Read. Talk. Play. It’s what builds future readers

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I absolutely love this picture. Reading isn’t just about reading the words on the page. Talk about the book. Talk about the pictures. Talk about how you feel or your child feels about the book. Our kids need to hear the conversations whether all they do is babble back an answer or think and answer themselves.

Read.

Talk.

Play.

It’s what builds future readers.

 

Raising readers is a fabulous site with the same goals I strive for on this site. Take a look today and see what tips and tricks you can add to your reading life today.

Book Review: Thank You, Jackson by Niki and Jude Daly

Ages 3-5

Thank You Jackson. Niki and Jude Daly. Francis Lincoln Children’s Books. 2015.

(I am an Amazon affiliate member which means when you click on the pictures it takes you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a small percentage. I do not get paid to review books.)

 

A farmer takes his donkey Jackson up a hill every day with a load of goods for the market. The donkey completes his job without complaint until one day Jackson won’t go up the hill. The farmer gets frustrated and no amount of prodding, pushing or yelling will get the donkey to move. Jackson loses his load and the farmer threatens to punish him and gives him to the count of ten to move and as he speaks the number ten his son, Goodwill appears. He stops his father from punishing Jackson and whispers something in the donkey’s ear. The donkey rises. The farmer asks what the boy said to get the donkey to move and the boy answers,, “Mama, says, that it’s the little things, like saying please and thank you, that make a big difference in the world.” Shamed for his attitude the farmer and boy carry the goods to market and allow Jackson to graze and rest. The story ends at the end of the day back home with the farmer thanking Jackson for all he does.

I love folktales. Not only because of the lessons they teach but they are perfect stories to teach narrative skills to emerging readers. They often hold a child’s interest with phrases that can be repeated which increases print motivation. Even though the story takes place in Africa it is a story with a universal theme that all children will relate to. This story provides unique language, using words such as market, stubborn, task, load and many more. Unique language is words we do not use in our every day conversations with our children. These unique words build vocabulary as the books are read and reread many times. There is also an emphasis on letter knowledge with the bold text numbers written out. The children can say the number out loud as you point to the text.

I highly recommend you add this book to your reading list and find other folktales and fairytales for your growing reader.

SKILLS BUILT:

  • Narrative Skills
  • Print Motivation
  • Vocabulary
  • Letter Knowledge

 

ENGAGE WITH THE STORY:

  • Talk about the book before you begin reading. Look at the pictures and name the objects you see on the page. Have your child point to pictures and identify what the object is. You can focus on colors or animals or shapes. This teaches your child how to interact and go deeper into the story than the words on the page.
  • When you come to a word your child may not be familiar with, for example task, stop and explain what the word means and give an example. It can take up to Word frequency to build vocabulary using and hearing a word before a child learns it. Find ways to incorporate these new words into your conversation today.
  • Before you turn the page, ask your child what she thinks might happen. Before you reveal what the boy says to the donkey, ask what the boy could say. When the farmer is frustrated ask your child what he thinks the farmer might do next to get the donkey to move. Reading comprehension is one of the most important skills for a child to learn and it starts early with helping your child engage in the text, anticipate and see how their guess matched up with the ending.

 

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

  • Write a thank you note. Your child may not be able to write yet but sitting down and writing with you will show them how it’s done. You can have them dictate the note and you write but make sure to leave a space for them to practice their letters. At age 4 they will start forming letters especially those letters in their name. But no worries if they aren’t there yet, the simple act of using a pencil or colored pencil will help them develop the hand strength needed to develop writing.
  • Have a snack with the vegetables shown in the book. It may be an opportunity to go to the “market” just like the farmer, boy and donkey in the book. The store is a fabulous place to build vocabulary. Bring home the food and set up your own marketplace and finish with a snack.

 

Book Review: Waiting for High Tide by Nikki McClure

Waiting for High Tide. Nikki McClure, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016.

Ages 4-7

(I do not get paid to review books. I chose this book off the shelves of my local library. I am an Amazon Affiliate Associate. Any book you purchase from clicking the link I do receive a small percentage.)

 

Waiting for High Tide is about a family working together to build a raft. The pictures are stunning, the author hand-cut the paper with an exacto knife. They are mainly black and white but have well placed pops of color. This is a book that adults and children will be drawn to from the gorgeous pictures. (PRINT MOTIVATION)

The text is as intricate as the illustrations. The VOCABULARY is very sophisticated for a children’s book. The challenge of this book is the long pages. What I appreciate is the author has set in bold and uppercase print the main points of the story. So this book can be used with a younger reader and will grow with the child.

The emphasis on exploring the world and working together and spending time with family will encourage readers to pick up this book again and again. It is a great example of how authors can reach a wide audience through the structure and design of the book. I picked it up because of its intricate illustrations, I have a soft spot for paper art. My children enjoyed this book for the story of building a raft together and it intrigued my 11 yo, 8 yo and 5 yo.

This book is strong in reading comprehension. There will be lots of questions to ask from each page, either through the pictures or the text. (NARRATIVE SKILLS)

This book intimidates at first but there are lots of ways to use the book that your children will enjoy.

SKILLS BUILT:

  • VOCABULARY
  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • NARRATIVE SKILLS

 

TALK ABOUT THE BOOK:

  • Read the book through and have your child retell the story. This will help build up their narrative skills.
  • Pick one of the illustrations and help your child write a story or do research on what the see on the page.
  • Ask your child how she thinks the family will use the raft in the summers to come. Make up a different ending to the story.

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

  • Look at the end pages. The pages glued to the cover of the book are a vocabulary lesson in and of themselves. It shows how the raft is built and on the back of the book are animals and sea life the family encounters during the story. This can be a vocabulary addition as well as a place to talk about the parts of a book. The title page, the end pages and how books are put together. There are great YouTube videos on how books are made. Watch one together.
  • We don’t all live by an ocean or lake or pond but we all have an ecological system nearby. Find a nearby nature center and explore what animals and plants are found in your community.
  • Make your own raft! Okay, so not as big as the author’s but other materials work with your child to build a replica. Here is a great link from Discovery Education to get you started.

OTHER BOOKS WITH WOOD OR HAND CUT ILLUSTRATIONS:

Book Review: Bye-Bye Binky by Maria van Lieshout

  • Bye-Bye Binky by Maria van Lieshout. Chronicle Books, 2016.
  • Ages 1-3

(I am an Amazon Affiliate Associate. I choose the books to review and am not paid for my review. However if you click on any of the pictures in the post it will direct you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I do receive a percentage of the sale.)

 

A girl decides she is ready to give up her binky that has brought so much comfort in her life. She knows why it was important to her and how she will handle her emotions in the future without her safety-binky. This is a simple but fantastic book. The colors are amazing and will draw children immediately to the pages. The pages are printed on heavy paper making this a great book to involve your child in turning the pages and showing them how to hold and use books. (PRINT MOTIVATION and PRINT AWARENESS) I appreciate that the main character is a diverse face. It is a common milestone in children’s lives that mst children will relate to. In addition the author helps start a discussion between kids and their parents about how to handle strong emotions. This is a great book to build VOCABULARY, especially around emotions. The words are large and onomatopoeia is used which increases LETTER KNOWLEDGE.

Simple books are powerful in engaging young children in reading.

 

SKILLS BUILT:

  • PRINT AWARENESS
  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • VOCABULARY
  • LETTER KNOWLEDGE

 

TALK ABOUT THE BOOK:

  • What do you think the story is about? Have your child flip through the pages and discover what might happen. Then say, “Let’s read the words and find out.”
  • What do you do when you are sad or angry or worried or afraid? Talk about blankets or toys that help them calm down. Then talk about how the girl in the book asked for hugs and snuggles when she felt any of those emotions.
  • Explain that a binky is another name for pacifier. Do you have nicknames for other common objects? This is a great way to build vocabulary.

 

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

Emotion time. Help your child name emotions they feel. It will not only help them say what they feel when they are feeling a strong emotion but it also will help build their vocabulary as they read. Board books are a great jumping off point for talking about emotions. Board books often use real faces which children prefer. Choose a few books at your favorite library or bookstore. Talk about the emotion on the page and when your child might feel that emotion. You can go even further and talk about ways you comfort yourself when you are scared or angry, etc.

Label it. Labeling objects in the house where a child can see the labels is a great way to increase Letter Knowledge. They can’t read it yet but seeing the words with the object is a great step towards independent reading. Find objects around the house that your child loves and put a label on it. You could even identify them with happy faces or other emotions.

There are other great self care books in this series:

 

Book Review: Red by Jan De Kinder

Red. Jan De Kinder. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2015.

Ages: 4-5

(Amazon affiliate. I receive a percentage of sales when you make a purchase after clicking on the image link. I do not get paid to review books. This book I selected from the local public library)

 

Red is a Belgium story translated into English. It is about a boy named Tommy who is made fun of because he blushes easily. A girl points it out to others on the playground and soon all the kids join in. One boy named Paul refuses to stop when the other children realize how bad they made Tommy feel. And when the teacher asks who started the teasing, one brave girl raises her hand and tells what she saw. Soon other children join in and they all stand up to Paul. Paul wants to scare the girl after her brave act but this time the rest of the class stands up against Paul.

I like this book because of the rich, vibrant language through the use of unique words and metaphor and simile. (VOCABULARY) The pictures are simply but beautifully drawn with a diverse body of characters along with focus on bullying that all if not most children will deal with at some point in their lives. (PRINT MOTIVATION) It has a strong narrative that children will follow easily and because it is a topic on emotions and feelings a child is familiar with it helps in the repetition of the story. (NARRATIVE SKILLS)

This is a carefully written and illustrated book that will help build your child’s vocabulary while helping them navigate the difficult feelings and emotions that arise when they or someone they care about is teased.

By reading together and asking questions as you go along it helps build the important skill of reading comprehension which is a critical learning step in the literacy process. Guide your child into thinking about the story, anticipating what might happen and discussing at the end whether the prediction was right or wrong.

SKILLS BUILT:

  • VOCABULARY
  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • NARRATIVE SKILLS

 

FOCUS ON THE BOOK:

  • Have your child look at the front cover of the book. How do you think the boy in the middle feels? What about the girl on the left? The boy on the right?
  • Look at the back page and have your child describe the ending scene. Is the boy happy or sad now? What about the girl?
  • After reading the book, discuss why you think the author chose the title Red? Flip through the pages and find all the red in the book.
  • What kind of emotion do you think Red is? Angry? Made? Embarrassed? Ashamed?

 

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

  • Have your child pick an emotion and have him decide what color best represents that emotion. Have them paint or draw a picture using the color to express that feeling.
  • Make a feelings chart. Help build your child’s vocabulary while helping them understand their own feelings. Take pictures while they make different feelings faces. Print them out and label each feeling. You can even list underneath the emotion what makes your child sad or glad or embarrassed or shy.
  • Red is full of similes and metaphors which is a way to connect to a reader on a deeper level. Come up with simple similes and metaphors with your child and write them down or draw a picture to illustrate. For example. Her face was like a red apple; or He was an escalator of feelings. This is a difficult and advanced concept so it is fine to use other books and stories to find these rhetorical devices.

Book Review: Little Red by Bethan Woollvin

Little Red by Bethan Woollvin

Ages: All ages but great with preschool

(I am an Amazon affiliate member. What that means is when you click on a picture it will take you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage. Any money I receive goes into a fund to develop a literacy non-profit. I do not get paid to review any books. My opinions and views are my own.)

 

Little Red  is one of those books that all ages will enjoy. The simple text and contrasting colored illustrations draw kids to the book. Little Red is a strong character and it is a retelling of a familiar story which makes this book a great pick. (PRINT MOTIVATION) There are unique words on the pages. (VOCABULARY) And the story is so familiar that most children will be able to tell the story just by looking at the illustrations. (NARRATIVE SKILLS)

What is special about this book is its simplicity and it proves the graphics don’t have to be ornate to be attractive. Children will love Little Red who is strong and brave and resourceful. This is a definite must-have for a home library for your children will ask for it to be read again and again and again.

SKILLS BUILT:

  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • VOCABULARY
  • NARRATIVE SKILLS

INTERACTING WITH THE BOOK:

  • Look at the title page with your child. What do you think the book is about? If they know the story of Little Red Riding Hood now is a great time to review what the remember.
  • What would you do if you met a wolf?
  • Fill in the gaps between the action. What do you think Little Red did before she met the wolf? How did she feel after meeting the wolf in the woods? This will help your child think about the story and the characters developing reading comprehension.
  • After the book: What would you do if you were in danger? This is a good time to talk about how to handle emergencies or what to do if a stranger asks uncomfortable questions.

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

  • Retell Little Red Riding Hood staring your child! What is Little Red like? The Wolf? Grandma? Is it a wolf at all or a different animal? Does it take place in a city or in the woods? In modern day or as a fairytale. The sky is the limit when it comes to writing your own tale. Show them how stories have beginnings, middles and ends. It’s a great time to review the parts of a book.
  • Field Trip! Go to a local library or bookstore and find as many different Little Red Riding Hood stories as you can. Compare the pictures, if Little Red is saved or takes care of the problem herself. Find silly ones, serious ones and the original.
  • Find nearby woods and explore a hiking trail. Make a map as you go of the different places you stop and what you see there. Label the map to help enrich your child’s vocabulary.
  • Go to the zoo and spot some wolves. Learn about their habitat, what they really eat (not little girls!) and what they like to do for fun.

 

There are so many different Little Red Riding Hood stories to explore. Here are just a few of the most popular retellings:

Book Review: Abracadabra, It’s Spring by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Abracadabra It’s Spring. By Anne Sibley O’Brien. Illustrated by Susan Gal

Ages: 2-5

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. I do not get paid to review books but if you click on the link and purchase a book I do receive a percentage. I am using the proceeds to start a literacy non-profit.)

Abracadabra It’s spring is simply written text about the surprises and magic of spring. The sturdy-fold-out pages and colorful and bright pictures will draw in young and older preschooler readers alike. Children can open the fold-outs to reveal the surprise inside. (PRINT MOTIVATION, PRINT AWARENESS) The magical incantations are fun ways to explore the sounds of words and the words are written in different colors highlighting the letters used. (PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS, LETTER AWARENESS) The realistic and concrete story is perfect for young children. Have fun naming the animals and plants revealed on the pages. (VOCABULARY) Although the picture book doesn’t have a strong narrative the progression from wintery days to sunny spring will provide a natural story rhythm for the child.

SKILLS HIGHLIGHTED:

  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • PRINT AWARENESS
  • PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS
  • LETTER AWARENESS
  • VOCABULARY

QUESTIONS TO ASK:

  • Look at the cover of the book together with your child. Talk about what they see during the spring. How is it different from the other seasons of fall, winter and summer.
  • Question to ask during story: What happened to the snow on the ground? Where did it go?
  • Question to ask: What plant do you think the green chute will turn into? What do plants need to grow?
  • After the story: How many birds do you see in the book?
  • After the story: What other kinds of animals are there? Which is the biggest animal in the book? Which is the smallest? Which animal do you like the most?
  • After the story: What are the children doing? How do they celebrate spring do you think?

 

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

  • Help birds make a nest! Cut up short pieces of string and yarn with your child and set out for birds. You can also gather small twigs, untreated pet hair etc. for birds to use.
  • Take a nature walk in a nearby park or woods and see how the season is changing. Notice what plants are around and identify them for your child. Look for animal habits and animals. What do the leaves look like now, and how will they change as the weather changes.
  • Write your own season book! Think about what the animals are doing, what plants are out and “usual suspects” suspects of the season.

OTHER GREAT BOOKS ABOUT SPRING:

Book Review: Bug on a Bike by Chris Monroe

Bug on a bike. By Chris Monroe.

Ages: 3-5

(I am an amazon affiliate but I am not paid to review any book on this blog. If you click on the picture it will take you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage which allows me to build a literacy non-profit.)

Bug is on a trip and invites his friends to come along- the only problem- no one except bug knows where they are going!

I love the simple rhyming text and pictures of this book. It is easy to follow the text and the added dialog bubbles. Everything rhymes! (PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS, PRINT MOTIVATION) As each animal joins bug your child will build sequencing skills that are a great help in telling their own stories and understanding what they read on the page. (NARRATIVE SKILLS) There are a lot of unique words for your children to learn. (VOCABULARY) Monroe does a great job in providing a fun story that will help children build a lot of literacy skills that will assist them as they become readers.

Skills Learned:

  • PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS
  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • NARRATIVE SKILLS
  • VOCABULARY

QUESTIONS TO ASK:

  • Look at the first page and ask your child what they think the story is about. Look at the last page and ask your child how they think it ends.
  • Count the animals on the pages as bug invites more friends. Keep a tally on a piece of paper. This helps build math literacy.
  • Question to ask during the story: Why do you think buy is keeping where he is going a secret? What kinds of place do you think it is? Do we know from the last page of the book where he ends up?
  • Why do you think his friends follow if they don’t know where he is heading?
  • How do you think his friends feel when they arrive at a birthday party? Relieved? Happy?

TAKE IT FURTHER:

Go on a word scavenger hunt! Put on your walking shoes, get out the bikes or hop in a car. Write down a list of letters (or words depending on age of child) and hunt for the letters. Make up a sheet so they can see their progress.

Draw pictures of the animals and cut them out. Put them in order of who follows bug! You can number them on the back and have them put them in order by number or by memory of the story.

OTHER BOOKS BY CHRIS MONROE

Book Review: Chicken Lily by Lori Mortensen

Chicken Lily. By Lori Mortensen. Illustrated by Nina Victor Crittenden

Ages: 3 1/2-5

(I am an amazon affiliate. I am not paid for my review but if you purchase any book by clicking on the image from amazon I do make a percentage which goes to helping me start a literacy non-profit)

 

Chicken Lily is the story of a chicken who is always careful and cautious. She dislikes taking chances and misses out on Continue reading “Book Review: Chicken Lily by Lori Mortensen”