Saturday, January 26, 2013

Author and Storybook Websites


Some of my kids favorite websites to go back to again and again are the author sites. Many of their favorite authors and book have fabulous sites that include printable activities, online games, videos, facts about writing and much moreWe’ve used many of the sites to begin Author Studies, explore features of the Internet, brain breaks and just for fun. They’re also a wonderful resource for teachers and often include lesson plans, activity ideas and questions to go along with their books.

Books and Characters:

Fancy Nancy 
Junie B. Jones
Little Critter 
Little Golden Books 
Magic Tree House 
Peter Rabbit 

Jan Brett
Marc Brown
Eric Carle 
Tomie dePaola 
Mem Fox 
Kevin Henkes 
Ezra Jack Keats        
Steven Kellogg 
Jeff Kinney--Diary of a Wimpy Kid     
Robert Munsch
Stuart J. Murphy 
Laura Numeroff
Todd Parr
         *Check out Todd Parr videos on his YouTube page.

Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants, etc.)
Patricia Pollaco
Jack Prelutsky
Shel Silverstein
Chris Van Allsburg (Jumanji, Polar Express, etc.)
Mo Willems
Audrey Wood

For older kids:
Roald Dahl 
Neil Gaiman 
Philip Pullman 
Rick Riordan 
JK Rowling 
Jerry Spinelli 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Valentine Books and Activities

Why is Valentine's Day always the the craziest day of the year? 

Valentine's Day doesn't just have to be about making mailboxes, eating cookies and learning how to deliver letters. It's also a great time to teach little ones about love, compassion, kindness and friendship.

Clicking on the books will take you to the Amazon link--and purchasing from any Amazon link on this site will help support this blog! 

* see entire list of Books by Theme here.

Valentine Books with Questions, Activities and Lessons

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio

This is a great book to discuss what characteristics to look for in a friend. Join Mortimer on his quirky, ill-fated and hilarious quest to find a friend. He tries ballroom dancing, placing a personal ad and more.

Gross, putrid and warm-hearted, kids will love this silly story. And if they know the lyrics to The Pina Colada song, it's even funnier.

Possible activities:
  • Have each kid make a list of what makes them a good friend. (kind, friendly, likes to share, etc.)
  • Make a class list of qualities that make a good friend. (be sure to leave off characteristics like pretty, has lots of toys, etc.) 
  • Brainstorm ways to make new friends. This is a great time for the outgoing kids to help the shy kids who are always hanging out by the teachers at recess complaining that "no one will play with them." Make a class poster to display and refer to every time you hear that dreaded complaint.
  • For older kids: Create a personal ad for a new friend, including self portrait. Focus on shared interests rather than blanket qualities such as "nice" or "funny".
*Also look for the new sequel: Zombie in Love 2+1, out December 30, 2014

Mr. Prickles by Kara LaReau

Poor Mr. Prickles is having a tough time finding a friend. What kid can't relate to that? This adorable story focuses on the important parts of being a friend--it's what's on the inside, not the outside that matters.

Possible activities:
  • Expand your kids knowledge of emotions and feelings by making a class list, doing a shared writing or journal writing on having lots of different feelings. 
  • Turn this into a lesson about others feeling--you can even introduce the word "empathy". Mr. Prickles is teased in the story, and that should prompt the kids into thinking about themselves, and their friends being teased. Ask them how that feels, how their friends feel, what they can do to help, etc.
  • Thinking as authors and illustrators, have the kids focus in on the literary elements that make the story better and funnier. There are hilarious details in both the descriptions and illustrations.

The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting
Mr. and Mrs. Bear have always slept through Valentine's Day. But this year, Mrs. Bear wants to celebrate. This book is an awesome way to reinforce calendar skills, as well as prompt discussion on winter animals and hibernation.

Questions for The Valentine Bears:
  1. When did the bears go to sleep? 
  2. How come the Bears had never celebrated Valentine’s Day before?
  3. Why did they sleep so long?
  4. What was on Mrs. Bear’s sign?
  5. What are Crispy Critters made with?
  6. What problem did Mrs. Bear have with Mr. Bear?
  7. Why was he so hard to wake up?
  8. Do you know anyone who has a hard time waking up?
  9. How did Mrs. Bear try to wake him up?
  10. What was Mrs. Bear’s Valentine’s Day gift?
  11. What happened at the end?

Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime by Barbara Park
Another funny Junie B. chapter book. This one has a mystery--who is Junie B.'s secret admirer? Fans of the previous books will be quite surprised at who it turns out to be. 

Questions for Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime:
  1. What word in the book does Junie B. keep saying the wrong way?
  2. What happens to Junie B. while she is making her valentine’s box?
  3. Do you think this was fair? Why or why not?
  4. Which animal card did Junie B. give to Meanie Jim? 
  5. Why did she pick that animal?
  6. Who gave Junie B. her Valentine’s Day outfit?
  7. Who passed out the Valentine’s to all the kids?
  8. Who is jealous of the mushy gushy valentine?
  9. What does jealous mean?
  10. Who gave Junie B. the mushy gushy Valentine?
  11. How did she feel when she found out who it was from?

A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger
*just released December 16, 2014

I love this new release from the author of Crankenstein because it's perfect for young children who are excited about Valentine's Day, but not comfortable "loving" their friends. The theme of this book is that Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about love--it's about friendship. What a great book to start a conversation with your class.

More Valentine’s Activities:

Free Valentine Coloring Pages: 
TIP: I prefer to right click on the image, copying it, and pasting it to a blank page. You can make the image larger that way, and cut out all the adds, and extra text that often shows up along the edges. 

A Few of My Favorite Valentines Day Books:

The Berenstain Bears Valentine Party by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Unlucky in Love by Charles Schultz
Be My Valentine Charlie Brown by Charles Schultz
The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bons
Grover, Messenger of Love by Joseph Ewers
Mr. Prickles by Kara LaReau
Snowy Valentine by David Peterson
The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink
Grover: Messenger of Love

Snowy Valentine
The Biggest Valentine Ever
Happy Valentine's Day Curious George
The Berenstain Bears Valentine Party
A Charlie Brown Valentines


The Day it Rained Hearts

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Leaving Comments

I finally figured out how you can all leave comments without logging in!

I know, I'm a spaz. But I'm still pretty new to this blogging stuff.

For Mobile Users

There is a lot more to this website than the blog entries. FREE resources are available in the tabs at the top--but those are harder to find when viewing on your mobile phone.

Be sure to click on the green triangle at the top of the page next to the words " Teaching Reading Blog" to see what else is available, including printable books, worksheets, lesson plans and behavior management ideas.

Thanks for visiting!

(Once you're on the new page, links are in orange.)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Easy Way to Teach Color Words

Color words are among the first words kids learn to read -- and that's important. I've rarely seen a kindergarten or 1st grade reading test that didn't have at least one color word.

A fun way to teach kids color words is to let them "color by word." And making your own is super easy.

Color by Word example.

You can do this in two ways, write the color words on the pages, or make a number code with the key at the bottom.

I've done this with coloring books, or printed free coloring pages. This is a great reward for kids because they can tell you what characters they want to color. (This is how I learned about Winx, Pocoyo and Ben 10.)

These sites offer free coloring pages.

*For stronger readers, make your own "Color by Sight Word" pages, or "Read and Follow Directions" pages.

Color By Sight Word Examples:

example 1

example 2

Follow Directions Examples:

example 1

example 2

example 3