Book Review: This Old Band by Tamera Will Wissinger

  • Ages Infant, Toddler, Preschool
  • Illustrated by Matt Loveridge
  • Skyhorse Publishing Inc, 2014

I love picture books you can sing a long to. Not only are they fun, singing is a great way for young children to hear sounds and how they are broken apart into syllables and singing also accentuates consonants and vowels in ways we don’t always get in reading.

But, if you are musically challenged, don’t worry! Reading the text is still a great way to help build these skills. The great thing about songs, read or sung, is the rhythmic text and the alliteration.

Phonological Awareness

This old band is sung to the tune, “This old man” It is a song most kids will recognize and join in with even if they don’t know the words they can hum along. I love the playful use of onomatopoeia and alliteration throughout the song. The pictures are fun and comic like. There are lots of different objects to talk about on the page. And after a few repeats your kids will be singing along.

Math Literacy

Another great part of this book is the math literacy it builds. Although I wish they used the actual numbers along with the written out number, counting backwards is a skill young preschoolers will find fun. And after the book is finished you can continue the conversation by grabbing sticks, or toys or whatever is at hand and using them to count 1-10 and then 10-1.

Narrative Skills

It is also great to help your child build narrative skills. Talk with your child about what instrument is played first. Maybe write it out on paper, cut them out and help your child organize as you read through the book again.

After all when we talk about literacy we aren’t just talking about words.

This is a great book to pick up when you are short on reading time. It has the vocabulary, the sounds, and the narrative skills we are looking for in a book.

Happy Reading or in this case Happy Singing!

 

Other fun books to sing with your child

(Reminder I am an amazon affiliate. When you click on a picture it takes you to amazon, where if you make a purchase, I get a portion of the sale. I do not get paid to promote any particular book. The views and opinions are mine and mine alone.)

 

Closing the Gap

You may have heard the statistics that by age three children of professional parents hear 30 million more words than children of parents on welfare. The statistics come from a 1995 study by Hart and Risley at the University of Kansas.

What they discovered is children who are read to and speak with their parents have higher IQ’s at age 3 and have better school performance later in life.

Massaro, Professor Emeritus in Psychology at the University of California Santa Cruz found, “Word mastery in adulthood is correlated with early acquisition of words.” What we know early in life, impact how we learn later in life.

What is clear from the research is conversations between parents and children are critical in language development and emerging literacy. Conversations alone don’t do the trick because, as Massaro says, our language is pretty basic. We use a lot of gestures and pull from the 5,000 common English words in our heads. Picture books, though, elevate our conversation and improve the vocabulary our kids hear because the words are unique and not used in our everyday.

Although parents can build their children’s vocabularies by talking to them, reading to them is more important.

-Dominic Massaro

What can we as parents do to help our kids get the best start in life?

PBS suggests modeling conversations starting at infancy.

  • Take turns in conversation
  • Vary pitch, speak slow, and repeat often
  • Talk about real-life experiences that are happening. When you are at the store, the playground or completing tasks around the house.
  • Make a space for your children to speak with their friends and siblings
  • Practice open ended questions at the dinner table or in the car
  • Write down stories that your kids create.
  • Read, Read, Read

These skills not only build our children’s capacity for literacy, it also builds trust, self-esteem, builds bonds, and improves listening.

Reading is still the best way to introduce new words and build vocabulary. It opens dialog between caregiver and child and creates new ways to interact with the world around them.

It may feel weird at first speaking with your baby. But as you talk you will notice that he responds in babbles, sounds, gestures and head movements. As your child ages the sounds will go from sounds to short words. Short words to short sentences. And between the ages of 2-3 years  conversations will become more organic. There are also other ways to engage your children, singing, naming what you are picking up at the store, pointing at signs and objects on walks and generally talking about normal, everyday routines.

What all these studies show is when parents and caregivers Speak, Play and Read with their child, literacy skills strengthen and have the best start possible in school.

Happy Reading!

More information on how to encourage conversations:

Reading Rockets: Talking and Listening: Practical Ideas for Parents

Growing Book By Book

Book Review: Too Princessy! By Jean Reidy

  • Infant, Toddler, Emerging Reader
  • Illustrated by Genevieve Leloup
  • Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers

 

Board books aren’t just for babies! The sturdy pages and simple illustrations and text make this a perfect book for kids on the go, toddler fingers and kids learning to sound out words on their own.

It is a fun book about a girls who can’t find anything to interest her on a rainy day. I’m sure our kids can all relate. Everything seems not quite what the girl is looking for until the end of the book where she finds something that is just right.

I like this book for its Vocabulary and Rhythmic text. Not only will your child hear new words he will also hear the sounds through the use of rhyming (last syllables sound the same), alliteration (the words begin with the same sound), and assonance (begin with different consonants but repeat the same vowel sound). It will help him become a discerning listener and reader.

The only problem I have with this book is how princessy it looks. It is a great book but may turn off readers for its pink cover. I almost wish it had Too Marsy instead of the girl with the crown on front.

Regardless of the book cover this is a great book for infants, because it is short; toddlers, because it is sturdy enough to withstand their sticky fingers; and emerging readers because the text is simple and the pictures support the words on the page.

This is a great book to highlight the point, all good books grow with us.

 

Happy Reading!

(Reminder: I am an Amazon Affiliate. When you click on a picture you are redirected to Amazon, where if you make a purchase, I receive a portion of the sale. I am not paid to review specific books. The opinions on the books are mine and mine alone.)

Find Others in the TOO! Series:

 

And other great books by the author:

Book Review: Joseph’s Big Ride by Terry Farish

  • Preschool-Age 7
  • Illustrated by Ken Daley
  • Annick Press

 

You may have seen on Facebook, Twitter or other social media the call for publisher’s to produce more diverse books. When I was a children’ librarian in the inner city I struggled to find books that the kids I worked with could relate to. Illustrations skewed towards traditional families and more northern European features. And the multicultural books that were published had heavy themes and mature content that young children would struggle to relate to.

Joseph’s Big Ride is a wonderful book that brings together the universal experience of being a child and the life of a child living as a refugee in camps and in America. All children will respond to the childhood bucket list item of riding a bike. But Farish brings a sensitivity through Joseph’s story of kids who long to participate in this rite of passage but life circumstances have kept them from it. Although it could have been a heavy topic of life as a child refugee, Joseph’s story reminds us we are all children with similar dreams and goals. Instead of differences separating the children it brings them together.

The book is beautifully illustrated with vibrant, rich pictures. As noted on the back cover the illustrations are modeled after the illustrators African-Caribbean roots. The pictures are engaging and draw the reader in along with helping tell the story.

The text is just as beautiful proving that children’s books can be literary works. Farish uses metaphors, similes, alliteration, assonance and more to bring the story to life. The carefully thought out text makes this book the perfect read a loud and, although young kids aren’t ready to write their own rhetorical devices, the repetition of such tools in the books they hear will build future readers and discerning students.

The book builds phonological awareness by using onomatopoeia which is a fun way for kids to hear different sounds that they will use as they learn to sound out words on their own. The strong narrative will build reading comprehension. The vocabulary is sophisticated but also approachable in the text. Your child will walk away with a stronger personal dictionary of words to draw from as they experience the world around them. (What are the 6 pre-literacy skills?)

This is a great book to use as a guide when selecting books with your child at the bookstore or library. Not all books are created equal and what we look for as parents in books are stories that engage our children (and us too!) while helping build the skills that will provide the stepping stones for future reading success.

Happy Reading!

Other Books By this Author:

 

A Literacy Org You Should Know: RIF (Reading is Fundamental)

reading-seuss
Picture retrieved from InspireMyKids.com

 

On Wednesday, RIF (Reading is Fundamental) celebrated its 50th year. That is 50 years of getting books into the hands of kids. It was started by teacher Margaret McNamara in D.C. She tutored kids and let them keep the books. In 1966 the program was launched with teachers and volunteers in the DC schools. The program has helped not only get books into homes but helped increase reading proficiency and confidence in our youngest readers.

Their mission is an important one. To ensure every child has access to books and every child experiences school success.

I saw the power of RIF when I was a librarian working in inner city Cleveland. A local Kiwanis group had an event each fall at a school within the boundaries of our neighborhood. By the end of the event, the kids went home with at least four books. The volunteers would read the stories with the children, sing songs and participate in crafts and games to go a long with the story. It not only helped build future readers, I saw relationships in the community being built.

2/3 of low income children do not have a book in the home. The recommendation is for kids to be read to for 15 minutes everyday and without books in the home, many of the children from these homes go to school already behind. See this New York Times article from January 2014 about why books matter.

You can help by donating to RIF or finding a local program to support. We want all kids to have their best start in life and in school. Start by supporting the organizations with a mission to help students thrive.

To learn more about this critical program visit the RIF website.

Reading is Fundamental Combats Summer Slide

The Gift of Reading

Celebrate RIF’s 50th year by donating books to a local shelter, a little free library, schools or daycares in your area.

 

 

Our first Book Giveaway

 

I love Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. It is a timeless book that I could read over and over and over again.

Do you have a favorite book?

What about a favorite quote from that book?

Head over to the Building Future Readers Facebook Page, like us and in the comment section on the post let us know your favorite quote and you will be entered in a giveaway for one of the books reviewed this week.

Share on your own facebook page and spread the word.

 

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Girl Who Saved Yesterday by Julius Lester

Preschool-school age

Fairy tales, folk tales and fables are important stories for our children to read and to have read to them. Psychology Today says the stories are universal and help children express his or her own feelings of anger, fear, shock. Imagination Soup has a blog post that says among the many skills fairytales help kids build it teaches them resiliency and how to handle problems. I like fairytales, folktales and fables because they help teach emotions and empathy.

We don’t only look to fairytales to teach our kids emotional lessons. They are also great resources for building print motivation and narrative skills and reading comprehension. Some of the best illustrations are in the retelling of familiar stories. And because these are stories our children hear again and again and again they are able to use these stories as guides in building their own stories.

Julius Lester is the author of more than twenty books. In his most recent picture book he combines the classic fairytale, folktale and fable structure to his own experiences growing up in the inner city. His protagonist is a girl, raised by trees after her parents die, returns to the village that abandoned her to remind them how important the past is for their future survival.

The language is beautiful, poetic and meant to be read aloud. The word pictures are as vibrant as the illustrations on the page. It is a cautionary tale and a tale of resiliency all in one. Lester created a story that is as important for parents to read as it is to the kids they read to.

Fairytales aren’t meant to be read one time. This is one of those books you will return to time and time again. Not only will it help build familiarity but your children will learn universal themes of responsibility, remembrance and hope.

Happy Reading!

What are your favorite classic tales?

 

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click a picture on the page it will link you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase, I receive a percentage of the sale. I am not paid to review books. My opinions are mine and mine alone.)

 


Book Review: Return by Aaron Becker

There is no better gift to give a child than being able to tell their own story. It helps build imagination, it helps build narrative skills and believe it or not it helps build reading comprehension. Reading comprehension is a skill kids build the more they read and understand what is happening not only on the page but what might not be explicitly said in the words. There are a lot of great picture books out there that can help spark your child’s creative side but I believe an untapped and underutilized resource is wordless picture books.

The Journey series by Aaron Becker is a great example of hardworking wordless picture books. I happened to stumble upon the second book of his series not knowing that it was part of a trilogy. The great part about this book is it is great enjoyed as the whole trilogy but you and your child can still enjoy its wonderful illustrations and story as a stand alone book.

Sometimes parents are intimidated by wordless picture books. They feel like they can’t create a compelling story that will captivate their child. What I have discovered is start small. Just talk about what you see on the page. Or ask your child what they think is happening in the story. Or you start the story and have your child say what happens next and you can go back and forth until the last page. They great thing about the wordless picture book is there is no right or wrong. You and your child are the storytellers. It may be one story one day and a different story the next. It’s a great way to show your young child that stories have so many possibilities. It will unlock the wordsmith inside and help them dive into a new world.

The other great thing about wordless picture books is they work for any age. You can talk about what is on the page with babies, develop a short sentence description for toddlers and let your preschooler fill in the story. The books grow easily with the child and can even be used with independent readers as a story start.

 

Do yourself a favor and pick up this great trilogy by Aaron Becker. Explore a fantastic kingdom and find unique ways to act out the story long after the last page is read.

Happy Reading!

 

What are some of your favorite wordless picture books?

(I am an amazon affiliate. By clicking on the picture you will be redirected to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of sales. I do not get paid to review or recommend books. My opinions are mine and mine alone)

Explore more wordless picture books:

Book Review: Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Toddler and Preschool

There are many things I look for when I choose a book to read to my children. I look for the words used. Strong pictures that not only compliment the text but also tell the story. I look for how the text demonstrates to the child how words flow in a book. I look for a strong narrative that a child can hear in the reading and retell.

Finding Wild is one of those great finds that encompasses all the literacy skills librarians and teachers and parents look for in a book. It takes a concept: Wild and shows all the facets of it. Why we need it. Why we respect it. Why it becomes a part of us.

Wild creeps and crawls and slithers.

It leaps and pounces and shows its teeth.

There are metaphors and alliteration that makes the reading fun. Your child will learn many new words hearing this story.

Wild is full of smells-fresh mint, ancient cave, sun-baked desert, sharp pine, salt sea.

Every scent begging you to drink it in.

The pictures are simple but descriptive of the text. It shows a girl and a boy standing on a sidewalk at the edge of a woods. Then follows them as they explore the many types of wild there are in the world. It is a story that begs for families to step out of their houses and explore their own wild surrounding them. It is a reminder that our world isn’t supposed to be neat and organized.

Sometimes wild is buried too deep, and it seems like the whole world is clean and paved, ordered and tidy.

Pick up this book, read it and then set out on an adventure and remind yourself there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored right on your doorstep.

Happy Reading!

 

What other books encourage your child to explore the world around them?

 

(I am an Amazon affiliate, which means when you click on a picture you are redirected to Amazon. If you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale. I am not paid to review books. My opinions are mine and mine alone.)

 

Other books that explore the world: