Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Music in Books

I just finished reading The Magician's Elephant, the newest book by Kate DiCamillo. It kept striking me how I could totally imagine this book as a musical. I heard through the grapevine, in fact, that it is going to be turned into a movie, so I'll be very disappointed if it is not a musical. I'm actually not going to review this book for this post, although it is a good read for elementary kids who would enjoy a fantastical story about family ties, caring for others, and magic.

Anyway, the book made me think of other books that also incorporate music into them. Jane Cabrera, Iza Trapani, and Nadine Westcott (author and/or illustrator), have turned many children's songs into picture books. Even if your child can't read yet, s/he will likely know the songs in these books and be able to "read" right along with you while you sing the words on the pages. This feeling of mastery will encourage your child's enjoyment of books.

Here are just a few more of my very favorite books that are also songs. Your kids may not know these songs, but they sure are beautiful books!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Celebrate Banned Books Week

Thanks to Omnivoracious for the link! See our displays and booklists for more information.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Mixed Up Files

This month's Super Readers book was The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Twelve year old Claudia decides she's had enough of home and runs away with her little brother to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While there, they discover a mystery surrounding a small sculpture. This story is a fantastic family read, combining family dynamics, adventure, investigation and secrets.

Things to talk about...

What's fair? Are Claudia's chores fair? Is it fair to her parents for her to run away?
Why are secrets so exciting? Is it still fun if nobody knows you have a secret?
Where would you like to run away to? (This is a question for grownups too!)


Eat peanut butter crackers and chocolate bars.
Check out an art book, like Name That Style and The Art Book for Children, and look at art together.
Create your own masterpieces using yarn, fingerpaints, clay or anything else you have handy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Early Literacy, Ch. 6: Vocabulary

Last but not least is the early literacy skill, Vocabulary. That kind of speaks for itself. Children who are developing this early literacy skill are increasing the number of words they know.

Here are some ways you can help increase your child's vocabulary:

  • Just read a book. Did you know that books have 3 times as many rare words in them than just regular conversation?
  • Don't simplify hard words when reading; instead, explain them.
  • Practice dialogic reading. What, you may ask, is dialogic reading? Basically, it is having a conversation about what you are reading. Include your child in the story. Ask open-ended questions about what they see in the pictures and what they hear in the words you are reading.
And that brings us to the end of my little lessons on Early Literacy. Until next time...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

With Fresh Eyes

I loved this post over at Booklights* (which if you don't follow, you should!) about which titles we read as children we wish we could read again for the first time. You know, those stories that just seemed so amazing and you couldn't wait to turn the page.

Add your favs in the comments below!

*Booklights is a fabulous blog sponsored by PBS by several children's book experts with book ideas, reading tips and much, much more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Early Literacy, Ch. 5: Print Awareness

Now on to our next Early Literacy skill, Print Awareness. Children with this skill know how books work. They know the front of the book from the back, the direction the print usually flows, and upside-down vs. right-side-up. I still always get excited when my 21-month-old son picks up a book and turns it around so that it is facing the right direction. I also love when he then looks at the cover, throws it down, and picks another book. He definitely has his definite preferences according to his mood. But that's another story, and I'm sure you don't want to hear me prattling on about my little boy.

Things you can do to encourage your child's development of Print Awareness:
  • Get one of those little photo albums that fits one picture per page (you can find them at a dollar store). Take some pictures of your child's favorite people and things and then type or write up one- or two-word labels to put in the other sleeve that faces that picture.
  • Leave books in places where they are available for your child to experience in his/her own way, not way up on a forbidden shelf.
  • Let your child help with the grocery list, even though s/he don't know how to write or spell yet. Just remember what s/he told you for each thing s/he wrote down, because the scribbles will probably only make sense to him/her.

Join me in a couple of weeks with my final installment of Early Literacy, Ch. 6: Vocabulary.