reader Poll!”

Terrific Poetry Books for Children

Terrific Poetry Books for Children

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month here in the United States? Admittedly, this is a celebration from which I have shied away in the past, as my childhood love of Shel Silverstein and other fun poetry dwindled once I tried to analyze poetry in middle and high school. I want better for my children, though. I want them to be comfortable, maybe even confident, reading poetry.

And more than just wanting them to be (at a minimum) comfortable reading poetry (but hopefully enjoy reading it, too!), poetry positively affects literacy development in growing readers. So not only do I want my children to be comfortable and confident when it comes to poetry, but I want them to reap these benefits too! Reading poetry with children:

  • Helps pre-readers begin to connect the sounds they hear with the symbols they see on the page.
  • Strengthens pre-readers knowledge of familiar sounds.
  • Impacts phonological awareness by allowing independent readers to familiarize themselves with common phonemic patterns in rhyming words.
  • Helps children recognize high-frequency written words.
  • Increases reading and speaking fluency, especially when children are encouraged to read aloud through choral or repeated readings.
  • Builds problem-solving skills as children begin to predict the rhyming words (especially when children are given the opportunity to finish the lines and predict “What’s next?”).
  • Fosters memory recall, especially when poetry is experienced through repeated readings, or accompanied by songs, fingerplays, or other dramatic acts.
  • Builds positive relationships between adult and children when reading poetry is a fun shared experience.

Additionally, young children truly enjoy the rhythm and predictability of rhymes such as poetry. After all, there’s a good reason that so many favorite board and picture books, the ones your children reach for over and over, are rhyming books!

So, where to begin? How do you start reading poetry with children, so that they not only develop positive associations with poetry but also reap the amazing literacy benefits? Below, you’ll find our favorite poetry books, books from which I enjoy reading and to which my girls delight in listening. You’ll find the silly, laugh-inducing poetry of Shel Silverstein, but you’ll also find more serious, thought-provoking poems, so this list runs the gamut. Hopefully you can find something inspiring for your family, too! Continue reading “Terrific Poetry Books for Children”

Terrific Books to Inspire Design and Engineering PLUS Activities for Each

Terrific Books to Inspire Design and Engineering PLUS Activities for Each

Last week was technically our spring break, so while our spring break didn’t involve the travel and extended family visits that we had planned, it also didn’t involve keeping up with various Zoom meetings and struggling with the technical difficulties of distance learning. Instead, we focused on life skills (the girls took turns cooking dinner each night and learning how to use knives, the stove, and the microwave safely, as well as learned both of our phone numbers, and our older daughter finally mastered tying her shoes!) and played around with some book-inspired creative design and engineering. Read on to see what books we read and how they inspired our play! Continue reading “Terrific Books to Inspire Design and Engineering PLUS Activities for Each”

Earth Day Books to Read Year-Round

Earth Day Books to Read Year-Round

If you’ve been following along for a while, then you know that when it comes to holiday/seasonal reads, I love finding good books that can be used to celebrate a specific holiday or season, but that are also impactful for year-round reading. I also believe one of the best ways to help our Earth is to help children learn about plants, animals, and the actual makeup of the earth around them– the more they understand about the environment around them, the more they will be inspired to take care of it. So, if you’re like us and spring seemed to come late to your area, or if you’re looking for wonderful books to teach children about our planet and how to care for it that you can read year-round, look no further than the list below! Continue reading “Earth Day Books to Read Year-Round”

Books for Helping Children Cope with Fears and Worries

Books for Helping Children Cope with Fears and Worries

Even before I had my Instagram page and this website, my friends frequently asked me to recommend books that would help their children work through fears and worries. Since starting to recommend books publically, I get asked for this even more frequently. Maybe it’s the age of my children and their friends, but it seems like I get asked for titles of books for fear and worry every other week… So, it’s about time that I just compiled a list of good books to help children cope with fear and worry! Continue reading “Books for Helping Children Cope with Fears and Worries”

Our Favorite Books about Bunnies and Eggs

Our Favorite Books about Bunnies and Eggs

For those of you who love to read books about bunnies, eggs, chicks, etc. during springtime and the Easter season, this list is for you! Below are some of our very favorite books that generally relate to Easter festivities, but can easily be incorporated into your year-round library.

(If you’re looking for Easter-specific books, both secular or religious in nature, be sure to check out yesterday’s post!). Continue reading “Our Favorite Books about Bunnies and Eggs”

Our Favorite Holiday-Specific Easter Books

Our Favorite Holiday-Specific Easter Books

So, it turns out that you all were almost perfectly 50/50 on whether you wanted holiday-specific Easter books or more general books about bunnies and eggs, so… I’ve got two lists for you! Below, you’ll find Easter-specific titles for a variety of ages and holiday interests— little readers, bigger kids, Christian, secular… Hopefully there’s something in here for you!

If you were really hoping for my favorite non-Easter books about bunnies and eggs for your year-round reading pleasure, have no fear… I’ve got those for you, too! Just click here to see our list of our list of favorite books about bunnies and eggs! Continue reading “Our Favorite Holiday-Specific Easter Books”

Books that Model Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness

Books that Model Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness

As you all know, my husband and I decided to make 2020 be the year that we intentionally teach, model, and practice with our girls one character trait per month. We have chosen these traits thoughtfully, spending time discussing what traits are important to us and what kind of adults we hope to help our children grow up to be. While the first three months of this work in 2020 seemed important and impactful, we’ve all recently been given the gift of time with the people in our houses, the opportunity to focus on what’s really important. In our house, we’re embracing this as a chance to truly focus on what kind of people our children grow up to be.

Our plan for April had been to work with the girls on authentic apologies and heartfelt forgiveness. While I thought about changing our focus or abandoning altogether for a month while we get our “everyone at home all day every day” feet under us, we’re going to power through on that focus… After all, so much time together in a small space inevitably leads to situations were genuine, heartfelt apologies and forgiveness are needed!

Today, I’ve got a booklist full of wonderful children’s stories in which the characters model not only authentic forgiveness, but also exemplify what a genuine apology might sound and look like (we talk a lot in our house about Responsive Classroom’s “apology of action” if you want more to help your children go beyond simple “I’m sorries”). Continue reading “Books that Model Authentic Apologies and Genuine Forgiveness”

Beautiful Books to Gift

Beautiful Books to Gift

This will come as no surprise to any of you all, but I love to give books as presents. Chances are good that if you have ever received a gift from our family, it was either a book or came with a book. Today, I’m thrilled to be partnering with my friend Nicole from Instagram’s @beginathome account to bring you 20 absolutely beautiful books perfect for gifting, whether for baby gifts, birthdays, or Easter baskets (because yes, Easter is right around the corner, in case you forgot in all the chaos of life lately…).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Check out my ten(ish) of my favorite beautiful books to gift below, then hop over to Nicole’s Instagram post (and while you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of her inspiring account @beginathome!) to see her ten picks.

Continue reading “Beautiful Books to Gift”

Four New Favorite Rainbow and Color Books

Four New Favorite Rainbow and Color Books

Could your life use a little color and cheer right now? I’ve seen so many wonderful ideas shared about leaving happy sidewalk chalk messages, people pulling out their Christmas lights, and putting happy kid-drawn pictures in front windows as ways to spread joy around neighborhoods at a time when neighbors can’t be… well, neighborly. And, this felt like a terrific time to update our list of favorite rainbow and color books that I published last year! I was able to snag a few new rainbow and color books from our local library just before it closed, and added one from our collection, so I’ve got 4 new titles to add to my list! Continue reading “Four New Favorite Rainbow and Color Books”