Camping-Themed Active Learning Journal Pages

Camping-Themed Active Learning Journal Pages

As some of you may remember from a few weeks ago, we took an amazing RV trip at the end of the summer, the week before school started. When making plans for what I wanted to take with us (which included a lot of books, of course, as well as some sticker-by-number and sticker-by-letter activity books and open-ended art supplies), I remembered that my friend Theresa from the Literacy in Motion account on Instagram created wonderful travel-themed active learning journal pages for her little ones when they traveled this summer. I took some of her ideas and managed to create a few unique pages of my own, and you all were incredibly eager to see these pages up close!

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A Favorite Read-Aloud Tip

A Favorite Read-Aloud Tip

A few weeks ago, I posted something in an Instagram story about the books I had read aloud to our girls over dinner, and I was flooded with questions about if we read aloud to our girls every dinnertime. And the answer? No, not every dinnertime, as we try to make that a time to focus on family conversation, but I will read aloud at dinner if my husband is working late.

However, I DO read aloud almost every single breakfast, and most lunches that the girls eat at home. We started this when our oldest was about 1.5 years old, and we’ve been going strong in mealtime read alouds for the 5.5 years since. Read on to see what makes this such a successful time for our family to read aloud!

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Picture Books to Inspire Letter Writing

Picture Books to Inspire Letter Writing

If you saw my post about combatting the summer slide, you may have noticed that we’re encouraging the girls to send letters and postcards to friends and family, and that we’ve started a Conversation Journal (a notebook of letters back and forth) with our oldest. As a way to inspire writing these letters, we’ve also been reading lots of picture books told mostly (or completely, in many cases) through epistolary form. Friendly letters, persuasive writing, thank you notes, even a few business letters– these books have it all! At the bottom of this post, I’ve also included a few wonderful novels written in letter format, for those of you with older readers who may be looking for more!

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The Importance of Front-Facing Books– and How to Display Them

The Importance of Front-Facing Books– and How to Display Them

If you’ve followed me for any period of time at all, then you know by now that I LOVE our front-facing bookshelf. It was an investment we chose to make almost 4 years ago (see photo below), and it has been worth every single penny. Being able to see the cover of a book is so beneficial in so many ways to children!

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The Benefits of Dirt and Mud Play — and the Easiest DIY Mud Kitchen Ever

The Benefits of Dirt and Mud Play —  and the Easiest DIY Mud Kitchen Ever

Our almost-four-year-old daughter is raising polar bears and panda bears in the bushes in our front yard. And, she feeds them sweet potatoes that she makes from the wood chips surrounding said bushes. She’s been raising these animals for more than a year, so we decided she needed some proper kitchen tools to help her along! Last Christmas, we bought her some stainless steel and aluminum cupspans, pots, spatulas, and spoons, and last spring, we made the simplest DIY mud kitchen that has ever been made. Why did we go to such lengths to encourage this play? Besides simply being an amazing creative outlet (I mean, think about the imagination required to keep those polar bears alive for so long!), did you know there are many, many other benefits to playing in dirt and mud? Read on for some of those benefits, as well as basic directions to our super simple mud kitchen!

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What We’re Doing to Combat the Summer Slide

What We’re Doing to Combat the Summer Slide

Parents, have you heard about summer learning loss, the summer slump, or the summer slide? Does what you’re hearing make you worry about what you need to do with your children over the summer to ensure they start a new school year fresh and ready to go, especially after such a strange finish to the most recent school year? Are you trying to do ALL THE THINGS to make this happen? Read on for a little info about summer learning loss, as well as what we’re doing in our house to keep skills up in fun and natural ways! Continue reading “What We’re Doing to Combat the Summer Slide”

Quick Writing Activity to Boost Neighborhood Morale

Quick Writing Activity to Boost Neighborhood Morale

A few weeks ago, I wrote a quick post with some easy ways to build literacy and writing skills in this time at home. In that post, I shared our “Have a Great Day!” sign that has been hanging on our front porch for close to two months now. Close to two months, and people still walk by, point and smile, stop to tell us how much they love it, and sometimes even take a picture of it! Today, I’ve got another porch sign for you to make — a sign thanking all your delivery people for their hard work and service.

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Being Your Child’s Writing Cheerleader

Being Your Child’s Writing Cheerleader

Notice any special publications on the bookshelf above? I’m reposting (with some edits) a post that I did more than ago, in the spring of 2019. But, I believe this information is even more important for you now, as parents are trying to navigate helping their children learn at home. Last week, I had the privilege of “attending” a virtual workshop for parents on how to help our children through writing workshop at home, put on by the lovely ladies from Inspire Literacy.

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Brain Games Sticker Puzzles

Brain Games Sticker Puzzles

Okay, all, if you’ve been around for a few months, you’ve likely read about our girls’ obsession with the Workman Publishing Paint by Sticker Kids books. While we still love them, of course, I recently discovered a sticker puzzle mosaic series — Brain Games Sticker by Number/Letter books, by Publications International! Continue reading “Brain Games Sticker Puzzles”

Reading “Facts of Life”

Reading “Facts of Life”

It’s pretty simple… More than 30 years of education research boils down to these two basic facts about reading enjoyment and achievement (from Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th edition), pages 6-7). Right now, we are the sole influences in our child’s reading lives. We must be modeling reading for them (I think I may need a whole post on that…), we must make reading pleasurable for them, and we must ensure that they are reading (both listening to books and reading/looking at books).

Because remember, as humans, we do things over and over again when they bring us pleasure, and we avoid things that bring displeasure or pain. Is reading pleasing to your child? What can you do to make the at-home reading experience more pleasurable?

And, just like riding a bike, hitting a baseball, or playing the piano, in order to get better at reading, we must practice it. The more we read, the better we get at it. Over and over again, research findings show that “students who read the most also read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest.” (Trelease, page 7) Continue reading “Reading “Facts of Life””