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Entries in learning to read (17)


charlie & mouse

We’re elated to add this new early reader to our collection.  Laurel Snyder and Emily Hughes bring us a collection of four short stories celebrating relationships, siblings and the ordinary, funny and sweet moments that make up our lives as families.

With short sentences and a good amount of repetition, Charlie and Mouse provides ample opportunities for young readers to practice the word patterns and endings they’re learning in school.  The readability is late first/early second grade with a lexile of 230L.

Charlie & Mouse was written by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes and published by Chronicle Books.


interview at tee and penguin

For a look at what our bookshelves really look like (and to read some thoughts on what we do to foster a love of reading and literacy at home), head over to an interview Tee and Penguin did with me on their blog.  Thanks for having me, Sarah and Taryn!

P.S. I’m starting a new series called #whataverysreading.  I’ll post a stack of what she’s been reading lately every couple of weeks or so and would love to hear what other chapter books and middle grade books everyone is into these days.


in defense of read-aloud

Been meaning to share this for a while.  If you read The Read-Aloud Handbook, loved it and were inspired by it, this should be next up on your list.

Dr. Steven Layne is Professor of Literacy Education at Judson University, a literacy consultant and was a teacher in public education for fifteen years.  In his book In Defense of Read-Aloud, Dr. Layne presents the art of the read-aloud.  He talks through the how, the when and the why of reading aloud to children and the increasing body of research supporting it.

“Leading researchers in the field of literacy provide positions statements; authors of professional books share insights on books they have loved; leaders of the largest literacy organizations in the United States write about their favorite read-alouds; award-winning authors of children’s and young adults books (Katherine Paterson, Andrew Clements, and Lois Lowry, to name a few) share the powerful behind-the-scenes stories of their greatest books; and real classroom teachers and librarians speak about books that have ‘lit up’ their classrooms and libraries around the world.”

“Amidst the clanging noise of today’s technology, Steven Layne offers here a clear clarion call on behalf of reading to children.  It is insightful, reasoned, entertaining (rare in the field), and carefully researched for those who might doubt the urgent need for something that doesn’t need a Wi-Fi hot spot.  It should be on every teacher’s must-read list.” — Jim Trelease, author, The Read-Aloud Handbook

Published by Stenhouse Publishers.


little lit book series: the read-aloud edition

A few months ago, we at #littlelitbookseries shared quotes from The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease and further reflections on the subject of reading aloud and its incredible importance in our children's lives.  You can find the post here on Little Lit Book Series' blog.  You can read more about Jim Trelease's work as well as more recent articles on his website.  Here was my contribution to the post:

Today we’re sharing the benefits of reading aloud in a special post for #littlelitbookseries.  Reading aloud to your kids is one of the most important things that you’ll do for their learning and education.  Everyone will be sharing different quotes from The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.  It’s our hope that you’ll realize the amazing things you’re doing for your children as you read aloud to them, and that those reasons will compel to do it on a regular basis, amidst today’s busyness and crowded schedules.

In the following excerpt from The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease discusses the four characteristics of a home environment that supports a successful reader.

"The research, as well as studies done of pupils who respond to initial classroom instruction without difficulty, indicates four factors are present in the home environment of every early reader:

1. The child is read to on a regular basis.  This is the factor most often cited among early readers.  In Dolores Durkin’s 1966 study, all of the early readers had been read to regularly.  In addition, the parents were avid readers and led by example.

2. A wide variety of printed material—books, magazines, newspapers, comics—is available in the home.  Nearly thirty years after Durkin’s study, NAEP studies reported that the more printed materials found in a child’s home, the higher the student’s writing, reading, and math skills…

3. Paper and pencil are readily available for the child.

4. The people in the child’s home stimulate the child’s interest in reading and writing by answering endless questions, praising the child’s efforts at reading and writing, taking the child to the library frequently, buying books, writing stories that the child dictates, and displaying his paperwork in a prominent place in the home."


We have a special #littlelitbookseries post in store for you all today—the read-aloud edition.  We wanted to share why it’s so vital to read aloud to your children every day and we’re including quotes from Jim Trelease’s excellent work, The Read-Aloud Handbook.  If you haven’t read it already, we highly recommend it as he shares incredibly valuable information about how to help our children excel in school, and in life.  He talks about all aspects of reading aloud, its countless benefits, the research supporting it and how to effectively read aloud with every age group.  He also provides a wide selection of books that make wonderful read-alouds in the last section of his book entitled “Treasury of Read-Alouds.”  The Read-Aloud Handbook is one of the most important books about education that I have ever read and I think every family should have a copy of it.  The following is an excerpt from the book.

“Parker tells anxious parents who ask about improving their child’s SAT scores, ‘The best SAT preparation course in the world is to read to your child in bed when they’re little.  Eventually, if that’s a wonderful experience for them, they’ll start to read themselves.’  Parker told me he’s never met a student with high verbal SAT scores who wasn’t a passionate reader, and nearly always they recall being read to.  An ACT or SAT prep course can’t package that passion, but parents like Susan and Tad Williams have done it and so can you.”  Quote from Tom Parker, the former admissions director for Williams College, now at Amherst College, two of the nation’s prestigious small colleges.

Now on to sharing one of my favorite read-alouds.  Even though Miss Nelson has been around for four decades, she never goes out of style.  Miss Nelson stories make terrific read-alouds—probably some of the most entertaining ones out there.


after school snacks

Feeling peckish?  We’re talking after school snacks on The Land of Nod’s blog today.  And we’d love to know what you nosh on during homework time.