Thursday, September 11, 2014

Knuffle Bunny inspired Activity Mats for Kids

Mo Willems is one of my most favorite children's authors. He is a three time Caldecott Honor winner and has won two Geisel awards for his early reader books. The critics who truly matter, my two boys, have also given Mr. Willems two thumbs up. They love his Elephant and Piggie books, Pigeon books, and Knuffle Bunny trilogy. This month, the Virtual Book club for Kids has selected Mo Willems' books. The Virtual Book Club for Kids is a group of bloggers (including me) that feature specific books each month and provide book activities to accompany these books. These activities are great for families, homeschoolers, preschool and kindergarten teachers. I have chosen to focus on Mo Willem's Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. Keep reading the post to find book activities on other Mo Willem's featured books of the month.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

Does your child have a security blanket or toy? In this book, a toddler named Trixie has a beloved Knuffle Bunny. One day the bunny gets left at the laundromat. Trixie tries to inform her dad of the missing bunny but poor dad doesn't speak toddler. An upset Trixie arrives home. Mom notices the problem. A return trip to the laundromat results in a retrieved rabbit and a talking toddler. Trixie pronounces her first words, "Knuffle Bunny!" This is a hilarious narrative story that parents and children will love! Children will also love the follow up books in the series Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity and Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion.

Knuffle Bunny Activity Mat

Knuffle Bunny is a great first narrative text for children. It shows children a strong beginning, middle, and end of a small moment of life. It is very beneficial for children to be exposed to many of these stories before entering school. Listening to stories embeds the story structure into a child's oral language and eventually helps the child to easily retell and write stories.
One of the best parts of the Knuffle Bunny series is that a child could pick up the book and easily retell the story by using the engaging illustrations. The illustrations are a mix of sepia toned photographs with cartoon characters drawn over the top.

I created some Knuffle Bunny inspired activity mats to encourage my boys to expand their own story ideas through talking about a story. I began by taking pictures of various locations-- their classrooms, school, library, hallways, etc. I even found some cool pictures of buildings. I printed these photos in black and white. Then the boys created drawings of themselves and family members or friends and colored them.

We glued their drawings onto magnets. We get a lot of free magnets in the mail with business information printed on them. They were the perfect size for holding our artwork. I cut around the illustrations so they became magnets.

I posted the Knuffle Bunny activity mats on the fridge or an easel where the boys had easy access. I put the magnets nearby and let them tell their stories with the magnets. I often posted more than one picture at a time to allow the boys to build their stories. So far, I have visited Tyson at school a lot and Tyson has zip lined on the power lines outside school A LOT! I love the mind of a four year old.

 Helping your young child to develop strong oral language skills around stories will help your child to be a successful reader and writer in the future.

The Virtual Book Club for Kids is featuring the following Mo Willems Books. We look forward to doing all of these activities this month!

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
Mo Willems Inspired DIY Bunny Costume Felt Headband

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Letter B is for Bus Craft 
Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Puppets
Pigeon Handprint
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus: Puppets, Crafts and Storytelling
Cardboard Box Bus Craft & Number Game for Kids
Pigeon and Bus Activities inspired by Mo Willems 
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Activity

The Duckling Gets a Cookie
Nut Free Alphabet Cookies
The Ducking Gets a Cookie Printable Clothespin Activity
Counting Chocolate Chips - Duckling Get a Cookie

I'd love if you'd join the VBC next month as we explore these books by Julia Donaldson. You might want to order your copies now or put them on hold at the library! I will share those book activities on October 9th.
The Gruffalo
Stick Man
Room on the Broom


Monday, September 1, 2014

Picture Books for Kids

Children are engaged as readers when they can experience high quality, interesting texts. It can be tricky to find quality picture books for kids. I'd love to spend hours pouring over picture books at our local library selecting a "just right" book for bedtime each night. However, my time, like yours is limited. The picture book of the day project and The Virtual Book Club for Kids are two resources to help in finding great picture books for kids.

recommended picture books for kids

Picture Book of the Day

There are several book bloggers that I rely on to consistently give great book recommendations. In the past few years, some of these bloggers have joined together to create a picture book of the day project. Each day, a different blogger picks a high quality children's book to share. All of the participating bloggers then share the book on their facebook pages.

recommended picture books for kids

Picture book of the Day took a summer break but we are returning on September 1st. You can find the picture book recommendations on my ready-set-read facebook page. I'd love if you'd follow my facebook page while you are there. Picture Book of the Day is organized by a fantastic blogger, Jodie, at Growing Book by Book. Check out her blog post to "meet" the bloggers behind picture book of the day. You might find some great new blogs to follow.

Virtual Book Club for Kids

You can also find picture book recommendations in the Virtual Book Club for Kids. I'll be participating in the Virtual Book Club for kids again this year. Check back in September for more details on how you and your kids can participate in the virtual book club.

recommended picture books for kids

Also, I'd love if you'd follow along on social media. You can find picture books for kids not just on my facebook page but also on Google +. I also have a google + group called "Reading with Children." You can find helpful literacy advice by following me on twitter. I love twitter chats and love to share knowledge that I am learning about literacy development. Come learn with me! You might also like to follow a few of my pinterest boards that are focused on picture books for kids.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Back to School Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers

Get ready to blast off into back to school shopping! Teachers Pay Teachers' BIG back to school sale is just around the corner! I can't wait to shop this year as I am in the midst of setting up my very own classroom!! That's right, I'm leaving the stay at home mom/ blogger job and heading back to class. I'm going to be working as a reading specialist providing reading intervention through Fountas and Pinnell's Leveled Literacy Interventions. More on that in a later post...
 I'll still try my hardest to keep great resources coming here at ready-set-read, though. After taking a six year break, I've got a lot of shopping to do.

The Teachers Pay Teachers Blast Off Back to School Sale will be August 4-5. Use Code BTS14 to save! My entire store will also be marked down by 20% during those days.

back to school ideas, teachers pay teachers sale

Consider starting your year with some of these favorite products:

back to school sale, apple unit

Apple Unit

back to school sale, pumpkin unit

Pumpkin Unit

More Thematic Units

back to school sale, printable early reader books

Printable Books for Early Readers: Featuring Dolch Sight Words (pre-primer)

More Printable Books

back to school sale, word work

Word Work Activities for Short O

More Word Work Activities for Short Vowels

Happy Back to School Shopping!!!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Virtual Book Club author for July is Giles Andreae

Happy July! I hope you are enjoying your summer. I'm enjoying spending a lot of time with my boys, going on adventures, relaxing in our new tree house, and reading tons of great books! Not only are the boys busy reading, I've got quite the summer reading stack as well. We've been so busy enjoying summer, there hasn't been as much time for blogging. However, we're definitely keeping up with the Virtual Book Club for kids this summer. I'll also be sharing some of our favorite summer reads each Monday in July here at

Virtual Book Club for Kids

In case you are new to this, the virtual book club for kids is a group of over 20 bloggers who join together each month to share a favorite children's author. We announce the author at the beginning of each month. On the second Monday of the month, we host a linky party to share activities to accompany books by that author.

July author for the Virtual Book Club for Kids is Giles Andreae

In July we are featuring the works of Giles Andreae. His book, Rumble in the Jungle, was one of my son's first loved picture books. When Logan was about two years old, he would toddle to the book shelf and return this book to me every single time! I still have the beginning page memorized. Andreae has many wonderful picture books for children. Many of his books feature wonderful poems and silly rhymes.

Link up your Activities to the Virtual Book Club for Kids on July 14

Between now and July 14th, hit a bookstore or library and pick a favorite Giles Andreae book. Share it with your children or your class. Plan to come back here on July 14th to add it to the linky party or share in the comments.
I'll share our book choice and activities on that day as well. As I mentioned, I've been reading a lot this month too. I'm using strategies I'm learning in Fountas and Pinnell's "When Readers Struggle". My four year old is ready to begin phonemic awareness instruction. Giles Andreae's fun rhyming texts are a great place to start. Come back on the 14th of July and I'll share our strategies with all of you.