Posts Tagged ‘learning activities’

Beginning to Read – Day 5

Posted on August 22nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Beginning to Read Day 5 included a delightful, rhyming picture book How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. The children enjoyed lots of laughs as they watched dinosaurs join a carpool, race through a school hallway, have fun at recess and try to behave properly in a classroom. This is a great book to read at this time of year. It provides gentle reminders about appropriate (and inappropriate) classroom behaviour. Children love to watch enormous dinosaurs struggle to manage their manners – just as some children struggle in a classroom/school setting.

Day 5 also introduced the “Ot” word family – cot, dot, got, hot, lot, not, pot, rot plus three “tricky words” spot, slot and knot. Our Bingo game today reviewed all of the word families we’ve looked at this week.

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School at Amazon.com

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? at Amazon.ca

Beginning to Read – Day 4

Posted on August 18th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

In today’s Beginning to Read class, we spent some time exploring rhyming. Some of the children have a good concept of rhyming while others are just beginning to understand. We began with eight pictures (king, ring, tree, bee, house, mouse, etc.). The children looked at the pictures and matched the rhymes. We later played an active game and they listened in order to determine whether two words rhymed.

image of rhyming wordsHearing rhyming and developing phonemic awareness is a key to reading success. If you would like to print some pictures of rhyming words, follow this link to Storytime Standouts’ free printable rhyming words. For additional information about rhyming and phonemic awareness, click here to check out our Phonemic Awareness page.

image of words in the at word familyWe also played a fun game that served as a review of this week’s word families. The children were given three or four cards, each a different colour (red, green, etc.). Then, each of the children with a red card stood at the front of the group. The children held the cards up and we ‘read’ the words. Occasionally the children positioned themselve correctly and the three letters formed a word. More often, the children had to rearrange themselves in order to spell a word. In some cases, the letters could be used to spell more than one word (tip, pit / rat, art). The children had lots of laughs with this activity because they ‘read’ silly words before finding the correct word. “TPA” became “PTA” and perhaps “APT” before “PAT” was revealed.

This activity was a review of each of the word families we studied this week. If you would like to print out some word family resources, follow this link to Storytime Standouts’ free word family printables .

Today’s story was The Gaggle Sisters’ River Tour written and illustrated by Chris Jackson. This was a challenging story for some of the children because it includes some relatively difficult vocabulary (hauled, sobbed) and there is a considerable amount of text. I am happy to say that all three groups remained engaged and interested throughout the story.

The Gaggle Sisters River Tour at Amazon.ca

The Gaggle Sisters River Tour at Amazon.com


Beginning to Read – Day 3

Posted on August 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The children who attended Beginning to Read today thoroughly enjoyed today’s story by William Steig, Pete’s a Pizza

When a sudden rainstorm spoil’s Pete’s plans, he is grumpy and sad. His dad decides that he ought to be made into a pizza! He kneeds Pete and stretches him, covers him with oil and adds tomatoes and cheese. Before long, the pizza is hot and ready to be sliced.

During today’s Beginning to Read class we talked quite alot about opposites. We began with ‘easy’ opposites (hot/cold, wet/dry/ big/small, happy/sad, inside/outside), moved onto slightly more challenging opposites (push/pull, empty/full, night/day, tall/short, true/false) and, finally, tried some ‘difficult’ opposites (warm/cool, always/never, man/woman).

Today’s Word Family was “ed” (Ed, Bed, fed, led, red, Ted). The tricky words were fled, newlywed and shred. We have many word family printables on this website, follow the link for more information.

We also looked for some easy Sight Words. Sight Words are also known as “Instant Word” and sometimes referred to as “Dolch Words.” They are high frequency words that beginning readers are encouraged to memorize (we, my, see, go, and, etc.) For the children who are already reading sight words, this was a reading activity. For the children who are not yet reading sight words, it was a matching activity. If you are interested, you can download sight word lists from our download page.

We played a mixed up alphabet game . Each child had two, three or four cards. Each card read, “I have ___. Who has ___?” The child with “I have A. Who has L?” started us off. The child with “I have L. Who has U?” read his/her card next. Basically, the children were listening for the letter names, checking to see if they had the letter and reading aloud when it was their turn. Very good fun – many of the children would like to play the game again.

Finally, we used Elkonin boxes. The children listened to words and decided whether a letter sound was at the beginning, middle or end of a word. As an example, I asked the children to listen for the /S/ sound. When I said, “Snake,” they should have identified that the /S/ sound was at the beginning of the word. When I said, “Pigs,” they should have noticed that the /S/ sound was at the end of the word. When I said, “Icicle,” they should have noticed that the /S/ sound was in the middle of the word. Note: this is a listening activity – whether the /S/ is made by a “S” or a “C” is unimportant. Children will normally hear the beginning sounds most easily, the middle sounds are the most difficult to hear. Children who learn to hear the sounds and notice when they occur will use this skill when spelling, writing and reading. This is a skill you can work on anytime, anywhere.

Beginning to Read – Day 2

Posted on August 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Today was our second Beginning to Read class and our theme today was “Shoes.” During our storytime, I used felt pieces to tell the story of The Elves and the Shoemaker. This is a traditional story and it has been retold many times. The version that I used was written by Paul Galdone. I explained to the children that, if they visit the library, they might find as many as ten different versions of this story (filed in the Fairy Tale section, J398). If you have a chance, it would be great to find the story at the library and share it with your children. If you can find two different versions, ask them which they prefer. The illustrations and the storytelling will vary. Reading different versions of a familiar story is a great way to encourage your children to think about and compare authors and illustrators.

By the way, in each of the classes, the children responded very enthusiastically to the felt story format. They love watching the story unfold and touching the pieces of felt. Using felt pieces is a great way to encourage children to be creative and invent their own stories.

Today’s word family was the “it” family – bit, fit, hit, pit, sit, split and quit. In today’s class, we made a word family flip book. These easily made books are very helpful for young readers. They help children to notice that “bit”, “fit” and “hit” are related and, once you manage to decode/read “bit”, it is quite easy to decode/read “fit” and “hit”. Today our tricky words were split and quit. Here is a picture of a Dairy Queen Banana Split.

We have many word family printables on this website, follow the link for more information.

Today we also did a page about colours. Some of the children are able to read the words, some are not. Just as a gentle reminder, some of early ‘reading’ is actually memorizing. When children offer to ‘read’ a story that they have heard many time, we may be tempted to dismiss their ‘reading’ as ‘memorizing.’ Keep in mind that we want to encourage reading behaviours (holding a book, turning the pages, etc.) and picture clues are very helpful to young readers. Be sure to celebrate your young reader’s success – even when you suspect that s/he has memorized a story.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Elves and Shoemaker

Elves and Shoemaker theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

Just for fun, here is The Muppet’s version of The Elves and the Shoemaker

The Elves and the Shoemaker at Amazon.com

The Elves and the Shoemaker Book & Cassette at Amazon.ca


Beginning to Read – Day 1

Posted on August 15th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

In our first Beginning to Read class for this week, our theme was ‘the beach.’ We read a story by Marie-Louise Gay titled, Stella Star of the Sea. We talked about Stella and her little brother, Sam. We noticed that Sam is afraid and that Stella is not. We also talked about the fact that Sam asks many, many questions. Sometimes Stella’s answers are correct and sometimes her answers are not. Most of the children were able to make connections between this story and experiences they have had. Many talked about going to the beach and seeing shells or sea stars, some talked about being on boats and seeing killer whales. I think Sam’s hesitance to dive into the water is something we can all relate to.

You might be interested to hear some of the children’s responses to my question, “Why might it be noisy at the beach?” I thought they would answer, “The sound of the waves is loud.” Actually, they mentioned that crabs make quite a bit of noise, sperm whales are also loud. Others mentioned sea gulls. With some prompting, some of the children thought that the waves (caused by boats) are loud.

By the way, we love it when children make connections with the books they read! Whenever possible, try to match books to your child’s experiences; starting school, travelling, going to the dentist, planting a garden, visiting a fire hall.

Also, just a gentle reminder, reading aloud to children continues to be important – even when they begin reading independently. When your child begins to read, make sure that you continue to read books that s/he is not yet able to manage. You will motivate your child to become a better reader!

In today’s class we talked about vowels (A, E, I, O, U, Y). The children learned a little song about vowels. We will use one vowel each day and today’s vowel was “a.” We combined “a” with “t” to make the work “at.” Once we had read “at,” we added b, c, f, h, m, p, r, and s to make words. We also tried some “tough” words: flat, that and splat.

In the 2:15 class and the 4:00 class, we played a game that reinforced today’s word family. The children threw ‘seaweed’ at ‘shark fins’ and then we read the words on the shark fins. The shark fin words were ‘at’, ‘bat’, ‘cat’, ‘fat’, ‘hat’, ‘mat’, ‘pat’, ‘rat’, and ‘sat.’

I will write again tomorrow. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Also, just a quick note to say that none of our classes are full this week. There are places available at 12:30, 2:15 and 4:00. If you have a friend who is interested, please have them call the Registration Call Centre or stop by Steveston to register. It would be my pleasure to see the last few spaces filled.

Downloads from Marie-Louise Gay’s website
Click here for Stella and Sam stickers, colouring sheets, posters, bookmarks and more

Downloads from this Website

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  Beach Picture Dictionary

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

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Sandcastle

Beach theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


Stella, Star of the Sea at Amazon.com

Stella, Star of the Sea at Amazon.ca

Phonemic Awareness – Questions for Your Child (2)

Posted on July 18th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The focus of our last few posts has been phonemic awareness. Here are some more ways you can assess your child’s phonemic awareness

Can your child break a word apart by syllable? If you say “carpet” can your child hear and say “car – pet”?

Can your child mush sounds together (to make a word)? If you say “r – a – t” can your child hear and say “rat”?

Could your child hear whether two words begin with the same sound?

When asked to listen for a sound, can your child distinguish whether the sound is at the beginning, middle or end of a word? For example, when asked to listen for the /S/ sound, can your child hear it at the beginning of “skunk”, in the middle of “listen” and at the end of “tents”?

Could your child tell you the sound at the beginning of a word? Could he say which sound is at the end of a word? And, most difficult of all, could your child correctly identify the sound in the middle of a word?

It is not difficult to understand why, a child with above average phonemic awareness will probably be a very good speller. If you can hear the sounds in words, you are more likely to spell the words correctly.

image of PDF icon  Match the Ending Consonant Sound

Another way to help children develop phonemic awareness. Matching the ending consonant sound is more difficult than matching the beginning consonant sound.

image of PDF icon  Match the Beginning Consonant Sound

Cut the pictures apart and have children match the initial consonant sound - a great way to support the development of phonemic awareness.

For more ways to help your child develop phonemic awareness, follow this link to visit our Phonemic Awareness page.

Phonemic Awareness – Questions for Your Child (1)

Posted on July 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Our recent posts have provided some ways to help your child gain phonemic awareness. Here are some ways you can assess your child’s phonemic awareness

Can your child hear whether two words are the same or different? “duck” and “duck” or “frog” and “fog”

Can your child hear whether two words rhyme? “pig” and “wig” or “black” and “bat”

Could your child think of a rhyming word for “boy” or “hot”?

Could your child say how many syllables are in a word like “west” or “under” or “amazing” ?

Phonemic Awareness – Hink Pink Riddle Answers

Posted on July 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Here are the solutions to yesterday’s Hink Pink riddles

an overweight kitten (fat cat)
a very large hog (big pig)
a damp dog (wet pet)
a large stick (big twig)
a disappointed father (sad dad)
being startled by a grizzly (bear scare)
a turquise sandle (blue shoe)
how rabbits pay for things (bunny money)
24 hours without any work (play day)
mama bear massages her baby (cub rub)
use one to catch your goldfish (pet net)
rosy sheets and blankets (red bed)
rockers at the beach (sand band)

Hink Pink Riddles at Amazon.com

Hink Pink Riddles at Amazon.ca

Supporting Phonemic Awareness: Try Playing Around with Hink Pinks

Posted on July 15th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart



What do you call a rabbit who tells jokes?

If you are playing around with Hink Pinks, the answer is a funny bunny.

Solving and making up Hink Pink riddles will help your child to develop phonemic awareness and, since phonemic awareness is a key to reading success will bolster early reading and spelling.

So, here are some Hink Pinks for you to try…

an overweight kitten
a very large hog
a damp dog
a large stick
a disappointed father
being startled by a grizzly
a turquoise sandle
what rabbits use to pay for things
24 hours without any work
mama bear massages her baby
use one to catch your goldfish
crimson sheets and blankets
rockers at the beach

And here are the solutions

an overweight kitten (fat cat)
a very large hog (big pig)
a damp dog (wet pet)
a large stick (big twig)
a disappointed father (sad dad)
being startled by a grizzly (bear scare)
a turquise sandle (blue shoe)
how rabbits pay for things (bunny money)
24 hours without any work (play day)
mama bear massages her baby (cub rub)
use one to catch your goldfish (pet net)
rosy sheets and blankets (red bed)
rockers at the beach (sand band)

Hink Pink Riddles at Amazon.com

Hink Pink Riddles at Amazon.ca

Websites Featuring Hink Pinks

Hink Pinks online

Trotter Math’s Hink Pinks

For more ways to help your child develop phonemic awareness, follow this link to visit our Phonemic Awareness page.


Rhyming Words – Supporting Phonemic Awareness Part 1

Posted on July 14th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

We offer two sets of free printable rhyming words on this website.

Keep in mind that sound matching and learning about rhyming words will help your child to gain phonemic awareness and phonemic awareness is a key to learning to read. If you are unfamiliar with the term phonemic awareness and/or if you would like to learn more about it. we encourage you to follow the link to our page about phonemic awareness.

Here are some ways you could use these free rhyming word printables…

1. Print off one set of rhyming word pictures and then cut the pictures apart. Make sure your child knows what each picture is depicting. Ask your child to match the rhymes together.

2. Use one set of rhyming words to play a rhyming word memory game with your child. Turn all the pictures upside down and take turns trying to patch the pairs.

3. Make a file folder memory matching game – glue one half of the rhyming pictures to the inside of the file folder and leave the remaining pictures (loose) to be matched. You can make it a self correcting activity by putting a different symbol beside each of the pictures you glued to the folder and using the symbols the back of the matching pictures.

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


Some of our early learning 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 our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early learning printables here.

image of PDF icon  Match the Rhyming Words

24 Pictures of rhyming words (king, ring, bee, tree, hat, cat, mouse, house, bed, red, clock, lock, tire, fire, bear, chair, train, chain, skate, gate, fox, box, frog, dog)

image of PDF icon  Match the Rhyming Words - Set 2

24 pictures of rhyming words (whale, sail, hook, book, wig, pig, stamp, lamp, wet, jet, five, hive, hair, stair, fish, dish, flower, tower, clip, hip, moose, goose, ghost, toast)


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

Canadian Picturebook Authors and Illustrators – A Patriotic Crossword Puzzle

Posted on June 26th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Here’s a fun way to celebrate Canada Day – check out our Canadian Picture Book crossword puzzle.

image of PDF icon  Canadian Picture Book Crossword

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

Father’s Day Wordsearch Printable

Posted on June 18th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Here is one of our many free PDF printables for children – a Father’s Day Wordsearch PDF. Enjoy!

image of PDF icon  Father's Day Word Search

Our early literacy printables, including our Father’s Day Wordsearch 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 Father’s Day Wordsearch, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Dazzling Felt Stories, Puppets and an Amazing Feel-Good Opportunity

Posted on June 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Last Friday morning, I spent well over an hour exploring a wonderful shop in Vancouver that is both inspiring and uplifting. I rediscovered the delightful items available for purchase at 4th Avenue’s Craftworks.

Since 1966, 3H Craftworks Society has provided a craft-therapy program for adults with physical disabilities and/or mental health challenges. Member clients gain confidence and self esteem while participating, creating, and socializing with other members of the community. Member clients are renumerated monthly for the projects they complete. Products are then sold through a store at 2208 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In addition, products are available through mail order and via email: [email protected]

For teachers, the array of colourful and high quality felt board stories and (finger and hand) puppets is absolutely dazzling. What a selection! Parents, grandparents, and friends will find all sorts of beautiful gifts and toys. Don’t miss The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly – she’s absolutely great.

Be sure to “like” 3H Craftworks: Creations by Artisans with Disabilities on Facebook, check out their Twitter feed as well @craftworkson4th Best of all, investigate their wonderful products for yourself. I guarantee, you will leave with a smile on your face.

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.


Homemade Coffee Ground Playdough Fun

Posted on May 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Recycled Coffee Ground Playdough Recipe

Homemade Coffee Ground Playdough FunWhen presenting my workshops for teaching professionals, I often include using Fimo Clay and rubber stamps to make paperweights with special messages. While presenting Growing and Learning Green for the Early Childhood Educators of BC on Saturday, the idea of using (used) coffee grounds to make a play-dough-like modelling clay was talked about.



Earlier today, I stopped by Starbucks and easily obtained a large bag of used coffee grounds for free. Thank you Starbucks!

Homemade Coffee Ground Playdough in the mixing bowlThis evening I mixed together equal parts coffee and flour. I added 1/2 part salt and made sure the mixture was blended thoroughly. Once I was happy with the mix, I stirred in 1/2 part water.

If you were doing this, you might use the following:
3 C slightly damp coffee grounds
3 C All Purpose flour
1 1/2 C Table Salt
1 1/2 C Water

I did most of the mixing in a bowl and then kneaded it on some parchment paper. The consistency was great and the dough was relatively easy to manage. I rolled it out between two sheets of parchment paper and was able to use a small-ish cookie cutter and a larger biscuit cutter to cut out shapes.

Homemade Coffee Ground PlaydoughI was not successful when I tried to press a rubber stamp into the mix – bits of coffee seemed to cling to the stamp.

I have left two pieces of dough out to air dry and will check them in the morning. I froze the rest of the dough so that I can share it at my next Growing and Learning Green workshop.

Air-dried Coffee ground playdough
This is a picture of the playdough after air drying for three days. It feels quite solid and is not crumbly. The surface looks almost dusty.
If you have ideas about ways to reuse coffee grounds – I would love to hear from you!

8 Days Remaining in the 2011 Get to Know Contest

Posted on May 13th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Make some time this week to take a child outdoors. Help your child to discover the natural world and encourage them to write, photograph, or create art about the experience. There are just eight days left to get involved in the 2011 Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest

Get to Know Your Wild Neighbors!

This year, renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman plans to invite Canadian youth to go outside and “get to know” their wild neighbours. In cooperation with national partners Wildlife Habitat Canada, Parks Canada, and the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest encourages young people to develop a deeper appreciation for their neighbours of other species by getting outdoors and creating art, writing, digital photography, and videos. The goal of the contest is to engage the power of art to help youth feel more connected with nature. It’s all about making connections with other environmentally passionate youth, using the creative arts to convey your passion, and having your accomplishments celebrated. Connect…Create …Celebrate!

2011 has been declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations. In celebration of this important designation, the theme of the 2011 Get to Know Contest is “This is My Forest”. Whether it’s a single tree in a backyard or acres of boreal forest in a national park, the contest offers youth the opportunity to learn about and celebrate their local forest and its inhabitants. Winners will receive all kinds of wild prizes, including cash, an invitation to the week-long Get to Know Art & Nature Camp in Victoria (courtesy of Parks Canada), and the chance to have their entry published in the 2012 Robert Bateman Get to Know Calendar. The contest launches during National Wildlife Week, April 10 – 16, at participating parks, zoos, and museums all across Canada. To learn more and find out how to enter, visit the contest website

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.

Spring Theme Printables for preschool and kindergarten

Posted on April 3rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Enjoy our Free Spring Theme Printables for Kids

Easter and Spring theme free printables for children that you can download and use at home or in a classroom right away.





Step 1 – Make sure you have Adobe Reader. If you don’t have it, please click on the ‘Get Adobe Reader’ button to install it for free.image for Adobe Reader


Step 2 – Pin this page, bookmark this page, share this page, “Like” us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter.


Step 3 – Choose from any of our 250 free downloads, including these free printable Easter and Spring theme printables for kids.




Elsewhere on this page

It is Spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.- Rainer Maria Rilke
Free Printable Spring and Easter Theme Writing Paper
Some of our Most Popular Spring and Easter Theme Posts
Free Printable Spring and Easter Theme Rhymes, Chants and Fingerplays
Free Printable Spring Picture Dictionary


Spring and Easter Theme Interlined Writing Paper for Preschool and Kindergarten

These are just a few of many free printable writing paper downloads available on this site. Please be sure to check out our Writing Paper for Kids page for many more.


Kindergarten Spring Writing Paper

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids- Spring

Spring theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Spring Flowers

Spring theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Seedling in Flowerpot

Plant theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


Pussy Willow Writing Paper for Preschool and Kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Pussy Willow

Spring theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Smiling Flowers

Garden theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of Easter interlined paper

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Easter

Easter theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Easter Basket

Easter theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


Some related themes to explore

Explore all St. Patrick's Day Theme Printables and Picture Books

Click Here to Explore All Easter Theme Printables and Picture Books

Click to explore all Gardening Theme Printables and Picture Books

Click to Explore Green Theme Printables and Picture Books



Some of our Most Popular Spring and Easter Theme Posts

Hover over the photo for a description. Click on the photo to link to the post.

Five Little Ducks illustrated by Ivan BatesSplish Splash SpringEaster egg letter matchAlphabet Go Go Go Stop Learning GameSpring theme picture books Highlight Alliteration, Rhyming, Onomatopoeia and Repetition


image of Five Little Easter Eggs

Spring and Easter Poems, Songs, Chants for Preschool and Kindergarten

Adapt these Spring and Easter theme chants and poems as felt board activities and/or use them at preschool or kindergarten circle time.






Spring Poems for Preschool and Kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Pussy Willow Poem

image of PDF icon  Springtime Fingerplay and Song

image of PDF icon  Little Rabbit

image of PDF icon  The Rain

image of PDF icon  I Love the Flowers

image of PDF icon  Tulips

image of PDF icon  A Little Seed

image of PDF icon  Little Peter Rabbit

image of PDF icon  Five Little Ducks

image of PDF icon  Little Robin Red Breast

Easter Poems for Preschool and Kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Five Little Easter Eggs

image of PDF icon  Easter Bunny

image of PDF icon  Five Brown Eggs

image of PDF icon  Easter Everywhere

For the Five Little Easter Eggs chant, ask your child, “What color is left over after Mommy, Daddy, Brother and Sister eat their eggs?”

Easter Crossword Puzzle for Children –

image of PDF icon  Easter Crossword


image of a Spring Picture Dictionary printable for children

Picture Dictionaries for Easter and Spring

– Easter and Spring pictures together with words

Our free vocabulary printables are great and so versatile. Print onto cardstock. Laminate if you wish. Then, cut apart and create a matching activity or encourage your child to “read” the words (using picture clues). As well, beginning writers love to practice printing the words.

You can create your own categorized picture dictionary if you print more than one. We have many available. Check out our Picture Dictionaries page.

image of PDF icon  Spring Picture Dictionary

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

image of PDF icon  Easter Picture Dictionary

Helpful for children who want to read and write about Easter, this picture dictionary is also suitable for English Language Learners.




Gardening Sequencing activity –

Sequencing activities are great for building comprehension skills

image of PDF icon  Planting a Flower Garden Sequencing Activity

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Spring and Easter for Preschool and Kindergarten on Pinterest.

We would love to hear about great Easter and Spring resources, please let us know what you have discovered!

More News

Learning the Alphabet

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia ...

Classic Picture Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom written by Bill Martin Jr. and ...

Alphabet Recognition Game for Preschool

[caption id="attachment_16404" align="alignleft" width="300"] Diecuts With A View Alphabet Scrapbook ...

Phonemic Awareness

Storytime Standouts Tips for Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Storytime Standouts Tips for Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Some of the keys to learning to read are noticing ...

Developing Phonemic Awareness: How’s Your Nose, Rose?

You won't regret using wordplay to support your child's phonemic ...

Phonemic Awareness – Questions for Your Child (2)

The focus of our last few posts has been phonemic ...

Teacher Resources

Fireflies A Writer’s Notebook

Fireflies A Writer’s Notebook

Fireflies A Writer's Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore Journal for writers ...

Loving books can be contagious – Reading Power

It's no secret that we are impacted by the thoughts ...

Story People by Brian Andreas

On a trip through an airport, Jody discovers the work ...

Terrific Chapter Books

Wrapping up the year… 2014 best books for middle grades

Wrapping up the year… 2014 best books for middle grades

I always say this but I can't believe it's the ...

A Middle Grade Teacher’s To Be Read List

It's been a while since I did a top ten ...

Good Things Come In Threes; The Ascendance Trilogy

This isn't a scientific fact but it is a completely ...

Translate »