Tag Archives: reading fun

Learning How To Read With Music

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A few weeks ago, I had an itch for some new music for the kiddos. The Rusty and Rosy software is constantly using music to teach and so I went to iTunes to see if they had anything available. I do not know why I have never checked to see if they had music available until now! After debating over which album I should try first I finally picked the Beginning Reading Songs.

This was my first official iTunes music purchase and with 20+ tracks and over 10 music videos, I feel I got a lot for my money. Plus, all of this music is educational and easy on the ears. With our current move and all our books and CDs going into boxes, it has been a fun alternative to turn to the Rusty and Rosy music on the computer. The music has a variety of styles and tempos making it enjoyable for the adults in the house to listen to, as well.

I learned long ago the magic of learning for music. It seems like every week my 6 year old son comes home with a new song that is helping him learn something new. The tune of the song is sometimes the same, but because of this simple tune he is grasping the topic of the song a lot quicker than without music. For instance,he learned a song to count by tens to hundreds and recently I heard him using the same tune to count on numbers. It constantly surprises me what he can recall if it is put to music. And an added bonus is that what he comes home singing is often soaked up by his 4 year old sister.

My 4 year old daughter’s favorite song is the ABC Show and Tell Sounds (click the link to see a preview of it. It’s cute!). I love how it is teaching her the alphabet and the sounds of each letter, something that she did seem ready to learn until she started watching/hearing this song.

For me, one of the main reasons I chose this album over the others was for the tracks on language concepts like verbs, pronouns, adverbs, prepositions and quite a few more. I somehow missed learning these concepts in elementary school and did not learn them until I had the 7th grade English teacher assign groups in class to each perform songs focusing on these concepts. It finally clicked for me. I wish I would have had the guts back then to ask to borrow the other tapes to learn all the basic language concepts. Not completely understanding them affected my understanding and writing ability for years including my ability to learn foreign languages. I got lucky and usually did it right, but I never truly understood what I was doing. I still struggle with it and I am excited to have a way for my kiddos to learn them now. I do not want them missing out on knowing those basic language concepts and I hope these songs stick with them for many many years.

10 Creative Places to Read a Book

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There are the usual places you read with your child—on the couch, in bed (with child tucked in and you sitting on the covers), at the kitchen table. And then there are the creative places, places that help the reading time you have with your child feel more special, magical, and mystical. They are places new and inviting to adventure. They are places that say, “This is our special time together; let’s discover something while we’re at it.”

You know these places. You’ve probably found yourself reading a good book in them yourself. Now it’s time to invite your child to these places to give him an experience that will help him gain a love for reading.

The following are just 10 places you can enjoy a good book with your child. Of course, you probably know some great places of your own that are not on this list.

  1. Inside a make-shift tent: All you need is a few sheets or blankets and some kitchen chairs. Before reading time, drape the sheets or blankets over the chairs to create a tent. Then cuddle inside with some blankets, pillows, and a good book. With the cozy interior, you can even have a nice little nap after you’ve finished the book.
  2. Under a tree: Maybe under a little grove of trees. There’s always something magical about reading a good book under a tree. It helps you feel a part of nature. With Spring coming up, you’re sure to find some warm weather. On these days, enjoy the sun, the shade, the grass, and a good  book.
  3. In a treehouse or playhouse: Your child may have a special place in a treehouse or playhouse. Why not find a place together inside and read a book that helps the magic and imagination of this special place come alive?
  4. In a hammock: Who doesn’t love cuddling in a hammock? Your child’s company and a good book is just what the Spring weather ordered.
  5. In the closet: Sounds a little funny at first, but children always find magical moments in tiny spaces, like closets. All you need is a few blankets, pillows, and a fun story to make the tiny space more enchanted.
  6. Under the covers: Children love the feeling of being under the covers with a flashlight and a good secret. Why not make that secret a book? You can whisper the words and no one outside the blankets will be the wiser.
  7. Online: If you have a family member who lives far away, you can make reading time special by having your child read a book with that family member over video chat.
  8. On a swing: I have great memories of sitting with my grandparents in their porch swing. It was always comfortable and peaceful sitting there. If you have a porch swing (or even an outside bench or chairs) make good use of these peaceful moments with a good book.
  9. In front of a mirror: What child doesn’t like to watch himself in the mirror? Reading in front of a mirror can be turned into a game—maybe make the same faces as the characters in the book’s illustrations.
  10. In a garden: Just like reading under a tree, reading in a garden can make the time magical, especially if you and your child are surrounded by bunches of flowers.

Do you have any creative reading places around your house?

Feature photo courtesy of jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Celebrate Read Across America Day

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Today is Read Across America Day, first established by President Barack Obama March 1, 2011. We celebrate this day to remember the importance of reading and literacy, and to re-assert the importance for parents, teachers, and communities to encourage children to read. As President Obama puts it:

“Parents and mentors can help build fundamental skills by reading aloud to children regularly, discussing the story, and encouraging children to ask questions on words or content they do not understand. By passing a passion for literature on to our sons and daughters, we prepare them to be lifelong, successful readers, and we provide them with an essential skill necessary for academic achievement.”

Reading is important for many aspects of our lives. We read as we drive down the road; we read to accomplish our work; we read as we surf the Internet. Our children are growing up in a world where words are everywhere, and to succeed, they need to learn the fundamentals of reading early on, including deciphering new words, analyzing text, and comprehending text.

Our President puts it best:

“Our Nation’s young people rely on the critical thinking and analytical skills gained from reading to build other areas of knowledge, including the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The next generation’s ability to excel in these disciplines is crucial to America’s strength and prosperity in the 21st century.”

So, what steps do we now take to encourage a love of reading in our children so they will succeed throughout their lives? We read to them and show them the “fun” behind each story. Reading is fun because it takes us into a new world and shows us new things. And with a world of books at our fingertips through libraries, bookstores, the Internet, and different technologies, we can read about any subject. The point is to make reading fun!

Is it any wonder that this important day falls upon the birthday of one of the most influential American children’s authors? Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born this day in 1904. It was in the late 50s that he released his ever-popular The Cat in the Hat, which was only the beginning of a collection of books created to help children learn to read through fun, plot-filled stories. Instead of learning to read with “Dick and Jane,” our children have a library full of learn-to-read books that are not only interesting to children but parents as well.

Today, to celebrate Read Across America Day, find a little time to just read with your child. Read a short book, a long book, a pop-up book, an interactive book, a book on your smartphone or tablet, a book about pirates or princesses, a book about dinosaurs or Amelia Earhart. . . . Read about anything. Just read.

Here are just a few things we did around the office to celebrate our day:

We had a visit from Rusty and sat down with him for story time.

 

Rusty also visited the kids in our Community Center, a free community program provided by Waterford Institute™ for children ages four to six (preschool age) that uses Waterford’s reading software program, the school equivalent to Rusty and Rosy Reading™.

 

Read the full Presidential Proclamation—Read Across America Day, 2011 here.

Reading Bingo

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Why not teach children to read with books that are fun for them? Read books they want to read.

My fourth-grade teacher helped me gain an interest in reading simply through a reading Bingo game. Different categories of books were listed in Bingo-box format. I got to choose what I wanted to read based on the category I chose. Some categories directed me to read a book by a certain author. Some directed me to a specific genre, such as realistic fiction.

The Bingo game, of course, can be played with children of all ages. Below is just a sample you can use with your child. (This Bingo table includes suggestions for children in preschool through second grade. You can add your own ideas and focus the books to your child’s reading level.)

Bingo Board pdf

Have fun with this game. Take your child to the library and see what books she picks up. You can also reward your child with something as small as a sticker or as big as an ice-cream trip when she gets Bingo.

What are some of your child’s favorite books?

Feature image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.