Monthly Archives: January 2015

Wrap Up and Read!

by Katrina Morse, Family Reading Partnership

How are you staying warm this cold winter week? How about wrapping up in a cozy blanket with your young children and reading some favorite books aloud? Make it a daily routine to choose some books in the late afternoon when everyone is home. Find a spot on the couch or floor and then pull a blanket around everyone and enjoy your time imagining, exploring, and traveling through the stories. Here are some authors that write engaging stories that make great read-aloud:

Pat Hutchins writes stories that each answer a simple question. What happened to the cookies in “The Doorbell Rang”? What is the fox going to do next in “Rosie’s Walk”? Will everyone get the right message in “The Surprise Party”? Her writing style creates suspense that will keep your child wondering what will happen next.

Time-to-SleepDenise Fleming writes for the very young, but in a way that entertains grown-ups too. Her stories have things to find on each page if you look closely. There is rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia that will tickle your tongue and make your child giggle. “Beetle Bop,” “Lunch,” and “Time to Sleep” are just a few of Fleming’s many books, all with illustrations created with her beautiful, colorful handmade paper.

Margaret Wise Brown’s stories have stood the test of time. Her main characters are usually animals that do people activities. “Goodnight Moon” and “Runaway Bunny” have the child-like sensibility of magical realism. Her books often have things in the illustrations that aren’t mentioned in the story but are fun to discover. Look for the little yellow butterfly in “Big Red Barn.” Can your child find the 5 sleeping kittens “Goodnight Little One”?

Mem Fox, an Australian author, has a book for every occasion. “Time for Bed” is a sleepy story that introduces animals. “Where’s the Green Sheep?” is a humorous hide-and-seek story. “Koala Lou” tells about a mother’s never-ending love.

KatyandtheBigSnow

Virginia Lee Burton wrote books in the 1940’s, so you and your child may be surprised by some of the “old-fashioned” ways of living shown in the illustrations. There were no cell phones or computers in those times! These stories will delight children with the constant action and determination of the main characters. There is a tractor in “Katy and the Big Snow,” a steam shovel in “Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel,” and a family’s home in “This Little House” that all have personalities that are brave and unselfish.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under author spotlight, family book traditions, family reading, winter

Celebrate Creativity Month!

by guest writer Suzie Brache, Family Reading Partnership Program Coordinator

January is International Creativity Month. How inspiring for families! Even though the weather has grown colder and snowier, and sunlight is just a bit dimmer, what a great time of year to start something fresh and new.

How can you celebrate this unique time of year? The beauty of creativity is that there are no rules. The possibilities are endless. You can start a new project or craft, or try your hand at sewing. Create art of all forms, including painting, drawing, and sculpture. And don’t forget writing. Have you written any poetry lately? How about a song or story? Launch a brand-new invention. Make a kite to fly in the spring. Plan your garden. Build castles in the snow.

Creativity is heightened when you create as a family. Your family can become inspired by visiting museums, signing up for a class, or simply appreciating others’ creativity. It’s never too early to play games or make up new songs to sing together with babies and small children. Being creative increases vocabulary. Write a family book together with older children. Cook together. There are numerous ideas in books and online to help guide you.

Another way your family can celebrate creativity is by reading together. Any books your family likes will do. To spark imagination, consider Peter Reynolds’ “Creatrilogy,” including “The Dot,” “Ish,” and “Sky Color.” These wonderful books invite children’s self-expression, and remind everyone there are no rules. The sky is the limit when it comes to inspiration.

TheDot

Also, be sure to check out Barney Saltzberg’s “Beautiful OOPS!” which tells children it’s okay to make a mistake, and that every “mistake” is actually a fantastic opportunity to make something new and amazing. And isn’t this is a message both children and adults need to hear?

It is vital to nurture creativity in ourselves and our children. Starting when children are very young, encourage their new ideas and creations (even if it gets messy sometimes!) Tell them creativity is a gift in all of us.

Take your newfound creations even further and extend International Creativity Month throughout the whole year. Use January as a leaping-off point to continue creative endeavors for months to come. Create things together as a family! Read together! Share your creations!

So, what are YOU going to create?

 

2 Comments

Filed under activities, creativity, family reading

A Renewed Dedication to Reading Aloud

In this new year, make a resolution to yourself to read aloud to your young children and make books a daily part of your family’s life. As Dr. Seuss says in “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut,” “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Reading with children gives them new ideas, new hopes, and new dreams. Most importantly, reading aloud helps your children develop a lifetime love of books and reading to give them more choices and opportunities as they grow older.

Here are a few easy ways to make books and reading the center of your family’s life and help your children be comfortably at home with books.

Read aloud together every day. Reading to your children gives them a diet rich in words. It feeds their brains! Sharing books together regularly gives your children a sense of security in the routine and time spent with you. They will come to associate books with your love and attention, which will only strengthen their own love of books.

Have books at hand, many places in your life. When children can reach books, they will pick them up, open them up, and enjoy them. Take your children’s books off of the top shelves in your bookcase and put them down on the floor in baskets, in little spaces between furniture, or on lower shelving. Take them in the car, in the stroller, on the bus. Get books at the library, at yard sales, trade with friends, or buy books at your local book store. Don’t worry if a book gets a tear or smudge; they can be repaired and cleaned. Books are better well loved than not read at all.

Show your children that you value books and reading. Read books, newspapers, and magazines yourself. Read signs, cereal boxes, and cookbooks to your children. Read special books on holidays or events. And talk about what you have read. You’ll be showing your children how words are used in every day life.

GreatBooks4BabiesToddlers

Learn more about read-aloud by checking out the tips, techniques, and children’s book suggestions in some of these books: “The Read-Aloud Handbook,” by Jim Trelease, “Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever” by Mem Fox, “How to Get Your Kids to Love Reading” by Esmé Raji Codell, Baby Read Aloud Basics” by Caroline Blakemore and Barbara Weston Ramirez, “Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More Than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child’s First Three Years” by Kathleen Odean. Start early and read often. Happy New Year!

Leave a comment

Filed under books for babies, books for toddlers, family book traditions, family reading, read-aloud resources