Category Archives: Literacy education

Five of the best

Children's books tag

Warning! I’ve been tagged. It can be contagious.

Kids’ Storyworld tagged me and asked me to join in. I don’t normally do this but I’m making an exception. How could I not – it’s about children’s books.

I’m required to nominate my top five children’s books, then nominate another five people to join in!

Rules:

  1. Thank whoever’s nominated you and share their blog link.
  2. Let us know your top 5 children’s books
  3. Nominate 5 people to do the same
  4. Let your nominees know you nominated them

Right, let’s get to it.

  1. Thank you, Kids’ Storyworld.
  2. Top 5 children’s books. Now this is going to be hard. Only five! But you know, when I interview authors and illustrators for the readilearn interview series, I ask them for just one favourite. Five has to be easier, right; so, I can’t complain.

These are five of my favourite children’s books

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFG by Roald Dahl – I love the humour, and love to read it aloud to children. It is such fun.

The Iron Man Ted Hughes

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes – I love the poetry of language and the way the story builds. It is also a perfect read aloud.

Whoever You Are Mem Fox

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox – I love the message: although we are diverse we share a common humanity.

One Less Fish Kim Michelle Toft

One Less Fish by Kim Michelle Toft – This was the first of Kim’s books I read. I love the message about protecting the natural environment and adore her silk paintings that illustrate the book.

Heidi Johanna SpyriInside Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Heidi by Johanna Spyri – I received a beautiful illustrated edition of this book from Santa (inscribed by my Mum) when I was nine years old. I remember waking up to find it at the foot of my bed and watching the title and cover picture appear as day dawned. I read and re-read it. I still own it. It has to be on my list, doesn’t it?

Do I really have to stop at five?

  1. Nominating five people to share their favourite five children’s books is fairly easy. I know many who write about children’s books, though some of them have already been nominated, so I can’t nominate them again.

You are invited

Maybe you don’t write about children’s books but would like to share your favourites anyway. Please consider this invitation inclusion. If you would like to join in, please do.

Alternatively, if you are one of the people I nominate, and you’d rather not join in, or have already been nominated, it’s okay to decline.

Here are my five:

Robbie Cheadle blogs at Robbie’s Inspiration and writes the Sir Chocolate Books. I wonder if she’ll nominate her own books. Why not?

Patricia Tilton blogs at Children’s Books Heal where she reviews picture books that she believes will help children through tough times. Patricia reads so widely, I think she’ll have more trouble than I with this one. (Sorry, Patricia.)

Vanessa Ryan blogs at Educate.Empower and especially promotes books about the environment and sustainability. I wonder if Vanessa’s choices will reflect those interests.

Jennie Fitskee blogs at A Teacher’s Reflections with inspirational posts about educating young children. She often shares books she reads aloud with her little ones. What will she share with us?

Mary Wade blogs at HonorsGradU sharing a lot of good sense and great ideas for teachers and parents. I’m interested to see what will influence her book choices.

  1. I’ll definitely let the nominees know they’ve been tagged.

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

love of reading to young children in early childhood education

Readilearn: Wrapping up a year of books – the gift of reading

The love of reading is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child.

Reading is empowering, and a book is a gift that continues to give, long after the occasion has past. It’s effects cannot always be measured.

To help you decide which books to give to whom for Christmas, I thought I’d make your task a little easier by reminding you of the lovely books I shared throughout the year in interviews with their authors and illustrators.

Below you will find a list the books and their authors and illustrators. I also include links to

  • the interview on the blog
  • the interview in the Author or Illustrator Spotlight
  • the creative’s website
  • a place where the book may be purchased.

Many of these authors and illustrators have more than one book, some for readers in other age groups, including adult, so please check out their websites for additional information.

At the conclusion of the post, I list other books read and enjoyed. Sadly, there’s just not enough time for all the interviews I’d love to do.

Of course, the list is not exhaustive. These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Enjoy!

Continue reading at:  Readilearn: Wrapping up a year of books – the gift of reading

Be Inspired by Women Writers and Illustrators

I am very honoured to be invited to write a guest post for Christy Birmingham to feature on her lovely blog When Women Inspire.
I wrote about the inspirational female authors and illustrators I interviewed this year.
Please pop over to Christy’s blog to read the full post.

When Women Inspire

Today I proudly welcome educator and writer Norah Colvin here to guest post. I was delighted when she accepted my offer to visit and chat about some of the women she has highlighted on her website so far in their roles as writers and illustrators for children’s books. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did upon receiving it. Norah, the floor is yours.

View original post 2,399 more words

readilearn: Celebrating Christmas in the classroom

As December draws nigh, thoughts all over the world turn to celebrations of Christmas, a time for spreading joy through sharing acts of friendship and kindness to others.

Those of us in the Southern Hemisphere are also thinking about finalising the school year and taking a much-deserved long summer break.

Before we do, we look for ways of celebrating Christmas in the classroom while maintaining children’s focus and keeping them engaged in meaningful learning until the final moments of the school year.

While there are a variety of readilearn resources already existing to help you do that, this week I have uploaded four more, all of which support use of the popular interactive digital story Who’s hiding at Christmas?

Who's hiding at Christmas template

The Who’s hiding at Christmas -template is a printable resource with both template and instructions for children to make their own Who’s Hiding at Christmas book based upon the original. Children love to share their own Who am I? puzzles, and, as well as providing ongoing practise with both reading and writing skills, the booklets make a lovely gift for sibling or parent.

Continue reading: Celebrating Christmas in the classroom

Readilearn: Introducing Kim Michelle Toft, author and illustrator

Kim Michelle Toft

This month it is my great pleasure to invite Kim Michelle Toft to the blog. I have been an admirer of Kim’s work for many years. Not only does she do the most marvellous and unique silk paintings to illustrate her work, her books inspire children, and adults, to share her passion for protecting the ocean and its inhabitants.

I have previously written about Kim’s work here, here and here. In this post I am talking with her about her innovation of the familiar Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Kim’s book The Twelve Underwater Days of Christmas is a celebration, not only of the season, but of the beauty of our world and its gift to us. Our gift in response is to care for and preserve it. As well as information about all the animals featured, it includes a stunning six-page foldout poster as well as information about the original carol.

Welcome to readilearn, Kim. We are looking forward to getting to know you better.

Thank you for having me.

Kim, you tell your stories with words and pictures? When did you know you wanted to be a storyteller and share your stories with others?

I started drawing when I was 4 years old. I would spend hours on my own, drawing. My mother would buy me small Golden Books and take me to see all the Walt Disney movies. I knew then that I wanted to have a career in art. I started writing and illustrating my picture books when my daughter Casey arrived, 26 years ago.

Continue reading: Readilearn: Introducing Kim Michelle Toft, author and illustrator

Let’s read, write and spell with Schuyler: readilearn

I don’t normally post twice a week, but this post is really an addendum to the previous post What’s in a name? Teaching phonics, syllabification and more! so I decided to break with tradition and share it.

For the inspiration for this post and the resource it describes, I must thank Pamela Wight, who featured in the author interview last month.

In commenting on the What’s in a name? post, Pamela mentioned the awkwardness of singing and spelling her grandson’s name – Schuyler, a name with which I was unfamiliar. I joked to Pamela that I’d thought of recording a few names, innovating on the tune of BINGO, to show how “easy” it might be. Pamela suggested I should, even though I explained that my singing voice is anything but, and she told me the pronunciation for Schuyler: Skylar. Well, I couldn’t help myself. My head started racing with ideas of incorporating Schuyler’s name into reading and writing lessons teaching phonics and spelling skills. The result is the resource Let’s read, write and spell with Schuyler,

and the recording.

Continue reading: Let’s read, write and spell with Schuyler: readilearn

Readilearn: What’s in a name? Teaching phonics, syllabification, and more! – Readilearn

teaching phonics syllabification

The first words children learn to recognise, read and spell are usually their own names. It’s not surprising, these words hold significant meaning and power for them. Why not harness that energy to teach the skills that are basic to literacy development?

Even before they begin formal schooling, children are able to read and spell their own names; and possibly the names of significant others in their lives, including parents, siblings, other close relatives and friends. When we write their names on pictures they’ve drawn, inside the covers of books they own, on letters and envelopes written to them, as well as on their belongings, they come to understand “that word means me”.

However, not all children are exposed to the same opportunities for learning prior to beginning school. It is important that we make connections with the children and help them learn in ways that are both fun and meaningful.

In this post I suggest some strategies that can be implemented in the first three years of school, starting from the very first day when children can write their names to demonstrate their knowledge of letters and sounds and fine motor coordination. Throughout the early years, children’s names can be used as a starting point in teaching phonics, initial sounds and syllabification.

The ideas suggested in this post are presented in more detail in a new resource uploaded this week:

name phonics syllabification

Name Games – teaching phonics, syllables and reading long words

Suggestions for before, or in early days of, school

Teaching letter sound relationships

An easy way to teach young children to recite the letters of their names in sequence, is to utilise their love of music, singing and recall of lyrics. Even if sung out of key, children enjoy special songs about them and their names. Simply adjust the tune of B-I-N-G-O to the children’s names as you sing.

After just a few repetitions, they are able to join, and even sing their names independently. If you sing

Continue reading: Readilearn: What’s in a name? Teaching phonics, syllabification, and more! – Readilearn