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

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.

Make Reading Fun This Summer

reading Today’s post is by Sarah Fudin who works in community relations for the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education’s online master’s programs. USC Rossier Online provides current and aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn an Online Masters in Education and become a teacher.  Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt. You can reach Sarah via Twitter: @USCTeacher<https://twitter.com/#!/USCTeacher>

Reading is one of the most central aspects of your child’s educational development, especially during his or her early years.

Children from three to seven are curious about the world, eager to learn and excited about new discoveries. It is during these years that parents can instill a love for reading in children that will last a lifetime. It is the desire to learn through books and expand upon what they learn in the classroom, motivating learning from school through college, career and even adulthood.

While many children have a natural curiosity, they do not always take an interest in books. Some children may not like to read; they can be daunted by its technical aspects, the newness of words or an assumed monotony of sitting still with a book.

Children need to be stimulated, and you should look for ways to create an interactive reading experience.

This is especially important during the summer months, when children are not in school but should continue practicing the skills they’ve learned while building their foundation of knowledge. To help your children stay engaged with their books, stories and text, try some of these activities in connection with their summer reading list:

Take a Trip
You don’t need a teacher to plan a field trip. During the summer, taking your child on educational excursions can be a fun and creative way to get them excited about reading. With children’s books, it is easy to plan a trip centered on themes found in the narrative. If they are reading a book about animals, take them to the zoo to see these animals face to face. If you are reading a book about the solar system, take them to the planetarium. So many educational books deal with things that are ideally suited for fun trips to museums, national landmarks, aquariums, botanical gardens, national parks and natural attractions, that the opportunities are endless.

Create a Project
Children love arts and crafts, and encouraging creativity is an excellent way to stimulate your child’s interest in reading. Regardless of what your child is reading, you can create a project that ties the book with an artistic project. You can help your children build a model solar system or have them draw pictures of their favorite characters. Write a brief script for a puppet show that enacts a scene from a book, and have your child create the puppets and act out the scene. Science books often also provide at-home science experiments that are fun and educational.

Start a Book Club
Book Clubs might not be the first thing you think of when getting your three to seven year-olds excited about reading, but involving their friends is an excellent way to not only keep them interested, but to reinforce this interest through teamwork and group activities. You and other parents can coordinate play dates for your children to come together and read with one another, work on book-themed projects and even go on trips. Over the summer months, children don’t have daily interaction with their friends as they would during the school year, so this becomes a fun and educational way to keep your child socializing and learning.

Make Reading Rewarding
Rewarding children for reading is not about coaxing them into reading as much as it is about making them feel proud of their accomplishments. For young children, just finishing an entire book is a big deal! Reading is a skill that they should feel proud of, and one way to make them excited about it is to reward them. If your child is at the point where he or she can read an entire book without your help then make it a celebration. Take your child out for a special day trip or a treat of ice cream. Even simple verbal encouragement, like saying how proud you are, can go a long way.

Tie It in with Television
Incorporating television into reading is a strange idea, but it’s actually an innovative way to encourage your children to read. So many children’s television shows have books that tie into them, and you can tell if your child is going to like a series of book by seeing how he or she reacts to the television programs. If he or she likes The Magic School Bus or Dora the Explorer, then you can encourage him or her to read the books. When children are already familiar with the material, they’ll be excited to explore new aspects of their favorite characters or stories. You can also encourage them to watch a new show to see if they’d be interested in reading the books.

Books from Your Childhood Your Kids Should Be Reading

The following guest post is from Heather Smith, a former nanny. Passionate about thought, leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to hire a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.

The truly defining characteristic of a classic book is bookshow well it stands the test of time. Over the years there will be hundreds of thousands of children’s books written that will be read, loved, and then forgotten in lieu of the next hit book.

It takes a truly great book whose message spans the ages to be passed on from generation to generation, all because people fall in love with everything about it. These five books are books have withstood this test and deserve a place on your children’s book shelves:

Where the Wild Things Are

Children have loved this book since it first debuted in 1963, and continue to love it today. While it appeals to the younger generation because of its magical references and mythical monsters that jump across the pages, it also has an inherently deeper message as it explores the depth of anger and a young boy’s reaction to it. It’s a book that has transcended the years because of its universal message, and will hopefully continue to intrigue younger audiences as the years pass.

The Story of Ferdinand

When it first hit the shelves in 1936 this book was viewed as quite the controversy because people thought it was a pacifist book. However the underlying message that it sends is one that applies in every decade despite what social or political controversy is plaguing us. The storyline follows a young bull who is more interested in flowers than bull-fighting, no matter how hard others try to make him conform. It’s a good reminder that everyone is different, and our individuality should be celebrated not moderated

 Where the Sidewalk Ends

A bit different than the traditional stories, Where the Sidewalk Ends is a collection of poetry that was written in 1974. The poems tackle deep-seated childhood issues in addition to being purely fanciful, giving a nice mix of sage advice and fluffy nonsense. In addition, entertaining cartoon drawings accompany the poetry, making it a fun picture book for children to flip through

The Little Prince

Originally written in French as Le Petit Prince, this book has become one of the most popular books ever written.

Much like the other books on this list, while the storyline appeals to the younger generations it also drives home a message towards much deeper issues about all aspects of life. The book follows an adventure between a young boy and a young prince, and is an enthralling read for people of all ages.

 Alice in Wonderland

This story has been adapted so many times in so many different ways that reading the original is a must. Written in 1865, it depicts a young girl’s adventures in Wonderland after she falls down the rabbit hole. There have been many interpretations of the overall message of the book, but one thing is certain: it’s a wonderful book that will have everyone entertained.

Only a handful of books can make the jump from generation to generation, and these books have solidly done so. Each sends a unique and powerful message, and just as many of us loved these stories growing up, so will our kids, and likely their kids as well.

SMART Celebrates 20 Years Helping Kids Learn to Love Reading!

There is a reading program in Oregon that is well-worth duplicating across the nation!

Smart (www.getsmartoregon.org) is a nonprofit organization that utilizes the resources of its communities, its people, to not only help children learn to read, but to love to read. For two decades, thousands of individuals, businesses and community partners have joined SMART in the effort to inspire a love of reading in Oregon’s children, providing valuable one-on-one reading support, adult mentoring and books for those who need it most.

readingThe SMART reading program helps kids become confident readers by providing individual volunteer attention and new, take-home books. Each year the organization recruits, trains and manages up to 10,000 volunteers throughout Oregon. Read about the effect SMART has on children, volunteers and supporters

Since 1992 SMART has helped 130,000 children with reading, given away 1.8 million books, and enlisted the help of 90,000 volunteers contributing over 2.8 million hours.

Reasons why programs like Smart are so needed across the USA:

  • In 1999, only 53 percent of children aged 3 to 5 were read to daily by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read aloud to everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above the poverty line.

  • 21 million Americans can’t read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can’t read their diplomas.

  • Nearly half of America’s adults are poor readers, or “functionally illiterate.” They can’t carry out simply tasks like balancing check books, reading drug labels or writing essays for a job.

  • Forty-four percent of American 4th grade students cannot read fluently, even when they read grade-level stories aloud under supportive testing conditions.

  • 50 percent of American adults are unable to read an eighth grade level book.

Source for Statistics: National Center for Educational Statistics, NCES Fast Facts-Family Reading