Monday, July 30, 2012

Storybook Summer Series on Make and Takes

I am super, super excited to be a blogger on the Storybook Summer Series on Make and Takes! All summer guest bloggers have been sharing their favorite book and craft ideas. There are so many amazing ideas that have been shared. I am sharing a current favorite of the boys, Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons. This fun book includes singing, counting, subtraction, and a great story! We created a fun Pete the Cat craft and wrote Pete the Cat math stories to accompany our craft. You can find all the details over on Make and Takes.
Pete the Cat Craft, Book Activity, Ready. Set. Read, Make and Takes Storybook Summer Series

If you are stopping by Ready. Set. Read! from Make and Takes, I'd love to welcome you here! I am a reading specialist with 8 years of teaching experience. Currently, I am a stay at home mom to two boys. I blog here at Ready. Set. Read 2 Me about all things early literacy.

I have many book reviews at Ready. Set. Read! Here is a review of several of my favorite back to school books.

I also like to share literacy related activities like this Fairy Tale Prop Basket
Book Activity, Retelling, Fairy Tales
Can you guess the fairy tale? (Cow, Magic Beans, Golden Egg, and a Bean Stalk)


I have ideas for teaching your kids letters and names: 14 Ways to Explore the Letters in Your Child's Name
learning letters, ready. set. read



And I just launched a new teachers pay teachers store. I have several freebies available as well as paid products in my store. One of my summer time freebies is a complete preschool zoo unit! Here is one of the activities that is in my Free Zoo Thematic Unit: Animal Movement Cards.
free printable zoo preschool theme
I'd love to invite you to stay and check out my blog! Leave a comment if you are new here. I love to meet new readers.
Remember, if you haven't stopped by Make and Takes Storybook Summer Series, you'll definitely want to go check it out!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Take a Lego Brickation to Branson, MO + Giveaway

photo free lego event, Lego giveaway, Ready. Set. Read,

Do you have Lego lovers in your family? My boys love Legos! And truthfully, since Legos are the one toy my husband has retained from his childhood,  I think he may be a Lego lover too! I was super excited when I found out about this FREE Lego event in Branson, MO this summer! We love vacationing in Branson. If you aren't careful you can spend a LOT of money in very little time in Branson. I'm super excited to pass on this free Lego event that is coming to Branson, the Lego Summer Brickation.
Lego is setting up shop at a few  vacation destinations and offering free family activities. You can experience the free lego event at Branson Landing from July 25-September 4th. Branson landing is a super cool hang out for young families.There is great shopping, amazing restaurants, and a fun pirate themed playground for kids. (Hint: If you can make a deal with your husband, you can get a lot of shopping done while your kids play on the playground!) There is also an awesome fountain show  with fountains that shoot up 120 feet in the air and fire cannons, all set to music. It's pretty spectacular! So as you can see, Branson landing has a ton to do and is worth visiting and if you happen to visit during July 25- September 4, you get a bonus free activity of lego brickation fun for the whole family! 
Branson landing is located on the Lake Taneycomo water front. If you've never been to Branson landing, here's the address: 
100 Branson Landing Blvd.
Branson, MO 65616
Even if you aren't lucky enough to get to visit Branson this summer, you can still win a cool Lego pack and celebration a Lego brickation at home.   The prize pack contains: LEGO Club Magazine, 10 Bricks to Click (pack of ten bricks with building instructions) and a pirate hat.
photo free lego event, Lego giveaway, Ready. Set. Read,  Lego prize pack

My family is planning a visit to Branson in August. I'm adding a set of the Lego 10 Bricks to Click to our Road Trip activity baskets for the kids! These road trip activities helped keep my kids entertained on our last trip to Branson.  Hopefully I'll have pictures soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Gigcoin. I was paid to write this post and was provided a Lego prize pack.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Olympic games for kids

Olympic games for kids, metric me, math olympics

With the Olympic games starting soon, this could be a wonderful time to host a home or classroom Olympic games for kids!  The Olympic games would be a great back to school math activity. When I was teaching, I had two measurement activities that my students loved. The first one was called Metric Me. The other one was the Measurement Olympics. I have created two Olympic themed activities from these two fun activities.
Olympic games for kids, free, printable, back to school math, math olympics, math, ready. set. read!

Metric Me
The first activity that my students loved was Metric Me. Metric Me is a measurement activity where students measure their body parts (in metric units of course) and record the measurements. The cool thing about this activity is that came from a curriculum that my dad helped to write when I was in elementary school. My dad is a retired high school science teacher. When I was a kid he worked with a group on a project to write science curriculum for elementary aged kids. Guess who tested his activities? And I enjoyed them so much that I later incorporated them into my own classroom. The other awesome thing about this activity is that my dad's former student, Brittany Borman, is an olympian. One of our hometown girls will be competing with the USA Javelin team in London! Brittany's mom was a principal too and I had the priviledge of working under her. I'm sure Brittany is thankful that Mr. Bradley taught her the metric system way back in high school!
Since I'm so excited about the Olympics and getting kids excited about learning through the Olympics, I'm offering Metric Me as a FREE download! (click on the picture of Metric Me above to get to the free download).


Measurement Olympics
Olympic games for kids, free, printable, back to school math, math olympics, ready set read


The second measurement activity that my students loved was the measurement olympics. These olympic games for kids also teach kids to use measurement in a hands on way. There are five games that all use a variety of measurement skills in these math olympics. One game is "torch relay". In torch relay, The students relay a snowcone cup (olympic torch) of water to a beaker. After 2 minutes, the students measure how much water they have collected. The measurement olympics also requires students to make estimates before competing, and to find the difference between the estimate and the actual measurement.
Olympic games for kids, free, printable, back to school math, math olympics


You can purchase a complete classroom olympics kit in my teachers pay teachers store for only $3. The kit includes a teacher's guide, descriptions of each event, alignment to the common core curriculum, a supply list for each event, printable signs for each event, printable student directions to post for each event, recording sheets for students, printable gold, silver, and bronze medals, and a certificate of completion for each student. This would be a fun back to school math activity.
This activity would probably be best for 3-5 grade classrooms.
Olympic games for kids, free, printable, back to school math, math olympics, ready set read


Are you incorporating the olympics into any of your back to school preparations at home or school?

Here's Where I am Sharing:

Friday, July 20, 2012

How to use Elkonin Boxes


photo elkonin boxes, phonemes, phonics activity, early literacy, reading, phonics sounds, word boxes

Using elkonin boxes is a simple and quick way to teach phonemic awareness. Good readers are able to segement words and hear individual phonemes in words. Phonemes are the smallest unit of sound in a word. In the word cat, the first phoneme is the /c/ sound. Elkonin boxes are one strategy for helping readers to segment individual sounds in words.
Elkonin boxes are simple boxes that can be drawn on paper. One box is drawn for each phoneme in a word. For a CVC word like cat, there would be three boxes. However, since a box is drawn for each phoneme (not each letter), some words with more than three letters would still have three boxes. One example of this is the word house. House has three sounds h/ou/s. Likewise, some words like b/oy may have three letters but only two sounds. Two boxes would be drawn for a word like that.
As a child becomes a more proficient reader and writer, the teacher will transition to letter boxes that match traditional spelling patterns. Remember, the goal of elkonin boxes or sound boxes is help children hear the individual phonemes in a word.

How to know when your child is ready for Elkonin boxes: 

Your child is probably ready for elkonin boxes when he can do things like:
  •  use beginning letter sounds to solve words in reading and writing,
  •  use invented spelling (spelling words phonetically and not always following traditional spelling patterns), 
  • read or write some sight words, 
  • read some repetitive books from memory.

How to use the Elkonin Boxes:

Give the child an elkonin box and name the picture. Have the child say the word slowly. Have the child push a penny or a counter into each box as they say each phoneme in the word.


Introduce Elkonin boxes: The first step is to introduce Elkonin boxes to your child. You will probably have to help your child coordinate the gross motor movement timed with the sound. This calls for demonstration. Use hand over hand practice and generally give the child control.

Practice the Elkonin boxes: Once the child can coordinate the movement and the sound together, she is set to use Elkonin boxes alone. It is important to let the child say the words slowly. You may often hear teachers or parents doing this work for them. I know this because I've viewed myself on teaching videos saying something like,
Teacher:"Let's write the word cat. What letter to do you think you see at the beginning of the word cat?" Student makes no response.
Teacher:"Say the word slowly. C-a-t."
When the teacher verbalizes the phoneme, the teacher has just done the work for the child.
Elkonin boxes are a good way to get the child used to controlling saying words slowly.

Transition to Word boxes: Once the child controls using Elkonin boxes in isolation, they can transition to word boxes. Word boxes can be used in spelling to help children isolate the phonemes but also to spell using conventional spelling.
photo elkonin boxes and word boxes, phonics activities, phonemes, early literacy, reading

Here is a freebie of a blank elkonin box. Add a simple drawing or clip a picture and glue to the top of each card. These are designed for words with three phonemes. They may or may not be words with three letters. For example, cat, dog, and bat would work with these cards. House, boat, sheep would also work because they can be broken into three sounds: h/ou/s.
Preschool themes, word boxes, elkonin boxes, phonics activities, phonemes, reading, ready set read


If you would like elkonin sound boxes that are premade with pictures, consider my beach thematic unit. It includes a sight word stretch activity. You can teach the child to stretch out the sounds in the words just like they stretch out a beach towel on the sand. You can purchase the unit that includes the sight word stretch in my teachers pay teachers store. There are freebies to check out there too!

Here's Where I am sharing:
Kids Co-opThe Sunday Showcase, The Learning Laboratory




Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Activity: Ten Little Fish

Audrey wood, book activity, July Summer VirtualBook Club
Welcome back to the Summer Virtual Book Club! This month we are sharing book activities for our featured authors, Audrey Wood, Don Wood and Bruce Wood. This month, we chose the book "Ten Little Fish" by Audrey and Bruce Wood. I previously reviewed this story on Ready. Set. Read in my Beach Books round up.
photo, paper plate craft, book activity, early literacy, audrey wood, reading

Ten Little Fish is a fun counting backwards book. We created a paper plate aquarium and wrote a math sentence to go with our picture. We found the paper plate aquarium idea on Make and Takes Storybook Summer Series. The aquarium idea came from a guest post by Create-Celebrate- Explore. You can find the tutorial here.


math story, math word problems, math for kids, math is fun
To make our activity follow the book, Ten Little Fish. We added fish stickers to our aquarium.  I gave the boys 10 stickers each. They could choose how many they wanted to put into the aquarium. After the craft was finished, we made up math stories about our aquariums. We wrote how many fish we had when we began (10). Then the boys made up a story for where the "leftover" fish were going and stuck those "leftovers" to their papers. Finally, I wrote the question, "How many were left?"

math story, math word problems, math for kids, math is fun, ready set read
Logan's math story

The boys used their aquariums to count the fish left inside the ocean and answer the question, "How many were left?" Then we wrote a math sentence to tell our story. It was fun to show the boys that we can tell stories in words and in numbers!

We've been enjoying books by Audrey and Don Wood and Bruce Wood. We have another fun Wood book activity coming soon. I plan to link it to the Summer Virtual Book Club linky party. If you have a fun book activity for these authors, make sure you link it up to the July Summer Virtual Book Club. Last month, we had over 50 entries for our featured author, Mo Willems.

If you enjoy this beach book activity, you might also enjoy:
Beach Thematic Unit
Best Beach Themed Picture Books

Hope to see you in the Summer Virtual Book Club!


There are a few rules for this blog hop that we ask you to follow, so make sure to read them:
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Don and/or Audrey Wood 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. Add our Virtual Book Club to your post if you'd like.


* By linking to this blog hop you are giving the blog hop participants permission to pin images from your post onto Pinterest.

This blog hop will be open from July 16th (12am PST) to August 19th. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Activity: There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Shell

Kids and adults love learning about the beach. There are many wonderful picture books about the beach. One of our favorite beach themed books is, "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Shell" by Lucille Colandro. This is a great book to add to a preschool beach unit. It provides students opportunities to learn beach vocabulary, sequencing and retelling. You can create simple centers for retelling with objects you have lying around the house or with printable materials. Just be prepared, kids will ask to hear this story over and over again! There are several other versions of the "There was an Old Lady..." story written by Lucille Colandro, so take these ideas and adapt them to any of your preschool themes. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  If you would like more beach activities for kids check out my Ocean and Beach Themes for Kids Pinterest Board.

preschool beach unit There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Shell is a great preschool beach book. In the book, an old lady swallows a shell. Of course, following the pattern of the traditional song, "I know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly", we don't know why! Swallowing the shell leads to other strange choices, like swallowing a crab, a fish, a gull, a pail, some sand, and a wave. As anyone can tell you, swallowing these strange beach souvenirs, causes any old lady to belch. When the old lady belches, out pops a perfect sand castle.This book is a fun beach twist on the traditional folk tale.

Book Activity:

After reading this book, we created a book activity to retell the story. I created a beach bucket old lady by adding yarn and google eyes to a beach bucket. I hot glued the yarn (it was almost like twine... that's what we had around the house). After I hot glued it, I gave the lady an ah-mazing haircut. Now you know why I'm a teacher and not a hair stylist. We gathered items from around the house and dropped them into the old lady  bucket one by one as we retold the story. We used sand in a container and water in a container as a wave bottle. If you are brave, you could let your child dump loose sand and water into the bucket. Be prepared for a messy activity!
there was an old lady activities, there was an old lady


Our "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Shell" book activity was super fun, but I wanted to create a way to put the items into the Old Lady's mouth. I also wanted a book activity that we could reuse and store easily. I created a simple file folder game.
 there was an old lady activities, there was an old lady

This file folder game is available in my Beach Thematic Unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. The unit includes a printable pail. All you have to do is add google eyes, hair, and cut out a mouth. I also created printable cards of each of the items. My boys love to shove the cards into the Old Lady's mouth. They also love to open file folder and find the print out of the sand castle in the old lady's "belly". There are many other fun  book activities in the unit!
preschool beach unit

Either way you play, this book activity is great for retelling a story and also for holding the interest of the child while you are reading the book!



Monday, July 9, 2012

Road Trip Games

If you are planning a road trip with kids, games will keep kids entertained and help pass the miles of your road trip. There are many road trip games for kids. Some of my favorite road trip games like The ABC game,  I spy, and the liscense plate game, also sneak in some learning.

Photo, Road Trip Games,  road trip with kids, car trip games

Road Trip Game 1- ABC Game

The ABC game is a pretty classic road trip game. Beginning at the first letter of the alphabet, all participants in the car look for an object beginning with the letter "A". Once an object is found to represent "A", the game moves to "B".Often this game is played orally until riders start to check out or nod off.  Honestly, the game starts off fun, but does anyone ever make it to letter "z"?
We always gave up on the ABC game before we made it to the end. I thought it would be fun to spruce up this game with a printable recording sheet for this road trip game. You can print out this sheet with each letter and take it on your road trip.  When you begin to get bored with the game, put the sheet away for a while. This way you can keep coming back to this game, and keep it interesting.
road trip games, car trip games, road trip with kids, photo, ABC car game


Road Trip Game 2- "I Spy"

Another fun road trip game is "I spy". I spy can be played with letters, numbers, colors, or objects. My grandparents used to come along on my family road trips when I was a kid. We always looked forward to the hours that we got to leave our parents' car and ride with Grandma and Grandpa. One reason we enjoyed it was because my grandparents had "fun bunks" in the back of their truck. Anybody remember those? The other reason we loved it was because of "I spy". My grandma would take a piece of paper and write or draw a quick list of objects. It was generally objects she knew we would probably pass so if we were traveling out west (we usually were), she would write a list like, 
photo, road trip game, car trip game, road trip with kids

We would check off each item as we found it. For some reason, kids find this to be a highly entertaining game. This same road trip game can be used with concepts such as colors, numbers, letters, words, or even shapes. Here are a few free printable road trip games for "I spy".

Road Trip Game 3- The Liscense Plate Game

A third fun road trip game for kids is "the liscense plate game". Simply get a sheet of paper and begin listing each liscense plate you see. Can you find all 50 states? This is great for geography. Your child can learn the names of the states. He may also wonder why he is seeing so many of a given state. He may be able to generalize which states are close and which may be far away by looking at his list. This road trip game also will give your child a chance to practice reading as she reads the liscense plates, and recording as she records them.
Summer road trips with kids don't have to be boring or annoying. A few simple games can keep the road trip fun. Use your time on the road to create some lasting memories and build your child's brain power at the same time!


Do you have any fun road trip games?


This is part of my Road Trip Reading Series. If you liked this post, check out some other ideas:
Create a Child Friendly Packing List
How to Make a Road Trip Activity Basket

Here's Where I am Sharing this Week:
The Learning Laboratory, It's Playtime,  Kids Co-opThe Sunday Showcase



Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Virtual Book Club for Kids

Book Club, photo, Summer Virtual Book Club for Kids, Audrey Wood
Welcome back Summer Virtual Book Club members! This summer 20+ kid bloggers have formed an online book club. Our book club is studying a different author each month.  Read on to find out how you can join! We are linking up our ideas for the books which creates a great resource for an author study! You can view the June Summer Virtual Book Club for kids with over 50 Mo Willems themed book club activities here


Book Club Schedule

June: Mo Willems (June 18th)
July: Audrey and Don Wood (July 16th)
August: Kevin Henkes (August 20th)


How to participate in the Summer Virtual Book Club:

Everyone is welcome to join the book club, even if you didn't participate last month. Just choose a book by the author of the month, do an activity, and come share it on one of the hosts' blogs on July 16th. I'll have the linky right here at Ready. Set. Read 2 me for you to share ideas and read TONS of great ideas. 
The authors for this month, Don and Audrey Wood (and their son, Bruce Wood) have many wonderful books for you. Some of our favorite Wood books are The Napping House, Quick as a Cricket, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear. and 10 Little Fish. (I could seriously create a huge list right here of my "favorite" book by the Wood clan. You would be reading until the wee hours of the morning, so I'll stop with that list. I promise, you will enjoy any book you choose for the book club).

I hope to see you at the book club on July 16th. Let me know with a comment if you plan to join our virtual book club.
Come back July 16th for the Audrey and Don Wood Book Hop!
Here is the list of book club hosts:

Toddler Approved

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to Make a Beach Water Sensory Bag for Preschoolers

Whether you visit the beach this summer or not, you can help your toddler experience the beach with a beach sensory water bag. This sensory activity is also a great opportunity for toddlers to gain new vocabulary. Here's how we made our super simple super sensory activity! 
Photo Sensory Activity, How to Make a Water  Bag

Begin by gathering your water bag supplies:


 Gallon size plastic storage bags
 Duct Tape
 Water
 Assorted items to add to your bag (ie. Shells, stones, glass pebbles, ocean toys)

You will also want to find books on a beach theme. This will be especially helpful for your child to gain vocabulary  if you are not able to visit the beach. A good book can take your child all kinds of new places!

One beach themed book that is perfect for toddlers is Sea, Sand, Me by Patricia Hubbell. You can find a review of the book here as well as a full list of beach themed books and reviews.


Prepare the Activity:

To prepare the activity cover three sides of the storage bag with duct tape leaving the zippered side open. This will minimize leaking.
Photo Sensory Activity, water bag, preschool,  How To Tape the Plastic Bag for the Water Bag



Create the Sensory Water Bag 

Show the book to the child. Do a picture walk of the book. Orally label ocean objects. Read the book together. Help the child to recall objects he or she would find at the sea.
photo of objects to add to water sensory bag for preschoolers

Allow the child to add objects to the plastic storage bags.
Add water to the bag. Zip closed and tape securely.
Photo Ocean Themed Sensory Water Bag for Preschoolers

Leave the bag flat for play. Allow the child to pok e the items and move them through the water.
Give clues such as, “Touch the blue clam.”
The bags will leak a small amount of water so be sure to play on a surface that is waterproof.
These bags can be made by an adult for a young baby. They are great fun on a high chair. Water bags are a fun sensory activity for birth through preschool aged kids! (Maybe even older kids will love it, I had a lot of fun making these with the boys!!)

If you don't have any small ocean toy or if you would like to make a complete classroom set, you might be interested in my ocean themed unit. There is a whole page of ocean animals that you can print, laminate, and cut. Add them to your bags with some shells and rocks and your entire class can enjoy this activity! The unit also includes beach themed books, games, early reader books, and journal pages. You can purchase the unit in my teachers pay teacher store!

Here's Where I am sharing:




Sunday, July 1, 2012

Beach Unit for Preschool

While we won't be able to travel to the beach this year, we have been cooling off with a fun beach thematic unit. I created my beach book adventure packet for my boys. This preschool pack is a thematic unit based on my best books for the beach list. I chose the skills that I wanted to cover in the unit by using my son's pre-kindergarten curriculum. I also designed the packet to be multi-level for families who have learners from toddler to early reader. We've had a lot of fun with this beach themed unit.

preschool beach unit


Here are the activities we have enjoyed:
preschool beach unit,
Create a Water Mat- Try this fun sensory activity to accompany any beach themed book. This is a great vocabulary activity for toddlers and preschoolers.
preschool beach unit
Seashell Letter Sort- Sort uppercase and lowercase letters on seashells in this beach themed game.
Water, Land, or Sky Sort-  The beach is a wonderful place to observe water, land, and sky transportation. Use this sorting game to sort planes, trucks, trains, boats and more!
Seaside Sight Word Stretch- This activity, designed for early readers, helps learners stretch /CVC/ words.
preschool beach unit: math activities

Sand Pail Counting Game-  Many beach themed picture books incorporate counting. This file folder game focuses on using the skill of counting on to find a missing number.
File Folder Game: There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Shell- This file folder game helps young readers to retell the book, “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Shell”.
Beach Shape Scavenger Hunt- The beach is a perfect place to find objects of every shape! Take this fun printable to the beach and record the shapes you see on the beach.
Early Reader Books- This level 1 early reader book, The Beach, identifies common items found on the beach. There is a reading guide included, as well, that gives parents and teachers tips on introducing the book as well as guiding the reading.
Writing Ideas for the Beach- A list of fun ways to practice writing alphabet letters and the letters of a child’s name while visiting the beach.
Journal Pages- Differentiated Journal writing pages to accommodate the various levels of early writers.


You can purchase the Preschool Beach Thematic Unit at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. The book list for my unit and book reviews are always available free here at Ready. Set. Read! Check out my book adventures page for other great destinations and great books to take along!





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