FREE Books for Adults and Kids

 

child reading on tablet Please share the resources below to give someone the “Gift of Reading”.
• Overdrive is a database of books that allows you to borrow up to 10 ebooks or audiobooks from your local library. Just use your library card for your one time registration.
• Tumblebooks is a collection of audiobooks and ebooks for kids. Books are leveled and the site also includes activities. Once you register using your library card, you will be given access information.
Happy Free Reading! woman reading

100 Chart for Math

100 chart helps kids understand math
Familiarity with a 100 Chart is important in helping a child understand math.

Recently I was driving home with my granddaughter, who just started kindergarten.  To help distract her on our long ride, I thought it would be fun to count to 100 and see how long it would be before we saw our house. When we got into the 50s she informed me she wasn’t very good at the higher numbers.  Ah, a challenge for GG!

So, for her next visit I downloaded a 100 chart to help her develop an  understanding of numbers.  A hundred chart is an easy way to do fun math without lots of preparation.  A 100 chart can easily be found online.  I was ready for an exciting game of 100 chart BINGO.

Let the game begin!

After about 10 numbers, I realized her focus was more on the purple butterfly tokens we were using to cover the numbers rather than the numbers themselves.  A good early childhood teachers knows to keep a lesson focused, short and fun. That day Miss M did not think my 100s chart game was any of the three. So, the hundred (100) chart game will wait for another day.

Kindergarten Concepts to Review Using a 100s Chart

  • Number identification
  • Number order
  • One to one correspondence(be sure to point to each number)
  • Patterns
  • Practice counting forwards
  • Practice counting backwards

Examples of 100s Chart Games

  • Find the number
  • Count off the days
  • Numbers are symbols for amounts
  • Ordinal numbers (first, second, third etc.)
  • Roll a die(1) or dice(2) and move that number of boxes on the chart.

Remember the fun is in the journey.  Enjoy the moment !

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

Fostering Creativity in Kids

Fostering Creativity in Kids and Love Doing it!

When I was a teacher of the talented and gifted we administered the Torrance Tests of Divergent Thinking as one of the admission tests. Points were given if kids expanded some basic squiggles into creative drawings.  Kids loved the test and always wanted to do it over. IF they did take the test again, they probably would have done better.  Why?  Because after the test I had shown them how they scored Therefore, they learned how to score better the next time.

Talented and Gifted Admission: A Good Idea?

A Torrance retest would be a perfect example of learning, but could I use the results to test creativity? I’m not sure.  The example showed that creativity is a skill can be developed. So, what about the kids who scored high on the original test?  Was that inborn talent or had they had opportunities to develop their creativity prior to testing?  Perhaps they had experiences that gave them the confidence to try different challenges where there was no right or wrong answers.

Bottom line is that parents can foster creativity in their kids.  Fostering a child’s creativity through art and music is a common idea.  However, creativity and problem solving can be seen in all areas.

10 Ways to Promote Creativity in Children

  • Give kids lots of unstructured playtime to let their imaginations be unlimited.
  • Provide resources to let them explore. (Ex. paper, pencils, boxes, old clothes for dress up, straws, newspapers, blocks, Legos) Let them look around and find things to use.
  • Give them flexibility to make choices and think of solutions.
  • Help them learn words associated with creativity by asking questions. Ex. What would happen if? What could you do with that?  Any ideas that might be possibilities? Let’s think of possible solutions.
  • Applaud their creativity! Remembering that there is no right or wrong.  Allowing kids to express themselves with acknowledgement helps to build confidence to try new things.
  • Allow them to make rules to a game. They’ll experience whether they work or not. When they don’t let them change them again.  Problem solving at its best
  • The focus of creative activities should be on process: generating (vs. evaluating) new ideas.
  • Remind them it’s ok to make mistakes. You don’t want them to be afraid of failure. Adults make mistakes too!
  • Encourage divergent (different) thinking. I used to challenge all my first-grade classes to find 100 ways to melt a snowball. It was a struggle, but they always did it.  Wow, those kids were creative!
  • Show kids creative ideas. In other words, something that will trigger “out of the box thinking”.

The photo attached to this post was taken by my husband on a golf outing.  He thought it was unique and knew I would share it with some of my grandkids. But he didn’t know that I would use it as the focus photo of a post on creativity!  Who would ever thinking of carving and painting  a scene on a tree?  So, maybe, you won’t paint on the next tree you see, but I bet you’ll think of this photo the next time you see an entwined tree trunk.  Now, you’re being creative.

Thanks to Griffon Ramsey, for the creative inspiration from “Bad Day on the SS Normandie” (2017)

Reading to Babies? How?

One of the groups that I  volunteer with is the Poughkeepsie branch of  the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  One of our recent projects was to create a brochure about the importance of reading to babies. I’m happy to announce that the finished product, in both Spanish and English, is now available throughout Dutchess County in libraries and pediatrician offices.  Thank you to the graphic designer, the translator and the Poughkeepsie Library System for all their efforts to complete the project.  The information below is included in the brochure.  Enjoy!

Reading Milestones: 

While every child develops at his/her own rate, these are general guidelines.

Birth to 3 months

  • Looks at the pictures but might noy want to touch the books
  • Prefers a book with high-contrast colors and patterned designs

4-6 months

  • Explores books by putting them in their mouth
  • May coo or babble at you when you read

6-12 months

  • Pays with books like toys
  • Can help turn the pages
  • Babbles at pictures

12-18 months

  • Holds or carries books
  • Looks at books independently
  • Uses index finger to point at the illustrations

18-24 months

  • Says some of the words and phrases in familiar books.
  • Wants to have a story read over and over.
  • Pretends to read and mimics adult reading behaviors.

Reading to Babies –  You Are Your Baby’s First Teacher

  • Nursery rhymes are short and fun to read with babies. Additional rhymes are easily found online.
  • Keep it short. Infants have short attention spans so read for 10-15 minutes, once or twice e a day.
  • Sing to your baby, songs of your childhood. Be creative. Take well-known tunes and put in your own words to match your activity.
  • Talk to you baby to help build social skills.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat. Reading the same story over and over helps your baby learn what he/she should laugh and get excited by the changes in your voice.

When Choosing Books for Your Baby

  • Look for books that include things to touch and flaps to lift
  • Search for boos that include illustrations of photos of other babies
  • Choose books that YOU like since you will most likely be reading them over and over.
  • For the youngest babies, look for simple pictures in black and white.
  • Try sturdy board books when babies start to grab the books
  • Read books with rhythm, rhyme, and repetition.
  • Visit your local library. You’ll find many great books and programs.
  • Enjoy these special moments with your child!

Other posts related to this topic

Picture Walks Promote Reading

Why? Reading to Babies?

Reading to Babies? Why?

One of the groups that I  volunteer with is the Poughkeepsie branch of  the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  One of our recent projects was to create a brochure about the importance of reading to babies. I’m happy to announce that the finished product, in both Spanish and English, is now available throughout Dutchess County in libraries and pediatrician offices.  Thank you to the graphic designer, the translator and the Poughkeepsie Library System for all their efforts to complete the project.  The information below is included in the brochure.  Enjoy!

Reading to Young Children

Reading aloud to children from an early age is the best way to raise a child who enjoys reading and does well in school. Therefore, why not start with reading to babies!

Why Reading to Babies is Important

  • Your baby’s brain triples in size by age 3. The brain develops as your baby interacts with the world and learns new things.
  • Reading aloud exposes babies to the sounds of human speech and lays a foundation for learning to read.
  • By age two, children know between 300-500 words. Children who are spoken to and read frequently have larger vocabularies and develop into better readers. Therefore, let the talk begin!
  • Communication with your baby helps to make sense of the environment. Whether its smiling, laughing or talking, your baby is starting to realize the value of communication
  • As your baby’s first teacher, you can help nurture a language-rich environment.

Other posts related to this topic

https://threeringsconnections.org/why-read-and-babies/

5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

So good news.  If you are reading this blog, you have been taught to read.  5 parts of reading However, how did you learn to read?  What are the main parts when teaching reading? I’ll give you a hint… there are 5 parts of reading.

I asked that question to a few non-teaching friends recently.  They all responded comprehension, and with some additional prodding, they added vocabulary. Both are correct!  Now, what are the other 3? For anyone helping kids learn to read it is important to know that it takes all 5 ingredients working together for kids to become successful readers. Adding to comprehension and vocabulary are fluency and phonological  and phonemic awareness.  Often, students that have difficulty with reading comprehension have difficulty in 1 or more of the other reading components.

Comprehension is what most people think reading is. It is creating a meaning out of a group of individual words.  Reading comprehension is the most complex aspect of reading.  It includes the other 4 components and requires the reader to think about what they are reading and make connections with their personal knowledge.

Vocabulary is needed for kids to read books.  As they become stronger readers, they will tackle more difficult readings with new vocabulary words.  When reading with a child ask them to try to figure out a new word by the context clues (hints) in the text.  They can look at other words in the sentence, the main idea of the story, or the pictures in the story to provide hints to identify the new word.  Like vocabulary, reading comprehension skills develop and improve over time through practice.

Fluency is a reader’s ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression. It is important for reading comprehension because it frees up working memory in the brain to spend time comprehending what they are reading. Reading books slightly below your child’s reading level will help build confidence and therefore, increase fluency.

Phonemic Awareness is recognizing parts of words. To see that a word has a beginning, middle and end and makes a new word if you add an ending such as /s/.  Phonemic awareness is also blending the parts of words together to make a full word. For example: /h/ and /at/ to form hat.  Phonemic awareness also recognizes specific sounds and location in a word.  For example: knowing what the first sound in the word “ball”.

Phonological awareness is the connection between sounds and letter symbols.  These sound/symbol connections create words. Children need to understand the connection between the individual sounds that each letter makes and how putting the letters together to create a word to understand. Nursery rhymes are great resources to help develop both phonological and phonemic awareness skills.

Top 5 things for parents to do to help their child read

  1. Read with your child daily.
  2. Reread books to expose kids to same words to build fluency.
  3. Ask questions about the story or illustrations.
  4. Use different vocabulary words in conversations with your child (age dependent)
  5. Read different types of text.  (Ex.   magazine, menu, cereal box)

  Other posts related to this topic

Best Reading Resources for Teachers

Speech Language Pathologists

As a building principal for many years, I had the pleasure of working with National Hearing Month many classroom teachers and special area teachers.  There was not a day that went by that I didn’t learn something from one of them!  One group of teachers that I found to be an amazing source of information was the Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). Our SLPs were exceptionally helpful in our school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) process.  As part of our RTI process, they worked to find different ways to include language interventions to strengthen student skills.  Collaborating with classroom teachers they were able to explain a child’s limitations based on testing and suggested interventions.  Partnering with parents they explained test scores, program   recommendations and shared progress reports.

Thank you, Holly and Connie!

The 2 sites below are good resources to support teachers, parents and caregivers looking for information on any speech concerns.  Both are active sites with the Main Page having multiple links and search engines to ask specific questions.

Helpful Links

American Speech Language Hearing Association

National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDC)

 

Early Learning Newsletter: U.S. Dept. of Ed.

Early Learning Newsletter from the U. S. Department of Education is great resource.  Find the latest information about ED’s work in supporting our nation’s youngest learners. Join the Early Learning Newsletter mailing list to receive regular ED early learning updates and the monthly early learning newsletter.  Early Learning Newsletter

Other posts related to this topic

Reading Resources for Teachers

 

Use Your Words Daniel Tiger

“Use Your Words”: Learning Kit with Daniel TigerDaniel Tiger Neighborhood

The technique “use your words” encourages children to talk about their feelings. Being able to use words to describe what they are feeling gives children power over their feelings. Giving words to feelings can make them become a lot less overwhelming or upsetting or scary. The Use Your Words Learning Kit with Daniel Tiger is a FREE resource has many tips for parents and teachers for helping children learn to use their words to express how they are feeling. Great resource that kids will love!

Use Your Words: Learning Kit with Daniel Tiger

You may also find helpful 

3 Words to Help Expression

 

Change Happens… Now What?

I’ve used the video below many times in Teacher Professional Development workshops when we try to understand the many changes occurring in education today. Sometimes the video helps to focus a group to understand the need for changes.  Other times it helps to support a group challenged to change and looking for meaningful and sustainable pathways.  Overall, a good visual to illustrate how our world has changed and a glimpse into the future.  At the very least it’s a 5 minute history lesson.

I had this video embedded in a recent Keynote speech,  only to find out that the Internet was not working.  (Don’t you just love technology!) So, here you go Astor Friends!  I will also be posting the Champion Speech.   You all deserve it!

Did You Know (Shift Happens  – 2018 Remix

 

Minute-Mysteries: October

Minute-Mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of mystery detectivethe clues in the story.

Emily and Connall were playing checkers at GG’s house. They played 5   games.  Each of them won the same number of games and there weren’t any ties.  How could this happen?

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was the youngest person elected to the presidency.  However, he was the second youngest man to hold the office? How could this be?

On Monday, the teacher asked Teaghan how old she would be on her next birthday.  She answered that in two years she would be twice as old as she was five years ago.  How old is Teaghan today?

A photographer went for a walk in the woods to take pictures of nature.  That was the last time anyone saw her alive.  Three days later she was found dead in the woods.  The story says that she died because of a pack on her back.  What was so deadly about the pack?

Other posts related to this topic      

Mysteries to support critical thinking

Answer Clues: 

  1. How many kids were playing checkers?
  2. Are presidents always elected?
  3. Use a chart or a table as your problem solving strategy.
  4. Is there anything else special about the phrase  “pack on her back” other than it rhymes?

Answers:  (You asked for it, here they are) 

  1. Emily and Connall were both playing checkers but they were not playing each other.
  2. When President McKinley was assassinated, Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt became president..  At that time he was only 42.  President Kennedy was 43.
  3. Teaghan is 12
  4. The pack that was on the photographer was a “pack” of wolves.

 

3-Words to Help Expression

3 words for expressionTeaching young children to use their words is a well-known educational tool.  These 3-words are meant to help kids express their feelings to lessen frustration. Parents and teachers can give children exact words to teach them how to manage new situations.

Kids, parents and grandparents get frustrated when you don’t understand.  However, with kids, their emotions can be heightened, and they can’t tell you what the problem is.  We must teach them to express themselves.  That means giving them direction and model how to express themselves.

3 Strategies to Help Kids Use Their 3-Words

  1. Give kids “feelings” words to use and help them know “what” they are feeling.
  2. Role-play so they can practice how to use their words in different situations.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice since all situations are not the same.

Finally, I caution you to be careful of what you ask for.  You may be surprised to find your child sharing with you their honest opinion.  I was told recently, by one of my grandkids, that he “sometimes thought I was mean”.  Honestly, I was shocked and felt badly. However, I stepped back and realized that he was expressing his thoughts on my decision not to let him play with a toy. I acknowledged his feelings and once again explained my reasons for saying “No” to his request.  I hope he understood my reasoning but realize that may not be the case. In the end, I was happy he had learned to use his words, but I still felt a little badly.

You may also find helpful 

Great resource: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/preschool/Pages/Using-Their-Words.aspx

A great primer on language and toddlers.  Gives short background on the importance of language and its role in reading. It also includes some brain research information to support the concepts.

Add Effective Questioning to Toolkit

 a map with text

“Bloomin” Questioning: The Basics

My knowledge of questioning was limited prior to being hired as a teacher of Talented and Gifted students. I vaguely remember hearing something about Bloom’s Taxonomy.  But honestly, it didn’t sound important to me at the time.  My new position put it front and center of my teaching. However, I was WRONG not to have used it in my prior placements. Good questioning should be in every teacher’s toolbox and used often in both instruction and assessment.  It is a great addition to a parents’ toolbox as well.

Most questions are used to ask students to recall and check for understanding.  For deeper understanding, we should ask children to apply their knowledge. Often my students could recall the information but could not explain their answers.  Most of today’s testing requires students to explain their answers and gives partial credit to validate thinking.

This is an excellent topic for discussion.  Therefore, look for future blogs on effective questioning for different age students that will include questioning stems to help in the classroom.

Blooms taxonomy map

Remember: Being able to recall or recognize ideas and information.

Understand:  Understanding the main idea of new information and being able to summarize.

Apply:  Applying an idea to solve a problem.

Analyze: Breaking down an idea into parts to help understanding.

Evaluate: Using reasons to support your idea.

Create:  Create a new idea using new information.

You may also find helpful 

Highly-abled students need attention too!

Reading Resources: Top 5

         Free Magazine Resources

Free Magazines: 2 Free Magazines

This blog is response to a reader for a list of some good reading resources.    A tough  question because SO much goes into a recommendation depending on what their need is.  Recommendations should be based on many factors.  Who needs it? For what purpose is the recommendation? What type of reading resources do you need?  Are you looking for resources, research, opinions?

The table below is my best attempt at a TOP 5 list.  However, please look for future posts on this topic.

TOP 5 Reading Resources

Source Overview Cost Teachers/Subs Student Teachers Parents & Grands
Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) Research-based classroom activities developed to improve reading instruction  Pre-K through 12th grade. Center Activities includes a Teacher Resource Guide. A Professional Development Video that provides insights into differentiated instruction. www.fcrr.org FREE X
ABC Mouse A subscription-based digital education program. Geared for  children ages 2-6. First month is Free. Games and activities are based on student progress.  Many subject areas included. www.abcmouse.com FREE  1st month $79 yr.  Look for coupons X X
Starfall Starfall is a free public service to teach children to read with phonics.  Excellent resources for  preschool, K-2, special education, homeschool and ELL’s. Math and music activities are also included. www. starfall.com FREE with Premium $35.00/yr. X X
Reading Rockets Offers a wealth of reading strategies, lessons and activities designed to help young children read.  Support to build fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills. www.readingrockets.org FREE X X
ReadWrite Think Provides access to high quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in FREE materials. Every lesson plan has been aligned to NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts and individual state standards as well. www.readwritethink.org FREE X X

Behaviors (7) Predict School Success?

Last week, my oldest granddaughter excitedly started Kindergarten.  We all knew she was ready, but our eyes still welled up when she climbed the bus stairs.  She is growing up so fast!  So, how did we know?  Well, GiGi’s and daughters JUST KNOW but research on behaviors that predict Kindergarten Readiness also gives information to consider.

report by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicates that kids entering kindergarten display a wide range of behaviors.  Some of them give kids a big advantage. The study tracked  students from kindergarten through third grade, to  determine whether some of these behaviors are related to academic performance. They are:

  • Pays attention well
  • Learns independently
  • Persists in completing tasks
  • Organizes belongings
  • Adapts easily to change
  • Shows eagerness to learn new things
  • Follows classroom rules

Looking at the list and Little Miss M, a couple of items make us raise our eyebrows but OVERALL, she was ready.  Have fun Miss M! School is  ready for you!

Helpful Link: Entering Kindergarten: A Portrait of American Children When They Begin School 

Picture Walks can promote reading

Research states that reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the word. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. But what to do if your child is not interested and it becomes a nightly struggle rather than a special nighttime ritual? Try Picture Walks!

As a K-2 principal I sometimes gave pep talks to parents in ways to engage their child in reading. A simple and easy way to help your child read is to do a “Picture Walk” BEFORE reading an unfamiliar story. “Picture Walks” help children to learn how to preview and make predictions about a book. A “Picture Walk” can last one day or multiple days depending on your child’s interest.

Before you read with your child

  • Choose a book and read it to yourself first.
  • While reading, look closely at the illustrations (pictures), the text (words) and the structure of the book (lots of illustrations, words on the bottom/top, rhyming, repetition of words)
  • Think about what YOUR child will like about the book. (illustrations, characters, ending)

While reading with your child

  • Model how to read
  • Look closely at the illustrations with your child and have them talk about what they see. There is no right or wrong answer, just talk about the illustrations.
  • Point out text features that will help them comprehend the story. (Subtitles, question marks, exclamation points)
  • Use some of the new words in the story when pointing to the illustrations.
  • Looking at the illustrations, ask general questions about the story. (Ex: where do you think the story is taking place, who might the story be about?)
  • Respond to their replies vaguely; rather that they are correct or incorrect. (Use phrases like “I wonder, it looks like, oh maybe, let’s read further)

After reading the book

Review some of the ideas and predictions that you talked about while looking back at the illustrations.  This reinforces their thinking and fosters enthusiasm.

 

Library Suggestions for Preschool Classrooms

September and the start of school has always inspired me to buy new school supplies. Recently, I found the 101 Best Book List created by researchers at the Curry School of Education which is a great list to start your classroom library. The choices are based on readability, length and including different types of genres.

Books don’t have to be new to be enjoyed  Because books are expensive  start your search at garage sales, books sales and used book sales at your local library.  Dutchess County friends, take a road trip to the Poughkeepsie Library on Boardman Road. Their bookstore has great buys.  I recently bought 10 Early Reading (Levels 1 and 2) books for $2.64.  That’s 25 cents a book! It’s clean, organized and a friendly group of volunteers.  Worth a visit.  http://poklib.org/friends-of-ppld/book-store/

I have retyped this list to make it user-friendly when shopping for books.  Happy Shopping!    kids and library books

booklist

Highly-abled students need attention too!

magnigying glass Most students in my talented and gifted classes were highly-abled.  At times, these students exhibited traits of giftedness in a subject area.  At other times, it may have been their creativeness or problem solving ability.  Knowing the characteristics of highly-abled students will help teachers modify curriculum to develop strengths and address student needs.

  1. has an excellent memory
  2. has a large vocabulary
  3. Uses complex sentence structure for their age
  4. reads earlier than peers
  5. enjoys problem-solving
  6. demonstrates logical thinking
  7. concerned with social and political issues
  8. asks probing questions, inquiring minds, curious
  9. has original ideas
  10. enjoys and initiates own learning
  11. is organized
  12. can concentrate for lengthy periods of time
  13. tends to be persistent and motivated
  14. can be impatient and intolerant
  15. has a wide range of interests
  16. may have an extreme focus in one interest
  17. has a deep knowledge base
  18. often highly sensitive
  19. has sophisticated sense of humor
  20. transfers learning to new situations
  21. makes connections between different activities and ideas
  22. works well independently
  23. enjoys spending time with  older students or adults

(Source: National Association for Gifted Children (https://www.nagc.org/)

Reading, Writing and Preschool? Oh MY!

As requested by some attendees at the Astor Services Head Start on the September 14th conference day, the link below is a repost of a Reading presentation that I gave last year to the Astor Education committee.  preschool reading

The presentation outlines the importance of literacy in  Childhood Education.  It includes both research and strategies to include in literacy instruction.  The differences between phonological and phonemic awareness is highlighted.  The pros and cons of the Common Core standards is also included for discussion.

Other posts you might find helpful 

phonological-and-phonemic-awareness-6 (8)

Early Literacy and Common Core in Preschool: How Do they Fit Together in Our Classrooms?

As requested by some attendees at the Astor Services Head Start on the September 14th conference day, the link below is a repost of a presentation that I prepared for the Astor Education Committee in May, 2017.

ed-committee-may-23 (3)