It’s Time to Read Along with Grandma Jean!

Read

I am pleased to share about our newest program on “Can Do” Street, “Read Along with Grandma Jean.” The program is about helping young children, and children who have English as a second language develop their reading skills, and come to enjoy reading.

Stories are narrated, and, as Grandma Jean tells the story, each word is highlighted as she says it. Each story can also be read without using the narration and highlighting features. Stories are started by choosing the play icon and stopped by choosing the stop icon. If you stop the story before the end of the story, the story will begin where you stopped it. Just choose the play icon once again.

Read Along with Grandma Jean comes from my experiences as a volunteer reading coach for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade, and as a certified TESOL instructor, working with children having English as a second language.

Read Along with Grandma Jean is about helping children with vocabulary building, word recognition, pronunciation, comprehension, and developing the ability and confidence to read and enjoy the process of reading.

The Program begins with six stories that feature the “Can Do” characters . More stories will be added over the coming months. Each of the six stories has a story line designed to catch and hold the interest of a young child.

The first Read Along with Grandma Jean stories are:

Hector+ Ants =Trouble – Hector decides to take ants to an indoor picnic

Why Do Grandmas Have Wrinkles – The “Can Dos” ask Grandma Hattie about wrinkles

Maria is a Flat Leaver – Maria makes plans with Nellie and then goes off with Wendy instead.

Kathy Fell Asleep in Class Again – Why did Kathy fall asleep in class this time?

The Way it Was – The “Can Dos” are amazed at what life was like when Grandpa Dooley was growing up.

Telling the Truth – Miss Pat tells a story about what can happen if you get to be known as a kid who doesn’t tell the truth.

Read Along with Grandma Jean can be accessed on a computer or downloaded to a hand-held device. You can get to the Read Along with Grandma Jean Program from the “Can Do” Street home page, http://www.candostreet.com then choose the green awning that says, “Read Along with Grandma Jean Audio Children’s Stories.”

Best regards,

Jean Campbell, Creator, “Can Do” Street

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Keep Your Children Reading Over the Summer

readingWhat can you do to keep your children reading during summer vacation?

There are so many things to do during the summer other than reading. Yet, every child needs to keep up their reading skills. Family members can motivate children to read by using strategies that integrate reading into summer activities and events. Here are a few:

  • Before going to the beach, a park, visiting a historical site, a sporting event, or other activity make reading about the upcoming activity part of the planning, and then talk about the book and the activity over a snack, afterwards.
  • Check you library’s summer reading programs. Make attending these programs a summer activity, as well as stocking up on books to borrow.
  • Let your children see you reading regularly. Grab a magazine when you are in a waiting room. Bring a book to the beach.  Have a book on your night stand.
  • Talk to them about what you have learned and continue to learn from books.
  • Build reading time into your child’s  day, not as something to do when day is done and kids are too tired to do anything but zone out in front of the TV.
  • Much reading during the school year is required reading; make summer a time for fun reading on subjects of interest to your children

  • Give your children the opportunity to read a variety of materials, not just storybooks,  such as magazines, newsletters, and papers geared to their age and interests.
  • Road trips area great time for children to get in some reading
  • Encourage your children to join or start a  friends book club that can meet every two weeks to discuss a book they all read.

Reading during the summer will give your children a jump start when returning to school, not only with reading but with vocabulary and grammar!

 

 

 

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Writing with Wendy , a “Can Do” Feature

writingWriting with Wendy is an early childhood writing skills development resource.

Writing with Wendy offers parents and other family members, as well as teachers, suggestions and exercises for helping children 3-7 years develop pre-writing and writing skills that will make writing a comfortable activity, to be enjoyed, not avoided. Writing with Wendy is all about engaging children in writing activities and creating a foundation that children can build on when the need to write for school and for personal use.

Writing with Wendy is built on the premise that writing begins with storytelling. If you can tell a story, you can write a story. Since parents are the first story tellers, mostly through reading to their children, they have much to share with their children about storytelling and eventually writing .

The suggestions offered in Writing with Wendy give parents and other caregivers simple activities to do with their child(ren) that stimulate  storytelling skills. The activities focus on developing a child’s observational and descriptive skills both of which are important to good storytelling and writing.  Most of the activities give children opportunities for recognition and make them comfortable with sharing their storytelling and writing with others.

While there is a message for parents and teachers about the site and how to use it, there is also a message from Wendy for children visiting the site with their parents. Wendy is the “Can Do” Kid who likes to write. To her writing is fun. In her message she talks to the children visiting the site about writing and why it is important.

The site is divided into four sections:  Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade. Each section includes suggestions for helping children develop storytelling skills and using  those skills for writing  stories. There are 3 activities in each section to jump start the process. Each week a new activity will be added to each section.

The 1st and 2nd grade sections also include an overview of what writing skills children will be expected to develop and use successfully in these early grades.

As Wendy puts it, “Just think of writing as storytelling on a page. Then writing will be interesting and fun!

To Access Writing with Wendy go to http://candostreet.com/writing_with_wendy/

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Summertime is Reading Time

readingThe lazy days of summer are a great time to keep the love of reading going in children. What follows is a list of books suitable for reading by children ages 4-8.

All the World

by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee

In an oceanside community, friends and family celebrate the smallest pleasures of the beach and life. A 2010 Caldecott Honor Book.

All in a Day

by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure

The author of the Henry and Mudge series captures the magic of a day in childhood that seemingly goes on forever.

Birds

By Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek

A young bird watcher is enthralled by the many colors, shapes, and sizes of her avian neighbors. Henkes is the author of the well-loved Lilly series.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?

By Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague

The ninth book in the zany How Do Dinosaurs… series, this book tells how, even when little dinosaurs mess up, there are many reasons why their parents still love them!

I Spy Fly Guy!

Written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold

In Arnold’s hilarious series about a pet fly, Fly Guy is hauled away by mistake to the local dump and Buzz must find a way to save him. A 2010 Geisel Honor book.

The Lion and the Mouse

Written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Set on the African savannah, Pinkney beautifully illustrates the retelling of Aesop’s fable of the lion and the mouse. 2010 Caldecott Medal winner.

Little Mouse Gets Ready

Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith

Little Mouse is learning to put on his own clothes and is ready for adventure. Young children will love how Little Mouse’s challenges mirror their own. A 2010 Geisel Honor Book.

My Abuelita

By Tony Johnston, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

An eccentric and flamboyant grandmother shares the stories of her life with her young grandson. A 2010 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor book.

Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors

By Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

A woman and her dog enjoy the changing seasons in a series of colorful poems and illustrations. A 2010 Caldecott Honor Book.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Written and illustrated by Grace Lin

Minli, a Chinese girl, lives in a poor village. When she buys a magic goldfish and joins a dragon that cannot fly, she embarks on an adventurous quest to find the Old Man of the Moon. A 2010 Newbery Honor book.

Source: http://www.schoolfamily.com

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Fun Ways to Keep Children Engaged This Summer

The following post is from Iris Yuan, an Education Consultant at Tutorspree.com, a marketplace for high-quality tutors across the country. Tutors at Tutorspree.com are highly-educated, experienced people who love what they’re doing. For more information, follow @Tutorspree on Twitter or e-mail iris@tutorspree.com. 

Helping children have fun does not mean they can’t be engaged, participating, and learning about the world around them. Below, we share tips and quotes from experienced tutors who’ve worked with children over the summer.

Juliette, a Spanish tutor in New York, says cooking is a great way to both learn and have fun. “Stash your children in the kitchen. Make up some at home cooking projects. There are many cookbooks out there that have recipes appropriate for children to help with and suited to their tastes as well.

Not only does cooking teach a life-long skill, it teaches children how to follow directions, be patient, organized, and clean up after themselves. It also makes children feel great to see that they can create something delicious! Furthermore, if children ever express being dissatisfied with the meals you prepare them, you can remind them about all that goes into creating a meal for a family. In order to make this type of project into a full day’s activity, first let your children make a list of necessary ingredients for the chosen recipe, then go to the market together with the children, and have them help you collect the groceries. This may even be a good opportunity to teach about prices and how to select what’s best.”

Another tip to getting young children interested in learning is to take library and museum trips together.

children

Many museums have kid-friendly areas with interactive activities. Your child may naturally be drawn to a certain area or subject, which you can build on later in the summer. Meanwhile, most libraries hold story times that are age-appropriate. When you’re at the library, be sure to show interest in the books yourself. Find a corner for quiet reading time and read to them, but also read to yourself, so that your child can learn by example.

Suzie, an experienced English tutor on the East Coast, tells us that “reading is easy. It’s portable. And maybe best of all, it’s subtle, sneaky learning. You learn while you aren’t even aware of it. Not only can it be a diversion on the beach, an alternative to “Boring! Not that again!?” TV, or a mental vacation on a hot afternoon, but reading also exposes new vocabulary, offers a variety of sentence structures, and painlessly proffers a proliferation of punctuation. All this without tests, worksheets, or quizzes.”

Finally, if learning school-related material is what you’re looking for, try in-home tutoring and teach some material yourself (but keep it fun!).

Aaron, a past Teach for America corps member, has been teaching for over ten years. He suggests that a great way to help children learn better is by using “positive sandwiches” when giving criticism. This means giving praise first before mentioning areas of improvement, and following up with another positive comment. “When feedback is ‘sandwiched’ between positive comments, problematic reactions are less likely,” says Aaron. “Learning doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. I also use funky colored pens or paper, stickers, jokes, and laughter in my lessons.”

Summertime alternatives to TV and video games are vast and many. Taking children out on trips, such as those mentioned above, and livening up the household with cooking and reading are just some of the ways to keep the summer brain drain at bay.

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