A few weeks ago, my older daughter read a book in which the main character types a newspaper on a typewriter, and she decided she really, really wanted to do the same thing. Not one to say “No” to our girls when they’re really excited to read or write something, I told her we’d see what we could do (turns out used typewriters that work are hard to find and expensive!). But, being friends with an OT with every trick under the moon up her sleeve pays off, as my friend Courtney from OT OuTside has an old typewriter that we borrowed. And for the two weeks that it lived on our kitchen table, both of our girls wrote newspapers stories, letters, and notes on it every single day.
Which got me thinking about how I needed to share this tip with you all! No, I’m not saying you need to go out and find a typewriter for your kids to play on. But, I am encouraging you to think about what out-of-the-box tools you have around that can make writing fun and exciting for your emerging or reluctant writers (because, just like with reading, the more kids enjoy writing, the more they’re going to write, and the better they’re going to become). Read on for a few other ideas of fun, unique writing tools to get your kids excited about writing!
Continue reading “Literacy Tip — Provide Unique Writing Tools to Make Writing Exciting”
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve likely picked up on the fact that I’m not at all worried about teaching my girls to read before they start kindergarten (and, then, I’m not worried about teaching them myself… I trust our teachers to let me know if we need to work on anything from home!). But, I know that kindergarten readiness is at the forefront of many parents’ minds over the course of that year leading up to kindergarten. Step back and take a relaxing breath, though, because if you follow me, you’re likely already doing all that you need to do to help your child be ready to read and write when the time comes!
Continue reading “Easy Ways for Parents to Prepare Kids to Learn to Read and Write”
If you’re a teacher or a parent, you’ve likely bemoaned children’s book choices at one point or another… Or maybe you feel that way almost every day! After all, why would children choose to read so many “lite” reads (or junk, as you might call it) when so many wonderfully written, beautifully thought-provoking, lesson-teaching books have been written for kids? I’m talking about those books that are, as Jim Trelease writes, “accessible,” those books that are written so simply and with such simple storylines that they’re easy to read… As adults, we might think of them as beach reads. And, just like beach reads have a valid place in many an adults’ reading lives, these “lite” reads can be greatly beneficial to children, too!
Continue reading “Should We Let Our Children Read Junk?”
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 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!
Continue reading “A Favorite Read-Aloud Tip”
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!
Continue reading “Picture Books to Inspire Letter Writing”
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!
Continue reading “The Importance of Front-Facing Books– and How to Display Them”
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 cups, pans, 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!
Continue reading “The Benefits of Dirt and Mud Play — and the Easiest DIY Mud Kitchen Ever”
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”
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.
Continue reading “Quick Writing Activity to Boost Neighborhood Morale”