Posts Tagged ‘reading comprehension’

Loving books can be contagious – Reading Power

Posted on October 14th, 2013 by Jody

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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

Wordless Picture Book Fun – Hocus Pocus

Posted on November 21st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Regular readers of Storytime Standouts will know that I am a fan of wordless and almost wordless picture books. When an adult shares a wordless picture book with a child, the adult loses the “reading advantage.” In a wordless picture book, there are almost no words to read. The story is told through the illustrations so both adult and child can partner to “read” the story and decide what it is all about.

Wordless picture books are great for vocabulary development because they encourage co-readers to discuss the illustrations as they move through the story. Wordless picture books are terrific for multi-lingual families because they can be enjoyed in any language. Additionally, wordless picture books provide a non-reading child the opportunity to “read” the illustrations and retell a story. Learning to “read” illustrations and retell stories are valuable skills for pre-readers and beginning readers to develop.

Hocus Pocus - story by Sylvie Desrosiers, illustrations by Rémy Simard
Wordless picture book published by Kids Can Press



When Mister Magic arrives home with his top hat, Dog and a bag full of groceries, he is ready to relax. He puts on headphones, sits in a comfortable chair and listens to music. Before long, Mister Magic and Dog are both fast asleep and Hocus Pocus, a mischievous rabbit is scrambling out of Mister Magic’s top hat. Hocus Pocus sees Mister Magic’s carrots peeking out of the grocery bag and wants one. He worries about awakening Dog and is soon plotting ways to avoid the canine and his sharp teeth.

Retro illustrations (created with Adobe Illustrator) and the messy, farcical battle between Dog and Hocus Pocus give the story a cartoon-like feel. Hocus Pocus is great fun and will be enjoyed by children aged four and up.

Hocus Pocus Printables from Kids Can Press

Hocus Pocus at Amazon.com

Hocus Pocus at Amazon.ca

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books



Stimulating Language Development with Wordless Picture Books

Posted on November 9th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Chicken and Cat Clean Up written and illustrated by Sara Varon
Wordless Picture Book published by Scholastic

If you have not yet enjoyed a wordless picture book with your child(ren), I would like to introduce you to this genre. “Reading” wordless picture books together with your child stimulates language development because the “reader” takes an active part in telling the story. Once you and your child have “read” the story from beginning to end hopefully your child will enjoy the opportunity to retell the tale – a key reading readiness skill.

In Chicken and Cat Clean Up we follow the misadventures of two dissimilar friends who operate a housekeeping business. Chicken is an excellent housekeeper but Cat is repeatedly challenged by the job. The bright, cheerful illustrations provide a fun account of operating a small buiness, an enduring friendship and how an opportunity for heroism might be just around the corner. Really good fun!

Chicken And Cat Clean Up at Amazon.com

Chicken and Cat Clean Up at Amazon.ca

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books



Reading Comprehension – 8 Ways to Reinforce Your Child’s Understanding

Posted on October 31st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Try some of these strategies to help your child with reading comprehension

8 ways to reinforce understanding and reading comprehension

Here are eight ways to reinforce a young child’s reading comprehension…











You will also want to read our page about reading comprehension.

Please click on the book covers for information about each picture book.

  • image of cover art for Houndsley and CatinaBefore opening the cover of a book, take a moment to talk about the cover art and encourage your youngster to make some predictions. Do you suppose this will be a scary story or perhaps a silly one? Do you think this book will be like something else we have read together? Making predictions is a great way to help your child develop good reading comprehension skills.
  • Does your child recognize the illustrator’s style and/or the typeface? Savvy readers will recognize that Stella Fairy of the Forest and Houndsley and Catina are both illustrated by Marie- Louise Gay although the characters in the two books are not the same.
  • image of cover art for Stella Fairy of the Forest

  • Once you have read partway through a picture book, pause to talk about it. Involve your child in making predictions about what will happen next. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom offers more than a couple of opportunities to guess what will happen to the letters of the alphabet. If a character is facing a choice, ask your child what he would choose and why. Thinking and talking about the story will reinforce reading comprehension.
  • At the end of the story, take a moment to talk about the characters. Which character does your child like best? / least? Does this character remind him of a person he knows or another book you’ve read together?
  • image of cover art for The Three Snow Bears

  • Try reading more than one version of a fairy tale or other familiar story. Compare the illustrations and the author’s words. Which version of the story do you like best? / least?
  • Try reading wordless picture books. In these books, all or almost all of the story is told through the illustrations. Wordless and almost wordless books are great because they “level the playing field.” Your child becomes an equal participant in carefully “reading” the illustrations and deciding what is happening in the story. Wordless and almost wordless books are also great for young children to share with someone who does not read in English. They are also valuable because they offer an opportunity for your child to use visual clues when retelling a story to someone else.
  • image of cover art for The 3 Bears and Goldilocks

  • Speaking of “retelling,”  having an opportunity to retell a story is a great way for young children to develop her reading comprehension skills. Perhaps after you and your child enjoy a story together, your child could summarize the story for another adult.
  • Finally, matching a book to an upcoming event or experience will help your child to make connections between the story or information in the book and his own experience. Whether reading a story about a visit to the dentist prior to an appointment or laughing about No David’s misadventures, making connections is what it is all about.
  • Reading and Interpreting Pictures Supports Reading Comprehension

    Posted on August 31st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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    Storytime Standouts explains how reading and Interpreting pictures bolsters reading comprehension



    Reading Readiness: Comprehension for Preschool and Kindergarten Can Involve  Reading and Interpreting Pictures

    What could your child tell you about this picture? Would she say that it is Fall? Would she predict that the family is choosing a pumpkin for Halloween?

    Two of the components of a child’s reading readiness are her comprehension and her interpretation. We can assist a preschool or kindergarten child with reading readiness by providing opportunities for him to read pictures and interpret them, including understanding the sequence of events.

    Reading and interpreting pictures includes noticing what is in the picture, what the characters are doing, the weather or time of day and other details (i.e. the color of a character’s clothing). A child could be asked to interpret the scene and confirm comprehension by telling or retelling the narrative.

    For the first picture, we could ask questions such as what do you think these people are doing? or why do you think the man is pushing the wheelbarrow? or Why do you think these people are visiting a pumpkin patch?

    Reading Readiness: Comprehension for Preschool and Kindergarten Can Involve  Reading and Interpreting Pictures

    How would your child interpret this picture? Would your child notice the old oil lamp?






    Why does one man have gold coins in his hand? or Do you see anything that looks usual in this picture?














    Wordless Picture Books Encourage Children to Interpret and Comprehend

    Wordless picture books provides opportunities for reading and Interpreting Pictures Wordless picture books are great tools for helping children to develop good comprehension and interpretation skills. We invite you to visit our Wordless Picture Books page to discover why great wordless picture books make narratives easily understood. Once a child has ‘read’ a wordless picture book with an adult, he should be encouraged to share the book with someone else. Making an opportunity to reconstruct and retell a story is valuable for a young child because reconstructing and retelling a story is a way to confirm comprehension.








    Sequencing Activities = Reading and Interpreting Pictures

    Children who have learned to ‘read’ and ‘interpret’ pictures will benefit from sequencing activities. These provide children with the opportunity to ‘read’ pictures and determine the correct order of events.
    Building a Snowman Sequencing Activity from Storytime StandoutsHere are links to three printable sequencing activities from my website and three from elsewhere on the internet.

    image of PDF icon  Building a Snowman Sequencing Activity




    Planting a Flower Garden Sequencing Activity from Storytime Standouts

    image of PDF icon  Planting a Flower Garden Sequencing Activity






    Making a Valentine Sequencing Activity for PreK Kindergarten from Storytime Standouts

    image of PDF icon  Valentine's Day Sequencing Activity

    Cut this Valentine's Day Sequencing Activity apart and have children put it together in the correct order or print two and use as a matching game.





    British Council Goldilocks and the Three Bears Sequencing Printable

    DLTK’s Story Sequencing Activities

    Early Learning Printables

    For additional information about comprehension and reading readiness, follow this link to our page about reading comprehension.


    Special Wordless Picture Books to Enjoy with Your Child

    Posted on August 19th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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    Wordless picture books are great for encouraging language development in young children. These books usually tell a story, clearly depicting a series of events. Before attempting to tell a ’story’, children should be encouraged to look through the entire book and get a sense of what is about to happen and how the story ends. Many children delight in the discovery that there are no words to ‘read.’ This can make for an exciting role reversal as young children have an opportunity to ‘read’ the pictures and ‘tell’ the story to an adult or another child.

    Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

    I am happy to introduce two new special wordless picture books…
    Once Upon a Banana written by Jennifer Armstrong and illustrated by David Small
    Almost Wordless Picture Book published by Simon and Schuster

    In this (almost) wordless picture book, hilarious events are set in motion when a small monkey tosses a banana peel onto a sidewalk. Before long it would appear that the entire town is upset – dogs break loose, a cyclist goes flying, a grocery cart is upended and, oh no, look at that baby carriage! Terrific fun.

    Once Upon a Banana at Amazon.com

    Once Upon a Banana at Amazon.ca

    Flotsam created by David Wiesner
    Wordless Picture Book published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Here, we join a boy and his family as they spend a day at the beach. Clearly an enthusiastic scientist, he arrives equipped with binoculars, a magnifying glass and a microscope. As he searches for interesting ‘flotsam’, a huge wave crashes over him and leaves an old underwater camera just above the waterline. The boy races to a nearby shop and waits as the film is developed. When handed the photos, he can’t believe what they reveal. Flotsam is truly a ‘treasure chest’ of visual delights.

    Flotsam (Caldecott Medal Book)at Amazon.com

    Flotsam at Amazon.ca

    Storytime Standouts offers dozens of early literacy printables, All of the printables are in PDF format. Here is a sampling of our beach-related printables. Check the tab above for more resources.

    image of PDF icon  Beach Picture Dictionary

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

    image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Sandcastle

    Beach theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


    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






    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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