Book Review: I Know a Bear by Mariana Ruiz Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

Ages 2-5

With simple text and beautiful illustrations, I Know a Bear, tells the story of a little girl going to the zoo and imagining what life might have been like for the animals if they were free to live as intended. At the end of the story she thinks about her own pets and how they are meant to live.

This book has unique and strong vocabulary that is repeated throughout the book. It can take kids about thirty times of hearing a new word before it becomes a part of his vocabulary so books that introduce new words and repeat them help build a large repertoire for the future. The concepts might be too abstract for the young age. Children are very concrete so extrapolating what he sees in a zoo and putting it in the world might be hard for them to grasp.

What skills your child builds reading this book:

iknowabearskills

Questions to ask while reading:

  1. For children 3-5, point to the front cover of the book and ask your child what she thinks the book will be about. For younger children point to the picture on the cover and in the pages and help her name the objects.
  2. Flip through the pages without reading the text and have her make a guess about what will happen. For younger children, flip through the pages and make a guess about what the story will be about. This helps children draw context and meaning from the pictures while building narrative skills, being able to tell the story on his own.
  3. Talk about feelings. Look at the expressions on the girl’s face. Ask your child what he thinks the girl is feeling. For older children you can ask them how they might feel.
  4. Discuss what animals your child has seen at the zoo.

Take it further:

  1. Go to the zoo with a world map. Go to the different exhibits and place a dot for each of the animals and where they live in the natural world. Label it with the animal name. This will help build vocabulary through the naming of animals and the countries and continents of the world.
  2. Research bears! Go to your local library or bookstore and find a book on bears. Add the different types to the map.
  3. Find ways to use the unique words from the book in your conversation because repetition equals learning. Lush and vast are not words we use everyday but make an effort to find ways to include them in your conversations.

What activities have you used to enrich the reading experience with your child? Post suggestions in the comments to share ideas.

Best book practices for Toddlers

When I was in library school we learned Ranganathan’s 5 laws of library science.

Ranganathan Law

When it comes to toddlers it is very important to remember the number one rule of libraries.

Books are for use.

Your toddler will be hard on books. They will eat them, throw them, try to flush them down the toilet and try to wash them in the dishwasher. They will leave them outside in the rain and step on them in the car.

Books will be loved by toddlers very hard and it’s okay.

Especially if you check out books from the libraries the librarians will understand.

One of the biggest problems I see when I work with parents and children is that parents want their children to respect books. Which is completely appropriate when the child is older. What can sometimes happen though, is books get put out of a child’s reach. Or a family doesn’t visit the library as often. Books are taken away too much because parents don’t know the number one rule of books.

They are for use.

I often hear parents say they will start reading when their toddler is more mature but by then it is too late to develop it into a loved routine.

Do not stop reading to your rambunctious toddler.

Start reading from birth and continue through the toddler years. Now is your chance to develop a deep love of reading with them. The time you spend now enjoying books together and making books fun builds a life long relationship between your child and books. Which leads me to my second point.

Toddlers are terrible audience members.

They are like the guy at the orchestra concert who brought popcorn and talks on his cellphone all night. Toddlers can be horrible listeners when it comes to books. They will sit on your lap then roam around the room. They will come back and drop on your lap and demand you keep reading and then go off and play. This doesn’t mean your child isn’t curious about books or listening to you read.

It means they are curious about the world around them.

So you have two choices:

  1.  Pause while they explore.
  2. Keep on reading.

How often do you turn on the TV or radio and do another task? A lot, right? So be the background noise for your toddlers. Hearing your voice is an important piece of language development. Keep on reading. Sooner or later they will tire out and come back over for a cuddle.

Here are a few tips to keep story time enjoyable with toddlers:

  1. Pick short books. Board books are still appropriate at this age or you can start to introduce books with one or two short sentences per page. This is not the time to break out Shakespeare. Keep it simple.
  2. Rhyming books are perfect for our burgeoning speakers. Find books that play with word sounds.
  3. You don’t even have to read the words on the page. It is okay to tell the story without reading the words. Point out the pictures and tell your own story. The best part, you get to pick when it ends.
  4. Stories in songs! Toddlers love music. There are a lot of great picture books that illustrate well known songs. As your child explores you can keep singing.
  5. Find a good routine for reading. Use reading as a calming down activity before nap time or bedtime. It’s a time when they are naturally sleepy and more willing to sit.
  6. Keep reading fun. If your child isn’t interested in a story right then, no worries! You will have plenty of opportunities to share a story. Never make a child sit still to listen to a story. Make reading fun and flexible.
  7.  Concept books are perfect for this age. There are tons of great books introducing color, numbers, shapes, sounds, etc. The skies the limit.

Toddlers are in an explosion of learning and physical growth. Reading is a critical skill during this time of rapid development. However, keeping it fun and interesting will ensure your child is a happy reader in years to come.

 

Great books to read with toddlers:
This is a great book to read with toddlers. It is interactive and helps them build vocabulary surrounding the body. If you buy the book it helps to reinforce the flaps with tape so you can enjoy it for a long time.

 

 

This series is great for building word sounds. All the books rhyme and follow the adventures of mischievous sheep. You can add to the experience by finding rhyming words of your own with your toddler. They won’t be able to make rhyming words on their own yet but your example will help them in the future.

 

 

Karma Wilson is my absolute favorite children’s author. She pairs with great illustrators and really understands what kids like and need to hear to become future readers. She has fun with language and creates books kids love. This book is a concept book focused on colors and will fit the attention span of your toddlers.

 

What books does your toddler love to read with you?

Book Review: Big Bear, little chair By Lizi Boyd

Ages 2-5 (only because it is in hardcover not board book. Infants will enjoy the colors and pictures but will have more difficulty holding the book and turning pages on their own.)

Big Bear Little Chair is a beautifully illustrated book of opposites. It repeats the words throughout the story and links them all together at the end.

This is a great book for teaching VOCABULARY the author names a lot of objects and compares them to each other. The pictures are simple and beautifully drawn. Young children will be drawn to the black, white and red colors in the pictures inspiring PRINT MOTIVATION. LETTER KNOWLEDGE is also highlighted in the simple text that is easy to follow along. There is a little bit of rhyming but it isn’t present throughout the book. This book is perfect for very young ages but it is only in hardcover as of this review. It is the perfect color, text, and pictures for very young infants. Help you child handle the book

Skills Highlighted:

BigBearskills

 

Enhance the reading:

1. Look at the front page of the book with the child. Ask what she sees and what she thinks the book might be about.

2. Flip through the pages with the child without reading the text. Point out the pictures and name the object.

3. Point out the different parts of the book. The cover. The end papers (the pages on the inside of the cover that come before the title page. Next show the title page and name the author and let the child know the author also drew the pictures and wrote the story in this book. Continue through to the end of the book. Point out the author information on the dust jacket.

 

Take it further:

Go around the house and find objects of different sizes. Have the child compare the toys or household items and select which is bigger and which is smaller. Order them by size on the floor. You could also find similar items to the book.

Go for a walk and point out trees, light poles, cars, etc. Talk about the size of each. Play I spy with size. I spy with my little eye something taller than a bush but smaller than the light pole. Give clues and help the child guess what you are seeing.

Book Review: Little Bird’s Bad Word by Jacob Grant

Ages 3-5

Little Bird is out with his father flying home with dinner when his father loses the worm and he shouts out a bad word. Little Bird wants to be a big bird so he explores using his new word. He thought his friends would love it but they keep running and hiding from him. After he uses it with turtle he realizes new words aren’t always nice words. Little Bird then uses a word he knows to apologize to all his friends. Continue reading “Book Review: Little Bird’s Bad Word by Jacob Grant”

Book Review: Worms by Bernard Friot and Aurelie Guillerey

Ages 4-5

Worms is about a mischievous boy who was bored at a dinner party his father held for his employees at the factory. His father asked him to get the salads for dinner when the boy had a hilariously disgusting idea. He added a taste to the salad the dinner guests never expected and he cured his boredom by watching how each person reacted to the squiggly item in the salad until his father made him eat from his own salad bowl. Continue reading “Book Review: Worms by Bernard Friot and Aurelie Guillerey”

Book Review: I Will Chomp You! By Jory John

 

 

 

Ages 2-5

The monster in this book has a secret he doesn’t want the reader to know. He scares, threatens, and pleads with the reader to go away and find some other book to read. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody but he hates to share even more. Are you daring enough to challenge the monster to see what he hides at the end of the book? Will you be able to read it again? Continue reading “Book Review: I Will Chomp You! By Jory John”

Best Book Practices for Babies

No substitute for books

Reading success starts at birth. It is hard to believe when you bring your bundle of joy home that he is able to get much from a daily reading session but a lot happens when you sit down with your infant on your lap and read. Continue reading “Best Book Practices for Babies”