Teaching My Baby To Read

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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Reading Window Wands

Reading windows make Bob Books pop.

Reading windows make Bob Books pop.

The great slog through Bob Books, Set 1
continues.  Nobody promised these would be fun, right?  I don’t know about you, but I could really give a rip about Muff, Ruff, and the 10 Cut Ups.

But I can handle 5-7 minutes a day of reading Bob Books, and so can my daughter.  Be tough, Muff and Ruff!

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A learning tool I introduced to Jenna(4) today was her brand new reading window wand.

This is a classic Kindergarten teacher trick.  Grab a popsicle stick, cut out a piece of paper, use some glitter; whatever.  The most important thing is to make a window with clear masking tape. 

For some reason the “window” is what makes these so exciting to children.

You could also jazz things up further by making a bunch of reading window wands that all looked different.  Then, every morning you could let your child choose which wand to use that day.

Using a reading window wand allows children to isolate words, which helps some brains concentrate better.

In Jenna’s case, she  can concentrate just fine.  In fact, her concentration abilities are working against her decoding skills because Jenna relies a lot on picture cues and sentence patterns to help her read.

Those strengths are going to come in really handy when she’s a second grade reader, but right now I want Jenna to master sounding words out.

Early Puberty Gets Moms Talking

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My “I Brakes for Moms” column this week in the Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130908/BLOG5205/709089979/As-girls-enter-puberty-early-mothers-watch-and-worry

God in my Everything, by Ken Shigematsu

This week was my son’s first days of third grade.  The rhythm of Fall and the routine of life is picking up again.  So it was fitting that I’ve been reading God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God, by Ken Shigematsu.

Before ever reading one word, I was intrigued by this book for two reasons.  #1) The pastor of my church has just returned from a summer long sabbatical studying Celtic Christianity. #2) Shigematsu lives in Vancouver, and I love reading books by Pacific Northwest authors. (I live near Seattle.)

Shigematsu’s concept is to build rules and routines into your daily life that support your walk with God.  Patterns of behavior can become a strong trellis to help people thrive.

There was less Celtic “stuff” in this book than I was initially hoping for, but Shigematsu filled the pages richly, contemplating traditions and spiritual practices from all over the world.  (As a United Methodist, I especially appreciated the shout-out to John Wesley and his practice of proportionate giving.)

I also like how Shigematsu suggests starting small, and changing your routine for better over time.  For me, this means turning the chimes on my clock and remembering to take a deep breath every time I hear them sound.  That seems like a good place to start.

P.S. I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

I review for BookSneeze®

Keeping Track of Bob Books

A quick little note means so much.

A quick little note means so much.

I know you aren’t supposed to compare children. I know, I know, I know!

But I’m so glad that four years ago, I had the foresight to jot down a few notes on the back of the envelopes I made to store each homemade Bob Book game.  Most importantly, I wrote down the date when my son Bruce finished reading each book.

Now, four years later, I have a rough idea about what track my daughter Jenna is on.  They both finished the same Bob Book at approximately exactly the same age.

Will she be reading Magic Tree House Books in Kindergarten like her brother Bruce?  Will she be cranking through Harry Potter at age six?  Who knows.  What I do know, is that at the moment, Jenna’s reading development is almost identical to her brother’s progress.

Is this related to my teaching strategies?  Again, I have no idea.  I wish I could tell you.

Stranded, by Dani Pettrey

Alaska, cruise ships, and a missing journalist?  You’ve got my attention! That’s the hook to Stranded  by Dani Pettrey.  I stayed up late last night to start and finish it because this book is a very fun read, especially since I went on my own cruise to Alaska this summer.  See pictures here!

Stranded is the latest book in Pettrrey’s Alaska Courage series.  (I had previously read and reviewed Shattered.)  What I had failed to fully appreciate about  Shattered is the clever way the author utilizes a Plot A and Plot B storyline to hook readers into buying the next book.

In Shattered the Plot A  couple was Piper and Landon.  The Plot B couple was Darcy and Gage.  In  Stranded  Darcy and Gage get promoted to the Plot A couple.  Kayden and Jake become the Plot B couple.

Of course, now I want to find out what happens to Kayden and Jake too, so I will definitely be reading Pettrey’s next book!

P.S. I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion an review.

Encouraging the “What if?” Questions

My daughter's teacher is brave.

My daughter’s teacher is brave! I hope your children are blessed with brave teachers too.

Here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column this week in The Sunday Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130901/BLOG5205/709019973/Heres-to-a-loud-messy-chaotic-creative-school-year