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Good Rhymes Make Good Readers

Rhyming words are a key ingredient in helping children develop the skills they need for reading.  There is significant research that children well versed in rhyme have an easier time mastering reading.   http://www.bookstart.org.uk/professionals/about-bookstart-and-the-packs/research/reviews-and-resources/the-benefit-of-rhymes/

Here are a few of my  favorite rhyming books:

The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle    41n1rZGSsYL._SX393_BO1,204,203,200_

A new book by Eric Carle is always a treat.  Carle wanted to expose young children to surrealism.  The children may not care about that but they will love the silly rhymes and illustrations of birds swimming, fish flying and a boy in a kangaroo’s pouch.  Fan of Carle will notice that he recycles some of his illustrations from other books.

 

 

Louella Mae, She’s Run Away by Karen Beaumont Alarcon, illustrated by Roseanne Litzinger

51BVlF6vc0L._SX424_BO1,204,203,200_Louella Mae,  She’s run away!

Look in the cornfields!

Look in the hay!

Where, oh where is Louella Mae?

When Louella May runs away, the family goes on a frantic search to find her.  Rhyming words provide clues to the action on the next page.  Making predictions is also a key reading skill.  This is great to read aloud with a southern accent.

 

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Tumble Bumble by Felicia Bond

A tiny bug went for a walk.

He met a cat and stopped to talk.

They fell in step and strolled a while,

And bumped into a crocodile…

The bug, the cat and the crocodile continue to make new friends as they travel along and enjoy each other’s company.

 

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Shoe Baby by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Polly Dunbar,

A baby goes for an adventure in a flying shoe.  He goes to the sea, stops by the zoo, and meets the King and Queens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting Them Reading..

Some children take to books like ducks to water. Others need more encouragement.  Here are ways to encourage your child to read more…

Adult Reading

Be a role model.  Make time to read for your own enjoyment.  Last summer’s public library reading program included a program for adults.  Many people were eager to sign up their children but would cite excuses for themselves like “I don’t have time.” or “I am too busy reading to my children.”

 

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Limit screens.  I’m a lifelong bookworm and the Internet has impacted my reading time.  Time watching television or surfing the Internet is ultimately less satisfying than reading, playing  or creating.  Children need downtime.  It’s good for them to be bored sometimes.  If television and organized activities are always present, children lose the ability to create their own fun.  Unstructured play is crucial to healthy childhood development (but that’s another post.) Children are more likely to read when they have unscheduled time.

 

Use books to help children pursue their passions.  The DK readers feature many high interest topics with great pictures.  There are numerous Star Wars and Super Hero Books as well as books about natural disasters, sports and animals.

Boys often  prefer informational books to fiction.  Many of these boys are surrounded by females who tend to value fiction.. Be aware that the DK titles are more  difficult than the typical easy reader.  Visual appeal will attract reluctant readers.

.   Some children dislike reading because they are still struggling with decoding words. Being in touch with your child’s teacher is important.  But keep in mind that children do not all develop at the same rate.

If your child needs to practice reading, keep the sessions short.  In an earlier blog post, I recommended the You Read to Me, I Read to You books. These are set up as short poems for parents and child to read together.  Or just read some silly poetry together.    If your child is enjoying reading, they will make greater progress.   Reading aloud to children even after they become readers can reinforce their skills and show them the possibilities that reading can offer.

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Books by Beverly Cleary

April 12, 2016  was Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday.  Here are a few of the books that she has written:

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Otis loves to stir up excitement at school.  He especially loves to pick on Ellen Tebbits, perhaps because she is so neat, clean and well behaved.

When Otis goes too far, Ellen and her best friend, Augustine, seek revenge.  Will Otis get what he deserves?

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When Keith’s  family stays at an old hotel, Keith meets a talking mouse who rides his toy motorcycle.  Ralph S. Mouse becomes a hero for Keith and his family.

Other books about Ralph’s adventures are Runaway Ralph and Ralph S. Mouse.

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Henry Huggins wants to do something important, like Scooter, the seventh grader on his street, who delivers papers.  Getting a paper route isn’t as easy as it looks, especially when you show up for the interview, hiding four kittens in your sweatshirt.

Henry is quite enterprising and works hard to achieve his ambitions, even when that pesky Ramona gets in his way.

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This is the first book where Ramona emerges as the main character.  Although this book is written from a kindergartner’s perspective, the audience for this book will be older children who will find Ramona’s antics amusing .  Other Ramona books are Ramona and Her Mother, Ramona and Her Father, Ramona the Brave, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

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Leigh Botts is the new kid in town.  His parents have recently separated and someone keeps stealing his lunch. Leigh shares his daily troubles with his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw.

This is a very different book for Beverly Cleary.  It received high critical acclaim including the 1984 Newbery Medal.

 

 

 

 


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Happy 100th Birthday Beverly Cleary!

(April 12)  Today is Beverly Cleary’s 100th Birthday!

In case you haven’t heard, Beverly Cleary is the author of over 40 children’s books. including the popular Ramona and Ralph S. Mouse books. These books are still popular in 2016.  Cleary seemed quite spunky when she was interviewed by Jenna Bush Hager on the Today Show last month. http://www.today.com/parents/99-author-beverly-cleary-beloved-generations-readers-t82256

I was first introduced to Beverly Cleary’s books by my childhood buddy, Nancy Clements. Nancy was a year and a half older than me and  introduced me to many things.  She first told me about Otis Spofford, a modern day Tom Sawyer who was always picking on Ellen Tebbits because she was so neat and clean and well behaved.  We were horrified when Otis cut Ellen’s hair.  We played games where we alternated being the “evil” Otis and his favorite target, sweet well-behaved Ellen.

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After Otis and Ellen, I read all the Henry Huggins books.  Henry was a little nicer than Otis, but he always found himself in trouble.  Ramona Quimby began as a fairly minor character in the Henry Huggins series.  She’s barely mentioned in Henry Huggins.  When my fifth grade teacher at Walter Bickett, Mrs. Cason, read  Henry and the Paper Route, we all howled at Ramona’s antics as she created havoc in Henry’s life.  So it isn’t surprising that she got her own series.

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Ramona seems to be Cleary’s most endearing character.  She’s always a little baffled by the world around her.  Why won’t her kindergarten teacher tell her how Mike Mulligan used the bathroom?    Why  can’t she be a paper boy like Henry Huggins?

CCF24032012_00011  Cleary’s books are timeless.   In the later Ramona books, she deals with some heavy issues when her father loses his job and her favorite Aunt Beatrice gets married.  Ramona’s struggles are seen from a childhood perspective. They don’t go out to eat anymore and the adults are grumpier than usual.

Just as Otis Spofford hated the goody two shoes children in his basil reader,  Beverly Cleary had no use for moralistic literature:

 I was so annoyed with the books in my childhood, because children always learned to be ‘better’ children and, in my experience, they didn’t. They just grew, and so I started Ramona… and she has never reformed. [She’s] really not a naughty child, in spite of the title Ramona the Pest. Her intentions are good, but she has a lot of imagination, and things sometimes don’t turn out the  way she expected.

 

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More Read Alouds

 Here are some more great books for reading aloud to students in K-3:

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Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Officer Buckle visits schools and talks to students about safety.   His talks bore the students until he gets Gloria, a police dog to accompany him.  When Officer Buckle goes alone, the  children all fall asleep   When Gloria goes alone, she falls asleep on stage. Afterward, there are many accidents.

Officer Buckle and Gloria  return with the best safety tip #101- Always stick with your buddy. This book received the 1996  Caldecott Medal.

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 Don’t Laugh Joe by Keiko Kaska

 Joe the Possum is always giggling. He  can’t seem to master the art of playing dead, not even for his favorite dessert, a bug pie.   Then one day a hungry bear shows up…Kasza even manages to make possums look cute.

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Flight School by Lita Judge

Penguin wants to fly more than anything.   So he enrolls in flight school.  After practicing for weeks with no success; penguin is brokenhearted  until his teacher, Flamingo, has a brilliant idea that just might work.

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 This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

Wilfred loves his pet moose. even though Marcel does follow rule #4 very well-Don’t make too much noise while Wilfred plays his record collection or rule #7-Go whichever way Wilfred wants to go.

One day on a long walk, Wilfred makes a terrible discovery,  Someone else thinks she owns the moose.  What will Wilfred do now?

 

 

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Read Alouds for Early Grades

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Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard, illustrations by James Marshall

The children love their teacher, Miss Nelson. When they start behaving badly, throwing spitballs in class and tossing paper airplanes, Miss Nelson fails to show up for school. She is replaced by the vile substitute teacher, Viola Swamp. Ms.Swamp wears an ugly black dress and makes the children’s life miserable.  Will they ever see Miss Nelson again?. Sequels include Miss Nelson is Back and Miss Nelson has a Field Day

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 Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss

A turtle named Yertle is the ultimate bully:

“I’m Yertle the Turtle!

Oh Marvelous me!

For I am the ruler of all I can see.”

Yertle climbs to the top literally on the backs of all the turtles in the pond. But justice prevails.  Many people think Seuss based Yertle on Adolf Hitler.

 

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The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss

“Now the Star-Belly Sneetches  Had bellies with stars.

The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none up thars”

The Star Belly Sneetches consider themselves highly superior to the plain belly Sneetches .Then along comes Sylvester McMonkey McBean and his star creation machine.

Soon the Sneetches are adding and removing stars from their bellies until they are all totally confused.  Will the Sneetches learn their lesson?