Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Few Books to Get You Started

Here are some books to get your family started on a summer of reading fun!
Your public library will have most of these books.  1/2 Price Books is a great place to purchase children's books at a very reasonable price.  Garage sales and Amazon both have bargains with a bit of searching.

Some Book Suggestions for Children  birth-6

First Words    Snapshot Books          A series of books with simple, clear pictures of every day objects in the child’s world.   These are wonderful books for learning new words.  Titles:  First Words Clothes, First Words Food, First Words Kitchen, First Words Garden, also shapes, fruits, and many more.   Some titles are available in Spanish.

The Carrot Seed  Ruth Krauss   The story of a boy who plants a carrot seed and cares for it even though others tell him it won’t grow.  Of course, it does, to everyone’s amazement.

Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown Perhaps the perfect children's bedtime book, Goodnight Moon is a short poem of goodnight wishes from a young rabbit preparing for--or attempting to postpone--his own slumber. He says goodnight to every object in sight and within earshot, including the "quiet old lady whispering hush."

Eye-Openers  DK Books  A series of books with great pictures and information.  Titles include: Farm Animals, Zoo Animals, Trucks, Pets, Dinosaurs, Cars, Ships and Boats, Planes, Insects and Crawly Creatures and many more.

Caps for Sale Esphyr Slobodkina  An old folk tale about a peddler with a huge stack of caps for sale.  One day he stops under a tree to take a nap.  A tree full of monkeys creates a very funny situation.

McDuff Books  Rosemary Wells  A series of delightful stories about McDuff, a West Highland Terrier puppy, who finds a wonderful home, has an adventure chasing a rabbit, adjusts to a new baby in the house, and helps rescue Santa. 

Books by Eric Carle All of this author’s books are great childhood favorites:  Pancakes, Pancakes, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Grouchy Ladybug, and many more.  Most titles are available in Spanish.

Gray Squirrel at Pacific Avenue Geri Harrington.  Published by the Smithsonian Institution, this book, and others in the Smithsonian’s Backyard series, are exciting tales of realistic animals and their adventures. 

You Are Just What I Need  Ruth Krauss  "One morning a mother saw a strange bundle under the blankets in her bed." So begins this charming story of a treasured moment between mother and child. In a familiar game, the woman tries to guess what this child-shaped object may be. A pile of laundry? A bunch of carrots? She is sure she doesn't need any of these things, and each time the squirming lump says, "No." Finally, a face pops out of the blanket and yells, "It's ME," and the two share a hug. In a perfect ending, the mother affirms, "It's you. And you're just what I need."

Rookie Biographies:  Dozens of titles available about real heroes and famous people

Eyewitness Books  Many topics from DK books
Read and Find Out Books  many in series on nature and science

Lights of Winter Winter Celebrations around the World

True Books:  continents, countries, every topic

Rookie Read about Geography series

Where do Frogs Come From     Eric Vern

Animal Hospital  Judith Walker Hodge

Books to Remember Series (highly recommended

Some Book Suggestions for Children 6-11

Children in this age group are curious about the world, history and people.  There are many biographies available to introduce your children to real heroes.  In addition to many of the books above, which can now be read by the child independently, these are more advanced reading for the 6-11 year old. 

Books on science, plants, weather and long ago times will fire your child’s imagination and spark creativity.

Rookie Biographies  Dozens of titles are available in this series of stories about real heroes and famous people.  Introduce your child to Paul Revere, Martin Luther King, Neil Armstrong, Jackie Robinson, Marie Curie, Oprah Winfrey, Johnny Appleseed, YoYo Ma, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Cesar Chavez and many more writers, scientists, athletes, musicians and human rights pioneers.

Eyewitness Books DK Books  A series of books covering nearly every topic of interest to this age child.  Castles, dogs, dinosaurs, oceans, pirates, the human body, weather, cowboys and hundreds of others are explored in depth with good pictures and readable text. 

 This is also the time for reading the classic stories:  Heidi, Charlotte’s Web, Toad Hall, Little House books, The Velveteen Rabbit, Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland and all the other treasures we grew up with.  These books are often best read with the child, perhaps with the parent reading for a bit, then the child taking a turn. 
These are just a few ideas to get you started.  Visit your local library in person or on-line for thousands of other great books to help your child become an eager reader!

Summer Fun: Help your child be an eager reader!

Summer Fun:  Help your child be an eager reader!

“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”
(The National Academy of Education Commission on Reading)

Reading aloud cannot be overemphasized. 
Older children should be encouraged to read aloud. They must never be forced to read aloud (other than school assignments) but should know that is a possibility when they choose to do so.

Reading aloud can be a very short activity.  A poem can be read in a few minutes, a short book in five minutes. 

Why read aloud?
  • Children enjoy it.  They develop a love of books and reading from this activity
  • They learn that words can make them feel and learn. 
  • Children develop a sense of story which will enable them to make their own stories later on
  • Oral language is promoted
  • Literary language is anchored in their ears:  “Once upon a time”  “Then, suddenly….”
  • New vocabulary is introduced and learned.
  • Children see how an accomplished reader holds a book, turns the pages, reacts to text and pictures
  • The reader demonstrates fluency and fluidity of oral reading, including speed, timbre, loudness, pacing, etc.
  • Children’s experiences are expanded
  • Children hear the distinctions of the language:  plurals, pronouns, etc.
  • Children learn to visualize the text
  • Listening comprehension is developed
  • It is a social interaction between the reader and listener
  • Complex ideas are made available and absorbed
  • Rhyme, rhythm and literary devices can be explored:  “He was a tornado” “Boom, Boom, Boom”  “Her face was as red as a rose.”
What to read?

  • Choose something you and your child like
  • Read real stores:  no talking animals, animals with clothes, fantasy creatures for the under six child and only some for the elementary child.  Children love biographies of famous people, books about how things work and nature books. 
  • Let the child choose from the home library
  • With older children, decide on a favorite author and do author studies
  • Vary the genre:  picture books, books without words, poetry, non-fiction, fiction, chapter books (for older children)
  • Write a story and read it to the children
  • Reread most books at least once, and repeat when your child asks. 

When to read?

  • At least once a day
  • When a child needs comforting or settling down
  • When a child asks
  • At bedtime

How to read?

  • Be dramatic:  use your eyes, gestures and voice to convey emotions
  • Use pauses for effect, raise and lower your voice
  • Use props (real apples for a book on apples)
  • Preview the book and prepare yourself
  • Use post it notes to remind yourself of questions you may want to ask
  • Instead of reading straight through, pause for discussion, questions or comments
  • Questions are not a “test” of comprehension, but a springboard for greater understanding and exploration.
  • Delete passages that are too long, too complex or inappropriate for your child
  • Encourage the children’s comments: “I have a dog, too”  “I like apples.”  These are not interruptions, but communication!

What to do after reading?

  • Have a conversation using your own life experiences: “I remember when I was a girl about your age and I lived on a farm……”
  • Refer back to the text and even re-read a passage to make connections:
“Oh, that part about the fox reminded me about the fox in the book we read last week about Hattie and the Fox.  Do you remember that?”
  • Encourage the child to make those connections: “What were you reminded of?”
  • Let the child act out or retell the story with other children
  • Let the child write or draw about their favorite part, write a continuation, or a new chapter (older children).
  • Find other books by the same author
  • Start a research project (older children)
  • Create a story basket with props for the child to use to act out the story
  • Sometimes the best thing to do is NOTHING.  Close the book, smile and pause for just a moment to allow the pleasure to melt into memories

7 Keys to Unlock Meaning

1.    Create mental images and become emotionally involved with what you read
2.    Use background knowledge before, during and after reading
3.    Ask questions before, during and after reading to clarify meaning, make predictions, and focus on what is important
4.    Make inferences.  Draw conclusions, and create interpretations from the text.
5.    Determine the most important ideas and themes.  Identify the theme or main idea of a book to help your child distinguish between important and unimportant information
6.    Synthesize information.  Track thinking as it evolves during reading.  “Oh, I thought the dog was going to run away, but he didn’t.”
7.    Use problem solving.  Demonstrate how to find out when something is not understood.  Use a dictionary, re-read a section, ask questions.

If you speak a language other than English at home, please read to your child in the language you prefer.  Having a second or third language is a real asset in life and should be encouraged!

Look for ideas for summer fun and a some book ideas in the next posts!  Thank you for visiting!