Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nursery Rhymes in English and Chinese

Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes: Share and Sing in Two Languages by Faye-Lynn Wu is an amazing book that we stumbled on in our local library. It is a perfect poetry pick for preschoolers. And while National Poetry Month is nearly over, a child's love of nursery rhymes can last a lifetime! This book is a great investment.
The book is divided into 5 poetry sections: outside, inside, party, play, and night. Within those sections, an English nursery rhyme is paired with a Chinese rhyme based on the same theme. For example, the Mother Goose Rhyme, "Ladybug, ladybug fly away home..." is paired with a Chinese rhyme, "Little Bugs". The pages are bright and colorful and often there is a did you know box that provides facts about the Chinese culture. There are also challenges for the reader to find items in the pictures on each page.
The Chinese poems are written in simplified Chinese characters and the phonetic system called pinyin is provided so English speakers can try to decode the Chinese text.
The book also came with an audio CD which was really well done. The songs are simple and and sung with the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar. Most of the songs have children singing along with an adult female.
On of the reasons this book stood out to me at the library, was because we have a new family member arriving from China soon! My little niece will probably only be 2 1/2 but she may be speaking some Chinese when she comes home... hopefully she will get to come home SOON! She has two older brothers who also were born in China. They both spoke Chinese when they were adopted, but at that time my boys were not yet born or were babies. I loved that we could listen to the audio version of this book and hear the Chinese sounds. We talked a lot about our new cousin. We were able to talk about how some people sound differently than other people and that makes all people special and unique. We talked about our cousin would be learning to speak English and how we would need to be very patient with her as she learns to talk!
One thing that this book says is that it was written to "show that the things that kids love are the same, no matter where they live in the world."
This is a great book for any family or classroom that wants to experience the beauty of two languages having fun with singable rhymes and poems.

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The Learning Laboratory Book Sharing Monday Kids Co-op, What My Child is Reading,

Monday, April 23, 2012

Double The Ducks

Double the Ducks, stuart j. murphy, math lessons, early math, early childhood math, fun math, math start, ready set read, image Sometimes the best way to teach a math concept is through a story, sometimes it's through a connection to everyday life. Double the Ducks by Stuart J. Murphy is a fantastic book for introducing the concept of doubles in a very simple and fun way. In the story, a cowboy has 5 ducks. The ducks are a lot of work. They require three bags of seed and four bundles of hay. When the 5 little ducks each bring home a friend, the boy has double the ducks and double the work! The boy wishes he had double the hands to take care of his ducks. (I wished the same thing when I doubled the number of kids I had!) For the lucky duck in this story, a friend joins in to help, providing double the hands.

What is the Early Math Concept of Doubles?

Doubles is an early math skill that will help your child with mental math in the future. "Doubles" means that both of the addends are the same (2+2, 5+5, etc). When a child can relate the concept of doubles to something in real life, they will more easily have a quick and automatic response when doing doubles.

Doubles Book

After reading Double the Ducks, we followed a tip in the back of the book to create a doubles book. On the first page I wrote, "Double 1". We drew a face with two eyes. On the second page, I wrote "Double 2". We drew a car with 2 sets of 2 wheels. I brainstormed most of the ideas in advance because my son is young. Here's what I came up with.

1+1 eyes
2+2 car wheels
3+3 insect
4+4 dominoes
5+5 fingers
6+6 egg carton
8+8 Rows of crayons in a 16 count carton
9+9  Starting Line ups of two baseball teams

How Do you Know if Your Child is Ready?

Can your child count by rote?
Can your child count on? For instance, can your child begin at 5 and count on... 6, 7, 8, 9...?
These are some of the skills that show your child may be ready for the concept of doubles. Even if your child doesn't grasp doubles, you can still read your homemade books as a introductory activity.

What's the Next Step?

Double + 1: When your child gets very quick with doubles, throw in a +1 like 5+6. Show your child how to add the doubles 5+5 and add +1. 5+5+1. Quick and easy peasy!

See More Mathematically Speaking Monday Posts. Each post focuses on a different area of early math.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day Books for Kids

Earth Day Hooray by Stuart J. Murphy is a lesson not only in saving the Earth but also a lesson in place value. Earth Day Hooray is a part of the Math Start series of books written by Stuart J. Murphy. This is a level 3 math start book, which means the math is probably on a 1-2 grade level, but the story can be enjoyed by all. In this story, a group of kids decide to improve on their city park. They raise money for the improvements by collecting and recycling aluminum cans. They set a goal for their can collection. At first, they face some difficulty as their recycling is mistaken as trash. In the end, they are able collect, sort, and count enough cans for the money to buy flowers.

Don't Let Your Recycling Become Trash!
Earth Day, earth day activities for kids, earth day crafts for kids, crafts for kids, book activities, early writing, early literacy

After reading the book, you could allow your child do practice writing skills by designing labels for recycling containers. Let the little writers color in large block letter labels that you have created. Let older children design their own labels.
After you label the containers, why not sort your recyclables?

Want Another Way to Practice Writing This Earth Day?
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Work together to write a pledge. Can your family recycle more? Turn off water or lights? Reuse paper or containers? Write a pledge to do more things to save the Earth. Allow your little writers to contribute the text that they can write... even if it's only signing their name (or writing the first letter in their name). Decorate it and put it someplace special!

Other Earth Day Books To Check Out:

The Earth Book by Todd Parr describes simple things kids can do like using both sides of paper or turning off water when they brush, along with a description of how those things can save the Earth-- or in this case the animals habitats and the fish's water. Very simple text and bright illustrations are great for preschoolers.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss A local pollution problem presented in poetic text.

 The Earth and I by Frank Asch A child makes friends with the Earth but when the Earth gets sad because of pollution, the child pitches in to do something and make the Earth happy again.

What We're Doing to Celebrate Earth Day:
Earth Day, earth day activities for kids, earth day crafts for kids, crafts for kids, book activities, early writing, early literacy

Check out our Trash Monsters. They've been guarding our trashcans to make sure we're not missing anything that could be recycled or reused.

Mommy Labs Also check out our Earth Day Linky. There are over 90 ideas for Earth Day Activities! You can also link up your activities.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Come Sow With Me- Gardening Photo Linky

With Earth Day right around the corner, we've been thinking green at Ready. Set. Read! Gardening is fun for my boys. They love dirt! They also love their Grandpa, who provides much of our produce for the summer season! 

We are very blessed in our part of the world to not only have access to Grandpa's Garden, but also to have access to local farmer's markets and grocery stores stocked with fresh foods year-round. Unfortunately, the entire world is not as lucky. 
When #ONEMoms asked bloggers to volunteer their voice and get involved in ending hunger simply by posting a picture of a gardening activity, I was more than happy to join in! We’re linking our seed planting with the THRIVE campaign lending our voice.

You can help plant a seed of change in the G8!
1. Sow one-  Show your commitment to developing agriculture in the developing world. Plant a seed at home.
2. Send one- Get involved by signing the petition at ONE. While you are there, check out other things you can do to get involved. 

While you are planting your seeds, you might also want to try this seed sorting activity! 
Seed Sorting Activity: We prepared for our gardening unit last year by sorting groups of seeds. This is a fantastic activity for language development. You can guide the sort by asking your child questions. 

For instance, you may notice the sunflower seeds in with the corn seeds and say something like, "Does that pointy black seed fit with those round yellow seeds?" Throw in as many adjectives as you can for your child's developmental level. You can also verbally label the seeds as you go, calling them sunflower seeds, corn seeds, etc. This will get your child thinking about where their food actually comes from!

If you have a little one that wants to participate, I set this up for my son last year when he was 16months old.  Just transfering seeds into a container is a great way to work on the pincher grasp. 

You can also share updates on your seed growing activity and link them here.

Would love for you to participate in the Come Sow With Me Meme by  sharing a seed planting activity  ( Sow one) and encouraging others to do something by ( Sending them) Come back here and share your photograph and your post on the Linky. Let’s see how many we can do before the G8 at the beginning of  May 2012
Let our voice count.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yo-ho-ho A Pirate Book for you

We searched our local library for these pirate book treasures for toddlers through early readers.

pirate books, books for toddlers, color books, best books for preschoolersPirate Nap: A Book of Colors by Danna Smith is a great pick for the littlest swash buckler. Two young boys prepare for naptime by pretending to be pirates and turning colorful objects into treasure.  "Mighty pirates need sleep too".  Good rhyming text and great pictures., pirate pete book, pirate book for preschooler, preschool If you need a little more adventure in your pirate stories, check out Pirate Pete. There are several Pirate Pete books. We tried Pirate Pete's Giant Adventure by Kim Kennedy. This is still a great choice for the older preschool crowd or young elementary school student., david shannon, pirate, preschool Jeremy Jacob in How I Became a Pirate has come face to face with real pirates and lives to tell the story. You can continue the adventure but know your little pirate will still want to come home to you and bedtime stories and goodnight kisses. If the cover illustrations look familiar to you, the illustrator is a preschool favorite, David Shannon (No, David!), alphabet book, pirate, preschool  For an educational look at pirates, try this pirate alphabet book. Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC is a rhyming alphabet book. The pirates set off to look for every letter of the alphabet (because "r" is not enough).  If they fail their mission, they will walk the plank! Thanks to Reading Confetti for suggesting this book. Stop by her blog to see a great treasure map activity that incorporates letter identification and visual discrimination of letters!, pirate, preschool Think most pirates are BOYS? You'll think differently after reading Night Pirates by Peter Harris. The pirates in this story are little GIRLS who invite a boy along on their nighttime adventure! This book is completely singable which means your girl pirate or boy pirate may have it memorized in no time at all!,  pirate, early readerFor the beginning independent reader, Pirates Past Noon part of the Magic Tree House chapter book series, is a great Pirate story.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sight Word Booklet

Recently I posted about an alphabet book that I created with my son by using a spiral bound stack of index cards. In the back of the book we had several extra pages and so we created a list of words that he knows how to read, mostly by sight. He loves to flip through and read his words. This is a great way for me to keep a record of his reading vocabulary., sight words, sight word booklet, teaching sight words, early literacy, reading, first grade reading lesson, literacy lessons

I've recently partnered with Samson's Classroom, an online software company that provides games on sight words, spelling, and reading comprehension. They provided me with some interesting information about sight words. 

Sight words are the most commonly used words in the English language. In fact, approximately half the words you encounter in day-to-day reading are sight words. When children fail to master sight words early on, they may get discouraged and quickly fall behind their classmates. On the other hand, students who recognize sight words gain the confidence they need to continually develop their reading skills and outperform their peers. Not convinced? Let's take a look at the percentage of sight words in some famous and important text., sight words, reading, early literacy, sight word software, sight word games

Where Did These Numbers Come From?

You might be a bit skeptical of the claim that over half the words you read every day are sight words. I know we were when we first heard it. So we decided to put that claim to the test by building a program that accepts text and provides a count of the sight words found within that text. The more passages we tested, the more we were convinced. The importance of mastering the words on the Dolch list is obvious but these stats really help underline just how critical it is for early readers to learn their sight words.

More on Sight Words

In his 1948 book Problems in Reading Edward William Dolch, PhD. published a list of 220 "service words" that must be easily recognized in order to achieve reading fluency in the English Language. Many of the words on the list cannot be "sounded out" phonetically and have to be learned by sight. These "sight words" occur so frequently that mastering them is essential for early readers to maintain the confidence they need to continue developing their literacy skills. If you've learned one thing from this article, it should be the fact that more than 50% of the words we read every day are sight words.

Why Did We Write This Article?
We wrote this article to expose you to the importance of learning sight words. When we discovered this information, we created a product called Samson's Classroom that addresses this need. We believe that it is the best product on the market to help students master sight words. If you want to learn more about Samson's Classroom, watch the demo video. The Samson's Classroom Team

Do you have any creative ways to teach sight words? Share your ideas or even a link to a post. I'd love to include them on my early literacy Pinterest board.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Naptime or Playtime?

Disneynature's Chimpanzee is coming April 20th! What a fun way to celebrate Earth Day. I can not wait to see this film. Mostly because the above clip reminds me of two little boys I know very well...

I hope this clip got you in the mood for Earth day. Don't forget to check out the Earth Day blog hop and link up your ideas!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review: Earth Day Crafts (and an Earth Day Blog Hop)

My boys LOVE the great outdoors. As a parent, I want to teach them to be responsible stewards of their beautiful Earth. Earth Day is a great opportunity to celebrate and remind ourselves about our responsiblity of taking care of our Earth.

We recently checked out a few Earth day books from our local library. One of the books, Earth Day Crafts by Carol Gnojewski was an awesome inspiration to us. From this book we created our trash monsters-- which were based on the trash people in the book. The idea behind this craft is to set your trash monster person near your trash can. Before you throw things away, this little dude will remind you to think about the things in your trash that can be reused.
The second craft we did was based on the book's slick water wearable. The book has directions for creating a cute little necklace with an important message. I adapted this to my preschool boys. We created a plastic water bottle with clean water on the bottom and oil on top. We added foil fish to our display and talked about what happens when oil (or other debris) is added to water where animals live.

 Earth Day Crafts by Carol Gnojewski is more than just a craft book. This nonfiction text provides a brief introduction of the history of Earth day. The books showcases 10 crafts about Earth day. There are also instructions for Earth day games your child can play using the crafts he made. There are additional resource pages listing books about Earth Day and internet sites about Earth Day. This book is also a great way to introduce your child to nonfiction text features such as a table of contents and an index.
One thing I enjoyed about this book is that each craft or activity includes a short informational paragraph. Each craft teaches a different concept about being eco-friendly. The vocabulary that is introduced in context in this book is wonderful. After reading the book, your child will be exposed to words like foodshed, recycling, landfills, endangered and extinct species, greenbelt, and more. The reading level is probably best suited for 7 and above but even younger kids will enjoy the projects as well as hearing snippets of the text.

Greening Sam and Avery and Mommy Labs are hosting an Earth Day blog hop where you can find even more activities for celebrating our Earth.

Mommy Labs

Here's a list of all the participating blogs:

Hosts: Mommy Labs, Greening Sam and Avery
Teach Preschool | Ready.Set.Read | Living at the Whitehead’s Zoo | The Outlaw Mom Blog | Rainy Day Mum | The Golden Gleam | Inspiration Laboratories | Nurture Store | Experimenting Mom | Kids Stuff World | Artsy Craftsy Mom | Creativity My Passion | Imagination Soup | Caution! Twins at play |Rockabye Butterfly | Explore Education | Getting Messy with Miss Jessy | Daria Music | Mama Smiles |Let’s Lasso the Moon | Reading Confetti | The Educators’ Spin On It | Kitchen Counter Chronicles | De tout et de rien | Our Feminist Playschool | The Wise Owl Factory Book a Day | Mommy and Me Book Club | Dirt and Boogers | Carrots Are Orange | Putti Prapancha | Toddler Approved | Imprints from Tricia | Smiling like Sunshine |

Be sure to check out all of the activities that are linked up or link up your own idea. The linky will be open through April 24th.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Egg Carton Challenge: Blocks from Egg Cartons

egg cartons, upcycle, recycle, math manipualtives,

With Easter over, you may find you have a multitude of egg cartons lying around. We decided to experiment with egg  cartons as building materials this weekend. Originally I had planned to give the boys a bunch of cartons and let them build. Nothing really happened with my idea.
Plan #2 was to cut the egg cartons into pieces that resembled our Megabloks. They were still missing something so we decided to add some color to the mega bloks. The boys painted and I kind of cleaned them up for this project.
Once they had the colorful new block shapes, the creative building began!
I also found that the blocks made a great math manipulative. Beginning with a four piece carton, I would ask the boys to guess how many of the single piece cartons we would need to cover the four. Then we compared that to the two piece cartons. Lots of little math learning occurred as they discovered that two sets of two will cover a four piece carton.
egg cartons, upcycle, recycle, math manipualtives,

Here at Ready. Set. Read! we generally talk reading. But every Monday, I've started focusing on an early math skill. Feel free to check out these other Mathematically Speaking Monday posts.

I created this post for Tinkerlab's Creative Challenge. If you have egg cartons to use up, check out the egg carton challenge at Tinkerlab.  You can even link up your own idea. Here are the fantastic bloggers who are participating in the challenge.
Glittering Muffins
Inspiration Laboratories
Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Living At The Whiteheads Zoo
Make, Do & Friend
Mama Mia's heart2heart
Messy Kids
Rainy Day Mum
Red Ted Art
Sun Hats & Wellie Boots
Teach Preschool
The Chocolate Muffin Tree
The Educators' Spin On It
The Golden Gleam
The Imagination Tree
Toddler Approved
Reading Confetti
Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers
The Outlaw Mom Blog
Mommy Labs
Child Central Station
Green Owl Art
Duck Duck Octopus
Train Up a Child
Growing A Jeweled Rose
Coffee Cups and Crayons
Ready. Set. Read!
Scribble Doodle and Draw
Carrots Are Orange
JDaniel4's Mom
Quirky Momma
A Mom With A Lesson Plan
Good Long Road

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Egg Letter Match

Discover how to help your child learn uppercase and lowercase pairs by playing this fun easter game! I have a post over on connect-a-blog today with the scoop on how to make your own!, easter, easter eggs, early literacy, letter games, learning letters
Upper case and Lower case egg match up