Friday, September 30, 2011

365 Days of Reading: Tip #29 - Scrapbooks & Photo Albums

Scrapbooking can be a fun hobby for parents, and it can also contribute to your child's budding literacy skills.

Tell the story of your family through photographs and captions. If you are super creative, then just buy the materials you like at an art store and go for it. If you need a little inspiration, you can buy pre-matched scrapbooking sets at stores like Michael's. If you are like me and wouldn't even know where to begin, you can even buy premade scrapbooks in which you simply fill in the pictures and perhaps a few captions.

Laminate the pages or place them in page protector sleeves, then clip them into a binder. This will make the album user-friendly for even the stickiest little hands. Using page protector sleeves and a binder also gives you the freedom to add as many pages as you like or swap out the pages for something novel every now and then.

Remember, babies LOVE to look at black & white imagery, so don't forget to print copies of those really old photographs of grandparents and great-grandparents.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Little Pirate Goes to School

by Lawrence Shimel

This book is recommended by my little friend Jace! It has engaging features for little ones such as pop-up illustrations and a fold-out treasure map. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

365 Days of Reading: Tip #28 - Let Other People Read to Your Kids

Let other people read to your kids. It staves off laryngitis.

Let me suggest several fun ways to do this:

  • Attend a story time at your local bookstore. For example, the Barnes & Noble near me has two story times each Monday - one for ages 2 to 4; a second for ages 3 to 5. You can find out more by asking for details at your book store or by picking up a flyer at the customer service desk (if it's a big chain like B&N). The ages ranges are just suggested - so if your 1-year-old can sit quietly for a story at home, then by all means give it a try.
  • Keep an eye out for author appearances and book signings. You can amass a shelf full of signed copies of some of the best children's literature this way. The author will usually do a reading of all or part of a newly published work, then sign copies for purchase. 
  • (I won't say "Go to story time at the library" here because that's too obvious.)
  • Visit web sites with fun read-alouds. One of my favorites, and a best-kept secret, is Storyline Online, which is sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. There, celebrities read classic & contemporary children's favorites to your little one. StoryBee is another great site, where professional storytellers do the reading. B&N also has an online story time on the first Tuesday of every month. Those readings are usually done by the author of the book.
Here are some of the great books your child will be read this month if you follow my tips:

Monday, September 26, 2011

365 Days of Reading: Tip #27 - Use Recommended Reading Lists

School districts often publish recommended reading lists for each grade level. Do a search for recommended reading to suit your child's age, grade level or reading ability. For babies and toddlers, searching for PreK, PreSchool or Kindergarten lists will yield you great results.

Here are some wonderful books recommended by the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network, for PreSchool, PreKindergarten and Kindergarten: