If this is your first time visiting, you might want to subscribe so you'll be notified when there's something new to read! See the sidebar below to subscribe. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Favorite Links!

Dig in and enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Random Acts of Kids Having Fun with Literacy!

It's not a box!!

"Photos" from our crazy, fun roller coaster ride!


Taking our own princess/prince test, and a stacking mattress game!

Storytelling with fun puppets!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Books Worth Checking Out

I've had this stack of library books sitting in my house, needing to be returned. But I couldn't send them back till I shared at least a handful them with you guys, because they are definitely worth checking out at your local library!

What child doesn't love arts and crafts? And here's a story all about being crafty. My son loved this one, and I need to read it to my eleven year old daughter before I return it. She would love it too since she's crazy about crafts! Since this story is about a little girl that creates a special, one-of-a-kind, homemade birthday gift for her friend, it might be perfect to read around Christmas time to get your kids in the mood for some Christmas crafting! Or just lay out a smattering of craft supplies anytime and let Crafty Chloe inspire everybody's creativity!

This book just warmed my heart. Not sure exactly why, because it wasn't necessarily a sentimental story. I think it reminded me some of my own mother and siblings (there were five of us). And then it also reminded me of my own children (only three, not five) and myself as a mother. I guess we really do become our mothers to some degree? (I'm more than OK with that.) This book was sweet, but not sappy. From the gentle illustrations, to the idea of little Edwin trying to help his mommy remember the sugar with his adorable little babbles. It did take my kids a couple reads to really fully understand what was going on in the story; they didn't immediately get that Edwin was trying to actually tell his mom something and wasn't merely talking gibberish. Once they understood that, they thought the story was a hoot.

This is one my new favorite books! It's so creative, fun, and well done! It shows any "mistake" in art can be turned into a "beautiful oops." A tear in a piece of paper becomes and alligators's mouth, a bent corner becomes a penguins bill, a crumpled up piece of paper becomes the body of a sheep... It's really clever and interesting! A great read for any age! Maybe I like this book so much because it feels like a metaphor for my life? Ha!

I'm not one for picture books with themes that go over kids' heads, and are really meant more for parents. But this is one of those rare books that makes parents giggle, but that kids can understand too. My little guy enjoyed this one. It's another one that I need to read with my older kids too, as they would appreciate the humor in it a little differently than my youngest. It would be fun to brainstorm and make a list of all the things parents ask kids to do, and what it would look like if they asked them to do the opposite. Might be a great writing prompt!

What a gorgeous book! It takes the reader through the various settings and seasons in nature, pointing out all the places, sometimes unusual or unexpected, where we find beautiful swirls. It's fun to let the kids find the swirls on each page. Bring this one along on a picnic at the park or a nature hike and go on a swirl hunt! Perhaps bring along some paper, journals, or cameras to record what you find. Depending on where you find swirls, you might be able to do a crayon or chalk rubbing of them. Ooo, as I was just sitting here, looking at the illustrations, it occurred to me that black scratch-art paper would be perfect for recording the swirls you find! It would mimic the style of the illustrations in the book. So cool!

Another clever book! Another one that's so perfect for my kids! A monkey tries to explain to a jackass that what he is reading is simply and wonderfully just a book. This does not compute with the jackass. You can't scroll down? There's no mouse? It can't text or tweet? No! "It's a book!" The jackass finally discovers how enjoyable a book can actually be, and borrows it from the monkey. But he promises to "charge it up" before returning it. Loved this one! Wouldn't it be interesting to have a discussion with my preschoolers about the characteristics of a book versus something like an iPad? The pros and cons of each? I would have to make a list or chart of some kind, because I know my kids would come up with some great stuff!

I love a book that's fun to read aloud, and this is one I could read aloud over and over. It's really true to its title. Yes! Be ready for some fun! This one is maybe even as good as a Mo Willems title. Yes, really. At least in my own opinion.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why I Love Books from Birth

Tennessee has an amazing program called Books From Birth or Imagination Library. The program provides every child in TN (if they sign up for the program) with a new book of their own, every month of the year, from birth through age 5. And it's all FREE. Can you believe that? The books arrive in the mail, and it's so much fun to find them waiting in our mailbox on each arrival day.

Like anything else, some books we love, others not as much. I have a three year old, so we have a little over a year left to continue with the program (he turns four in a few months).

A little while back they switched from sending hard covers, to sending paperbacks (it's a free program, and they are trying to keep costs down). I understood the reasoning, but was still little disappointed. That was until the paperbacks started arriving. Books From Birth is full of geniuses. Now there's a small flap at the back of each book that gives specific instructions to parents on how to read the book with their child so the child gets the most out of the read-aloud. It lists ideas of things to talk about before the story, during the story, and then after the story. I'm a beginning literacy teacher, and even I find this little flap extremely helpful, and totally utilize it! It's like a little script right there for ya, so why not use it!

I think this was a brilliant idea, and I wish this was done with every library book as well... OK, how 'bout just doing this with all kids' books? It makes it so easy for parents and even teachers who might end up with some of these books in their classroom, since so many picture books get handed down as kids out grow them.

If your child lives in Tennessee and is five years old or younger, then make sure you're enrolled in Books From Birth!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When You're Busy...

... You sometimes have to just be grateful for quiet, reading moments like this.

My Aunt Jacquie was reading Lauren Child's The Princess and the Pea in the car to my little guy and my niece. Love.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meeting Mo Willems

In February Literacy Launchpad did an author study on Mo Willems. So how serendipitous that my local independent bookseller, Parnassus Books, was hosting an event with him today in promotion of his new book The Duckling Gets A Cookie!?. Did you know today was the book's official release date? Or as Mo refers to it, "The first day you can legally read it!"

(See Parnassus Books get the Colbert Bump!)
I only found out about the event last night, and spent this morning emailing the parents of my students in hopes that some of them might be able to make it to the event as well. At lunch, my kiddos (and one of their friends) made some Mo-inspired art (Literacy Launchpad projects from February) to bestow upon the author when we met him.

We made it to the event on time, bought a copy of The Duckling Gets A Cookie!? to get signed, and even got pretty good seats.

Mo came out and wanted to get the photo-taking out of the way so we could all spend our time "experiencing the event, instead of documenting it." Love that! So he did a bunch of goofy poses for us all. Us moms got our photos. The kids got some giggles. He even did a booty-shot pose for us (Which I missed with my camera, darn!).

Mo was very funny and extremely entertaining. He read us Listen to My Trumpet, which he explained is an "easy reader," but a "hard writer." And he of course also read us The Duckling Gets A Cookie!?.

Both books were big hits with the crowd.

Mo also took questions. Did you know...

  • Every night when Mo's family sits down together for dinner, they put a big sheet of paper down the middle of the table and they all draw during the meal. "Elephant Gerald" came into being as a dinner doodle originally. "Piggie" followed shortly after.
  • Mo used to be a writer for Sesame Street. Do you know what "Elmo" means in Spanish? It means "the Mo!" TeeHee!
  • Mo gets all his ideas from Belize, because they have to be "belizable."
Mo's newest book is excellent! Laugh out loud funny (but I'm sure it helped that Mo was reading it to us). I'm really glad that all three of my kids were able to be there for the event. My older ones were talking with their friend that had come along, after we got home, and I overheard them saying that they thought the event was going to be "babyish", but that it was actually "really good!"

Check out this trailer for The Duckling Gets A Cookie!?