Feed Me Books Friday Fun You Can “Count” On

Friday, September 30, 2011

If You Don’t Fall Out of the Apple Tree!
Our kindergarten newsletter this week suggested reading books related to numerals 1 through 5 and counting. We’ve got plenty of counting books, but too often I find them unengaging – more like an album of number representations than a story. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against counting books. We love Hippos Go Berserk, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Overin the Meadow, among others. I’m just saying I’m picky. So as I went piling through B’s bookshelf looking for a counting book, I wanted to be sure it would be fun.
Tree Climbing + Rhymes = FUN
If you’ve enjoyed Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom, but not Chicka Chicka, 1,2,3, you are in for a treat. All the qualities that make Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom a classic (like catchy repetition, funny rhymes, and clever illustrations) return for a repeat performance in Bill Martin’s ChickaChicka, 1,2,3. This time, instead of the lower case and upper case letters, numbers 0 through 100 attempt to climb into the apple tree. The refrain is adjusted from “Will there be enough room?” to “Will there be a place for me?” The use of the word place is most easily understood to mean a space in the tree to sit, but could also be discussed in terms of numerical place values. By “reading” the illustrations and quickly catching the refrain, children will be able to read along and predict text, furthering the cognitive and language development. Pair a reading of this story with some number writing practice for some fine motor development as well. I mentioned as the summer wound down that I discovered I had not prepared B as thoroughly in math as I did in language skills. I appealed to his fondness for music and rhyme by working on forming numerals based on the directions in short poems. There are many versions out there, but I’ve linked to the one closest to what we use. Now that he’s had a little practice with single digits, B asks me to give him a “hard” number to write, so I’ve been putting together strings like our street address, our phone numbers, birthdays, and holiday dates. Maybe writing them as a unit will help him memorize some important personal data!
Do you have a favorite counting book? Or some tricks for number writing success? Hope you’ll share!


Happy Birthday Johnny

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Can You Put Candles in a Pie?

Monday is the birthday of John Chapman, known in American folklore as Johnny Appleseed for his efforts to propagate apple orchards across the country. Tonight the boys and I attended a Johnny Appleseed celebration hosted by our school district, where we got to measure, sort, wash, peel, eat, and paint with apples! 
An Apple a Day...
Is apparently what I should have been having. Tonight I am kicking myself for not having a "rainy day" review post ready to publish like a good blogger should. Am I alone in this? At any rate, I'm fighting some back-to-school bug and lack-luster in the energy department, so this will be a short and sweet post.
Birthday Suggestions
If you're going to celebrate Johnny Appleseed day, you might enjoy Steven Kellogg's version of the tall tale, Johnny Appleseed. The text is a pretty standard re-telling, but Kellogg's illustrations are (as usual) so detailed, vivid, and unique, that they invite further discussion and are a feast for the eyes. A recent library choice that turned out to be nice timing is The Apple Pie that Papa Baked, by Lauren Thompson. It tells the story of a pie's creation and baking from the daughter's perspective in the familiar cumulative style of "The house that Jack built."
I'm off to bed, but I do hope you'll share your own reviews and choices for the week. I'm resolved to catch up on my Feed Me Books link comments this weekend, and I'm looking forward to getting back to the sites of some friends I've missed!



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Each One is Vital
Physical – Virtual – Emotional – Spiritual – whatever form they come in, our connections are what make us who we are. Something as simple as saying goodbye at the kindergarten gate and something as profound as the loss of a beloved friend are both an influence on and a product of our connections.

Make Your Own
My book choice this week has been and appropriate lens for a wide variety of recent experiences; I’m sure if you’re familiar or if you pick up a copy of The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst, you’ll find it applicable to your life as well as the emotional development of your little ones. Karst’s story begins with the premise that two children are scared by the sounds of a storm and want to stay with their mother rather than going back to bed. Their mother explains the connection of the “invisible string” as a way to assure them that they are loved and cared for no matter where they are who might be with them. She explains that an invisible string connects the hearts of all the people we love and who love us, and that there is no limit to its length. The children question this assertion with challenges like whether it would reach to the bottom of the ocean, to outer space, or to those loved ones who have passed away. Mom assures them that the invisible string will reach in any scenario. This would make a great read for a child reluctant to go to school or daycare, someone missing a distant relative, or someone who has experienced a recent loss.
Appropriate for preschool, primary grades
Image courtesy b_d_solis, flickr


Feed Me Books Friday: On Importance

Friday, September 9, 2011

Big Day, Big Things Ahead
This week we met B’s kindergarten teacher at a “meet and greet” and he officially started school the next day. On the wings of blog-reading inspiration we started a tradition last year of presenting B’s teacher with a book that serves as both back-to-school gift and introduction. The book we chose has a dual value: it creatively demonstrates some of the cognitive skills developed in kindergarten while showcasing a universal moral truth. My own classroom experience convinced me that the first day of school would be too harried for thoughtful gift-giving, so we chose to deliver it at the “meet and greet” activity.
Getting Acquainted
I am so grateful that our district continues to preserve the day-early meet and greet for the sake of 5 year-old social emotional development (and 30 something year old social emotional health). Visiting the classroom, exploring on our own terms, and having a quick conversation with the teacher made both of us rest easier the night before the official start. In addition to exploring the room, each child colored his or her own birthday candle and chose a car or shoe to color and represent their chosen method of transportation. Each child was able to pick a few books from the bin of gently used books the teacher had decided to thin from her shelves. After B showed her the books he chose, he handed her the book we brought as a gift.
Building Blocks of Reading
The Alphabet Tree (Dragonfly Books)A little blog/wishlist/review browsing led me to discover Leo Lionni’s The Alphabet Tree. Like many of Lionni’s books, the illustrations are whimsical and the morals are evident without being heavy handed. The story opens by explaining that some letters who enjoyed sitting among the outer leaves of a tree are blown away when the wind is strong. With the help of a word bug and a very intelligent caterpillar, the letters learn to make words, and to make meaning from the words by arranging sentences. B has enjoyed a lot of alphabet play and practice this summer, so he was excited to share some of his knowledge with his teacher. She was surprised and gracious, and B swelled with pride when she chose to read it aloud to the class on their first official day!
Appropriate for preschool, primary grades


Top Ten Picture Books for Starting School - Volume II

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's Labor Day weekend, do you know where your backpack is?

While many of the families we know (and many children of my lovely readers) are already back to school,  it's labor day weekend that traditionally marks the end of summer. For us, that means the start of school is right around the corner. B is so excited to be a kindergartner! He'll be starting a half-day kindergarten program this year, and T will be starting to get a little classroom experience under his belt with a Mommy&Me class once per week. 
Too Many Choices
There is really an abundance of great choices for books about school experiences and preparations, but I began my efforts to thin the pack last year when B started preschool with my Top Ten Starting School Picture Books post. My veteran readers will recognize many on this list from last year - I'm not so fickle that I'd start from scratch. But I have, with much difficulty, made room for a few recent discoveries by letting a few less favorites drop off the list. Doesn't mean I don't still love them - go check out last year's list to see the difference. 
Now... for the 2011 list:
After 18 years as a student, 8 years as a classroom teacher, and my first second year as the mom of a school-age child, here are my picks for The Top Ten Picture Books for Starting School:
(In No Particular Order)

10. Going to School: An Usborne First Experiences Book
Going To School (Usborne First Experiences)
Very straightforward, with the facts and details little ones need to feel prepared for a new environment, new routines, and new people.

9. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (Miss Bindergarten Books)

I only left this one off my list last year because I was saving it for when B was really ready for kindergarten. All of the Miss Bindergarten books are fun to read, and this one is especially valuable as it prepares kids for kindergarten and delivers a handy alphabet review!

8. The Twelve Days of Kindergarten
The Twelve Days of Kindergarten: A Counting Book
Even if your little one (like mine) isn’t ready for kindergarten just yet, this makes a nice introduction to the concept of school and some of the fun learning activities that take place there.

7. If You Take a Mouse to School
If You Take a Mouse to School
Again, not so much realism but a lot of fun, this addition to Numeroff’s series features realistic school activities paired with silly mouse antics always good for a laugh.

6. Off to Kindergarten
Off To Kindergarten
A boy after B's own heart, the kindergartner in this story plans to take ALL the things he might need while he's at school, and the packing list becomes not only cumbersome but outrageous. Children will enjoy the humor and then discover the message that the young boy really demonstrates his readiness by heading off to school WITHOUT all his gear. 

5. I Love You All Day Long
I Love You All Day Long
This is a sweet story to remind children that they are loved no matter where they are or what they (or their parents) are doing.

4. On the Way to Kindergarten
On the Way to Kindergarten

Each page spread in this book highlights a year in the life of the kindergartner, beginning with life as a newborn. Rhyming couplets help the story bounce along, while common milestones and 3rd person narration make it feel very personal. 

3. What Did You Do Today?
What Did You Do Today?: The First Day of School
This book follows the activities of both parent and child during the day, a pleasant and comforting read for children curious about what Mommy or Daddy might be doing while they’re gone.

2. A Bad Case of Stripes
Un Caso Grave de Rayas (A Bad Case or Stripes) (Spanish Edition)
Especially suited to slightly older children, (more of a back-to-school suggestion) this is a story of a little girl’s struggle with being preoccupied about what others will think of her, and it teaches a valuable lesson about being true to yourself.

1. The Kissing Hand (This really is my #1 pick!)
The Kissing Hand
A classic comforting tale of Chester the raccoon and his mother preparing for Chester’s day away at school. She assures him her love will always be there when he needs it by placing a kiss in his hand; a tradition sure to start in many families who share this book.

Ready, Set, Preschool!: Stories, Poems and Picture Games with an Educational Guide for ParentsAn honorable mention, since I don't have a preschooler this year but would have loved this book last year, is Ready, Set, Preschooll, recently reviewed by JDaniel4's mom

Any other great suggestions for starting school? I've got a couple days left to get them here if they happen to be on the shelf at our library or if they're avaialbe with Amazon Prime... Leave a suggestion comment or link up a review if you have one.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Subscribe to the Little Sprout feed!

Fine Print

I retain the copyright to all content and images. Should you desire to use either, please link back to me.

Booklinks are Amazon Affiliate links, and may earn a 4% commission for me.

Otherwise, I receive no compensation for the books I review, and all recommendations are made because we love them!

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  © Blogger template Foam by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP