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One would think that with the advent of public schools in 1821, illiteracy wouldn’t be an issue in this day and age, but today we are still trying to find the magic road to reading. So what is the magic? It's simple:
Read aloud to your child.
Reading aloud is possibly the single most important activity you can undertake to help ensure a bright and promising future for your child. The road to reading should encompass reading aloud to your child every day (preferably more than once a day if possible), exposing your child to a variety of books, making your home a print rich environment that encourages curiosity and exploration and also, bringing your child to your local library and bookstores, which also might offer a story time. Sounds overwhelming? Truly it’s not. As the reassuring words on the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy read: “Do Not Panic!” It all basically comes down to the simple act of reading aloud. We want to help parents realize that reading aloud can be a natural part of your day and that with a few small changes and additions, the road to reading will progress as a natural aspect of learning for your child and that many children will master the basic skills even before they begin school. After children begin school and can read on their own, continue the practice of reading aloud. This will further strengthen your bond as well as introduce more complex language and vocabulary that they themselves cannot yet read or decipher independently. Children can understand more challenging books through listening than they can read on their own.
So what are the basics of putting your child on the road to reading? Don’t think of it as nor make it a burden or a chore. It should be a natural part of your day and should be an enjoyable experience that encourages bonding with your little one, as well as an affection and positive associations with books. Share books you enjoyed as a child and together discover new ones, even if it isn’t something that you are interested in. Encourage your child to expand his/her horizons and to reach beyond the familiar.
Here are our tips for making books and reading a natural, organic part of your every day. Remember that each child is a unique individual and what works for one parent and one child, may not work for another. Relax and enjoy!
“When you’re performing, you’re creating a moment.”
One wintry day a child builds a snowman, but the next day the snowman doesn't look the same. Looking at the snowman, the child begins to wonder, "What do snowmen do at night?" Rhyming text and bold, colorful illustrations offer some ideas for what snowmen get up to while we are all snug in our beds and your little bookworm will love delight in all the fun. After enjoying this title, be sure to check out Buehner’s other Snowmen stories as well and then go out and build a snowman of your own!
A beautiful, lyrical story of the preparations a family goes through to get their farm ready for the winter season. Children will gain an understanding of the work involved throughout the year to prepare a farm for winter.
This illustrated edition of Frost's timeless poem is absolutely beautiful. Look closely at each page for the animals hidden among the trees and snow.
The delights and challenges of winter are highlighted in this companion to Henkes' When Spring Comes and Middle of Fall. Winter can be a joyful time full of fun activities, such as ice skating and sledding, but it can also be rather difficult what with having to dress in those layers with all of those pesky buttons and so on. Anyone who has ever experienced winter will appreciate this story.
Tortoise usually sleeps through the winter, but this year his friends are determined to show him what he's been missing and how fun winter can be! Just as in Too Many Carrots, Hudson gives readers amazing, highly-detailed illustrations that provide much of the humor and make this story a delight for all ages. Just look at Tortoise's face!
A letter arrives for chipmunk Izzy. It's from Bear. Bear has asked Izzy to "come at once." Bear never asks for anything, so it must be important. Izzy wastes no time and sets out for Bear's, even though there is a blizzard outside! The snow slowly gets deeper and deeper, but thankfully Izzy has the assistance of several friends to along the way. This is a beautiful story that teaches the value of friendship.
One morning Froggy wakes up, looks out his window and sees that it is snowing. He hops out of bed, eager to head outside to play, but soon as he gets outside his mother calls him back in. He keeps forgetting to put on some necessary articles of clothing…such as pants and underwear! Children of all ages will find Froggy’s forgetful nature hilarious and little ones will especially enjoy the sound effects as Froggy gets dressed and undressed again and again. Zoop! Zup! Zat! Zwit! Zum!
Wilson Bentley devoted his life to capturing the unique beauty of snowflakes at his home in Vermont. Although his passion was often misunderstood in his time, Bentley persisted and through his efforts we now know that no two snowflakes are alike. Learn all about this man's life and passion with this picture book biography.
*Extended activity idea: Find a copy of Bentley’s book Snowflakes in Photographs and browse through it with your little bookworm. Then, equipped with a magnifying glass if you have one, head outside to examine some snowflakes.
Some love winter and others just need a bit of convincing. Find out all of the wonderful things that winter is as a brother does his best to persuade his sister to celebrate the season through rhyming text and bright, vivid illustrations.
Humorous illustrations make this winter tale so much fun! A variation on the classic song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It” this is a great story to read (and sing) over and over again with your little one. This story/song shows that no matter how crazy your day gets, it eventually winds down and comes to a dreamy end. What better way to close out the day?
A lone figure embarks on a perilous journey through the blowing snow. Will he make it to his destination? Sparse, yet highly dramatic text paired with full spread illustrations fuel this epic adventure of a tale. Brace yourself for the surprise ending. It will have you and your little ones in stitches!
In 1978, New England was hit by a massive blizzard, being covered in roughly 40 inches of snow in just two days. At the time, author John Rocco was a ten-year-old boy living in Rhode Island. This book is the story of how he walked to the store with tennis rackets tied to his feet as makeshift snowshoes and helped all of his neighbors and family as they waited for the snowplows to come.
*Extended activity idea: get out a tape measure or yardstick and see how much 40 inches of snow really is.
Through lyrical, moving text this books takes the reader through a snowy wonderland, describing various types of snow and the different ways snow can affect our lives. The rhythm of the language is reminiscent of falling snow and will enchant any listener, young or old.
This is the story of Walt, a small snowplow eager to show the bigger snowplows what he’s made of. He and his driver Gus work throughout the night, clearing bridges and roads. Eventually they come to a big hill and rather than leave it for another plow to clear, they decide to tackle it. Will they be able to reach the top? Fans of Katy and the Big Snow and The Little Engine That Could will immediately fall in love with this gem. The text is full of onomatopoeia, sound effects and repeated phrases that are sure to captivate little listeners.
Inject a bit of history into the bedtime routine and introduce your little bookworm to Wilder’s The Little House series and a different way of life. This picture book is adapted from The Little House books and offers a glimpse into family life in a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods.
Stay warm and happy reading!
-Kate @ BTBL
We are three generations that seek a way to get back to basics. It’s not that we eschew technology, but sometimes simpler is better, especially in raising our children. Mom was a reading teacher, Amanda is an early childhood educator and Kate a children’s literature specialist and former school librarian along with the latest additions, a daughter (now 4) for Kate, and two sons (now 1 and a newborn) for Amanda. We advocate reading aloud, the simple toys that use imagination and encourage creativity and learning in the kitchen, which can be a fun mess but also teaches life skills. Join us in raising healthy, happy, inquisitive and intelligent children.
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.
Back To School
Banned Books Week
Book Advent Calendar
Children's Book Week
Dewey Decimal System
Family Literacy Month
Get Caught Reading Month
Kids In The Kitchen
Kindness Rocks Project
Library Card Sign-up Month
Manners & Etiquette
New Year Resolutions
Read Across America
Screen Free Week
Tell A Fairy Tale Day
Words & Word Play
World Read Aloud Day