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Terry: July 2010 Archives

Terry

Bookworm Basics: The Reference Shelf (5 to 9)

Posted by Terry on July 26, 2010 at 1:25 PM in Nonfiction BooksRecommendations
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worldbook.jpgWhen I was growing up, my brothers and I shared a set of World Book encyclopedias. Remember them?

When I got my first desktop computer it came with Microsoft Encarta ... 20+ volumes condensed to a compact disc. Now, you don't even need that! Data reliability not withstanding, anything you want to know about can be found with just a few clicks of the keyboard.

I love to surf the Net as much as the next person, but there is something fun about turning pages to find things. Holding a picture of a big hairy spider is completely different than staring at one on the screen.

Hands-on exploring is also more likely to lead to new discoveries - and more concrete recognition - than following a search path on the Worldwide Web. One or both of these references are important to your child's bookshelf.

Thumbnail image for merriam-webster.jpgAn illustrated dictionary. Pictures and large fonts make the dictionary an accessible tool for elementary-aged students. Because of their versatility, dictionaries are natural first research books for emerging and newly independent readers alike. Not long after readers start putting words together, they learn how to sort them alphabetically. As readers become more experienced and their content learning expands, the dictionary will also help them find the meaning of words, as well as learn parts of speech, word origins, and pronunciation, too.

Thumbnail image for everything-you-need-to-know.jpgA Big Book of Answers. Although we may not need (or have room for) that 20-volume set of books anymore, kids still have lots of questions, and it is nice to have a go-to reference that covers the basics of the history, science, geography, and social studies concepts they will be learning about in those early elementary years. Even when school's not in session, that one-volume illustrated encyclopedia can answer basic questions or whet their appetite to learn more and lead them to other subject-specific nonfiction books.

Illustrated reference books are designed for exploring. Because there is no worry about reading everything cover to cover, your kids may be more likely to pick up the book "just because." They can start with an idea and begin research or just pick a page and go.

Having a reference book handy is also a great way to encourage kids to find the answer themselves, rather than ask you to define a word, tell them if there really is a Transylvania, etc. Just watch out for spiders!

Image Credit
World Book photo by TreeWhisperer on Flickr. Copyright - all rights reserved.

The cover images for the encyclopedia and dictionary link to the Cybils affiliate via Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links may benefit the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Awards program. From the website: "All Cybils proceeds go to a non-cheesy award for our winners."

Terry

The Bookworm Goes on Vacation

Posted by Terry on July 19, 2010 at 10:36 AM in RecommendationsSeriesYoung Adult Bookscreative literacy
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It is hard to believe that we are getting ready to slide head-first into August. For many of us, August is synonymous with a week (maybe two) away from home. It might be the beach, the mountains, Grandma's ... a place where the daily routine is different and your days are more relaxed.

Another symbol of vacation is "beach reading," those books you enjoy while you soak up the sun, lay in the hammock, rock on the porch ... you get the picture. If you're looking for alternatives to lugging books - and don't want the eReader to plop in the pond - then you might like these ideas.

Audiobooks ~ Listening to books is great for those of us who are easily bored in the backseat and/or get sick when we read in a moving vehicle.

Most libraries have robust audiobook collections, and some have tools in place for you to download them. You might start with Pam's recommendations from Thursday Thirteen Summer Chapter Books. More than half of them (see slideshow) are available on CD or as downloads.

Sync is an online community that is offering two FREE young adult books each week. They pair a classic from a summer reading list with a modern YA title. Next week, it's Suzanne Collins' wildly popular Hunger Games and Shirley Jackson's classic, The Lottery. Here is the complete Sync: YA Listening schedule.

Music ~ I tend to look at music as poetry set to a rhythm. With music, kids can learn about history, culture, instruments, social skills, vocabulary, just about anything. Albums with music for kids range from CDs with songs written just for them to traditional songs that introduce them to specific genres, and don't forget the music you like!

Periodicals ~ Magazines and comic books are plentiful, quickly read, and easily disposed of when you're finished. Whether you pick some up before you leave home, or you stop in the local drugstore along the way, it is easy to put together some fun reading. These may not be some of your usual choices, but they can feed your kids' passions and keep them reading on vacation.

Technology makes it possible to pack a lot of literacy in tiny little packages, like CDs and digital devices. Whether you are traveling by car, bus, train, plane, or even boat, we hope you find room in the suitcase to take some reading on vacation, too.

Got a recommended vacation read or music? We'd love to add them to the collection.

Note: The bookcovers in the slideshow link to Amazon.com. A Reading Tub affiliate code is embedded in the link. We may earn money for the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards (Cybils) from purchases made through those links.

Terry

Bookworm Basics: Casting a Magic Spell for Reading

Posted by Terry on July 13, 2010 at 11:30 AM in Early LiteracyLibrariesRecommendationscreative literacy
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magic_hat_1.pngIn the coming weeks we'll get back to our lists of book ideas for your home library, but summer is the perfect time to be a reading magician. I believe there is a book for every child, and today we're going to reveal the secret to finding the book that sparks a love of reading for your kids Ready? Think like a children's librarian!

When you ask a librarian to help you find a book, he or she will ask you a couple of questions to narrow down their recommendations to books that might work. These are questions you may know the answer to, but if not, they will give you something to think about the next time you and your child share a book.

bookwormWhat does your child like? The best place to start is with a topic or subject that interests them. It can be trucks and trains, sports or sports heroes, or things they like to do: be a ballerina, climb trees, etc.

What will your child do with the book? In selecting your books, think about how you plan to use the book: will you read with her; is this a book that you'll both read or will your son read it independently; or do you want her to explore the book, regardless of whether there is any reading.

abstract_reading.pngDoes your child like books of a certain size? Some kids like thin books; some don't mind longer books, but the chapters have to be short; and some want the fattest book they can find. Even if a book looks "too easy," don't discount it. If something grabs him in this book, he will reach for another one to learn more.

And finally, pictures. What kind (if any) illustrations do they like? Art in a book is a matter of taste, just as it is in a museum. Children's books are filled with abstract imagery, collages, photography, bright colors, dark hues, and more. What kinds of imagery seems to keep your daughter's attention? What makes your son ask you to close the book?

You've probably noticed that I didn't ask "fiction or nonfiction?" Knowing your child's interests, your reading goal, and what they like to see in a book will help guide that decision. It is the logical next question, and I know there are others.

So, what would your next question be? Librarians, we'd love to hear your suggestions on ways that parents can prepare for finding the "it" book before they get to the library.

BenBois_Magic_ball.pngThe answer for finding that "perfect" book comes from the non-book things your child loves. By tapping into that passion, the odds are pretty good you can find that wow-I-want-to-read-some-more book. And they will think you are the world's greatest magician because you read their minds!

If you find that there is a glitch trying to post the comments, send me an email and I will update this post. [terry {at] thereadingtub [dot} com].

Image Credits
Magic Hat 1 by slanteigne on OpenClipArt.org
Bookworm by ajeynes on OpenClipArt.org
Reading2 by Machovka on OpenClipArt.org
MagicBall by BenBois on OpenClipArt.org

Terry

Summer Reading Ideas: Double Your Fun with a Reading Partner

Posted by Terry on July 12, 2010 at 10:30 AM in Chapter BooksEasy ReadersLibrariescreative literacy
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reading in the hammockMea culpa! The heat swallowed this one last week. It "published" but no one could see it, so it's a double bonus this week ...

Picking up on Pam's themes of enjoying the summer by trying new things, I thought I would share some of those magical, unplanned moments we've had this year.

Like many of you, we get our book fix at the library, and LOVE the summer reading program. This has always been "our" time, but this year, we've been taking my daughter's BFF with us. Her friend (a rising second grader) is an avid reader, but had not visited our local library. [She has 5 older siblings ... need I say more?]

The two girls have had a wonderful time, and all three of us really look forward to our weekly "date." During our three visits to date, the girls have (without fail)

    ... picked up picture books left lying around and read them aloud to each other.
    ... recommended books to each other;
    ... searched the online catalog for books with their names; and
    ... looked for books with two copies so they can read it at the same time.
.

gardenvale.JPGIt is the last point I find most fascinating. Like many short chapter books for the early elementary audience, the stories rely heavily on dialogue. The girls are instantly drawn to these books and use them as scripts. They decide who is going to be which character, and then read their "parts" aloud.

This isn't a new idea, but it may be a new way to keep the kids connected with books this summer. Partner reading - with you, a friend, or siblings - is a great way to keep them engaged with books. The key is to keep the reading fun, so don't fret about the "right" reading levels or vocabulary. Keep them excited about reading and the rest of it will fall into place naturally.

Sharing our library time beyond "just us," has has added some wonderful magic to our summer. My daughter and her BFF are exploring everything the library has to offer and stretching each other's interests. They will have great memories of things they did together, and so will I. Summer can't get much more magical than that!

Image Credits
Clara reading in the hammock again by NMACAVOY on Picasa.com
Gardenvale Two Girls Reading (Close Up) by Jen on Picasa.com

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