Archive for the ‘Teacher Resources’ Category

This year we won’t sign up for the Summer Reading Club – but I still want the boys to read

Posted on June 26th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

image of cover art for Pirateology

When the boys were younger, we always joined out local library’s Summer Reading Club. Each evening we recorded the books we’d read that day and once a week we stopped by the library. In addition to enjoying some great books, the boys were rewarded with stickers, praise and medals.

We all agreed that this year we won’t sign up for the library’s Summer Reading Club but nonetheless I intend to take them to the library once a week during July and August. Friday, the first day of our summer holiday, we ventured into the main branch and the vast children’s section of our local library. My eldest boy was soon engrossed in a book about World War II. My youngest boy was equally engrossed – he was watching other kids play computer games online.

With both kids occupied, I scooped up an armload of books – I was determined to find some for my nine year old even if he didn’t want to look. I picked up a little of this and a little of that – some short mytery stories for him to solve (these can be great for reading comprehension because usually kids have to be read very carefully if they hope to pick up on the critical clues), some ‘how to’ books (do I really want to build electrical circuits and make stuff from paper mache this summer?), Nick magazine and Pirateology.

We returned home – my eldest son with two books, my youngest with no books and me with twenty-five! My youngest son flipped through my pile of books. He declared all but two books ‘interesting.‘ (YAY)

Friday night we had a look at Pirateology and yesterday the two boys read each other mysteries and tried to figure out who did it.

Some children can easily deal with the library environment. They know what they want and how to find it. For some children, there are too many distractions and too many books. As well, we often focus on chapter books and ignore information books. Don’t give up on getting kids to read – stay involved and make suggestions. I’m learning that I will need to cast a wide net if I want to keep both of my kids reading this summer.

Pirateology: The Pirate Hunter’s Companion at Amazon.com

Pirateology: The Pirate Hunter’s Companion at Amazon.ca

Encouraging Us to Rethink Boys and Reading: Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys

Posted on June 10th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Dialogue is key... Storytime Standouts recommends Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys My thirteen year old son knows exactly how to extend his bedtime. It involves picking up a book, turning on his bedside lamp and gazing at us with puppy dog eyes. “Please let me finish this chapter. I know you want me to read.” He’s right. Reading has always been a priority in our household and enjoying a chapter or two at bedtime is pretty tough to argue with. Tomorrow, we are off to pick up Rick Riordan’s latest because, due to my error it is not yet in the house. I’m not complaining, I know that raising boys who love to read can be a challenge. We’ve had our moments but, thanks to Rick Riordan, Michelle Paver, Kenneth Oppel, J.K. Rowling and others, we are fortunate that both our sons love to read (especially at bedtime).

Storytime Standouts looks at Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys This afternoon, before the boys arrived home from school, I had a chance to check out Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys – How to engage Boys in Reading in Ways that Will Change Their Lives

Pam Allyn is the Executive Director of LitWorld and the author of a number of books including What to Read When. These are both books that should be on every teachers’ bookshelf and tucked into every parent’s bag of tricks. In Best Book for Boys, Allyn answers frequently asked questions about boys and reading, she also describes the keys to raising children who love reading; ritual, environment, access and dialogue.

After making a strong case for rethinking widely accepted ideas about how children ought to read and what they ought to be reading, Allyn provides an extensive, annotated reading list that has been labelled for emerging, developing and maturing readers. Whether seeking a title for a boy who enjoys action and adventure, humor or mechanics and technology, there is something for even the most reluctant reader.

This is a great resource for families and teaching professionals, highly recommended.

Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys: How to Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives at Amazon.com

Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys: How to Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts suggests 35 ways to engage reluctant readersYou may be interested in our page about reluctant readers.


Summertime Reading – Will July and August be reading friendly for your children?

Posted on June 8th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The lazy days of summer are perfect for reinforcing your child’s emerging reading skills. When you are out and exploring, take a child-friendly reference book with you and keep it nearby as you do some star gazing, bird watching, beach or nature walks. If you make summertime reading a priority, you and your child will be rewarded in September.

Storytelling and Listening…
While sitting around a campfire, encourage story-telling or pull out a book of spooky stories and a flashlight. Snuggling up around a fire is the perfect place for memory-making, spine-chilling tales.

Reading maps…
When on a roadtrip, be sure to take a map or two and encourage your child to trace your route and alert you to upcoming points of interest.

Drawing and writing…
At home, check your supplies of crayons, pencils, lined and un-lined paper (and, we’re sure you’ll want our summertime interlined paper). Keeping a summertime scrapbook or diary will encourage your child to do some writing and illustrating. summertime interlined paper

Listening…
When visiting the library, look for books on tape or cd or download audio books onto an IPOD. Long drives are so much more pleasant when listening to an engaging story. I can still remember where we were driving when we heard the amazing recording of Hiccup: How to Train Your Dragon. The miles simply flew by as our family created a fabulous memory.

Summertime Reading…
Finally, don’t forget the all-important trips to the library. For young children, look for a mix of rhyming books, alphabet books and not-to-be-missed picture books. For older children why not find some books of science experiments, recipes or art projects to go along with chapter books?


We’ve Just Added Summer Interlined Paper, The First of our Summertime Printables

Posted on May 25th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts offers interlined paper for (almost) every occasion, check out the entire collection by visiting our Interlined Paper page.

Our early literacy printables, including our interlined paper, are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early literacy printables here.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids

Interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Half Interlined Paper

Plain, half interlined writing paper for beginning writers.


Winter Interlined Paper for Preschool, Kindergarten, Grade One

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Christmas Tree

Christmas theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Snowman

Snow theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Groundhog Day

Groundhog day theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Valentine's Day Swirling Hearts

Valentine's Day theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


If you appreciate our interlined paper printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Summer Interlined Paper for Preschool, Kindergarten, Grade One

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Canada Day

Canada theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Camping

Camping theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - July 4th, Independence Day

Independence Day theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Watermelon

Watermelon, Summer theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Sunflower

Sunflower theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Sandcastle

Beach theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Roadtrip

Roadtrip theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Picnic

Picnic theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


Five Ways to Support a Beginning Reader…

Posted on May 13th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

5 Ways to Support a Beginning Reader from StorytimeStandouts.com

Following these steps when your child is a beginning reader will help him to become fluent and will enable you and your child to enjoy the learning to read experience together.











Click on the book covers for our post about using word families with a beginning reader.

image of cover art for Bug in a Rug, a good book for a beginning reader1. Make reading part of every day. Without exception. Committing to share this special time with your child each and every day will help your child to see reading as valuable. Have your child read to you and make sure that you continue to read aloud to your child.

Remember: becoming a great reader requires practice and some children need more practice than others do. Don’t despair when reading doesn’t happen quickly or easily, learning to read is like learning to ride a bike or becoming a swimmer. If you choose to make reading a priority, your efforts will be rewarded.

2. Keep the read aloud experience happy, relaxed and comfortable. Cozy up near a good light and enjoy a snuggle. If your child is too tired to read aloud, let it go (for one day) and spend a couple of extra minutes reading aloud to her.
image of cover art for Dog in the Fog, a good book for a beginning reader
3. Help your child to find appealing books to read. Be sure to check out the selection at your public library or stop by your child’s classroom for suggestions. Do your best to find books that are “just right” for your child. You will be better at evaluating books than your child is so take an active role in assessing the level of difficulty.

In my experience, some of the “best” books are the ones that other children recommend. Positive “word of mouth” advertising can be a great motivator for a young reader.

4. Celebrate your child’s success with reading. Being able to read twenty words or a chapter book is a big deal! How about celebrating with a book worm cupcake or a trip to the library or a special bookmark or a new bookshelf? Perhaps the readers in your household are allowed to stay up fifteen minutes later than the non readers…
image of cover art for Fat Cat, a good book for a beginning reader

5. Remain patient and supportive. When your child encounters a tricky word, help with some strategies. If your child can’t manage the word, tell her the word and move on.

You will also be interested in our page about beginning to read


Some of our Favourite Posts About Supporting Beginning Readers

Hover over the picture to read the post title. Click on the picture to read the entire post

Learning games for beginning readers6 Ways to help a child read an unfamiliar word from Storytime StandoutsBeginning Readers should use these strategies to read difficult words15 tips for Parents of Young Readers and Writers from Storytime StandoutsStorytime Standouts Explains How to Help a Child Read Unfamiliar Words9 Ways to Help a Beginning Reader Succeed from StorytimeStandouts.com

Print Awareness – 5 Ways to Help Your Child Become Familiar with Printed Language

Posted on May 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Print Awareness - Storytime Standouts Presents 5 Ways to Help Your Child with Printed Language

Here are five ways to help your child gain familiarity with printed language





1. Encourage your child to be the page turner when you read aloud to her.

2. Ask your child to hold the book while you enjoy it together.

Print Awareness includes reading words like ABRACADABRA!

3. When reading aloud, point to some of the words or trace from left to right as your read. Watch for books that use interesting fonts to express emotion – encourage your child to read exciting words (like ABRACADABRA or FEE FI FO FUM) with you.

Print Awareness includes FEE FI FO FUM

4. Explore the world of environmental print. Encourage your child to notice lists, labels, packaging, signs, menus, mail, newspapers and magazines. Help your child to notice the many ways you use print: checking instructions for medication, reading a recipe, laughing at a comic in the newspaper, assembling a toy or learning a new game.

5. Make a mistake and see if your child corrects you. Hold a book upside down or try to read it from back to front.



Picture books that promote print awareness



Exclamation Mark outstanding 2013 picture bookExclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Picture Book that promotes print awareness published by Scholastic Press

Exclamation Mark is just not like anyone else. As much as he’d like to look the same, he’s always a standout in a crowd.

He was confused, flummoxed, and deflated.
He even thought about running away.
.

Clever wordplay and fun, expressive illustrations will captivate children old enough to understand punctuation and the important role it plays in our language. Older readers will enjoy the double entendre and will celebrate Exclamation Mark’s voyage of self discovery.

Why oh why is he different? He wants nothing more than to look just like the periods around him. It is only when Question Mark arrives on the scene that Exclamation Mark discovers something deep within – he discovers why and how he has an important role to play – despite his rather unique upright appearance.

An outstanding 2013 picture book, Exclamation Mark is highly recommended for readers aged five years and up.

Exclamation Mark at Amazon.com

Exclamation Mark at Amazon.ca



Storytime Standouts Looks at Click Clack Moo Cows That TypeClick, Clack, Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
Picture Book that promotes print awareness published by Simon and Schuster

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type is a fun story that does a great job of introducing print awareness. The story draws the reader’s attention to letters and words and one way of conveying messages. As well, Farmer Brown’s body language is great to watch. The illustrations in the story encourage children to “read between the lines.”

A 2001 Caldecott Honor Book, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type is a terrific book for children aged three years and up.

2001 Charlotte Zolotow Award Nominee for Highly Commended Title
2002 Vermont’s Picture Book Awards: Red Clover
A 2001 ALA Notable Children’s Book for Younger Readers
2002 Charlotte Award (New York State Reading Association)
2001 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for Picture Book
2001 Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book for Children’s Illustrated

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type at Amazon.com

Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type at Amazon.ca


Links to four posts we think you’ll find interesting

Using Environmental Print with Beginning Readers15 tips for Parents of Young Readers and Writers from Storytime StandoutsStorytime Standouts Explains How to Help a Child Read Unfamiliar Words9 Ways to Help a Beginning Reader Succeed from StorytimeStandouts.com




What’s So Great About Play?

Posted on April 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Asks, What's so great about play?

What sort of skills do children learn when given an opportunity to play by themselves and with others?

Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning. – Educator and television host, Fred Rogers





Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning. – Author Diane Ackerman

Children learn to express themselves artistically and verbally. They also learn ways to create, invent, discover, investigate, explore, imagine, build (and wreck!), construct, move, share and negotiate. Children have opportunities to enjoy a sense of accomplishment, to learn how to join a group and make friends. When playing with others, they learn to participate, communicate, deal with conflict, cooperate and have fun. They become curious and excited, they overcome fears, deal with disappointments (when the castle collapses) and they discover and develop talents. Children become more socially responsible, they may help others with projects and with tidying up. Their intellect develops and they become more confident physically.

It seems to me that we all need less structure in our days and more time to play. We need time, space and materials. Why not make playtime a priority this weekend? I’m going to and I would love to hear your favorite ways to encourage and support your child’s play.

15 Tips for Parents of Young Readers and Writers

Posted on April 27th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

15 tips for Parents of Young Readers and Writers from Storytime Standouts

Raising a child who reads well and loves to pick up a book is a team effort. Parents can support young readers’ and writers’ formal learning by being involved and enthusiastic, providing encouragement and tools. Here are some ways you can help set the stage for reading success.

Download a free, printable PDF of this information

image of PDF icon  15 Tips for Supporting Young Readers and Writers





    Be a reader and a writer – make sure your children see you reading books for pleasure and information as well as writing letters or making lists.

    Read aloud to your children every day – even once they have learned how to read.  Make it a priority to find great articles and engaging books to share with your family.

    Be flexible.  Read when, where and how it suits your child.  If your child won’t sit still, it is okay to play quietly or color a picture while listening.

    Write silly notes to your children.  Print out  riddles and add them to a  lunch bag or hide them under a pillow.

    • Have Grandma or Grandpa send emails, encourage your child to reply.

    • Try a new recipe, read a map, solve a mystery, check out the comics or learn magic tricks together.  Help your child realize the value of being a good reader.

    • Hook your child with wonderful series books or look for more books by a favourite author or illustrator.


    • Encourage your child to notice and read environmental print (stop signs, entrance,  exit, push and pull signs as well as labels on groceries or names of familiar stores).

    Listen to your children when they read (or when they pretend to read).  Offer lots of encouragement to readers and writers of every age.

    • If possible, have a basket of  books, a well-placed reading light and a comfortable chair inviting young readers to curl up and enjoy a story.

    Keep writing implements; coloured pencils, erasers, rulers and paper handy.  A stapler is also great for children who want to make their own books.

    Visit your public library regularly.  Encourage your children to borrow fiction and non fiction books.

    Get to know your child’s school librarian and make sure the librarian knows your child’s ability and interests.

    Explore your community with your child.  Background experiences help readers to understand.  A child who has been to an aquarium or a farm will make connections when reading about sea creatures or baby piglets.

    Ask for recommendations and suggestions.  Most libraries have lists of book recommendations.  Check with friends and teachers and look at our picture book and chapter book recommendations.   If you need help, send an email. We will gladly give you suggestions.

For further information, check out our page on early literacy.

6 ways for a beginning reader to read an unfamiliar word

Posted on April 9th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

6 Ways to help a child read an unfamiliar word from Storytime Standouts



When your beginning reader is faced with a new word to read, here are six ways she can approach it

(1) Sound it out. Have the beginning reader say each letter sound and “mush” the letter sounds together until they make a word.

/c/ — /a/ — /t/
/c/ – /a/ – /t/
/c/ /a/ /t/

(2) Use the first letters as hints and then guess. The farmer drove the /t/. Your child might guess ‘truck’ or ‘tractor’ – either of these words will probably fit within the context of the story. If your child guesses ‘tiger’ or ‘trampoline,’ we would want to ask if the word really makes sense.

(3) Look at the pictures for clues. This approach might mean a child substitutes “kitten” for “cat” or “bike” for “bicycle.” A mistake like this does not change the meaning significantly. The word the child ‘reads’ still works within the context of the story.

(4) Read the sentence again. Sometimes backing up will help a child gain momentum and get over the hurdles.

(5) Skip the mystery word and continue reading. Once your child has read further, the mystery word may become obvious

(6) Ask someone for help. Usually when a young reader asks me for help, I simply provide the word. I really do not want to ruin a great story for the sake of one or two words.

If you are a parent who is working with a beginning reader, it may be tempting to correct every mistake he or she makes. However, especially with a beginning reader, as parents, we need to be cautious about our demands. We need to take a non judgemental, supportive approach and avoid having our child embarrassed by his or her mistakes. Our role is to be cheerleaders. Our job is to applaud and encourage success and to provide assistance when needed. In fact, one might say that our job is to be like a family pet. We should sit happily with the child and wag our tails from time to time. If we can resist correcting our child, our child will reap the benefits provided by Reading Education Assistance Dogs.


5 Reading Comprehension Tips for Parents

Posted on April 8th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Reading comprehension – ensuring that readers understand

5 Reading Comprehension Tips for Parents



We help our children to learn letters and then letter sounds. We sit with them while they read their first words and we share their excitement as they become readers. Caps for SaleAs this amazing transformation takes place, we should remember the goal of reading: comprehension. It is not enough to be able to read words, readers must be able to understand the words they are reading.

You may be interested in Storytime Standouts’ page about comprehension.

With very young children, we can take steps to support reading comprehension by asking

• for predictions and guesses: “How do you think this story will end?” or “What will the bears do when they discover Goldilocks?”

• about the story problem: “What problem did the peddler solve in Caps for Sale ?”

• how a problem was solved: “How did the Prince find his dancing partner in Cinderella?”

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

• what happened in the beginning, the middle and the end: “What did Goldilocks do first in Goldilocks and the Three Bears ?”

• your child’s opinion: “Which version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff
do you like best?”


Some related posts about learning to read

Using Word Families With Beginning Readers6 Ways to help a child read an unfamiliar word from Storytime StandoutsBeginning Readers should use these strategies to read difficult words15 tips for Parents of Young Readers and Writers from Storytime StandoutsStorytime Standouts Explains How to Help a Child Read Unfamiliar Words9 Ways to Help a Beginning Reader Succeed from StorytimeStandouts.com






Free Word Family Printables

Posted on April 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

We offer almost two hundred free early literacy printables on Storytime Standouts. Today, we decided to feature our free word family printables. These are available for website members*. There is no cost to become a member, simply sign up and you will have access to all of our free downloads.

Our early literacy printables, including our word family printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find all of our early literacy printables here.

If you appreciate our free word family printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


We have twenty (two page) printables, each showing words and pictures for one word family. Print the PDF (I prefer printing onto cardstock), laminate if you wish, and use with beginning readers.

image of PDF icon  The "All" Word Family

Free - all word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "An" Word Family

Free -an word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ap" Word Family

Free -ap word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "At" Word Family

Free -at word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ed" Word Family

Free -ed word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ell" Word Family

Free -ell word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ig" Word Family

Free - ig word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ip" Word Family

Free -ip word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "It" Word Family

Free -it word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Og" Word Family

Free -og word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Op" Word Family

Free -op word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ot" Word Family

Free -ot word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Am" Word Family

Free -am word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "En" Word Family

Free -en word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Et" Word Family

Free -et word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ill" Word Family

Free -ill word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ock" Word Family

Free -ock word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ub" Word Family

Free -ub word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ug" Word Family

Free -ug word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Est" Word Family

Free -est word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


We also offer ten word family flip books and printable (how to) instructions.

image of PDF icon  10 Word Family Flip Books

Word family flip books - great learning resources for children in kindergarten or grade one.

image of PDF icon  How to Make a Word Family Flip Book

Instructions for assembling a word family flip book

We’d love to hear about how you use these printables with young children.


*Please note, membership is absolutely free. When you sign up, you will be given an option to receive our newsletter. If you don’t want to receive the newsletter, you won’t receive any emails from this site. We promise.

Let’s Talk About Learning to Read – Beginning with Very Young Children

Posted on March 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

image of an alphabet game board

The process of learning to read begins long before children begin kindergarten. Learning to read begins when children are babies. Very young children love to learn new words and they especially like to use their voices to play with sounds. When spending time with very young children, chatting, sharing rhymes and reading aloud all contribute to reading readiness. If we take time to examine what we would like youngsters to know before they start kindergarten, we wil be guided in our choices about stories to share and the importance of engaging young children in conversation and wordplay.
  • Before starting kindergarten, we would like children to know some nursery rhymes.  Why not use our printable nursery rhymes or visit your public library and borrow a nursery rhyme book or two?  Here are our free downloads:
     

    image of PDF icon  Hey Diddle Diddle

    Traditional English nursery rhyme that includes repetition, rhyming and imagery.

    image of PDF icon  Humpty Dumpty

    Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Usually includes an anthropomorphic (possessing human traits, emotions) egg.

    image of PDF icon  Jack and Jill

    Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Includes alliteration and rhyming.

    image of PDF icon  Little Boy Blue

    Traditional English-language nursery rhyme featuring alliteration and rhyming.

    image of PDF icon  Old Mother Hubbard

    Traditional English-language nursery rhyme.

    image of PDF icon  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

    Classic Nursery Rhyme written by Jane Taylor


  • We would also like youngsters to know how to re-tell a favourite story.  I suggest ‘reading’ wordless picture books with your child and then ask her to re-tell the story. Dinnertable conversation can also be an opportunity to share stories. As well, rides in the car are a great opportunity for storytellling.
  • Also, before beginning school, we would like to children to understand that when we read a story, it is very much like being able to see the same words we speak
  • We would also like children to know some or even most of the letters of the alphabet. You will find lots of free, printable alphabets on this site for children who are learning to read.

    image of PDF icon  A Caveman Alphabet

    Free printable alphabet features a fun caveman for each letter.

    image of PDF icon  A Colourful Alphabet

    Free printable alphabet uses bright colours for each letter.

    image of PDF icon  A Fruit and Vegetables Alphabet

    Free printable alphabet features a fruit or vegetable for each letter.

    image of PDF icon  A Brush Stroke Alphabet

    A printable brush stroke alphabet - great for children who are learning letters. This alphabet can be used in a variety of ways: create an alphabet ‘strip’ or cut the letters apart, mix and then put in ABC order. Or, print two sets, cut apart and create an alphabet memory/matching game.

    image of PDF icon  A Marching Alphabet


  • Use the alphabets to create matching and memory games, or an alphabet strip or spell your child’s name with them.

  • Ideally, children beginning kindergarten should understand that letters each have at least one sound associated with them. Help your child to learn this by explaining the sounds made by “P,” “F,” “M” and “S” because these sounds are very distintive.
  •  We’d also like children who are learning to read to understand that books written in English are read from front to back and pages written in English are read from left to right. When enjoying a read aloud, talk with youngsters about the cover and the spine of a book. Notice whether a book is paperback or hardcover and point out a book jacket if there is one. Ask your child to open the book and find the title page. Remember to look for information about the author and/or the illustrator. Once you start to read aloud, casually point out the words you are reading and move your finger from left to right as you read a story.
    Usually when I read a book that uses LARGE, BOLD letters for some especially great words, I make a point of repeating the best passages and I encourage my audience to “read” the words with me when I read them a second (or third) time!

Note: For printable alphabets, The Alphabet Song and activities to help your child learn the alphabet. be sure to check out our Alphabet Recognition page.

Our early literacy printables, including our nursery rhyme and alphabet printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early literacy printables here.

If you appreciate our nursery rhymes and alphabet printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Word Family and Word Chunk Printables

Posted on January 22nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

A quick post to highlight the new, free word family printables offered on this site…

Our early childhood literacy printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already have Adobe Reader, you will need to download it to access the word family printables.





Please note: some of our early childhood literacy printables, including these printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website, please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.


You will find all of our early childhood literacy printables here.


If you appreciate our word family printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


We have ten printable Word Family flip books

image of PDF icon  10 Word Family Flip Books

Word family flip books - great learning resources for children in kindergarten or grade one.

. These are great for children to put together. They will need scissors and a stapler. If you aren’t sure how to assemble the flip books, you’ll find instructions here:

image of PDF icon  How to Make a Word Family Flip Book

Instructions for assembling a word family flip book



We also have Word Family printables that include pictures, the picture clues help beginning readers to decode each word:

The All Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "All" Word Family

Free - all word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The An Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "An" Word Family

Free -an word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ap Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ap" Word Family

Free -ap word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The At Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "At" Word Family

Free -at word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ed Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ed" Word Family

Free -ed word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ell Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ell" Word Family

Free -ell word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ig Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ig" Word Family

Free - ig word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ip Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ip" Word Family

Free -ip word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The It Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "It" Word Family

Free -it word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Og Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Og" Word Family

Free -og word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Op Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Op" Word Family

Free -op word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ot Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ot" Word Family

Free -ot word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

Word Family Books at Amazon.com

Word Family Books at Amazon.ca

Words together with pictures – perfect for beginning writers and readers

Posted on January 14th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

We offer more than two hundred free PDF downloads on this website. Some are available to everyone, for others you need to register on the site. There is no cost for any of the downloads. Today, we are highlighting our free picture dictionary PDFs. These are perfect for beginning readers and writers. They can be used in a variety of ways including offering children an opportunity to “read” the pictures for clues about the words. These printables are also great for children who want to write stories and want to use interesting words but don’t know how to spell the words.

If you print the pages and cut them apart, they could be used as a matching activity.

I have not included seasonal themes in this list (i.e. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Christmas) – if you are interested in seasonal themes, be sure to check our Picture Dictionaries page for more resources.

image of PDF icon  Beach Picture Dictionary

Free printable picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Baking Cookies Picture Dictionary

Free printable baking cookies picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Color Picture Dictionary

Free printable color picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Firefighter Picture Dictionary

Free printable firefighter picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  School Picture Dictionary

Free printable school picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Weather Picture Dictionary

Free printable weather picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

Our early literacy printables, including our free printable Picture Dictionaries are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early literacy printables here.

If you appreciate our free early literacy printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Solving Problems With Reading Aloud to Young Children

Posted on December 13th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

Almost every time I present Ready for Reading at least one very brave individual will explain that his or her child does not “cooperate” when it’s time for a story. Here are some common challenges that parents face when reading aloud to young children:

My child only wants to hear stories about Thomas or Olivia or My child wants to hear the same story every night

If your child is very reluctant to listen to new or unfamiliar stories, I would suggest the following…Arm yourself with some great picture books from the library. Read your child’s favourite bedtime story and then say, “I know we usually turn the light out now but, since you are getting older (or since it is Friday night), I thought you might like to stay up a bit later and hear this story. If you don’t want to listen to it, we can turn the light out and you can go to sleep now.”

Is there any child, anywhere who would rather go to bed early than enjoy an extra story? Of course, I realize this means an extra story for mom or dad to read but with any luck you will expand your child’s horizons to include some new characters (and relieve your boredom).

Another strategy may be to introduce some other stories about trains (or pigs) but, personally I favour the “stay up later” approach.

I have two children. They are aged two and five. Can I read the same stories to them or do I have to read different books to each? or My oldest child loves to listen to the books I read aloud but my younger child won’t pay attention. What should I do?

I hate to say this because I know how exhausting child-rearing is BUT, ideally you should read different books to each child. The five year old is ready for more text (longer) books and more sophisticated illustrations. He or she might even be ready to hear a chapter book read aloud. The younger child probably has a shorter attention span and different interests. At least some of the time, I would try to read books specially selected for each.

What do you think about audio books or books with accompanying CD or tape?

I think they’re great BUT keep in mind that the best ‘read aloud’ experiences include some discussion about the book: which character do you like best? what do you think will happen next? does this remind you of another book? Audio books don’t promote discussion or reading between the lines.

We are a multilingual household. My English is not great. Which language should I use when reading to my child?

I think it is fantastic that your child is able to speak more than one language. If your child is going to learn to read English, your child should hear English read aloud on a regular basis – even if you make mistakes occasionally and your accent is not perfect.

My child won’t sit still for a story

Hearing the story is more important that sitting still for a story. If your child won’t sit still, allow him or her to play quietly nearby. Your child could do a drawing, build something or even bounce a ball while you read. The read aloud experience is so important, be create in finding ways to share books with your child and don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t want to sit still for a book.

What do you think about ‘rude’ books?

There are some very popular books that don’t appeal to me because of the author’s choice of words. Walter the Farting Dog is a perfect example of an immensely popular book that just never made it onto my bookshelf. I don’t use the word, ‘fart’ so I never felt inclined to choose to read the book aloud to my kids. Would I have read it to them if they had asked? Yes BUT I would also have talked about the language and why it is not part of my vocabulary (and I don’t want to hear it in my home). Having said all that, we have several Captain Underpants books in the house. In my opinion, that series encouraged many young boys to move into chapter books and I am grateful it did. I just never read it out loud.

For further information about reading aloud to young children, check out our 10 FAQs About Reading Aloud to Children.

If you have questions or suggestions, please comment on this post or send me an email. Best of luck!

How to Help a Child Read Unfamiliar Words

Posted on November 20th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Explains How to Help a Child Read Unfamiliar Words

There are all sorts of ways we can help children to read unfamiliar words. When children struggle to decode an unfamiliar words, here are some strategies to suggest.





  • Picture Clues – Almost all books for beginning and emergent readers are generously illustrated. We want children to “read” the pictures and use what they see in the illustrations to help them read the text. Encourage your child to look at the illustrations and see if there are clues in the illustrations that can help.   Remember, even before children start reading independently, we can pause to discuss and investigate illustrations for story clues.  We can encourage children to think about the relationship between the illustrations and the text. Wordless picture books are a great resource for pre-readers and children who are beginning to read. They offer opportunities to practice reading and interpreting illustrations.
  • Blending Letter Sounds – Many of the words that children encounter in books for beginning readers can be decoded by “sounding out.”  Encourage your child to begin with the sound made by the first letter in the word. Continue with subsequent letters and sounds.  Finally, mush the sounds together until they blend.  Note:  we can help children to learn this skill (before they start reading or once they have begun to read) by giving them sounds to mush or blend together.  For example, “Blend these three sounds and tell me what word they make /c/  /a/  /t/.”
  • Using Word Chunks – Some words that beginning readers encounter will have familiar parts or chunks.  A child may be able to use his knowledge of other words to identify chunks within a new word.  If your child can read “dog,” he should be better able to decode “hog.”  Familiarity with word families and rhyming words supports this approach.
  • Context Clues -Some sentences and paragraphs provide clues about words that might make sense.  For example, if a child encounters this sentence:  The brown dog jumped up and _______.  If the first letter in the unknown word is “b,”  what might be a logical guess? Keep in mind that sometimes a child uses clues and makes a logical guess that is not correct. For example and child might substitute “house” for “home.” When a child makes a guess that is logical (given the clues) but incorrect, we usually would not interrupt his reading to correct the mistake.
  • Some more of our posts about reading and learning to read…

    5 Reading Comprehension Tips for Parents15 tips for Parents of Young Readers and Writers from Storytime StandoutsGetting Ready to Read While in the Car10 Great Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Child



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