Tag Archives: children’s books

Read to Your Baby!

Read to a newborn baby? YES! It may seem too early, but reading to an infant is the beginning of a lifetime of your child loving books and establishes a reading routine for your family. A baby doesn’t understand the words you read, but he or she feels safe in your loving arms, hearing the familiar sound of your voice, and receiving your undivided attention.

Read anything! In the earliest days of infancy, you can read anything to your baby. The sound of your voice is what is important, not the content of what you are reading. Sing-songy, rhyming text will grab your baby’s attention. Of course, if your baby isn’t in the mood to listen and is fussy, try again later. When a baby is older and more aware of what is around him and can hold objects, he’s ready for children’s books that relate to his world and introduce words and concepts in a fun way.

Start collecting books for your home library, even before your baby is born. Board books are a great type of book to start with because their cardboard construction makes them sturdy enough to stand up to a baby holding them, dropping them, turning the pages, and even chewing on them. You can buy board books at your favorite bookstore, or choose free, “gently-used” board books from a Bright Red Bookshelf  in your neighborhood. Sign up for a library card especially for your baby and start checking out board books from your neighborhood library.

Look for books that have lots of rhythm and rhyme and pictures that show recognizable objects and faces of people. You’ll want to avoid board books with too much text or ones where the pictures are too small. This happens when a larger format book for older children is printed into a board book. Your favorite childhood book may look cute as a small board book, but your baby will lose interest if the book wasn’t meant for a young child.

Keep it fun! When reading to your baby, you may not want to read all the words in the book, or even look at all the pages. Looking at the pictures, asking questions or pointing things out is another way to share books with your child. Most important is to enjoy your time together!

Fifteen Favorite Board Books for Baby (Use this list for your own family and for gift ideas for the next baby shower you attend!)

  • “Hug” by Jez Alborough
  • “Ten, Nine, Eight” by Molly Bang
  • “Snoozers” by Sandra Boynton
  • “Tumble Bumble” by Felicia Bond
  • “Freight Train” by Donald Crews
  • “Color Farm” by Lois Ehlert
  • “Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes” by Judy Hindley
  • “Counting Kisses” by Karen Katz
  • “Peek-a-Boo” by Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • “Ten Little Fingers,” Annie Kubler
  • “Chicka Chicka ABC” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  • “I Spy Little Animals” by Jean Marzollo
  • “Guess How Much I Love You?” by Sam McBratney
  • “Say Goodnight” by Helen Oxenbury
  • “Have You Seen My Duckling?” by Nancy Tafuri

Books for Grown-Ups about Reading Aloud

  • “Baby Read-Aloud Basics” by Caroline Blakemore and Barbara Ramirez
  • “Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More Than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child’s First Three Years” by Kathleen Odean
  • “Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos: A Guide to Choosing and Loving Books Together” by Susan Straub and KJ Dell’Antonia

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Bring Books to Life by Connecting to Activities

Bring books to life for your child! Read a book, then experience what you read by connecting the story to the real world. By extending the book to include the sights, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes of real life, the written word and flat pictures in a book become a multidimensional and memorable experience.

You could read a book about food, such as “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett or “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin and then eat some spaghetti or make your own tacos. Read the book while you sample the food and the story will become an event that your child won’t forget.

You could read “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Willems and then take a real bus ride; or read “Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type” by Doreen Cronin and then type and send a real letter or email to someone your child knows. (Grandma will love getting a personal note from her grandchild.)

A great way to teach your child about music is to read books about music and instruments and then listen to the real thing. There are many free and low cost concerts in your community and at schools that your child may enjoy. Make sure to point out the instruments that you have read about and listen to how each sounds. Stay at a live performance only as long as your child is interested, so that this introduction to music is a pleasant experience for everyone.

Some children’s books about music that will make you tap your toes:

  • “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin” by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, introduces ten instruments in an orchestra, in rhyming text with illustrations that curve with the rhythm of the music. 
  • “The Bat Boy and his Violin” by Gavin Curtis, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, is an endearing story about a young African American boy who would rather play violin than be the bat boy for his father’s baseball team. The boy’s expert music making ends up helping the team overcome a losing streak, and helps win over his dad’s heart. Striking watercolor illustrations are based on extensive research of the time period.
  • “Moose Music” by Sue Porter. When Moose finds a violin and bow in a mud puddle in the woods, he finds out that the rusty strings produce an ear-splitting screech that no animal in the woods can tolerate… except for a lady moose who has a raspy, howling voice. Children will laugh at this pair.
  • “This Jazz Man” by Karen Ehrhardt, illustrated by R.G. Roth. The bouncy text of this book is based on the childhood tune, “This Old Man” and the illustrations are lively collage. The book begins with: “This Jazz Man, he plays one. He plays rhythm with his thumb. With a snap, snap, snazzy-snap, give the man a hand, this jazz man scats with the band.” The book ends with brief histories of nine jazz musicians from the thirties and forties.

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Be a Read-Aloud Super Hero!

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Family Reading Partnership invites you and your family to join our March Read-Aloud Challenge, Books are my Super Power, an exciting and interactive celebration for National Read-Aloud Month.

Our theme, Books are my Super Power, highlights the many ways books empower young children to be thinkers and doers, and how to become Read-Aloud Super Heroes!

Why are Books a Super Power? Books provide opportunities for children to imagine themselves in the character’s situation, think about what they might do, and to practice being, among other things, kind, brave, persistent, and a good friend. These qualities really are SUPER POWERS for children.

Read aloud to the young children in your life and make reading at home a treasured part of your daily routine for the Challenge in March, and beyond. The benefits last a lifetime!

TAKE THE PLEDGE with your family and together we will invite every child to believe in the magic words: Books are my Super Power!

BooksSuperPowers2Here is how you can join the Books are my Super Power Read-Aloud Challenge:

  • Visit www.familyreading.org to learn more!
  • Take the pledge to read all month. Grown-ups can pledge to read and children can pledge to ask for read-aloud!
  • Download a Tool Kit filled with fun ideas and activities including Super Hero masks and wrist cuffs!
  • LIKE the Family Reading Partnership Facebook page to see all the action, enter to win prizes, post photos, and share your favorite read-aloud moments!

During National Read-Aloud month, March 2016, Family Reading Partnership’s book, “At Home with Books/En casa con libros,” is available at a deep discount so families and classrooms can enjoy more read-aloud!  Written and illustrated by Katrina Morse, this bilingual book is the story of the Bear Family and all the family members and friends that read aloud during the day. It is a book that encourages, supports, and celebrates reading aloud to young children. Read to the young children in your life every day because… Books are a Super Power!

 

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Celebrate “The World of Eric Carle” November 14th

Welcome to Kids’ Book Fest and The World of Eric Carle!

by Elizabeth Stilwell, Early Childhood Specialist, Family Reading Partnership

It’s that time again. The days are shorter and cooler, but there is a big bright spot on the horizon. Saturday, November 14th from 10-4, Boynton Middle School in Ithaca, NY will be transformed into a fun and magical venue for children and families to participate in Family Reading Partnership’s annual Kids Book Fest! This year’s Kids Book Fest theme is “The World of Eric Carle,” in celebration of 20 years of welcoming babies in the community with the special gift of Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” through Family Reading Partnership’s “Welcome Baby!” program sponsored by Tompkins Trust Company.

Kids’ Book Fest is a fun, free, family-friendly celebration that focuses on the joy of books and reading aloud with young children. The whimsical illustrations and stories of beloved author and illustrator Eric Carle, will be central to this year’s event. To build anticipation, over 3,600 children in Pre-K – 3rd grade in the TST-BOCES District have received their own copy of Eric Carle’s, “The Mixed-Up Chameleon,” thanks to funding through Wegmans Reading Centers and local schools. Classroom teachers have been invited to engage their students to create artwork and projects related to this book. This helps to connect children throughout the community to the celebration and to each other. The children’s work will be displayed prominently and proudly at Kids Book Fest, transforming the hallways into beautiful galleries of children’s creative thought and process.Chameleon

Other highlights of this year’s Kids’ Book Fest include:

  • The Tompkins County Public Library will host an interactive, mobile library. Children will be able to check books out and families can help their children and babies sign up for a library card.
  • Storybook Theater–Ithaca College students from Voice and Movement classes will bring children’s books to life through simple interpretations of stories by Eric Carle and many more.
  • Children will be invited to enter the world of “The Mixed-Up Chameleon through a special interactive book room.
  • Ithaca Children’s Garden will sponsor a “Very Hungry Caterpillar interactive experience and invite children and families to provide input into the design of their new Very Hungry Caterpillar Boardwalk to be installed at the garden next year.
  • Community Organizations will provide an array of fun activities related to many different Eric Carle books. Participants of all ages will be invited to contribute to community art projects including a color chameleon mural and a word wall.
  • Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can relax and play in a special area just right for them and their parents to take a break from all the Book Fest fun.
  • Additional parking will be available at the Ithaca High School with a free Kids’ Book Fest shuttle van.

A great way to begin to enjoy “The World of Eric Carle” before coming to Kids’ Book Fest, is to read some of his more than 70 children’s books. Here are some favorites that you can find at your local library.

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” Gently rhyming and beautifully illustrated. every page introduces the reader to a new character, all of which are adorable animals. Children quickly learn to chant along with the text.

“The Very Busy Spider.” This story follows the tales of a number of farm animals who are trying to divert a very busy spider from completing the spinning of her web. She persists anyway, and creates something that is both beautiful and useful.

house_hermit_crab“A House for Hermit Crab.” As children learn about the life of a hermit crab this story also teaches about nature and the benefit of working and living together as a community.

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me. This is a tale of a father’s love for his daughter. and includes interactive fold-out pages for extra charm

“Pancakes, Pancakes! Jack would really like to enjoy some delicious pancakes, but first he’s got some chores to do!

“The Tiny Seed.” This story gently invites children to learn about the life cycles of nature. The text is quite poetic and beautiful, but certainly simple enough for young readers to enjoy.

Please come and join Family Reading Partnership at Kids’ Book Fest as we celebrate books, children and connecting our community through the joy of books and reading!

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The Importance of Book Series

bear

by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator
Family Reading Partnership

Some of the greatest books of all time have been part of a series. The Little House books, Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, to name a few. What compels us to start a series and what keeps us reading until the very end? More than that, why do book series matter?

There are two basic types of book series. The first involves books with interwoven plots, meant to be read sequentially, from the first book to the last. The second type may feature the same characters and setting but, lacking a chronological plot, these books can be read in any order without missing major pieces of the story. Both are equally appealing to readers for each of these reasons.

So what draws us into a series and what keeps us coming back for more? When reading a series, we know there is the promise of more adventures with beloved characters to come after finishing the first book. Having a blank slate stretching multiple volumes, an author is able to develop more complex scenarios and character personalities, deepening our relationship with these fictional friends. Seeing characters work through conflict, take on increased responsibility, and grow in their relationships throughout a series is especially rewarding for children and allows them a type of reference for their future experiences. All of this, in turn, captures our attention and sparks our interest, bringing us back for more. And the more we read, the more we love reading- and that’s what’s important.

Visit your local library to rediscover the book series of your childhood or to fall in love with a new favorite you can share with the young readers in your life.

Favorite Book Series:
“The Magic School Bus” by Joanna Cole
The “Bear” series by Karma Wilson
“If You Give a….” series by Laura Numeroff
“Berenstain Bears” collection by Stan and Jan Berenstain
“Skippyjon Jones” books by Judy Schachner
“Llama, Llama” books by Anna Dewdney

“The Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler Warner
“Mr. Putter and Tabby” by Cynthia Rylant
“Imagination Station” by Paul McCusker
“The Magic Tree House” by Mary Pope Osborne
“The Wingfeather Saga” by Andrew Peterson
“Tales of Magic” by Edward Eager
“Mercy Watson” by Kate DiCamillo
“Time Warp Trio” by Jon Scieszka
“Binky the Space Cat” by Ashley Spires

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Reading On the Run

by Melissa Perry, Program Coordinator, Family Reading Partnership

With many families taking some sort of vacation this summer, there will be a lot of time spent on the road travelling with children. While traveling can be an exciting adventure, with opportunities to explore the world, experience new things, and create family memories, the reality is that it can also be stressful- especially when taking road trips with children. Fortunately, travel time is the perfect opportunity for children to enjoy the pleasure of reading! Not only is it a fun, quiet activity that can fill long stretches of time, it also lends itself to the discovery of far off lands and incredible people. (All of this to say nothing about the importance of reading to fend off summer learning loss!)

It’s simple to outfit a vehicle with a variety of literacy material within easy reach of your children, keeping them occupied to read to themselves, or read to you, the driver! Stash some books in the seat pockets or buckle in a milk crate or a backpack in the center seat and fill with books. It’s fun to bring along a few favorites and add some books related to your destination or journey along the way. Learning about the states or big cities you plan to travel through, the vehicles seen on the roads, or activities you may be doing on your trip, such as fishing, camping, or visiting Grandma. There is an abundance of books that can capture the attention of your young travelers. Books are the perfect travel companions because they can be read again and again and children can read them to each other. Bring along small clip-on book lights for nighttime reading. Don’t forget that comic books, joke books, I spy books, magazines, and graphic novels count, too!

Another great way to weave literacy into your car trip is to borrow a few recorded books to enjoy while traveling. There are many options at your local library and it’s something the whole family can enjoy together, naturally encouraging conversations about predicting what may happen next, what each character could have done differently in the story, or what may have happened with the characters before the story began. Adults can also check out a few recorded books of their own and pop those in while the kids are asleep.

With over two-thirds of the population of young children in the US having regular access to an e-reader or tablet of some sort, it may seem logical to leave the printed books and recorded books at home, opting instead for the electronic versions of books. However, if your intention is to encourage your children to read while on the road, it’s useful to know that only about half the number of children using an electronic device use it for reading. And even at that rate, electronic devices only hold a reader’s attention for five minutes per day; compared to 30 minutes per day a child will read printed books. That’s a significant difference!

So, as you pack the car for your next family adventure, be sure to include reading material for every member of the clan, including the adults to model reading as a pleasurable, relaxing, and valuable activity. You can even create simple activity kits that relate to the books you have decided to bring along that extend the experience for little ones and keep them occupied just that much longer. Consider small toys such as finger puppets, small animal figurines, or, my favorite, a notebook and crayons. A theme-based snack can be a fun addition, too!

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Some fun travel themed books to check out include:

“Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go”
“Our 50 States” by Lynne Cheney
“Road Trip” by Roger Eschbacher
“Swimmy” by Leo Lionni
“S is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet” by Helen Foster James
“Mister Seahorse” by Eric Carle
“Planes” by Byron Barton
“Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell
“Next Stop Grand Central” by Maira Kalman
“A Bear Called Paddington” by Michael Bond
“Wabi Sabi” by Mark Reibstein
“Fly High, Fly Lo” by Don Freeman

For older readers:

“The Magic Tree House” series by Mary Pop Osborne
“From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg
“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick
“The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Perilous Journey” by Trenton Lee Stewart

 

Happy reading on the run!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Imagine What Is in a Book!

Picture books help children expand their imagination. Reading stories about how other people think, what they do, and places that are different than their own, help children learn new vocabulary and think more creatively. It helps them be better problem solvers! Any book can be an adventure for a child when you talk about it as you tell the story. Ask your child questions, suggest some different endings to the book, and talk about new ideas. See if some of the following get your child’s creative juices flowing.

“Now What Can I Do?” by Margaret Park Bridges, pictures by Melissa Sweet. A raccoon child wonders what he can do now that it’s raining outside. Every parent knows that complaint! His mom sees all the chores to do inside and helps her son see how fun it can be to make everything into a game. Making his bed is much more fun if he pretends his bed is a boat. Putting toys away becomes herding cattle. Putting socks in a drawer is like making a slam dunk in a basketball game. Brushing teeth can be pretending to be a singer. After reading this book, you and your child can think of even more fun you could have around the house using just a little imagination.

“Magic Box” by Katie Cleminson. When a girl pretends she is a master magician, she makes animals appear and disappear in great abundance. Animals can float and play music too! Illustrations are ink outlines with blues and reds splattered into the background. With a wave of her magic wand, everything vanishes… except one thing… Read the book to find out what is left!

“Red Wagon” by Renata Liwska. Lucy has a new, bright red wagon and is ready to play, but her mother wants Lucy to use the wagon for chores. Instead of pouting, Lucy does her chores with her wagon and her trip to the market becomes a high-seas adventure, a ride through outer space, and a day at the circus.

DoCowboysRideBikes “Do Cowboys Ride Bikes?” by Kathy Tucker, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. A question on each page and then a rhyming answer tell about cowboy life, from what they eat and say, to what they do at night. This book is a great conversation starter. Is cowboy life easy or hard, fun or just a job? After this book you can read, “Do Pirates Take Baths?” by the same author/illustrator team.

“Mouse Mess” by Linnea Riley. What would your life be like if you were a mouse? This rhyming story has illustrations with big bold shapes and colors for young children. Mouse has fun after the humans go to bed, raking the spilled corn flakes, nibbling food, making a castle with brown sugar, taking tops off of jars–what a mess! After his night of adventure he takes a bath and goes to bed. Will the humans know that he has been there?

 

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