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.)

 

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: 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:

Book Review: If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t! by Elise Parsley

If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T! By Elise Parsley. Hachette Book Group, Inc. 2016.

Ages: 2-5

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the image you will be redirected to Amazon, where if you make a purchase, I receive a portion of the sale. I do not get paid to review particular books. The view are my own.)

Kids from toddler to preschool will love this book. It is reminiscent of Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. A little girl heads to the beach with her piano against the advice of her mother. As she drags the large instrument down the street her mother’s warning comes true and she realizes a boat or a Frisbee or a shovel are better companions at the beach.

What I like about this book.

It is funny. Kids will giggle and laugh over how silly the girl is taking a piano to the beach. (PRINT MOTIVATION) It has a strong narrative with repetition which helps build reading comprehension (NARRATIVE SKILLS) How the words are designed and placed on the page will highlight how books are read and how we follow the words on a page. (PRINT AWARENESS) I love the author’s use of language by using words like draggy, rested, bob. (VOCABULARY) Finally the pictures fit the flow of the story so well that your child will easily be able to tell the story from the pictures alone (NARRATIVE SKILLS)

HOW TO INTERACT WITH THE BOOK:

So much of building future readers is teaching and modeling to our children how to engage with the book. After you read the book, come up with a list of things you take to the beach. Then make another list of silly items you could take. This is a great way to build vocabulary as you share words you don’t normally use during the day in conversation with your child.

Talk about different instruments. Go online or find books at the library and explore instruments and their sounds. Sample music and if you have free concerts where you live take advantage of them and go to a concert. Talk about what you see there.

Make up your own silly beach tale using the list you made. Use the book as a template and help build reading comprehension and narrative skills through this story writing exercise.

Books you might also enjoy:

 


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: Small Elephant’s Bathtime by Tatyana Feeney

Ages: Preschool 3-5, Toddler age 2

(I do not get paid to review books. The opinions I express in the post are mine. If you click the link it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I do receive a percentage of the sale.)

 

 

 

Small Elephant loves to play with water unless it is bathtime! His mother finds different ways to get Small Elephant into the tub but she only succeeds in making him more mad. When Small Elephant disappears his mother brings in reinforcements in the form of his Dad who finds a way to make bathtime funny.

Children will identify with the routine of bath and not always enjoying the process. It is a familiar situation for them which will engage the young reader in PRINT MOTIVATION. The pictures are simple drawings but drive the story helping a child to retell on their own building NARRATIVE SKILLS. The unique VOCABULARY and emphasis on feelings will introduce the child to new words and ideas. The simple text and colorful print will highlight LETTER KNOWLEDGE. This is a great book to demonstrate PRINT AWARENESS by using your finger to follow along with the text, point out the different parts of the book and the pages are sturdy to allow little fingers to turn the pages.

Interact with the Book:

  1. Why do you think Small Elephant likes to play with water but not take a bath?
  2. What happens when you have to do something you don’t want to do? How does it make you feel? What picture in the book looks like the face you make?
  3. What face would Small Elephant make while jumping in puddles? What face does he make when his mom asks him to take a bath? How does he look when he sees his Dad in the bathtub? How do you think he feels at the end of the story?

Take it further:

Go outside on a rainy day and jump in puddles just like Small Elephant. Put on some rainboots and a rain coat and explore the different splashes that the puddles make. Have your child guess which puddles will make the BIGGEST splashes. Shake tree branches and see what happens.

Put on some of your child’s favorite music and blow bubbles! Sing along and have them join in. Singing is a great way to build PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS which helps your child learn to pull apart the sounds of words as they begin to read.

Go to the library or bookstore and find other books that explore feelings. Classics such as:

Book Review: Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez

Age 2-4

(I do not receive money to review books. I choose all books I review. But if you click on the image it takes you to Amazon where I do make a small profit if you purchase the book.)

 

 

 

 

A boy wakes up and finds that a beloved toy is missing. The boy searches through his house and investigates what each of his family knows in order to find it. Will he discover who is responsible for taking his favorite toy? The vibrant pictures and integrated Spanish text will delight young readers.

Why I like this book:

The pictures really drive the text. A child could pick up the book and easily tell the story just by looking at the pages which helps develop reading comprehension an important skill in emergent readers. Losing a favorite toy, stuffed animal or blanket is a familiar scenario for children. This story is told with a bit of humor and playfulness. It is a nice slice of regular family life with no heavy messages or teaching lessons perfect for young children who are concrete. The text is simple on the page so young listeners will stay engaged but also challenged with the multilingual dialog. New words will be learned through the text. I appreciate the diversity highlighted in this book not only in pictures but through text and how the nuclear family includes the grandmother. This book highlights VOCABULARY, PRINT MOTIVATION and NARRATIVE SKILLS.

Engage and interact with the story

1. What is your favorite toy? What would you do if you couldn’t find it?

2. After the first page, ask the child who she thinks Bongo is. An animal? A truck? Who do you think the boy is looking for?

3. Give names to the pictures on the page your child may not know. Bookshelves. Checkboard pattern. Conga Drums. Find something new and talk about it.

Take the story off the page:

  1. The author’s father is a musician. Go to a music store and explore different instruments.
  2. Find stories at the library or bookstore where stuffed animals come to life. Corduroy , Pinocchio and The Snowman are great stories to start with.
  3. The boy wanted to find Bongo so they could watch T.V. together. Set up a movie afternoon with popcorn and your child’s favorite stuffed animal and watch Toy Story.

 

 

Twenty Minutes a Day

ReadingpicIt is hard to fit in reading among the activities, work schedules and life as a family. Medical and education professionals recommend reading twenty minutes a day to help build future readers. So how do you fit one more to do into an already busy schedule?

The twenty minutes a day can be split up.  The recommendation is twenty minutes a day but it doesn’t mean all the reading happens at once. Find spots throughout the day when you can stop and share a story with your child. First thing in the morning as everyone wakes up, right before bed or anytime in between. Read as often as you are able!

Take books with you. No matter where you are, a restaurant, the doctor’s office or waiting in the pick up line at school for an older sibling, have books with you to share. It will help those minutes spent waiting go by faster!

Make reading an essential routine. Just like brushing teeth, reading is essential to your child’s development. Show them how important it is by making reading time a priority.

Some days there isn’t the time. You’ve made reading together a priority but some days life has other plans. Even if you can’t fit in the whole twenty minutes of reading together find some space within the day to share a few stories. Life will slow down and you can get back into the normal routine.

Invite other people to read. It doesn’t only have to be a parent who reads! Although sharing a book together with your child is critical there are a lot of people who are just as important in his or her life who can share books. An older sibling, a grandparent even a loved babysitter can contribute to the twenty minutes a day. Think of all the fun shared when people read together.

There are a lot of ways to squeeze in that reading time. Where is the strangest place you’ve found yourself sharing a book with your child?

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?