Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Using Song in Reading

I have found that with small children you can engage them more readily if you are using rhyme, rhythm or song. Froggie Went A-Courtin’ by Iza Trapani is a delight for our family not because the story is amazing or powerful but because you sing the story. I have read this book over and over and checked it out from the library so many times I should have purchased it by now. The children love it because when you sing a song it makes it easier to memorize and then they feel like they too can read the book. Little children love song and learn through song and so reading a book that you can sing is a valuable reading tool. Iza Trapani has written many other stories you can sing too, for example The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Row Row Row your boat. Find stories you can sing and your children will sit to listen. It’s a way of holding the attention of those whose attention span rivals that of a gnat.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks, illustrated by Brock Cole

If I had to select one book to use to start reading aloud with, it would be this book. Innumerable times I have read this book to my children not only at bedtime but when they want something fun read to them. This story captivates their minds and holds on tight. I even find myself becoming lost amongst the characters. Omri, a young boy, receives a gift of a plastic Indian and while he loves plastic figures this one is not very interesting. He also receives an old cupboard from his brother for his birthday. With a key from his mother, these two gifts bring the plastic figure to life and the chaos that ensues brings so much joy and hassle to the boy. Life lessons are learned through the adventures the boy and his plastic or should I say, real Indian have together. Truly though, what child wouldn’t want to have just one of his toys become real?

Travel and Books on Tape

We have found that traveling is much easier if you take a book on tape. You also have a captive audience because they have nowhere else to go. I just make sure that I select books that most of the group will enjoy. They should be full of humor and have an excellent reader. Some of our favorites are books by Eoin Colfer, the Harry Potter Series, Roald Dahl, and The Spiderwick Chronicles. These are all read well, often with someone using different voices for different characters. Still, most any book is good to listen to if you are traveling. Amazingly, while the book is playing you will cease hearing things like "Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” Then at the end of the day you have not only covered miles but created memories of conjoined laughter.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dirty Bertie by David Roberts

We love this story so much that when someone is being gross we call them “Dirty Bertie”. Bertie in this story behaves in many disgusting ways. He likes to lick lollipops when picked up of the floor, pee in the garden, and especially pick boogers. Along the way, Bertie learns some hard lessons about doing things that are gross. Bertie in the end reverts to good habits, well all except one and that one he just can’t resist! The pictures in this book? Fabulous!

Sector 7 by David Wiesner

Take a trip through the world without using words. If you want to stimulate imagination in kids give them a book without words and let them help you create the story. This book is about a boy who meets a cloud. The cloud takes the boy to the cloud factory and there he helps the clouds find better shapes. There are no words in this book but the illustrations are out of this world! David Wiesner inspires us to see the world in better shape and children thrive on turning the world on its head. This jewel among books should be “read” to every child. Within the pages there is much humor to be discovered as you sit side-by-side navigating this world of fiction with your child.

Jimmy Zangwow’s Out of this World Moon Pie Adventure by Tony DiTerlizzi

When reading aloud you need a story that captures their imagination with awesome words. Zip Pip Kaboodle! This is the cheer that the aliens on Mars give Jimmy when he saves them from the Grimble Grinder. What an adventure! Jimmy’s mom denies him a moon pie because it is too close to dinner time. So, Jimmy leaves and goes to the moon in a contraption he has created himself in search of those coveted Moon Pies. Along the way he comes face to face with the Grimble Grinder and he must find a way back home in time for dinner too. The pictures in this book are fabulous and if the words somehow fail to hold their interest then the pictures will keep them captivated. Take the kids on an adventure with this book.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Teaching History Through Story

I believe in using books to teach about history. A story coupled with pictures goes farther to instill in the minds of children the importance of a subject. I believe we should teach about injustice and it will inspire our children to live against injustice. This book is about Rosa Parks and it speaks not just of her act but the act of the hundreds of African Americans who refused to ride the bus because of the terrible treatment they received. I love history and taught history but until this book I misunderstood the act Rosa Parks inspired. Hundreds of men, women, and children refused to ride the busses and walked. This boycott lasted a year. They walked in rain, snow, and heat. Tired and exhausted from work they walked home. The vocabulary and cadence in this book captures the children’s attention and the pictures hold it. A must read for history lovers and those who want to teach.

Creating Character: Agate by Joy Morgan Dey, illustrated by Nikki Johnson

We are what we read and I believe we can influence children for good if we show them through books strengths we desire them to acquire. One of my favorite story times is when I get to explain to children through stories just how wonderful they truly are. I just found a new book called Agate written by Joy Morgan Dey and illustrated by Nikki Johnson. It’s about a moose that sees his friends as precious jewels but cannot see his own beauty because it is hidden deep inside and needs to be polished to be found. My children loved it. Finding their own color, as it is based on birthstones, became a joy for them. The alligator was a garnet and the lion an emerald. There is power in the colors, drawings and words.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

I just finished reading Peter Pan to my boys ages 8 and 5. I fell in love with the language in this book immediately. It uses a rich vocabulary throughout the text. I thrilled when my oldest son grasped the concept of clapping to keep Tinker Bell alive without my having to explain it to him. Who wouldn’t love a story filled with pirates, flying children, hideouts and fairies? I recommend this as a bedtime read aloud for ages 5-10. Then keep it on your shelf because they will want to read it themselves later. Don’t let the language daunt you from reading it to them because when you read aloud they grasp the subject more easily.