Wednesday, August 31, 2011

365 Days of Reading: Tip #3 - Singing? Yes, That's Literacy, Too!

Ok so Hurricane Irene kind of threw me for a loop, and I am just now getting back into my routine! I missed several days of posting BUT...I think I'll just pick up where I left off instead of scrambling to do a bunch of posts in one. So here we are at Tip #3!

Singing is a great way to build your baby's language skills - they listen closely when you use a sing-song tone, they love to smile back at you as you sing a cheerful tune, rhymes help them to learn about sounds and it introduces words into your daily 'conversation' that you might not normally use! Some of my son's favorite books as a baby were simply illustrated versions of songs.

There are lots of books based on songs to choose from, but I especially liked this series of interactive storybooks that will get your little one's hands moving, too:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

365 Days of Reading: Tip #2 - Good Readers Need Good Eyesight

I started thinking tonight about my pledge (to myself) to do 365 consecutive posts with literacy tips, and wondering how to distribute that among different age groups. Most kids start reading around age 5 or 6 (some earlier, some later, of course), so if I'm writing tips on how to help your child become a reader, then that means most of my tips should apply to kids from birth to age 5 or 6. So that means about 60-70 posts for each year...anyway. Suffice it to say that I decided to stick with newborn & baby tips for a few more posts!

In my last post, I mentioned a way to engage your baby's developing eyesight through exposure to high contrast, graphic illustrations in books. Eyesight, and the inherent ability to properly track print, is essential to good reading skills. Did you know that some studies suggest that as many as half (or more) of struggling readers have issues due to poor eyesight? It's true! (Click here for a related study in the journal "Vision Research".) Tana Hoban has created a series of dramatically illustrated books that engage your baby's eyesight with the two colors that he can initially detect: black and white! Look through these images with your baby and talk to them about what pictures you see and where baby sees these things in daily life. The high contrast illustrations and the conversation will help your baby's eyesight as well as his oral language skills (and these are BOTH keys to reading print later!).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

365 Days of Reading: Tip #1 - Reading to Your Newborn

Sometimes I go through phases where I don't update as often as I should or would like to. So today I am going to start daily posts with tips for helping your child become a reader! These posts will be called "365 Days of Reading" and I will do my best to vary the age groups to which they apply. Here we go with Tip #1: You might think that it's silly to read to a newborn baby. All they do is snuggle, eat, sleep & poop, right? Well, take advantage of all that snuggle time and read longer books to them with eye-catching, high-contrast illustrations. This will help to develop their eyesight AND their attention span. Robert McCloskey has several GREAT books that fit this type!


by Judy Sierra

Something for the preschool crowd!

Follow the Line to School

by Laura Ljungkvist

This literary walk through a school day will get kids excited for the upcoming year!

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School

by Laura Murray

More back-to-school fun!


by Harry Bliss

Kids will giggle at Bailey's antics as he heads to school for the day! This is a great book for back-to-school. I will be posting more back-to-school themed books today and in the coming weeks, so stay tuned, teachers, kids & parents!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Little Engine That Could

retold by Watty Piper

We borrowed this book from our local library last week and my son is COMPLETELY obsessed! I have to read it to him at least 20 times per day in order for all to be right with the world.

Oh the Thinks You Can Think

by Dr. Seuss

This book was recommended by a friend as another toddler favorite!

Sara Gillingham books & Animals Animals by Eric Carle

These books were recommended by a friend as some of her (boy) toddler's favorites! The first two are part of a series of cleverly designed habitat books by Sara Gillingham.

Kiss Good Night, Rumble in the Jungle, The Very Busy Spider & Good Night Beach

These books were recommended by a friend as some of her toddler's favorites! Most are available for one penny (used)!

Where Oh Where Is Huggle Buggle Bear

by Katherine Sully

This book was recommended by a friend as a great book for toddlers!

The Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything

by Linda D. Williams
This book was recommended by a friend and seems like it would make the perfect gift for your little bookworm this Halloween!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Books for Parents of Toddlers

Here are the books I reviewed in my YouTube video:


Ames, L. & Ilg, F. (1976). Your Two Year Old: Terrible or Tender. New York: Dell.

Eisenberg, Murkoff & Hathaway. (1994). What to Expect: The Toddler Years. New York: Workman Publishing.

Fields, D. & Brown, A. (2011). Toddler 411. Boulder: Windsor Peak Press.

Karp, H. (2008). Happiest Toddler on the Block. New York: Bantam Dell.

Medina, J. (2010). Brain Rules for Baby. New York: Pear Press.

Wilder-Taylor, S. (2008). Naptime is the New Happy Hour. New York: Simon & Schuster.

A quick reference guide to the books (click here to view the document in full): 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chicka Chicka ABC

by Bill Martin, Jr. & John Archambault (illustrations by Lois Ehlert)

Now kids can use alphabet magnets in a happy meeting of dramatic play & early literacy skills!  This edition, a slightly shortened & revised edition of the classic children's favorite, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, comes with a set of 26 alphabet magnets.

<--The classic, now in an anniversary edition!

City Dog, Country Frog

by Mo Willems

"Spare, poignant, and ultimately upbeat, this tale depicts the natural cycle of friendship from an enthusiastic first encounter to contented companionship to the heartbreak of loss and eventual emotional renewal. Presented with a comfortingly consistent narrative structure, the events are set against the backdrop of the changing seasons, reassuring readers that winter will turn again to spring, sadness to joy. In "spring," City Dog runs free in the countryside for the first time ever and discovers an unfamiliar creature perched on a rock. Asked, "What are you doing?" Country Frog smiles and replies, "Waiting for a friend…but you'll do."...Making expert use of color and texture, Muth's expressive paintings clearly convey the tale's emotional nuances. This understated picture book allows plenty of room for young readers to interpret the animals' feelings for themselves and perhaps discuss their own emotions." -- from the School Library Journal

Farmyard Beat

by Lindsey Craig

"Ever since “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” with its irritating propensity to ring in parents’ ears long after its 4-year-old targets have ceased oinking, the combination of children’s books and farmyard animals somehow inevitably invites song. Two catchy new picture books for very young readers sustain that tradition. “Farmyard Beat,” written by Lindsey Craig and illustrated in cut-out collage by Marc Brown (the pair behind “Dancing Feet!”), could be one of those books that’ve been kicking around preschool classrooms for ages. The corrugated cardboard backdrops look like something glued together by a pair of especially crafty moms at the local co-op, and the text (lyrics, really) seems like a familiar song one has already heard in off-key unison. None of that takes away from the book's considerable appeal. From the “Peep-peep-peep!” of a yellow chick peering out of its egg on the first page, through the inevitable chiming-in of an entire farm’s worth of animals, to the book’s conclusion with animals piled up in an exhausted, snoring heap, “Farmyard Beat” jauntily pulls readers along. Toddlers will need zero encouragement to participate. " -- from The New York Times Sunday Book Review

What! Cried Granny

by Kate Lum

"It's Patrick's first sleepover at his Granny's house, and the woman is a little unprepared. As the sun begins to set, she instructs her grandson to get ready for bed. "But, Granny," the boy points out, "I don't HAVE a bed here." "WHAT?" cries Granny, and she runs out to chop down a tree, out of which she proceeds to make a bed. Patrick then points out the lack of a pillow, blanket, teddy bear...and finally, the fact that morning has arrived. This simple and inventive story moves along with a satisfying predictability; and if the pace is a bit rushed, readers will enjoy the mock surprise and melodrama of Patrick and Granny's repeated lines. The acrylic-paint illustrations are styled after the graphics of the 1950s and '60s, with dramatic and exaggerated layouts that command attention from a distance. The black text is well integrated into the double-page spreads, as are Granny's frenetic maneuvers. The effect is a little too enthusiastic, as is the story; but this is an admirable first picture book for both author and illustrator, and one that should find a place in most storytimes and collections." -- from School Library Journal

Monday, August 8, 2011

Donate Books to Kids in Need!

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