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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kindergarten Book Talk

This weekend I had My Little Reader give a book talk on one of our recent library picks that he enjoyed.

Consider having your child record a book talk about one of their favorite books and let them share it with friends and family, or their classmates at school! Encourage them talk about books with others!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sight Word Practice

I have never done much sight work with My Little Reader. But now that he's a kindergartner, it seems more important. And the trick to get My Little Reader engaged with what he's learning is to make it a game. So we keep our sight word practice fun, low-key, and low-pressure. He's only five, and I'm trying to remember that forcing him down the reading road before he's ready will do more harm than good long term.

Sight Word Memory is the game we started with. We're focusing on just five sight words to begin with. I made my own cards for the game out of index cards. My Little Reader decided to underline the words on the cards, because he was getting confused about which direction they were supposed to go.

Once he was doing well with Sight Word Memory, we moved on to Sight Word Dash. I took our memory cards and put one of each word in a place in the house (I just spread them on the floor or table). I took MLR down the hall and told him a word to go find; he had to dash down the hall to the room they were in and come back with the correct word card. Then I repeated those steps till he had retrieved all the sight word cards. I would either give him a time limit on a timer or just time to see how fast he could complete the task (we played both ways). He loved this game, and wanted me to have a chance to play too. He set the game up for me just as I did for him, and he read me each word I had to go find and bring back. This variation of the game was great practice for him too since he had to read each word that I was to go find.

Then we played Sight Word Dig. I happened to have a bucket of dry beans (weird, I know). If you don't have dry beans handy, you can pick some up pretty cheap at the store. Or you could use rice, sand, or something similar. We wrote each word on a small piece of paper, and buried them in the sand. Then we took turns digging for the words in bucket of beans. MLR wanted to use the timer again. When it was MLR's turn to dig I would tell him each word to dig for. When it was my turn to dig, MLR would read me each word I needed to dig for off of the sight word cards.

As we continue our sight word practice, I'll share more fun ways we're practicing our sight words!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Help Your Kids Keep Track of the Books They've Read

Giving your kids a way to record, and even just visually see, all the books they've read can help them discover their reading likes and interests. And discovering that they have likes and interests when it comes to books can help them begin to really identify themselves as readers. They might realize they have a favorite author. Who knew! Or they might discover that they seem to have a thing for historical fiction or can lead them to discover what historical fiction is (or other genres for that matter)!

I have made a bookshelf for my little guy, and he has sat in on a discussion I had with my older kids that covered the various literary genres. (I thought it would be way over his head, but he's interested, and he's getting it!) For each book they read, they get to put a paper book on their bookshelf in the appropriate color for the genre it was from.

Figuring out the genre of the books they read has been kind of fun for them. It's been like a little puzzle they get to figure out.

(I'm missing "Nonfiction" on our chart still!)

My Little Reader loves his little paper bookshelf that I hung on the wall in our bonus room. He helped me put a couple books on it that he's read. One of the books is The Mouse and The Motorcycle, which we all just finished reading aloud together (now we're reading The Secret of Platform 13).

Since his brother and sister are reading chapter books, I'm trying to keep devise a way to kind of keep things level with filling their paper bookshelves (I have competitive kids). I decided he has to read 4 books per day with me (in addition to his bedtime stories) and if he meets his reading requirement all week, then he can choose his favorite book from the week to add to his shelf. Last week he added Color Chaos.

We also have Goodreads accounts that we like to track our reading on. My boys know that I try to record most of the books we read on Goodreads, and have gotten into the habit of giving each book we read together a star rating. "Mom, give this one four stars," one will say. "No way, two stars!" the other will counter with. It has sparked some heated debates at bedtime, let me tell ya!

There are countless ways you can record and display your child's reading progress. You could make a goal chart and color it in little by little as they inch toward their reading goal for the month or the year. You could make a paper chain, and they could add a new link for each book they read. Pinterest can help you with more ideas than you ever wanted probably!

Keep the reading excitement up and celebrate those milestones as they hit them!

Do you keep track of the books your child reads? How do you do it?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Learning Art Through Literature

I love reading books with My Little Bookworm and seeing his interests and curiosity sparked. He gets interested in everything he reads about! That's how we have been doing a lot of his homeschooling these past few weeks - we read lots of books!

This past week we read Color Chaos. It was one of his choices from the library, and he loved learning about the primary and secondary colors as we read through the story. Even after the story was done, he was walking around the house categorizing everything he saw according to its color.

I decided to capitalize on his interest and put him to work doing some color wheel projects.

We did this fun science experiment using water, food coloring, and cups. It didn't work for us, but I guess that's what makes science so interesting - it's unpredictable sometimes. We talked a lot about what was supposed to happen, and reasons why it maybe didn't work. He loved it all the same.

Then I thought he would love making a color wheel. But when I suggested the idea he balked. "I don't like coloring or painting," he declared (his interests seem to change daily lately). He said, " I only like doing things with toys." So I made that work, and had him create a color wheel with his favorite toys!

Again, he loved it, and was very engaged with the work. Even after he finished the wheel, he made several "robots" and pointed out to us all that he had used all the primary and secondary colors to create them - straight off his wheel!

There are so many fun books about art. Here are a few I really like. Read them with your little guys and see where their interest and imagination takes them! Real and lasting learning only seems to happen for my kids when they care - and they usually care about what they read about in books!