Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best Idea EVER

 DIY magnets are the best idea of the week. EVER. Seriously. My heart rate increases when I think about how much these will change the way we play at The Higgins household. (Yes, I am a dork. If you've been reading my blog for longer than .4 seconds, you already know that.) So, check this out at
If you didn't click on that link (and you should), it's an article about using stickers and free promotional magnets that you get in the mail to advertise for things to create magnets. I have so many uses for these!

Here are my ideas for using these:
  • Use letter stickers to create magnetic letters.
  • Find Blues Clues stickers --because my boy loves him some Blues Clues. He'd love to have B.C. MAGNETS!!
  • Make JESUS Magnets!! Print off Bible Characters from DLTK , cut out and run them through my awesome sticker maker, stick to the magnets and create Bible Character magnets. THEN, Logan and I can do Bible Stories while I cook dinner.
  • Steal my sister Julie's Cricuit  and cut out all sorts of stuff, run all sorts of stuff through sticker maker. All sorts of MAGNETS!
OMG... I am so excited! If I'm coming to your house anytime soon, hide all promotional magnets. (I already stole them all off mom's fridge, Julie!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

MEGA Fun Math Book

Stuart J. Murphy, math stories, picture books, book activities, ready set read, image
 Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom! is a Math Start 1 book. Math Start is a series of books written by Stuart J. Murphy which teaches early math concepts in story format. In this story, Molly learns about patterns while playing with her brother's cars.
We played with our new knowledge of patterns and sorting this past week. Logan was sick and so we played with mega blocks. That's about all he felt like doing it. So we did it.  A lot.
Mega blocks can be great for sorting by color or number and for patterning. I found some great ideas for Logan at Teaching Tiny Tots. (Toddler Toys: Mega Bloks are a Great First Building Toy)
Here are some of the things we did with our megablocks.
First we started with Logan's Mega blocks train. He worked on figuring out how the pieces go together.
Then we worked on putting all the orange pieces together and all the yellow pieces together.

math stories, math lessons, math activities for preschoolers, image, picture books, book activities, ready set read
Finally, we worked on creating an orange/yellow pattern and continuing the pattern. (He doesn't really grasp patterning yet but it's ok. I just model it for him and we talk about it and move on.)

math stories, math lessons, math activities for preschoolers, picture books, ready set read, book activities
Then we moved on to building with the Mega Blocks.
We sorted Mega Blocks by color.
We tried to figure out which Mega Block color would make the tallest tower.
And we just enjoyed building castles, houses, and cages for our toy animals.

Tyson (age 5 months) likes to join us when we play.
math stories, math lessons, math activities for preschoolers
I often use the Mega Blocks to work with him as well. All of these concepts are things we worked on with our Parents as Teachers Educator. I just applied the concept to playing with Mega Blocks. This is kind of the order that we did the activities in. Each baby varies in developmental stages so this is not an order of teaching skills.
Mega Block Play: Ages 0-6 months
  1. Move the block from side to side in front of the baby in order for the baby to track the object with his eyes. As baby gets older, move the block in a circular motion. (Sensory development)
  2. Bang two blocks together on one side of your baby's head. See if your baby turns his head toward the direction of the noise. (Sensory development)
  3. Describe the textures of the blocks: smooth surfaces, bumpy surfaces. Describe the colors of the block and the sizes of the blocks. (Language development)
  4. Put baby on tummy. Stack blocks in interesting patterns for baby to look at during tummy time. (Motor development, sensory development)
  5. Give the baby a block and allow him to pass the block hand to hand. (Motor development)
  6. Put several blocks on high chair.  See if baby "rakes" blocks to pick them up. (Motor development)
  7. Fill a bowl with blocks and see if baby will pick them up. (Cognitive, Motor development)
  8. Show baby how to drop blocks into a bowl and allow baby to try. (Cognitive, Motor development).
  9. Show baby how to bang two blocks together. (Cognitive, Motor development).
  10. Hide a block in a plastic container with a lid. Ask baby, "What's inside?" Open to show baby the block.  Builds the idea of object permanance. (Cognitive development)
  11. Hide a block under the corner of a blanket. See if baby lifts the blanket to find the block. Also builds object permanance (Cognitive development).
  12. Build blocks and allow baby to pull them apart. (Motor development)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Playdate ideas

I try to help my children learn something new every day. Just because we are learning, however, doesn't mean it's all work and no play. In fact, we often use play time as our learning opportunities. Playtime and play dates can be great ways to help your early readers continue their reading all summer long. All of these activities can be done in a playgroup or just with your child at home as an extension of the book.
Some examples of  books that can be extended into playtime/ play dates are:
  1.  Car Wash Playdate:  Read: The Scrubbly Bubbly Car Wash invite your friends over to wash their riding toys.
  2. Parade Playdate: Read: Parade make a parade out of decorated riding toys. (You could combine this with the car wash play date).
  3. Dinosaur Playdate: Read: Sammy and The Dinosaurs . Give children buckets of dinosaurs and let them wash their dinosaurs.
  4. Dress Up Playdate: Read Fancy Nancy. Use these downloadable paper dolls and play paper dolls. You could also provide dress ups for the children or have a tea party!
  5. Superhero playdate: Read Spiderman books from the Harper Collins I Can Read Series. Have friends over to play with action figures or dress up as superheros. Dramatic play is wonderful for early literacy development.
I think play is a wonderful way to encourage early readers. Children are also encouraged to read when they have characters they love and can relate to (such as spiderman-- my child's favorite character!) Harper Collins has an excellent series of books for early readers called, I Can Read. Your very beginning reader will probably need help with the early reader books,  but you and your children can enjoy the shared reading collection. Before you know it, your child will probably be reading these books independently! The best part of the series is that they include classic characters like Little Bear, Berenstain Bears, Amelia Bedelia and newer characters like spiderman. With all of these characters whom children can relate to, planning book play dates will be a breeze!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Complete list of I Can Read books and activities

Thursday, June 24, 2010

stART: Feeling Good

Logan loves dinosaurs.

Mostly because Nick, his big cousin and hero, loves dinosaurs. They are very good buddies!

If you have little boys, they are sure to love dinosaurs at some point in their development. If I see a dinosaur book, I buy it... I borrow it... I MUST have it!! (Ok, maybe I love dinosaurs too!)
I found this dinosaur book at my local library book sale for a quarter.
I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur
I Dreamt I was a Dinosaur  is an easy to handle board book. Each page features a different dinosaur and names it alliteratively, for example, the Stegosaurus is named "Sammy Stegosaurus." There is somewhat of a story line but it's pretty weak. According to the book, "The illustrations were prepared in antique fabrics and felt with sequins, buttons, beads, and assorted bric-a-brac." Which would be completely awesome... if you could actually feel that. However, I guess it was too costly to mass produce books with antique fabric and  bric-a-brac. (I love that word). So the book is just pictures of those things. I really wanted Logan to get an opportunity to actually FEEL some of those different textures. Out of that brainstorm of mine, our stART project for the week was born.
We started by creating an empty book using file folders.
On each page of the book, I had drawn a dinosaur. Nope, I'm not an artist. ;)
Logan and I colored each dinosaur. (He insisted, "Momma color." He's the oldest kid, and very bossy!)
Then we glued in all sorts of stuff: Foamie shapes, yarn for tree trunks and "water", beans for rocks, buttons, felt, we even used some netting stuff that came in the packaging  of a toy that our friend, Nathan, brought to our playdate to make dragonflies like the ones in the book!

Our book doesn't have antique fabrics but I think it's a wonderful 2 year old piece of art!
Want to see more story + art ideas ? Head over to A Mommy's Adventures

For more DYI Touch and Feel book ideas, go here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shout out!

Today I'd like to take a moment to offer a shout out to my friend, Kate, over at Adventures in Parenting. Kate has only been writing Adventures in Parenting for a few months but she has already WON her first award.... and it's a big one. She recently won the Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine 2010 Parent Blogger Awards. Overachiever!
Seriously, you have to check it out. She's a great writer.  She writes about relevant topics like mommas in bikinis. She has adorable children who say and do cute, cute stuff. She even has a degree in communicating!
She is a BIG inspiration to me as I start my little blog. She is also a very nice person. I actually know her. in real life. She was my college suitemate. That means I know her pretty darn well. So I'd vouch for her any day... but it does help that she wrote this oh so nice post about my blog. Awwwww!
Congrats, Kate!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend Review: Just me and my dad

The first Christmas that Greg and I were parents, I was all geared up to go Christmas shopping for our sweet little six month old baby boy. And by "shopping" I mean, take Greg around to all of the places that I had already picked out educational, fun, or just plain cute toys and let Greg fork out the cash. On the way to the toy store we had the following conversation,
Me: What do you want to get Logan for Christmas? (please ignore the obsessive online shopping I've already done and the list I have of "age appropriate" toys in my hand)
Greg: I'm going to get him a book.
Me (Mouth dropped): A book? Really? Which one? (This man could not pick out a book. I'm the one with the degree in BOOKS. What if he picked out something with bad text layout or confusing pictures. All of my hard work...)
Greg: The book I liked when I was a kid.
Me: You only liked ONE book?
Greg: Pretty Much.
Well, Christmas morning rolled around and there under the tree was one perfectly wrapped book size present. (Yes, in my house my hubs actually wraps better than me.)
Inside the present? This little book
:Just Me and My Dad (Little Critter) (Look-Look)
 In Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer, Little Critter and Dad head out on a full night of camping fun. (Leaving mom behind, loooove it!). They experience all of the joys of camping: picking out a campsite, fishing, cooking out dinner, and sleeping in tent as well as the evils of camping: sharing the campsite with snakes, tipping the boat, having a bear steal your dinner, and sleeping in a tent! It's an action packed night of daddy bonding!
One look at the cover of the book, and you'll know why my husband loved this-he's a full fledged fisherman! And.. turns out fisherman-daddy-who-only-read-one-book-when-he-was-little is quite capable of picking out a book that:
  •  has pictures that support and even enhance the text. And there are hidden extras-- like tiny spiders hiding on every page.
  • has text that is simple enough for a toddler to understand yet makes a great early reading book. it grows with your child.
  • has a highly motivating topic (as do all of the Little Critter books).
Greg has read this story many times with Logan. He also reads and reads and reads book after book after book after book to our kid. He usually does it joyfully (Although, he other day I did hear him using his "mean daddy" voice, "NO! I Won't read a bookt. I want to play ball!" While our kid whined and tried to get daddy to read the 100th book of the day!) So, shout out to my husband for being the best daddy ever. For not only wrestling with your boys, taking them to the creek and teaching them to catch crawdads, and playing hide and seek but also for being a daddy who will read to them.
Do your kids have any stories they share with Dad? Or do you have any stories that remind you of your father? Let's share!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thought for Thursday: Reading Rituals

What reading rituals do you have with your babies? Do you read in a particular place or at a particular time? Is there anything you do that makes reading time extra special for your child?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ebooks for kids

My library recently put out a survey about ebooks which got me thinking about how downloadable and online books will affect our children's future as readers.  Online books, books on your phone, books on DVD, and audio books are all things my kids and (someday) my students are going to be exposed to. So, it's time to get hip. This week I've been doing research on what's available for children, and the pros and cons of using a variety of media materials.
An ebook is a book that can be read online or downloaded to a personal computer, book reader, phone, etc. Many ebooks are digital versions of books that are already in print.

I've researched pros and cons to using digitized books with children this week. Generally, the reviews have been positive.

Other positives to using ebooks with children:
  • Ebooks are interactive and engaging with children.
  • Children need to computer literate as well as being literate in traditional forms of print.
Oh, and this "pro" seriously made me laugh. out loud. for a long time.
  • "Ebooks are indestructible". Seriously? The author could not have had children. At least not my children. If it has been created, they can destroy it. Can I get an Amen from other mommas? (Ps. My husband would like to chime in and say that he would rather have our child tear up a $5 book than a $200 blackberry.)
  • Ebooks don't require children to utilize concepts about print (finding the front of the book, the Title, where to begin reading, turning pages, moving in a linear fashion through text).
  • Many of the free books available are not current titles and many are just little phonics readers-- although helpful, not quality literature. (BTW, I'm ok with paying for ebooks. I'm all about supporting authors, just stating some facts here.)
  • Ebooks may not allow your child the "lap experience" of reading with a parent. This was the best article I found on the cons of reading with ebooks.
  • Ebooks could create a passive reader. Ebooks are supposed to be interactive, however, my son seemed to just passively absorb the moving animation and the sounds. He was much less interactive than he is with a traditional book. The more we read, the more he warmed up to the idea.
Reading to your kids may look different that it did when your parents read to you. Welcome to the Future!
What do you think? Do you utilize ebooks with kids?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thought for Thursday

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)
"Welcome to the Future"... I have a Brad Paisley song floating through my head as I write this. This week I'm thinking about e-books and how they will affect our children's experiences with books. I'm not hip on the techno stuff (even though my husband is a "computer geek"-- that's his job, so he shys away from it at home :) So, here's what I want to know... do any of you use e-books with your kids? Are they audio books or print/audio? Do you use kindle, ipod/ phone, your pc, something else? AND... whether you are using e-books or not with your kids, what do you think of the e-book for children?
I'll start and tell you, I don't currently use e-books with my kids. Mostly due to the not being hip on stuff. And I don't know what I think about it, but I plan to do a little research and update in about a week!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Our Book Adventure

This week we took a book adventure to the St. Louis Zoo. Just as a side note, if you don't live in the St. Louis area, we have a beautiful zoo and it is FREE!! We are starting a unit on zoo animals from Hubbard's Cupboard next week. I wanted Logan to have some background knowledge on zoos and we hadn't made a trip to the zoo since last summer.
Here are the books we took:

We only read one of the books on our outing. Grandma and Grandpa read, 1,2, 3 to the Zoo while we waited for our lunch at Steak 'n Shake. It was so cute because there were 2 little boys (probably 6 and 10 ish) sitting in the booth behind us. They were turned around straining to see the book while my parents were reading it! Picture books really do span the age groups!
Where have your book adventures taken you this week?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wise Wednesday: Book Adventures

Last week, I asked if you were concerned about your child losing some of the knowledge he had acquired over the school year?
According to the National Summer Learning Association , children lose an average of 2 months of knowledge during the summer vacation. If you multiply that by 6 years of Elementary School, that equates to at least 12 months of learning loss. Before we get too fixated on the numbers, however, it should be noted that the majority of the studies supporting this idea were conducted on low income families or on families who had less access to reading materials. In fact, the research shows that children in middle income families actually make slight GAINS over the summer. (#thingsObamadoesn'twantyoutoknow :)
What the difference? I think one difference could be access and exposure to books and "life experiences". This study showed that by simply providing books to low income students, students retained as much knowledge as if they had gone to summer school.
One of the best ways to prevent the summer slide is to provide your child with experiences that relate to a book. I've been reading, Mosaic of Thinking by Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmerman. As I'm reading, I've learned that proficient readers are metacognitive. They think about what they are reading while they are reading. One of the things that all proficient readers do is to make connections from text to life.
Summer is the ideal time to let your child have life experiences that they can not get in the classroom. Reading is Fundamental provides many great ideas for incorporating books into your summer break here. Unfortunately, this list targets school age children and my blog focuses on birth-early childhood. So, I kind of took the idea presented and ran with it for the preschool/early reader crowd.
I'm gonna make this easy for you, folks. I've compiled a list of "book adventures"for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and early readers. Books for the zoo. Books for the park. Books for the pool. Click on the "Book Adventures" page at the top of my blog! This is just a start... I'll try to post more as they come to me : )
Why not take a book on every adventure this summer. Where will your next book take you?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lost in Translation

So, I've become "that mom". The mom who constantly translates what my son is saying. My son was an early talker. He had a large vocabulary at 12 months and had already started putting words in sentences like, "I want more juice." What he said was understandable. Lately, he has become more of a conversationalist. Instead of just telling us his wants/needs, he tells us what he did, recounts previous experiences, asks questions, "Why momma?", Keeps track of where every member of the family is at all times and informs everyone. You know, the typical 2 year old annoying (yep, I said it) stuff. The thing is, he's not quite as understandable anymore. He's begun to stutter a little and his stories have no point of reference, a story in the past could have been five minutes ago or last weekend. While I know this is all part of language development, this makes understanding difficult. The general population can probably understand 1/2 of what he says. I, however, understand almost 100% of it. Why does that turn me into the crazy lady who must interpret his communication to the rest of the world????? I just can't stop myself!!
I remember a lady who was THE WORST about interpreting for her son. I used to babysit for her. The kid would say, "kit, be-be, no de-dog." And she would say, "He wants you to cut the bread off of his corndog." in a totally patronizing tone. Duh! I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say she was crazy, not only did she interpret for her son, she bought him corndogs and cut the breading off. every time. Guess she hadn't heard of hotdogs.
So, since I'm not sure I want to be that crazy lady, I have a new poll for the week. What do you think of my new "bad habit"?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lois Ehlert Books for Gardening with Kids

Interested in exploring gardening with your kids this summer? Then you MUST try these books. Planting a Rainbow and Growing Vegetable Soup both by Lois Ehlert. They explore the concepts of growing a plant from seed to harvest. Logan's favorite of the two seems to be Planting a Rainbow. He wants to read it over. and over. and over. and over. (Clicking on the image will take you to the Amazon listing for the book. These are affiliate links.)
Lois Ehlert, Planting a Rainbow, picture book, image
In Planting a Rainbow, mom and child plant flowers. Some start as bulbs, some start as seeds. All of the flowers are well labeled, which adds interest to the parent. After the flowers grow, they form a rainbow. Or as Logan would say, 'A bainbow!!!' The page sizes vary, making the rainbow very obvious. For each color, you can "lift the flap" and view flowers of that color. We've been working on learning colors this month so this was a great addition to that!
Lois Ehlert, Growing Vegetable Soup, picture books, image
"Growing Vegetable Soup" is another book that follows the plant growth cycle. In this story, a child and daddy plant a vegetable garden. Included are bold, bright, geometric pictures of tools and plants.
lois ehlert, growing vegetable soup, activities for kids, imageI gave Logan a plate full of vegetables to snack on while reading this book. He's a pretty good little eater but he has a few "hate vegetables", one of those being broccoli  As he was reading the book with me, he found the picture of the broccoli  picked up the broccoli on his plate and said, "SAME" and then started EATING THE BROCCOLI  I'm not sure he loved it but at least he tried it.

I just found this book, Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert on amazon. I think we'll have to try it!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Check it out

We went to the Jefferson County Library today, Arnold Branch. Here's what we checked out:

The Scrubbly Bubbly Car Wash by Irene O'Garden
Truck by Donald Crews
Sleepytime Rhyme by Remy Charlip *
Duck! Rabbit! By Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld
Ten Tiny Tickles by Karen Katz

And Momma checked out:
Growing a Reader from Birth by Diane McGuinness
Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Oliver Keene

And we played with these.

I. am. in. love. BUT they are $129.00 a set!! So, I'll be figuring out a way to make my own... and I'll let you in on it when I do!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bubbles, Babies, and Books

A Mommy's Adventures is a great site for ideas of projects to do with books. She has a link called stART (story + art). She posts stories that she has read her kids + an art project to go with the story. Then, she lets other people link their stART projects for the week. So not only do you have one great project to choose from, you might have 20!! One stop shopping folks!

So, we did our first stART project this week. We read "Bubble Trouble" by Margaret Mahy. It's the story of a young girl named Mabel who blows a bubble that captures her baby brother. Baby floats through the town in the bubble with all the towns people wondering how to bring the baby down! It had a lot of alliteration -- and was somewhat lengthy-- but overall the boys liked it. If you are going to read it aloud, you might want to practice first. I'm not kidding. "But then she bellowed, Gracious, Grevelle, and she groveled on the gravel." Yep, gotta practice that!

After reading the story, we made a bubble painting.
First we stuck white circle labels on blue paper. Logan is 2 and fascinated with stickers.
Then we added glue on top of the circles.
We sprinkled glitter on top and voila, glittery bubbles.

Since there was a baby in the story, we had to do an activity with our baby, Tyson, too.
I made these exploratory bags for both boys. These were for Logan:

They are filled with liquid soap and hair gel. He could squeeze them and see bubbles form and pop!
These were for Tyson:

I put tiny objects that I don't want in his tiny mouth in the bag, added water, and taped it closed. He could push the bag and watch the items move all around. (I got this idea from my Parents as Teachers Educator).

Of course, we had to make a book, too. We made a bubble counting book using the same white circle stickers!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thought for Thursday: Avoiding the Slide!

I recently read this on a friend's FB status:
enjoying summer break until the dreaded summer reading list and activity sheet
was mentioned to my daughter... now it's water works and arguing... ugh.

I don't know the back story on this child but I do know that any time reading books makes a child cry, it makes my heart hurt! I know teachers are put under a great deal of pressure to achieve high test scores. I know that "research" shows that children forget a great deal over summer break. I know that many people, parents, teachers, legislatures are concerned about the "summer slide" -- or the loss of knowledge during the summer break. So I just gotta know...
Is the "summer slide" fact or fiction?
Is your child participating in any summer learning activities? Are they required by school or voluntary?
What kinds of things are you doing to keep your child engaged in learning without burnout or "water works"?

PS. I wrote this post at the request of my sister, Julie. My sister who is beach side in Hawaii. My sister who is probably NOT reading my blog this week BECAUSE she is beach side in Hawaii... without her kids. Lucky!
PPS. I know it's Friday... but my durn cute boys took up all my time yesterday!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wise Wednesday- Choosing Books

Thanks to everyone who commented on this post on your favorite books. We are going to try out The Pout Pout Fish and The Monster at the End of This Book. Sharing ideas amongst friends (even virtual friends) is a great play to start when choosing books for your child! Choosing quality books for kids can actually be difficult. Here are some things to consider when making book choices and some resources I enjoy. I hope this makes choosing books easier for you!

Ready (Babies and Toddlers):
Things to Consider:
  • Read Anything to your baby. A baby is calmed by the sound of your voice. I like to read when I nurse. Often I'll read aloud to my baby. With Logan I read the Book of Psalms from The Bible. The verse, "He will uphold you with his righteous right hand" got me through some long nights!!
  • Nursery rhymes are a great idea for babies. They like repetition so if you only have one nursery rhyme book, read it over and over and over and over.
  • A baby's vision is still developing. Transferring a 3D object onto a 2D page can make it difficult for a baby to distinguish what he is seeing. Try to choose books that have one large, very clear picture per page.
  • When your baby starts teething, grabbing, etc. cloth books, bath time books, and chunky books are a good choice. I REALLY like this cloth book from my sister. It has a little wrist strap so Ty can't throw it down!


One of the best resources for choosing books for babies is a book called Baby Read Aloud Basics. This book has been a lifesaver to me. There is also a website available
There are also free booklists online. Sometimes it's hard to find book reviews that aren't "sponsored" by publishers. I think some of the best lists online are published by the International Reading Association. They have booklists chosen by teachers and children.
Set (Preschoolers):

Things to Consider:
  • Allow your child as much choice as possible when choosing books.
  • Be prepared to read the same book over and over and over. The repetition is good for your child's brain!
  • Start at any page, finish at any page. If you can get your kid to sit still for even part of a book, feel proud of yourself!
  • Generate conversation as you read. You don't have to read the words on the page. Talking about the story is important too!
  • Talking about book concepts is really important. Allow your child to handle the book. Tell him what he is doing, "Logan is opening the book, turning the pages, Where is the front of the book?" etc.
  • Books about daily activities are a big hit at this age. Logan is very interested in a book about going on the potty. He's not so interested in going on the potty as he is the book!
  • Lift the flap books are a good way to get a reluctant reader involved!
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trealease is a good place to start when choosing books for preschool children. And look at all this FREE information from Jim Trelease! Lots of brochures on what to read, what not to read, book reviews, etc! Check it out!
The FREE online booklists from the IRA (listed above) have ideas for toddlers.
This book list by NEA is good, too. However, it is just a list of books- no reviews!

Read (Early Readers):
Things to Consider:
  • Again- allow your child to make choices about what to read, be prepared for repetition. Choose books based on topics or themes that interest your child.
  • Allow your child to read to you when he can- But don't make it a quiz! Coax him to read something you know he CAN read!
  • Generate conversations about the book: Again- not a quiz but a way to activate what your child knows about the book or how the book connects to real life.


If you are looking for read alouds for early readers, I would recommend using The Read Aloud Handbook for these kiddos too... it goes all the way through middle school so it is a good resource to invest in.

How to Get your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike is a good choice too. I don't currently have a copy of this book but I have flipped through it a few times and I know of other parents/teachers who LOVE this book. (It's probably one of my next purchases). Instead of "leveling" books, Codell sorts books into themes. The book also offers book based activities. You can get more info at

My favorite book for this age group is Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read. For each age group, this book includes ideas for reading AND writing with your child, tips for busy parents (that's all of us, right?), and Surefire hits (book lists for each age). This book is very well organized and easy to use and it goes right up to age 11-12! A smart investment.

FREE BOOKS- Ok, so I promised links to FREE and cheap books for your child but this post was getting very cluttered so later today (if the bambinos cooperate), I am going to post a separate article on Free books as well as information on making your own books for your child! Pray for long naps, people!
Oh, yeah... and in the interest of Full Disclosure. Nobody is payin' me nothin'. Seriously. I make no money. I send my hubs off every day to do that. So these are just my thoughts and my reviews.