Posts Tagged ‘positive message about reading’

Make Your Child’s Read Aloud Experience Magical- Like a Trip to a Theme Park

Posted on January 8th, 2018 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts shares 7 tips to create Read Aloud magic

Use our 7 tips to make your child’s read aloud experience enjoyable and magical for both of you!

  • Disneyland refers to itself as, “The Happiest Place on Earth!” We think that your daily read aloud experience should be the happiest part of your day. This is an opportunity to forget about work, forget about chores, forget about whatever is distracting you and make storytime an opportunity to focus just on your child. Read aloud is a time to escape into great picture books or chapter books and create wonderful memories and learning opportunities for your child.
  • Just as you might count down the days ’til you visit a theme park, create some excitement about the read aloud experience. “What shall we read tonight?” “I can’t wait for our storytime!”, “Let’s borrow a HUGE pile of books from the library this weekend!”, “What kind of book would you like for your birthday?”, “Which books shall we take on our holiday?”
  • It’s fun to go on the same ride more than once, it also completely fine to read the same book more than once! Each time you read aloud, children are learning new vocabulary, they are gaining phonemic awareness and exploring new ideas and new themes. Don’t worry if they want to hear the same book over and over again. They are still benefiting from the experience and enjoying the time with you!
  • The best theme park rides immerse the riders in the experience! We want to do the same when we read aloud. Use silly, giggling voices, stern, authoritative voices. Use high-pitched squeaky voices and low-pitched growls. Act out part of the story along with your child! Build a special fort and read inside it! Turn out the lights and read with a flashlight or read while stretched out on a picnic blanket. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t want to sit still for a story. It is completely fine to have your child play with Lego or draw a picture while you read.
  • Interrupt the story occasionally and be playful and engage your child. Encourage your child to make a prediction or tell you which farm animal he likes best or make a comparison to another story. Play I Spy with the illustrations or the text. When children make predictions and comparisons, they are flexing their comprehension muscles!
  • Just as you would choose age-appropriate rides at a theme-park, look for books that match your child’s maturity and interests. When she is ready, move past baby or toddler books and discover great picture books and chapter books. Every now and then, be brave and give something challenging a try – don’t be afraid to climb aboard that roller coaster!
  • Make time for you and your child to enjoy this simple yet rewarding escape every single day. It will be good for both of you – sort of like a trip to a magic kingdom!
  • Reading Doesn’t Have to Involve a Book…

    Posted on July 25th, 2014 by Jody

    Storytime Standouts' Guest Contributor Explains Reading Doesn't Have to Involve a BookOn an average day, you might feel like there are too many things that need to be done to stop, sit down, and read. There is no doubt that reading books and enjoying reading are immeasurable necessities in life. However, sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in a day. That doesn’t mean you can’t fit reading in, around, or between.

    1. Cook with your children

    It’s more than just reading a recipe. Encourage them to do this, yes, but it also allows for you and your child to converse about tastes, amounts, ingredients, and so much more. While making pasta sauce with my daughters the other night, we didn’t follow a recipe, but we talked. Oral language is incredibly important. Listening to and following instructions, asking questions, and completing tasks are all part of cooking even the simplest of meals. Take time to do this with your children.

    2. Instructions

    My daughters, who both love to read, often come to me and ask how to do something (like a new game) or what something is. My response is generally, “you can read”. Reading, interpreting, and applying directions is a skill. A necessary skill. If your child looks at the directions and then passes them off to you (as I often do to my husband), get them to read them. Ask them what they are being asked. They will need this skill in the classroom for directions as simple as “write your name at the top” to how to complete an exam.

    3. Comics

    My youngest daughter has fallen in love with Archie. This brings me great joy because it is one of my favourite memories of being a child. I’ve had parents, in the past, who worry about their child picking up comics versus chapter books. If they’re reading, they’re building fluency and fostering their enjoyment for the task. Don’t stop this– encourage it. It is very fun to listen to your child laugh when they actually get a joke that is in print.

    4. Signs and other environmental print

    On long car rides, we pull out the iPods (and to be clear– a long car ride to me is from Chilliwack to Langley- I’m a bit of a wimp), but around town or anything under a half an hour, the kids go without. Generally, they’ll bring books with them but we also encourage them to read the signs and pay attention to their surroundings. Okay, maybe my husband encourages our children more strongly than others might, since I get lost quite easily. My children often ask me if I know where I’m going. Most of the time, I do. But, it’s pretty cool to have them recognize landmarks, signs, familiar areas and say, “that signs says…”. Things we, as adults, take for granted might be foreign to kids. Ask them if they know what all of the symbols mean when they’re posted. Ask them if they know what it means when a sign says 42K.

    5. TV

    Yes. I’m advocating television. I truly believe that your children can watch a huge amount of television and STILL love to read. I see proof of it every single day. Reading the TV guide, an episode summary, or the words that pop up onto the screen further encourage your child’s reading abilities. It all counts. Should they just read the TV guide? Probably not. The key with television, I find, is to talk to them about what they see and what they read. Another great way to improve fluency is Karaoke. Regardless of their singing ability, reading the words as they scroll along the top of the screen, while trying to sing them in unison, is hard to do. Try it with a song you don’t know and see how hard it is to match the beat, the words, and the your voice.

    Regardless of how you get them reading, it is about more than books. You absolutely cannot underestimate the power of conversation with any of these activities, including reading a book. Oral language deepens and enhances our understanding of the world around us and, for children, expressing their thoughts and questions is a huge part of building their confidence and establishing connections. So, if you don’t have time for a book, there are words everywhere, all around us– improvise.

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – Classic Picture Book Fun

    Posted on June 24th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Classic Picture Book Fun from Storytime StandoutsIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond
    Classic Picture Book published by Harper Collins Publishers





    When I explained to my family that I am writing a series of posts about classic picture books, my youngest son told me that I must include If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and my husband immediately added that he always enjoyed reading it aloud.

    If you sit down outside your house to enjoy a chocolate chip cookie and if a mouse in blue coveralls should appear you will, of course, be tempted to share the treats. It won’t be long ’til you are headed into the house to satisfy your guest’s need for a glass of milk. It is almost impossible for a mouse to drink from a tall glass so he’ll ask for a straw and then a napkin (to eliminate a milk mustache).Storytime Standouts features Classic Picture Book,  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

    Delightful illustrations enhance this wonderful, circular story and add extra “inside jokes” that children will enjoy. Who could imagine that when the mouse decides to trim his hair he will find so much to cut and scatter around the otherwise neat and tidy bathroom? The young boy whose generosity led to an ongoing “make work project” is kept running as his small companion’s demands continue.

    Great fun for children aged four years and up.

    Mouse Cookie Books website

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie at Amazon.com

    If You Give A Mouse A Cookie at Amazon.ca


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    Loving books can be contagious – Reading Power

    Posted on October 14th, 2013 by Jody

    Loving Books Can Be Contagious




    It’s no secret that we are impacted by the thoughts and actions of others. It starts early in life when we begin to mimic what we see, even as babies. As we get older and move into the preteen and teen ages, what others think matters to us immensely. We want others to like us, to want to be with us and the same goes for them. Someone out there wants you to like them. As I tell my grade five students, we must use this power for good. We have the unique opportunity of impacting many people’s lives every single day for better or for worse. It can be something as simple as a smile or kind words and you’ve made someone’s day better. As parents and as teachers, we need to know that copying what we see, what our children see and might be copying, influences who we become and what matters to us. So we should be asking ourselves, what do we want our children/students to see? To become?

    cover art for Reading Power by Adrienne Gear Reading Power: Teaching Students to Think While They Read

    Yesterday, I attended, perhaps, the best workshop I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. I was extremely motivated, captivated, and inspired by Adrienne Gear who is the teacher behind “Reading Power”. Her passion led her to develop a different way to approach learners and really help them tackle the other half of reading: the comprehending and connecting part of reading. By the time I left the workshop, I had ideas I wanted to incoprorate into lessons and, even better, some ideas on how to motivate some of my struggling readers. Her enthusiasm and excitement over books brought out mine. I wasn’t the only one. Ms. Gear gave us a list of fabulous books that she loves and finds beneficial in her classroom teaching of the reading powers. After she left, our principal okayed our librarian to buy EVERY ONE OF THE BOOKS. Her excitement caused a ripple effect. That’s what we want to do in the classroom and in our homes.

    You may not love reading or books but you want your children to. Reading opens doors that nothing else can. It is this amazing thing that can enrich your life even while it helps you live your life. We need to read. It’s a part of life and it’s vital. But just like working at a job, it’s so much better and so much more effective if you LOVE it. Help your kids love to read. Even if you don’t. Show enthusiasm for reading and for books. Talk about books that you’ve seen or read. Talk about articles in the newspaper or online. Engage in conversation about what’s happening in the real world or a fictional one. Inspire your kids to read something new, try something new. Visit a bookstore or a library. Read a book together. Read a book side by side. Our kids spend their developing years mimicking what they see. Let them see you take part in something that can and does, literally, change lives. Read. It’s contagious.

    Reading Power: Teaching Students to Think While They Read at Amazon.com

    Reading Power: Teaching Students to Think While They Read at Amazon.ca


    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you want to read, thank a parent.

    Posted on November 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

    If we want to engage children in reading and grow great readers, we need to make daily practice with age appropriate books a priority.

    'If you can read this thank a teacher.  If you want to read thank a parent.' from StorytimeStandouts.com



    I’m just back from a quick trip to the library. I had three books due today and didn’t want to rack up a fine. As I walked from the library, I passed a car with a wise bumper sticker: “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” It reminded me of a lunchtime conversation I had with some friends earlier today. We were talking about kids (actually boys) who read and kids (also boys) who don’t. One of the men at the table remarked that his parents didn’t express any anxiety over whether he would read, it was just assumed that everyone in the house enjoyed reading and so they all read together. One of the women remarked that she has a friend whose kids don’t read at all. Both children are boys and they never pick up a book. Apparently, even TV Guide is a challenge for one of them. As a booklover, I view this as a tragedy, as a teacher, I am suspicious. (Actually, the teacher part of me also sees it as a tragedy.) Becoming a good reader requires at least two things: instruction and practice. Virtually every child receives instruction but I’m not convinced that every child receives adequate practice.

    If we want to engage children in reading and grow great readers, we need to make daily practice with age appropriate books a priority. The trick is to find increasingly challenging books that captive and inspire. I will do my best to alert you to my favourites – please “chime in” with your own.

    By the way, my rewrite of the bumper sticker would look something like this:

    “If you can read, thank a teacher. If you want to read, thank a parent.”

    Read Alouds for 7-10 year olds, approved by a difficult-to-please 8 year old boy

    Posted on August 19th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


    Storytime Standouts Suggests Read  Alouds for 7-10 Year Olds



    Finding great books for 7 – 10 year olds to enjoy can be enormously rewarding. The initial learn–to-read phase is complete and we hope our children will chose to read for pleasure. When, as parents, we check to see why things are so quiet and discover our children with a book, it is indeed a special ‘a-ha’ moment.

    Just as reading picture books aloud is important to very young children, it is vital that mom and/or dad continues to read aloud to emergent readers. Long after your child reads independently there are books worth exploring together. Sharing wonderful chapter books with your child will motivate him to read more challenging books. There are marvelous fantasies, legends, and mysteries for you and your child to discover.Charlotte's Web

    A grade two teacher recently wrote to me, hoping for some read aloud recommendations. She had already shared James and the Giant Peach
    by Roald Dahl, Freckle Juice by Judy Blume and Charlotte’s Web
    by E.B. White with her class. I replied to her and shared these suggestions – I have personally tested each and every one with a difficult-to-please eight year old boy.

    Here are my suggested read alouds for 7-10 year olds

    Follow this link for many more chapter book suggestions for 7-10 year olds

    image of cover art for A Mouse Called WolfA Mouse Called Wolf written by Dick King Smith
    Chapter book for 7-10 year olds published by Yearling, an imprint of Random House

    When looking for books to share with this age group, I would encourage you to take a look at Dick King-Smith’s books. King-Smith wrote Babe: The Gallant Pig and Ace: A Very Important Pig and numerous other wonderful animal stories. A Mouse Called Wolf is one of my favourites. It explores the love of music and also the loneliness that sometimes accompanies old age.

    Reading one of Dick King-Smith’s books might launch a reader into his entire booklist.

    A Mouse Called Wolf at Amazon.com

    A Mouse Called Wolf at Amazon.ca

    image of cover art for The Legend of Spud MurphyThe Legend of Spud Murphy written by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by Glenn McCoy
    Chapter book for 7-10 year olds published by Miramax

    My 8 year old and I enjoyed Eoin Colfer’s Legend of Spud Murphy and Eoin Colfer’s Captain Crow’s Teeth together. Both were good fun and will be enjoyed by 7-10 year olds. The Legend of Spud Murphy has a very good message about reading and books therefore, I chose it as my favourite. Eoin Colfer is the author of the Artemis Fowl series (for older children).

    Eoin Colfer’s Legend of Spud Murphy at Amazon.com

    Eoin Colfer’s The Legend of Spud Murphy at Amazon.ca

    image of cover art for The Seven Wonders of Sassafras SpringsThe Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs written by Betty G. Birney and illustrated by Matt Phelan
    Chapter book for 7-10 year olds published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

    For something completely different, I like The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs . Here we have a young boy who reads about the Seven Wonders of the World and longs to explore the world outside his hometown. His dad agrees to send him on a trip but first he must find The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs.
    There are all sorts of opportunities for extention activities, possibly building an entire unit around this book. Perhaps your students could be encouraged to find a ‘wonder’ all their own.

    The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs at Amazon.com

    The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs at Amazon.ca

    image of cover art for Truly Winnie Truly Winnie – written by Jennifer Richard Jacobson and illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis
    Chapter book for 7-10 year olds published by Sandpiper

    Winnie, Vanessa and Zoe are off to their first overnight camp! They’ll be away from home for two weeks – swimming, climbing, boating and making new friends. Winnie, whose mother died after she was born, knows all too well that she is different from other girls. When she is assigned to a tent away from her closest friends, she is forced to make new friends. When getting to know her fellow campers, Winnie tells of her mother’s many accomplishments and before long is caught in a web of deception.

    I read Truly Winnie aloud to my eight-year-old son. When I suggested we give it a try, I thought he might resist because the main characters are all girls (imagine!) In fact, the camp theme and compelling story made the Truly Winnie a good choice for both boys and girls. Nominated for the 2004 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award and chosen by the School Library Journal for their annual Children’s Curriculum, Truly Winnie offers many opportunities for discussion including

    How it feels to a be a ‘third wheel”
    How being away from home changes the campers and
    Why Winnie feels she must invent a mother

    Truly Winnie at Amazon.com

    Truly Winnie at Amazon.ca

    The Boy with Lightning Feet – written by Sally Gardner and illustrated by Lydia Corry
    Chapter book for 7-10 year olds published by Orion Children’s Books

    Timmy Twinkle has lived with his grandfather since his mom left the family and moved to Spain. The loss of his mom leaves Timmy feeling empty. He tries to fill the void with food and before long he is chubby, friendless and a target for bullies.

    Timmy dreams of playing football (soccer), but his weight problem renders him clumsy at sports.

    When a friend comes to stay with Timmy and his grandfather, she shares her passion for physical fitness. Before long Timmy is lean and ready to discover the magic in his toes.

    Part of Ms. Gardner’s Magical Children series, The Boy with Lightning Feet will hold a special appeal for football (soccer) players and children who lack confidence in their own magical qualities. It was a definite winner in our household.

    The Boy with the Lightning Feet at Amazon.com

    The Boy with the Lightning Feet at Amazon.ca

    Sir Gadabout Goes Barking Mad – written by Martyn Beardsley and illustrated by Tony Ross

    Sir Gadabout holds the dubious title of Worst Knight in the World. When King Arthur dispatches him to collect Merlin and deliver him in time for the Magic World Cup, Gadabout and company encounter Demelza and Morag, two decidedly wicked witches. Before long, Gadabout is convinced that the witches have turned Merlin – reining world champion wizard – into a talking dog.

    Great fun here for young readers and their parents to enjoy together. Read it aloud and enjoy the inside jokes.

    Sir Gadabout Goes Barking Mad at Amazon.com

    Sir Gadabout Goes Barking Mad at Amazon.ca


    The Deep Cold River Story Asks How to Get a Flooding River Back to its Bed

    Posted on February 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

    The Deep Cold River Story written by Tabatha Southey and illustrated by Sue Savor


    Imagine a deep, cold river running through a small community. One day, for no apparent reason, the river overflows its banks and floods the entire town. Many possible solutions to the unrelenting flooding are proposed but it takes a little girl to solve the problem and save the town.

    The Deep Cold River Story features a positive message about bedtime stories and offers a great opportunity for children to propose their own creative solutions to the problem.

    A charming story featuring a young heroine and appealing illustrations, The Deep Cold River Story is 28 pages and will be enjoyed by children aged 3 to 6.

    Tabatha Southey’s Commentary – The Globe and Mail

    The Deep Cold River Story at Amazon.com

    The Deep Cold River Story at Amazon.ca


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