Start with a Good Book

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 2.34.27 PMHere is a list of over 60 wonderful read-aloud stories that I have enjoyed reading to my child and my students over the years.  You will find many more as you visit book stores and your local library.  Your child will enjoy reading them over and over!

Click here for a printable copy of the list.  Read Aloud Books

Book Title Author Celebrate the Letters
A Chair for My Mother Vera B. Williams M/m
A Hole is to Dig Ruth Krauss H/h, D/d
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Judith Viorst A/a
Bedtime for Frances Russell Hoban B/b, F/f
Biscuit Alyssa Satin Capucilli B/b
Caps for Sale Esphyr Sobodkina C/c
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Bill Martin, Jr. B/b
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Judi Barrett C/c, M/m
Corduroy Don Freeman C/c
David Goes to School David Shannon D/d, S/s
Frog and Toad are Friends Arnold Lobel F/f, T/t
Goldilocks and the Three Bears James Marshall G/g, B/b
Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown M/m
Green Eggs and Ham Dr. Seuss G/g, E/e, H/h
Gregory the Terrible Eater Mitchell Sharmat G/g, T/t
Harold and the Purple Crayon Crockett Johnson H/h, P/p
Harry the Dirty Dog Gene Zion H/h, D/d
Hattie and the Fox Mem Fox H/h, F/f
How Rocket Learned to Read Tad Hills R/r
Hurry! Hurry! Eve Bunting H/h
I can Read with my Eyes Shut!  Dr. Seuss R/r
It Looked Like Spilt Milk Charles G. Shaw M/m
Kindergarten Rocks! Katie Davis K/k
Lemons are NOT Red Laura Vaccaro Seeger L/l
Leo the Late Bloomer Robert Krauss L/l
Letters from a Desperate Dog Eileen Christelow L/l, D/d
Library Lion Michelle Knudsen L/l
Little Bear Else Holmelund Minarik B/b, L/l
Llama Llama Red Pajama Anna Dewdney L/l
Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! Nancy Carlson K/k
Lost and Found Oliver Jeffers L/l, F/f, P/p
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile  Bernard Waber L/l, C/c
Make Way for Ducklings Robert McCloskey M/m, D/d
Me I Am! Jack Prelutsky M/m
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel Virginia Lee Burton M/m, S/s
Miss Nelson is Missing Harry Allard, James Marshall N/n, M/m, T/t
No Roses for Harry! Gene Zion R/r, H/h
No, David! David Shannon D/d
Pete’s a Pizza William Steig P/p
Regards to the Man in the Moon Ezra Jack Keats M/m
Sheep in a Jeep Nancy E. Shaw S/s, J/j
Snowballs Lois Ehlert S/s
Snowmen at Night Caralyn Buehner S/s
Stellaluna Janell Cannon S/s, B/b
Stone Soup Marcia Brown S/s
Strega Nona Tomie DePaola S/s
Swimmy Leo Lionni S/s
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble William Steig S/s, M/m, P/p
Tacky the Penguin Helen Lester T/t, P/p
The Carrot Seed Ruth Krauss C/c
The Kissing Hand Audrey Penn K/k, H/h
The Little Engine that Could Watty Piper E/e, T/t
The Little House Virginia Lee Burton H/h
The Mitten Jan Brett M/m
The Mysterious Tadpole Steven Kellogg M/m, T/t
The Pout-Pout Fish Deborah Diesen P/p, F/f
The Snowy Day Ezra Jack Keats S/s
The Story of Ferdinand Munro Leaf F/f, B/b
The Ugly Duckling Hans Christian Andersen U/u, D/d
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle C/c, V/v, H/h
Three Billy Goats Gruff Paul Galdone G/g,
Tikki Tikki Tembo Arlene Mosel T/t
Time out for Sophie Rosemary Wells T/t. S/s
Wemberly Worried Kevin Henkes W/w
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak W/h
Whistle for Willie Ezra Jack Keats W/h

Growing a Good Reader

rk8_bookbox1Reading Tips for Parents: You can be the key to your child’s success with literacy. As his or her first teacher, you are in a unique position to help instill a love of reading in your child. The first thing for you to do is model reading; your child should see you reading every day for information or for enjoyment.  Having a home filled with books, magazines, comics, newspapers and other print material is a good start.

Not long ago I found myself cringing in the grocery store when I heard a frustrated mom threaten her five year old by saying, “If you don’t stop that, I will take away the iPad and you will have to read.”  Nooooo!  Reading should be a pleasure, not ever a punishment!

Children with a large supply of reading materials in their homes are known to score higher on standardized tests. Why? Think about it.

There is a tremendous difference between digital input and text.  When a child watches TV or plays on a tablet, all the pictures come streaming in from the screen.  When a child reads, s/he has to visualize the text. The act of painting the picture the author is describing is a most creative process.  Reading helps students begin to visualize new possibilities, solve problems, think out of the box, and become the young adult that companies clamor to hire.

Here are some easy suggestions for helping your child develop a lifelong love of reading.

  • Read aloud to your child. Choose material (books, magazines, comics) based on topics your child finds interesting. Ask your child questions about what has just been read…the Who, What, Where, When and Why of a story.
  • Choose a sound and ask your child to cut out pictures of things that begin with that sound. Help your child glue their picture onto an index card and write the letter that makes that sound. Use these cards to review sounds. Create an alphabet of pictures on index cards. Celebrate the letters of the alphabet; make it fun!
  • Surround your children with reading material; give books as gifts, rewards, etc.
  • Encourage a wide variety of reading activities.
  • Make reading an important part of your child’s life. Have them read menus, grocery lists, roads signs, game directions, the comics, or movie time listings.
  • Be knowledgeable about your children’s progress. Schedule regular conferences with your child’s teacher each year.
  • Find out what reading skills your child is expected to have at each grade level. The school’s curriculum will give you this information.
  • Get help promptly for reading problems. Reading problems do not magically disappear with time. The earlier children receive help, the more likely they will become good readers.
  • Let your child gradually share some of the reading aloud. You read a sentence, paragraph, or page, then it’s your child’s turn. Take over if your child seems tired or discouraged. Keep reading light-hearted; focus on the fun, not just hard work.
  • Leave notes in a lunch bag or on the refrigerator for your child to discover and read. Make it simple, using words your child knows or you think they can sound out.
  • Take your new reader to the library. Pick up a library card and make a big deal about it. Let your child know how important and special books can be.

Raising a reader is a joyous journey for parents and the reward is great. Check back here on the blog for a list of wonderful read-aloud books to share with your child.  In the meantime, snuggle up tonight for a sweet bedtime story.

Magical Moments: Reading Together

Reading with your Beginning Reader

rk8_boy11In my last blog I challenged you to read with your child for 20 minutes each night.  This practice makes a BIG difference in the reader your child becomes.  Yet, parents of young children who are in the process of learning to read may have questions about how to approach this.

Actually, it is pretty easy.  Here are some tips that will help you relax and enjoy the experience with your children as they learn to read.

  • It is okay for your child to track with their finger.  In other words, don’t discourage them for putting their finger on each word as they read it.  As they become more proficient, you can give them a bookmark to slide under an entire line of text at a time.
  • In the beginning, model for your child. You read a sentence and have them repeat it.
  • Next, you can begin to take turns reading.  At the beginning, you and your child can alternate sentences. You read the first one and s/he reads the next.  As your child becomes a better reader, alternate paragraphs and then finally, alternate pages.
  • The discussion you have with your child as you read is very important, so talk about the story.  Ask your child to:
    • Predict what will happen next. You can ask,
      • “What do you think will happen now?”
      • “What makes you think so?”
    • Retell what just happened. You can say,
      • “Tell me what happened first, next, and last in the story.”
      • “What was the most interesting part?” “Why?”
    • Make a personal connection to something in his/her own life. Discuss how the characters are feeling. You can say,
      • “How do you think the character is feeling?”
      • “Have you every felt that way?”
      • “Does this story remind you of another story we have read? Why?”
    • Identify new words. You can say,
      • “Point to a word that is new to you.”
      • “Let’s look at the story to see if we can figure out what it means.”
      • “What do you think it means?”
      • “Let’s keep reading to see if you are right.”
  • Each time your child gives an answer, ask him/her to give evidence from the story to support the answer.
  • Ask questions that require your child to think deeper, to think beyond the surface.
      • Who? What? Where? When? are considered lower level questions; the answers will be right in the book.
      • Why? and How? are deeper, higher level questions that require your child to use the information in the story to come up with the answer.
  • When your child finds a favorite book, they want to read it again and again.  That’s rk8_girl5great!  Re-reading is a great strategy for building stronger readers.
  • Have lots of reading materials in your home.  Talk to your child’s teacher about his or her reading level. Find out what interests your child and help him or her find books on that topic.
  • Check books out from the school library, the public library, give books as gifts and rewards, subscribe to magazines for kids, comics.
  • MODEL! MODEL! MODEL!  If your child sees you reading, they are much more likely to become a reader.

Learning to read is a magical time in a child’s life. Reading opens up a world of possibilities and adventures.  Sharing this is a wonderful experience for a parent.  Don’t miss it…it only happens once.

How to Change a Life in 20 Minutes!

rk8_girl12Does this sound familiar? The teacher sends home a note every week asking that parents read with their child for 20 minutes each weeknight.  You are thinking, “Does she not get it?  I have 3 children! I work all day, have to cook dinner, answer the phone, fold laundry, feed the dog, clean the litter box, sign field trip forms, pay bills, and chase a toddler.  Are you kidding me!?!”

There are days when 20 minutes sounds like an eternity, but, let’s take a moment to look at this reading equation mathematically.

John reads 20 minutes five nights of every week;

Sally only reads 4 minutes a night, if at all.

Step 1:  Multiply the minutes per night X 5 times each week.

John: reads 20 minutes X 5 times per week = 100 minutes each week.

Sally: reads 4 minutes X 5 times per week = 20 minutes each week.

Step 2: Multiply the minutes per week X 4 weeks each month.

John: 100 minutes per week X 4 = 400 minutes per month.

Sally: 20 minutes per week X 4 = 80 minutes per month.

Step 3: Multiply the minutes per month X 9 months per school year.

John: 400 minutes per month X 9 months = 3600 minutes per year.

Sally: 80 minutes per month X 9 months = 720 minutes per year.

Step 4: Divide the number of minutes per year by 360 minutes per day to find the number of days spent reading.

John: 3600 divided by 360 = an additional 10 full days of school spent just reading.

Sally: 720 divided by 360 = only 2 additional days of school spent reading.

So, by the end of 8th grade, or 9 academic years: 

John will have spent an additional 90 days reading.  John has gotten the equivalent of an extra  half of a 180 day school year just spent reading!

Sally will have read the equivalent of 18 days, or one tenth of a 180 day school year.

Food for Thought:

  • Which student would you expect to be a better reader?
  • Which student would you expect to be more knowledgeable?
  • Which student would you expect to be a better writer?
  • Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
  • Which student would you expect to be more successful in school?
  • Which student would you expect to conduct a better interview?
  • Which student would you expect to be more successful in LIFE?

So there you have it. Twenty minutes a day can make a big difference and set your child up for success.  Will you do it perfectly?  Probably not.  But if you teach your child to value reading by reading together, you will definitely have a positive result!  You are your child’s most significant role model and I already know that you like to read…you are reading a blog!  My guess is…you’ve got this!

How do I help my child…

figure out a word when we read together?

Here are some strategies to use when decoding unknown words:
1) Have your child look at the picture. If the word will give your child help with the word, tell your child that the word is something that can be seen in the picture. If not, the picture is a clue your child can use.

2) Suggest your child look for chunks in the word. Chunks are little pieces of a word that are familiar like it in sit, at in hat, and in stand, or ing in jumping.

3) Ask your child to get his/her mouth ready to say the word. Show your child how to shape his/her mouth to say the first letter sound of the word. Sometimes that beginning sound is all it takes!  Be sure to look at the sounds that end the word too.

4) Ask your child if the word looks like another word s/he knows. For example, if your child knows the word car, star, far, hard and jar are similar words. Look for similarities together.

5) You can suggest your child go on and read to the end of the sentence. Many times the other words in the sentence will help him/her figure out the unknown word.

6) If your child says the wrong word while reading, ask questions. Some good questions to ask are:

  • Does that make sense?
  • Do the sounds in that word match the sounds of the letters in the word?
  • Does it look right to you?

7) If none of this works, tell your child the word. Tell him/her how you were able to figure out the word, which strategy above worked. Then, be sure to revisit the word so your child sees it again.