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

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