This week is Children’s Book Week and these days books we celebrate aren’t just the paper kind. We’ve have teamed up with NOOK by Barnes & Noble to promote great books, apps and newsstand titles for kids. If you pop over to the NOOK Facebook page you’ll see my personal NOOK picks for kids. Of course my little ones helped me choose. I could have chosen 25 more in each category but was limited to two , it was tough . Since downloading them all to our NOOK tablet they have been well loved by the whole family.
Don’t go see what I chose quite yet , because I get to give you the chance to win one of 2 $100 NOOK Gift Cards to fill your NOOK with fantastic titles, apps and newsstand reads in any genre not just kids. Don’t forget to check out mine here !
To Enter :
Please leave a comment below with the answer to this question - What was the last great book you read? .
Please note comments may take some time to appear on the blog.
.This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must leave a comment on this post answering the question “What was the last great book you read?” 2 winning commenter will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Tuesday May 15th at 8:00pm PST. The winners will receive one NOOK gift card valued at $100 each. After the winner is notified he or she has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address for NOOK to ship their gift cards to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Disclosure : I was provided with a NOOK tablet and compensated for this campaign. My book, app and newsstand choices are completely my own ( with input from my kids) and as always I only work with companies professionally that I would use and suggest to friends personally.
Reading isn’t the only way you can work on reading skills ( although please do read as much and as often as you can ! ) you can also play games to build skills and confidence. This game is designed to work on word family knowledge. Word families are groups of words that share common combination of letters and similar sound. When new readers play with word families they become more confident as they see the common ending and can quickly read the new word. This game was great as my son read words without surrounding context successfully because of the other words in the family acting as a scaffold.
- Gather your materials. You will need some magazines or family photos you can cut up, construction paper, double stick tape , painter’s tape, scissors and a marker.
- Start by making your frames. Simply fold the construction paper in half and cut the middle out.
- Next cut moms, dads, babies and kids out. Tape them to construction paper making sure you leave room on the bottom to write the words under the people.
- Cut out and write the words. The best list of word families I have ever found was here . I tried to do some words I knew he’d find “easy” and others that would be more of a challenge, his reading ability is changing so quickly I was honestly unsure of exactly what would be sweet spot for his learning. Do not be afraid to try something , you can change it as you go if need be.
- I taped the frames to the table using painter’s tape. Then I wrote out the family name but when we do this again I will be leaving these off and instead placing one word /family member in the frame to start. These titles really confused my son . After he matched up a person into the family he was golden. I’d suggest skipping the names and just taping the frames.
- He was unsure at first .
- But he did it ! The confidence grew quickly.
- Soon he was being his old goofy self saying ” Here is your Mama baby !”
- The ail family was the tricky one for him and when he completed the family he exclaimed ” I did it!” which is music to any parent or teacher’s ears.
To make this simpler try having 2-3 family members already in the frames and only fill in the blank with a missing family member instead of having to create the whole family.
To make it more challenging provide the frames and family members with no family names ( an, ack, ail…) at the start. Let your child sort and group with no starting point.
Books About Families
Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne is a wonderful book about grandparents who are raising their grand daughter. There is no long drawn out explanation about where her parents are, or what led to her grandparents having custody and I don’t think there needs to be. They are her parents, love her, snuggle her, read with her and love her just like any parents. She does wonder about her parents and shows signs of feeling different but the security and love her grandparents provide overcome those insecurities. The author’s note at the back of the book explains that she herself is raising her grandchild and offers more resources for grandparents who are primary caregivers as well.
Daddy and I… by Eloise Greenfield is a great little board book about the every day things that a toddler son may help his dad with. From painting, to shopping to stopping for some hugs this book is great for toddlers to see all the things that make up being a dad and caring for your family. It also has a great lesson about children pitching in to help keep a family going too.
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee . The concept is simple but the results are wonderful. The book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do. My daughter ( who is 14 months) points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families. The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my 14 month old doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.
Many moons ago ( OK 2003) I was student teaching the 6th grade ( yes most were taller than me) and I was teaching a unit on the book Holes by Louis Sachar. I was reading the book to my students and losing their attention . To keep it I created a bingo game of words in each chapter. I’d hand out the sheets, they’d listen for the words and mark ones they heard. It was exactly what they needed to stay engaged and our discussions at the end of the chapters went from 2 kids to most of the class. Today I am sharing how I modified this for my son who is 5 and just starting to read independently.
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, a marker, a book and a dot paint marker .
- Before calling your child to play flip through the book and choose some words. I only chose each word once, and did one for every two pages so I could read it out loud to him at a normal speed without him having to stop too often to bam the paper. With one kid I just had a sheet to fill, not a bingo format.
- Start reading.
- It was a hit from the start . I will be doing this with many other books in the future.
- When he missed a word I invited him to look for it in the book.
- Got it!
Making reading a game has been a big part of my son’s ease into reading. Still even now that he is reading well he doesn’t always want to read books to my husband or I opting to read to his sister or alone. Building confidence is tricky. Instead of forcing them to read aloud when they don’t want to , play some games and let the fun build the confidence. After their confidence builds they will be much more apt to read aloud .
My son loved the 3D Word Search I made him a while back so when I saw that the dollar store had pink and purple foam letters I grabbed a few packs and headed home to make another for him. The great thing about this activity is that it incorporates different senses . Kids can see and feel the letters that make up the words. I kept the words easy to find by making them all a uniform color for my beginning reader but make it as tricky as you want. Also even if your child isn’t reading you can still make this , just turn it into a letter search .
- Gather your materials. You will need a canvas or other stiff cardboard base, contact paper, foam letter stickers , scissors and a marker. Depending on which contact paper you get you will want to either use a dry erase marker or a regular washable maker if you want to use the word search as a write and wipe surface. I bought a new type of contact paper this week and dry erase is a pain to wipe off it, but washable markers do great with a baby wipe. If you want this to be a one time only activity you can skip the contact paper and just add the letters to some construction paper.
- Cover the canvas with contact paper- this makes the surface wipe able.
- Add your words. I tried my best to stay lined up but I never worry about it being exactly perfect. I took words from classic conversation hearts but you can do any thing , even names of people you love. I find it easiest to add one row vertically and one horizontally first then fill the columns in .
- Write the words out on some paper .
- Add a marker and a kid and watch them amaze you with their skills! As my son was doing this I noticed he touched the letters, squished them and traced a few with his hand. My cuddly guy ( he’ll hate that I said that in a year or two) seems to have a real need for kinesthetic elements in his lessons.
- I also noticed how he was holding his marker, after I took these pictures. He has a natural tendency to twist his wrist like that for cutting but it’s the first time I have witnessed it for writing. Not sure if it was just because of the raised letters but I am going to watch him much closer … Any tips of correcting this ? Experience with this particular tendency? I am going to have him write on the wall more ( forces proper grip) but if you have any other awesome ideas please share !
I didn’t know what to call this game because it uses so many skills . The player needs to recognize sizes , sound out words for the street names as well as recognize numbers for the house addresses. Also it incorporates gross motor and balance as they push the car along the streets. Of course I wouldn’t be posting an activity like this without making adaptations easy. The street names could be turned to letters such as A Street. B Street etc… and the houses could be colors instead of numbers! My son who is almost 5 loves this game, we have played with with friends and alone over the past week. The best part is that new street names and house numbers can be added so easily!
- Gather your materials. You will need a patch of floor, painter’s tape, some construction paper ( I used black, brown , orange and yellow), a glue stick, a marker , white paper and some sicssors. Oh and a toy car , my son wanted one with space to actually put the pizza in it so ours is huge. Use your favorite.
- Start by choosing the words you want to make into the street names. The player will have to find the right address to deliver the pizza and will have to read all the streets they drive on. I chose to do all sm , sn and sp blends but any words will do. For us my son needed to work on sounding out so I chose words he wouldn’t be as apt to read by sight. Write them on white paper.
- Glue them on black construction paper and cut out.
- Next up make the houses. As you can see my goal is not perfection , it’s fun so as long as my son can tell it’s a house , I am happy.
- Pop some numbers on the houses. Try to make some that are “easy” for your child, ones they will recognize immediately and some that are a challenge.
- Time for pizza. If your child is gaga for crafts have them make the pizza while you do the previous steps. We made 6 total – 2 large, 2 medium and 2 small.
- Don’t forget the pizzeria – ours is elaborate
- Now create the road way with tape on your floor.
- Place the streets and houses with numbers on the roadway.
- Invite your player to come and deliver the pizzas! How to play: Pretend to call the pizza place asking for any combo of the pizza sizes such as one large and two smalls. Give them your address ( which of course is determined by the house on the street… so ours was #77 Smoke street ), then as they deliver the pizza they have to read the streets they use to get there.
- Keep going until all the pizzas are delivered!
- Switch up where each road is and move the houses around for the next round! This was such a hit we played for a long time.
Books About Pizza !
The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza!
The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philomen Sturges is a great retelling of the classic story. Kids will be able to relate to this hen not getting any help for all her hard work. Luckily her friends realize their mistake and do the dishes after she shares her yummy pizza. Since originally recommending this book it’s made a move from the bookshelf to the dresser pile of books that are in rotation for before nap and bedtime reading. A sure sign it’s kid approved!
Pizza at Sally’s is another great look at a small business owner , and how she does her work everyday and feeds the masses with her yummy pizza! I like how it not only explains how to make pizza but it also looks at the ingredients and how they are grown and processed. Of course it’s not explained in depth but it is explained enough to start a dialogue with interested preschoolers for further investigation. My son loves the cat in this book, the same cat is in many of the other books but for some reason he particularly loves it’s presence in this one. It’s inspired me to make the dough from scratch with my son next time we have pizza! A lovely book!