Posts Tagged ‘emergent readers’

Anti bullying story for beginning readers – Justin and the Bully

Posted on December 5th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

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cover art for Justin and the BullyJustin and the Bully written by Tony and Lauren Dungy, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
Anti bullying story for beginning readers published by Simon Spotlight

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Justin loves to play soccer and he is very excited when his mom agrees to sign him up for a team. His family shares his excitement and all is well until he goes to his first practice. When he gets to practice, he likes his coach and most of his teammates. He is disappointed when one of his teammates, Taylor calls him “Shorty” and criticizes his playing ability.

After practice, Justin is quiet and at dinnertime he announces that he doesn’t want to continue playing soccer. After a family discussion, Justin explains that Taylor told him he was too short to play.

At bedtime, Justin’s parents encourage him to try again. The following day, Justin’s mom accompanies him to practice and she speaks with the coach about the situation.

The coach called the team together. “We are a team,” he said. “Right?”
Everyone said, “Right, Coach!”
“And on a good team there are no bullies. Right?”
“Right, Coach!” everybody said.

Coach Harris goes on to ask “What is a bully?” and the children provide examples of bullying behavior.

The next weekend, the team plays its first game. The children work together and are successful until an unpleasant comment is made by Taylor. One of Justin’s teammates speaks up and tells Taylor that she is behaving like a bully.

Justin and the Bully is part of Simon Spotlight’s Ready to Read series. It is rated Level Two and includes both sight words and words that children will sound out. The story itself is compelling and the solution is realistic. It is noteable that the child who is being bullied is assisted by his parents and his coach. The situation is resolved when a bystander notices the bullying and speaks up about the bullying behavior.

Add this anti bullying book for beginning readers to your bookshelf –

Justin and the Bully (Ready-to-Read. Level 2) at Amazon.com

Justin and the Bully (Ready-to-Read, Level 2) at Amazon.ca


Storytelling Around the World

Posted on November 2nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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This five-book series is written is written by Veronika Martenova Charles‘ and illustrated by David Parkins. Generously illustrated, each book includes three versions of a familiar story and was written with newly independent readers in mind. The books are each 56 pages and contain five chapters. Suited to readers aged five to eight, the series could be used effectively in a classroom with children exploring similarities and differences the ways Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood and other stories are told.

It’s Not about the Apple!: Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales at Amazon.com

It’s Not about the Apple!: Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales at Amazon.ca

It’s Not about the Crumbs!: Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales at Amazon.com

It’s Not about the Crumbs!: Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales at Amazon.ca

It’s Not about the Hunter!: Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales at Amazon.com

It’s Not about the Hunter!: Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales at Amazon.ca


A Special Gem – Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time

Posted on October 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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A Special Gem for Newly Independent Readers Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet TimeHoundsley and Catina and the Quiet Time written by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Chapter book series for kindergarten – grade three published by Candlewick Press





When Houndsley and Catina are unexpectedly snowed in, Houndsley is quite happy to relax and enjoy The Quiet Time. Catina is not nearly as content. She has things to do and places to go. Eventually the two settle in and spend an enjoyable day playing board games, baking cookies and writing poetry. In the evening, they join their friends for a snowy outdoor concert. The musicians

began to play so softly that the notes fell on the listening ears like snowflakes on waiting tongues, gently, softly, there for a flicker before melting away.

Beautiful language and equally special illustrations are terrific for newly independent readers, the Houndsley and Catina books are also a very good choice for younger children who are ready to enjoy a longer read-aloud book.

Highly recommended.

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time at Amazon.com

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time on Amazon.ca


Environmental Print – Great for Beginning Readers

Posted on September 25th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Environmental Print - Great for Beginning Readers!

I’ve been having some fun this week. I grabbed my camera and headed out on a hunt for environmental print.

Environmental print is print that is all around us. In our home, it is on food packaging and on other products we use. In a public building it is on door handles (PUSH, PULL) and above doorways (EXIT), when we go for a drive, it is on road signs (STOP), vehicles (POLICE, AMBULANCE), buildings (DRUG STORE) and in other public places (PARK, GARBAGE, RECYCLE).





Environmental Print - Great for Beginning Readers - Storytime Standouts shares a Smile

For a preschool or kindgergarten-age child, who is anxious to read his first word, environmental print may be “just the ticket.” Head out for a walk and see how many words your child can “read.” In all likelihood, he will already know how to read “McDonalds” or “Starbucks.”

Can he use context clues to correctly “read” more of the words around him? Can he “read” a situation and use the information he sees to make a correct guess about the letters and words he sees?

City Signs by Zoran Milich
Environmental Print picture book published by Kids Can Press

City Signs is a great book to share with four and five year olds, particularly youngsters who are anxious to read. City Signs is a series of photographs that each include at least one word. The word is shown in context so young “readers” can use their detective skills to make an educated guess about the word. Some of the words are unmistakable: ambulance, ice cream, life guard, horses. Other words are somewhat trickier: litter and supermarket could be mistaken for garbage or grocery store.

For children who are desperate for reading success, looking for environmental print and encouraging them to read “EXIT,” “PUSH,” “BUS STOP” and “LIFEGUARD” can be a real confidence builder.

City Signs at Amazon.com

City Signs at Amazon.ca

When you go out with your child, take a camera with you. Take pictures of environmental print. When you get home, help your child to make a book to read. You can be sure he will be excited to show off his ‘new words’ to Grandma or Grandpa.

Food packaging and pictures from advertisements are more great sources of environmental print. Work with your child to put together a collage or scrapbook to read and enjoy.

Environmental Print - Great for Beginning Readers - Storytime Standouts shares Toys

Environmental Print - Great for Beginning Readers - Storytime Standouts shares Books

Our free Environmental Print printables for young children

image of PDF icon  Environmental Print 1

image of PDF icon  Environmental Print 2










There are some fabulous environmental print resources online, here are some of our favourites

Sharon MacDonald’s page about environmental print.

Mrs. Horner’s Environmental Print Alphabet (PDF)

Environmental Print Games – including Bingo from Canada’s National Adult Literacy Database

Read Write Think – From Stop Signs to the Golden Arches: Environmental Print

Logos from GoodLogo.com

Candy Bar Wrapper Image Archive

We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Environmental Print Board on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Environmental Print for New Readers on Pinterest.

Using Word Families With Beginning Readers

Posted on September 14th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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When working with children who are just beginning to sound out words, I have had great success using word families.

image of cover art for Fat Cat, a book for beginning readersFat Cat written by Sue Graves and illustrated by Jan Smith
A Fun With Phonics book published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic Books

Shortly after a child discovers that C -A -T spells cat, it can be enormously rewarding to introduce B-A-T amd M-A-T. Often a child’s eyes grow as big as saucers as he realizes the relationship between the three words. He makes a connection and sounding out BAT, CAT, FAT, HAT, MAT, PAT, RAT and SAT is not nearly as difficult as he originally thought. Soon he has eight new words to be proud of (rather than just one).


image of cover art for Dog in the Fog, a book for beginning readersThere have been many, many books written that focus on word families. A search of “Fat Cat” might produce a dozen or more results. I’m delighted to let you know about a series that combines word families, spinning word wheels, picture clues and early reader books. The word wheels are sturdy and easy to spin. They each create eight words: the wheel for
image of cover art for Bug in a Rug, a book for beginning readers Bug in a Rug produces bug, hug, dug, jug, mug, pug, tug and rug.




Beginning readers will need some help decoding the story but will find the illustrations helpful and will soon notice that the word family words are printed using red ink. if ‘reading’ with an older family member, the child could be asked to ‘read just the red words’ until familiar with the vocabulary. Good fun and a helpful resource for those who are just learning about word families and beginning to read.

image of cover art for Jen the Hen, a book for beginning readers

Fat Cat at Amazon.com | Fat Cat at Amazon.ca

Jen The Hen at Amazon.com | Jen the Hen at Amazon.ca

Dog In The Fog at Amazon.com | Dog in the Fog at Amazon.ca

Bug In A Rug at Amazon.com | Bug in a Rug at Amazon.ca



image of How to Make Word Family Flip BooksOn the Storytime Standouts Word Families page we include Word Family Flip Books for short vowel word families. Print the pages and cut out the individual letters. Cut out the larger rectangle along the lines. Make a pile of letters (check that they are all the right way up) and staple them to the left of the word ending. Encourage your beginning reader to ‘build’ on her knowledge that C-A-T spells CAT by flipping the letters and substituting the consonant. She’ll create many more words and feel a thrill of success.

Our Word Families page also has several word family printables that show the words with pictures. These are great for beginning readers in Kindergarten and Grade One.

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

Some of our printables for beginning readers 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.

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


Canadian Flyer Adventures Time Travel Series for Grade Two

Posted on September 13th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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image of cover art for Canadian Flyer Adentures Beware, Pirates

The exciting Canadian Flyer Adventures time travel series for grade two has all the elements needed for success – action, adventure and fun. Generously illustrated, readers will be captivated while learning history






Canadian Flyer Adventures series written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Time Travel Series published by Owlkids Books



When young friends Emily and Matt climb a rickety spiral staircase, they discover an intriguing room filled with wonderful treasures. They are excited to imagine where and when each originated. When they sit on an old red Canadian Flyer sled, their time travel adventures begin.

In Book One of the Canadian Flyer Adventure series, they are transported to the Far North circa 1577. They find themselves aboard Martin Frobisher’s pirate ship and later help to rescue an Inuit man.

In Book Two, they face dangers during the time of dinosaurs.

image of cover art for Canadian Flyer Adventures Danger, DinorsaursI read and enjoyed both books. Likely intended for children who are reading at about a grade two to three level, the series is generously illustrated and quite exciting. Extra features include additional facts, an interview with the author and a preview of the next book in the series for grade two. It is great to see a series like this. The Canadian Flyer Adventure series will be enjoyed by young readers everywhere but will have a special appeal for Canadian children and those who gravitate toward history or time travel.

OwlKids Books’ Canadian Flyer Adventures website includes teacher resources and a map

Beware, Pirates! at Amazon.com

Danger, Dinosaurs! at Amazon.com

Beware, Pirates! at Amazon.ca

Danger, Dinosaurs! at Amazon.ca

Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride – Delightful Reading for 6 to 8 Year olds

Posted on September 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride - Delightful Reading for 6 to 8 Year oldsMercy Watson Goes for a Ride written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Chapter Book Series for Kindergarten to Grade 3 published by Candlewick Press





What could be better than expertly buttered toast? Not much, especially if you are Mercy Watson. She loves hot buttered toast almost as much as she enjoys adventure.

Author, Kate DiCamillo and illustrator, Chris Van Dusen have teamed up to create a delightful series of blue ribbon pig tales. Perfect for boys and girls, aged 6 to 8, each book is generously illustrated with bold and humorous depictions of Mercy’s hilarious escapades.

Whether attempting to drive a car or capturing a thief, Mercy is one very special pig. Read aloud or independently, this series is definitely one you’ll ‘toast.’

The delightful Mercy Watson website

Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride was a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book in 2007

Ms. DiCamillo has written several notable chapter books for older readers Because of Winn-Dixie (a Newbery Honor book), The Tiger Rising (a National Book Award finalist), and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. She won The Newbery Award for The Tale of Despereaux. I can’t pick a favorite, I’ll just look forward to the next.

Picture Book A Camping Spree With Mr. MageeMr. Van Dusen wrote and illustrated two picture books I frequently recommend; A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee and Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee.

Chris Van Dusen’s website

Mercy Watson Goes For A Ride at Amazon.com

Mercy Watson Goes For A Ride at Amazon.ca

A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee at Amazon.com

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee at Amazon.ca

Grade One Chapter Book: Being friends is better than being famous

Posted on August 31st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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When my boys first ventured into reading grade one chapter books, they were delighted to discover Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. Featuring a wonderful friendship and many happy adventures, the Frog and Toad series has been a favourite with young readers for decades.

James Howe’s latest book, Houndlsey and Catina is very reminiscent of the Frog and Toad series. Howe is famous for Bunnicula (Today Vegetables… Tomorrow the World). Houndlsey and Catina will appeal to younger readers who prefer shorter, generously illustrated chapters and less text. It will likely suit a child reading at a mid to late grade one level.

Grade One Chapter Book: Being friends is better than being famous Houndsley and CatinaHoundlsey and Catina written by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Chapter book series for kindergarten – grade three published by Candlewick Press





Illustrated beautifully by Marie-Louis Gay, Houndlsey and Catina tells of Catina’s desire to write a prize-winning book and Houndleys’ wish to win a cooking contest. Together, they help us see that being friends “is better than being famous..” This is a lovely tribute to friendship.

Houndsley and Catina at Amazon.com

Houndsley and Catina at Amazon.ca

The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set (I Can Read Book 2) at Amazon.com

The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set at Amazon.ca


Really reading: what does this involve?

Posted on August 30th, 2011 by Jody

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What Does Reading Involve - Effective Reading Strategies for Your Child

Looking at effective reading strategies for your child
















Being able to read encompasses more than you think. With your child getting ready to go back to school, it’s good for parents to know exactly what it means to be a ‘good reader’

The benefit of being a ‘good reader’ is that you don’t even think about all of the actual strategies and tools you are employing to make sense of the words on the page.

When I ask my students “What do good readers do?” they can state any or all of the following: Read ahead, Read back, Look at the pictures, Ask questions, Make Predictions, Summarize, and Re-Read. All of these are powerful strategies that ‘good readers’ use naturally. For a student that doesn’t naturally use these tools, reading is more difficult.

Each of these strategies is taught both independently and with the other strategies until students don’t even realize they are using them. You can reinforce your child’s reading by supporting these tools at home. Reading is the ultimate example of multitasking. For the child that is missing certain tools however, they will feel overwhelmed. Obviously, this is addressed at the classroom level, but at home, reading every day is essential to helping your child become a solid, fluent reader. Ask your child to summarize what is happening, pose questions of your own about what you are wondering, and make guesses with your child about what could happen and why you think that.

You can make these book talks fun and brief; basically just a check in that your child understands what they have read. These strategies can be applied at any reading level, including pre-kindergarten books with no words. When looking at books like these, I’ll ask my youngest daughter what she thinks is happening or if the character seems happy or sad. Start these talks young so your child feels comfortable talking about what they are reading. Oral language is a huge part of reading successfully.

You should be able to tell if your child has picked a book within their reading range by asking them to read aloud to you. Can they read the words without getting stuck on more than five on a page? Do they self-correct when they make mistakes? Do they seem engaged and curious about what they are reading? Do they want to know more? Do they ask questions and make predictions?

Reading is more than identifying words on a page. Books are meant to be read, enjoyed, and understood. Working with your child’s teacher, you can make reading more than acquiring information; you can make it a journey, an adventure, an escape and a lifelong pleasure.

Grade Two Chapter Book – Why Nate is Really Great

Posted on August 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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When looking for a special grade two chapter book, you can’t go wrong with Nate the Great

Grade Two Chapter Book – Why Nate is Really GreatNate the Great written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and illustrated by Marc Simont
Published by Yearling





Nate likes pancakes and syrup almost as much as he enjoys solving a perplexing mystery. Nate and his canine sidekick, Sludge, are called upon to solve all sorts of cases; locating lost paintings, disappearing dogs and, in one case, a missing key.

With an appearance that is often reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, Nate is all business – except if pancakes are on the menu. Along with with Annie and Rosamond, our hero cracks each case with solid detective work.

Nate the Great is a series that has been delighting young readers for more than thirty years. Suitable for children who are reading at about a grade two level, some of the stories are divided into chapters. Generously illustrated, the text is perfect for young readers who are ready to take on a meatier story (than typically found in easy readers).

Series like these are great because beginning readers often decide they want to read every single one of the Nate the Great books. This is just what we want, a child who is motivated to read by fun stories and a delightful cast of characters.

Nate the Great at Random House includes printable activities plus author information.

TeacherVision Nate the Great summarizing activity

Nate the Great at Amazon.com

Nate the Great at Amazon.ca


Rebus Chants

Posted on August 26th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Have you tried rebus chants in your early literacy programs? I present programs for 4,5 and 6 year old children. I use a variety of materials and have had considerable success with rebus chants. The chants are usually poems where several words are replaced with pictures. They are great for emergent readers because there is frequently repeated, predictable text. The young child does not have to decode all the words – the rebus pictures fill-in-the-blanks.

There are many sources of rebus chants. This is one that I created

image of PDF icon  Counting Snowmen Rebus

My favourites are created by Vera Trembach and published by Rainbow Horizons Publishing. Ms. Trembach offers seasonal and theme-related chants – there is truly something for everyone.

Whether you checkout the Canadian Rainbow Horizons Publishing website or the American website , you’ll find free teaching units and detailed information including previews of the chant books.

Emergent Readers Captivated by Drama and Mystery

Posted on August 24th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Check out this series for emergent readers

I spent a fair amount of time in a dentist’s chair today and was reflecting on my recent experience with a grade one student. I’ve been working with him for a while. His older brothers have had some difficulty with reading so I spend half an hour, once a week with this youngster. Yesterday he read from the Oxford University Press Read at Home series. He is familiar with these books and knows the characters; Floppy, Chip, Kipper and Biff.

During our session, I suggested he try one of the Level 4 stories. He eagerly selected, Trapped! text by Cynthia Rider, illustrations by Alex Brychta. It was delightful to hear him read confidently but what was even more special was his reaction to the book. Clearly, he saw this story as different from others he has read independently. There was more text – about three sentences per page. There were letters and hidden keys to locate within the illustrations. But, most surprising, there was drama – when Grandma was briefly trapped in a castle – and mystery – why was there face at the castle window?

My emergent reader was thrilled to read Trapped – he likened it to the kind of books his older brothers read. He felt competent, confident and intrigued. If only all books for young readers could replicate this winning combination.

The Oxford University Press Read at Home series is excellent from beginning to end and includes dozens of great titles for emergent readers.

Read at Home: More Level 4c: Trapped! at Amazon.com

Read at Home: More Level 4c Trapped! at Amazon.ca

Read at Home: Level 4, Pack of 6 at Amazon.ca

What is your favourite series for readers at this level? Please share your ideas and suggestions.


Five Ways to Support a Beginning Reader…

Posted on May 13th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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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

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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




5 Reading Comprehension Tips for Parents

Posted on April 8th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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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






Helping a Beginning Reader – Let’s Make a Plan

Posted on April 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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9 Ways to Help a Beginning Reader Succeed from StorytimeStandouts.com

If you are helping a beginning reader, I’m hoping some of these ideas will be of assistance to you and your child.





I want to begin by saying some children don’t want to read aloud to an adult. They may feel too “exposed” and may worry about making mistakes. If your child doesn’t want to read aloud to you, suggest that she read aloud to a favourite doll or teddy bear or even the family dog. There was a study, not long ago, that found reading aloud to a dog was effective in improving reading skills.

image of cover art for Jen the Hen, a good book for a beginning readerI also want to mention that parents should continue to read aloud to children long after they learn to read for themselves. So, don’t stop reading aloud just because your child has started to read. Hearing you read more challenging stories will encourage them to improve their own reading skills.

Click on the book covers for more information about each book and follow this link for more information about Beginning to Read.


Anyhow, back to the “plan” for helping a beginning reader…

Choosing a book is alot like tasting porridge. We don’t want a book that is too difficult and we want to move past the ones that are too easy. We want a book that is “just right.” Some people suggest using The Rule of Five. If your child has difficulty with five or more words on a page, have your child choose a different, easier book to read. Then, offer to read the “too tough” book aloud so your child has the opportunity to enjoy it.


Keep in mind that just because a book is labelled “level 3,” does not mean that the level of difficulty is consistent with other books with the same label. Take time to check out the text.


Once your child has selected a book, talk about the cover. What sort of story will it be? Does this cover remind you of anything else we’ve read? Who wrote the book? Who illustrated it?


If the book is non fiction (a fact book), ask your child what he hopes to learn and what he already knows about the subject. Warm up the book.


Decide how best to share the book… does your child want to read it silently and then aloud? would your child like you to read together with him? will you alternate pages or paragraphs? or will your child read the passage and then listen while you reread it? Please keep in mind that some memorizing and guessing is “normal.”If your child makes a mistake or gets mixed up, pause and give him a chance to self correct. If he can’t solve the problem, suggest that he try to read it again or read to the end of the sentence and decide which word would make sense.


image of cover art for Mercy Watson, a good series for a beginning reader

If he makes a mistake that does not make sense, ask him, “Did that make sense? Did it sound right?” If he tries twice but can’t decode the word, tell him the correct word.


If possible, as you are reading together, pause to discuss what is happening, what might happen next, how the story might end.


Remember, your praise is incredibly important to your child. There are all sorts of things you can say to a beginning reader

“I loved your expression when you read that story.”
“I’m so glad you are checking out the pictures for clues about this story.”
“I like the way you figured out that tough word.”
“I’m glad you asked me to help you read that tricky word.”
“I am so proud of your reading!”


image of cover art for Houndsley and Catina, a popular book for a beginning reader

Keep in mind that your child does not have to read perfectly. If she substitutes a word and the sentence still makes sense, ignore the mistake and let her continue. If she makes a mistake and the sentence does not make sense, wait for the sentence to end and then ask, “Does that make sense?” Encourage her to correct her own mistakes.


My own person advice is to relax. Learning to read is not a race and becoming an early reader does not ensure a love of books. Reading is like so many other milestones in childhood. Some children become readers quickly and almost effortlessly, while others require encouragement and lots of extra help. Your child will become a reader – I am sure of it – and, if you can keep the experience positive, relaxed and happy, I believe you will be playing a critically important part in raising your child to love to books and reading.

Please share your ideas, questions and suggestions about helping a beginning reader.

How to Help a Child Read Unfamiliar Words

Posted on November 20th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

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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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