Summer Reading

As many of you know, I am the youngest of nine children, and that ranking comes with many, many nieces and nephews. Last year around this time, my oldest nephew graduated from high school and left for the Air Force Academy, while one of my nieces graduated from kindergarten. This year it's another … [Read more...]

Children’s Books I Love, Father’s Day Edition

Bark George

In belated honor of Father's Day, it's time to share my favorite children's books, otherwise known as "Books Kids Love, and Ones This Dad Loves to Read to Them." How does a book make it on this super exclusive list? It's simple. First, it has to be something my kids love. Both of my kids have … [Read more...]

Back to School Writing Games

St Jerome

OK, school has started - time to get your kids in bed earlier and to pack those bag lunches. Soon enough, the inevitable moment will arrive when your child presents you with a homework assignment that asks him or her to write a story. If your child draws a blank, here are some games you might try to … [Read more...]

5 Books for Back to School

SuperheroSchool

Ah, the transition back to school-is there anything quite like that mix of fun and fear? For any child who may be feeling some school trepidation, give one of these books a try. Superhero School by Aaron Reynolds. Leonard has heat vision and can hit a baseball into orbit. Where does such a kid … [Read more...]

Old Books, New Readers

I wrote a previous post about the difficulty many parents have in clearing out their children's bookshelves. Books seem to pile up. We stack them in double rows, on the floor, on radiators  anywhere to keep some sense of order in the house. Previously, I suggested throwing book swap parties or … [Read more...]

School Year’s Resolutions

When my nephew came home from his first day of kindergarten, his mother was excited to hear about his day. In the most dejected voice, Zach said, "It was awful. They didn't even teach us how to read." I don't remember much about my first day of kindergarten, but I do remember carrying my orange … [Read more...]

Trip Down Memory Lane

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Before the kids run off to school, it's time to answer the age-old question, "What did you do on your summer vacation?" The answer can be the catalyst for a nice memento that doubles as a writing activity to get your young one primed for school. Here are a couple ideas to get you … [Read more...]

End of Summer Reading List

I've always enjoyed seeing reading lists. But while I browse through other folks recommendations, there's part of me that's editing as I go, thinking everything from, "Great choice, love it!" to "What? Are they insane?" So now that I've been given a forum in which to spout my views, I couldn't … [Read more...]

Get Ready for Kindergarten Month

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Did you know that August is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month? Here are a couple easy things that you can have your child do to get ready for the big transition: Practice writing her name. One fun way to do this is to send postcards to loved ones, and have her "sign" the bottom. Practice … [Read more...]

Sneaking in Reading: Menus

cowboypauls

Just because your kids are away from school for the summer doesn't mean that they should give up reading practice. When we were developing the new Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read, we thought a lot about sneaking in reading in unexpected places. Say you're out at a restaurant with your family. You … [Read more...]

More Letters, Letters, Everywhere!

icecubes

We've talked a bit about finding letters outside the home, but how about inside the home? I was thinking about this the other day when I bought my preschooler her first box of Alpha-Bits cereal. I thought she'd have fun eating letters for breakfast (now with whole grain!). I’m sure many of you … [Read more...]

This Blog Is Broken

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I'm happy to introduce guest blogger Jonathan Maier, author of two Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read: Second Grade books, My Giant Bunny and the incredible This Book Is Broken. Thinking too much about This Book Is Broken is a bit like thinking too much about time travel.  do it for too long and it … [Read more...]

Great Books to Read Aloud

RA_missspider

Looking for some good books to read aloud to your child? Here are a few to get you started. Miss Spider's Tea Party, by David Kirk. Whenever my daughter lets me choose bedtime books, I reach for this lovely book. The art is gorgeous, and the verse flows off the tongue with rhymes like: Her … [Read more...]

A Book in Verse: Shoes in the Night

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As we started redesigning Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read, one thing we wanted to do was present new reading challenges for kids as they progress through the system. In addition to introducing more complex sentence structure and longer paragraphs, we had a few other, more playful ideas. One was to … [Read more...]