What are you reading Wednesday?

This week the girls and I have been enjoying one of our newest books, Giraffe in the Bath and Other Tales. This compilation of six phonics stories is quite the hit in our house. The stories are short, engaging, rhyming, and contain colorful illustrations. They are also somewhat silly, which makes the girls laugh and remember what we have been reading about in the story.

As a reading specialist, I really enjoy these stories not only as something fun, but also as a learning tool. Their rhyming patterns are great for younger readers to identify as they listen to the story. Additionally, these books provide an opportunity for the teaching of various vowel sounds and patterns as children continue to grow as readers. I am always looking for something new and fun to read with my girls at home and also with my students during the school year.

While right now we are just enjoying the stories for stories, I look forward to being able to use these familiar stories with the girls as they continue to grow as readers. Izzie loves to be able to read some of the words and Sophia is beginning to identify letters in the words. This collection of stories will definitely come in handy in the future!

As a closing thought, always remember to have fun with reading. Check out Sophia in her giraffe mask that she made today and wore as we read the story tonight!

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What are you reading Wednesday?

Happy Wednesday! Last night I did something that I had not done in quite some time. I stayed up late, for me, to finish a book because I needed to know how it ended. I had been reading The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green, a book I had checked out at the very beginning of the month. As I mentioned last week, I had quickly chosen this book at the end of a library visit with the girls. I was expecting a great beach read and it definitely did not start out that way.

But, as I continued, I discovered a beautiful story unfolding. One that spoke of estranged sisters who were brought together at the wish of their mother, who was not much of a mother to the girls. As each of the three sisters is portrayed, we learn their joys and their sorrows, their successes and their mistakes. A lovely story of how sisters learn that it is never too late to start again and work towards a friendship that had been absent. I felt myself pulling for each of the sisters as they realized what was missing in their lives and as they began to change their ways, leading to happiness. In the end, this book became one that I could not put down.

If you are for a a story of love, learning from your errors, and finding yourself again, than The Sunshine Sisters might just be for you! What are you reading this week?

Science and Reading

Reading is a skill that transcends all academic subject areas. It is necessary to accomplish so many tasks, not just in school, but also in life. Last week, I found this to be true while doing science experiments with my girls.

I had recently received the book 365 Science Activities. Numerous activities related to different science topics were awaiting us! We had chosen a few under the ending of Density, which I don’t know much about.

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Now, I can follow directions and so we successfully completed the experiments. The items were things that we had around the house. However, what I really enjoyed about using the activities from this book is the fact that they explain why things happen. Instead of answering, “I don’t know!” when the girls asked me about why something was happening, I was able to share the explanation by reading the book.

So, if you are looking for some fun with your children this summer, especially on rainy or hot days, check out this fun science book, complete with explanations.

What are you reading Wednesday

Another Wednesday and another edition of what are you reading Wednesday. I am still reading The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green. I am loving the way I have been transported back in time to see the moments that have led to where the book began. An interesting story of sisters and the relationships they had with others, each other, and their mother. Definitely check it out!

Turning to my professional reading, I wanted to share the book Literacy Essentials by Regie Routman. I am only about 120 pages in but I already love the ideas that Routman has to offer regarding literacy instruction. Divided in to sections revolving around engagement, excellence, and equity, Routman offers ideas for literacy in the classroom followed by sections that have ideas for educators to put the ideas in action. So many ideas are so simple and practical, but often get lost in the shuffle of curriculum and standards.

I have been a fan of Routman’s work for quite some time. She writes in a manner that is easy to understand and it feels as if she is sitting down talking with you. One of the first topics Routman discovers is the idea of trust. This school year, I experience times where trust was broken in the blink of an eye. One of the simple suggestions that Routman gives is to be kind. This is something I am constantly saying to my own children as well as the children in my classes. What if, as adults, we were kind to each other? What if we took time to care about one another instead of rushing from here and there without stopping to chat? What if we spread kindness? Think about how simple it sounds, yet it can be incredibly difficult to accomplish.

If you are a teacher of literacy, I highly recommend Literacy Essentials for you and your administration. Such a great read with practical actions we can all take. I look forward to hearing what you are reading! Happy reading!

Library Visits

As a child, I remember visiting the library with my family. But I remember even more, as I grew older, I was able to ride my bike to library. As an avid reader from a very young age, this was quite the exciting adventure! I had been given the freedom to travel on my own to one of my favorite places. Once there, I was free to roam around, searching for the book that was just right for that day.

Fast forward to the present, where, as a parent of two little girls, I continue to visit the library. However, my visits look quite different! No longer do I just wander around browsing through the aisles of books. Instead, we make a beeline for the children’s section as there are many things we need to do. If we have books from a  previous visit, we return them. We take out 1000 Books Before Kindergarten reading logs to the librarians’ desk for our stickers and sometimes, a new book. We quickly search the shelves for our favorite books that we have read so many times I have lost count. I often choose a few books that I find interesting or want to read and add them to the pile. We enjoy playing with the toys the library has set out for the day. Finally, we head to the self check out before heading home.

While these visits are so completely different from when I was younger or even before becoming a mom, I wouldn’t change them for anything. I always am amazed at the wonder the girls bring to the outing and the books that we find. I love the programs that the library has and try to attend as many as I can with the girls. Last week, we went to the library three times, and twice in one day! The library is a timeless place, where we can lose ourselves in a book and travel to far away places. If you have’t visited your library in awhile, what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore!

IMG_6099Here are the girls following our Pajama Party Story Time at the library. They heard several books about summer and being outside before making a firefly craft.

What are you reading Wednesday

I started this blog almost 2 months ago in hopes of not only sharing all about literacy, but also to begin doing something I love, writing. So with the start of summer, I am refocused  and ready to have you join me on the back porch for lots of literacy fun!

I thought it would be fun to start with What are you reading Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, I will share with you what I am reading and I hope you will share with me as well! I love summer as there is more time for me to read, both on my own and with the girls.

This week I started a new book, The Sunshine Girls by Jane Green. I had quickly grabbed it from a  summer beach read shelf at the library about a week ago as we were checking out. The cover looked enticing and I had been looking for a fun read.

Yesterday, Izzie asked if we should return the book as we were heading back to the library and I had to admit that I hadn’t even started reading it yet! She told me that I better start right away and so I did. As I began reading, I was expecting a light, beach read. Instead, I was hit with a story about a woman dying and the fact that her daughters were not around. Not exactly what I had in mind! I will continue to read and see how the story unfolds.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you been expecting a book to take one direction and then it heads in another? I hope that I am in for some surprises and happy story for my quick book grab. So…what are you reading this week? I would love to hear from you! Happy reading!

Buggy Adventures-Part 1

The weather here in Illinois has not felt like spring at all this week…cold, windy, rainy, snowy! So the girls and I decide to take some time to explore bugs and the outdoors…using the book Bug Hotel. This is a great book that introduces children (and adults!) to several different kinds of bugs, without having to brave the cold weather! With interactive flaps, this books is bound to keep your readers engaged! For more information, check out Bug Hotel here: https://l6121.myubam.com/p/6978/bug-hotel

I love pairing book reading with crafts and activities! After reading Bug Hotel, we embarked on crafty activities, using things from around the house. First up…bees! We began by making giant bees out of paper plates, yellow tissue paper, black construction paper, glue sticks, googly eyes (because they make everything more fun!), and pipe cleaners. And yes, we happened to have all of those things in our house! The girls had a lot of fun adding the yellow tissue paper to the paper plate and loved that they were in charge of the glue! Check out my happy bee makers!

 

Once our paper plate bees were complete, we moved onto making honeycombs complete with fingerprint bees! For this activity, we used white card stock, bubble wrap, yellow paint, and black markers. I cut the bubble wrap into roughly the shape of a honeycomb and the girls went to work painting it yellow! Turn it over onto the card stock and you have a honeycomb! Dipping a finger in paint, each girl (with my guidance of course!) made yellow fingerprints around the honeycomb. Fast forward to later in the day after the paint had time to dry…it was time to finish our bees. Using a black marker, I showed the girls how to add stripes, wings, a head, and antennas to the fingerprints to turn them into bees. Our final step in the process was to reread our bee pages from Bug Hotel and talk about what we had learned about bees. We added the sentences to the papers and complete!

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Stay tuned for more buggy adventures this week!