Category Archives: Early childhood education

interview with Ashling Kwok about her picture book Lola and Grandpa

Let’s meet Lola and Grandpa in an interview with author Ashling Kwok – #readilearn

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Ashling Kwok, author of the delightful new picture book Grandpa and Lola, illustrated by Yvonne Low. This interview with Ashling is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About Ashling Kwok

 After graduating from University, Ashling went on to become a journalist and magazine editor, before setting up her own freelance writing company. Over the years, Ashling’s work has appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines, and she is a regular contributor to a variety of online publications. When she is not dreaming up new ideas or working on her latest book, Ashling can be found scouring local bookstores, marvelling at all the wonderful books being created by talented children’s authors.

About Yvonne Low

Yvonne is an illustrator, writer and award-winning artist.  She enjoys playing with words and colours and is particularly inspired by nature.  Her work is whimsical, often has a dash of humour and always tries to tell a story.  She works mainly in pencil and watercolour, but also dabbles in acrylic, pen and ink, pastel, digital media and Chinese brush painting.

About Lola and Grandpa

Lola and Grandpa is the story of a young girl and the tender, loving relationship she shares with her grandpa. When Lola’s grandpa passes away, she struggles to cope. However, as time passes Lola starts to remember all of the special times they shared. She can see her grandpa reflected in all of the things around her and realises that even though he is no longer physically with her, they will always remain connected.

What I like about this book

I knew I would love Lola and Grandpa as soon as I saw the bright cover filled with the sunshine from the ‘o’ in Lola’s name. The words and images dance across the pages, reflecting the joy felt by Lola and Grandpa as they spend their Sundays together. We can’t help but feel the warmth of their love and wish, as Lola does, that these times would last forever. The wisdom that Grandpa shares with Lola — “Time slips away, my angel, but love and memories last forever’ — is as reassuring for us as it is for Lola.

Continue reading: Let’s meet Lola and Grandpa in an interview with author Ashling Kwok – readilearn

using readilearn teaching resources to support young children's learning at home

Using readilearn teaching resources to support young children’s learning at home – #readilearn

readilearn teaching resources are primarily designed for use with children in their first three years of school whether that be in a traditional (or alternative) classroom situation or a homeschool classroom. This makes the lessons and activities just as valuable now to teachers delivering lessons online and to parents working with their children at home.

While the lessons target learning in K-2, some could be used with younger children if appropriate support and follow-up activities are provided.

We all know that the best ways to encourage young children’s learning is to talk with them, read to them, play games with them and give them plenty of time and space to play on their own and with each other. It is the play with each other that is difficult to provide when we are in lock down and, while young children still require time to make their own observations and discoveries, some adult guidance and support for their learning is also extremely beneficial.

Children learn best when they have an opportunity to discuss their ideas with others. readilearn lessons are designed with that in mind. They are not intended for children to use independently. Teachers, at home or at school, are encouraged to scaffold children’s learning with supportive discussion.

Continue reading: Using readilearn teaching resources to support young children’s learning at home – readilearn

May - special days and events to celebrate in the classroom

Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — May – #readilearn

May is almost upon us so I’ve put together a list of days and events that you may like to celebrate whether you are teaching in the classroom, online or at home.

Before I present the list though, I’d like to let you know that readilearn interactive lessons, of which there are over 70, are ready for you to teach in any of those circumstances in which you find yourself. While they were designed to use on the interactive whiteboard in the classroom, you can use them if you are teaching online using screen sharing software such as Zoom. I’ve made a video to explain.

Now let’s check out these days to celebrate in May. You may read them below or download the free list here.

World Laughter Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in May, which is the 3rd this year. There is no denying that we could all do with a little more laughter in our lives. While we may not be able to gather together to laugh in large groups this year, there are still many ways we can find to add laughter to our day. We could have a laughter get-together online, watch a funny movie or videos of comedians. What will make you laugh on World Laughter Day?

Continue reading: Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — May – readilearn

ideas for learning at home when you can't go out

Ideas for learning at home when you can’t go out – #readilearn

Not all learning happens in school. It has always been that way. While teachers are responsible for children’s learning of curricula, and held responsible for more than they really should be, parents have always been their children’s first and most important teachers.

It is in those years before school that children learn many of their attitudes to life and learning, develop language and, hopefully, a love of reading. It is parents who are the primary influencers in the early years. And that doesn’t change once they start school. Ask any teacher.

Now that many schools are closed and parents are required to support their children’s learning at home, many parents are feeling anxious and lacking in confidence about their ability to do so. It is understandable when, for so long, it has been the expectations that, at age five or six, parents will pass over the responsibility for their children’s academic progress to teachers.

 Parents, you’ve got this.

Parents, I say to you, for these, hopefully, few short months out of school, you’ve got this.

The most valuable things — read, talk, play

Continue reading: Ideas for learning at home when you can’t go out – readilearn

Happy Easter from readilearn - 2020

Happy Easter from readilearn 2020 – #readilearn

Wishing you hope and joy

The situation for us at Easter this year is very different from any we’ve experienced before and, hopefully, are unlikely to experience again. Wherever you are, I hope you are able to find some joy in the traditional Easter message of hope.

I have uploaded three new resources this week to add to the readilearn Easter collection. As my Easter gift to you, I have made these three new resources available free until the end of April. Many other free resources are also available in the collection. Please enjoy!

Continue reading: Happy Easter from readilearn 2020 – readilearn

On an Aussie Easter Egg Hunt with Little Bilby and Yvonne Mes

On an Aussie Easter Egg Hunt with Little Bilby and author Yvonne Mes – #readilearn

Today, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Yvonne Mes and her delightful new picture book Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt.

About Yvonne Mes

Yvonne Mes is a children’s author and illustrator from Brisbane. Her latest picture book is Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt. Other picture books by Yvonne are Oliver’s Grumbles (Yellow Brick Books) and Meet Sidney Nolan (Penguin Random House).

Yvonne coordinates Brisbane based writers’ group, Write Links, reviews children’s book for KBR (Kids’ Book Review) and runs No Nonsense Critiques. She buys more books than she can read, comes up with more ideas than she can write or illustrate and has more children than she can manage. But she does try very hard, and best of all, she is NEVER bored.

About Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt

Near bush and scrub and oceanfront, they tiptoe on their Easter hunt . . .

A group of baby bilbies are on an Easter egg hunt. They find all kinds of eggs – a kookaburra’s egg, a turtle’s egg, a cassowary’s egg – before the little bilbies finally find what they’ve been looking for: Easter eggs to share with all their friends.

This colourfully illustrated picture book showcases the diversity of Australia’s egg-laying animals. Each spread reveals an egg in its natural environment and asks the question ‘Whose egg could this be?’. After turning the page, the egg is matched with the animal it belongs to.

Why I like this book

Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt, gorgeously illustrated by Jody Pratt, is a fun story that is sure to delight young children as they go on an Easter egg hunt with Little Bilby, finding eggs that belong to others before they find the eggs that they can share.

If they are not already drawn in by the sparkles on the front cover, children will love the rhythm and rhyme and join in with the repetitive text as they seek and find eggs belonging to Aussie egg-laying animals, kookaburra, turtle and cassowary.

Continue reading: On an Aussie Easter Egg Hunt with Little Bilby and author Yvonne Mes – readilearn

special days and events for classroom celebrations

Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — April – #readilearn

We are only a quarter into the year but it seems so much longer with so much happening and situations changing constantly. While the situation will be far from business as usual for most of you, I will try to keep this post as close to usual as possible.

Whether children are at home or at school, their learning must continue. readilearn supports you with lessons and activities that focus on progressing children’s learning rather than simply keeping them busy. With resources easily affordable, and many of them free, readilearn is good value for teachers or parents working with children aged 5 – 7. If you feel yours is a special situation which places this low-cost resource out of your reach, please contact us.

April Fools’ Day

Be careful on 1 April as it is April Fools’ Day and tricksters and pranksters are about. Be on the lookout for fake news stories and all sorts of jokers trying to trip you up. Who will you trick?

International Children’s Book Day  

Continue reading: Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — April – readilearn

keep the children engaged and learning with fun Easter activities

Keep children engaged and learning with fun Easter lessons and activities – #readilearn

Easter is coming in 2020 along with school holidays, school closures and lockdowns. While readilearn lessons and activities are designed with teachers of the first three years of school in mind, perhaps, in these challenging times, parents may also find them useful in supporting their children’s learning while they are out of school.

The collection now numbers over 400 resources and more than 70 of these are interactive lessons and stories. All resources can be accessed with a small annual subscription or purchased individually. Many of the resources are free.

While teachers would normally use the interactive lessons on the interactive whiteboard with the whole class or small group, parents access them on their home computers. Just as teachers would discuss the resources when using them with a class, so too, parents discuss them with their children as they work through them together. The most benefit for children comes from the discussion. They are not designed for children to use independently.

Lessons and activities with an Easter focus

Lessons and activities in the readilearn collection cover a range of topics and curriculum areas. However, the focus of this post is on those with an Easter theme and how they can be used to keep the children thinking and learning while having fun. (Note: All readilearn Easter-themed resources can be found here.)

Continue reading: Keep children engaged and learning with fun Easter lessons and activities – readilearn

Tap into knowledge with books and reading

Tap into knowledge with books and reading

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes tapping. You can play with the sound, make it an action, or create something unexpected. Tap a story and go where the prompt leads!

As it usually does, the prompt led me to children and education, especially the empowerment that comes from being able to read. Reading is the key that unlocks the wonders of the world.

While not a continuation of previous stories, it does include some of the characters. I hope you like it.

The Key

Tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap.

Peter removed his headphones.

Silence.

He returned to his game. ZING! KAPOW! BOOM!

Tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap.

There it was again. Incessant.

What was It? Where was it?

He placed his tablet and headphones on the couch and crept towards the sound — the bookcase!

Tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap.

With every step, the tapping intensified. The dusty glass obscured the interior, but the key was in the lock. Should he, or shouldn’t he?

He did!

Into his lap tumbled a rainbow cat, a girl in a hood, a herd of dinosaurs, an Egyptian Pharaoh and all the wonders of the world. Magic!

Thank you blog post

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First Cow in Space flash fiction

First Cow in Space #flashfiction

I’m sure you all know the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle about a cat playing a fiddle and a cow jumping over the moon.

I love using nursery rhymes with young children. They are a great way for them to learn the sounds and rhythms of our language, develop their memories and just have fun with nonsense. I’ve never considered it important for them (or me) to know the background of the rhymes. We can leave that to more serious students of literature.

The rhythm and rhyme of nursery rhymes encourage children to join in with the recitation and commit them to memory. Their memory for the rhymes can be used as a step into reading. I’ve written before about nursery rhymes, both on this blog and on the readilearn blog here and here. I have also some written some literacy lessons based on nursery rhymes that are available in the readilearn collection, including Let’s read and write with Little Miss Muffet, Humpty Dumpty — a story in five sittings and The Accident — Humpty Dumpty’s Fall.

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about Clarice. She can be any Clarice real, historical, or imagined. What story does she have for you to tell? Go where she may lead!

You may well wonder what that prompt has to do with nursery rhymes. But Charli always says to go where the prompt leads. It usually leads me to children and education in some way. This time, and with a huge apology to all the Clarices out there, it led me to a cow in a nursery rhyme. Why should she be called Clarice? I don’t know, but I thought the first cow in space would be quite an imaginary historical figure. I hope you like my story. I’m certain, if given a chance, children would come up with their own wonderful innovations too.

First Cow in Space

“We are here today with the first cow in space, whose identity, until now, has been kept secret. Will you please welcome [drum roll] Clarice Cloverdale.”

[Applause]

“Clarice, please tell us about your adventure and why your identity was undisclosed for so long.”

“It was simply a non-disclosure agreement. That contract has now terminated so I’m free to tell.”

“Go on.”

“We were all tired of playing second-fiddle to Cat. Dish and Spoon ran away so Dog had no alternative but to make me the star. Needless to say, I was over the moon. The rest is history.”

[Applause]

Thank you blog post

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