Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pre-Kinder Lesson Plan - Humpty Dumpty Nursery Rhyme

                               Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

This small group activity/lesson plan comes from    I am currently teaching my Pre-K students about identifying rhymes and word awareness,  syllable awareness and sound discrimination - all parts of phonological awareness.

The web site is an amazing educational site that enables parents and teachers to print out books of every level for their children.  They provide you with a free week to try it out. There are lesson plans to go along with the books as well as lesson plans for phonological awareness, learning the ABC's, and sooooooooooooooo much more.  If you have a minute, go there are and check it out.  It is a perfect site for teachers who need extra literacy resources for their students, either easier or more difficult books, etc....  It is packed with ideas.  There are literally hundreds of books at this site, however it does cost about $85 a year, but for some teachers, it is well worth it.  I have used reading a-z for my son and many other students as well and for random themes, like Cinco de Mayo, or hurricanes....  There are also books in Spanish!

First read Humpty Dumpty to the kids, then clap out each word.  Then read it again and omit the last word in each line and let the students fill in the blanks. 
Next, point out the rhyming words for them:  Humpty, Dumpty, wall, fall, men, again. 
Let them hear the endings and explain what rhyming words are!  Next clap out the syllables in the poem together with the students to emphasize syllables. 
Then clap out the syllables of each child's name.
Then say the following sounds (not the letter names):  /m/, /m/, /s/. 
Have the student repeat the sounds. 
Tell the student that /m/ and /m/ are the same sounds and /s/ is different. 
Do this again with other sounds and have the students tell you the sound that is different!

Comprehension:  Ask the following questions:
What happened to Humpty Dumpty?
Who tried to help him?
What is Humpty Dumpty?
Do you think he will ever be put back together again?

Game:  (Phonological Awareness - rhyming)  Find pictures in magazines or online that rhyme.  Make simple cards out of them.  Show the children the pictures and name each one.  Mix up the cards and have the student(s) see how fast he or she can sort the cards into groups of rhymes.  Tell the student(s) the name of the picture if he/she forgets.  Repeat the activity. Let each student have a turn.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Some Great Books about Starting School

Best Children's Picture Books About Starting School
Kids' Books About Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade
By , Guide

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School
cover art - picture book
Young children worried about starting preschool or kindergarten will be reassured when you read the picture book I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child to them. Lola is sure she is "too absolutely small for school," but Charlie, her older brother, humorously and patiently convinces she's not. Charlie gives Lola all kinds of funny reasons that stretch the imagination about why she needs to go to school. Child's mixed media artwork definitely adds to the fun. (Candlewick, 2004. ISBN: 9780763628871)

First Day Jitters
Cover Art - First Day Jitters
This is an excellent book for the child who is worried about changing schools. The author is Julie Danneberg and the colorful and comic illustrations in ink and watercolor are by Judy Love. It’s the first day of school and Sarah Jane Hartwell does not want to go. She will be going to a new school and she is scared. This is a funny book, with a surprise ending that will cause the reader to laugh out loud and then go back and read the entire story again. (Charlesbridge, 2000. ISBN: 158089061X)

The Kissing Hand
Cover of The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Transitions, like starting school, can be very worrying for young children. Audrey Penn's The Kissing Hand provides comfort and reassurance to children 3 to 8. Chester Raccoon is scared about starting kindergarten, so his mother tells him a family secret - the story of the kissing hand. Knowing her love will always be with him is a great comfort to Chester, and the story may provide similar comfort to your apprehensive little ones. (Tanglewood Press, 2006. ISBN: 9781933718002)
Sam and Gram and the First Day of School
Sam and Gram and the First Day of School - Kids' Book Cover Art
This picture book was written by Dianne Blomberg and has engaging watercolor illustrations by George Ulrich. The American Psychological Association published Sam and Gram and the First Day of School under its auspices. The book was written specifically to help parents prepare children for kindergarten or first grade. In addition to the story about Sam and his experiences on the first day of school, there are two sections of information for parents. (Magination Press, 1999. ISBN: 1557985626)

Wow! School!
Wow! School! cover of picture book
If you are looking for a reassuring book about starting school (preschool or kindergarten) that will give you lots to talk about with your child, I recommend Wow! School! by Robert Robert Neubecker. This almost wordless picture book features big, bold and bright illustrations. It's Izzy's first day of school and there's so much for the little red-haired girl to see and do. Each of the book's double-page spreads has a Wow! caption and a very detailed colorful and childlike illustration of some aspect of classroom and school activities.
The first spread, Wow! Classroom, shows the entire room, including all the centers and bulletin boards, as well as the children playing and the teacher welcoming Izzy. Other illustrations include: Wow! Teacher!, Wow! Art!, Wow! Books!, Wow! Lunch!, Wow! Playground! and Wow! Music! This is such a positive book and gives such a detailed look at what to expect that it should be a big hit with children ages 3 to 6. (Disney, Hyperion Books, 2007, 2011 Paperback. ISBN: 9781423138549)

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A back-to-school favorite
Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!

Alphabet Books for Children

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"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."  I have had this experience and I love this quote.  Here are a few books about friendship.  My all time favorite is "Friends" by Helme Heine.  A great one for all ages!!!  Best suited for ages 4-8

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Here's a cute and simple friendship wreath that could go along with your books.  Draw each child's hand, cut it out have the kids glue their hand into a wreath.  Trade off pictures of the kids in the middle each week or when it their spotlight week.  Make a huge wreath or make them by tables,.....

Thursday, August 29, 2013

TEN Great "LIBRARY" Books that Introduce the Library to Students

Here are some of my favorite books about the library:

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3. Product Details  Very cute!!!

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8.  Product Details  This is a series about a library mouse.

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10.  Product Details  The kids will love this one.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is the 50th year anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.s speech, "I Have a Dream".  Here are some great books to read to your students all about this remarkable man. 

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Library Bulletin Board Themes

A number of months ago I was sitting and waiting for one of my kids and I decided to create a list of themes for my bulletin board.  Today I found the list hidden away in an unused notebook.  Oh well!  Here are some themes to run with.  Use book jackets if needed to show what books are available in your library.

1.  Mystery (Clue)
2. Fairy Tales and Fables
3. Get Caught Reading
4.  "Fall into Reading" with Book Jackets under a tree/leaves
5.  Favorite Author BB, such as Shel Silverstein, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Patricia Pollacco, Kevin Henkes, Mem Fox (celebrate their birthdays)
6.  The Titanic (101 years on April 12th)
7.  The Big 6 (Research)
8.  Poetry Month
9.  Sept. 11th ("American Heroes")
10.  "Whoooo is Reading What?" with the name of books in owls' tummies.
11.  Biographies/Autobiographies - "Who's Who?"
12.  Ocean Life "Dive into Reading"
13.  Dia de los Ninos/Dia de los Libros - celebrated in April
14.  Pirates - "What Arg You Reading"?
15.  El 5 de Mayo - Hispanic Heritage Month
16.  Dr. Suess Week
17.  Holidays
18.  Children's Book Week (in May now)
19.  Read Across America with a map of the USA
20.  Genres - what are they?
21.  "Owl Be Reading"... this month
22.  Plant Life/Animal Life (use magazine pics)
23.  The Elections
24.  Map of the Library - "Let's Learn the Library"
25.  Book Care with Book Hospital paraphernalia attached (3D)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

3D Bulletin Boards for Teachers

Spring 3d bulletin board deco
I found this adorable BB on Pinterest without an original creator! :(

"Countdown to Summer" sunflower door display
Pinned from

Visit Meet the cast and crew of

What day is it,?" asked Pooh

“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.  “My favorite day,” said Pooh. #Quotation #Pooh #AA_Milne

Pleasure to Me is Wonder

"Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability."
H.P. Lovecraft
August 20, 1890: American horror and sci-fi writer H.P. Lovecraft channeled his frequent childhood nightmares into his work. He was born in Rhode Island, 123 years ago today.
When my sis and I go walking every morning, we try and find the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden behind uncharted paths.  This is wonder to me and we have indeed happened upon it many times.  Thank goodness it's not the horror or sci-fi this author writes about. :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wordless picture books

This was taken from  at
Thanks Vanessa for this wonderful view into Jim Trelease's thoughts on Wordless Picture Books for early learners!!!!!  Visit this web site for more Q & A from Jim Trelease who wrote "The Read Aloud Handbook", one of my favorites!

Q & A with Author Jim Trelease on the Value of Wordless Picture Books in #preschool and #kindergarten

Jim Trelease on Wordless Picture Books

 We’re super excited to bring you the first in a series of questions and answers with Jim Trelease, author of this summer’s book study pick, The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th edition). Jim has graciously agreed to answer a series of read-aloud questions which we will be featuring periodically throughout the book study. If you’re just tuning in you can read all about the book study HERE. In anticipation of the first chapter discussion which premieres on Monday, July 8, I thought you might like to hear what Jim has to say about wordless picture books.

What are your recommendations and thoughts regarding “reading” a book that has no words to a group of young children?
Wordless books are a wonderful introduction to books and plotting for children who can’t read yet. Since we become picture-literate before we become print-literate, they can “read” the book if someone helps blaze a trail through the narrative initially. After hearing the book and seeing how the clues for the narrative are all in the pictures/illustrations, the child can pretend to read, though in fact they are taking real steps in reading. Just as pilots “read” the sky ahead of them (no words, just images of clouds), the child is taking a reading on the plot from the illustrations.
Best wordless picture books for #preschool and #kindergarten
Jim makes some great points and I love his analogy of pilots- so true! As a teacher of young children I can’t stress the importance of wordless picture books enough in both preschool and kindergarten. Often, this vital step in the early literacy process is skipped in a rush to teach letters and words. True reading isn’t just about decoding the printed words on a page; it is about gaining meaning from both words and pictures.
Some of the skills that wordless picture books support are:
  • Comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Oral Language
  • Inferring
  • Predicting
If you’re a Common Core person then you will recognize that all of the skills listed above are components of the Common Core State Standards for kindergarten- just sayin.
Of course, we can’t just throw a wordless picture book their way and expect children to know what to do with them, it takes time and modeling. When sharing a wordless picture book with young children it is crucial that you ask questions along the way and model how to “tell the story.”
When reading a wordless picture book, ask questions such as:
  • What do you think is happening here? (comprehension)
  • What makes you think that? (inferring)
  • What do you think will happen next? (predicting)
  • Why? (vocabulary and oral language)
Wordless picture books can also be a great motivational tool. Even those students who struggle with letter recognition or other academic skills can feel like successful readers when given a wordless picture book.
I have compiled a list of my favorite wordless picture books for you below.
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (although not completely wordless it still supports all the skills listed above)
The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
Truck by Donald Crews
Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins
Chalk by Bill Thomson
Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day (nearly wordless)
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
Deep in the Forest by Brinton Turkle
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

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I just finished reading Edenbrooke, a "quick read"  romance that I really enjoyed.  I would say that it's audience is more of the older teen, young adult group, but I keep hearing and seeing friends of mine on Facebook who have read it and really love it as well.  My 17 year old introduced it to me and she adored it, but she hasn't read too many romances.  I found it to be very simple, to the point and perfectly romantic!!!  I liked not having to sift through all kinds of flowery descriptions to get to the main plot of the story.  I enjoyed the characters and setting and found myself crying a number of times during the reading.  I would recommend this book to the romantic at heart.

100 Must-Reads for Kids 9-14 from NPR

Hey all you moms and dads out there who can't get their kids to read once they hit middle school.  Well here's some great ideas:
100 Must-Reads for Kids 9-14 from NPR

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Doing What I Love...

I love children and I love reading.  I love reading to children.  With my job that I had as a librarian, I had the opportunity to read to students every day and make books come alive and this was such a source of joy for me.  I felt successful there. 
Well.... I gave up my wonderful librarian job for a more important job - that of making sure that all my bases are covered on the home front.  You see, I have a BIG life.  I have a wonderful husband and a large home.  I have 7 children, three are married and two more are grown and gone.  My three married daughters are all expecting babies, (boys) in the next few months.  That means I'll have eight grandkids.  (Yay!)  That leaves my two older children at home.  They are both in high school, but I want to make sure that these two have all the benefits that my other five had.  I want to be available and energetic when they get home from school.  I want to have the patience to help with homework.  I want to be focused on helping my younger son get through high school, since it's tough for him.  I want to be here.

When I work, I get obsessed with what I am doing at school and tend to lose sight of the bigger picture.  So I quit my job.  I am going to miss doing library displays and bulletin boards and  reading to these kids.  I am NOT going to miss cataloging books though, so that's a plus.  I'm going to miss teaching lessons and "book talking" and buying new books and discussing poetry, autobiographies, mysteries, Caldecotts...and listening to kids gush about what they are reading.  I'm going to miss the reason I started this blog - to create a place to store and discuss all kinds of "library ideas". 

I am going to work with the children at my Preschool, Ready-Set-Grow and start a reading program for them.  I like to be connected in some way with teaching.  (I don't run the Preschool /Child Care center we own, we have a director and numerous teachers.)

I will be adding tidbits now and then to this site and maybe it will morph into a whole new blog..., but for now I am a bit perplexed about what to do with it, other than leave it up for others and for my own future reference.  So for now, enjoy the collection of sites, posts, and pictures and if I have added something and not referenced it back to it's owner, let me know.  I apologize.  I've done the best I could.

Ciao for now.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Series for Tweens and Teens

(from Children's Books)

Here you'll find information about some of the book series fiction that is so popular with 8-12 year old children, tweens and teens.
The Origami Yoda Books by Tom Angleberger
The Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger, include a humorous series for middle grade readers, set in a middle school humor, as well as a related activity book.
The Chronicles of Prydain
Find out all about The Chronicles of Prydain series, including the recommended ageof readers, an overview of the series, and publication information for each of the books, plus information about the author, Lloyd Alexander.
The Hunger Games Trilogy
The Hunger Games Trilogy, three dystopian novels for teens by Suzanne Collins, have proven enormously popular with kids in middle school, teens and adults.
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Learn all about The Book of Three, which is the first book in the fantasy series The Chronicle of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The middle grade series Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series is an enormously popular fantasy series about a middle school student and his adventures when he finds out that he is a demigod - the son of a Greek god and a mortal.
The Kane Chronicles
The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan is full of adventure and Egyptian Mythology. This article provides an overview of the middle grade book series.
The 39 Clues
The 39 Clues book series has proven popular with kids ages 8-12. Author Rick Riordan wrote the story arc for the entire series and the first book in the series. Other authors of books in the ten-book mystery, history and adventure series include: Jude Watson, Gordon Korman, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Linda Sue Park, among others.
The 39 Clues Book Series
The 39 Clues book series for kids, which is full of mystery and adventure, is popular with ages 8-12.
All About the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Books
If you are looking for a humorous series that will engage middle grade readers, from kids who love reading to reluctant readers, I recommend the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the other Wimpy Kid books, all written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan is a lively mixture of fantasy, adventure and Greek mythology, with touches of humor thrown in. The story is told from the perspective of a middle school student with problems, Percy Jackson.
The Chronicles of Narnia FAQs
Learn about C. S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia, a series of classic fantasy novels for children. Learn about the movie versions of following books by C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspain and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Scientists in the Field Series
The Scientists in the Field series is recommended for ages 9-14. The Scientists in the Field is a nonfiction series that focuses on the work of scientists and scientific investigations in the field.
Crank Trilogy by Ellen Hopkins
Crank, Glass, and Fallout are the three books in the popular Crank trilogy of young adult books. It's a realistic series about the effects of drug addiction by Ellen Hopkins.
The Twilight Saga
Read this overview to find out more about the Twilight Saga, the popular series of fantasy novels for teens by Stephanie Meyer.
The Heroes of Olympus
The first book in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan was published in 2010. There are a projected total of five books in the series, with a new book to be published annually. While you don't have to have read the enormously popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series to enjoy this lively fantasy adventure, Percy Jackson fans will enjoy returning to Camp Half-Blood, and finding some familiar characters from the Percy Jackson series. I recommend the series foe ages 10-15, grades 5-9.
Parent's Guide to the Twilight Series
Learn all about the Twilight series with this parent’s guide to the Twilight series. Read this parent’s guide to the Twilight series to find out more about the dark fantasy romance teens and tweens are reading.
The Hunger Games Trilogy
The Hunger Games series consists of three dystopian novels: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. The Hunger Games trilogy will appeal to teens, ages 13 and up. The 384-400 page books contains violence and strong emotions so younger tweens may find them disturbing.
The Mortal Instruments
Learn about the Mortal Instrument series, an urban fantasy series of young adult books for teens by Cassandra Clare.
The Little House Series
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the story of a pioneer girl's childhood that is based on the life of the author, will appeal to ages 8-12..
Maximum Ride Series
Here is an overview of the Maximum Ride series, a blockbuster fantasy series for teens by James Patterson. Refer to this overview for the science fiction and fantasy series for teens and adults.
The Maze of Bones: 39 Clues
The first book in the 39 Clues book series is The Maze of Bones. In addition to writing book 1 of the series, Rick Riordan also created the story arc for the entire series.
The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Author Rick Riordan has done it again with The Heroes of Olympus, created another excellent series for kids and teens The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Riordan is an enormously popular series of fantasy novels and The Heroes of Olympus includes some of the same characters.

"Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites" by Chris Heimerdinger

Sam and I are currently reading "Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites" together, a book written by an LDS author, Chris Heimerdinger.  (BTW, I'm glad this is NOT my last name.)  It's a great read for a 14 year old who, because it's about 2 teens who wander into the land of the Lamanites, by some odd twist of fate.  One of the boys has a bad attitude about everything, including attending church and one of the boys is over gregarious about all things having to do with church and the Book of Mormon.  They soon become close friends.
My two older boys read all 9 books and loved them. I'm hoping Sam will enjoy them as much.  (I'm not sure I'll make it through all 9 though. :)

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