Archive for March, 2012

Start Reading to them Early

Infants, babies toddlers.  They are all ready to be read to.  They love the bright colors, graphics and certainly love listening to your voice as you read aloud to them.  This is how young children learn language and ultimately helps them learn how to read. Another great plus–it helps soothe them and provides you, as a parent, guardian, babysitter or grandparent, some much needed quiet time together.  Be sure to look at the cover, tell them about the story and point to special objects, colors, numbers and pictures in the story.  As they learn to talk, they’ll enjoy filling in the words too–especially where rhyming is involved.  Always—have fun, have fun, have fun together!  Here are some picture books I’ve enjoyed that are especially good for those very young guys.


A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

It’s easy to see how this is a Caldecott Medalist.  I must have said, “Awwww” out loud at least 20 times while “reading” this book.  While it is a wordless picture book, it is by no means one that doesn’t have a powerful and endearing story about loss, comfort, and friendship.  Adults and children alike will love this one!  Ages 1-3


                                Mice Squeak, We Speak by Tomie dePaola

This book is written for the younger kiddos.  It’s a good read-aloud.  Not my favorite of Tomie dePaola’s books but a change from his usual format and a fun book to read with the younger guys.  Read it over and over aloud and let the young guys fill in what each animal says.  Ages 1-3



                The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle

You just can never go wrong with an Eric Carle book and this is no exception.  He won the Caldecott award for this book.  The illustrations are bright and fun—great read aloud with the young ones.  They will love guessing what animal comes next and turning the pages.  Ages 1-3

Mrs. Moon – Lullabies for Bedtime  by Clare Beaton

Looking for a nice bedtime book to help quiet down the little ones?  Pick a few of these poems as lullabies to read aloud.  The rhyming will always help them fall asleep.  If not, just enjoy the beautiful appliqué art with the pictures.  Who wouldn’t want those quilts?  Ages 1-4


                     Tumble Me Tumbily by Karen Baicker

Very young children will love the rhyming and rhythm of this book.  The fun illustrations are a real boost too.  Be sure to read this aloud together.  Let the little ones help complete the rhymes as you read it over and over—until you can’t read it one more time!  Have fun.  Ages 1-3


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I’m just “reading” the airline emergency information…fascinating!

It’s been suggested that I include what books are appropriate for different ages.  But, you see, it’s not all that simple.  In my mind, it’s not a quick formula you can just plug in the number of words in a sentence or the number of multi-syllabic words, or how many pictures etc.  It’s really more personal.  Yes, I’m a Reading Specialist, yes, I was a teacher, parent and now grandparent, but well…it all depends.  It depends on how precocious the kids are, how interested they are in the topic, whether they read it themselves or it is read to them.  So…the ages that I include are totally subjective, based on what I think would interest children at different ages.  Of course, children younger and/or older may still be interested in the book no matter what I recommend .  Here’s the bottom line on “age appropriate”…if it is not offensive, frightening or inappropriate regarding content and the children or young adults enjoy it…let them read it or read it aloud to them!  The fact of the matter is, books that I’ve recommended to children ages 2-6 have mesmerized me and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed so that means those books are really age appropriate for ages 2- 60+.  The bottom line…have fun reading and reading together! I hope you enjoy these picture books I’ve had fun reading.

Finn Throws a Fit! by David Elliott

What parent has never seen an out-and-out temper tantrum from a child between the ages of 2-4?  This marvelously illustrated book shows parents and their young ones how to work through a temper tantrum and just goes to show…parents still love their little ones, even when a tantrum flies!  Use it as a read aloud together and don’t forget to follow up with a great discussion together about temper tantrums.  Ages 2-4

Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells

            Everybody knows the Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells and this is another series by her that kids will enjoy reading.  The Japanese setting and illustrations will intrigue kids and may even spark some interest in creating origami paper creatures.  Yoko is a cute kitten who has a special relationship with her grandmother.  This might even get the kids talking about relatives they can’t visit very often and how much they miss them.  Ages 3-5

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

            How many of our kids—or maybe even us—are afraid of thunder and lightening?  Even our pets are afraid of thunder!  Patricia Polacco shares this story about the character’s grandmother who helps the young girl lose her horrifying fear of thunder and lightening.  You can’t go wrong with this story—even includes the yummy recipe for the thunder cake.  Will someone please make it and tell me how it turns out?  Not sure about those tomatoes in the recipe, however.  Ages 3-6

Pipiolo and the Roof Dogs by Brian Meunier

Don’t know about you but I never knew dogs in some villages in Mexico were put up on the roofs to act as guard dogs and were never allowed down.  Well, here it is…a great story about how a strong-willed independent dog takes charge to change all that.  Kids can learn about a different culture while learning the importance of helping those less fortunate.  Illustrations are gorgeous and unusual.  Read it!  Ages 3-7

Pickin’ Peas by Margaret Read MacDonald

            This fun story retold from an old folktale will have the kiddos wanting to go out and pick fresh peas.  Ok, so maybe not, but it is creative and may even remind us a bit of another favorite story about a clever (or maybe NOT so clever) rabbit, Peter Rabbit.  Might even be fun to compare the two stories or make up a rhyme or song for Peter Rabbit.  Beatrix Potter meet southern U.S. folklore. Ages 2-5

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I will admit right now that picture books are my favorites.  While I enjoy reading beginning reading and young adult books too, it’s those picture books that make me laugh right out loud.  Perhaps it comes from pretending to be the old Italian Grandmother “witch” in the Strega Nona books and acting like the doofus Big Anthony or pretending to be little Sal in Blueberries for Sal as she picks and drops her blueberries in her tin bucket–kaplink-kaplank-kaplunk.  You can never have too many voices or too much enthusiasm while you read out loud.  I found that high school students also enjoy the anticipation, enthusiasm and occasional voice changes while listening to a novel, essay, or poem out loud.  Yep—even high school students enjoy being read aloud to.  So here are more of some of my favorite picture books.  Check them out from the library, borrow them, or buy them but…READ!

Now Hedgehog.  Listen to this funny part.

More of my favorite picture books.


                                                Tanka Tanka Skunk! by Steve Webb

This is a wonderful book to read aloud with the rhythm band.  Bring in the pots and pans, drums and anything else to pound on while you read it out loud with your kids.  You absolutely must raise and lower your voices when you read it over and over and over.  Better find a place where the neighbors won’t call the police for the noise, however.  Fun book! Ages 1-4


                                                Chicken Sunday  by Patricia Polacco

     This just might be one of Patricia Polacco’s best books.  It’s a sensitive story about kids from different ethnic backgrounds pulling together for their grandmother.  It’s a good story for talking about the values of caring for someone else and working together as a team.  Sounds “smarmy” but it’s not.  It’s a great story to kick off some interesting discussions.  Ages 4-7



                                    I Went Walking by Sue Williams

 Now here’s a great book for those pre-schoolers and little ones.  Let them guess what is coming next.  You have to love the hairdo on the little boy/girl?  My granddaughter has hair like that.  Come to think of it, so do I.  Great for language development and repetition.  Fun illustrations too.  Ages 0-3

                                  Bad Boys by Margie Palatini

     Here’s a real book about wolves in sheep clothing.  You know that old saying, right?  Hilarious illustrations and a great story for kids to talk about prediction and the moral of the story—even though we all really know that sheep aren’t all that smart.  Ages 3-6

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I’ve found a couple of picture books I think kids will enjoy reading with you.  As I learn how to create this blog, bear with me.  The important thing is for you all to get started and/or continue reading with your children.  My grandson, who is 3 months old is already being read to so, you see, start them early!  Even my grand daughter when she was less than two couldn’t pass up an opportunity to read.  Let me know what you think about the books I’ve included.

 Please!  Do You Mind?  I’m reading here!

                          MUST READ BOOKS:

     Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Now seriously…who can get mad at a child who interrupts the reading of their bedtime stories

with their own creative versions of the story?  Great story for those inventive, creative little ones.

Keep those stories coming!  Not surprising that it’s a Caldecott Honor Book.  Ages 3-6

   Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

     More hilarious adventures of Squirrel.   We know some of us get annoyed–OK OK–slightly

berserk  when squirrels steal the  birdseed from our bird feeders but who could get mad at this

cute squirrel?  This little guy is just afraid of everything.  Let the kiddos tell you what they

think will happen to Mr. Scaredy Squirrel—maybe even share some of their own things they’re

afraid of…or not.  Get all the books in the series—    pick your favorite. Ages 3-5


    The Train to Glasgow by Wilma Horsebrugh

All you clever readers can probably tell this book takes place in Scotland—even by that

unusual author’s name.  Don’t get thrown off either by the original printing of this story in 1954.

It’s a great rhyming book and the rhythm, rhyme and fun story keep kids hopping.  Be sure to

read this one out loud and let the kids fill in the repetitive parts.  Ages 3-7


      Wizzil by William Steig

      Here’s another fabulous book by William Steig of the Sylvester and the Magic Pebble,  The Amazing

BoneDoctor DeSoto, Dominic, Amos and Boris  fame. Adults love his books as much as kids and

this one is no exception with illustrations by Quentin Blake—awesome in his own right!  Of course,

the bad witch actually turns out to be pretty good in the end but the tale along the way will keep kids

guessing.  Good overcomes evil, of course.  Good read! Why not ask the kids to give you an

alternate ending.  Make sure the theme stays the same, though.  We always want good to overcome

evil, don’t we? Ages 3-7


     A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein

     Shel Silverstein once again comes to the plate with his books.  The Giving Tree, A Light in the

Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Runny Babbitt and more…what’s not to love?  This is a fun book

to read aloud and together with the kids.  Let them finish the rhymes.  Get a little rhythm going—

bring out your drum—OK, so maybe not the drum, but you will love this.  The pictures are, of

course, typical Silverstein.  The man’s out there but wonderful! Ages 2-6

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Did you know that there is a direct connection between reading success and writing?  Furthermore, there is scientific data that shows how success with reading and writing improves school performance?  In other words– read and write a lot and you’ll do well in school and other activities in life.  Many studies have shown that when children are read to beginning at an early age, they launch into reading earlier in school and do better in school.  So…this is a no brainer folks…READ ALOUD TO KIDS and READ AND WRITE A LOT!

I will share some of my favorite books to read aloud.  It doesn’t hurt to use funny voices, create a mood, act frightened, sad, excited, delighted, surprised or whatever moves you in the story.  There isn’t a kid around who won’t love it and want you to keep reading more.  Now try some of my favorite books.  I’ll even add in a few fun things to do with the stories when I’m really feeling creative.  Now have fun!

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