Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DIY Halloween Decorations

DIY Halloween Decorations, DIY ghost decorations, tomato cage ghosts, Halloween decor, ready set read, halloween activities for kids, halloween crafts for kids, fall crafts for kids

Our neighborhood has been filling up with spooky decorations. We've been shopping for Halloween costumes, attending Halloween events, and reading lots of Halloween books. The boys have been dying to decorate our yard for Halloween. This week we decided to start the week by reading some favorite  {not so} spooky Halloween books. After we read the books, we discussed the Halloween objects that we had seen in the stories. Armed with a entire Pinterest board, we set to work making a few {not so} spooky decorations.

{not so} spooky Halloween books
Five Little Bats Flying in the Night by Steve Metzger This book is based on the 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed rhyme.

halloween decorations, halloween ghosts, halloween crafts for kids, halloween activities for kids, halloween books for kids Five Spooky Ghosts Playing Tricks at School by Steve Metzger This Metzger book follows a similar pattern. In this story, the ghosts are causing trouble at school. In each refrain the teacher calls a mommy, daddy, grandma, etc
halloween decorations, halloween ghosts, halloween crafts for kids, halloween activities for kids, halloween books for kids
Six Creepy Sheep by Judith Ross Enderle Another Halloween counting book! In this story, 6 sheep start off on Halloween night. They encounter creepy things (like pirates, fairies, hobos, goblins, and witches). One by one they run off. In the end, they come to a Halloween party. They find all of the creepy things at the Halloween party. 

{not so} spooky Halloween decorations

DIY Halloween Decorations, DIY ghost decorations, tomato cage ghosts, Halloween decor, ready set read

After reading these books, we made these tomato cage ghosts that I found on Lowe's website. These are tomato cages turned upside down, draped with a drop cloth (or in our case an old sheet) and given a face. We made a few changes to Lowe's tutorial.
First, I used an old twin sheet for two of the cages and I used an old fitted crib sheet for the third cage. I have to say, the crib sheet stays put the best!
Second, Lowe's suggested drawing a face with permanent marker, but I used sticky black felt. (I'll let you know how it holds up!)
Third, Lowe's suggested using rope lights to light up your ghosts. They are pretty cute unlit too but I did want to light them up for Halloween night. Unfortunately, I purchased a box of broken rope lights. They were pretty expensive too. I thought about using regular white Christmas lights, but I read on the post that those get too hot. Soooo, I finally settled on 3 push lights! This made the project much cheaper and they do provide enough of a glow to make the ghosts a little creepy. The batteries may run out more quickly, though, so I may look for some better rope lights. 
DIY Halloween Decorations, DIY ghost decorations, tomato cage ghosts, Halloween decor, ready set read

The boys named the ghosts Powder, Spooky, and Pluto. Our friendly little ghosts may last for many years to come!
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oral Language Game

Oral language activities, oral language, ready set read, vocabulary activities

As I've mentioned before, oral language is a huge predictor of future reading success. A common saying among reading professionals is,  "If a child doesn't hear a word, that child won't say that word. If he doesn't say it, he won't read it." You can help your child grow his oral language with easy and fun games. We've been playing a super simple oral language game using objects we have lying around the house.

variety of small objects from around your home
large clear container with lid
Oral language activities, oral language, ready set read, vocabulary

How to Play:
Fill large container with small objects from around the home. Screw on the lid. Show the item to the tub to your child and say, "I spy something (object)  and you use it to (description)" When the child guesses the correct object, unscrew the lid and let that child hold the item.
For added challenge, let your child try giving clues to you.
(When I play with my 2 year old and 4 year old, I give clues to both of them. Then my four year old gives a clue to me!)
Here are some of the objects we included the last time we played.
Oral language activities, oral language, ready set read, games, vocabulary

Some of the clues we used were, "I spy something black and you use it to fix your hair." or "I spy something with black and white spots and it is an animal."
I've also found it is good to include figurines like batman or Papa Smurf because the boys LOVE when they get a special character!

Try to include a variety of concepts in your clues such as:
color words
categories (animal, food, transportation)
number sense (I spy an animal with four legs)

My boys love to play this game over and over again. I love the language that is built each time we play.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Activity: Plant a Kiss

positive discipline, behavior management, Plant a Kiss, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, printables, free PDF, virtual book club for kids, ready set read

Welcome back to the Virtual book club for kids. This month the Virtual Book Club is featuring books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Here at Ready. Set. Read, I am featuring the book, "Plant a Kiss". My boys have been loving this sweet story!

Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is simply the story of Little Miss who literally planted a kiss. Crazy as it seemed, she waited in anticipation until the kiss sprouted and grew. Although her friends suggested she hoard the rare sprout, Little Miss decided to spread the love. She shared the fruit of her kiss all over, not worrying about running out. At the end of the story, she learned when you share love, it grows!

Seeds of Kindness
positive discipline, behavior management, book activities

This book provided the perfect opportunity to work on being kind and loving-- a skill that one member of our family is struggling with right now! We painted flower pots and began to work on planting seeds of kindness. Whenever the boys were caught being good, I gave them a "seed" to put in their pots. We actually used glass gems. Rewarding the kind behaviors instead of focusing on the negative behaviors that have crept into our home lately, worked instantly. The boys were working together, sharing, and letting the love grow with in just a few days.

Create a Kindness Garden
The idea of planting seeds of kindness could be expanded into a kindness garden. Consider giving each person a circle and having them write their name on the circle. Flower petals could be cut out and children could write how they showed kindness on the flower petal. This could be an excellent writing activity. After creating the entire flower, children could expand this writing into a paragraph and even give a sentence to explain the results of showing kindness-- whether it made them feel good or improved a friendship with a classmate or a sibling, or had another result. It would be fun to reflect on how love grows as we share the love.

 "Grow Up" a Rhyming Word Game
Plant a Kiss, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, printables, word families, rhyming, virtual book club for kids, ready set read

The book features a minimalist rhyming text. The book has the feel of a wordless picture book. Much of the story is told through the wonderful illustrations by Peter Reynolds. The simple rhyming words or phrases on each page complement his illustrations perfectly. After reading this book, we listened for rhyming words. We played a rhyming game called, "Grow up". The boys squatted like tiny seeds. I said two words. If the words rhymed, they grew up like a flower. If the words did not rhyme, they stayed a tiny seed.

Word Family Flowers Board Game
There are several word families in this book. If you child is ready to begin decoding simple consonant-vowel-consonant words, check out my freebie, Word Family Flowers game. In this game, children must first read a CVC word with a long i vowel sound before moving each space.

Plant a Kiss, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, printables, free PDF, virtual book club for kids, ready set read

We really really really loved "Plant a Kiss" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I can't wait to see the Rosenthal books and activities that  all of the others bloggers share in the virtual book club for kids. I adore her books and I can't wait to try some of the fun activities that are shared. You can find more ideas for Amy Krouse Rosenthal books at these blogs:

Now it is your chance to share your ideas. Here are the rules for linking up.
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Lois Ehlert that share children's book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Grab the button and share it on your post if you'd like.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Best Books for Kids: Choosing Repetitive Texts

best books for kids, ready set read, early literacy, reading

When you are building your home library, there are many types of books you should include. Most parents and teachers want to find the best books for kids to add to their home and school libraries. I am beginning a new series to help you build your library. I'll suggest several types of books and give examples of each type. Check out these books  and then choose 3-4 that connect with your child. 
Repetitive texts are one type of book that should go into every preschool library. Repetitive texts are books that have a phrase that repeats several times or a pattern that repeats several times. They allow children to become active participants in read aloud time. 
Children need to be participating orally in our read alouds. In fact, if a child doesn’t hear a word or a language pattern, they won’t say it. If they don’t say it, they won’t read it. I have sat through many early readers trying to sound out the phrase, “Once upon a Time…” If they have never heard a story that began "Once upon a time" they will never figure it out. On the other hand, a child who can’t read independently but has heard a ton of stories that begin “Once upon a time” may be able to easily “read” this phrase.
In Mem Fox's book "Reading Magic" she says that a child needs to hear 1,000 stories before they begin to read independently.  I think it would benefit your children if some of these favorite repetitive texts are included in the 1,000 + stories they will hear before they begin to read.

5 repetitive texts are HOT in our house:
1. Pete the Cat: I love my White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin Pete the Cat is walking down the street in his white shoes which change colors as he steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and mud. He doesn't let his colorful shoes get him down, he keeps singing his song... his very repetitive song!
2.  Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin Pete the Cat is hot, hot, hot with my preschool boys. In this story, he is rocking a new school year as he sings his school song... his very repetitive school song!
3. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean and Eric Litwin Once more, Pete the Cat faces the challenges of life as he loose buttons off his shirt. Does he cry? Goodness NO! He keeps singing his song... his very repetitive song.
4. Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen The Pout Pout fish is a gloomy member of the underwater world. His friends swim along and try to get him to give up his gloomy ways. To each encourager he offers the same repeating refrain, "I'm a pout pout fish with a pout pout face for spreading dreary wearies all over the place. Blub, blub, blub." Eventually, someone comes along that helps him turn his frown upside down.
5. Cat the Cat Who is That? by Mo Willems.   Another hot item in our home currently is any book by Mo Willems. Of course, I had to include a Willems book in our top 20 repetitive books. Many of them lend themselves so well to young learners actively participating in the reading of the story. Cat the Cat is one of the most obvious repetitive texts. Cat the Cat moves through the book introducing us to a whole cast of characters. !

11 Classic Repetitive Texts for Every Library
6. Brown Bear Brown Bear by Bill Martin and Eric Carle This classic book follows a pattern on each page as each animal introduces the next animal in the story. "Brown bear, brown bear what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me." The red bird picks up the pattern on the next page and continues the pattern through out.
7. Panda Bear Panda Bear by Bill Martin and Eric Carl This book continues the pattern from the Brown Bear book. This is a nice way to help children transfer the knowledge from one book to another and firm up their knowledge.This book focuses on endangered animals..

8. Polar Bear Polar Bear what do you hear? by Bill Martin and Eric Carl This book also continues the pattern of the previous books but it focuses on animal sounds.
9. Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat are you Waking Up? by Bill Martin Jr. This book has a repeating pattern and a rhyming text. It is a little cutesy but my kids love this little kitty who doesn't want to wake up and get ready to go!

10. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. A rhyming stories of letters racing up a coconut tree is interspered with a repetitive jingle. Kids can't help but join in the silly sounding words in this book.

11. The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood As a child, a cat, a dog, a mouse and a flea pile into bed with a sleeping Grandma in this story, the reader gets to experience a predictable pattern of text.
12. The Chick and the Duckling  by Mirra Ginsburg When a duckling is born moments before a baby chick, the chick admires the older duckling and copies each of his actions with a repetitive "me too". The ending of this book is a fun surprise for kids!
13. Have you seen my cat? by Eric Carle In this story, a little boy loses his cat and travels the world asking "Have you seen my cat?" The repetitive phrase, "This is not my cat" will be wonderful for children to chime in.
14. It looked like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw In this story, a white shape on a blue background changes with each page turn. The repeating phrase, "It looked like..." allows children to join in on a guess. This is one your child will be able to "read" independently long before they can actually decode text.

15. Silly Sally by Audrey Wood Silly Sally and her friends parade into town in this cummulative rhyming text.
16. Jump, Frog, Jump by Robert Kaplan This is a cummulative tale of a frog who tried to catch a fly but then found himself in the place of the prey. He escapes many attempts at being eaten when readers shout, "Jump, frog, Jump!"

3 Repetitive Texts that will engage your child's emotions: When your child reads the repetitive phrase in these books, they are able to express the characters emotions. It's a safe way for your child to express being grouchy, mad, or scared!
17. The Grouchy Ladybug by  Eric Carle While this book does focus on a grouchy ladybug who thinks he is big stuff and wants to stir up fights, it allows children to join in expressing a phrase they have all felt. They are able to sassily say, "Oh yeah, want to fight?" in a safe environment.
18. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorist This is a longer text embedded with the repetitive text, "It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." The story is one that children (and adults) can relate to. Reading the book can be almost therupetic.
19. The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams In this book, children repeat the sounds that a little old lady hears in the woods. The suspense in this book builds, but the ending is funny rather than scary!

1 Repetitive Nonfiction Text: Every collection should have some nonfiction. I am working on growing our nonfiction selections as my boys LOVE it!
20. My five sense by Aliki This book explores the five senses. Several of the pages have a repeating pattern and your child will love to try and read these pages.

The best part of repetitive books is that your child will want to hear them over and over again. In fact, your child needs to hear these texts over and over again! The more they hear them, the sooner they'll join in the reading! You can add a few of these to your library and have books that will last for a long time!

Here's where I am linking up:
 Book Sharing Monday,Kids Co-op, What My Child is ReadingThe Sunday Showcase, The Learning Laboratory