Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday - Children's Books

This week I thought I would feature my thoughts on different genera of books each day. I’m not an expert, and I hope each day will be something different to read. I hope you will enjoy. I chose to start the week with one of my favorites, children’s books.

We all know and I hope would agree, that reading should be an essential in any child’s life. I want to teach my children to love reading. I mean really love. I want them to grow up to be adults that know that reading completes them and makes them a round fulfilled person. Someday I want them to look back at their life and say, “My mom loved reading, and I do too!”
We all know that teaching is best set by example. I read every day in front of my children. Books, magazines, newspapers. But I also read to them. Here are a three of my favorite ideas that have helped me help them learn this love for reading.

Reading Caterpillar. I remember a similar thing like this being used like this during my school years. I started this with Gage during our preschool time each morning. We took old scrapbook paper and I cut a lot of circles. Gage helped me glue together a head and I explained the rules. For each book we read (or chapter, or part of a magazine) I would write it down on a circle and then it would help his reading caterpillar grow. He loves this and now he would rather read books so he can see his caterpillar grow than watch television. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be caterpillars. It could be trains, race cars, crowns for a princess, stars for the sky, balloons, flowers in a pot, get creative - you get the idea.

Books with themes. I got this idea from story time. Since we attend two different story times each week I thought it would be fun if I could find a way to bring the idea home. It’s easy. We read Sammy and his Robots, and then we make a robot. We read How to make an Apple Pie, and see the world, and then we make an apple pie. (We’ve been reading it all week and will be making the pie tonight for Family Home Evening!) We read Leaf Man and then collect fall leaves. I know this idea seems simple, and it is, but it works and it works with almost any book you pull off the shelf.

Chapter books. I didn’t think that my 3 year old was old enough for a chapter book. I’m not sure why, but I just didn’t think he would pay attention if we read one to him. Then I read The Read Aloud Handbook and my mind was changed. This book claims you can read chapter books to preschool age children and it will benefit their attention span and vocabulary. I decided to give it a try. We started with a very easy book, The Boxcar Children. It’s a series and it has to do with 4 orphaned children living in a train box car. This is Gage’s dream come true (not the orphaned part, but the living in a train!) We have seen Gage’s attention span lengthen in just the short time since we have started reading this book to him. We read a chapter or two each night, and then add it to his caterpillar. He curls up on our chest and listens and stares at the book as if it has pictures. He talks about it the next day; he remembers the story and loves this special time. Next on our list, Stewart Little, after which we will get a special movie night.

Books that help that I love:

The Read Aloud Handbook. This is one of most recent finds. I found so many good ideas and inspiring thoughts in this. Ideas about television, does and don’ts, lessons learned from Oprah and Harry Potter, and a surplus of books categorically listed.

How to get your child to love reading. Similar to the Read Aloud Handbook this has many helpful ideas and a treasury of books listed by subjects and reading level. This book also has great ideas for older children.

Kathy Ross Crafts Letter Sounds
Kathy Ross Crafts Letter Shapes

Both of these are fun books I found at our local library that have crafts for each letter shape or sound. I am hooked. Learning the alphabet is just one small step to this great big world of reading.

In the end we all are in different situations with different children. We try new things and we stick with the things that work. We each have different approaches to what works and what doesn’t. Since I love to share ideas – please share yours! What do children’s books mean to you?
Up tomorrow: Nonfiction


{Erica} said...

This was an awesome post! Thanks for the info/advice...we can't wait to start a catapillar of our own! you are wonderful!!

The Perry Family said...

That is a super great idea about the read a book, do a craft thing! I think I will start that tonight!! My kids have so many books, I can go and get enough for the week and get stuff to do things with! great idea debbi! thanks! you are supermom i think and you may not know it, but you have made me a better mom too!

silvershoes said...

We are doing an apple-themed unit at school and are going to read that "how to make an apple pie" book to our kids. Then, we will make pie with them (although, this is illegal at our school, as we are not allowed to have sugary treats or homemade things - oh well, maybe I'll get fired or something).
PS - I am starting Evan's caterpillar tonight. The first circle will be "Internal Essentials for Clerkship Students."

Sarah said...

I LOVE the reading caterpillar, thanks for the great idea! I did Early Childhood at BYU and I love children's books, love, love, love them. I have totally used activities that we did in preschool and kindergarten classrooms associated with books, but never thought about doing things like making a pie. Such a great idea. And I am positive that your children will end up loving reading!! :) Debbi, you are awesome!

kdance said...

LOVE the catapillar idea. I'll be sure to try it when Evan gets a little older.

brittany said...

we will be starting a reading caterpillar today!! I am so excited about it. off to work on it now :) thanks for the great inspiration.