Monday, March 28, 2011


What was your child's first word? Did it reflect his personality? One of Tyson's first words was, "uh-oh".

Think it reflects him?
With both of my boys, I noticed that their first words were words for immediate needs- mama, dada, juice. However, shortly after those necessary words, both boys picked up a word that they thought was "fun". I remember that Logan (who was an early talker) could say "elephant" when he was a year old.. That's certainly a fun word for a little one to say! In the same way, Tyson finds it fun to say the word "Uh-oh."

He's not just enjoying the mischief he is causing when he says the word; he actually enjoys feeling his little mouth make that round "oh".
While read alouds can help introduce new vocabulary, they can also reinforce your child's growing vocabulary. Looking for a "fun" word for your child or a "known" language pattern can help develop language.
I was able to find 2 cute books at the library using the phrase, "Uh-oh".
Uh-oh, Calico! by Karma Wilson
It seems that Calico can't do anything right. Mommy Cat reminds her that she still loves her, even when she has a lot of "uh-ohs" in a day.
Uh-oh, Calico!

Uh-oh by Rachel Isadora is an almost wordless picture book featuring a mischeivious toddler. Each page features a single word, like "diaper" followed by a picture of the toddler in his toddler environment. As the reader turns each page, he finds the toddler in some sort of mischeif in that same environment along with the toddler's signature phrase, "uh-oh!". The pictures truly tell the story and there is a lot to talk about on each page so each rereading of the book is fun! Logan (my two year old) even likes these books.


Because, Rachel Isadora is becoming one of our favorite authors, I have to mention we are also reading these two books that feature that same sweet toddler and simple language.
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora and Peekaboo Bedtime by Rachel Isadora

Peekaboo Morning

I'm linking this up- go check out what other families are reading here:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Find the Little White Rabbit: Book Review and Bunny Craft

 Little White RabbitLittle White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes follows a common theme found in early literacy. Little White Rabbit wonders what it would be like to be different. What if he could be tall like the trees or flutter like a butterfly? What if he were green or stone-like? Little White Rabbit enjoys his adventure and his imaginings until he is scared by a cat. Then he runs home, safe to his mother's arms.
I love books that encourage independent preschoolers to be independent yet relay the message that they can always come home to safety.
The illustrations in this book are gorgeous. They will definitely get you in the mood for Spring. The fluttering butterflies bring a smile to my face and remind me that winter has passed!!!!!
I think this may be one of the best new books of 2011 so far.
For our story craft, I thought it would be fun to "find" a hidden rabbit. Before we began our project, I drew little white rabbit on white paper with white crayon.

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Then I let Logan paint the paper with watered down green food coloring.
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As he painted, the Little White Rabbit appeared.

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Finding hidden pictures can be a great way to introduce any new theme to your child!
(The first attempt at this craft was a disaster as I drew a big white rabbit on white paper in crayon. However, I didn't color it in. It was too big and Logan couldn't really see the lines appear. Oh, and then he spilled all of the "paint" on the paper. Yikes! My recommendation? Keep the little white rabbit little. Color it in. And keep the paint out of the way of elbows.)

Brimful Curiousities recently did a review/craft on this book too. Check out her folded paper bunny-- great for kids a little older than mine!
And look at these darling handprint and footprint bunnies at Getting Messy with Ms. Jessi. We'll definitely be making these!
Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Playing With Puppets

My sister in law, Pam, gave my kids this awesome puppet theater for Christmas. It is so cool. It hangs from a tension rod on any door frame. How cool is that? My mother in law gave the boys animal puppets to go along with the puppet theater. We've had a lot of fun putting on shows. The boys just like to look through the "window".

Yesterday I shared some picture books that could be converted into puppet scripts or reader's theater scripts. Today I'm sharing some of our favorite ways to play with our puppets without using books. Nursery Rhymes and songs have been the best way to engage my kids in puppet play. They are still a little too young to invent their own stories but if I say a nursery rhyme, they are eager to act it out with the puppets and often join in with reciting the poem.Logan even digs through the puppet pile and comes up with rhymes that would work with that animal.
 Repeated recitings of nursery rhymes helps to grow a child's vocabulary of rare words. Also, being able to chant nursery rhymes fluently will prepare your child for future success as a fluent reader. In Mem Fox's book, Reading Magic, she asserts that a child who enters school knowing just 8 nursery rhymes will be prepared to become a successful reader.

Here are a few nursery rhymes and songs that have been great for our puppet play:
Hey Diddle Diddle
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Jack and Jill (we use animals for Jack and Jill and the boys are fine with that but if you have people puppets-- or even dolls-- you could use those)
The Bear went over the Mountain
5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (Finger puppet for 5 little monkeys available at DLTK free template)

I am linking this up:
We Play

Monday, March 21, 2011

Puppet Plays From Picture Books

Creating puppet plays from favorite picture books is a great way to improve fluency in early readers.
According to Tim Rasinski, "Fluency is the ability to read accurately, quickly, expressively, with good phrasing, AND with good comprehension."
According to me, Rasinski is the guru of fluency. He has spoken and written on fluency and has a vast database of fluency research. I got the chance to hear him speak once and he was phenomenal and funny. very very funny. Check out his website, it has lots of great fluency resources.
Repeated readings of a familar text help your child orchestrate their reading strategies on the text. Performing the text can be a fun way to practice a repeated reading.
Consider retyping the text or writing the text onto chart paper with a large font and plenty of spacing between words. This will help your child be able to manage holding the puppet and reading the text.

Book suggestions:
I Am Going! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Elephant and Piggie books like I Am Going! This is a good choice because it only uses two characters.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?Brown Bear, Brown Bear was one that worked well when I taught first graders-- especially if you have several students to do the play. There are printable puppets at DLTK for each animal in the story-- as well as ideas for using the puppets.

I also love this extensive list of K-3 Reader's Theater
There are scripts for books like:
"Fire! Fire!" Said Mrs. McGuire"Fire, Fire!" Said Mrs. Guire By Bill Martin Jr.
As well as poems by authors such as Margaret Wise Brown

Things to look for when choosing a picture book to turn into a puppet play
  • 2-3 characters in the story-- so children don't have to manipulate too many puppets
  • repetitive texts
  • familiar sight words
  • a story that is able to be retold
  • a book or story that interests your child
According to Tim Rasinski's site, when choosing books to teach fluent reading, consider these factors:

The Child can read 95% of words in the book accurately-- this article will tell you how to calcuate accuracy
The Child automatically recognizes most of the words
The Child can read the text with expression and proper phrasing

Do your children perform puppet plays?
Where have you located good scripts for puppet play?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rainbow Toast

Little Red Hen Big BookThis week we read The Little Red Hen by Byron Barton. After reading the book, we sang a poem about baking bread from Hubbard's Cupboard
For our art project, we painted toast.

Just mix some food coloring and water or milk.

Get a clean paintbrush and paint some toast. 

If you are often inclined to eat your canvas, toast painting is the perfect medium for you!

This could make a perfect St. Patrick's Day breakfast. Here's hoping you find the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow toast :)
Another fun Little Red Hen book is The Little Red Hen Bakes a Pizza
The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)
And I also love the illustrations in this traditional tale of The Little Red Hen by Jerry Pinkney.
The Little Red Hen (Phyllis Fogelman Books)
I am linking this up:

Shibley Smiles

play academy

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Muffin' but fun- Wordless Wednesday

What we are reading, baking, playing, and eating this wordless Wednesday....
Sorting Shapes into muffin tin
Putting shapes into egg carton
Pom poms for spooning into muffin tin with a melon ball-- the favorite activity
Give your littlest "sorters" cereal or something edible to sort.
Muffin Activities- listening to If You Give a Moose a Muffin
Mouse Cookies & More: A Treasury (If You Give...)

I am linking this up:

Home Grown Families