Monday, April 15, 2013

Storytime Line-up: On the Go!

We shared stories about transportation this week and talked about how we get from one place to another - by car, by train, by bus, and even by foot!  There are plenty of picture books and music to chose from to expand the discussion around this theme.  Enjoy a few favorites listed here and ask your local librarian for more ideas!  

Check out the music tracks from these CD's to extend your conversation about transportation.

Kids in the City by Laura Doherty
Wheels in the City
El Train
Elevator, Escalator  

Ralph's World by Ralph's World
Drivin' in My Car

Picture Books

The Bridge Is Up! by Babs Bell (ages 2-4)
The draw bridge is up and all the vehicles pile up to wait - bus, car, truck, motorcycle, bike, tractor, and bull dozer.  Repetitive text invites youngest readers to participate in reading.  

Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrad (ages 2-4)
In this version, you can sing along as the train picks up a wide array of baby zoo animals one by one.  Final stop?  The children's zoo and the arrival of the bus full of school children.  

We All Go Traveling By by Sheena Roberts (ages 2-6)
This delightful transportation story has a terrific tune that you can find in a video online here.  Bus, car, train, bike, boat, airplane, walking and more!
A Cozy Up and Read All Time Favorite

The Little School Bus by Carol Roth (ages 3-6)
Ride to school with a colorful group of characters - a goat in a coat, a pig in a wig, a fox with socks.  The text bounces along in a rhyming rhythm.  

Along a Long Road by Frank Viva (ages 3-6)
Interesting, stylized graphic illustrations carry the reader along this bike trip.  Great movement filled with descriptive prepositions and adjectives - up, down, around, in, out, fast, slow.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

All Things that Sparkle

If your little one who is a fan of all things silver-sparkly, glitter infused and ruffly, then these are some books for you.  Enjoy!  And don't forget to check out your local library for copies.

Shoe-la-la! by Karen Beaumont (ages 2-6)
A group of friends are on the hunt for the perfect shoe only to come up short in the shoe store.  But not to worry - these lively pals are crafters and transform their simple, plain shoes into perfect, glittery pairs in no time. 

Little Ballet Star by Adele Geras (ages 3-6)
Join Tilly on her special birthday as she enjoys a backstage opportunity to meet ballerinas, see the costumes and dressing rooms and maybe even delight the audience with a chance to be on-stage. 

Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie by Laurie Jacobs (ages 3-6)
Sophia and Chloe love it when Grandma Tillie babysits - you never know which vibrant, colorful character you're going to get!  Evenings are transformed into delights of dances and shows, creative dining and spas.  Never a dull moment.

Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor (ages 2-6)
Nancy is not a simple, plain girl.  There is no such thing as too much glitz and glitter, so she truly doesn't understand her plain (and dare we say, boring) family.  Nancy takes on the challenge ro educate her parents and sister in all things fancy and learns in the end the richness of a loving and caring family.     

Too Purply! by Jean Reidy (ages 2-4)
Finding just the right outfit can certainly be a challenge.  Touring through this wardrobe intriduces creative textures, colors and patterns until landing on "just right". 

Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (ages 3-7)
Planting a kiss yields sparkling bounty to be shared with others in this sparkly, tactile story.  Delightful illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mystery Reader

Primary elementary classrooms often invite parents, grandparents and friends in to read aloud to the whole class a picture book or two.  Choosing books for Mystery Reader can be a challenge.  You're looking for a book that will appeal to both boys and girls with a general theme that will hold the interest of all of those different personalities.  You hope to find a story that isn't too text heavy, that isn't too short and that has great illustrations that can be seen well to the very last row on the carpet.  And most importantly, you have be comfortable with the whole story so that you can infuse some expression into your reading.  To top it all off, this entire process is completely subjective.  A book might work well for one reader and not at all for another.  With all that being said, here are some of my favorite read alouds that I often recommend as options for Mystery Reader.  

Tips for the Mystery Reader

  • Choose a book that you really enjoy.  This will shine through in your reading.  
  • Read more slowly than you think you need to.  Almost everyone speeds up when you're reading in front of a crowd.
  • Practice the book several times at home so that you are familiar with the vocabulary, the sentence flow, the pages turns and the illustrations.
  • Bring several books with you in case you have time to read more than one story or in case the book you chose is one that's already been read recently to the class.  They will not be shy, so you might hear, "We ALREADY read that one!"
  • Remember to point out the title, author and illustrator.  And hold the book so that the students can see the illustrations and/or make sure you scan the book across the crowd before turning the page so that every child has a chance to see.  
  • Think of some extension questions to ask the group at the end.  Something to tie the book to their world or to make a connection with another book, movie or character.  
  • Don't be afraid to stop in the middle of the book to make sure they know a vocabulary term or that they understand a component of the story.  
  • Smile a lot and have fun!  Your child will love that you are the Mystery Reader!
Snip Snap! What's That? by Mara Bergman
The children have been left to fend for themselves against the advancing alligator.  And were the children scared?  YOU BET THEY WERE!
A Cozy Up and Read All Time Favorite

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo
2013 Caldecott Honor Winner
Elliott discovers one day at the aquarium that a penguin would be the perfect pet.  And so he brings the penguin home only to realize that he must hide the new family member from his father.  

Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi
Henry's the son of a swashbuckling bunny pirate, but he's not following at all in his father's footsteps.  Henry is a lover of all things books and reading which proves to be pretty handy in time.  

RRRalph by Lois Ehlert
Lois Ehlert's collage illustrations always provide opportunity to investigate and explore.  In this short story, the reader meets a genius, talking dog.

The Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman
A new, terrifically fun version of the traditional tale, The Three Little Pigs .

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen 
2012 Geisel Award Honor Book
Bear is looking for his hat - and he won't be fooled by anyone!

The Squeaky Door by Margaret Read McDonald
This little guy is spending the night at Grandma's house and the squeaky door proves to be just too scary, so all of the family's animals from a cat to a horse are invited in to help.
A Cozy Up and Read All Time Favorite

Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith
In the style of a tall tale, Holler Loudly is the story of a boy whose loud voice is always trouble until it is the just the trick to save the town from being destroyed.

The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens
A tennis ball drops innocently into a hole.  Once the organized, efficient family of prairie dogs get hold of that lone ball, everything disintegrates into a ruckus and chaos.  
A Cozy Up and Read All Time Favorite

Monday, March 18, 2013

Three Cheers for the Bears

Who doesn't love a teddy bear?  If you've got preschoolers at home, you most likely have a cuddly bear or two hanging around.  Make it a day to celebrate those beloved friends!  Gather up some of your  bears and host a teddy bear picnic, tea, or slumber party.  Share some rhymes, stories, and snacks - and dont' forget to check your local library for these titles.

Traditional Rhyme
(referenced from: King County Library System)
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, reach up high,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the sky,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, bend down low,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch your toes,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, go to bed,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, rest your head,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn out the lights,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say "good night".

For some easy bear-themed snacks, grab a box of the bear shaped graham cookies or for a treat, a bag of gummy bears.  If you've got a teddy bear cookie cutter, you can make teddy bear cookies or sandwiches.  Also, we know that bears love honey, so sweeten your tea with honey, make some honey and peanut butter sandwiches, or drizzle over banana slices with peanut butter.

Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough (ages 3-6)
There's been a mix-up in the forest and the precious teddy bears have been switched - poor Eddie is missing his bear!  A fast-paced enjoyable teddy bear bedtime tale.  

A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker (ages 4-7)
Bear is a bit of a grump and is certain that he does not need a visitor - especially a darling, persistent mouse who is bushy-tailed and bright-eyed.
A Cozy Up and Read All Time Favorite

Jamberry by Bruce Degen (ages 2-6)
Go on an adventure playing with words and rhymes and bears and berries.
A Cozy Up and Read All Time Favorite

Old Bear and His Cub by Olivier Dunrea (ages 3-6)
A quiet, endearing story of love and care between a young cub and his old bear.

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily  Gravett (ages 2-5)
Clever, fun play on words and illustration - only a handful of words are used in this short story that begs to be enjoyed again and again.
A Cozy Up and Read All Time Favorite

Red Sled by Lita Judge (ages 3-7)
A nighttime sledding adventure, this wordless story uses only expressive, delightful illustration and onomatopoeia.  Too much fun!

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (ages 2-5)
Be prepared to read and reread this story until you have it committed to memory. The light rhymes and bouncy vocabulary carry the reader through this delightful, nighttime tale of a hibernating bear and a circle of woodland animals who try so hard not to wake the bear.
A Cozy Up and Read All Time Favorite

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Family Read Aloud: 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel / 1 Dog = Chaos

Family Read Aloud:  8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel / 1 Dog = Chaos
By Vivan Vende Velde

This fast-paced, short chapter book hooks the reader from page one.  The story is of a spunky squirrel who gets chased into the local elementary school by a dog.  They tear through classroom after classroom causing a ruckus for all the school’s various class pets including a rabbit, a hamster, some fish, a snake and a macaw.  Each chapter introduces a new classroom and unfolds through the eyes of that class’s pet giving the reader a terrific exposure to perspective.   Each pet’s voice conveys a strong and unique personality. A great read aloud for a family or for primary elementary grades, this book is filled with wit, comedy, and action.  Every chapter begs to turn to the next.  Enjoy!

  • Research each pet.  What type of care is needed for each animal?  Do any of these animals live in the wild?  If so, what is the natural habitat for those animals?
  • Which animal is most similar to you in personality?
  • If you could have one of these pets in your classroom, which one would you choose and why?
  • Create a sequencing wheel for this story.  Start with a white paper plate and divide it into pie slices.  Color a picture for each main event/pet in the book and attach a cardstock arrow in the middle with a brad.  Retell the story in your own words.  Can you make a unique voice for each animal?  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Looking for Those Easy Readers

If you have a beginning reader in your life, then you know that finding interesting, solid easy readers can be a challenge.  Easy readers are written using controlled vocabulary and are constructed of short, simple sentences which can result in dry, stilted writing.  However, there are lots of talented, fun-loving authors who create charming, lively easy readers for our beginning readers.  Dr. Seuss was a magician at this.  Here are several easy readers to check out - some are funny, some are quiet, but all are worth the read.

 Cat Days by Alexa Andrews

Frog and Friends by Eve Bunting

Pinch and Dash and the Terrible Couch by Michael J. Daley

The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow by Andy Griffiths

Clara and Clem Take a Ride by Ethan Long

Hippo and Rabbit in Three Short Tales by Jeff Mack

Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place by Melissa Wiley

I Love My New Toy! by Mo Willems
An Elephant and Piggie Book

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Round and Round We Go

Circular stories are often a favorite among the older preschool set.  These stories start at a set beginning and wind their way through a series of events which lead the reader back to the very same beginning again.  Circular stories are similar to cumulative tales in that both are terrific at helping young readers understand and practice sequencing narratives which is an important early literacy skill.  However, cumulative stories retell a story from the beginning over and over adding an event or detail with each retelling (like the Gingerbread Man or This Is the House that Jack Built).  

You can share the circular story as a simple read aloud, but to add to the richness of the early literacy moment, try any of these additional extensions:

  • Check that your child "gets it" - ask if the ending reminds them of anything and see if they recognize that the ending is the same as the beginning.
  • Have your child retell the story in their own words recalling as many of the events as possible.
  • Go back through the book backwards recounting the story until you reach the beginning again.
  • Create storyboards with your child about the book - draw one picture to represent each major component of the story.  Mix the storyboards up and see if you can sort them into the original sequence.  You can also use the storyboards to create a new version of the story.
  • Create a story wheel.  Using a paper plate, divide the circle into as many pie slices as needed for the number of major events and have your child illustrate each pie slice.  Don't forget that the first "pie slice" will also be the last!  Using a brad, pin a card stock arrow to the middle of the plate and have your child spin the arrow around pointing to each event in sequence beginning and ending with same pie slice.  
Here are several circular stories to check out and enjoy. 

Don't Slam the Door! by Dori Chaconas (ages 2-5)
Giggle as you roll along with the silly adventure through the farm house when the door slams.  

A New House for Mouse by Petr Horacek (ages 2-4)
Mouse happens on a fantastic, bright apple that is way too big to fit into his little mouse house.  So off mouse sets for a new abode winding his way all the back home again.  

What To Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot by Michelle Rpbinson (ages 4-7)
A traveler's guide of silly sorts - the narrator of this circular tale is not short on advice for this safari trip.  Hilarious ideas are paired with Peter H Reynolds' delightful illustrations.

This Is the Farmer by Nancy Tafuri (ages 2-4)
Start out the morning on the farm with the farmer, his wife and a barnyard full of animals in this Nancy Tafuri classic.