Monthly Archives: November 2021

A New Activity Book Just in Time for Christmas – #readilearn

In this post, I am sharing information about a new Christmas Activity Book I have recently complied and uploaded to the readilearn collection. It is a 30-page booklet with 20 different activities and is perfect for 5 ̶ 7 year-old children to use at home or in the classroom.

The book includes:

  • games to play alone
  • games to play with others
  • literacy activities
  • maths activities
  • word puzzles
  • number puzzles
  • logic puzzles
  • poems to write
  • and much more.

Some of the activities are already available as separate items in the readilearn collection, but not available together. More than half the activities are new. I decided to put them together in one book for ease of printing and distributing. You still have the option to print pages separately if you prefer, but you have access to all 20 activities in one document.

Continue reading: A New Activity Book Just in Time for Christmas – readilearn

Grandpa’s Tool Shed #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write about tools. Whose tools are they and how do they fit into the story? What kind of tools? Go where the prompt leads!

Charli, of course wrote about writer’s tools and provided a multitude of links to great resources for learning about them. She also wrote about tools for dealing with snow, but I can only imagine using them. My experience with snow is very limited.

I drew upon my memories of childhood for my response. I hope you like it.

Grandpa’s Tool Shed

Jacob worked tirelessly alongside Grandpa. He loved the sweet scent of sawdust curls and the heady smell of fresh paint. He loved that ash from Grandpa’s cigarette fell unchecked into the shavings. He especially liked using Grandpa’s real tools. The plastic bench at Kindy was only a toy.

Jacob’s visits decreased but Grandpa never forgot. He left the house, the shed and all his tools to Jacob. Standing in the dark empty shed, Jacob tried to conjure the smells of Grandpa. There was nothing else to do. He rolled up his sleeves and started planing sawdust curls — in memory.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Handouts for Parents to Support Children’s Learning – #readilearn

Here at readilearn we recognise that not all learning takes place in school. We know that learning can occur anywhere at any time and continues throughout life. It can be planned or incidental. It can be fun and joyful. It can even cause frustration at times. In fact, some frustration may encourage the learner to push further and try harder to find a solution. That is especially so when the frustration occurs in a purposeful activity in which the learner is engaged and feels a need to solve. Unsuccessful attempts don’t mean failure. They mean it’s time to try again. We see this in situations from a child learning to walk or ride a bike to scientists finding a cure for disease. What we most need to do to develop a love of learning is inspire curiosity and creativity and avoid ringbarking either through confinement.

As the end of the school year in Australia approaches, most teachers and parents are looking forward to the holidays as much as the students are. The last couple of years have been tough with changes to teaching and learning circumstances and the increased involvement of parents in monitoring their children’s school learning at home. While parents may have become more familiar with teaching methods used in the classroom, it is important for them to realise that learning can still occur during the holidays without the formality of classroom exercises.

The most important things parents can do for children, right from birth and through their developing years and beyond, is to talk with them, play with them and read to them — every day. The same can be said for teachers.

I previously shared this wonderful TEDtalk by 7-year-old Molly Wright in a post about The Importance of the Early Years. But it is inspiring and watching it gives me joy and I thought watching it might also give you joy. It is definitely worth sharing with parents to encourage and affirm positive interactions with their children.

We also have some handouts of suggestions which you are welcome to copy and send home to parents. You can find them in the Classroom Management — For Parents collection. They are all free resources and suggest ways of increasing the learning in everyday situations, mostly by being aware of the opportunities that arise incidentally throughout the day.

21 suggestions for maintaining reading momentum during the holidays

25 ways to keep the children thinking mathematically during the holidays

Continue reading: Handouts for Parents to Support Children’s Learning – readilearn

Quoll’s Great Idea by Joanna Tait and Muza Ulasowski — a review – #readilearn

Quoll’s Great Idea is about a Spotted Quoll who has very cold feet in the snow and finds a novel way to overcome this.

Today it is my pleasure to share my review of Quoll’s Great Idea written by Joanna Tait and illustrated by Muza Ulasowski. Muza sent me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

I have always admired Muza’s beautiful artwork and have previously introduced her to you when interviewing her about the beautiful picture book Forest Wonder written by Caroline Tuohey. You can read that interview here.

About author Joanna Tait

Joanna Tait is a medical practitioner, mother of five and grandmother of five with more grandchildren on the way. She has been writing all her life. Quoll’s Great Idea is her first published children’s picture book, with several more currently being illustrated.

About illustrator Muza Ulasowski

Quoll’s Great Idea by Joanna Tait and Muza Ulasowski is a great read allow introducing

Muza Ulasowski established her art studio, Muza Designs, in 2007, set in the leafy western suburb of Brookfield in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The studio is surrounded by a vast array of wildlife who tend to regularly make an appearance in her illustrations.

In 2010, she was invited to illustrate her first children’s picture book and enjoyed it so much, she has been collaborating ever since with Australian and international authors and publishers. To date she has illustrated over 10 published children’s picture books and is currently illustrating several more.

Whilst primarily concentrating on creating digital images for children’s picture books, Muza also specializes in graphic design, designing book covers and book layouts to print ready stage.

She also enjoys creating pencil and charcoal illustrations, acrylic painting, photographing wildlife and creating colourful merchandise from her artwork on her trusty sewing machine.

About Quoll’s Great Idea  — the blurb

Continue reading: Quoll’s Great Idea by Joanna Tait and Muza Ulasowski — a review – readilearn

Priorhouse Interview

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to be interviewed by Yvette Prior on her Priorhouse blog.

I have known Yvette for a few years now and always enjoy reading her posts that share photography, art, humour and wisdom.

School Days Reminiscences of Yvette Prior

A couple of years ago, Yvette participated in my School Days, Reminiscences series. You can read her post here. You can also find out about her books at the end of that post or on her website here.

Yvette has a wonderful way of presenting interviews on her blog. If you are interested in reading our conversation and finding out a little more about me, please pop over to Yvette’s blog to read : Norah Colvin @ Readilearn (Priorhouse Interview)

The Glint of Gold  by Kate McGann and Patricia Ward — Review – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to review a beautiful new picture book The Glint of Gold, written by Kate McGann, illustrated by Patricia Ward and published by Little Pink Dog Books. This post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About author Kate McGann

Kate McGann is a writer living in Central Victoria with her partner and two children. She loves to write stories that explore relationships and wellbeing. She is a life-long fossicker of nature’s treasures and is endlessly inspired by the world around her. The Glint of Gold is her first picture book. Visit Kate at her website.

About illustrator Patricia Ward

Being an only child, Patricia spent much of her time living in her imagination, bringing it to life through drawing and illustration. She loves exploring colour and playing with positive and negative spaces. Her work is vibrant and whimsical, with an underlying sense of a narrative. Patricia believes every illustration should tell a story whether it is accompanied by text or not.

You can follow Patricia on instagram and facebook or check out her website.

About The Glint of Gold

A picture book for ages 4 – 7 years

It’s there every day if you look for it. The glint of gold. It’s in the white blossom of our plum tree against a blue sky. Or the sparkles Jack Frost leaves on the drive to school…..A heart-warming story to inspire awareness, gratitude and positive thinking.

What I like about The Glint of Gold

I was immediately captivated by the title and the cover image with the sense of wonder so evident on the young girl’s face. The opening page sets the tone for the book, reminding us of the ‘gold’ that exists in the everyday.

Continue reading: The Glint of Gold  by Kate McGann and Patricia Ward — Review – readilearn

Candy Kitchen #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features a candy kitchen. You can interpret the phrase creatively or stick to the traditional. Is it sweet? Ironic? Any genre will do. Go where the prompt leads!

My thoughts about a candy kitchen went straight to Roald Dahl’s book Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What an incredible candy kitchen that was. And then there was the song The Candy Man performed by Sammy Davis Jr.

Who wouldn’t want to be a kid in a candy store, or better yet, a kid in a candy kitchen?

I thought of the busy kitchen of my childhood, with my mother making sweets for Christmas treats. There were rum balls and peanut brittle, chocolate bark and caramel fudge, coconut ice and marshmallow, and who knows what other sweet delights. I don’t remember them all. But I do remember one more recent Christmas when the choice of sweets became a philosophical rather than taste decision.

This is a fictionalised version of the incident. I hope you enjoy it.

Marshmallow Waves

The cooks bustled about my kitchen making sweets to gift.

“I love homemade gifts,” she said.

“Especially when we get to share,” he said, sampling largish crumbs of fudge and coconut ice.

“Marshmallow is amazing,” she said. It mixes up so light and fluffy,”

“What’s in it?”

“Sugar, water and gelatine.”

“What’s gelatine?” he asked.

I dared not tell the vegetarians, but he searched for information on his phone.

“We can’t eat that,” he spluttered. “Gelatine’s made from animal bones!”

The marshmallow mix, so light and fluffy, was binned. Not even a taste for me, although I’m not vegetarian.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.