Literacy Sensory Bins

Literacy Sensory Bins

If you know me well, you know that I don’t teach my own children to read before kindergarten (nor do I spend time teaching my kindergartener to read when she’s home from school). I believe in play, in exploration, and in a literacy-rich environment. So, my girls LOVE to “read” and to listen to books, but our oldest didn’t read independently before kindergarten. Our youngest might not either. And that’s just fine with me, as long as they’re excited about words, reading, and writing.

So, what do we do instead? We read aloud… a lot. We have books around for the girls to “read” on their own… a lot. And we play! We play for fun. We play to build social skills and to learn about the world. And we play with words and letters. Continue reading “Literacy Sensory Bins”

Books for Valentine’s Day 2019

Books for Valentine’s Day 2019

Ok, something you’ll learn about me over time is that while I love a good themed bookshelf, I really love when the books I choose for said bookshelf can serve multiple purposes throughout the year. So, when it comes to holiday books, I get pretty excited when I find books that work for a given holiday, but can also be read anytime over the course of the year (like this list of my favorite Halloween-y, but not Halloween, books, or some great books to read at the beginning of the school year that aren’t specifically about the first day of school). So, when it comes to Valentine’s Day, our shelf has a few Valentine’s Day books (only 2 out of 15 featured here, to be specific), but we read mostly love and kindness stories with wonderful year-round lessons. Continue reading “Books for Valentine’s Day 2019”

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! Continue reading “The Importance of Front-Facing Books– and How to Display Them”

Escargot by Dashka Slater

Escargot by Dashka Slater

Do your kids love interactive stories? Can you do a mean French accent? Does everyone in your house enjoy read-alouds that make you giggle (or full-on laugh out loud…)? And, do you need one last gift idea for a special child in your life? Then Escargot by Dashka Slater might be the book for you! Continue reading “Escargot by Dashka Slater”

Keeping Hands and Bodies Busy While Listening to Stories

Keeping Hands and Bodies Busy While Listening to Stories

One of the frustrations people most frequently voice to me centers around feeling like their children (or students) aren’t paying attention while listening to stories. But, literacy and brain research experts have shown that fidgeting or moving one’s body actually fired brain connections that help learning and listening happen more effectively? (Two of my favorites, Jim Trelease and Dr. Michael Gurian, have written about this if you’re interested in reading more).

So, what I’m saying is that read alouds don’t need to look perfect to be effective. In fact, if your goal is that all of your read-aloud sessions look like cozy cuddling times in a comfy chair in a well-lit room, your kids are going to be missing out on a lot of quality time with books! Instead, think about providing your children with quiet ways to occupy their hands and/or bodies, and see if it changes the duration or focus of your read-aloud time. Continue reading “Keeping Hands and Bodies Busy While Listening to Stories”

The Importance of Reading Aloud to Children– of ALL Ages

The Importance of Reading Aloud to Children– of ALL Ages

I was all set to do a post this week about things your kiddos can do while they listen to stories and books, but then it dawned on me… Before we talk about that, we need to address WHY those same children– children of all ages, even if they can already read to themselves– need to be listening to stories and books in the first place! So, did you know… Continue reading “The Importance of Reading Aloud to Children– of ALL Ages”

The Importance of Invented Spelling

The Importance of Invented Spelling

Let’s talk about the importance of invented spelling! Did you know that invented spelling (when a child makes her best guess, without adult help, at a word based on their understanding of letters and sounds) is a completely normal developmental stage as preschoolers and young elementary schoolers learn to write? Invented spelling also has wonderful benefits for developing writers— and a connection was recently found with learning to read, too! Continue reading “The Importance of Invented Spelling”