Posts Tagged ‘Literacy Toolbox’

Summer 2011 Reading Challenge

May 10, 2011

Over the years, in schools I’ve taught in we’ve sent home summer reading packets.  Many schools think kids will continue reading over the summer if they are given a packet of activities to complete when they read.  This (typically optional) packet of activities is turned in when school begins and children usually receive some kind of reward in return.  Unfortunately, extrinsic rewards do not usually result in children reading more (or enjoying it!).  We are better off if we motivate our children to read with intrinsic rewards – the idea that they want to read because they want to read and it makes them feel good!  Yet, time and time again, research has shown that children lose what they learn over the school year if they don’t continue reading and writing over the summer.  I get why schools insist on sending home packets – it’s to keep kids learning, but it’s not very motivating.

This summer, instead of encouraging my son to complete tasks he’s not really interested in, I decided to appeal to my son’s very healthy sense of competition (a typical trait of boys) by challenging him to read independently over the summer.  I mentioned this idea to him and he loved it!  He won’t be in competition with anyone but himself.  This has led me to create my first community challenge.

So welcome to Literacy Toolbox’s Summer 2011 Reading Challenge!  I hope you will join us!

Goal: Challenge your child to read independently this summer.  Encourage your child to graph his success!  If you would like to download a Total Number of Books Read in Summer 2011 graph to use, you may do so here.  Or involve your child in making one of his own.  Especially if your child plans to read more than 20 books a month!

I, personally, joined my own challenge this year – The Centurions of 2011 that high school teacher Paul Hankins started.  My challenge is to read 111 books in 2011.  I keep track of the books I read each month and share the titles with the group at the end of the month.  I don’t graph my results, but may do so over the summer to share in the experience with my son.

Challenge Logistics:

1. Sign up below by May 31, 2011.  The challenge will run from June 1 through August 31, 2011 and is open to independent child readers.

Head over to the NEW Literacy Toolbox to sign up

2.  Plan to begin on the first day of your summer vacation, but for the purpose of this challenge, we will include any reading that your child does between June 1 and August 31.  Encourage your child to read independently every day.

3. Plan to check back here on the last day of each month (June 30, July 31, and August 31) and share the number of books your child read that month and a couple of favorite titles.  You may do so by leaving a comment on the page or by writing your own post on your blog (if you write one) and linking to it on the last day of the month here.

4. Prior to starting, ask your child to make a goal for the month.  How many books does he think he can read in one month?  Perhaps differentiate between the number of picture books and the number of chapter books.  Do this at the beginning of each month.  At the end of each month, discuss whether your child met his goal.  If he did not, ask him if he should do something differently to meet the goal he sets for the next month.  If he exceeded his goal, ask him why he thinks he may have done so.

5.Encourage your child to keep track of the number of books he reads each day.  Consider making a special journal to keep the title of books read.  This will help him keep track of the total number of books he reads, but also serves as a reminder of titles that he can look back on when looking for a new book to read.  Help him graph the total number of books he reads each month.

6. Consider joining your child in the challenge.  In other words, challenge yourself to read independently along with him.  Set goals, keep track of the number of books you read, and graph your results.  This is a great way to model for your child what “real readers” do.  Real readers might not graph their results, but they certainly set goals and re-evaluate them.

7. Most of all…have fun!

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Tool Time Rewind: A Month in Review at Literacy Toolbox

April 28, 2011

April was not as busy as March was at Literacy Toolbox.  I took a little time off this month to spend Spring Break with my kids.  We had an enjoyable week, but we still had some time to get some literacy learning in this month!

Lit World: A Global Poem for Change

April was National Poetry Month, so we began by sharing the month long Global Poem for change that Lit World is creating.  If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, do so today!  You are invited to submit a line of poetry to the growing poem at the Lit World website.

Paint Me A Poem: Poems Inspired by Masterpieces of Art by Justine Rowden

This post provided a brief look at one of my favorite poetry books.  I also provided a fun little activity you can do related to the book.

Building Readers, One Word at a Time

This is a sponsored post by WordWorld.  WordWorld is a fantastic educational cartoon on PBS.  It teaches children letters, phonics, and phonemic awareness.  My daughter loves it and in this post I’ve shared some activities you can begin to do with your pre-reader.

Literacy Toolbox Review: The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale Retold by Lucine Kasbarian

This is a great picture book to teach children a little about folktales, greed, and selfishness.  There are several teachable moments in this book and I share them at this post.

And that is Tool Time Rewind for the month of April.  Coming up next month, you’ll find a review of a resource for finding books for boys as well as a Q&A with the author!  Additionally, I’m going to announce a challenge I’m cooking up!  Come back in May and see what we have in store for you!

©2011 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.

Tool Time Rewind: A Month in Review

February 24, 2011

I reviewed several books and apps on Literacy Toolbox in February.  I’m going to try to do more reviews this year and hopefully, continue with a mix of reviews between books and iPad/iPhone apps.

Spotlight on Literacy Organizations: First Book

February began with a spotlight on another amazing literacy organization: First Book.  Since 1992, First Book has distributed over 80 million new books to children who might not have the opportunity to own their own books.

Use One by Kathryn Otoshi to Discuss Respect with Your Child

I had the opportunity to read aloud One to my daughter’s preschool class.  It’s a great book that uses colors to put bullying and respect in perspective for younger children.

Use 13 Words by Lemony Snicket to Model Vocabulary through Context

Using only thirteen words, this master author wove a story that engages children. I wondered how it was possible to create something engaging with only thirteen words. Lemony Snicket did it.

Reading App Review: Bob Books App

Technically, Bob Books isn’t a book – well, they do have books, but my children have never read them.  However, when I saw they had app for the iPad, I had to download it. This app is great for your beginning readers!

iPad App Review: How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

This book app for the iPad is one of the best I’ve seen by far.  Essentially it brings the picture book, How Rocket Learned to Read, to life.

We-View” Wednesday: The Flat Stanley Adventure Exchange

Trina from Book Loving Boys created this online adventure that began yesterday.  My son and I are excited to participate.

iPad App Review: Wild About Books by Judy Sierra

What happens when Ms. McGrew drives her bookmobile into the zoo?  Why the animals learn to read of course – and love to read, too!  Another great interactive app from Random House Children’s Books.

What are You Reading? Literacy Resolutions February Update

An update on the literacy resolutions I created for myself for 2011.  Which ones have I met so far?  Which ones have I broken?  What books do you recommend for me?

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

And don’t forget: ”We-View” Wednesday is back! The third Wednesday of every month is reserved for reviews of books you 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!

Best of 2010: A Year in Review on Literacy Toolbox

December 30, 2010

I’ve never written a best of post before.  As my readership has increased over the year, I feel that I certainly have something important to share with parents and educators out there.  So, I decided to go through the year at Literacy Toolbox and pick out my best posts.  This is completely subjective. . . these are posts that were important to me in some way.

Ten Tips for Reading Aloud with Your Preschooler

Read Alouds are so important!  Read how to read aloud with your preschooler.

Interactive Informational Read Alouds with Preschoolers

Nonfiction is an often neglected genre when it comes to reading with preschoolers.  Read how I used an interactive informational read aloud with my preschooler.

Give Your Family the Write Start

Read for tips for incorporating writing into the fabric of your family.

Setting Up a Home Library

Research has shown how important it is for children to have access to books.  Read how to set up a home library for your young child.

Book Buddies: Pairing Fiction and Informational Text to Motivate Readers

One way to motivate readers – match fiction and informational texts on the same topic.

Five Ways to Motivate Readers

Read for additional ways to motivate readers

Creating Bookworms: Connecting to Your Childhood

Read one of my favorite posts, using books from my childhood to connect with my son.

Tips for Starting a Father/Son Book Club

Research has shown that boys need male role models in reading.  Here are some tips for starting a father/son book club.

Spotlight On: Literacy Organizations

I’m so excited to share three literacy organizations on my blog during the month of December.  Read about them here!

And that is The Best of 2010.  I hope to make 2011 even better!  I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!  May you have health, happiness, and success in 2011!

Happy Reading,

Dawn