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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Do You Change Your Books with the Season?

I do my best to rotate the picture books that I have out for My Little Reader. (Sometimes "my best" is rotating them every three months.)

What I really enjoy though is rotating our books according to the seasons and the holidays. It's an easy (and educational) way to make your house more festive!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Books About Family

This blog chronicles my life as an early literacy teacher. And right now my job as an early literacy teacher is to help my own three kiddos, two of which will be coming home from Ethiopia soon (still don't have a travel date yet. Wah!). I guess this is a disclaimer... or maybe an apology, for all my recent posts. Hopefully there is something to be gleaned by most of you teachers and parents reading these posts. And I've been appreciative of all the help you guys have been giving me in this area!

There are so many, many things I love about picture books. One of the things I love about them is how therapeutic they can be, and how they can open the door to talk about tough topics.

My Ethiopian children are grieving. That I already know. And when they join our family, they will be confused... unsure. Wondering if this new family is permanent. So right now I'm seeking to find some picture books that might help comfort, assure, and allow them to heal.

They aren't likely to speak much/any English when they first come home. But I've been told they pick it up quickly. I'm still not feeling very confident in my abilities to teach two older, non-English speakers, who have just been through a lot of upheaval (understatement), how to speak and read and write English. But that's a whole other post...

I'm trusting in the magic of picture books to help with the English learning while also addressing what they're dealing with emotionally, all while assisting us in the bonding process (as we snuggle and read together).

Here are some books I'm thinking might be good ones. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg, and that there are tons I'm leaving out and unaware of. So please share your book suggestions in the comments!

Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos - I like the way it assures that love is not conditional of behavior. Sarah loves Ralph not matter what.

Llama Llama Red Pajama - Anna Dewdney - A sweet assurance that Mommy is always nearby.

The Heart and the Bottle - Oliver Jeffers - Might be over their heads, but if not, could potentially address well some of what's going on inside their little hearts.

"More More More," Said the Baby - Vera B. Williams - This is a book Isaac loves, and I do too! I love the sweet rhythm of it, and the comfort of family it communicates. What a great book to bond and attach over... And I also love that it portrays what appears to be a white grandma with her brown grandchild. This book was way ahead of it's time!

The Family Book by Todd Parr- Celebrating the diversity of families and assuring that no one family is better or worse than another.

Welcome Home, Forever Child by Christine Mitchell - This one looks like it will address some of the struggles my children will face as children that were adopted at an older age.

I must add as an end note that when you are preparing to adopt, you begin to read picture books with a different perspective. And I have discovered quite a few pictures books that I will not be reading my Ethiopian children. But that also is perhaps a post for another day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Home/School

My home is beginning to feel like a little school house. I've been prepping for our newest two additions to our family (via Ethiopian adoption) and for the unique challenges that older child adoption will bring (remember too that our children do not currently speak English). Some of these preparations are things I've been wanting to do anyway, for Isaac's benefit, but haven't been motivated enough.

I am convinced we will never truly be prepared, but it doesn't hurt to try. Check out a few of the things I've been getting ready:

Photo labeling toy bins for easy clean-up.

A sorted craft cabinet. So exciting!

The bookshelf in our breakfast nook. Stocked with play dough, coloring books, paints, pads of paper, pens, crayons, markers, books, CDs, puzzles...

A visual timer to help make transitions a little easier.

A velcro chart for our daily schedule. These cards will also help with communication at the beginning. They have simple pictures of everyday tasks, places, and such.

A calendar. Figure we won't be using it till the kids come home.

Art displays ready to be filled.

Yes, I'm trying to label everything in the house. Hoping it will help all three of my kids learn to read English. The labeling process is slow going, but I'm getting there. I've got enough stuff labeled now that I think David's starting to get annoyed with it. :)

I'm curious if anyone else has done this kind of labeling around their house for their kids at any point? If so, did you attribute any reading successes with it?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Perfect Ending to Any Day