Writing Activity: Create ABC Books with Your Children Great for home or school, this activity crosses the curriculum

how to make an ABC book -- lots of ideas in this post

Learning and playing are two things that can so easily happen together, in your everyday life, just by taking advantage of the things around you. An ABC scrapbook – whether elaborate or basic-- incorporates many learning skills including reading, letters, writing, drawing, photography, science and social studies. [This post contains affiliate links. That means that when you click on a link and purchase something, I may earn a few pennies. Thank you!] There are several types of ABC Books … [Read more...]

Tips to Lessen Reading Rivalry in Your Home Plus games to encourage friendly learning with your family

reading rivalry -- how to respect learning differences in your home

Anyone with a sibling knows all about sibling rivalry, it’s a natural struggle in homes and always has been. Children are so competitive with each other because they, just as adults, need something and someone to judge themselves against, a sort of mile-marker in life. With a sibling who’s always around, it’s natural to compare. This makes it excessively difficult for parents who see children learning to read at different paces, especially children who are close in age. When one child so … [Read more...]

Numbers, Counting and Place Value with Cheerios Plus, the Best Mentor Texts for Enhancing Your Math Lessons with Reading

how to teach place value and math using cheerios

Sure, kids can count. If they’ve memorized really well and “get” the pattern, they can count to a hundred! But do they know what all those numbers mean? When he was a preschooler, I realized that my son was easily reciting his numbers without the knowledge of place value (tens, hundreds, thousands). So, I pulled out the Cheerios (our favorite counting food) and several plastic cups. Counting by tens We placed a handful of Cheerios into the first cup and estimated the number of cereal … [Read more...]

Easy Ways to Reinforce Letter Learning and Reading Skills While Cooking with Your Kids

a few simple and fun tips for working on reading with your kids

I never need an excuse to bake or be creative in the kitchen, and I love it when my kids join in the fun. Not only does cooking together offer the opportunity to bond with children, it also helps them to expand their palettes, and it’s an excellent learning opportunity. How to reinforce reading skills while cooking Use Kid-Friendly Cookbooks Have a few child-friendly cookbooks on hand and easily accessible to your children. Encourage your kids to help you create your meal menus by paging … [Read more...]

Learning on a Snowy Day Sneak some education into a snow day with activities, lessons and mentor texts

things to do on snow day -- kids can learn and play

We love the snow, which is a good thing, considering we live in Pennsylvania and get a good deal each year. And while snow is an excellent opportunity to relax with hot chocolate by the fire, we all know that with kids, relaxing on a snowy day isn’t likely to last too long. As friends in the mid-Atlantic who are on their 5th snow day in a row are realizing, it's helpful to have a “snow plan” in place to entertain your children and give them opportunities to learn throughout the … [Read more...]

Teaching Guide: Use Ask. Listen. Learn.’s Lesson Plans to Teach Community, Healthy Choices & Alcohol Responsibility

ask listen learn offers free resources for teachers and parents to introduce difficult social discussions. Learn more at Julieverse.com

I'm really excited to partner with Ask. Listen. Learn., the curriculum area of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibly's Responsibility.org to share how to use their new curriculum materials in the classroom. If you're a parent, you may be interested in forwarding this resource on to your teachers, principals and counselors as the provided lessons and materials are aligned with national teaching standards, making it very easy for teachers to introduce healthy and socially responsible … [Read more...]

Making Snow People with Lois Ehlert’s SnowBalls A lesson for teachers, parents and homeschoolers becomes a celebration of creativity, writing and snow

snowballs lesson writing workshop art project mentor text

With so many mixed messages in the media, kids need to know who they are. So we reach for every opportunity to learn from our children. We ask questions. We talk about our days. We give examples and act as role models. But, sometimes, we can learn more by watching them. Upon enjoying Lois Ehlert’s Snowballs with my kindergartner and preschooler for the umpteenth time, we needed a change. The kids loved pointing out the many materials used to decorate each snowman in the short story. After … [Read more...]

Why You Should Start Reading Harry Potter with Your First Grader Today

harry potter -- is your child old enough to start the series

Hey Julie – Question – when do you think it’s OK to start reading Harry Potter?  Somehow I never read the series myself and I was thinking of making my mom read it first to see if it was OK for my son, who is 7 and in first grade.  He would love all the themes – the magic, the wizards, etc. but some have said it’s a bit too scary.  I haven’t even seen the movies yet so I am at a loss.  He is ‘average’ on the scare-o-meter, but we are a pretty ‘innocent’ house in that he hasn’t seen a lot of … [Read more...]

Here are the four most important questions to ask about reading success (just in time for conferences)

the 4 stages of succcessful reading

Reading is much more than reciting words that one sees on paper. Even before a reader achieves phonemic awareness and phonics, he’s learning to comprehend, understand, internalize and make connections. These are the essential stages necessary to teach kids to read, and to reach success in reading. How can parents help? By reading with children and encouraging reading and discussion time. And by recognizing the most four most important reading questions to ask themselves and their child's … [Read more...]

When we couldn’t find a simple word in the dictionary, we turned to the internet. So we ask: why are schools paying for dictionaries?

Why spend time teaching and learning dictionary skills when you can just hop on the internet?

In second grade, my son was tasked with a fun project to follow up on a class reading book, Donavan’s Word Jar (Trophy Chapter Book), which is suggested for grades 2 and up, age 6 and up. The story’s main character, Donavan, is obsessed with words and learning their meanings.  He creates a word jar where he keeps slips of paper listing his favorite words and their definitions. Following the reading, my son’s assignment was to create his own jar, selecting 10 words that are interesting to … [Read more...]