What we’ve been reading and helpful tips
I love to read. Going to the library is exciting for me, what new book will I find, what new series may I become aware of, looking at all the book covers is fun etc. I remember a time in school (I believe around grade 6) when I read a few bad books in a row and lost all passion for reading, I dreaded going to the library until I read a book so amazing that it renewed my zest for books (unfortunately I cannot remember the title). I’ve really wanted to share this love with my girls. Reading time is very special to me, sharing a good story and a snuggle is so rewarding and I actually miss when life gets too hectic to enjoy this time daily. Not only is it enjoyable for me but as I’m sure you’ve read many places its essential for children to be read to.
My recently turned 7 year old is a bit of a reluctant reader, she loves to read but gets tired easily, though she has continuously improved its still hard work. Right now she is really into comic books and mysteries but also enjoys the picture books I read to both her and her little sister.
Ron Roy’s A to Z Mysteries and The Calendar Mysteries are her favourite series right now. The stories are interesting and there are many clues throughout. My girls really enjoy discussing their ideas and the clues and get pretty excited when they guess correctly who did it.
The comics she’s been enjoying are by Toon Books. They are early learners in a comic format and come in a few different reading levels. The art work is awesome , the characters are cute and the content is great. My daughter is reading the grade 2-3 level and really enjoying it, I really love that they’ve added fun fact bubbles throughout the book (ex. what is an ecosystem, cows have 5 stomachs etc.) so not only is she loving reading she’s learning too.
We’ve also recently discovered audio books. Ocean (7) really finds it relaxing to listen to books on CD and will often ask me to put one on when she needs to calm herself or wants some private time. Though this won’t help her deal with all her stressful times its a start. We also enjoyed listening to stories on our long road trip this summer and I must say I really got into some of the stories as well, it made the time fly by. Lastly listening in bed while we snuggle is a good incentive for the girls to get ready for bed quickly and often on weekends we will make a special night of it by pulling out the big air mattress and having a sleep over.
Recently we’ve enjoyed The Evil Elves-Moongobble and Me. Moongobble is on a quest to retrieve the Queens belly button (stone which makes those around it evil). The story kept us coming back for more and it was hard to listen to only a few chapters a night.
We’ve also enjoyed a few by Gywneth Rees.
When Ocean was in Kindergarten she really struggled with learning her letters and the teachers were worried she wouldn’t be ready to start reading in grade 1. What I didn’t notice was that most toys teach kids their capitals but when learning to read they really need to know their small letters and sounds. So I did some research and got suggestions from the teachers etc on how to get her caught up and ready, here are a few.
Letter Wall Somewhere at home in a place you look often place letters either home made or flash cards and routinely go over them with the children till they are memorized. I tried to put up a small group at a time 4-6 letters at once and rotated every week or so. At our house these letters were right beside our kitchen table, though it looked silly it really helped the girls, I was focused on my eldest but my youngest was picking things up at the same time and even some of the toddlers in my care got involved.
Word Wall This is very similar to the letter wall but with sight words. In grade one Ocean received a group of 5 new words each week and those would go on the wall, we would read them together daily and I would also rearrange them so that she didn’t just memorize them based on location. Once there were about 20 I would take them down and make room for the next ones. I used old valentines that were unused (one year the grandparents bought each child 3-4 boxes and so we had tonnes left over) and a sharpie marker.
Sound I Spy Just like regular eye spy but we focused on letter sounds. Example I spy something that starts with the ‘t’ sound, or hold up a card with a letter and have the kids look for things that have that sound in the name. This is a fun activity which can be played anywhere and really great when waiting in lines or offices etc.
Bingo Buy or make a bingo game with letters. Play both with upper and lower case letters, use the phonemes (sounds) as well as letter names.
Make a Book Make a book where each letter you look in a magazine for things that begin with this letter/sound. Also practice writing a few letters. A whole book is pretty daunting so you could just focus on a few individual letters, perhaps the ones currently posted on your letter wall (see above).
Playdoh Laminate some letter cards and have the kids trace them with play doh, use letter cookie cutters etc.
Magnets Play with letter magnets, have them match upper and lower case, spell their names etc.
After all these activities and of course lots of reading Ocean is doing much better, now to work on writing!!