Why wordless? The educational value of wordless books

Why are wordless books so important for reading and child development? Never discount the importance of wordless books in childhood. Through wordless books, children learn the art of storytelling and unique thoughts as well as necessary pre-reading skills. Plus 9 must-have picture books for your library

Growing up, my mom and I ventured to the local library at least once a week. It was a tiny, two story building with the children’s books and story hour hidden upstairs. These were the days before people set up workstations at small libraries. Little research was done at this one. It was, simply, a lending library. I recall the moms shushing their children. I’d like to think that I was as difficult to settle into quietness at this tiny library as my kids were, when they were also of the … [Read more...]

5 effortless ways to teach kids to describe

how to teach kids to describe use adjectives

Wouldn't it be easy if we all knew exactly what someone else is talking about? But, it's not and, therefore, learning to use adjectives isn't just a skill kids need for school and writing, but also for conversation and life. Here are 5 easy ways to teach your kids to describe. Use describing words in your conversation Don’t just say “Over there, to your right, see it?” As an adult, you need to model the desired behavior, so make sure you’re describing with more than the basic words. Give … [Read more...]

Midyear transition to a new teacher leads to valuable life lessons

how getting a new teacher will help your child in school and life

This article originally appeared on Rusty and Rosy's blog. It's been edited with updates to help parents, students, teachers and administrators who are struggling with transitions to new teachers, often long-term substitutes, mid-year.   On a gloomy Wednesday, we received that dreaded letter that was never expected. Our 4th grade long term substitute would soon be leaving, as her contracted counterpart had opted to come back to school, early. Parents were angered (in August, we … [Read more...]

Great chapter books for grades 3-5 (Great holiday gifts!)

chapter books for elementary kids -- makes a great gift!

Parents contact me often asking for book recommendations. The books listed below are a mix of adventurous and funny realistic and historic fiction chapter books for kids in grades 3-5. I Survived series When Middle was 5, I found I Survived Hurricane Katrina at a Scholastic Book Fair. I had some concern that introducing my young guy to such a scary time in our country’s history might cause a few nightmares. But he’s always been fascinated with facts and, because it was a chapter book, I … [Read more...]

Gifting a teacher doesn’t have to be hard, here are 6 easy ideas your teacher will love

teacher gifts, male teacher, female teacher

I've posted often about the best teacher gifts (and what not to give a teacher). (click on all those linked [underlined] words for the different guides.) Here's my newest list of teacher gift ideas-- easy, thoughtful presents your teacher will love. It's a great idea to carry blank greeting cards in your handbag or diaper bag or give to your teacher to carry them. I started carrying extras in my car and my handbag and try not to leave home without them. You know those times when you  just … [Read more...]

20 ways to volunteer for your child’s school

volunteer at school

Nearly every child wants his mom or dad to be involved in school. If only it were so easy for nearly every parent. Here are ways to help out beyond lunch duty.* Can you spend some of your day at school? Before volunteering to help in at the school, review your child’s school policy or ask a few questions: are you permitted to bring siblings? do you need proof of government-mandated clearances? are parents permitted to volunteer in their child’s classrooms or do you have to … [Read more...]

How to use Disney Frozen books to enhance learning

frozen novel disney

I'm working with Disney Publishing to review and discuss Disney Frozen books as both a parent and an educator. With an obsessed four year old, we happily welcomed more and more of these stories into our home--each book offering a new light on the story that she knows so well. Below are brief video reviews of a variety of books (some purchased, some provided as samples) so that you can see and hear the stories. Also in each video, learn suggestions to use the books in your home and in the … [Read more...]

Journal-Themed books kids love reading

books for elementary kids journal theme

When connecting with books, most kids look for a character they identify with, or aim to be. Images help to tell the stories, and so does the first-person point of view. Reading a story from a child's point of view makes kids feel a closer part of the book, and the fiction genre's subcategory of Journal-themed books helps kids related on an even closer level: the narrator is bringing the reader their inner most thoughts and secrets. Many of the books listed, below, mix reading and … [Read more...]

Sample monthly letter for teachers to send to parents (free download!)

letter from teacher

Dear elementary teachers,  Feel free to copy this and adapt to fit your classroom. We, your students' parents, would love some communication. Really. We want to hear from you. As an educator, former elementary school teacher and a parent, I understand how busy teachers are, but I also understand the necessity in communication to run a smooth, rewarding classroom environment and community.  Download and edit this letter. Dear Parents, Hi! I'm Ms. Smith your child's 3rd … [Read more...]

How to find books your child will love

how to find books for kids

There are many things to be concerned with when selecting a book for your child to read, especially children who haven't become devoted to a specific genre or author. Usually, kids around 2nd to 3rd grades are still "playing the field", trying to determine the books of most interest. Or, they'll get hooked on one topic or one author, and you'll want to see your child reach out and try new things. How to find new books for your child Focus on their interests What are your child's … [Read more...]