Tag Archives: children’s books

Story Time

2013-12-03 08.10.59

Family story time is one of the most important times of the day, but as my children get older it gets a little more difficult. I have 6 kids that range in age from 1-10 with three readers, one almost reader and two little ones.  The big kids like to read their own books at night and with the baby sometimes it is just easier to skip reading together.  In order to help keep me accountable and get the all the kids excited about reading together I have come up with a great plan!!

I pick one book for every day of the month and then wrap them up!! Sometimes we do a theme such as the holiday of the month, an author study or just fun random books.  The kids take turns each night opening the books and they are always excited to see what we are reading.

The themes I am using this year are:

  • January- Winter books (favorite winter author Jan Brett)
  • February- Valentines books
  • March- Spring and Easter
  • April- Author study Robert Munsch.  We love all of his books!!
  • May-Clifford and Curious George Books
  • June- Summer books
  • July- Patriotic and American history books
  • August- Back to School Books
  • September- Family favorite books (Seven Silly Eaters by: Mary Ann Hoberman is our all time favorite book)
  • October- Halloween books
  • November- Thanksgiving books
  • December- Christmas books

Tips and tricks

If I do not have enough books that fit my theme, I just throw in a random book that we love. With five girls we read a lot of Fancy Nancy! Wrapping paper can be kind of pricey so newspaper, comics and butcher paper work fabulous! The kids help wrap the books, too, which makes it an easy activity to pull off.

Give it a try, I am sure you will not be disappointed!

8 best books to read aloud to your first grader

It is no secret that reading to your children does a whole lot of amazing things for them. Let me list just a few of the many benefits of reading to your children:

1. Encourage a love of reading

2. Increased brain activity

3. Reading comprehension

4. Bonding

First grade is an amazing year. They are beginning to learn how to read on their own. Growing up so fast and yet still so young. Many first graders still love to be read to and their tastes are beginning to develop and mature.  You can begin to introduce lengthier books at this age. In January I wrote a similar post, where I shared my favorite 15 books to read aloud. Those are favorites from my childhood and you should definitely check out that list!

Here are a few of my favorite books to read aloud to my 6 year old daughter. Please let me know your favorites too!
8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – This is a fabulously imaginative book written by one of the most creative minds on the list.  A boy loves a tree and asks for apples from it. The tree gives, every single time. As the boy grows, he keeps asking and asking for more. It is a beautiful book that teaches a story of one’s capacity to love and give to those that ask, and limits that are reached.

7. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater – This was a childhood favorite of mine.  Oh the hilarity that ensues as Mr. Popper’s Penguines make a wreck of his house! My animal-loving daughter loves it when I read this to her.

6. The BFG by Roald Dahl – Roald Dahl wrote some fabulous books, I highly suggest borrowing others he wrote when you are picking this up at your library. The BFG is my favorite though. The Big Friendly Giant is just as fun to read as it is to listen to! All the words and characters Roald Dahl creates will have your child enthralled.

5. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild – This is an entire series and one my ballet-dancing daughter loves. They are stories of hard work, perseverance, dreams, and adventure!

4. Encyclopedia Brown by Donal Sobal -  Lizzie loves reading this with her daddy. These mini-mysteries are so fun to try and solve before flipping to the back of the book and see if you were right!

5. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne -  I remember reading these as a child too and fell in love with the characters all over again (and I grew up with the cartoons on TV).  They are warm fuzzy stories and full of sweet little funny plots.

4. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – This story has been featured in many, many movies (including one featuring Shirley Temple and another by the Veggie Tales).  It is beautifully written, complete with the values of dreams, hope, and never losing site of who you are – no matter what people say about you.

3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgrin – This is such a hilarious series of books!  As a child, I remember wishing I had the wit and freedom of Pippi!  Lots of giggles ensue when we read this book together.

2. Ramona series by Beverly Cleary – Ramona is such an imaginative and free-spirited little girl.  She is a favorite character of my daughter’s – she emulates her jokes and asks me to read this book over again.

1. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum -  I love how different this is from the movie – Lizzie did too!  She loved all the different characters in the book that were not in the movie.

12 Ways to Nurture a Love for Reading in your Preschooler

Princess Fiona Pancake

I grew up in love with reading books. To this day, I have at least 1-3 books I am reading at any given time. I hope that my children grow up loving to read too! I created a little list of things we do at home to help my kids love to read. Please add your ideas in the comments – I know this list is by far not exhaustive.

1. Read books that are currently movies

We know our kids are marketed to every day. We see the movie characters on t-shirts, shoes and toys. Take advantage of this marketing and get more excited about the books than the movie and products. Engage your preschooler in conversation about why s/he loves this movie and read the book over and over.

2. Let them pick out books

Even if you are tired of reading that really long (and admit it – annoying!) book, be happy they want to be read to. Let your child take ownership in choosing the book. If you are at the library, discuss the book s/he wants and find it together. And be flexible. Kids do change their mind – let them! Let the book choosing be 100% their idea and they will love it more.

3. Let them have their own library card

This goes right along with the ownership. Preschoolers are generally more excited to check out books when they are using something that is theirs to get them. It will make them feel special and like a “big kid.” Play this up! There is nothing quite as rewarding as making the library a place they love to go to!

4. Create your own stories at home

Get out the crayons and notebook paper. Let your child draw and create a story from his/her imagination.  The more your child enjoys using their imagination, the more they will love using it when they read books too. Plus, you will be shocked at how much fun it is to get into your child’s head. There are some funny stories your preschooler can tell!

5. Read with funny voices

I can still hear the giggles from my 3 year old son as I tried to sound like the Lorax. Using funny voices bonds your child to the book, helps it come alive in their world, and really makes for some precious memories! Don’t just get through the book, make it spring to LIFE!

6. Leave books around the house

In other words, make reading always accessible. Show your child how much you love books by always having them within hand’s reach.  There are a ton of creative storage solutions for books. I browse Pinterest for hours seeing all of them!

7. Create their own special reading place

I wish I had a bay window I could set up with pillows and blankets. That is my dream. But for now we have a recliner in the living room and my daughter’s books are on the stand next to it. She can curl up there whenever she wants to flip through her favorite books.  This is all about creating a positive association with books – making them relaxing and calming for times when they need the quiet time.

8. Cook meals based on the books they love

Few things make books come alive like food! Maybe you are reading Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom and you want to drink some coconut milk.  Or perhaps you can read a Curious George book and then have bananas for snacks. While you eat your book-inspired snack, talk about the book you just read together. This helps with comprehension.

9. Act out their favorite books

Another way to increase reading comprehension is to help them recall the plot of the book by acting it out with you.  Plus, this is also super fun.  Dress up like the characters and allow your preschooler to improvise and change the plot to how s/he wanted it to be.

10. Praise their early reading success

As you read together, ask them to read with you out loud. When they recognize sight words and sound out other words, get excited! Make them laugh and enjoy their success.

11. Talk about the book as you read it

Sometimes I just want to get through the book. I read fast and flip from page to page. But it helps the child to enjoy the book if you take your time. Discuss what just happened. Ask “what is going to happen next? Do you think……?” Let your child ask questions and make statements about the story. More time consuming – for sure! – but also way more fun for the child and it helps their creative thinking and problem solving skills.

12. Read with each child one-on-one

This is really hard to do when you have more than one child. But when you make book reading a special time with just you and one child – even if this happens once a week – your child will grow up associating books with that special time with you. S/he will always love this and (hopefully) love to read too!

Reading for the Season: Winter

family reading together 2

With each season, holiday, or event that rolls around, my family likes to sort through our bookshelves and find stories that are relevant to not only enjoying what is going on around us—like the birth of a new baby—but to learning a little lesson. The lessons can include friendship, forgiveness, bravery, or even charity.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is a quiet, whimsical kind of book, the kind where there are no words to see so you and your child can create your own story as you watch the little boy build a snowman and then watch as it comes to life. The boy and the snowman explore each other’s world together until the next day starts with a warm sun.

book cover image courtesy of Amazon.com

What Will I Do Without You? by Sally Grindley and Penny Dann presents a story of friendship that gets a test of endurance when Jefferson Bear must hibernate for the winter. Will true friendship overcome the feeling of being left behind?

Book Cover Image provided from Amazon.com

White Snow Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt is a classic tale showing the different reactions to snow between adults and children. The postman, farmer, police officer, and his wife hurry to get things done while the children dance and play and catch snowflakes on their tongue.

One Winter’s Day by M. Christina Butler is a loving story of selflessness. Children learn of giving to others in need while experiencing the journey little hedgehog must take through a snowstorm to find a warm place to stay.

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen is an sad story of a lonely, hungry, cold little girl who must sell matches before going home for Christmas. Because it is so cold she lights her matches and gets engulfed in the warmth and remembers when times were happy. In the end, when her last match goes out, her life comes to an end. Since this can be a truly heartbreaking story it is recommended for older, mature children, but it represents the importance of helping others in need.

Image courtesy of barnesandnoble.com

What are some of your favorite wintertime stories? Whatever the holiday, season, or adventure, find good reads to gain new perspective and get ideas for different ways to celebrate.

Feature photo courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The Snowman book cover image courtesy of Amazon.com
What Will I Do without You book cover image courtesy from Amazon.com
White Snow Bright Snow book cover image courtesy from Amazon.com
One Winter’s Day book cover image courtesy from Amazon.com
The Little Match Girl book cover courtesy of barnesandnoble.com

50 Greatest Children’s Books

Child with Books

I couldn’t help but make a list of some of my favorite children’s books. What can I say. I love books . . . of all kinds!

My list includes many of the greatest classics you don’t want to let your child miss out on. Plus, some new books I’ve learned about from my preschool-teaching sister-in-law and her storybook-loving children. You also can find many of these for your ebook reader, some at an incredible price.

The list:

  1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
  2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  4. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  5. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
  6. Stone Soup by Anne Mcgovern and Winslow Pinney Pels
  7. Just Go to Bed (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer
  8. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  9. The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
  10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
  11. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
  12. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  13. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
  14. The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
  15. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
  16. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  17. The Original Curious George by H.A. Rey and Leonard S. Marcus
  18. Biggest, Strongest, Fastest by Steve Jenkins
  19. Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson
  20. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
  21. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  22. Pinkalicious by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann
  23. Supersister by Beth Cadena and Frank W. Dormer
  24. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieska and Lane Smith
  25. Mystery of the Russian Ruby by Iain Smyth
  26. The Raggly Scraggly No-soap No Scrub Girl by David Francis Birchman and Guy Porfirio
  27. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  28. Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs by Carmela LaVigna Coyle and Mike Gordon
  29. Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
  30. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  31. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  32. Corduroy by Don Freeman
  33. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen
  34. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood and Audrey Wood
  35. The Going-to-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
  36. The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola
  37. How Much Is a Million? by David M. Schwartz
  38. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
  39. Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
  40. Clarice Bean Spells Trouble by Lauren Child
  41. Are You My Mother by P. D. Eastman
  42. Today at the Bluebird Café: A Branchful of Birds by Deborah Ruddell and Joan Rankin
  43. Boy Soup by Loris Lesynski
  44. Go, Dog, Go! By P. D. Eastman
  45. There’s an Alligator under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
  46. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  47. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  48. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  49. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  50. There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer

Which stories does your child like the best? Have other suggestions to add to this list? Please share.

Photo source: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

13 Spooky Books

Halloween Witch
Oooo! It’s time for Halloween—the month when ghosts, goblins, and witches come out. You can celebrate Halloween all month long with these 13 fun-filled children’s books.

By the Light of the Halloween Moon, written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes: It’s a Halloween treat filled with bouncy, rhythmic narration your child is sure to love.

Shake Dem Halloween Bones, written by W. Nikola-Lisa and illustrated by Mike Reed: It’s a spooky story filled with artistic illustrations and your child’s favorite Halloween characters.

Room on the Broom, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler: Rhyming has never been so much fun with this witch who picks up some animals who want a ride on her broom.

Big Pumpkin, written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by S.D. Schindler: A beautifully written narration about a witch and her enormous pumpkin.

Bone Soup, written by Cambria Evans: A tale of a boy who is nothing but skin and bones but has a gigantic eating mouth.

Skeleton Hiccups, written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by S.D. Schindler: How do you help a skeleton get rid of its hiccups? This book might have the answer.

Mouse’s First Halloween, written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Buket Erdogan: Just like every child, this mouse experiences it’s first Halloween along with all its spooky sounds and colorful costumes.

The ABCs of Halloween, written by Patti Reeder Eubank: Can you find something for every letter that has to do with Halloween? This ABC book can find one thing and more.

Froggy’s Halloween, written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz: A book that is full of excitement as Froggy prepares for Halloween.

The 13 Nights of Halloween, written by Guy Vasilovich: It’s the 12 days of Christmas in Halloween style, with a gifts from mummy.

Who’s There on Halloween? written by Susan Hagen Nipp and Pamela Conn Beall and illustrated by Charles Reasoner: It’s spooky riddles just for Halloween. Can you and your child guess the answer to each riddle?

Scary, Scary Halloween, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Jan Brett: Told in poetry form, it’s a story all about the spooks of Halloween.

The Best Halloween Hunt Ever, written by John Speirs: It’s a treasure hunt narration filled with hidden surprises.

Are there any Halloween books you read every year with your child? Do you have some great scary stories that get your child in the Halloween spirit? Please share.

Source: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net