Balancing Her Beauty & the Bedlam

MBug is our precious, little girl who just recently turned ONE!  Where did the year go??  After having two boys, I was very surprised (and excited) to hear, “It’s a girl!”  We call her “beautiful” all the time.  I want her to always hear that she’s beautiful; inside and out (most importantly on the inside).  My prayer is that she will believe this, even when those trying teenage years come!

With all her beauty comes the bedlam.  Jen has nailed it in the title of her blog: Balancing Beauty & Bedlam (this blog ROCKS, by the way).  It truly is a balancing act and some days I feel I have too many balls in the air with not enough hands to catch them all.  I know somebody can relate!  Currently, there’s a lot of bedlam over here when MBug participates in school with us.  I know this phase will pass right before my eyes and I’ll miss it, but I’m just going to be honest and say that it can be frustrating at times.

For example, NJoy no longer has chairs at his table.  She climbs up on them and then gets on top of the table; not to mention she pulls everything off the table that he’s trying to work on.  Even with distractions from mama, she prefers NJoy’s work.

One day, I came into the schoolroom and saw this:

Usually, sitting on tables in not allowed, but what else was he to do??  He simply wanted to color his butterflies in peace…poor, little guy!

One thing we’ve recently tried is putting his work on the pocket chart (if possible) when she’s awake.  As you can see, NJoy can barely reach it himself!  This worked and I was encouraged.  Now, if I could only adapt everything for the pocket chart…

I used to pull out our teaching mats and she would just sit and coo while she watched her older brothers work.

Gone are those days!

Pretty much anything on the floor has to be reserved for times when she’s asleep; which can be hard to manage, since she and NJoy rest at the same time each day.

But with all her bedlam, she is absolutely beautiful and she has a special place in my heart…and in the hearts of her big brothers and daddy.

She is already showing signs that she’s ready for school.  This is her absolute favorite toy to play with in the schoolroom.  She sneaks in there at all times of the day to pull this off NJoy’s table and “color.”

She is enjoys reading, when she can find just the right book…

(this shelf makes it easier & less messy!)

…and she climbs up in the little chair, or in my lap, to read.  Too sweet!

Yes, I’ll admit it-the bedlam can be frustrating for me (and for her big brothers) at times, but if I had to live without my, little beauty to be bedlam free, I’ll take the craziness any day!  I LOVE YOU, MBug!

Tuesday’s Teaching Tip

If you have young children at your house, are the hours between 4-6pm somewhat hairy (maybe even extremely hairy) around your house?  It can be over here.  Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real.  I had a MOPS mentor mom who once called them the “arsenic hours”!

Dinner needs to be prepared – “But, I’m hungry now” becomes the mantra – the baby wants to be held (or at the very least, stand in between my legs and whine) – the two big brothers are fighting – everyone is cranky (sometimes even mama) – “But, I’m hungry now” mantra is repeated – daddy’s not home yet – the baby is crying – insert “But, I’m hungry now” mantra – the two big brothers are fighting over the same toy (again) and both of them claim they had it first…the list could go on and on.

Here’s a tip that helps with sanity around this reading mama’s house: give the kids something to do at the kitchen table (or bar area) as you stir the noodles and bake the chicken.

My favorite thing for the boys to do are simple:

  1. crafts
  2. writing activities

Notice I said simple.  The last thing I need is something else to do during this time, so easy is the key.

Here are some CRAFTS my kids like to do:

  • play with with Play-Doh (pull out special cookie cutters & accessories)
  • scissor practice (use old papers or coupons you’re not going to use)

  • play with stickers- I save stickers that they really like and let them decorate a scene with them, like they did with the vehicles seen here
  • play with stamps
  • water color painting-I found two Paint with Water Books at Books-A-Million for $1 each.  I can remember doing these as a child!
  • Carisa @ 1+1+1=1 has some other ideas I use for simple crafts.  But, I do not do anything that has the potential to create a big mess during this time.  The last thing I want is to have to clean up my kitchen right before dinner!

Here are some fun WRITING activities:

  • write on dry erase boards
  • color in a coloring book or page from DLTK’s site
  • Crayola Wonder & Crayola Explosion are great activities because their markers won’t make a mess on walls or chairs if I happen to turn my back on NJoy to stir those noodles!
  • work a simple puzzle like a crossword puzzle, maze, dot-to-dot, or word search.  ALuv really likes the Puzzle Buzz (made by Highlight) activities and I save the magazines for special occasions.

One more thing I sometimes do is utilize the laptop.

  1. I plop MBug in her highchair and let all of them watch a DVD on the laptop.  We get new DVD’s at the public library almost every week.
  2. Internet-You can view some of the sites we like here.
  3. Youtube.com has some great videos including this one, which is one of our all-time favorites.

If you find yourself wanting to pull out your own hair from 4-6pm, I hope that one of these ideas may help you out.  If you have some tricks up your sleeve for the “arsenic hours”, I’d love for you to share themWe could always use a fresh idea!

Our New Schoolroom!

I have been debating for some time over the thought of rearranging our house to create a space for school.  After seeing (and drooling over) Carisa’s schoolroom, I began contemplating my strategy.  My husband took a week’s vacation a couple of weeks ago and we bit the bullet!  It is not complete yet, but I wanted to share with you what we’ve got thus far.

But first, here are the reasons I felt a schoolroom was needed for us:

  1. It keeps our supplies in one area…not scattered all over the house; which was absolutely driving this reading mama CRAZY!!!
  2. It gives the boys a place to work without the distraction of TV or extra toys.
  3. It helps with the mindset of “here is where we do schoolwork”.

Here are some pictures:

This is a wall that my husband built when we first moved into this house.  On the other side is our office area, where I used to tutor students.  The red board above the dry erase board is a 14×14 magnetic dry erase board where I safely keep the dry erase markers (a.k.a. out of reach).

MBug’s book shelf and toys (rotated each week-or when I remember!)

More books, including library books, and a few school supplies in the canvas baskets.  The red basket is “ALuv’s Can Read” basket, where I keep all the books he can read independently.  Above this shelf, are some cork strip to display work.


NJoy’s table (from Ikea for $20…we stained it to match the wood in our house).  I think they still sell the same model.  NJoy uses this to do his work, which consists of teaching “mats” (I adapted the teaching tray idea to teaching mat because we use our carpet sqaures), coloring, puzzles, etc.  It’s getting tough because MBug can pull up to standing at this table and she attempts to put EVERYTHING in her mouth these days, so we have to get creative.

Above NJoy’s table

I plan on having some little window treatments made (my talented mom can sew them).  What’s so cool is that as I was organizing the attic, I found the fabric I had used to cover my bulletin boards with in my public school classroom.  There’s plenty of it and it matches beautifully, so we’re going to use it to make some window treatments! 🙂

I wanted a “whole group” area because we have a homeschool group that meets at our house and I needed a space where all the kids could sit.  I have a pocket chart and an Ikea art easel (only $14.99!!).  The great thing about the easel is the other side has a shelf and big books can sit right on that ledge!

The three boxed red shelves have items on my “do not touch” list and some of my teacher books are on the white shelf.  The lime green dry erase square is where I keep ALuv’s new word wall/sight words for the week.  Once the week is over, we put them on the Word Wall.

Above the whole group area is our Word Wall.  I was able to dig through the attic and find the letters I’d used in the classroom; which where already laminated and color coded: blue for consonants and red for vowels; which is a Montessori thing. 

I used the door going out to our garage as our calendar area.  Right now, we keep calendar time very simple, but I plan on adding some stuff to it once September rolls around.  We do calendar first thing every morning, followed by the pledge of allegiance.  I like calendar time because it is an authentic way to work on number concepts.

ALuv’s desk-which he LOVES

Above his desk, my husband created some shelving where I store his bins for work.  Each one is labeled: Writing, Word Study, Reading, Math, Science/SS, Art, & Bible.  I used Jolanthe’s workbox picture cards to help him identify each bin easier.  I haven’t perfected my system (probably never will), but he has 7 bins with 2 activities in almost each bin for the week…so roughly 14 activities total.  We also do other things during the week that aren’t in the bins (such as Mama’s read alouds), but this keeps me organized.  Out of everything I’ve tried, this system has worked the best for us.  Once the fall rolls around, I will add a few more activities to the total.

When he’s finished the work in a bin, we stack them inside one another so he can see what work he has left to do.

A view from the foyer door…ALuv’s desk on the left side with the office around the corner

This tall shelf is beside ALuv’s desk and is my storage shelves for math and literacy manipulatives.  The kids are allowed to touch stuff on the bottom two shelves only.  Beside that, are the drawers where I keep the stuff for my teaching mats.

Around the corner, I’ve also taken over some of the office…hehe.   I needed more secure storage for potential choking hazards, so my husband attached a screen door to the front of this bookshelf.  It can only be opened with a screwdriver.

We also have a playgroup that meets at our house and when they come, I pull my Ikea easel over to this area and place my stop sign on there.  This keeps kids from going into the area where I keep all the manipulatives.

We are thoroughly enjoying our schoolroom.  It’s the first place NJoy goes in the morning…even before getting his beloved cup of milk out of the frig.  I am so thankful to have the space and a supportive husband who not only allowed me to do this, but blessed me by doing so much of the work.  Babe, you are truly amazing!

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

The cool thing about literacy is that you can integrate it with any other content area.  Take, for instance, the caterpillar kit we have from Insect Lore.  As a public school teacher, I did this and the students LOVED it.  I have to admit that I was quite fascinated with it myself. 🙂  Jenae from I Can Teach My Child mentioned it on Facebook and it gave me the push I needed to do it with my own kids!  It took about a week for the caterpillars to arrive in the mail.

Here’s how this reading mama integrated science and literacy:  I had ALuv make observations daily and when he noted a change in the process, he wrote about it in a journal.  Quite simple, really.  When I told him this is what we were going to do, he replied by excitedly saying, “Oh, I get to use a journal just like Sid the Science Kid!”

Below are just some pictures of the journaled journey from caterpillar to butterfly…I’ll spare you from every entry of his journal.

The caterpillars are black and little. – May 20

The caterpillars are bigger with stripes.  -May 23

They poop green poop.  They are getting fat. -May 24; Mom’s favorite sentence…what can I say?!?

The caterpillars are hanging upside down. -May 26

May 27

And finally…

Now they are butterflies! -June 6

I also had him write about some of the butterfly behaviors he noticed while they were in the habitat.  Here is a really cool picture and one of his entries:

If you look carefully, you can see the proboscis (straw-like tongue) coming out to drink the orange.

They are drinking the orange juice. – June 5

The process of getting him to write: After ALuv would make his daily observations, I asked him to narrow down what he wanted to write about.  He would tell me his sentence, then on my lined dry erase board, he would help me write the words.  (We stretched out the words, listening for sounds & used our Word Wall for sight words.)  Using my handwriting as his guide, he would copy the sentences.  And as you may have noticed, his handwriting is getting MUCH better!!  Yay!

Just a side note: For this assignment, I preferred that his spellings be conventional because this text will be read over and over.  There are other times where invented spellings are perfectly fine, like when he wrote HAPPE BERTHDA (Happy Birthday) to MBug the other day.

We released our butterflies on Monday of this week.  When one of our butterflies came out of his chrysalis, he had  a torn wing and was unable to fly away.

ALuv tried so hard to get the butterfly to fly, but he just couldn’t.

So ALuv decided we should keep him.  His name is officially Flutter and he still lives in our playroom.  He now has some green leaves and flowers from our yard to keep him company.

ALuv wanted to include one last page for Flutter.

I let 4 butterflies go, but not Flutter.  His wing is broken.- June 5

I left him to draw the picture on his own and was very impressed when I returned with the attention to details!  Usually, he draws the bare minimal and refuses to give me any details.  ALuv made a cover for his journal and we put the pages in order (this integrated some math skills as he had to look at the dates and get them in the right order) and we stapled it all together.

He was very proud of his finished product…See How They Grow

Here are a few of the read aloud books we read together during this process, yet another way to integrate literacy:

  • The Polliwog and the Caterpillar by Jack Kent
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • It’s a Butterfly’s Life by Irene Kelly (loads of cool facts in this one)
  • Becoming Butterflies by Anne Rockwell (Monarch butterfly)
  • Butterflies and Moths by Kathryn Knight (Target $1 bin)

Playing with Phonemes-Part 2

PHONEMIC MANIPULATION: There is A LOT of “meat” when it comes to manipulating phonemes!  This is more of an overview, not a comprehensive list.  If you have specific questions or comments, feel free to email me or comment directly on this post.

Again, I want to reiterate that you model these skills before you ask your child to try them.  Let her hear and see you do them before you set her free to try.  This will help to alleviate frustration on the part of your child (and yours as well!)

Phonemic Blending with Onsets and Rimes: Activities with onsets & rimes are a great way to start with phonemic manipulation.

  • To begin with onset and rime, take some picture cards (or objects from your sound tubs) of single syllable words.  The objects could be: cup, cat, dog, bug, goat.  You as the mama/teacher, say the name of an object by segmenting it into the onset and rime, pausing in between the two  (c-up, c-at, d-og, b-ug, and so on).  The child has to find the object/picture card to which you are referring.
  • We like to do the above activity when reading I Spy books.  ALuv has been fascinated with these books for about a year now.  Instead of saying, “I spy a duck”, sometimes I’ll say, “I spy a d-uck.”  This is another way to live literacy.

Moving from phonemes to phonics with onset & rime:

  • Once your child seems to have a grasp for blending together the onset and rimes, written word family games are fun (if you are using the written symbols, you’ve stepped into the phonics world).
  • To keep it extremely simple, write a rime, such as -at, on an index card.  On other index cards write a few onsets: b, c, f, m, r, and so on.  Place the onsets upside down and as you draw one, add it to -at to make a word.  It will sound like this /b/-/at/: bat!  You could make it silly by placing some onsets in the mix that would not make real words, such as gat.  When you add silly words to the mix, make sure you ask your child, “Is it a real or silly word?”
  • I’ve got more activities on my blog (click on the category Word Families) and you can find MANY more by googling “word families”.  I wanted to link some here, but became overwhelmed at the thought!!  There’s SO much out there!

I will mention one resource.  For some free online activities with onset and rime, check out these games originally from Florida’s Reading Research Center.

Individual Phoneme Blending:

  • Once a child can blend together onset and rime chunks to make words, a good thing to try is blending together individual sounds to make a word.  For example, “Listen to me say this word in a funny way: /d/-/o/-/t/.  [separate each sound].  Can you tell what word I was saying?” (dot)
  • You can also do this with picture cards or objects.  Lay several out in front of your child and say, “Can you find the /h/-/a/-/t/?”
  • I like to do this with our I Spy books, like I mentioned above.  “I spy a /d/-/u/-/k/ (duck).”  This is a great way to model this skill!
  • Check out the awesome blending game I discovered just this week on Stay and Play.  I’ve only seen portions of her blog and already know I’m going to LOVE it!

Live literacy with these skills.  Try them in the van, doctor’s office, anywhere you may have to wait or have some down time.  Make it a game…make it fun!  When you need your child to get a cup for their juice, say, “Can you get a c-up or /k/-/u/-/p/?”

Also, check out Bee Ready to Read’s sections: Blending and Manipulation for more ideas!

Remember to follow me on this phonological awareness journey and I have a surprise for you next week!

Playing with Phonemes-Part 1

The smallest unit of sound in the spoken language is a phoneme.  Once a child begins to isolate, blend, segment, and manipulate sounds at the phoneme level, her literacy world really begins to explode.  You’ll see how in these next posts.

Phonemic Isolation:

Developmentally speaking, the best way to introduce phonemic isolation is:

  1. initial sound in a word- “What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word?” 
  2. final sound-“What sound do you hear at the end of the word?”
  3. medial sound-“What sound do you hear in the middle of the word?”

When you examine kids’ spellings, this is the natural way they spell as they develop in their phonemic awareness.  They start by writing initial consonants; so bed may first be spelled B.  Then they may add the d to spell BD.  And finally, BAD or BED for bed.

SOUND TUBS

Montessori inspired me with her sound tubs, so I created a set of my own for use when I taught public school.  ALuv used them (and we still do from time to time) and I plan on beginning some work on these with NJoy soon.

This is how I know that he is ready to try: at a little over 2 years of age, he knew his letter names-both upper and lower case (he pretty much taught himself)!  These days, you can hear him singing, “B says /b/” or “T says /t/” around the house or asking me, “Mommy, what’s that S  say?”;  so I can tell he’s ready for some work on letter sounds.  (Just a side note: NJoy is ahead of the game.  ALuv didn’t know all his letters until 3.5 years of age and still others do not until they are 4 or 5 years of age.  All of these ages are within the “normal” r ange.  Please do not compare your 2 year old to mine.)

Here are a couple of pictures of my sound tubs (nothing fancy):

I collected 6 objects for each letter of the alphabet.  I had a few extra containers left over, so I also have a tub for ch, sh and th.

Our Gg Tub

Some of my tubs, take for instance by G tub, have objects in which there are blends at the beginning of the word (like glasses or grasshopper); which is probably not ideal, but I’m not too concerned about this.

You can purchase your own set too, but I didn’t want to fork out the money.  It was way cheaper to put them together myself.  I collected objects from around the house and went shopping (craft stores, the $1 store & Goodwill worked very well for me!).

PLAYING with SOUND TUBS

Initial Sound Play: To use these objects, I first start with one sound tub (let’s say B).  I pull out all the objects and say the name of each object like this “/b/, /b/, /b/  ball.”  We do this tub a few days in a row, doing the same thing each day-pull out the objects, naming each one.  I let the child chime in to help when he feels ready.  Once I see that my child feels comfortable with the B tub, I’ll pull out the S tub and do the same thing with it.

After I feel the child has a grasp on those object names and initial letter sounds, I pull out all the objects from both the B and S tub and I mix them up.  I lay out a mat (see picture below) and sort the objects by letter sound, remembering to over emphasize the first sound in the word.  The mat is made with construction paper and permanent marker.  (I “stole” this idea from a Montessori K class I observed.)

B tub-baby, ball, bell, bread, button, & bunny

S tub-snake, stop sign, seal, spider, & stool

I like the sound tubs because the same objects can be used to teach initial, final and middle sound.  I would caution that with the final and middle sounds, I’ve found it’s easier for a child to do when you pick an object that’s only 1 syllable (such as cat, bell, or sock)For example, I can go into my sound tubs and pull out these 6 objects that all end in the letter T and use them to work on sorting objects with the final /t/ sound.

Just recently, I noticed that Nicole @ The Activity Mom has a more efficient way to store her letter objects.  I wish I’d seen her idea 6 years ago!

If you don’t want to make your own sound tubs (I won’t lie…it took some work!), you can use picture cards.

  • I like the picture cards in the back of Words Their Way.  The supplement booklets (this one, too) for kids in this stage of spelling/reading also have pictures sorts already created for you!
  • Florida’s Center for Reading Research also has free activities and picture cards you can download, print off, and use.  Click here and here for those.
  • Here’s an idea I did with ALuv not too long ago with picture cards from Words Their Way in which we sorted pictures by middle sound.

And to keep prep time to zero, you can integrate phonemic isolation into everyday life as you live literacy together.  For example, while getting your child dressed, you can say things like, “/s/ /s/ /s/ sock.  That starts with the /s/ sound, just like your name /s/ /s/ /s/ Sam!”

Playing With Syllables

Next on the “list” of phonological awareness skills is helping a child to blend, segment (count) and delete syllables.

Teaching and learning syllables occurs much the same way as everything else.  First, you as the mama/teacher need to model over and over how it’s done, giving your child multiple and meaningful exposures.  When your child seems ready (he’s offering more imput when you model), give him a chance to try it with support, and finally set him free to do it independently.

Blending Syllables:

  • Model by playing games like this: “I’m going to say kitchen in a funny way.  Listen: kit-chen.”  (Putting space in between the syllables.)  Doesn’t it sound funny like that?
  • Ask them to try: “I’m going to say a word in a funny (slow) way.  Listen and see if you can tell me what word I’m saying: fing-er.”

Segmenting/Counting Syllables:

  • Here’s a post I did on counting syllables with ALuv.  In this post, we also looked at the written words after he counted syllables.
  • Reading books featuring characters with long names, like Chrysanthemum by Keven Henkes or Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, is a fun way to let kids compare the syllables in their own names to that of the characters.
  • Give kids unifix cubes that snap together.  Call out a word and have your child snap the corresponding unifx cubes to the number of syllables in the word.  If you don’t have unifix cubes, you could use dried beans or any small manipulative and ask your child to put that many in a row.  You could also make this activity more active by having your child jump for each syllable.
  • Clap the Syllable Printables by Annie @ The Moffatt Girls
  • Check out Swinging and Clapping by Amy @ Teach Mama

By the way, I think it’s awesome how Amy integrates phonological awareness into everyday life.  I call this “living literacy”.  Because it doesn’t require pencil and paper, these types of activities can be done anywhere.  My favorite places to do them are in the line at the grocery store, waiting at the doctor’s office, in the bathtub, in the van, or outside swinging in the swing.

Deleting Syllables:

  • Mama: “Wow, listen to this!  If I said chapstick without chap, I would just have stick left.”
  • Here’s a free lesson plan on deleting syllables within compound words

A couple more resources:

A Play-Doh Hodgepodge

ALuv is very much like his mama…an in-the-box thinker.  When NJoy came along 3 years later, I figured he would probably be an out-of-the-box thinker; seeing that most siblings are completely different.

Don’t get me wrong, NJoy can be an in-the-box thinker at times; like this parking lot made on our fire place .  But more often than not, it’s ALuv organizing all the cars (or blocks or trains) in a nice, neat line with NJoy coming along knocking all that hard work right over!  Oh, the joys of siblings!

NJoy’s favorite item to play with these days is Play-Doh.  But he’s not quite at the age in which he can play independently.  Playing with Play-Doh goes more like this: “Mommy, make this…mommy, make that!”  So when he asks every day about 10 times, I usually say, “No”.  But about 4-5 times a week, the mama guilt piles up and I cave in.

One thing I’ve noticed is when an in-the-box thinker (a.k.a. “control freak”/me) plays Play-Doh with an out-of-the-box thinker, my world is rocked in a major way.  Take for example this weekend.  The grandparents came for a visit and wanted to bring gifts.  They asked me for some gift ideas.  (By the way, I keep a mental list of educational & fun gift ideas for such occasions.)  I suggested this cute Play-Doh set featuring uppercase letters that I’d seen at Target.  This was the perfect choice for NJoy since he also loves letters.  It comes with a mat, which was laminated right away to last us more than 1 time!

They also brought this set that they’d had for a while at their house, which featured lower case letters.  A win-win all around!

What happened to my counter space?

As expected, NJoy was in his element with his Play-Doh!

So, what does fresh, new Play-Doh look like when you set a child like NJoy free to explore?  Why, a Play-Doh hodgepodge, of course!  Does it really matter which color top you place on the containers?!?

What did this in-the-box thinker do with this Play-Doh hodgepodge?  Since it was basically all one color, I rolled it out for ALuv to use as we reviewed his short o words.

Here he is re-matching his OP, OG, & OT words, then stamping 5 of the words  into the Play-Doh.

dog

hot

Cookie Monster is a big hit from this set and NJoy and ALuv thought it’d be funny if Cookie ate the paper.  I took their lead and called out words for Cookie Monster to “eat” as ALuv fed him.

So, I guess a Play-Doh hodgepodge does have a purpose in life after all, even for this in-the-box reading mama!

 

Saturday’s Sites

Okay, so I admit it: I’m a little cheesy with my alliteration in the title to this post, but you get the picture.  Each Tuesday I present a teaching tip, so I thought I’d use Saturdays to tell you about sites I think that are very helpful and/or pretty cool to this reading mama.

So, here are this Saturday’s Sites:

Free Printable Writing Paper– For PreK through 2nd grade

You Can Read! is a high frequency word program developed to help your younger reader (below age 5) master basic sight words.  (I think the current cost is $5).

Scholastic is running a deal right now.  If your child completes a MATH and a READING activity sheet, you can earn five FREE books from Scholastic.  I read the fine print, but couldn’t quite determine what kinds of books they are offering for free (I’m pretty sure they are trade books, but wouldn’t be surprised if they might be workbooks), but check it out for yourselves and see what you think.

If you search around on Scholastic’s website, you’ll find it’s loaded with great info and help for parents, like this article called 10 Non-Book Ways to Get Your Child Reading.

So, sit down…and enjoy the sites! 🙂

Saturday's Sites

Okay, so I admit it: I’m a little cheesy with my alliteration in the title to this post, but you get the picture.  Each Tuesday I present a teaching tip, so I thought I’d use Saturdays to tell you about sites I think that are very helpful and/or pretty cool to this reading mama.

So, here are this Saturday’s Sites:

Free Printable Writing Paper– For PreK through 2nd grade

You Can Read! is a high frequency word program developed to help your younger reader (below age 5) master basic sight words.  (I think the current cost is $5).

Scholastic is running a deal right now.  If your child completes a MATH and a READING activity sheet, you can earn five FREE books from Scholastic.  I read the fine print, but couldn’t quite determine what kinds of books they are offering for free (I’m pretty sure they are trade books, but wouldn’t be surprised if they might be workbooks), but check it out for yourselves and see what you think.

If you search around on Scholastic’s website, you’ll find it’s loaded with great info and help for parents, like this article called 10 Non-Book Ways to Get Your Child Reading.

So, sit down…and enjoy the sites! 🙂

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