Sunday, October 19, 2014

Feed Your Child's Brain- Read Aloud

My children have an insatiable hunger for knowledge. As any parent of a small child will attest, the question, "Why?" is a central part of daily life. They do not accept anything for face value, and want to know more, always more. 

So here is the disclosure- I am a scientist by day, not a reading specialist, librarian, or teacher. As a researcher, I have a hunger for knowledge that I constantly feed, so nothing excites me more than hearing the question "Why?" from my kids. When "Why?" strikes, I use it as an excuse to research for the answers. The goal is always to help my kids make connections between what we read and the wide world that surrounds us. It is during those searches for answers, I fell in love with reading children's books because children's books always bring up discussions and questions I would have NEVER in a million years thought to ask my kids. Through our reading, we have ended up at the Michael Carlos Museum at Emory to see the mummies and at Tellus Science Museum to learn about rocks. Reading to my kids has become the springboard to not only feed their brains, but grow them into well-rounded, empathetic, thoughtful people.

And this is why I love Read Aloud's campaign for the month of October is Feed Your Child's Brain. Here are ten ways reading aloud feeds the child's brain.

1. Reading aloud brings up the opportunity to pop white corn on a cold winter night while reading before bed.
2. Reading aloud provides the opportunity to come up with delicious smoothies that Dr. Seuss's Pink Yink might drink.
3. Reading aloud provides the opportunity to dress up like your favorite children's book characters.
4. Reading aloud brings up the opportunity to go out into the woods to search for rocks or other things...
 and then bring them back to the house to view them under a microscope.

5. Reading aloud prompts us to read all about animals before a trip to the zoo.
6. Reading aloud provides the opportunity to engage in discussions about those awkward, personal topics that social graces tell us not to discuss in public. 
 7. Reading aloud offers a window to the wide world that waits outside when a child is too small to go out on her own.

8. Reading aloud encourages movement and motion, feeding the body, as well as the brain. 
9.Reading aloud offers moments of quiet and calm, after a busy day, to tell your little ones you love them, sharing a snuggle before bed.
10. But most importantly, reading aloud feeds the hunger for fun.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Book is a New Adventure

Well, it has been a long time since I have sat down to blog. The past month has been a whirlwind of life, with hundreds of moments where I thought, I should blog about that. However, life kept me from sitting down at the computer and blogging. However, we have still been reading. 
Today, we spent the morning at the Cobb County Bi-Annual Library Book Sale. I always look forward to these sales because you never know what you are going to find. It is a treasure trove for books.
I was tempted to make a bulk purchase of Babysitter club books. I tried enticing Miss M to start reading them, but she wasn't interested.
Little J found no issues what-so-ever with sitting on the very dirty fair grounds floor to read some of the books she wanted to get.
We ended up with a huge stack of books for only $23.00 for over 30 books. I know we really don't "need" anymore books in our house, but really, you can always use more books in the house. For what it would have cost to go to the movies, we got hours of entertainment lined up for the next several weeks.

Here are some of my favorite finds: 

I cannot believe we have never actually read When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne. For all of the excerpts I have read over the years, it will certainly feel like finding an old friend.
I picked up two books of children's poetry because we love reading poems at night before bed. On nights when it has been a long day, it is nice to read a couple of short rhymes that don't require too much brain power.

I also cannot believe that we didn't have a copy of Goodnight Moon. So we picked up this one and next to it was the hysterical book The Dumb Bunnies. Ironically, the cover on the book The Dumb Bunnies looks very much like the bedroom from Goodnight Moon.

We found several books featuring Maurice Sendak's illustrations. The Swine Lake by James Marshall looks particularly enticing.

I always love anything by Rosemary Wells. This little book Yoko looks charming.

Little J stills loves the feel of board books. These two books are simple with only one or two words on each page. These will be great to emphasize word structure for her.
Always a fan of anything with Madeline, my oldest picked up this lovely paperback: Madeline's Rescue.
She also found several chapter books. I loved The Family Under the Bridge when I was a child. I cannot wait to reread it with her. Reading books from childhood is like finding an old friend. Another woman at the book sale brought Abel's Island by William Steig over to Miss M, letting her know how highly she recommended the book for adventure.
We found this vintage version of Pinocchio, which I think the cover illustration is fairly creepy. Let's just say that the real version of Pinocchio, pre-Disney remake is violent and creepy. Pinocchio gets Gepetto thrown in jail and then he smashes the talking cricket's head with a mallet all by Chapter 4.I think we might let that book sit on the shelf a while. I don't recommend this version as a read aloud.
Little J loves these tiny Beatrix Potter books. We have four of them, and so she squealed with delight when we found The Tale of Mrs. Tiggle-Winkle. Something about the feel of a tiny book in tiny hands is magical.

I also found this reader, Lions, which I had a copy of this when I was in grade school. My daughter thought it was so funny and wanted it to play school with Little J.

And the last of the more than 30 books that we picked up that I would like to share is "I Won't," Said the King, an original print from 1945. Inside the front cover was this delightful bookplate that read A Book is A New Adventure with a child's name carefully typed on it.
 My dear Sally Ann Olson of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, I am sure you have grown, moved away, started a new family of your own, and very well likely may no longer be with us. However, it you are out there, yes, your book has found a new home with two little girls eager to find adventures within the covers of a book.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sing-Along Construction Song by Louise Lintvelt and Illustrated by Julie Sneeden- A Review

About the Book

Title: Sing-Along Construction Song: With Free Audio Download
Author: Louise Lintvelt 
Illustrator: Julie Sneedon  
Publication Date:August 11, 2014  
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 32  
Recommended Ages: 1 to 5

Book Summary

Louise Lintvelt and Julie Sneeden capture the fun and excitement of an early morning construction site with a delightful rhyming story that can be sung to the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush and bright, colorful illustration. Any little truck enthusiast will fall in love with this book and merrily sing along.

Our Review

My youngest daughter is a little over 2 years old and would be certainly classified as being "busy." She rarely sits still for books, making them a living, breathing experience at bedtime. Books that incorporate song, dance, stretching, or any other actions are always big hits because it allows play to keep reading fun and interesting. This book incorporates the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, which uses repetition and simple rhythms that most toddlers would already be familiar with. In fact, Little J was so excited when I started singing to that tune while reading this book that she went and found a Play-A-Song book that had a button which played the tune. I was thrilled she made the connection, but also excited to see her so engaged with a book. She kept pushing the button every time we got to a part in the book where you get to sing. When we got to the page with the cranes, her eyes lit up as she made another connection, ran to her room, and came running back with our copy of Mighty Dads by Joan Holub. She quickly opened to the page in that book with the cranes. It was exciting to see a book, through the power of song, bring about so many great connections to other books.

This book was fun and engaging, and I strongly encourage it for any busy child. However, I want to also put out a strong encouragement to moms of girls to also read these types of books that are typically seen as for boys to their girls. It is a great skill to raise your girls up knowing what front-end loaders and cranes are, in the hopes we might be raising some mighty girls to be mighty engineers.

* I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
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