Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Literacy Lava 3 is Here!

December 1, 2009

I am so excited to share this fabulous e-zine for parents! Literacy Lava 3 is now available on Susan Stephenson’s website.  Susan is the author of The Book Chook.

It’s another great issue, exploding with tips for parents about ways to encourage literacy in family life. Find out what your local library has to offer, read ideas on making books with kids, sneak some learning into shopping, discover games that build literacy skills, develop imagination while playing Grocery Store, make writing part of your family’s life, read why picture books are so good for kids, and find out how literacy helped one child fight night terrors. Don’t forget to check out the Online Extras page, and the Writing Prompt activity page for kids.

Please help promote our love of reading, writing and communicating with creativity, by sharing this news with your networks on Twitter, Facebook etc.

Holiday Gift Giving Guide – Literacy Related Games and Activities

November 30, 2009

With Thanksgiving behind us, and the holiday season in full swing, I thought I would share a few of my choices for literacy related gifts this year.  Every year, my children receive a pile of books on Christmas morning.  But, I also try to find literacy related games and activities that they can engage in throughout the year as well.  Here are items I’ve either previously purchased for my children or purchased this holiday season:

Tell Me A Story – Mystery in the ForestFor ages 3 and up – I found these in a specialty shop in Providence, Rhode Island last year.  Beautifully illustrated, these cards provide a wonderful opportunity for children to create open ended stories.  Throw them in your bag and have them with you when you have to wait somewhere.

IlluStory Make Your Own Story KitRecommended for ages 6-9 – I first purchased this product for my son last year for Christmas.  We received 18 book pages, 2 cover pages, 10 washable markers, a story web planner, instructions, order form, and prepaid envelope.  After my son wrote and illustrated his story, we mailed it in the prepaid envelope and after a few weeks, we received a color-copied, professionally type-set book.  My son was able to design the cover and write an About the Author biography page as well.  You also have the ability to create the book entirely online.   This makes a fabulous family keepsake.

Create Your Own Pop-Up BooksRecommended for ages 5 and up – Similar to Illustory, this product allows a child to create a pop-up book. Pop-up books are very engaging, especially for boys, and this kit provides a simple way for a child to make his or her own pop-up book!  I actually purchased this as an activity for my son to complete this past summer.  The set includes 2 hardcover pop-up books, stickers, 8 markers, and pop-up designs.  Children can add drawings or photographs.  There are also illustrated instructions which include story starter ideas and pop-up ideas.

Books Make Me Happy: My First Reading Log
Recommended for ages 4-8 – I found this in my local toy store just a few weeks ago and picked it up for my son for Christmas this year.  The cover isinviting, a picture drawn by a child, and is what first drew me to it.  It is a reading log, which provides a great way for your beginning reader to begin to record books he or she enjoys.  But it has questions and fill-in-the blanks to make reading an interactive activity.  Parents can use this information to dialogue with their child about what they liked best about a book or to critique it.  A fantastic way to instill a love for reading in your child.

University Games Brown Bear-Panda Bear, What Do You See? GameRecommended for ages 3-8 – I just bought this for my 3 year old niece and my daughter for Christmas this year.  Based on Bill Martin’s book, this game introduces children to the magic of story creation.  It also helps with memory and sequencing skills.  I can’t wait to play it with the girls!

Kohl’s Cares for Kids Books/Plush AnimalsAll ages – I first became aware of Kohl’s Cares for Kids program a few years ago when my son received a gift of a book.   I was hooked after that.  I love when I can buy gifts for my kids and help needy children in the process.  Last year Kohl’s offered Curious George, and my daughter received a book and stuffed Curious George that she still sleeps with.  This year, they are offering one of my favorite series, “If You Give a. . .” by Laura Numeroff.  You can purchase each of her books for $5 a piece and the corresponding stuffed animal for an additional $5. Since the inception of Kohl’s Cares for Kids® in 2000, they have turned their $5 books and plush into more than $102 million for children’s initiatives nationwide while providing affordable books for millions of eager readers.

I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions for great literacy related games, toys, or activities.  What do you or your kids love?

Cooking with Children’s Literature

November 25, 2009

As the holiday season approaches, I have visions of shopping, cooking, and eating in my head!  The holidays are a perfect time to create and follow family traditions.   One tradition that allows for a little family time and the opportunity to sneak in some learning is cooking together.

My children love to help in the kitchen; especially at the holidays when I tend to bake more.  I love the fact that they are learning while having fun.  My six year old can read and understand simple fractions.  My three year old can read pictures to determine ingredients.

A fun way to connect learning and cooking is through children’s literature.  Use books to inspire new recipes, perfect old ones, or to just spend some family time together.

About a month ago, my daughter consistently asked for me (or my husband) to read aloud Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann.  The story is about a little girl who eats so many pink cupcakes that she turns pink.  After reading it several days in a row, my daughter asked if we could make pink cupcakes, just like Pinkalicious.  So we did!

Here are a few books with corresponding recipe ideas:

The following are wonderful books by Laura Numeroff.   Each begins with the animal receiving the treat, but cause and effect takes over and for each item received, the animal needs something to go with it.  Great read alouds!

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give…) Make your favorite cookie recipe.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin (If You Give…) Make your favorite muffin recipe.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake (If You Give…) Make your favorite pancake recipe.

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake (If You Give… Books) Make your favorite cupcake recipe.

A great cookbook for kids, by kids is Spatulatta Cookbook by Isabella Gerasole and Olivia Gerasole.  These sisters even have their own website where they share recipes through free step-by-step videos.

If you are an Educator:

Consider using recipes to make literature based cookbooks.   Create a unit based on books that have food prominent throughout.   Read aloud the books and brainstorm recipes that can be created for each book (see the books above to get you started).  As a culminating activity, create a cookbook of the recipes. If possible, make a few of the recipes, if not all, and host a Literary Lunch. Invite parents and provide a bound cookbook for all to take home.

A great resource to start with may be Recipes for Reading: Hands-On, Literature-Based Cooking Activities by Gwynne Spencer.

©2009 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Photo courtesy of Barefoot Images