Posts Tagged ‘creating bookworms’

Tool Time Rewind: A Month in Review at Literacy Toolbox

September 30, 2010

For most people, a new year begins on January 1st.  For some, it begins July 1st – typically the start of a fiscal year.  For me, and as long as I can remember, a new year begins in September.  I was a student for most of my life, then I was a teacher, and now I’m a mother of school age children.  My life has always revolved around school and so my schedule naturally falls around the school year.  I find that I always look to September as a new beginning.  So, for the month of September I looked for ways that we could recommit to our children as readers and learners.  So, for today, this last day of September, I have created a recap of the ways we can create bookworms.

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month:

Kids are never too young to have a library card.  I believe my own children were two or younger when I got them their first cards.  It’s never too late to get your child a library card!  Don’t forget that many booksellers offer Story Times for young children as well.  Check their websites for dates and times.

Building a Home Library

One very important way to create a bookworm is access!  If we want to create bookworms, we must provide our children with plenty of reading materials.  One way to do this is to provide them with their own “library” at home.

Making a Comfortable Reading Nook

When reading with our children or providing independent reading time, environment is just as important as what we read.  Children are more likely to want to read if they are provided a comfortable reading spot.  I asked readers to share photos of their reading nooks, but alas no one shared.  But, that is ok.  I rearranged my children’s reading nook and here is the latest look:

I’ve noticed that both of my children enjoy sitting in their chairs at various times of the day and with a basket of books in between (I rotate books from our home library to the basket), they enjoy picking up a book and reading more.

The Read Aloud

Twenty-five years ago in Becoming a Nation of Readers (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985) reading aloud was called “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading” (p. 23).  I still believe this holds true.  I have yet to read any research that disputes that reading aloud to our children regularly is good for them.  If there is one thing that I have done for and with my children since the day they were born (and even before), it’s read aloud to them.

Connecting to Your Childhood

Sharing with our children that we were children once too, helps them to connect to us in a deeper way.  It’s hard for young children to reconcile that the adults in their lives were once children just like them.  One way I try to connect with my children and share my childhood with my children is through the books I loved as a kid.  My son and I have enjoyed reading classic Beverly Cleary books together.  And through this bonding experience, my son gets to know me a little better, the child in me.

Book Fairs for Our Youngest Readers

Book fairs are fun.  Period.  Who doesn’t enjoy going into a room full of books and having hundreds of choices of quality books at great prices?  Typically book fairs are reserved for children who are actually reading.  But, what about our preschoolers?  They may not be reading yet, but if we interest children in books at a young age, we are more likely to create children who want to read.  A book fair is a fantastic way to interest our smallest readers.

And that is Tool Time Rewind for the month of September.

Next month’s theme is “Reading with Boys.”

And don’t forget: ”We-View” Wednesday is back! The third Wednesday of every month is reserved for reviews of books read with your children.  Share yours and your child’s thoughts on the book!  To participate, please email me [dlittle [at] linkstoliteracy [dot] com] your review by the Sunday prior.  I hope you will join us!

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Creating Bookworms: Book Fairs for Our Youngest Readers

September 28, 2010

As a new school year begins for most students, I believe it’s a good time to renew our commitment to our children.  This includes ways to include daily literacy activities for our youngest children.  This month on Literacy Toolbox, I will share ways parents and educators can work to create their own little bookworms.

When you hear about a book fair you are probably reminded of elementary school.  I remember our yearly Scholastic book fairs during elementary school; always a favorite part of my year.  Now, my seven year old has twice yearly Scholastic book fairs.  Not only are these book fairs huge fundraisers for his school, but Scholastic provides quality reading material for reasonable prices.

So I ask, what about our youngest readers?  I had never considered a book fair for preschoolers until a new director at my son’s preschool suggested one.  So when my seven year old was in Pre-K, I offered to chair a book fair for his preschool.  I have chaired one every year since.  Over the weekend, I chaired my last book fair for our preschool, as my daughter is now in Pre-K.  It was our fourth one.  I hope that the tradition we’ve started continues.

Our Preschoolers Meet Olivia

Since we are a small school of only around 120 students, we choose to have Barnes and Noble host our book fairs.  They make it very easy for any organization, but I think particularly so for smaller ones.  Every year the kids (and parents and teachers!) have a blast.  Our fairs always coincide with a visit from a storybook character (always an exciting time!).  Over the last four years, we have had the Pig from If You Give a Pig a Pancake, Clifford, Froggy, and Olivia visit our fairs.  Teachers read aloud books and sing songs.  We provide arts and crafts related to the character visiting.  Our excellent teachers always go above and beyond each year when they have our students create fantastic art projects related to the character, as well.  We display our students’ art work in the store for all to see.  A fun time is always had by all, but particularly our students.

What better way to create bookworms then to immerse them in books, read alouds, singing, and arts and crafts?  If your child’s preschool does not currently host book fairs, I highly suggest you look into the Barnes and Noble book fairs.  They are fairly easy to put together, fun to participate in, and help raise money for your school!     

Disclosure: I do not work for Barnes and Noble or Scholastic Book Fairs.  While I am a fan of both companies, any opinions stated here are my own.

©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.

Creating Bookworms: Connecting to Your Childhood

September 21, 2010

As a new school year begins for most students, I believe it’s a good time to renew our commitment to our children.  This includes ways to include daily literacy activities for our youngest children.  This month on Literacy Toolbox, I will share ways parents and educators can work to create their own little bookworms.

Let’s face it!  We aren’t getting any younger.  Sad, but true!  However, we can remain young at heart and one way I try to do that is by sharing my childhood favorites with my children.  I was thinking about this yesterday and realized that by sharing a bit of my childhood with my children, in the form of books I loved, I just might be creating bookworms out of them!

My children love to hear about my childhood.  It’s so interesting to see how they try to assimilate in their minds that Mommy was a kid once, too.  I remember doing the same thing with my own mom as a child.  Last year, I decided to share Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary with my then 6 year old.  I remember reading all of the Henry Huggins books (Henry Huggins Complete Set: Henry Huggins, Henry and Beezus, Henry and Ribsy, Henry and the Paper Route, Henry and the Clubhouse, and Ribsy (6-Book Set)) and then moving on to the Ramona books (The Ramona Collection, Vol. 1: Beezus and Ramona / Ramona the Pest / Ramona the Brave / Ramona and Her Father and The Ramona Collection, Vol. 2: Ramona Quimby, Age 8 / Ramona and Her Mother / Ramona Forever / Ramona’s World) (or it may have been the other way around) as a child.  And I vividly remember sharing my love for these books with my friend, Brenda.  In fact, she may have been the one to recommend the Henry Huggins books to begin with!  In any event, I read Henry Huggins to my son last year and we talked about how it was one of my favorite books as a child.  He loved the book as much as I did.  And, I had a blast reading it as an adult!

This year, we have moved on to The Littles series by John Peterson.  I remember reading these books as a child and watching the cartoon.  I loved them and never dreamed I would grow up to become a “Little” myself!  So, when I found the set at our school’s Scholastic Book Fair last year, I had to get them to pass them on to my son.  He loves that we read books that contain our last name and I love passing on the books I loved as a child.  We even have our own Granny Little in our family!

I loved books as a kid (still do, of course!) and I’m so excited to pass on to my children all the books I loved from my childhood!  These are the books that are timeless.  They are as relevant today as they were when I was a child and even when my mother was a child.  Next year, we will move on to my all time favorites, Tales of a Fourth Grade NothingSuperfudge, and Fudge-a-Mania by Judy Blume.  I have a feeling my son is just going to laugh out loud at those!

Do you share your childhood favorites with your children?  What are they?

©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.

Creating Bookworms: The Read Aloud

September 16, 2010

As a new school year begins for most students, I believe it’s a good time to renew our commitment to our children.  This includes ways to include daily literacy activities for our youngest children.  This month on Literacy Toolbox, I will share ways parents and educators can work to create their own little bookworms.

Two decades ago in Becoming a Nation of Readers (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985) reading aloud was called “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading” (p. 23).  I’ve written about read alouds before and I’ll continue to write about them because I believe that they are so important in our children’s daily literacy life.  Children absorb everything we say and do.  How many times have you heard something come out of your child’s mouth that sounds just like you?  Reading can have the same effect.  If our children see us read or hear us read, they will want to be just like us!  Reading aloud to our children goes a long way to creating little bookworms!

Chances are, if you are reading this, you already know the importance of reading aloud and probably do so every day.  I will simply provide you with a few resources to help you along the way:

The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition by Jim Trelease

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox

What Should I Read Aloud? A Guide to 200 Best-selling Picture Books by Nancy Anderson

What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read with Your Child–and All the Best Times to Read Them by Pam Allyn

Do you have any “go-to” resources to create bookworms out of your children?

©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.

Creating Bookworms: Making a Comfortable Reading Nook

September 14, 2010

As a new school year begins for most students, I believe it’s a good time to renew our commitment to our children.  This includes ways to include daily literacy activities for our youngest children.  This month on Literacy Toolbox, I will share ways parents and educators can work to create their own little bookworms.

I went to my daughter’s Pre-K open house yesterday.  I always love to see how teachers set up their classrooms and make them open and inviting for children.  I can tell my daughter is going to have a great year based on her teacher’s classroom set up.  She has various centers all over including blocks, dramatic play, art, and most importantly (to me, anyway!) a great reading center.  Her books change with the themes and they are in a front facing shelf so that the children can see the covers of the books and not the spines.  But that’s not what got me.  What I really liked was the comfortable seating area she had set up.  She had four mini-papasan chairs set up around the books as well as a comfy rug and some pillows for students to sit on.  What an inviting environment!

Of course, that got me to think about ways we can set up our own homes to invite our children to want to sit down and read.  It’s important for teachers and schools to provide open and inviting reading environments for students, but it’s equally important at home.  Just as we create individual spaces for our children in the form of their bedrooms, we must consider creating individual reading spaces for our children.  A space in their bedroom or even in a more open part of our homes (family rooms, basements, etc.) is a perfect place to start.  When I was a child, I could read anywhere, the couch, the chair, the bed, you name it.  But, if I had a special reading place I could have called all my own?  Well, I wonder if I would have read more – and I read a lot as a child to begin with!

So, today, I ask, do you have a special reading spot set up for your children?  If not, would you consider making one?  I’m going to make good on my word, and set up special reading nooks for my children.  I’ve realized that we revamped our home library, but we don’t have special reading nooks and that may make all the difference in creating bookworms out of my children – and yours!

What does your child’s reading nook look like?  Do you have special chairs, pillows, etc. set up?  If you have pictures, please email them to me at dlittle {at} linkstoliteracy {dot} com.  If I receive enough photos, I will do a special post of Reader’s Reading Nooks!

©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.

Creating Bookworms: Building a Home Library

September 9, 2010

As a new school year begins for most students, I believe it’s a good time to renew our commitment to our children.  This includes ways to include daily literacy activities for our youngest children.  This month on Literacy Toolbox, I will share ways parents and educators can work to create their own little bookworms.

One very important way to create a bookworm is access!  If we want to create bookworms, we must provide our children with plenty of reading materials.  One way to do this is to provide them with their own “library” at home.  Here are a few tips for setting up a home library (previously posted in March):

  1. Make books accessible for your child.  Keep them low and easy to reach.
  2. Consider placing books in easy to move baskets, instead of standing them up on a bookshelf.  Placing them in baskets makes it easier for your child to find a book he/she may be looking for.  It’s much easier for a child to choose a book by looking at its cover, rather than the spine.  If you need the space, consider placing some books upright and others laying flat, as seen below.
  3. Consider organizing books by genre or topic.  This is also made easier by baskets.  Each basket can hold its own genre of books! If your children are old enough, consider having them help you sort books and determine genre.
  4. Include periodicals in your home library.  Children love receiving mail and periodicals provide additional opportunities for children to read for different purposes.
  5. Don’t feel confined to one area!  Place “mini-libraries” on every floor of your house.  We have small book holders in our basement playroom, bookshelves in our first floor family room, and each child has bookshelves (overflowing with books!) in their bedrooms.

Over the summer, my children and I rearranged the books in their rooms (again!).  This time, my four year old could help me organize the baskets by topic or theme.  She now has a princess basket, an animal basket, and plenty of miscellaneous books standing upright or laying flat on her bookshelves.  My seven-year old has baskets of Easy Readers, chapter books, graphic novels, and still plenty of picture books scattered throughout his bookshelf.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) provides Message in a Backpack for families.  For the Love of Books provides families with great tips on how to build a home library.

Do you have any innovative ways you organize your home library?  I would love to hear how others use their space for books!

©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.

Connect with Dotty: The Erica Perl Blog Tour

September 7, 2010

I would like to welcome Erica Perl to The Literacy Toolbox today.  Erica is author of several books including Chicken Butt!Ninety-Three in My Family, and the newly released, Dotty!

My theme today is sort of a two-for-one.  I thought it would be fun to talk about using books to encourage imagination and imaginative play AND I thought it would be fun to talk about foreshadowing in picture books.

As you know, one of the many skills kids get from books is the ability to recognize patterns, anticipate connections and predict based on experience and story cues.  In my books, the story always comes first, but then I work to layer in material that will help kids build these skills.  In a rhyming book like my book, Chicken Bedtime is Really Early, or a book with a repeated pattern (like the rhyming jokes in my book Chicken Butt!), kids can easily anticipate what is coming.  Reading aloud, I love pausing before the rhymes and listening as kids – even those who are hearing the book for the very first time – chime in with the rhymes.  Since Dotty is not a rhyming book, I wanted to establish visual cues (like the polka dots Ida wears in every scene to show the close bond between Ida and Dotty) and text repetition (like the repeated “… and Dotty” to show the fact that even though the seasons change and Ida does too, Dotty is always there).  I also wanted to hide one more cue in the illustrations, so that when kids reread the book after learning the ending, they notice things that were hiding the first time.

In writing Dotty, I wanted to tell a story about the importance of imagination and the fact that it should not be outgrown like a set of training wheels.  Everyone needs imagination… it is what fuels all sorts of wonderful innovations, it is what takes us to magical worlds, and it is even what occupies us when standing in a looooong grocery checkout line.  And I think books made great jumping off points for imagination.  You can start a good “what if” conversation while you are reading by discussing what might happen next… and if you’ve read the story before, explore what might happen if the story went a different way… supposed Dotty didn’t charge into Katya?  What would have happened then?  These what ifs are fun to act out and to draw… in fact, drawing a storyboard of Dotty was one of the ways I originally wrote the book!

I also think it is fun to spin out fantasy scenarios involving book characters in unexpected places.  For example, at the grocery store, you can have a great time spinning out what you might buy if, say, Winnie the Pooh was coming for dinner… or Dotty, for that matter.  After all, the book doesn’t say what she likes to eat (though we know that she nibbles the rug).  What do YOU think she likes to eat?  And what does your imaginary friend like to eat, now that I mention it?

If you don’t have an imaginary friend, here’s a great tool for designing one.  Take a sheet of paper and fold it in thirds.  Then, with a friend or two, draw a head of any kind (animal or person) in the top third, and draw lines (for the neck) that continue into the next third.  Cover what you have drawn with the bottom third and pass the paper.  Then, on the paper you receive, draw the torso, arms and tops of the legs of the creature.  Again, draw lines to show where the legs should continue, cover your drawing, and pass it.  Then draw the legs and feet.  Pass again, unwrap and giggle.  Now name your new creatures and get to work on writing a story starring them!

♦GIVEAWAY♦ Would you like to win a copy of Dotty?  In the comments below, share one way you incorporate imagination/make-believe into your child’s day.  Provide an email address so that you may be contacted in the event that you win.  One person will be randomly chosen to win a copy of Dotty!  Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, September 10th.  ♦GIVEAWAY♦

If you would like to learn a few ways to use Dotty in the classroom, check out Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books today.

To follow Erica on her tour, check out the following blogs:

8/30       The Happy Nappy Bookseller

9/1         Alison’s Book Marks

9/2         A Patchwork of Books

9/3         Jean Little Library

9/4         Pragmatic Mom

9/7         Literacy Toolbox

9/8         The Book Bag Blog

9/9         The Hiding Spot

9/10       Bookmark, The First Book Blog