Posts Tagged ‘Read Aloud’

Who Has the Most Fun Reading??Image

I know it’s been a very long time since I’ve posted an entry but…well…I’ve been busy, it’s been the summer, it’s been hot, I was caught up in other things.  You know how it goes. Finally…I’m back!

I love this picture of brother and sister with their uncle having a good read first thing in the morning–sitting comfortably in their jammies and enjoying a good story together.  If you ask almost any child between the ages of 2 and 10 (and probably even older) how many books they enjoy reading or listening to a day, they’ll tell you 20 or a zillion!  All of us and our kids need to step away from our iPad and iPhone games and videos, get to the library, go to a Little Free Library  or just pull out some of our favorite books from our own bookshelves and READ.  Research has shown that children who are read to often and read a lot, have much great imaginations and creativity.  Take a look at some of the books I’ve described below and read them together and see for yourself!  Children have a much better opportunity to imagine the magic of the settings, the emotions of characters and the sense of excitement, fear, hilarity, and thrill from a book much better than a video game or movie.  And this is coming from someone who loves movies!  See for yourself.


       The World’s Greatest Elephant by Ralph Helfer/ illustrated by Ted Lewin

I loved this book!  it’s based on a true story of the relationship between a young boy and an elephant who grow up     together.  It reminded me so much of another one of my favorite reads as an adult, Water for Elephants.  It reinforces our knowledge about the close ties humans can have with their pets and with animals as well as how sensitive animals really are.  You will all enjoy reading this true story together.  Read it next to Two Bobbies  by Kirby Larson.  Ages 4-10


       Tsunami!  By Kimiko Kajikawa /illustrated by Ed Young

This story and original paper cut-out illustrations by Ed Young make a wonderful book for the slightly older children to read or listen to.  In light of the horrific tsunami in Japan a few years ago, children will be able to relate to that event in Japan.  It has a warm and caring message that will be good for all children to hear.  Ages 5-10.

       Dave the Potter – Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill/ illustrated by Bryan Collier

This beautifully illustrated Caldecott Honor book will teach you and your young listeners not only about how to make pottery, but about the life of a slave who lived about 200 years ago.  I would call this book a narrative expository book because the author has to imagine some of the facts but it is based on the story and life of a real person.  You and your children will gain a new appreciation for this artist and his famous work.  Ages 4-10


        A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley

I’ll be the first to admit that I prefer fiction to non-fiction but when I looked through this book, it really grabbed me.  The photographs by National Geographic photographers are breathtaking, of course, but the message about the universality of water as a basic need to all of us throughout the world really came across.  Talk about this one together.  What are some of the problems people in the world face in accessing fresh water?  You won’t regret it!  Ages 4-10


       Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein

I thought I knew all of Shel Silverstein’s books, but continue to find new ones I haven’t read.  This was definitely meant to be read out loud.  You’ll have a blast with it.  I don’t know what it is about his books that draw both children and adults together but they do!  Even if you’re a bit squeamish, as I am, about guns or certainly about lions eating hunters, it is underplayed and will make you laugh right out loud.  The illustrations are the best.  Like Lafcadio, maybe you will crave marshmallows after reading this book!  Ages 4+


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Summer is arriving–at least on the East Coast it has arrived with a vengeance.  Our strawberry harvest is nearly over but what a great opportunity to take advantage of fun books about fruits and vegetables…and more, of course! (I admit that I stole a couple of these pictures right off my son’s blog, psoutowood.wordpress.com)

The young guys love to help organize and plant the gardens and, of course, harvest the fruits and veggies when they are ripe!  These are great opportunities to make charts together and label all the fruits and veggies and then talk about what letter each one begins with. Maybe you can draw veggies and sort by the letters they begin with.   Start gathering all the books you can about gardens, fruits and veggies.  I’m including a  few of my favorites below.


         The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood/ illustrated                   by Don Wood

This is just the cutest story with adorable illustrations—did that sound too sweet??? Well, it is, darn it!  It’s a great story to teach kids about the value of sharing—never mind it saves the little mouse’s life!  Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s a great story anyway.  A must read—get it! Ages 2-5



     Rah, Rah, Radishes!  A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre

Your kids may not be great vegetable eaters but maybe this book will help motivate them to at least learn the names and identify all kinds of different vegetables.  The photographs are colorful and the rhymes with the veggies are fun.  Good luck getting them to eat their vegetables.  You’re on your own for that, but this might be a fun game to play when you go to the local market or grocery store to look for different vegetables.  Ages 1-6


 The Gardener by Sarah Stewart/ illustrated by David Small

Notice how I keep presenting and reviewing a lot of the Caldecott Honor and Medal Winners?  There is a reason for that.  They are selected by a group of qualified children’s librarians and authors as the best illustrated and written children’s books each year.  Check them out if you haven’t already.  They are all wonderful.  This book is no exception.  The Gardener is written about a young girl who loves to garden and plant flowers.  She is sent to the city to live with a cantankerous older uncle whom she tries to win over.  The illustrations are fabulous showing all the subtleties of the characters and the story is very dear.  Read it together then go and plant something together!  Ages 4-8.

     June 29,1999 by David Wiesner

Here’s another great David Wiesner book—just as creative as all of his other ones!  Let’s tie this in with the vegetable theme books.  It’s not only a fun and imaginative story but a great way to learn the names of more vegetables.  The ending is a surprise.  Now let’s all create a science project like the one in this book!  Ages 4-9

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I don’t know why I’m drawn to books about sheep.  I’m not particularly fond of sheep.  I’ve been told that sheep don’t really make such great pets, although, no one can deny that lambs are pretty cute.  I’ve heard that sheep aren’t all that smart and they make lemmings behavior look like Einstein.  They stand in clusters on the roads in Scotland and England and won’t move no matter what you might shout–or perhaps suggest to them.  All that being said, I love sheep books but I think it’s just the clever illustrations that draws me to them.

 So here are a couple of books I think you’ll enjoy reading together…about sheep, of course!


  Where is the Green Sheep? By Mem Fox/ illustrated by Judy Horacek

Well isn’t this just the cutest book for those little ones?  You’ll love the fun animated pictures and the kids will love learning and saying all the different kinds of sheep in the story.  They will like hearing this one over and over.  Great opportunity to talk about vocabulary.  Maybe they can even imagine different kinds of sheep to talk about.  Ages 1-5


Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton

I don’t know what my attraction to stories about sheep is but this book is just great fun!  You know it’s written by someone who lives in England and is most likely surrounded by a lot of sheep.  The illustrations are a hoot.  It’s about a sheep who can’t fall asleep at night and all the gyrations he goes through to help fall asleep.  You’ll get a good chuckle out of it—and so will the kids too!  Ages 2-5


  Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw/illustrated by Margot Apple

Here I go again with another sheep book.  This isn’t the world’s best literature, by any means, but fun rhyming for the youngest guys with funny illustrations.  I even think it’s a great book for emerging readers to enjoy—much better than many of those publisher’s reading program books.  Everybody will like it. Ages 1-6

Now, if you have any other really clever and irresistible sheep books, please share!

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I’m reluctant to title this blog as “Great Books for Boys” when, in fact, I know that it’s not reasonable to assume that there are books that are really only geared for boys or girls.  I do know, however, that this post won’t include any of the Fancy Nancy books or the story of Cinderella or the Angelina Ballerina  stories — which, by the way, is one of my very favorite series.  I’ve selected books that I do feel, however, are sure fire hits with most boys who love the idea of adventure and exploration.  Watch out boys!  The girls will be stealing these books out from under your noses to read when you’re not looking!

My own sons while growing up, couldn’t put the books down.  My oldest son is standing here in front of the Atlantic Ocean on the OuterBanks of North Carolina, totally oblivious to the dancing dolphins and parading pelicans as he’s absorbed in some wild adventure.  He was too engrossed in the story to even sit down to read!  This is as it should be!

Now let’s talk about some of these books and tell me what you think.



                                           Spy Cat by Peg Kehret

This Newbery Award winning book is a fun read.  The story is written from two perspectives—a cat and a young boy who loves to spy.  While the story isn’t riveting, it does have a contemporary theme about burglars and kidnapping.  It demonstrates the bravery of a young boy along with the intelligence and creativity of a pet cat.  Good read for those young readers. Ask kids to talk about what were smart things the young spy did and maybe some things that might not have been such a good idea.  Ages 8-11.


                                  The Indian in the Cupboard – by Lynne Reid Banks

Now here’s a winner.  My boys absolutely loved this series when they were young.  And while I heard them talking about it, I never read it.  What a clever idea for a story,,,magical.  This even makes a dandy read-aloud to all ages.  What could be more exciting than following the ad ventures of a plastic miniature cowboy and Indian as they magically become alive?  It’s a great opportunity to talk about friendship and the responsibilities that are an important part of friendship.  You know…always a lesson to be learned and talked about.  Ages 7-10


                           Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

Even though the U.S. space program may be on a temporary (we hope) hiatus, kids still love learning all about the original astronauts and going to the moon.  The illustrations and story here about the Apollo 11 flight to the moon will have even the die-hard fiction readers intrigued.  Kids who love learning about space flight will love it the best.  It’s a winner. Ages 4-10

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

             Looking for good books for young adult boys?  Well—look no further.  This book really surprised me—nothing like anything I’ve read before.  It’s sort of autobiographical of the Native American author, Alexie.  It’s written from a young 14 yr. old Indian’s view and talks about living on a reservation “rez” in Washington.  He’s bound and determined to fight against the odds thrown at him—a disability at birth, poverty and alcoholism on the rez and in his family, dysfunctional school and bullies all around.  Pick it up and read it together.  The cartoon illustrations are great fun.  A must read for boys, especially boys who live on a reservation.  Highly motivational.  A note…there are some references to “boy stuff” and some language some may shrink at, but it’s real and heart wrenching yet said with humor.  See—I can’t stop talking about it!  Ages 13-16+







                                    Incredible Explosions by Stephen Biesty( illustrator) and Richard Platt (text)

Stephen Biesty, who illustrated the book Egypt in Spectacular Cross-Section  and Into the Unknown , creates a fascinating close up look at a variety of things from windmills, a base station in the Antarctic and even the human body.  We’re supposed to provide more non-fiction sources for our children these days and this is a great place to look.  You can spend hours—OK, maybe not hours—but a good long time, looking closely and learning the minute details about how things are built and work.  Guaranteed hit with the older guys.  Ages 9+

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