School Age Readers and Writers Activities

Reading and writing activities at home to help young readers.
Reading and writing activities at home to help young readers.

School Age Readers and Writers – (5 to 9-year-olds)

  • Give your child encouragement when he or she is doing homework or a writing assignment. Remind your child that writing involves several steps like panning, composing an initial draft, revising, and final editing. No one does it perfectly the first time.
  • Read different types of books to expose your child to different types of writing. Kids love a variety of fiction and non-fiction formats including plays, chapter books, series books, books with sequels, short stories, diaries and logs, and graphic texts.
  • Create a writing toolbox — Find a special box and fill it with drawing and writing materials. Think of everyday opportunities for your child to write —the family shopping list, thank -you notes, birthday cards, or sign on the bedroom door.
  • Ask your child to read out loud what he or she has written.
  • Create a book together — Make a handmade book together by folding pieces of paper ion half and stapling them together. Your child can write his or her own story, with different sentences on each page. Ask your child to illustrate the book with his/her own drawings.
  • Show your child how to summarize a story in a few sentences, for example, or how to make predictions about what might happen next. Both strategies help a child comprehend and remember. After reading a story together, think out loud so your child can see how you summarize and predict.
  • Pick books that are at the right reading level —Help your child choose reading materials that are not too difficult. The goal is to give your child lots of successful reading experiences
  • Partner Reading – Take turns reading aloud to each other. Whether it’s a page or a sentence, it’s another way of getting a couple minutes of reading fun.
  • Have your child read aloud to you every day. 
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Preschool Readers (2 to 5 years)

Activities for Preschool Readers (2 to 5 years)
Preschool Readers (2 to 5 years)

Preschool Readers (2 to 5 yrs.)

Learning to read is not easy and takes time.  Many parents wonder on the best ways to help their kids learn to read.  With 8 grandkids under 9, we have various levels of reading going on in our family. Ranging in age from 7 months to “newly 9” we have readers of all sizes and abilities.  

I created the following list to make it a little easier for my adult children to have a few “reading ideas” to help their kiddos. Reading is very comprehensive and therefore, there is a wide range of activities at each level.  The important thing to remember is reading builds on foundational skills.  Therefore, each level is important for reading success.  Don’t worry if your more advanced reader wants to do a lower level.  Even advanced readers can continue to learn and grow from some of the Preschool Reader activities. Last week we started with our series with Very Early Readers (Birth – 2 years).  This week we continue with Preschool Readers (2 – 5yrs). 

Preschool Readers (2 to 5 years)

  • Discuss what’s happening, point out things on the page, ask your child questions
  • When looking at a book together, point out how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.
  • Talk about print everywhere. Talk about written words you see in the world around you and respond with interest to your child’s questions about words.
  • Ask your child to find a new word every time you go on an outing.
  • Watch My Lips – Encourage your child to watch your lips and mouth while you make certain sounds. Have your child think about how his/her own lips and tongue move. You can say something like, “Can you feel how your mouth moves the same way at the beginning of the words sun, snake, and sour? Watch my mouth while I say them.” Exaggerate the letter s when saying the words.
  • Play sound games— Give your child practice blending individual sounds into words. For example, ask “Do you know what the word is? m-o-p?” Say the sound each letter makes rather than the name of the letter. Hold each sound longer than you normally would. This will help your child recognize the different letter sounds.
  • Trace and say letters while saying the letter’s sound at the same time. Use a pan filled with rice, sugar or beans to involve touch, sight and speech.  
  • Play word games — Use a dry erase board to play word games with your child. First, write out a word like mat. Then change the initial sound. Have your child sound out the word when it becomes fat and then when it becomes sat. Next change the final sound, so the word changes from sat to sag to sap. Then change the middle sound, so the word changes from sap to sip.
  • Punctuate your reading.?! -. Discuss how punctuation on a page represents ways of speaking. You can say, for example, “When we talk, we usually pause a little bit at the end of a sentence. The way we show this pause in writing is to use a period.”
  • Dig deeper into the story — Ask your child about the story you’ve just read together. Try questions that require your child to draw conclusions. Say something like, “Why do you think Clifford did that?” A child’s involvement in retelling a story or answering questions goes a long way toward developing his or her comprehension skills.
  • Tell family tales — Children love to hear stories about their family. Tell your child what it was like when you or your parents were growing up or talk about a funny thing that happened when you were young.
  • Storytelling on the go — Take turns adding to a story the two of you make up while riding in the car. Either one of you could start. Start with a beginning middle and end and work up to a longer story. A fun activity that stretches the imagination!

Every minute counts in becoming a good reader. Why not set a goal to try to do at least one activity a day? Be prepared to have days when it doesn’t get done. It’s only a goal. Most of all, enjoy the special time with your child.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Very Early Readers (Birth – 2)

Very Early Readers
Birth to 2 yrs.

Very Early Readers (Birth – 2 yrs)

Learning to read is not easy and takes time.  Many parents wonder on the best ways to help their kids learn to read.  With 8 grandkids under 9, we have various levels of reading going on in our family. Ranging in age from 7 months to “newly 9” we have very early readers to advanced readers.   

I created the following list to make it a little easier for my adult children to have a few “reading ideas” to help their kiddos. Reading is very comprehensive and therefore, there is a wide range of activities at each level.  The important thing to remember is reading builds on foundational skills.  Therefore, each level is important for reading success.  Don’t worry if your more advanced reader wants to do a lower level.  Even advanced readers can continue to learn and grow from some of the Very Early Reader list activities. This week we start with our very early readers.

Very Early Readers (Birth to 2 yrs.)

  • Read together every day. Uninterrupted 2 minutes of time is time well spent.
  • Keep a book or magazine with you all the time to read with your child.  Every minute counts. 
  • Re-read a favorite – Kids love to hear books again.  Repeated reading helps kids read more quickly and accurately.  It helps promote their reading confidence. Research shows that repeated reading builds language skills.
  • Read with fun in your voice. Why not use different voices for different characters. A little acting can go a long way!  
  • Let your child choose —Give your child the chance to pick his/her own books. Letting children choose their own books nurtures independence and their own interests.
  • Read it and Experience it — Help your child make the connection between what he/she reads in books and what happens in life. If you’re reading a book about animals, for example, relate it to last month’s trip to the zoo. 
  • Make books and reading into something special by taking your kids to the library, helping them get their own library card, reading with them, and buying them books as gifts.
  • Have a favorite place for books in your home, or even better, put books everywhere!
  • Talk about what you see and do together.
  • Talking about everyday activities helps your child’s background knowledge, which is crucial to listening and reading comprehension
  • You can play games that involve naming or pointing to objects.
  • Say silly tongue twisters—Sing sings and read rhyming books. These help kids become sensitive to the sounds in words.
  • When you read aloud, read with expression.

Coming Next Week:  Preschool Readers (2 to 5 years)

Coming in 2 Weeks: School Age Readers and Writers (5 to 9 years)

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Guided Reading Level: At School and Home

Knowing a child's Guided Reading Level (GRL) can support a child's reading.
Knowing a child’s Guided Reading Level (GRL) can support a child’s reading.

The start of the school year brings some new reading terms for parents of children in the early grades.  Many teachers use Guided Reading to teach reading.  The days of everyone reading together out of one book has been replaced by small-group instruction.  The small groups are composed of children that have similar Guided Reading Levels (GRLs).  The level is assessed on a child’s word-knowledge, comprehension and fluency.  These levels are also used to determine a child’s independent reading level.

Fountas and Pinnell, (F & P) is one of the most popular assessment tools.  The levels range alphabetically from A to Z, with level A representing the lowest level and level Z the highest. This allows the teacher to work closely with each student to help them become better readers by introducing them to increasingly challenging books and instructional focus.

How Are Book Levels Determined?

Books are assigned Guided Reading Levels based on several general expectations and capabilities of a reader. As the levels progress, the books become more difficult. Each level is based upon the increasing complexity of ten benchmark common book characteristics that readers encounter at all stages of the reading process from when your child picks up his or her first book through the time when he or she becomes a fluent reader. These guided reading categories are: 

  • Themes and Ideas: Big ideas communicated by the author
  • Genre: Type of book
  • Text Structure: How the book is organized
  • Content: Subject matter of a book
  • Sentence Complexity: Difficulty of the sentence
  • Language and Literacy: The writing techniques used by the writer.
  • Vocabulary: The frequency of new words introduced in the book.
  • Words: How easy the words in the book can be figured out (decoded) by a reader
  • Illustrations: The correlation and consistency of images and pictures in the books to the words printed on the page
  • Book and Print Features: How the printed words are on the page.

How Can I Find Books at My Child’s Guided Reading Level?

Ask your child’s teacher for the appropriate Guided Reading Level (GRL) to practice reading at home. In the classroom, books are often labeled so kids can easily grab a book at their reading level.  Your school or local librarian can be helpful to find books at your child’s level.  Many book publishers also include a Guided Reading Level on their books.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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FREE Teacher PD Using Overdrive

Overdrive is a database to access free books for adults and kids.
Overdrive is a database to access free books for adults and kids.

I’ve written a post about Overdrive as a database to access free books for adults and kids. However, I was not aware that they also have collections of books on different subjects. One of the listed subjects is Education. The collection includes books for both teachers, parents and students. Books are in both digital and audio files.

Using your library card you can borrow up to 10 ebooks or audiobooks from your local library. Just use your library card for your one time registration and you’re ready to go. Books can be borrowed from 7 to 21 days.

Sample: Overdrive PD Teacher Books

  • Building A+ Better Teacher                       Green                             2015
  • How Children Succeed                              Tough                         2013
  • Mathematical Mindsets                              Boaler/Dweck                2015
  • Montessori From the Start                         Lillard and Jessen              2004
  • Secrets of the Teenage Brain                   Feinstein/Jensen            2013
  • Teach Like a Pirate                                     Burgess                          2012
  • The Coddling of the American Mind       Lukianoff/Haidt              2019
  • The Teacher Wars                                      Goldstein                       2015
  • The Wild Card                     King/King                       2018
  • What’s Math Got to Do with It                   Boaler                             2015
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Student Teacher Professional Lending Library

Student Teacher Professional Lending Library
Student Teacher Professional Lending Library

Over the years I’ve collected a collection of education books.  Take a look at the list below and let me know if there are any books that you may find helpful in your placements. I can bring them to your placement on our next observation.  Access to your very own professional lending library! 

  • Brainstorm                                                   Siegel                             2012
  • Bright From The Start Stamm 2008
  • Classroom Instruction That Works        Marzano & Pickering          2001
  • Classroom Management                  Evertson & Emmer     2000
  • Drive                                                             Pink                                 2009
  • Engaging Children with Print                  Justice & Sofka             2010
  • How Children Succeed Tough 2013
  • How Young Children Learn                       Ostroff                            2012
  • Interactive Think-Aloud Lessons               Oczkus                           2009
  • Mindset                                                         Dweck                            2006
  • Mosaic of Thought                            Keene & Zimmerman              1997
  • Multiple Intelligences- Reading/Writing    Armstrong                      2003
  • Nonfiction in Focus                                     Kristo & Bamford           2004
  • Picture Books to Teaching Writing            Culham & Coutu            2008
  • Power of Repeated Reading                     Bamwell & Doyle           2008
  • Reading with Meaning                                Miller                               2002
  • Texts and Lessons – 65 Mentor Texts      Daniels & Steineke          2013
  • The Differentiated Classroom (2nd Ed.)    Tomlinson                      2014
  • The Fluent Reader                                      Rasinski                         2003
  • Thirty Million Words                                    Suskind                          2013
  • What Works in Schools                              Marzano                             2003
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Article-A-Day Helps Comprehension

An article each day builds comprehension skills.
An article each day builds comprehension skills.

Article-A-Day in 3 Steps

Article-A-day is a strategy that teachers use in a classrooms that assigns students a non-fiction article to read each day.  This technique strengthens a student’s background knowledge, vocabulary and stamina.  This research-based classroom routine combines writing & oral sharing. The technique is used in whole-class or  small groups and also as an independent project.

A great FREE resource to support your Article-A Day program is ReadWorks. The site provides article sets that include 6-9 articles related on nonfiction topics.  The articles are leveled from Kindergarten – 8th Grade. The resources can be printed, used digitally or projected on a Smartboard. ReadWorks encourages teachers to share their resources with other colleagues. 

  • Step 1: Students read an article independently. For students who cannot read independently yet, the teacher reads the article out loud twice.
  • Step 2: Each student then uses their own “Book of Knowledge” to write down, or draw a picture of, two or three things they learned from reading and would like to remember in their own “Book of Knowledge.” A classroom Book of Knowledge can also be created if the article is used in whole class instruction.  The strategy builds writing skills and strengthens the reading-writing connection.
  • Step 3: Student volunteers share with the class, in 1-2 minutes, what they’ve learned and want to remember.   

IF 10 minutes is all you need to make an impact on reading comprehension, why not give it a try?

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Visual Thinking Strategies

Visual Thinking Strategies engages students in discussion.
Visual Thinking Strategies engages students in discussion.

A popular book study in our K-12 Professional Development offerings was Visual Thinking Strategies by Philip Yenawine. Teachers at all grade levels found this strategy helped expand student discussions. Special Education teachers found Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) very helpful to explore new content. 

In VTS discussions, teachers support student growth by facilitating discussions of carefully selected works of visual art/photographs or media literacy. Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions to engage student discussion.

  • What’s going on in this picture?

  • What do you see that makes you say that?

  • What more can we find?

Teachers use facilitation techniques to expand student responses. By pointing at the areas being discussed and paraphrasing student comments, teachers helped link and frame student answers. For those teachers being observed using an evidence-based tool, the following evidence can be seen when using Visual Thinking Strategies.

Questioning/Discussion Technique

  • Students are engaged in exploring new content through effective questioning.
  • Engages all students in discussion.
  • Allowing “Think Time” before responding.
  • Topics can be expanded through follow up, rephrasing and applying student responses.

Engages Students in Learning

  • Examples are used to illustrate new learning.
  • New learning connects student knowledge, interests and culture.
  • Problem solving is highlighted as a technique in student learning.
  • Examples are differentiated to meet student needs.

VTS As An Assessment Tool

  • Teachers and peers comment on student responses.
  • Uses Non-verbal cues (nods, quizzical looks etc.) to encourage students.
  • Effective feedback is specific and descriptive.
  • Teacher comments help clarify student responses.
  • Feedback is immediate to support student learning.

Visual Thinking Strategies helps students to truly understand and transfer learning.  It helps them explain, interpret and apply new learning.   

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: July 2019

Teaching is the one profession that crates all other professions.  Unknown.  This quote honors all teachers!
This quote honors all teachers.

Seven months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 12 July posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 7 down and 5 more to go! Have a great month!

July’s 2019 Archives

July’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite July Posts

 See some posts coming next month
See some posts coming next month
  • Gifted Learner Resources
  • Understanding IEPs Starts with Vocabulary
  • 10 Answers To Understand Your Child’s IEP

Top Reading Resources for Kids!

The best way for kids to become good readers is to read, read, read!  This post includes a variety of resources that will keep them engaged and provides hours of fun. The resources are both free and kid-friendly.  They include reading resources for all levels from beginners to advanced readers.

Great resources to get kids to read!
Great resources to get kids to read!

https://www.starfall.com/h/

Site includes a variety of resources for many areas.  Perfect for preschool, K-2 , special ed and English Language Development. A paid membership is needed for access to all resources but there are many FREE.

https://pbskids.org/

Quick fun activities and games to help them learn to read and write.

https://www.funbrain.com/

FREE educational games and online books for kids preschool through grade 8.  The interactive games develop skills in math, reading, and literacy.

http://teacher.scholastic.com/clifford1/

Clifford, The Big Red Dog: Interactive Storybooks!

http://funology.com/

Funology is the best place that kids can do alone or with their parents.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/

The Exploratorium isn’t just a museum. It has lots of online interactive activities.

http://www.thekidzpage.com/

Thekidzpage.com website for kids! Hundreds of free kids games, puzzles, activities, coloring pages, clip art & more for children, families, parents, teachers.  

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Comprehension Questions Help Early Readers

Asking questions helps strengthen a child’s reading comprehension.

Parents often wonder how to help their child with reading.  The comprehension question often comes up when they see their child reading the words but are not sure if they understand what they are reading. So, how can you help them when you are not a reading teacher. 

The important part is asking questions to start your child thinking about their reading. It’s totally fine to repeat the same or similar questions after each story. It helps your child learn to think about their reading; before they read, while they read and after they read.

Quick Comprehension Questions

  • Does anything in the story remind you of something that has happened to you?
  • What questions pops into your head about what you read?
  • There are some great pictures in the book. Can you tell me about one of them?
  • Can you summarize what you read?  What happened overall in the story?
  • What were the names of some of the characters?  Did you have a favorite character?  Why?
  • What do you think the title of the story (chapter) means?
  • Can you think of another title of the story?  Why would that be a good choice?
  • Do you think other kids would like this story?  Why?

Remember to balance your questions with fun.  After all, don’t we all just want to read without interruption sometimes? Think of it this way.  Every question is one more and better than none.  And every question or discussion is helpful.  Enjoy!

Jokes for Kids Develops a Sense of Humor

Jokes can help kids develop a sense of humor.
Jokes can help kids develop a sense of humor.

Yesterday, while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, I heard a joke on the radio cracked me up.

Question: “What did the baby corn say to mamma corn?”

Answer: “Where is pop corn?”  OK, so it’s a little funny or (corny) but there was lots of traffic!

It reminded me that when I was a K-2 principal I sometimes added a joke to the afternoon announcements. Yes, they were silly but for kids 5-7, just developing a sense of humor, I was a great comedian!  For teachers, I was sometimes a welcome laugh (ok maybe a giggle) at the end of the day. 

Time to Pull Out the Old Joke Book?

My delay in traffic reminded me that it might be time to share my wealth of “kid jokes” with a couple of my grandkids.  In fact, I may have already missed the window on my oldest grandson.  My guess, at the ripe old age of 8, I might see some eye-rolling.  If not from him, certainly from his dad, my oldest son.  But such is the life of a GG! 

Academic Benefits of Getting Kids to Love Jokes

If you are looking for something other than “just for the fun of it”, developing a kid’s sense of humor also has academic benefits.  Parents and teachers can help develop their child’s sense of humor by explaining why something is funny.  This helps them be able to recognize if again.  Afterall, a child is not born with a sense of humor.  It develops over time.  Don’t we all know adults without a sense of humor?  Let’s start our kids young!

  • Great motivator to get kids to read.
  • Helps build larger vocabularies.  Often jokes revolve around understanding different meanings of words.  They provide a great opportunity for discussion.
  • Jokes are short with simplistic vocabulary and sentence structure.
  • Higher order thinking skills developed –Additional connections are needed for the joke to make sense or be funny.

You Funny GG!

That comment came from my 3-year-old grandchild when I was being silly.  When kids are toddlers, it’s the funny faces and silliness that cracks them up.  But, when they get to be school age, we GG’s must work a little harder for a laugh!

Ready for Jokes? Let the Laughs Begin

Teaching kids to appreciate jokes is a great opportunity to laugh together as a family.  Come on, give some of the jokes below a try.  Take some time to be silly with your child and share a laugh (or eye roll).  Enjoy!

  • Q. Why did the cow cross the road?
  • A. To get to the udder side.
  • Q. What do you call a cold dog sitting on a bunny?
  • A. A chili dog on a bun.
  • Q. What do you call a thieving alligator?
  • A. A crookodile.
  • Q. What do you call a cow that eats your grass?
  • A. A lawn moo-er.
  • Q. What do you call a baby bear with no teeth?
  • A. A gummy bear.
  • Q. What do you call a pig who knows karate?
  • A. Porkchop
  • Q. What do you call a cow in a tornado?
  • A. A milkshake
  • Q. What do you call a sleeping bull?
  • A. A bulldozer
  • Q. How can you tell the ocean is friendly?
  • A. It waves!
  • Q. When is the moon the heaviest?
  • A. When it’s full.
  • Q. What kind of shorts do clouds wear?
  • A. Thunderwear!
  • Q. What kind of tree can you grow in your hand?
  • A. A palm tree
  • Q. What is a tree’s least favorite month?
  • A. Sep-timber
  • Q. What did the little tree say to the big tree?
  • A. Leaf me alone
  • Q. What did the tree wear to the pool party?
  • A. Swimming trunks
Isn’t education All about reaching the kids?

ThreeRingsConnections’ June 2019 Newsletter

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.  WB Yeats
It’s the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Did you light a child’s fire for learning?

Six months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All _____June posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 6 down and 6 more to go! Have a great month!

June’s 2019 Archives

June’s Most Popular Posts:

My Favorite June Posts:

  • Performing Arts and Kids
  • Jokes for Kids Develops a Sense of Humor
  • Comprehension Questions Help Early Readers

Summer Reading Can Be Easy

Summer reading is important for kids.
Summer Reading is Important for Kids

In most schools, at the end of each school year, your child completes a final reading assessment and the results are sent home to parents.  This information will tell you whether your child is reading at, above or below grade level expectations.  The letter or number tells you that your child can read at this level independently (without help from an adult). Once school begins again, your child’s teacher will be teaching skills at the next reading level.  Summer reading is important to strengthen your child’s reading ability. 

So, what can parents do to support their child’s reading growth over the long summer?  The summer reading goal for parents is to help their child NOT lose ground on their child’s reading level.  Research has consistently shown that readers, particularly struggling readers, lose ground over the summer.  The summer learning loss is particularly greater between students from low -socioeconomic and high-socioeconomic families.  A quick and easy way to maintain your child’s reading level is the ABC/123 strategy.

ABC/123 Every Day

The ABC/123 Strategy involves spending less than 5 minutes a day and ask your child 6 simple questions about what they read during their 10-minute reading each day. Using the acronym Ask, Build, Connect (ABC) parents have a quick, fun way to support your child’s reading growth.

2 Easy Steps

Ask your child 1,2, or 3 questions in each of the 3 categories (A, B, or C) listed below for a total of 6 questions daily. Feel free to ask all 6 questions in the same category, if your child is engaged in discussion.  However, it is important not to eliminate the categories since each category is important for kids to think about when reading.

  • Ask questions – Questioning is at the heart of comprehension.  Children benefit from questions that help them focus their reading and clarify more clearly what they are reading. Ask questions about details, plot, characters, opinions.   The main idea is to get them to remember or find details in their reading.
  • Build VocabularyVocabulary is key to reading comprehension.  As children learn to read more unfamiliar texts, they must learn the meaning of new words that are not part of their oral vocabulary. Ask them to tell you words they found that were new to them.  Talk about their meaning and other words that could have been used instead of the author’s choice.
  • Connect with the WorldHelping your child make connections with what they read helps them “think” about their reading.  Ask them questions on how the story interested them or how it was like another book they read. Encourage them to also think about how the book may connect to the world.  Older children will create many connections and will be more specific on details. 

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Phonological Awareness Resource for Families

Phonological awareness is crucial for understanding language and how words come together.
Phonological awareness is crucial for understanding language and how words come together.

The National Center on Improving Literacy has released a great eLearning resource on Phonological Awareness.  The Ask & Answer: Phonological Awareness  will help families and educators learn about this important skill. The document can be reviewed as presentation or downloaded as a Word document to be read easily.   

The Question and Answer document describes key literacy terms in reading instruction.  Additionally, it shares ways parents can help their child’s literacy development at home.  Educators may find this tool useful to review key literacy terms and teaching practices.

Phonological Awareness in 7 questions:

  • What is phonological awareness (PA)?
  • Why is PA important?
  • How does PA typically develop?
  • How should PA be taught?
  • What should instruction look like for children with, or at risk for, literacy related disabilities or dyslexia?
  • How can families support PA development?
  • How can I learn more?

Please check it out today and share with others!

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Summer Reading at New York Libraries (even if you’re not a New Yorker)!

Great Resource for Summer Reading

The New York State Education Department’s Summer Reading at New York Libraries program is once again partnering with myON in 2019 to bring digital books to young readers via unlimited access to the myON by Renaissance digital library! The goal is to keep children reading and learning through the summer by providing them with access to an abundance of reading material, to help prevent summer slide and the loss of reading skills. 

Students and their families can easily access the myON digital library from May 1 through September 30 with one simple statewide login. A mobile app is also available allowing up to 20 books to be downloaded and read while traveling or away from home. The myON library has a collection of over 6,000 fiction and nonfiction ebooks geared toward children from birth to 12th grade, with recorded audio, text highlighting, and an embedded dictionary all included.

Libraries are a great resource for learning all year round, but especially in the summer. Your local library has a wide variety of book selections (ebooks, audio and hardcover) for adults and kids. “A Universe of Stories” is the 2019 slogan and the theme is space and science, so check out activities being planned by your local library.

Summer Reading resources for students.
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids? 

Tumblebooks: Free Stories for Kids

TumbleBooks of the Day is a project that provides free daily content for families, schools and public libraries to promote literacy and love of reading.

TumbleBooks of the Day is a project that provides free daily content for families, schools and public libraries to promote literacy and love of reading. Each day there is a Book of the Day, Math Book of the Day, Game of the Day and Spanish Book of the Day.  There is also a Fun Fact of the Day that is customized for each state.

TumbleBooks is a FREE online collection of children’s books that are read TO your child.  TumbleBooks is available at local libraries and from home with your library card.  (SHHH…. A search of TumbleBooks of the Day will also give you the same resource each day).

Many of the picture books are animated, have sounds and music making them very engaging to younger listeners and readers.  The longer chapter books are narrated to your child, similar to an audiobook.  However, you child can follow along the text with the narration.

Yes, it does count as screen time, but isn’t nice that it counts as some early literacy and educational purpose!

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Online Resources for Preschoolers

Online resources can support a preschooler’s literacy journey.

Online resources can support a preschooler's literacy journey.
Online resources can support a preschooler’s literacy journey.

There are many resources online to support a preschooler’s literacy journey, but which ones are good? Over the last few months, I’ve been on a search to find great resources that parents can use that are easy to use and can engage kids. Over the last few months, I’ve tried each of the sites with one of my grandchildren 1 year to 5 years old.  So here is my “GG approved” literacy websites.  But more importantly it comes with a “grandchild approved” rating. Have fun!

Top 10 Online Resources (alphabetical)

  • Between the Lions– This website associated with the PBS show features games, activities, and resources for emerging readers.
  • Children’s Storybooks Online– This collection of online stories is perfect for beginning readers through young adults.
  • Starfall– Starfall guides students from learning the alphabet to early reading and beyond. The four sections include videos, guided stories, and a selection of stories featuring comics, plays, folk tales, and more!
  • Reading is Fundamental – This children’s literacy organization has activity ideas for parents, articles for educators and stories and games for kids. Be sure to check out the reading activity calendars!
  • Storyline Online – Screen Actors Guild members read children’s books aloud, accompanied by the book illustrations.
  • StoryPlace: The Children’s Digital Library – Thank you to the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County for creating a great interactive website for kids.  On this site your child can listen to interactive children’s stories and play on-line activities and more.
  • Starfall– Starfall guides students from learning the alphabet to early reading and beyond. The four sections include videos, guided stories, and a selection of stories featuring comics, plays, folk tales, and more!
  • PBS Kids – Kids can explore their favorite PBS shows such as Curious George, Caillou, and Arthur while playing educational games.
  • National Geographic Kids – Play games, watch videos, learn about animals, and places, and get fun facts on the National Geographic Kids website.
  • San Diego Zoo Kids – ALL FREE.  Great resource for “one stop activities”. Includes games, craft ideas, science experiments and videos about animals.
  • StoryPlace: The Children’s Digital Library – At this children’s website by the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, kids can listen to interactive children’s stories, play with on-line activities, print out take-home activities, reading list and more.

Online Resources Recently Discovered: Worth a Look!

  • H.I.P. Pocket Change – The United States Mint has a website just for kids! Here kids can learn about money through games and activities.
  • Toy Theater – At the Toy Theater you can compose music, make art, play Tic Tac Toe, and explore the interactive playset.
  • Literacy Center Education Network – The Play & Learn center has lots of online activities for learning to read.  Site includes activities in English, French, Spanish and German.
  • Chateau Meddybumps – Site has a FEE but there are many FREE activities.  Check out the Parent Guide on how to support your child in language, reading and social skills.

“GG suggested… grandchild approved.” 

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: April 2019

Monthly newsletter archives front Threeringsconnections.org gives parents, teachers and administrators resources to support kids.

Education is the means of developing our greatest abilities.
Education is the means of developing our greatest abilities.

Four months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 11 April posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 4 down and 8 more to go! Have a great month!

April’s 2019 Archives

April’s Most Popular Posts:

My Favorite April Posts:

  • Power of Play and Young Kids
  • STEM and STEAM for Preschool Students

Children’s Book Week 2019

Children’s Book Week celebrations will be held at bookstores, libraries, and schools across the country April 29-May 5.

Children's Book Week in 2019 is  April 29-May 5
Celebrate April 29-May 5

Children’s Book Week (CBW) is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. It originated in the belief that children’s books and literacy are life-changers. 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of CBW. The 100th Anniversary theme — Read Now ∙ Read Forever – looks to the past, present, and most important, the future of children’s books.

Teachers and parents are encouraged to celebrate this week with their own events and self-made projects to help boost the pleasure in reading among young readers. Learn more about this year’s celebration and see what events will be held nationwide and happening in your area.

Children's Book Week celebrations last all year long!
CBW celebrations last all year long!

The celebration lasts all year long. 
Look for another dedicated week in the fall, November 4-10!

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