To increase E.’s reading practice in English I put on a sticky board on the bathroom wall at the end of July. Why? Read on and you’ll see this very simple and motivating reading fun for kids.
E. loves books and reading. Whatever. Her thirst for reading is endless, still needs practice, needs materials that keeps her interest. This is the reason why I put on the sticky board. And what does a sticky board have to do with reading. Well, I print all kinds of short passages for her to read when she brushes her teeth or taking a bath or on the toilet. (Who doesn’t read on the toilet?)
Among others here are the passage types I’ve stuck up on the board:
funny poems for pre-schoolers
funny poems about (water) animals
Did you know…? – fascinating facts about E.’s current interest
poems by famous poets
quiz/general knowledge questions
quotes from books we’ve read together
sayings and proverbs
spelling fun (like the magic E – at – ate, mad- made, pan – pane etc.)
location of hidden treats
She enjoyes reading them, she gets excited whenever she finds something new on the sticky board. The sticky board makes it possible to take the passage/questions/jokes off easily and stick on a new one.
What’s more she made her own writing to the board:
I change the content within 2-3 days. I work ahead, so I have a stash of reading material to stick on quickly after she’s gone to bed or before she comes home from kindergarten.
How do you practice reading with your pre-schooler or school-aged kids? Let me know in the comment section.
The idea is not mine. I stole it from the fantastic book, Maximize your child blingual ability by Adam Beck. Check out the book to get even mre fantastic hands-on advice how to juggle with the languages in your home.
As I’m writing this post with E. I’ll start with the book I’ve read with her this month (She is 5 years and 3 months old).
(E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, both loved it)
Shark-mad Stanley by Griff
It’s a book about a little boy, who loves animals (like E.) and he’s got a gold-fish. But he wants to have a shark too. He compares her goldfish and a shark. What’s his conclusion? Well, read this funny story.
The Glow in the Dark Book of Space by Nicholas Harris
It’s a general book about space BUT there are pages that you can read in the dark because they glow. The new things she enjoyed the most: moon phases, constellation and how the black hole sucks in a star.
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
I don’t think I need to say much about the story as it is a classic. Actually, RD is MY favourite author and I was really anxious to find out if E. would like it or not. And she did like it. I read it to her one morning when she didn’t want to get out of bed. As the story got more exciting she got more and more out of bed.
Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson
A traditional story of a lost child (monkey) looking for her mum. The rhymes are great and the illustrations make the story come true. According to E. the best part is when the butterfly shows the monkey her children and they look very different from their Mommy. (This is the reason why the butterfly shows wrong Mommies to the monkey.)
Miss! Miss! by Julia Donaldson
A short story of a poor teacher solving problems with a child in school and when she returns home everything starts all over again with her own children.
L. is 20 months old and surprisingly she enjoys books for older children too. Here are the books for her:
We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen
This was a hit with both kids. They love it and ask for it every day. I’ve trying to read it out in the same way as Michael Rosen reads it out in this youtube video.
Maisy plays football by Lucy Cousins
Another hit. You’ll know your kids enjoy a book to a great extent if they scream GOAAAAAAL! whenever you just touch the book. (E. can read the book to L. and L. can say the names of the characters: Maisy, Cyril, Eddie, Dotty, Tallulah, Charley.)
Surprise Surprise! Animals by Jeanette Rowe
There’s a short rhyme on every page, which describes an animal hiding behind a flap. There are 6 animals altogether. Cute! L. can neigh like a horse and say seal and bat and croaks like a frog.
I love my Mum by Anna Walker
A short story about what fun mommy and baby do together. The pictures are lovely the words on each page are scarce. My daughters favourite page in the book is full of butterflies.
Feeling great! Just like me! by Jess Stockham
This is also a fold-out flap book like Surprise! Suprise! Animals! but about feelings. The emotions covered are shy, frightened, excited, grumpy, sleepy.
This month we could cover only 5 books for each child as they got really crazy about Maisy and the bear hunt books. And here is a surprise for you. E. is reading Maisy for L. (with a hiccup):
Books have always been a central part of our language quest, since the girls’ birth. As they grow their thirst for books are thriving (Good for me). I “just” need to get the right books for their age and interest. English books are rather pricey and hard to get second-hand English books in Hungary at a reasonable price, though. (Bad for me). In this post I’d like to write about when and how we spend time with books.
The book titled Maximize your child bilingual ability by Adam Beck has confirmed my belief in reading books as No. 1 importance in acquiring a minority language (in our case English).
My husband has a love for books just like me. Some people might feel as if they were in a library on stepping into our living-room: bookcases with many many rows of shelves filled with books all along the wall.
We’ve been reading a lot of books at bedtime, or after lunch as the beginning of quiet time. Or any time E. asked for it and we had time for it.)
Last year I found a great source of cheap (well, affordable to be more precise) second-hand books on facebook. (It’s a closed group called Kadosarok. The language of discussion is Hungarian, mind you.)
I missed a system of taking books into our hands so I’ve built up the following routine:
Whenever we sit down to eat with the kids (about 4-5 times a day counting snack times too) we read at least one baby book for little L. and one big girl book for E. Sometimes we just read 2 books but at other times when we have more time and the kids are in the mood 4-6 books. Every week I add 2 new books to the after-eating book sessions and the girls choose whichever they want me to read them out.
In the first month (May 2017) the following books have been read several times:
(Colour codes: E.’s favourite and L.’s favourite and the books they both LOVE)
One mole digging a hole by Julia Donaldson
The not so perfect baby by Nicola Baxter
Tickle, Tickle by Helen Oxenbury
Is this your nose?
Little Bo-Peep (a peep-through nursery rhyme – Ladybird)
Today is Monday by Eric Carl
Sometimes I feel sunny by Gillian Shields and Georgie Birkett
Toddler touch Bedtime (Ladybird)
I’ve been a little lazier in June (L. always wants to read her 2-3 favourite books, E. wants to read longer stories that we’ve had no time for at the table, plus we were on holiday and at a chess camp so time was scarce).
I’ve added only 3 new books to the pile:
Spot Goes to the Circus by Eric Hill
Round and Round the Garden (Amazing baby touch-and-feel board book
Incy Wincy Spider (Igloo books)
None of these books has become a favourite. Little L. likes pushing the button on the Incy Wincy book, though. As the song starts she begins to dance.
I’ll try to come back monthly or bimonthly on our book updates.
This week one day there was one of the rare occasions that L. (E.’s baby sister) was not sleeping in a sling on me so I managed to put her down and I could prepare a baking activity for E. while she was at the nursery.
As E. is familiar with the alphabet (check out this post on the alphabet activities and other ABC posts) and quite a lot of sight words (I haven’t written about it separately but I should) and E. has been handling picture and story books since she was born, it is no problem for her to recognise/read certain words.
I wanted to expand her knowledge of recognising words in a fun way.
Here is our oat and pumpkin cookie baking and reading fun:
I prepared everything beforehand (maybe next time it’ll be a measuring activity, when SHE can prepare all the ingredients).
Whoops… the R is missing from “butter” – sorry about the poor photo
150 g oat flakes
100 g flour (I used oat and wholemeal flour mixed)
100 g sugar (I use Xylitol)
100 g butter or margarine
120 g pumpkin purée (pre-baked)
1 teaspoonful of baking powder
5 g dried fruit of any kind (I use cranberries and raisins but you can add chocolate chips too)
I made little cards for her to read and I placed them in front of each bowl. The twist was I mixed them up before she started the activity.
First, she needed to swap the cards around to place them in front of the right bowl.
After that she cracked the egg.
Then the mixing could start. She added everything in a big bowl. I asked her to report me what she was doing as in a cooking show. – I’m putting the flour in. – Now comes the butter.
After all this, I made little balls out of the mixture (she doesn’t like to dirty her hands) and placed them on a tray covered with baking paper. Finally, I managed to convince her to flatten the balls with her fingers and palm.
It was a lovely treat after dinner time and we practised a lot of English. (Unfortunately the cookies were gone so quickly I couldn’t take a photo of them)
Do you cook or bake with your little one(s)? Let me know what in the comments.
I do not want to brag, but yes… a little I do. E. is so interested in the letters and the ABC that, I do not exaggerate if I say, within a year or two she’ll be reading. In this blog post I would like to collect some fun activities we’ve been doing with the ABC.
The very first favourite. E. was watching this video her mouth agape in amazement when she was 8-10 months old.
Phonics Song 2
The traditional one is always the best (Upper- and lowercase)
A song about how to pronounce the letters – Phonic Song:
Since the age of 2 we have been watching a lot of Mother Goose Club songs:
She could watch it all the time. Sometimes she wants to watch them all day (if I let her).
– Magnetic alphabet
I bought the first set of magnetic alphabet when E. was about 18 months old. She loved them at once. First it was just one pack of upper case letters. We used it on the fridge, but the letters always fell under it. So I had a magnetic word game at home (for adults, the letters are too tiny for little children) and I started to use one of its steel boards (You can also use a steel tray or a magnetic whiteboard)
Then I bought another pack of both upper- and lower case letters later when we started making up words at about the age of 20-22 months. (Frankly, we don’t really use the lower case letter yet – age 2,5 years)
At the very beginning we just put together the alphabet from A to Z. We sang the ABC song and/or the phonic song while arranging the letters.
Adding the missing letters to the alphabet with Daddy
I told her words starting with certain letters, like E. for her name or D for daddy, M for mummy, A. is for our nanny’s name etc. As time passed I added some more words, such as E. is for elephant, egg, or A is for apple, ant and so on, not just names. I always tried to include things that she knew or she was really interested at that time. Within a few days she was the one who said the words: – B is for ball and bubble.
Next, we made up short words she was already familiar with. Daddy, Mummy, M. (our dog), dog, cat, yes, no, hat, rat, egg, bat and so on. I have no intention to teach her how to read. She is the one who, from time to time, comes to me with the letters to play with. She’ll work it out by herself.
– Matching gamewith the magnetic letters
What you need:
letters (magnetic, felt, play dough, cut out from cardboard, drawn on bottle tops)
plastic surface (e.g.: whiteboard, but I used an A/4 sheet that I spoiled while laminating.
markers (not permanent!!!)
sponge or tissues to wipe the surface if you want to reuse it
I put the letters of these words mixed in a little container
E. came and emptied the container.
And matched the letter. The interesting thing was that I didn’t need to tell her toe start from left to right.
She wanted to do it with our nanny, too.
When she got bored with it I wiped the surface off and at another time I made a new one with: yes, no, love, sun, hot, rat as you can see it in the photo.
She had to start with her letter, E.
It was summer time we last did this activity, and now sometimes she “reads” letters on her clothes or, some book’s title.
– Search for the letters – sensory bin (autumn)
What you need:
bark (you can buy it in a packet at animal stores)
small object connected to autumn in some ways (berries, grapes, apples, pears, twigs, conkers, pumpkins, leaves etc. What I did was I chose 1 bunch of grapes made of plastic, 2 apples made of felt, 3 golden leaves, 4 pumpkins made of felt, 5 real conkers.)
letters (wooden, foam, felt, magnetic, whatever) of A-U-T-U-M-N
a sheet of the object and the letters of autumn shown
Throw the bark into the container and hide all your chosen objects in the bark. Put the sheet in front of your child and whenever they find something among the bark, place them in the right group, or if it’s a letter, then on the right letter.
And the search can begin.
This activity gives you and your child plenty of opportunity to talk about not only the letters, but also colours, autumn fruit, trees, leaves and berries, and in this case numbers too.
I still have several activities, but I’ll need to come back with them in another post. Try them, enjoy them and let me know how they worked out.