Posts Tagged ‘Books’
If it’s not what’s that? or why? its how does that work / happen? Kids have lots of questions!
Even though the questions may get repetitive and monotonous, the best thing we can do is feed that innate curiosity. Nonfiction picture books are a great way to engage learners of all ages. Pictures are a great way to entice those who are not confident readers. Even if there are words they can’t yet decipher, they can glean information from the images.
I have always loved Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books for their ability to reach kids “where they are.” With nonfiction that’s not always easy. Kids have big questions, some of them require pretty sophisticated answers. What Marshall Cavendish shows us in these picture books is that sophisticated doesn’t mean complicated or confusing.
How Do Waves Form?
by Wil Mara
Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2011
Start with wind, add time and distance, and you can create some waves! From the little ripple at your feet to damaging waves in a hurricane, this book answers this age-old question.
- Using a “recipe” analogy brought the concept into our reader’s world and really demonstrated the scalability of a wave.
- The image of the child blowing out the candles gave us a great idea for letting the kids experiment with the elements of a wave.
Eyes Have It
by Melissa Stewart; illustrated by Janet Hamlin
Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2012
Photographs and drawings illustrate this book that has an eye for everything. From the varying shapes and colors of eyes among species of animals to the gross things kids like to think about and do with their eyeballs, this upper-elementary nonfiction picture book has it covered.
- The book grabbed us with the first sentence: Imagine being able to grab one of your eyeball and pop it out of your head. What kid hasn’t thought about that one?
- I personally loved that it extended the science into everyday living … like reminding kids to blink when they overdo it with the computer screen!
- Kids can pick this book up and start at page 28 if they want to. Being able to move back and forth among the topics, without having to go in order, will be very attractive to curious, wandering minds.
Glass (Use It! Reuse It! Series)
by Dana Meachen Rau
Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2012
This Easy Reader chapter book covers everything about glass from the practical to the aesthetic. Readers will learn about the elements that make glass, both in natural and man-made processes; different uses and shapes of glass; and how glass has been used historically, as well as in today’s world.
- There are lots of pictures and inset text boxes that make it easy for young readers to navigate the pages.
- The glossary is helpful, though it would be nice to have some of those definitions closer to the bolded words.
- Readers can easily get a sense of the use of glass over time, offering a history lesson that is “digestible” for this audience.
Posted on September 13, 2012 by Terry Doherty in Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Reading Lists.
Tags: book review, Books, humor, Math books for kids, math concepts, Math picture books, nonfiction picture books, read alouds, Standards of Learning, Sylvan Dell Publishing
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I must confess: math is not my strong suit. I am a Word Girl. Still, as we point out to my nearly 11-year-old daughter, math is part of our everyday life. We use it all the time … often without realizing it.
About six years ago, we discovered Sylvan Dell’s series of math-based picture books. The publisher had sent me some titles to review for The Reading Tub, my nonprofit. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. My daughter was in Kindergarten and the concepts offered by One Odd Day, My Even Day, and My Half Day were just what we needed. In fact, she enjoyed them so much she took them to school to share with her classmates. As my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher said “[These books] succeed in getting the kids excited about math. You can’t ask for more than that.”
What began with One Odd Day has now gone on to include picture books that help kids with concepts like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. With the exception of The Great Divide by Suzanne Slade (division) , we have not seen the other titles. Still, I’m betting they are just as wonderful as these three …
One Odd Day
by Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed; illustrated by Karen Lee
Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2006
Is it really possible? This is truly odd! From the numbers on the clock, to the sleeves on his shirt, our young student has a day filled with nothing but odd numbers. Even Princess, his dog, has five legs! This rhyming book helps children learn and distinguish odd numbers.
- The class (25 Kindergarteners) laughed their way through the numbers, pointing out lots of the smaller elements in the illustrations.
- Humorous illustrations and a rhyming story combine to help kids identify odd numbers from 1 to 99. A coloring activity at the back helps them create visual effects of number patterns for themselves.
- “I love these books and I’m going to order them for my classroom.”
- You’ll want to have it at home for several of the early math years, because it will help reinforce learning in a way that makes sense to them.
My Even Day
by Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed; illustrated by Karen Lee
Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2007
What would you do if your mom had two heads and you had two left shoes? How would you handle the class trip to the zoo? Such are the dilemmas our young student faces when he wakes up and realizes that everything in his day is an even number!
- The Kindergarten class (25 kids) had a lot of fun with the story. They liked the silliness of it and there was plenty of laughter.
- We read this with One Odd Day so when we got to the end and our student sees only half his hair, they were ready to read about fractions!
My Half Day
by Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed; illustrated by Karen Le
Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2008
In words and imagery, My Half Day walks children through the portions of life. This is a humorous fantasy that builds learning fractions into the story.
- Our daughter has been waiting anxiously for this book ever since her class read My Even Day. She laughed her way through the book, pointing out the differences, changes, and otherwise funny things (like camp counselors on skates).
- This is fun to read, and the illustrations offer lots of opportunities for exploring (with or without reading the text). It will take a couple more readings before our child gets past the humor of the story and settles in to its lessons.
- For kids who are just learning fractions or are struggling with them, this would be a handy book to have. It’s much more fun than flashcards.
Posted on September 3, 2012 by Terry Doherty in Literacy, Personal Experiences, Reading Lists.
Tags: Books, Children, family literacy, Family Time, Jim Trelease, Literacy, mixed age reading, nonfiction, nonfiction picture books, poetry, Read aloud, read aloud poetry, Reading, The Read Aloud Handbook
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This is an updated version of a post I wrote for the PBS Parents blog Booklights. The original article appeared in August 2010.
As I mentioned last week, reading with your kids – even when there are many years between them – can be enjoyable for everyone to share together. Sometimes it may be about the book, but every time it is an opportunity to connect with your kids and connect them with each other!
With homework looming most days, it can be very hard to find time to be together and remind the kids that reading is for enjoyment, too. Even a ritual like reading a [insert: poem, chapter, picture book, comic strip] at the table one morning or evening a week is great. It is your tradition, so do what works for you!
In The Read Aloud Handbook (now in its Sixth Edition!) Jim Trelease emphasizes that as readers, we have a listening level and a reading level. In Hey! Listen to This! (an article on his website), he re-emphasizes this point.
A consistent mistake made by parents and teachers is the assumption that a child’s listening level is the same as his or her reading level. Until about eighth grade, that is far from true; early primary grade students listen many grades above their reading level. This means that early primary grade students are capable of hearing and understanding stories that are far more complicated than those they can read themselves.
What does that mean? Well, you don’t have to read only picture books with simple messages or text. Young audiences can be enticed to enjoy text-heavy picture books and chapter books alike. There are a number of genres that naturally lend themselves to reading to mixed-age audiences, including …
Nonfiction. More specifically, nonfiction picture books, also called “informational picture books.” One of the best ways to hook kids of any age on reading is to give them some nonfiction books. They may be straight-up factual books, or they may be stories that have lots of facts in them (think: historical fiction for example). The great thing about informational picture books is that they have something for everyone. These are books that invite exploring, so whether you read all of the text or just talk about the illustrations, you’re in for an enjoyable, shared read.
Poetry. Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein write poetry that is meant to be read aloud.
Their poems are very “graphic,” allowing readers to “see” what they describe, and they often have a nonsensical quality that strike kids’ funny bones.
Humor. Despite the dictionary description, defining “funny” is a matter of personal taste. Still, a good laugh is something we all enjoy. As a parent, you understand the types of humor your kids enjoy … and you can decide what types of things you want to share together.
Books with lots of dialogue. “Dialog books” aren’t a specific genre, but a lot of short chapter books use conversation among the characters to tell the story. There are usually only a few characters (often school-aged kids and an adult or two) so it is an opportunity for everyone to take a role and read together.
These are by no means the only genres. On her website, storyteller Mary Hamilton offers a handy checklist that describes reading interests for various ages, from preschool through high school.
When you are selecting a book the whole family can enjoy, what types of books do you pick? If you have a family – or classroom – favorite, be sure to share!
Mom reading with kids: Family Story Minute by Sean Dreilinger on Flicker. Copyright. Some rights reserved.
Collage of nonfiction picture books: University of Maryland News photostream on Flickr. Copyright. Some rights reserved University of Maryland Press Releases.
Bookshelf with poetry books. Thingamababy Awesome Wall photostream on Flickr. Copyright. All rights reserved.
Roscoe Riley by Katherine Applegate. Book cover image by Mr. Biggs photostream on Flickr. Copyright. All rights reserved.
My daughter has now been in Kindergarten a little over one month. Her favorite things at school are buying her lunch and checking out books from the library (in both cases she gets to pick out just what she wants). After her first trip to the media center at school, she told me that she wanted a Princess book but the teacher did not know where to find the Princess books, so she got to look on the computer with the teacher and find one. My daughter has checked out books 4 times …. and so far, each time has been a Princess Book!
1. The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane Auch
2. Princess Penelope by Todd Mack
3. Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman
4. Princess Peepers by Pam Calvert
I am glad the my daughter enjoys books, stories, beautiful illustrations, and … princesses. Since she enjoys the topic of the books, we read the stories together so many times that eventually she can readthe story to me. I have to keep reminding myself the repeated reading are a good thing … even about princesses.There are some princess books on Big Universe:
There is even a book for teachers to with a princess as the main character: The Princess and the Mini Unit
As long as my daughter is enjoying books, I can handle the princesses.
Hopefully there will be enough Princess books to keep my daughter interested in books until she finds a new favorite topic. After reading Suzan’s blog post about the abundance of pumpkins on Big Universe, I started thinking that perhaps that would be a good new favorite seasonal topic for my daughter.
The Cinderella story connects princesses and pumpkins …
Princess Photo source
Did you know on Big Universe users can look for books by …
- Lexile level?
- Fountas and Pinnell rating?
- DRA level?
- Accelerated Reading (AR) reading levels?
- Grade Level?
Did you know you could combine some of the above searches by using various search combinations in the Advanced Search area?
Did you know on Big Universe there are books for all the main subjects (Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science)?
Did you know users can find picture books, read-aloud books, chapter books, and many other types of books on Big Universe?
I am sure (well, almost sure) that I have those types of books in my classroom library. However, I can’t search through all my books according to the levels listed above (I do have some of them marked AR but that is about it). I know that I don’t have many books in my library for math and science. I really enjoy reading books aloud. I have my own special books that I read aloud from. I try to keep these away from students, but students often want to read their own copy of book after the book has been read aloud to the class. If I used books from BigUniverse to read aloud, I would not have to worry about students losing or tearing up my books when they want to read the story on their own …
Even though I asked many questions to start this post, I think I have found a possible answer for expanding … and possibly replacing my classroom library collection.
So, it is getting close to summer …
Do you have a list of books that you would like to read this summer? Plans for books to take to the pool or beach? Plans to read on a trip?
Do your children or students have any ideas about what they might like to read this summer?
Big Universe has lots of great options for summer reading (and for anytime reading)!
Here are a few of my ideas on ways I might use BigUniverse this summer with my daughter:
- I might let my daughter pick a certain topic for a week and read as many books as possible that week about that topic
- I could do an advanced search in the sidebar to find books interesting for my child’s age
- My child could pick 3 Categories listed in the sidebar and then we can try to read a certain number of books from each category to compare.
- Have you ever looked at the Big Universe Staff Picks ? We might look at those to see what others like before choosing a book to read one day.
- Although I am sure all the books on the site are worth reading, it might be fun for my daughter and I to look at the Last 150 Books Added to the Site to discover something to read.
- We could read books created by a certain publisher or author one week.
- We might look at the books that others have added to their bookshelves recently to find some good idea.
- We could decide to read fiction books on BigUniverse one week and then nonfiction books another week.
My daughter loves to pick out books to read on BigUniverse. Have certain categories or types in mind to help guide her selection might be helpful for me to make sure she experiences a wide variety of books over the summer.
Do you have any ideas on ways you can use BigUniverse for summer reading experiences? I would love to hear your ideas!
I participated in a Celebrity Read Aloud at an elementary school yesterday (not that I am a celebrity but I enjoying reading aloud). I read to a 1st grade classes and one 4th grade class. I misread the email and thought I would be reading to two 1st grade classes, so I picked books appealing to that age group to bring with me to read.
At the beginning of the day, two students holding a poster with my name on it came to accompany me to their first grade classroom. The poster was decorated and signed by all the students. I sat in a rocking chair with children at my feet and started reading the stories. We made faces. We talked ab0ut what we noticed in the pictures. Students made connections. We also brainstormed what we thought would happen next if the story continued. At the end, I got a thank you note and was accompanied back to the waiting area. I was feeling really good about the experience.
A few minutes later, I saw two more students approaching with my name on a sign. Those students looked bigger than the first pair of students. After we had our picture made, I followed them to their class. As soon as I stepped in the classroom, I knew it was not a 1st grade class. Looking around the room, I saw lists of latin root word, math terms like probability, and novels … not a first grade class. I knew I was now in a 4th grade class without even asking (I taught 4th grade for years). So I thought that I might have a problem since I had books that I picked out to read to first grade classes. I reminded myself that children of all ages enjoy read alouds.
As I was reading the first story, I noticed which parts of the story the students in this class noticed (it was not the same parts as the first grade class). So I also responded to the story in different ways. I thought back to my “4th grade teacher” days and focused on some of 4th grade skills. We talked about what we noticed about the words (how certain words sounds and some rhymed). We still discussed what we noticed in the pictures but also made mention of how the pictures added to the story events. One of the stories was very repetitive in certain parts, so the 4th graders read along with me some.
I think the children in this class enjoyed these books just like the children in the first grade classes. I used the same stories but focused on different skills to involve and engage the students in the read aloud time. I had a good time and I hope they did too!
While sitting in a school library one afternoon, I looked around and saw a poster: “Turn the pages of your imagination. READ!!” That would be a great writing topic for students. I can imagine inviting children to brainstorm about what they think that message means. Here are a few guiding questions that came to mind:
- How might your imagination have pages?
- How does reading help jumpstart your imagination?
- Why do you think writers want the readers to imagine when they read?
- How do the things you imagine help you understand what you are reading?
- How might the things you imagine cause you to not understand what you are reading?
- If reading helps you turn the pages of your imagination, what could you do next?
That brainstorming or journal idea could be used as a pre-reading activity to get students thinking about or imagining what could happen in a certain story. That activity could be used to activate prior knowledge and/or generate a purpose for reading.
Another way that brainstorming or journal idea could be used is as a post-reading activity for students to reflect on what they read and how they used imagination in the story.
Students could also provide illustrations of what they imagine. Those illustrations could be connected with the before reading activity and/or the post reading activity.
So while the idea mentioned above could be used before or after reading, students could keep track of the things they imagine while they read. A small notebook, a piece of paper, or even a program like bubbl.us could be used to help student notice things in the story that cause imagination to take place.
Imagination plays a role in reading … before … during … and after
Why don’t you pick a book from Big Universe and see how it turns the pages of your imagination?
image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/24113168@N03/3803641352/
Posted on February 7, 2010 by Suzan Woodard in Uncategorized.
Tags: Big Universe, Books, Children, Chinese New Year, creativity, Fun in class, Lesson Plans, literacy games, Online Children's Books, picture books, vocabulary
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Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14, but did you know it’s the first day of the Chinese New Year, too? Yup – the Year of the Tiger is upon us! Maybe your child or class would have fun with some global fusion – half hearts, half dragons.
Kids like quirky, well, most of them anyway. Hang Chinese lanterns from the ceiling and cut and paste valentines. Mix in talk of tigers, dragons and firecrackers and you are sure to engage the boys, as well.
I figure most of you have the Valentine’s Day theme down pat, so I’ll give you a few hints on how to use the Chinese New Year celebration as a spring board for learning.
Get to Know and Appreciate China
- Make Chinese paper lanterns to string in a doorway or from the ceiling. Very festive.
- Read “China” by Gisela Lee, who writes about this influential country’s rich history and vibrant modern-day culture. The book posted online by Big Universe has a map, colorful pictures and a good vocabulary list aimed at sixth-graders. (Teacher Created Materials Publishing)
- Fly a kite, bring collapsible umbrellas to school or play dominoes. They were all invented by the Chinese.
- Use “Kingka,” an award-winning board game, as a class supplement. Created by New Jersey educator, mom and children’s book author Sholeen Lou-Hsaio, the Mandarin-language matching game resembles bingo and introduces the 54 basic Chinese characters. It uses “the spirited nature of a memory game to encourage effective learning. It takes away the fear students have of learning Chinese,” said Lou-Hsiao.
- Learn more about giant pandas by clicking on this link, or read “Pandas’ Earthquake Escape” at Big Universe. (Sylvan Dell)
- “Confucius, Chinese Philosopher” is another Big Universe book by Gisela Lee, who collaborated with Wendy Conklin to write this biography. (Teacher Created Materials Publishing)
- Look at “Holidays” by author Dona Herweck Rice. It’s aimed at younger children with simple text and great pictures. Keep an eye out for the Chinese New Year street parade picture. (Teacher Created Materials Publishing)
- Go to Page 33 in the book “Animal World,” published by Saddleback Educational Publishing. It offers a little zoology on the tiger – with colorful photographs and a fun “factoscope” box. Or read “What Tigers Do,” a beginner book written by Kris Bonnell and published by Reading Reading Books, LLC.
- Print out this coloring page of a tiger, a boy in traditional holiday clothing, or one of men dressed to do the Chinese New Year lion dance.
In my hometown, there is an annual adult literacy fund-raiser called the “Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale.” It took place a few months ago and more than 17,000 shoppers attended to purchase books and support the Greenville Literacy Association in South Carolina. A total of $150,000 was raised.
I don’t know about you, but my heart rate quickens at the sight of large quantities of books. Oh, the reading possibilities!
I even get a little rush when I go to my mother’s house – and not because she makes the best cappuccino east of Rome and north of Cuba! No, there’s inevitably a small pile of books waiting for me on a side counter near her kitchen door. My mom is an avid reader, and we share similar tastes in books. She has minimal space for storing extra books, so they get to come home with me to live. Yip!
For those of you who have a crush on books like I do, I offer a list of ways to feast your eyes on a few more this year, keeping frugality in mind. The library is a given, of course.
Merger & Acquisition
- Check out thrift shops. I’ve found some classics there.
- Visit BookMooch.com, a point-based book-swapping website that “lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want.” There is no fee to join. Mailing your books is the only cost.
- Post a book wish list in your classroom if you are a teacher (Parents Night) and include the list in your “Note from the Teacher” for each child’s take-home folder.
- Subscribe to Big Universe’s free weekly newsletter, which includes links in each issue for complimentary access to selected children’s books offered online. Follow Big Universe on Facebook and receive alerts for the website’s free book of the day.
- Scout out local yard or moving sales. There’s always a crate of mix-n-match volumes under a table somewhere.
- Read literacy blogs and other social media, keeping an eye out for book giveaways or contests.
- Give the right answer when someone asks you for birthday gift ideas for your kids. “Anything would be lovely, but books are always a hit” works nicely.
- Start an exchange at the gym. Ask management if you can add a box by the door at the childcare room.
- Swap one of the duplicate books you got for Christmas with a friend.
- Look for post-holiday closeout deals at the book shop or big box stores.
- Do your research. Many reading incentive programs (especially in summer) offer book rewards for reaching goals.
- Get your techie to surf the Net for some deals – Affordabook.com, Half.com or Powells.com for instance.
- Inquire at churches. Some offer lending libraries.
- Ask to collect books not claimed from Lost & Found bins.
* Let me know if you have any other ideas. I’d love to add to this list, so please submit a comment.