Archive for the ‘engage readers’ Category

Parent Reading Resources: How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell

June 29, 2010

This month I plan to post resources to help parents as they try to raise a reader.  Perhaps through the resources I share, you’ll find something to help you engage your child in reading over the summer (and beyond!).

Written by an educator and librarian, How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike is a 500+ page guide for parents!  Codell provides activities, ideas, and inspiration for exploring everything in the world through books.  Codell, resists grouping books by age level.  Instead, she offers a simple method for determining whether a book is too difficult while pointing out that kids may listen on a much higher level than they read. She offers scores of thematic book lists parents can use to inspire young readers, ranging from topics as diverse as medieval England to dinosaurs or hiccups.

Inside this fantastic resource, you will find:

  • Over 3,000 hand-picked titles on every subject under the sun
  • Hundreds of child-tested, teacher-approved craft ideas, storytimes, book-based parties, mad-scientist experiments, cooking forays, web-site recommendations, and reading-club activities
  • Reassuring and simple approaches to reading aloud with children from birthday through eighth grade
  • Support for parents of reluctant readers and enriching ideas for eager readers
  • Extensive indexes for locating books by subject, author, and title
  • Suggestions for volunteer activities and for getting involved in your child’s school
  • Easy access to award-winning books
  • Exciting ways to reward reading progress

This book is an indispensable resource for all parents who want to engage their children in reading.  And like Jim Trelease before her, Codell also has her own website where she continues to share information on reading aloud for parents, educators, and librarians.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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Parent Reading Resources: Summer Reading Programs

June 22, 2010

Parents often ask what they can do to help minimize the “summer slide,” the effect of a lack of formal schooling in the summer, when students and parents tend to be more lax and children begin to lose what they learned the previous school year, that inevitably sets in every year.

The best answer to this is to encourage your children to read every day.  Set aside fifteen or twenty minutes each day for reading time.  If your children are not reading on their own yet, read to them.  If your children are of reading age, provide choices for them and encourage them to read on their own.

There are several reading programs offered this summer that may help entice children to read:

Borders and Barnes and Noble both offer a reading incentive that provides a free book at the end. Borders program is called “Double Dog Dare” and they are asking kids 12 and under to read 10 books by August 26th.  Bring in the completed book list form to any Borders and receive a free book!  Download a copy of the form from the link above.

Barnes and Noble’s program is based on The 39 Clues series of books.  Children in grades 1-6 are encouraged to read 8 books this summer and list them on their Passport to Summer Reading (download it from the link above).    Children have until September 7 to complete their passport and return it to any Barnes and Noble to receive their free book.  Parents can also download fun activities for children at the Barnes and Noble link above.

Scholastic is also offering a summer reading challenge.  Children are asked to read books and log the number of minutes they read.  When kids log their reading minutes, they help their schools as they participate in the Read for the World Record Challenge! The Top 20 schools with the most reading minutes will appear in the “Scholastic Book of World Records” 2011 edition.  Children ages 7 and up are encouraged to participate.

The KidsPost is offering it’s Tenth Annual Summer Book Club for young readers.  This year’s choices include books by “blockbuster authors” such as Rick Riordan, Ann M. Martin, and John Grisham.  Most of the books are available at the library and each Wednesday, the KidsPost will review that week’s book and offer similar books that a reader may enjoy.

In addition to summer reading, consider enriching your child’s summer with cultural arts and science activities. Keeping children busy over the summer should help negate that pesky “summer slide.”

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you

Parent Resources: The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

June 8, 2010

This month I plan to post resources to help parents as they try to raise a reader.  Perhaps through the resources I share, you’ll find something to help you engage your child in reading over the summer (and beyond!).

Many of you may be familiar withThe Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition by Jim Trelease.  It has been in publication for over 30 years. It was, in fact, one of the first books recommended to me when I began teaching almost thirteen years ago.  The information in it is timeless and I still refer to this book when I am in need of solid research related to reading aloud, or to help me as I parent my two children.  I have begun to give it as a gift to friends who have new babies.  If it were up to me, every new parent would leave the hospital with a copy in their hands.

In his sixth edition (2006), Trelease:

  • Explains how reading aloud awakens children’s imaginations and improves their language skills
  • Shows how to begin reading aloud and which books to choose
  • Suggests ways to create reader-friendly homes, classrooms, and library environments
  • Gives tips on luring children away from the television
  • Shows how to integrate silent reading with read-aloud sessions
  • Shares valuable lessons from Oprah’s Book Club, the Harry Potter books, and the Internet
  • Includes a brand-new chapter of stories and testimonials from parents and teachers
  • Offers an up-to-date treasury of 1,000 books that are great for reading aloud – from picture books to novels – and highlights some of Trelease’s favorites by theme: friendship, sports, dogs, fairy-tale parodies, and more.

This book is a treasure and must read for all parents who want to engage their children in reading.  And if this isn’t enough, Jim Trelease also has his own website where he continues to share information on reading aloud for parents, educators, librarians – really anyone who wants a child to make books into friends, not enemies.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Parent Resources: Reaching the Reluctant Reader

May 25, 2010

Are you looking for ways to motivate your reluctant reader?  I want to provide parents with a list of resources they may turn to when they are looking to reach their reluctant readers.  Here are a few videos, online games, and websites to help you in your quest.

Videos

Awaken the Reader in Your Child

Donalyn Miller is a sixth grade teacher in Texas.  She is dubbed “The Book Whisperer” because she can get even the most reluctant reader to love reading.  Last summer she was interviewed by The View from the Bay.  She shares great tips on how parents can encourage their children to read.

Scholastic offers 65 book trailers (just like a movie trailer, but for a book).  Have your child watch the trailers to see what types of books interest him.

Websites

Reading Rockets – A fantastic resource for parents offering reading strategies, lessons, and activities designed to aid in helping children learn how to read and read better

ReadWriteThink – Looking for engaging ways to encourage your child to read?  The International Reading Association and the National Council for Teachers of English run this expansive website of resources for parents (and teachers).

ReadKiddoRead – A website created by the author James Patterson as a way to bring parents, teachers, and librarians together in a forum dedicated to make kids readers for life.

Games

Kidsreads – A comprehensive website that offers games, book reviews, and contests all related to children’s books.

RIF Reading Planet – In conjunction with Reading is Fundamental (RIF), this website offers games, activities, animated stories and songs, author and illustrator Q&A, books lists and more!

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Motivating Readers and Writers: Books About Reading and Writing

May 20, 2010

Sometimes all it takes is one book to engage a child who may be reluctant to read.  Though it’s the end of the school year (for most), it’s never too late to try to entice a new reader.  Here are a few books that explore reading and/or writing as a topic:

Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don’t) by Barbara Bottner is a great book to show a child that not everyone enjoys reading, but there is a book in the library for everyone.  If your child is overwhelmed by the amount of books in the library or book store, read aloud this book.  Encourage him to choose books to read based on his interests.


The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza by Laura Numeroff is another great book that demonstrates the power of  reading.  Similar to Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t), Anna and her friends must find a book about a thing they love in order to write a book report.  All of her friends find one, will Anna?


The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli is a great book to show children where ideas may come from for writing.  The narrator of the story wants to write the “best story” to win a prize with her favorite author.  She enlists the help of her family members for ideas, but nothing seems quite right.  Her mother reminds her that the best stories come from the heart.


Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk is an adorable book to read aloud to children.  Sam, the Mouse, lives in the Children’s Section of the library.  He loves to read and one day decides to write a book.  He places his book on the shelf for the children to find.  Will they find it?  What will they think?


For lessons related to these books, check out Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books.

Do you have innovative ways to encourage kids (specifically reluctant readers) to read?  I would love to hear them!

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Book Buddies: Pairing Fiction and Informational Texts to Motivate Readers

May 19, 2010

One way to motivate readers is to provide children with informational texts that match a fiction book they may enjoy reading.  Or vice versa.  Mary Pope Osborne provides informational guides that correspond with her fiction books in her series of Magic Tree House Books (Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon), perfect for early readers.  At the preschool age, especially, we tend to read more fiction to our children.  Yet, children tend to crave basic information about topics as well.  I like to pair fiction reading with informational reading.  By reading aloud a fiction book and following up with an informational read aloud, parents can meet both needs of their child.  Sometimes, you may want to read the informational text first to build background knowledge of the topic.  To extend the learning beyond reading, I often pair a craft or activity that complements the topic we are reading about.

“Book Buddies” with corresponding activities:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino

Activity:  Put plastic doll feet in black paint and place on white paper to make footprints in the snow

Smash! Crash! (Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown) by Jon Scieszka and Big Book of Trucks by Caroline Bingham

Activity: Take small toy trucks and run the wheels through paint.  Place the wheels all over a sheet of paper for a “Things that Go” piece of artwork.  Try to find cars and trucks with different treads.

My Garden by Kevin Henkes and Let’s Go Gardening: A Young Person’s Guide to the Garden by Ursula Kruger

Activity:  Place soil inside a large plastic, see through bag.  Place seeds in the soil and spray water inside the bag.  Tape the bag to a window that receives sun.  Monitor the new plant that grows.   

Would you like to purchase pre-made Book Buddy Bags?  Each bag comes with a fiction and nonfiction text, a hands-on activity and a resource guide for parents.  Book Buddy Bags are perfect for gifts, homeschool activities, and travel!

Do you have innovative ways to encourage kids (specifically reluctant readers) to read?  I would love to hear them!

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Resisting the Urge to Create a Reading Superstar

March 12, 2010

These days, moms should really have the title of “Supermom”.  Not only do we have to juggle work, kids, husband, and maybe a little time for ourselves, but we also feel the pressure to make sure our kids are ready to read, if not already reading, before they begin kindergarten.  Where does this pressure come from?  Does it come from the government and their constantly revised educational standards for our children?  Are we inflicting it on ourselves?  Perhaps it’s a little bit of both.  But is any of it really necessary?

Certainly we want our children to become readers.  And we want them to be successful, life-long, engaged readers.  But I’m afraid, when the pressure is too great, parents resort to drill and practice in an attempt to get their kids reading.  I know it seems so easy to pick up a workbook at the store and have kids practice their letters or sight words.  Unfortunately, this is not going to work.  In fact, it will probably have the opposite effect.  Typically kids will simply disengage from reading altogether because they were never able to connect with reading as a pleasurable experience.  I firmly believe that parents are a child’s first teacher.  I also believe that we can teach them without stressing them (or ourselves) out!  And, you don’t need an education background to do so (let me tell you that my having a degree in education has only added more unnecessary pressure – self inflicted, I’m sure)!

So instead of trying to create reading superstars, what if we just agreed to try to create readers?  Happy, healthy, engaged, and interested readers in two simple steps!  Here’s how:

  1. Read aloud every day.  Over two decades ago, Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985) concluded, “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children” (pg. 23).  In other words, reading aloud to our children is the most important thing we can do for them if we want to create a reader.  In his groundbreaking guide for parents, The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition, Jim Trelease stated, “The more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it” (2006).
  2. Encourage children to choose their own books based on interests.  I firmly believe that choice is a huge indicator in whether or not a child will enjoy reading.  Children have so little control in their lives that choosing books is one thing they can control.  Certainly children should be able to choose the books they want read aloud to them, but consider allowing children to choose their own books when in the library or bookstore. . . even if they aren’t of the best quality or at your child’s reading level, you are sending the message that his/her choices are important.

I read to my son every day from the day he was born.  I allowed him choice in his reading materials (even when I didn’t want to read it).  We played simple games with literacy basics.  I did nothing else!  I didn’t drill him to death.  I didn’t test him on his letters, sight words, etc.  Yet, when he began kindergarten he was already reading on a first grade level.  I didn’t even know he could read!

That’s it!  No need for workbooks or drill and practice.  Just simple reading and choice in reading materials.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Do You Hear What I Hear? Listening to Audio Books with Preschoolers and Beginning Readers

February 9, 2010

Audio books come in various forms today.  You can download a book to your computer or PDA or you can listen the old fashioned way – by CD.  Either way audio books are a fantastic resource for pre- and emergent readers.  Children’s listening comprehension surpasses their reading ability when they are beginning readers.  Audio books provide many benefits to children at this stage in their literacy development.

Among the benefits of audio books:

  • Improved listening skills – If you are able to provide headphones for your child as they listen to a book being read, you are more likely to help your child block out distractions and focus solely on listening to the story.
  • Increased comprehension and vocabulary – Audio books are read by professionals who are able to use their voice to emphasize words and allow children to make meaning as they listen.
  • Visualization – Children are able to make pictures in their minds of the book as they listen (if they don’t have a copy to follow along with).   As children visualize, they are making meaning of the text.  Visualization is an important comprehension strategy that children will continue to use as they begin to read independently.
  • Fluency – As children follow along in the book and read aloud, they are building their fluency.  In order for children to become independent readers, they must be fluent readers.
  • Independent reading skills – By listening to audio books and following along in their own copy, children learn the skills that independent readers employ to read and comprehend text.

Consider purchasing (or checking out from the library) several audio books for your child.  Your child will be motivated to read and you’ll likely see a difference in your child’s reading ability.

Some of our favorites:

Frog and Toad CD Audio Collection

Little Bear Audio CD Collection: Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home, Little Bear’s Friend, Little Bear’s Visit, and A Kiss for Little Bear

Brown Bear & Friends CD

Lilly’s Big Day and Other Stories CD: 9 Stories

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Ten Tips for Reading Aloud with Your Preschooler

February 2, 2010

This month, I plan to post about “Reading with Preschoolers.”  To begin, I’ve provided “Ten Tips for Reading Aloud with Your Preschooler”:

  1. Read to your child every day. Choose a specific time and/or spot. Make it special.
  2. Make it fun! Act out the text or animate your voice for the characters and events in the story.
  3. Read wordless picture books with your children. Create a story for your child based on what is happening on each page. If your child is old enough, ask your child to “read” the story to you.
  4. Tell your child stories from your childhood. This weaves in your family history, and your child will appreciate hearing about your youth.
  5. Read a fairy tale to your child and have him/her act out the parts of the story. This is especially fun if you have dress-up clothes foryour child to wear.
  6. Read to your child’s interests. If your child likes cars and trucks, read aloud books about cars and trucks. If your child likes princesses, read aloud books about princesses. Books read aloud don’t always have to be fiction, choose some nonfiction pieces, too. Talk to your child about the difference between fiction and nonfiction texts.
  7. Read poetry aloud. Poetry is often a neglected genre, but can help your child learn to feel the rhythm of a text.
  8. Read stories with predictable texts. This will get your child interested in the story, and he/she will learn to figure out what comes next. This is an important stage in literacy development.
  9. Create a special area for your child’s books in the house. A cozy corner just for him/her will encourage your child to enjoy reading.
  10. Let your child choose his/her own books when at the library or book store. Even if they aren’t of the highest quality or at your child’s reading level, you are sending the message that his/her choices are important.

Wordless Picture Books

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tommy dePaola

10 Minutes to Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann

Truck by Donald Crews

A Boy, a Dog, a Frog, and a Friend (Boy, Dog, Frog) by Mercer Mayer

Fairy Tales

Fairy Tale Classics ETR Collection (Easy-To-Read Collection) by Harriet Ziefert

Poetry

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young Edited by Jack Prelutsky

Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Edition: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein

Poetry Speaks to Children (Book & CD) (Read & Hear) edited by Elise Paschen

The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry edited by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson

Predictable Texts

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?: 40th Anniversary Edition (Brown Bear and Friends) by Bill Martin, Jr.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Book& CD) by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

What favorites do you and your preschooler read aloud?  Do you have any other suggestions for ways to engage preschoolers in literacy?

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

It’s All About the Play: Reader’s Theater for Dormant and Emergent Readers

January 26, 2010

I’ve been posting about literacy based games this month.  Reader’s Theater is not actually a game, but kids have fun participating in it!

Reader’s Theater is a dramatic adaptation of a piece of literature.  It typically involves children writing a script based on a book and then a dramatic read aloud of the script.  Reader’s Theater is great for children’s communication skills.  It provides an opportunity for them to develop fluency (when reading aloud) and collaboration skills (when working together to create a script).  In addition, children learn to read with expression.  Read what Reading Rockets and Scholastic have to say about Reader’s Theater.

Reader’s Theater can be motivational to dormant readers. **  Dormant readers are typically your children who do well, but who are not intrinsically motivated to read on their own.  Instead of having to read a whole book, the reader only needs to read parts of the book (really, the script, which is often shortened from the original text) with expression.  I bet you will find that a dormant reader might actually enjoy reading when he is able to express himself a bit.

Reader’s Theater can be fun and engaging for preschoolers as well.  Of course, I’m sure you are wondering how preschoolers are supposed to act out a script if they can’t read it!  Well, parents or teachers can read aloud the script and the children can act out bit parts.  For example, Michigan’s “Michigan Reads” initiative provides a Reader’s Theater script for preschoolers called “Barnyard Song.”  An adult narrates the story and the children act as the animals by “reading” the animal sound.  There are even animal masks provided!  (Typically, props and costumes are not used in Reader’s Theater, but I think at the preschool age, masks will definitely make the experience more hands-on and fun!)

Reader’s Theater can be a motivating reading activity for dormant readers and an engaging activity for emergent readers.  Check out the web, there are a ton of resources for Reader’s Theater scripts already there, or make a script based on your child’s favorite book.  Consider planning a Reader’s Theater experience for your next playgroup meeting.   I bet your preschoolers will have fun. . . and they will learn from it, too!

** For more information on dormant readers, I recommend reading The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller.  This is a fantastic resource for parents and educators.**

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.