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.

Continue reading “Being Your Child’s Writing Cheerleader”

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””

Book Baskets and Daily Independent Reading Time

Book Baskets and Daily Independent Reading Time

At this point in school cancellations and shelter-in-place, you’ve likely seen the advice that if you only do one “school” thing a day, choose reading (either independent reading time or read-aloud time). And this advice is given for good reason — research shows that both the amount of time children spend reading and the amount they are read to are strongly correlated to academic performance in all subjects down the road (Jim Trelease thoroughly documents research on both read aloud time and sustained silent reading time in his book The Read-Aloud Handbook).

So, how’s that reading time going for you all? As you can imagine, the read-aloud time comes naturally in our house, so we just continued on with our normal read alouds (take a moment to read my Practical Tips for Making Read-Aloud Time Easier if you’re struggling with read-aloud time in your house). However, we’ve never had a formal time for everyone in the house to read independently. We’ve been given the gift of time, though, so there was no time like the present to make independent reading part of our daily ritual, too! Read on for some ideas on motivating your children to read independently. Continue reading “Book Baskets and Daily Independent Reading Time”

A Quick and Easy Literacy (and “P.E.”) Activity for Different Ages

A Quick and Easy Literacy (and “P.E.”) Activity for Different Ages

I’m coming at you today with an incredibly short and sweet way to combine your quarantine home-school literacy learning a P. E. class– the alphabet scavenger hunt! Brainchild of my amazing husband, this alphabet scavenger hunt reinvigorated family enthusiasm for our daily morning walk around the block AND helped the girls practice some of their reading and writing skills! Read on for a very brief description of this amazing family project. Continue reading “A Quick and Easy Literacy (and “P.E.”) Activity for Different Ages”

Caterpillar Day!

Caterpillar Day!

A few years ago, a friend introduced us to the wonder of raising our own caterpillars and watching them grow, metamorphosize, and fly away as butterflies. While we usually do this later in the spring, I had the foresight to order a caterpillar kit the day we learned school was cancelled for a while. So, for two weeks, we’ve been nurturing our caterpillars to their current chrysalis stage. And it dawned on me yesterday that this would make a very easy and terrifically fun theme for the morning! Read on to learn all about our caterpillar morning from yesterday and to see what our theme is going to be today. Continue reading “Caterpillar Day!”

Five Ways to Build Connection AND Literacy Skills During Shelter-In-Place

Five Ways to Build Connection AND Literacy Skills During Shelter-In-Place

Right now, it’s safe to assume that just about everyone is living in a shelter-in-place community and that your children are now learning from home for a bit. Today, I’ve got five easy ways to keep connections with neighbors, friends, and family strong while also growing some literacy skills at the same time. These are wins all around! Continue reading “Five Ways to Build Connection AND Literacy Skills During Shelter-In-Place”

An Amazing Alphabet Song Hack

An Amazing Alphabet Song Hack

Is it just in our house, or is the “L-M-N-O-P” part of the traditional alphabet song really hard for children to hear, decipher, and then translate to actually written letters of the alphabet? Surely other children out there besides our own have believed the middle of the alphabet consisted of one long, hard-to-say letter called “eleminopee,” right? Anyway, you can imagine how excited I was when our older daughter came home from her prekindergarten class one day singing the alphabet song a new and different way– a way that made each of those middle letters unique, individual sounds! Keep reading for the magical words to this version (sung to the same tune, by the way…), as well as a video of my girls modeling this edition! Continue reading “An Amazing Alphabet Song Hack”

The Most Important Reading “Teaching” You Can Do With Children at Home

The Most Important Reading “Teaching” You Can Do With Children at Home

A few weeks ago, I could have told you springtime was fast approaching based not on the calendar or the weather, but on the number of emails and messages I got from followers wanting to know the best at-home programs to use to teach their preschoolers to read. It’s that time of year when we’re all looking ahead to the next school year, a year that seems especially important if next year means kindergarten, as we all want our children to have a positive first school experience. (And for many parents these days, pre-kindergarten, junior kindergarten, or transitional kindergarten also seem monumental, as people believe that is the school year when their children need to start reading so that they are ready for kindergarten…). Who knew that worrying about teaching our children to read was such a seasonal thing for parents?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Anyway, my answer is almost always the same and is super easy to implement… In fact, I’d be willing to bet money that if you’re following me, you’re doing exactly what you need to do already… Continue reading “The Most Important Reading “Teaching” You Can Do With Children at Home”

A (Nonsponsored) Review of Libro.fm

A (Nonsponsored) Review of Libro.fm

About nine months ago, I switched my audiobook membership from Audible, which I had used on and off for about 10 years, to Libro.fm. If you’ve never heard of Libro.fm, you’re not alone — I had also never heard of it until a friend in my book club mentioned that I should check it out, since I love both our local bookstore AND audiobooks so much. A brief minute on the Libro.fm website was enough to convince me to switch, and I haven’t looked back since. Read on to see an unsponsored review of our Libro.fm experience, why we love it, and some of the titles we’ve enjoyed listening to with our Libro.fm account. If you make it all the way to the bottom, I have a (nonsponsored, normal) referral link for you to try Libro.fm out! Continue reading “A (Nonsponsored) Review of Libro.fm”