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Monday, May 27, 2013

6 Beach Books + Literacy Skill-Building Activities!

Anybody else planning a trip to the beach this summer? Ocean? Lake? Pond? A DIY beach in you backyard? Or how about a make-believe trip to the beach?

Some beach reading can bring extra fun to your trip while also giving your children practice with those essential emergent reading skills!

  • Phonological Awareness
  • Alphabet Knowledge
  • Vocabulary
  • Print Awareness
  • Narrative Skills
  • Motivation

All You Need For A Beach (Alice Schertle)- We love Schertle's All You Need for A Snowman and this is a perfect summer counterpart! I love that the kids can participate by jumping in and insisting on each page that there's more you need for a beach than what the text tells so far. You could do great print awareness practice with this one by making a list as you read of all the things you need for a beach. Then let the kids do an art/craft project where they create a beach by working off the list you made together. You could check each item off as you add it to you beach art/craft project.

Flotsam (David Wiesner) - A wordless picture book in which a boy discovers a magical underwater camera that has washed up at the beach - Flotsam! What a discovery it turns out to be! This is a great book for introducing new vocabulary to your kids or students! Talk about what "flotsam" is (floating debris or treasures that wash up on the beach from the ocean). Then bring your own magnifying glass and camera to the beach and see what flotsam you can find. Who can find the most unusual flotsam? The largest? Smallest? Most colorful? Give your kids some book handling practice by putting your photos in a book and adding text. Let them read their book to family and friends. 

To the Beach (Linda Ashman) - Can't we all relate to this story? A family tries to leave for the beach, but has to keep turning back for all the things they keep forgetting to bring along. By the time they have everything they need, it begins to rain. They turn around and go back home. Then , of course, the sun comes back out, so they make a pretend beach in their own backyard. This is a great story to inspire your own backyard beach fun or pretend beach play! We read this one in class and practiced our narrative skills by retelling to story by acting it out with fun props. Then we pretended our classroom was our own backyard beach and we played like we were at the beach! It was a lot of silly fun!

The Boy on the Beach (Niki Daly) - I love this book! First, because it features children that actually look like some of my own children. Also because it's just a beautifully, perfect beach story. We see a "boy" on the beach playing and exploring in various ways. It opens up a great conversation of do's and don'ts at the beach. Do: splash, build castles, play in the surf, enjoy cool treats, bury each other in the sand... Don't: forget the sunscreen, run around so fast that your spray sand on other people, wander off and get lost... At the end of the story we learn the boy's name as he writes it in the sand. This book could inspire some alphabet knowledge practice and fun sand writing of your own! Write your own name in that sand and take a photo! How many different ways can you write each letter of the alphabet (big, little, fancy, with shells, with your body...)? Bring some glue and paper to the beach and write letters with glue on the paper; then sprinkle sand on the glue to make cool, sensory alphabet cards. Send the kids on scavenger hunts by writing a letter in the sand and having them find something on the beach that begins with that letter. There are many fun possibilities!

Commotion in the Ocean  (Giles Andreae) - Fun and catchy rhymes about animals that live in that ocean you might be swimming in. Rhyming = Phonological Awareness practice. Yay! Isn't it great when learning is so fun? Talk about which of these animals you think you may or may not see while you're visiting the beach. 

A Beach Tail (Karen Lynn Williams) - A young boy draws a lion in the sand and then promises his dad to stay by his lion drawing. He keeps his promise while also satisfying his desire to further explore the beach by giving his lion a very long tail! "Swish-swoosh" the lion's tale keeps getting longer and he keeps getting further and further away from his father. He finally has to use the tail he drew to find his way back to his dad. This story gave us an idea of something to play on our beach trip - we're going to draw trails for each other to follow with something fun to discover at the end! This book was such a delight. Definitely a new favorite!

This short list of beach books will have you practicing all those needed emergent reading skills! These are good skills even for my older, already-reading kids to practice. And all these games and activities are so fun that your children will be practicing motivation too as they see how much fun their reading is creating!

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