Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hands on Early Literacy Activities and Mom's Library

It's Tuesday! That means the library is OPEN. Mom's Library, that is.  Each Tuesday I co-host Mom's Library along with True Aim. You have the opportunity to see featured posts and link up your own posts. We also have a weekly giveaway!  Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss the next Library! Follow the Mom's Library Pinterest Board to see all of our featured posts.



Featured on Mom's Library: Hands on Literacy Activities



This week I am featuring hands on ways to explore early literacy learning. All of these great ideas were shared on Mom's library last week. I've used nearly all of them this past week and look forward to using the rest in upcoming weeks! Here are a few lessons about hands on literacy learning using examples from last week's Mom's Library:

Use a felt board to bring a story to life. Try making your own with this make your own felt board tutorial from Fantastic fun and Learning.

Use Playdough to explore letters and sounds like with these FREE Diagraph Playdough Mats from 3 Dinosaurs

Use active play to teach letters like in this School Bus ABC game from Fantastic Fun and Learning.

Set up Stations for hands on letter learning for ideas check out Teach Kids to Write the Alphabet from Measured Mom. 

Take letter learning to the bath. Here are some bathtub literacy ideas from Growing Book by Book.


Play a game to learn letters. Try this Superhero upper and lowercase letter match from B-inspired Mama.


Practice letter learning during craft time. Crystal & Co. features a letter of the week craft each week. This week's letter S snake is cute and is made in a very creative way!

Mom's Library Weekly Giveaway

This week there are two giveaways you can enter. First you can win a lifetime membership in Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's Members Only Website. You can check out the review of this service which offers printable packs, units, and full year curriculums.
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The second giveaway is to win an ebook version of Julia Dweck's "Mary Had a Sleepy Sheep". Find out about this newly released book and enter to win.

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Mom's Library Link Up:

Would you like to participate?
1. Please follow me and True Aim!
2. Enter the URL of your post below.
3. Support your fellow bloggers and visit 2 other links.


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Preschool Homeschool Ideas and Mom's Library

It's time for Mom's Library once more. This week I am featuring homeschool ideas. While my oldest son just enrolled in public school kindergarten, I've decided to keep my preschooler home with me full time this year. He is 3 and I'm not quite ready to send him off to a formal preschool program. At the same time, I've been noticing how much kindergarten children need to know. Offering him some fun learning activities at home seemed like a good fit to give him what he needs. Most of his day will still be filled with play time, play dates, and running errands with mom, I'm excited to offer him a fun preschool day at home as well.




Mom's Library
 Each Tuesday I co-host Mom's Library along with True Aim. You have the opportunity to see featured posts and link up your own posts. We also have a weekly giveaway!  Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss the next Library! Follow the Mom's Library Pinterest Board to see all of our featured posts.

Featured on Mom's Library: Preschool Homeschool Ideas


Preparing to Teach Preschool at Home shared by Teaching Mama
A list of supplies you might want for your preschool as well as ideas for storage and organization.
homeschool ideas

Our Homeschool Classroom shared by Our Crafts and Things
Once you have gathered your supplies, take a peek at one possible classroom set up.
homeschool ideas

Home Preschool Schedule shared by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Here's a sample to help you outline your preschool day.
homeschool ideas

With all of your organization out of the way, you are ready to start with learning activities. Visit Mom's library each week for awesome lesson ideas. Here are just a few that were shared last week:

Are you doing preschool at home this year?

Mom's Library Weekly Giveaway
This week you can win a 1 year subscription to Abcmouse.com! Check out Crystal's review and enter to win right here at ready-set-read!
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Mom's Library Link Up
Would you like to participate?
1. Please follow me and True Aim!
2. Enter the URL of your post below.
3. Support your fellow bloggers and visit 2 other links.




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Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School Ideas

In this part of the world, school is starting back. I just passed a sign on a local pool the other day that said, "Pool closed. Thanks for a great season." Buses are filling the streets each day now. We had such a fun summer, it's a little depressing for summer to be wrapping up. Back to school doesn't have to be dreaded, though. By spending a little time up front preparing, you can get a head start on a wonderful year.
The beginning of the year is a great time to start a back to school routine. Kids are fresh at the beginning of the year, it can be a great time to get kids off to a strong start academically. Back to school can be more fun when you pair books about school with fun activities about school. Back to school doesn't have to be a bore. I have rounded up some of my most popular back to school ideas here at ready-set-read. There are free resources for parents and teachers. Take a little time to check it out and get ready for a great year!
back to school ideas


Back to School Ideas

Back to School Ideas for Preparing a School Routine

Tips for Easing First Day Worries
Homework Success

Back to School Ideas for Ensuring Literacy Success

Supporting a Beginning Reader
Learn Sight Words in 5 Easy Steps

Back to School Resources for Teachers

Free Printables for Open House
Planning your year with Themes-- book lists for several preschool themes

Book Activities for Back to School

David Goes to School activities 
Follow the Line to School 
Chrysanthemum book activities



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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

5 preschool activities for busy kids and Mom's Library

Welcome to Mom's Library! Filled with parenting tips, activities for kids, stories, crafts, recipes, and more! Each Tuesday I co-host Mom's Library along with True Aim. You have the opportunity to see featured posts and link up your own posts. We also have a weekly giveaway!  Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss the next Library! Follow the Mom's Library Pinterest Board to see all of our featured posts.


Featured on Mom's Library: 5 Activities for Busy Preschoolers

Tomorrow my 5 year old heads off to full day kindergarten. For the first time in 3 1/2 years I will be home all day with only one child. My boys can fight with the best of them, but they also love to play together. I think my little guy, Tyson, will really miss his big brother Logan. It will be an adjustment for all of us. Tyson may need a little additional help in keeping himself entertained. I was happy to find wonderful preschool activities linked up to Mom's library last week. These will be great for keeping my three year old entertained. This week I am featuring 5 activities for keeping a preschooler entertained.


Fantastic Fun and Learning-- Shell Activities for Kids
I love the idea of setting up invitations to explore, create, and play with shells in an open-ended way. I think my son will especially love this invitation to play with coconut scented playdough and beach objects.

There's just one Mommy -- Mural Drawing
My 3 year old is a great artist and would love to create a mural like There's just one Mommy shared. The open-ended creativity would be great for helping Tyson learn to adjust to playing more independently without big brother.

SNACK BREAK! Crystal & Co. -- Letter of the Week Snack K is for Kite
Just because my 3 year old is the only child left at home, doesn't mean I'm going to leave him hanging at snack time. I love these letter of the week snacks from Crystal & Co. because they are cute and easy. There are other letters featured in her post as well.

Gift of Curiosity-- Play Foam Sensory Fun
Play foam looks like another hands on activity that would be perfect for preschool aged kids. I love how Gift of Curiosity added a few props and watched the creativity blossom.

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails --DIY Pool Noodle Pom Pom Shooter
This pool noodle shooter is so simple to make by following Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails tutorial. I know you are probably thinking this shooter wouldn't be fun without a sibling to play along. However, think how fun it will be for the 3 year old to be armed and dangerous when big brother comes through the door!


Mom's Library Weekly Giveaway

If you want to give your child a head start a prepare them for Kindergarten, you have to try Blue Manor’s Preschool Curriculum. In just 15 minutes a day, you will lay a strong physical, intellectual, and spiritual foundation that will last a lifetime.




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Mom's Library Link up

Would you like to participate?
1. Please follow me and True Aim!
2. Enter the URL of your post below.
3. Support your fellow bloggers and visit 2 other links.



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Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to School Ideas: Free Printables for Open House

Our countdown to back to school is dwindling down quickly. Tonight is open house and school starts in two days. I'm sure we are not the only ones who are hoping for the best year ever -- and a little nervous at the unknown that comes with heading back to school. One way to ensure a great school year is to build an active learning community that involves students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Open house is a wonderful time for teachers to send the message that parents are a valued member of the team.
I've created two free printables for teachers to help set the mood for teamwork at meet the teacher night. Structuring a positive environment from the beginning of the year is important for success through out the year. I've been sharing back to school ideas all week that include free printables for parents or teachers. Stop by and pick up the other freebies and check out a few ideas to spruce up your back to school night.

Learn Sight Words in 5 Easy Steps
Supporting a Beginning Reader
Homework Success
Easing First Day Worries

Back to School Ideas and Free Printable


An Apple for the Teacher

Create a team work display at open house. Set out a basket of fresh apples along with a sign that says, "Enjoy an apple." Include this poem for teamwork, "An apple for the teacher is really nothing new. Except when you remember, parents are teachers too!" A teacher friend shared this one year during her open house night and I used it successfully with many groups of parents. The basket of apples provides a nice fall theme touch. I created a free printable with the poem. The adorable apple clip art is from children's book illustrator +Loreen Leedy .  Click to get these free printables on google drive.


T.E.A.M. Poster

Let parents know they are an important part of the learning community by displaying positive messages around the classroom. I love the acronym T.E.A.M.-- together everyone achieves more. I've created a poster that teachers can post in the classroom or perhaps use in a parent packet. Click to get these  free printable posters on google drive. Both the apple handout and the poster are included.


More Ideas for Back to School

Check out my back to school ideas pinterest board for more ideas for meet the teacher night/ open house and ideas for strengthening the home-school connection. I'd love if you follow me on Pinterest while you are there.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back to School Ideas: Learn Sight Words in 5 Easy Steps

In kindergarten and first grade classrooms, parents are often handed a list of sight words to be learned by the end of a particular grading period. Although you may smile nicely at the teacher, you may be groaning internally at the thought of mastering all of those words with your child. Learning sight words doesn't have to be a difficult chore. If parents and teachers work together, sight words can be mastered in 5 easy steps.
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. Sight words can help a child build fluency in reading. Sight words can be easily learned by using repetition, introducing sight words using books, connecting sight words to writing,  keeping the learning hands on, and celebrating when words are known.
This post is part of a series of back to school ideas. Each day I have provided free printable hand outs of the information that can be shared with parents at open house or parent nights at school. These handouts are useful for parents or for teachers to share with parents. I've shared a lot of information on literacy from my experience as a reading specialist and classroom teacher. I've tried to compile the information from these posts in parent-friendly handouts that you can print free of charge! If you've missed any of the previous posts, check out:
Supporting a Beginning Reader
Homework Success
Easing First Day Worries

back to school ideas, learn sight words

Learn Sight Words in 5 Easy Steps


1. Provide opportunities for repetition when learning sight words.

Provide a collection of sight words for your child to re-read. You can simply write the words on index cards and put on a ring clip. Children can re read the words each day. Have your child work for a quick visual recognition of the words. Start by collecting the words your child knows and introduce one or two new words at a time.

back to school ideas, sight words

2.  Introduce new sight words in the context of continuous text. 

Sight word tests often ask children to read a list of words. It is also important that children can recognize sight words when they appear in books. Offer your child books with simple repetitive text that use a few key sight words. You can make your own books with texts like, "I can jump. I can run. I can walk." You can also purchase sight word reader sets from my teachers pay teacher store.
printable, sight words

Printable Books for Early Readers: Dolch Sight Words Preprimer 1

printable, sight word readers

Printable Books for Early Readers: Dolch Sight Words Preprimer 2



3.  Practice sight words in writing as well as reading.

We often think of reading sight words, but writing sight words can be very effective in learning.  When a child writes a word, he/she slows down the process and is forced to look closely at every letter in the word. When your child is writing and comes to a sight word he/she knows, expect him/her to spell that word correctly. If your child needs help, practice the word on a white board or chalk board first. Have your child write the word. Challenge your child to write it again and do it more quickly. Then challenge your child to erase it and write it without looking at a copy. If your child can write a sight word quickly and accurately, it probably means he/she has very good control of the word.

sight words

4.  Learn sight words in fun and hands on ways.

There are so many fun ways to learn sight words. You can write them in different colors. You can sing songs to learn sight words. You can play games like twister or hopscotch and insert your sight words. You can use sight words to solve clues in a scavenger hunt.  I've collected tons of hands on learning on my learn to read: sight words Pinterest board. I'd love if you'd check it out and follow. I'll be pinning more great sight word ideas all year as my son works to learn his kindergarten sight words.

sight word activity

5.  Celebrate the sight words your child can read independently.

Create a display in your house of sight words your child knows. A train theme or caterpillar theme can be great for adding on new words. Challenge your child to see how long the caterpillar or train will be when all the words are added.
Another sight word display could be created with popcorn. Teachers often call sight words "popcorn words" because they pop up so frequently in reading. I have a free printable popcorn words that you may want to download and use.

free printable, sight words

Free Printable: How to help your Child Learn Sight Words

If you found the ideas in this post helpful and would like to share them with parents, I have provided a one page handout giving some of the basic information about sight words. This would be a great handout to provide to parents at open house to provide back to school ideas. There is a QR code provided on the handout. Parents seeking additional information can scan the code and find this blog post. Click to get your free printable on google drive.

back to school ideas, free printable





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Friday, August 9, 2013

Picture Book 10 for 10 #pb10for10

Each year Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning and Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine: Building a learning community host a picture book 10 for 10 event on August 10. The picture book 10 for 10 event, is an opportunity for bloggers to join together and share the 10 picture book "must-haves" for the classroom.  I first joined the event in 2010 (which I think was the kick off year).  I had a "new" 10 month old baby that year, and I shared my 10 favorite books to add to a baby's library.
 In 2011, my older son, Logan was a preschooler, and I shared 10 favorite picture books to add to your playtime. This would be a great list for a preschool classroom. 
Last August I was too busy to write a list. Instead, I perused all of the other wonderful lists. You can find all of the suggestions on the blog jog.  Of course, you may do what I did that year. I spent way too much money purchasing picture books from Amazon!  My husband loved that!
This year, I am playing by the rules and sharing 10 must-have picture books for the classroom. Well, I did add one little twist to my list. I noticed that many of the books I had on my list had been recommended by other kid lit bloggers. In fact, almost all of the books were recommended through a weekly meme in which I participate. Each day on facebook, and often twitter and G+, I share a picture book of the day. These recommendations are put together by a group of bloggers. We have a weekly schedule and we all share our favorites. You can find these lists on my facebook page every day or by following #pbotd. Today I am sharing both the recommendation of the blogger and my own thoughts on the book. Links are amazon affiliate links.


picture books, #pb10for10


1. Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee  -- recommended by Growing Book by Book

Growing book by book recommended this book as a great mentor text for writing. I would agree that this is a perfect book for using in writer's workshop. But, we love it because it's just so funny. The illustrations are so detailed and provide a great depiction of the experience of waiting in line and riding a roller coaster. You can actually people watch while you read this book.

2.  Birds by Kevin Henkes  - Ready-Set-Read


This is a book that I recommended on the picture book of the day meme. It has become a favorite book in my home. In this story, a girl wakes up to hear birds singing. As she goes through her day, she observes and comments on features of birds. She wonders aloud about birds. She tries to mimic the flight of birds. In the end, she discovers the one thing she can do that birds can also do.  I've created math, science, and art activities from Birds, so it's a great addition to the classroom.

3.   Kids Like Me...Learn ABCs by Laura Ronay - The Good Long Road


The Good Long Road recommended this alphabet book. I was instantly interested in the book and had to purchase a copy. It's a wonderful alphabet book. The layout is simple and clear for beginning learners. I love how it adds diversity to the classroom library.

4. Jamberry by Bruce Degan  -- What do we do all Day?



In the words of Erica from What do we do all Day?, "This classic was published more than 25 years ago. If you haven't read it, get thee to the library!" This may not be the newest book on the shelf, but it deserves a place on the shelf of every single classroom.  There are many rhyming books to choose from but none are as imaginative as "Jamberry". It is silly and fun and begs to be read again and again.


5. The Monstore by Tara Lazar  --Pragmatic Mom


Pragmatic Mom found this book related to the keep out signs that were being posted around her home. Does that sound familiar? I'll bet it will sound familiar to the kids in your classroom, too! The Monstore will help your kids do a bit of creative problem solving. I think every classroom library deserves to have books with the levels of creativity you'll find in this story.

6. Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold  -- Mother Daughter Book Reviews


Mother Daughter Book Reviews did a Father Son Review of  Hi! Fly Guy. My five year old son also loves this book about a boy and his "remarkable" pet fly. This is a great book for early readers. In fact, I heard my son reading this one (nearly) independently in the back of the car the other day! Boys will definitely love this one, but girls will probably enjoy it too.  There are other books in this series. We also love Fly Guy meets Fly Girl.

7.  The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein -- Ready-Set-Read


"The Man who Walked between the Towers" isn't a new book, but it came to my mind when Nick Wallenda's Skywire walk was aired on the Discovery channel this summer. It is a wonderful Caledcott award winning book. Children can use the book, "The man who Walked Between the Towers" to compare the experience of watching Wallenda's walk on Skywire on the Discovery Channel. The controversies surrounding both Wallenda's skywire and Petit's high wire walk may inspire some students to write argument or opinion pieces. The book also addresses the twin towers, so it would be interesting to add to a classroom discussion on September 11th.


8.  My Little Book of Bald Eagles by Hope Irvin Marston  --Reading Confetti

Reading Confetti used this book with her children when they showed a strong interest in bald eagles at the zoo. They found this book at the library and made a cute handprint and footprint bald eagle craft too. I included this book as a reminder that one "must-have" for a classroom library are books that follow the interests of the children. My five year old tells us all of the time that he wants to be a scientist that studies birds. When I saw this book recommendation, it was one I had to check out!

9. Flotsam by David Wiesner  -- KC Edventures


KC Edventures recommended this book as a great book for summer reading. It can also find a place in your classroom this fall, though. This wordless picture book takes the readers on a journey underwater as a boy finds an underwater camera and discovers the secrets of the deep. This is a great fantasy story. I love wordless picture books for the classroom for read alouds, independent reading, and writer's workshop.

10. The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers  --No Twiddle Twaddle

The Incredible Book Eating Boy would make a wonderful book to kick off your school year. It's pretty obvious what this book may be about. In this story, Henry likes to eat books and as he eats books, he grows smarter. Eventually he ends up with a giant stomach ache and jumbled up facts. He does learn to enjoy books without necessarily consuming the pages.  It's always great to start the year off with a funny book. This book sends a great message about the importance of education and reading. Plus, while Henry is devouring genres, your students may learn a few things about different types of reading. Just make sure they know the class rules, "No eating books!"
This book was recommended by kid lit blogger, Bethany of  No Twiddle Twaddle. She is the organizer of the picture book of the day meme. Check out her blog and follow along using #pbotd or by following any (or all) of the facebook pages that I linked in this post.

My picture book 10 for 10 list for 2013 is complete. I can't wait to start reading all of the top books that other teachers and bloggers have chosen.  As organizer Cathy Mere says, "Warning!  This event is rated D for dangerous!  It's possible that your wallet will lighten and your shelves will grow smaller by participating.  This event is intended for book loving audiences."


picture book 10 for 10, #pb10for10



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