Tuesday, April 6, 2010

True Adventures Collection

Do you like adventure and excitement?

Do you  like true stories?

Do you like short stories?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions then take a look at the True Adventure Collection.

The True Adventure Collection is a combined volume of three books: 

True Survival Stories

True Stories of Heroes

True Spy Stories

True Survival Stories tells exciting tales about the Hindenburg, Appollo 13, Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition plus other stories of people surviving against great odds.

True Stories of Heroes lets us know of heroes that aren't always known to us from history books.  There were heroes at the catastrophe at Chernobyl the nuclear reactor that exploded, and surgeons in the battlefield in Beirut.  There are also fun stories like the animals that have saved human lives and "Evel" Knievel's jump across the Snake River Canyon.

True Spy Stories gives us a glimpse of some real 007 agents that worked during World War One and Two as well as during the Cold War.  There were agents, double agents and some who didn't know what they were doing but were collecting a lot of money!

There fantastic stories are even more amazing for being true!

Written by Paul Dowswell and Fergus Fleming
Published by Usborne Books
These books can be purchased at www.TonyasBooks.com

Thursday, March 25, 2010

10 Tips for Reading Aloud to Children

These 10 tips are taken from a book mark that I purchased from Usborne Books & More and is based on
 "Thirty DO's to Remember When Reading Aloud" by Jim Trelease.  He has a wonderful website that gives more information on reading aloud.  To read more go to www.trelease-on-reading.com

1.  Remember:  The art of listening is acquired.

2.  The first time you read a book, discuss the cover illustration.

3.  Read slowly enough for the child to build mental pictures.

4.  Use plenty of expression, change your tone of voice, and adjust your pace to fit the story.

5.  Encourage involvement; invite the child to turn pages for you.

6.  Ask "What do you think is going to happen next?"

7.  During repeat readings of a predictable book, stop at key phrases and allow the child to provide the words.

8.  If you can't finish a chapter, find a suspenseful spot at which to stop.

9.  Paper, crayons and pencils allow active children to keep their hands busy while listening.

10.  Reading aloud comes naturally to very few people.  To do it with ease takes practice.  It's worth it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

Today we had some fun making 2 different types of Shamrock crafts!

For the first one, we cut out a shamrock from white paper.

Glued it to a piece of green paper

Spread glue all over the top of the shamrock

The sprinkled crushed eggshells, dyed green, all over the top.

Turned out pretty!

The second one, we cut out four egg cups from an egg container

We painted the foursome green

The girls decided to sprinkle the leftover eggshells all over these shamrocks too!

When they dried, we put green pipe cleaner stems on.

Turned out pretty!  Love that creativity!

Musical Shakers!

Children love to make nice sounding music! 

These shakers are cheap and easy to make and make a really appealing sound.

Start with empty Easter eggs -now is a great time to get these!  Fill each one half full with rice.  Glue the eggs shut. 

Put on some music and start dancing and shaking!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Match the Sounds!

This "Match the Sound" game helps children listen carefully and pick out differences in the sounds.

Start with a bag of empty Easter eggs.

Gather different objects to put inside the eggs.  Ideas:  pennies, buttons, beads, beans, rice, cut-up straws, safety pins, barrets and cut-up toothpics. 

Fill at least 2 eggs with the same objects.

The Game:  Have the children take turns shaking the eggs and finding two that sound the same.  Carefully open the eggs to see if they guessed correctly!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dancing Streamers!

Children have a natural ability to move to music.  They hear the rhythms and beats and must sway and bee-bop around.  They love to use these streamers.

The streamers are fun to make and fun to dance with!

Supplies:  paper towel or toilet paper rolls, paint, paintbrush, strips of tissue paper, glue and stickers.

Start by painting the rolls different colors.

Glue the streamers on the inside.

Then decorate with stickers and pens.

Time to get moving!  We danced to different types of songs such as Blue Danube, Bach's Taccato in D Minor, Carnival of the Animals and Pachabel's Cannon.  Pick fast and slow songs, cheerful and dark.  The children will move differently to the different sounds.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bean Box Treasure Hunt Update!

Some children must experience textures with their whole bodies!

This definitely describes my Shelli.  She is always rolling in mud, bark, paint and now beans!

Yes, she has paint all over her face!
The biggest treasure in the treasure box!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meet Children's Author Laura Numeroff!!

For those of you in the Sacramento area, there will be a chance to meet the author of If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, Laura Numeroff!   She will read her newest book, The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza and others.

This is a free program for the whole family.

What a great way to get your children excited about a book!

Take them to meet a real author!

The program will be at:

The Central Library at 828 I Street, Sacramento.
March 12, 2010
Friday, 6pm
Seating begins at 5:30pm

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Guji Guji

Guji Guji is a "crocoduck"!  He is a crocodile adopted by a duck family.  They love him very much and he loves them.  Their differences do not matter to them.

Then one terrible day three bad crocodiles show up and tell Guji Guji that he must help them since he is a crocodile like them.  They want him to lure the ducks to them so they can eat the ducks!

Guji Guji must think.  Is he really like the bad crocodiles or is he like his duck family?  He comes up with a plan to save the ducks.  The crocodiles run off and the ducks celebrate with Guji Guji. 

Guji Guji was the duck hero of the day!  He continues to live with his duck family.

What does it really mean to be a family?

Guji Guji is a great adoption story!  We adopted our youngest daughters and this book is a great way to start conversations about the subject of family and how different families are mad.  It would make a great gift for a new family!

What kinds of stories do they tell in Taiwan?

Guji Guji was written by Chih-Yuan Chen and first published in Taiwan then translated into English.  So this book also allows us a glimpse into a story from another culture.

Guji Guji can be heard at Storyline Online

And can be purchased for $15.95 at Tonya's Books

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bean Box Treasure Hunt

We had such a fun time this week with our Bean Box!

I filled a big box with lots of pinto and black beans.
Then I hid small toys under the beans.

The girls had fun searching for the toys and mixing up the two colored beans.

After the treasure hunt, the girls played with the beans like they would in a sandbox.  They brought over spoons, cups, buckets and bottles.  They practiced pouring, filling and dumping.

Skills-feeling different textures, fine motor skills, pouring, scooping, creative play...

Then Shelli climbed in the box and started throwing the beans-working on her gross motor skills!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rainy Day Book

It is raining AGAIN today!  To make the most of the weather we wrote and illustrated our own rain books.

Skills we worked on:  creativity, writing, and drawing

First we read a few books and poems about rain looking for ways rain was described, what people were wearing, and who was running to get out of the rain.

We stapled a few sheets of paper together and used a gray-blue sheet of construction paper to be the cover. 

We wrote down ten words about rain:  
Cat (a cat sitting in the rain)
Home (what our home looks like in the rain
Tree (a tree in the rain)
Run (people running in the rain)

Angel practiced her writing by doing it herself. 

 I made it fun by getting out the gel pens to make her writing sparkly and colorful.

I wrote out the words for Shelli and then she colored her own pictures.

The girls learned to be creative and worked on writing and reading skills in a new and exciting way.

You can order The Rainy Day for $9.99 at Tonya's Books

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Usborne Little Book of Flowers

"Flowers have played an important role in people's lives for thousands of years.  They have formed part of festivals and rituals, inspired artists, poets and storytellers and even been used as charms for love and luck."

Did you know?

In the past, when most people couldn't read or write, flower symbolism was a language that everyone understood.
Sometimes what you might think is a single flower is actually made up of lots of smaller flowers called florets.
Patterns on the flower's petal, called nectar guides show insects where to find nectar.  Some types of flowers have nectar guides that only bees can see!

A butterfly can unfurl it's tube-like mouthparts to reach deeper into flowers than bees can.
In the right conditions, some plants can grow from a single leaf!

It's said that the flower of the month you were born in will bring you good luck.
Many flowers take their names from ancient stories which explain how they came to exist or why they look or grow the way they do.

This little book is a treasure trove of flowery facts, folklore and things to do.  There are step by step instructions for planting gardens as well as for painting, drying and pressing flowers.
Because this book is Internet-linked, you can download many of the illustrations to use in crafts and reports, play garden games and watch flower movies.

Packed with charming illustrations and facts, The Usborne Little Book of Flowers makes the perfect gift for flower-lovers of all ages.

Order The Usborne Little Book of Flowers for $7.95 at Tonya's Books

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fingerpainting Letters!

Another Letter Activity!

Children learn with their whole bodies.  And that includes learning to read and write!

A great way to practice writing is to squirt a bunch of fingerpaints on slick paper and let them practice writing a letter over and over again in the slippery paint.

Supplies:  Fingerpaint (we used blue since younger sister, Shelli, is learning blue this week)
                Fingerpaint paper

Squirt on the fingerpaint and let them go.
Our letter of the week is the Letter S.
Angel wrote an S over and over again.

Shelli wrote an S and then decided to paint her hair and face blue!

Will she learn the color blue this week too??

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Letter S - Seashell Painting

This week's theme is Letter S.

Craft:  Seashell Painting

Gather your supplies:
cup of water

Let them paint the shells any color!
The lighter, brighter colors are prettiest!

Final results-
Beautiful Seashells!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Boys and Books

These are the facts: By fourth grade, the average boy is two years behind the average girl in reading and writing.

Boys make up 70% of special education classes and are four times more likely to have ADHD than girls.

Boys are 50% more likely to be retained a grade than girls and are three times more likely  to be placed in reading/learning disabilities settings.

Boys around the world score less well than girls in reading and writing and have lower motivation to read and write than their female counterparts.

14 year-old boys listed these as their top obstacles to reading:
  • Boring/no fun:  39.3%
  • No time/too busy:  29.8%
  • Like other activities better:  11.1%
  • Can't get into the stories:  7.7%
  • I'm not good at it:  4.3%

What can we do about this? 

Be aware of the differences between boys and girls when it comes to reading.

Boys read less fiction than girls. 

Boys are more inclined to read informational texts. 

Some boys are passionate about fantasy.

Boys tend to enjoy excapism and humor.

Provide boys with plenty of the kinds of books they prefer, from the time they are very young.

Provide picture books that contain messages of positive male values such as cooperation, courage, honesty, perseverance, respectfulness, responsibility and tolerance.
source:  http://www.reading.org/

Books that appeal to boys:

Conspiracy 365 Series

True Adventure Collection

War Stories


Fantasy Quests


Pirate Adventures

True Stories:  Pirates

Improve Your Survival Skills




Tales of King Arthur

These are just a few of the types of books boys love.  Go to http://www.tonyasbooks.com/ to order these books or look for others.  For personal assistance contact Tonya at dirksen.tonya@gmail.com.