Celebrate Poetry!

Celebrate PoetryJoin us as we celebrate poets and their amazing work for Poet’s Day (August 21st)! This is also a good time to reflect on the benefits of poetry for children, some children’s poets we can introduce them to, and explore ways we can encourage them to create their own poetry!

What’s the Big Deal?

When we introduce our kids to books and materials that focus on rhyme, they learn to hear the natural rhythms of spoken language. Rhymes help children hear the phonetic connections between words with similar spellings and sounds. This is one reason that poetry should be an important part of our home libraries.

Have you ever noticed how your little one loves for you to read and re-read those books with rhyming sing-song words? I think I could still nearly quote Good Night Moon from memory after all the years of reading it to my kids! Poetry is also easy to memorize. Think about how many nursery rhymes you still know by heart! When kids commit a poem to memory, they begin to learn that stories have a beginning, middle and an end. They also are able to “read” the poem by themselves – even if they really don’t know how to read yet.

A Few Poets to Get You Started

Since we know that poetry is an important part of a child’s reading development, what can we do to help increase their interest in poetry? We can start by introducing them to great poets! You can begin with the following:

  • Robert Louis Stevenson – You probably know him better for his classic works like Kidnapped and Treasure Island; but Stevenson was also a very accomplished poet. A Child’s Garden of Verses is a great collection of poems to have in your home!
  • Shel Silverstein – The beloved author of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic is a fun poet for children to begin reading.
  • Langston Hughes – Hughes was one of the earliest pioneers of jazz poetry. Poetry for Young People is a wonderful resource for introducing young people to his amazing work.

Helpful Web Sites and Apps

Another way you can foster a love of poetry in your child is by introducing her to cool websites and apps that promote poetry. Here are a few to check out today:

  • Poems by Heart from Penguin Classics – With this app kids can learn to recite over two dozen poems by heart! A fun and challenging way to learn poetry. Ages 12+.
  • Acrostic Poems – This site allows children to create and save their very own acrostic poetry.
  • ShelSilverstein.com – Kids will love perusing this fun site. It’s filled with fun, games, animations, and other cool resources from Shel Silverstein.

 We hope you will join Red Apple Reading in celebrating Poet’s Day. After all, we could all use a little more poetry in our lives!

 

Is the Public Library a Dying Institution?

When was the last time you or your children visited the library? Devoted patrons sing the praises of their local libraries, but others don’t really see the point of visiting any longer. In fact, with the rise of the digital age, many people are wondering if libraries are a dying establishment. We believe there are several reasons local public libraries are still a valuable resource to the public.Are Libraries a Dying Institution? Red Apple Reading blog

Red Apple Reading offers up a few reasons why visiting your local library is still a good idea!

  • It’s fun! – If you give me unlimited access to a building filled with books – that’s enough for me! However, there is so much more to experiencing a library than wandering the bookshelves (though you really should give that a try sometime!). I find that one of the best outings I can offer my younger son is a trip to the children’s section of our local library. He can use the cool interactive Promethean table, visit the pet turtle, and play with all of the cool blocks and games they have available.
  • Peace and Quiet – Parents know how challenging it can be to get work done at home. However, I can always pack up my laptop and head to the library. Not only do I have access to free WiFi, I also have access to a peaceful and relatively quiet environment.
  • Technology – It’s easy to think of libraries as antiquated buildings with dusty books, but in reality most libraries have changed with the times. Our local library has several computers available for public use. They also have a wonderful website that allows me to checkout or renew books online, download books, and view computer tutorials.
  • Public Services – Libraries also offer wonderful services to the community. Very often they present classes on government programs, personal finance, and computer seminars. They also often have weekly story time and activities for children. A quick check of the library website will show you what services are available in your town.
  • Socialization – While it is super convenient to take care of tasks from the comfort of your own home, this doesn’t allow you to interact with other people. Local libraries afford visitors the opportunity to socialize with one another. Book clubs, creative writing classes, story time, and movie viewings are just a few examples of ways libraries encourage socialization.
  • Books! – Yep, this one is a no-brainer, but it bears reminding that libraries offer access to a wide variety of reading materials. Sure, I could download any book I want onto my tablet, but it might not be free!

Perhaps, instead of heading toward extinction, libraries are merely evolving. Whatever your views are about the relevance of libraries, we think you will be touched by this heartwarming story about a secret library in Syria. You’ll be amazed at how one library has changed the lives of a war torn community.

 

15 Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschooling

15 Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschooling Resources

Halfway through summer many homeschool families are enjoying a much needed break. Summer has a way of slipping away though, and before you realize it, school is back in session! While you may not be ready to break out the curriculum just yet, it’s never too early to get some ideas for the upcoming year. Red Apple Reading would like to help you get started with these 15 fantastic Pinterest boards for homeschooling resources.

 

  1.  Organized Homeschool (Dr. Melanie Wilson) – If you’re looking to get your homeschool organized, you’ll want to check out this board.
  2.  Choosing Curriculum (Curriculum Choice/Tricia Hodges) – This board will help you with the overwhelming task of choosing curriculum.
  3.  Home Education Ideas (Jen Dunlap) – Peruse this board for a plethora of practical homeschooling ideas!
  4.  The Ultimate Homeschool Board (Creator – The Encouraging Homeschool Mom. Various Contributors) – This is truly the ultimate homeschool board! With over 57,000 pins and 191 contributors, you could spend the entire day looking through this board!
  5.  Must-Follow Homeschool Bloggers (Creator – Sarah Avila. Various Contributors) – Great posts from top homeschooling bloggers.
  6.  STEM Education (K12 & Learning Liftoff) – If you’re looking for science, engineering, math, and technology resources, this is the Pinterest board for you.
  7.  Enchanted Homeschooling Mom Blog (Enchanted Homeschooling Mom) – This board is filled with all sorts of goodies – lesson plans, crafts, recipes and more! Best of all – tons of great printables!
  8.  Montessori Homeschool (The Natural Homeschool) – If you are homeschooling according to the Montessori method, you’ll want to check out this one. It’s chock full of wonderful Montessori educational ideas!
  9.  Elementary Lessons, Tips, and Classroom Ideas (No Time for Flashcards) – This board contains a variety of helpful ideas for schooling your little one.
  10.  Homeschooling (Creator – This Reading Mama. Various contributors.) – Over 3,000 pins designed to help homeschoolers on this board. A great variety of contributors with great ideas.
  11.  Charlotte Mason Homeschool (Joy in the Home) – Homeschoolers who teach using the Charlotte Mason method (or who want to) should check out this gem!
  12.  Teachers Pay Teachers (Various Contributors) – It was impossible to pick a single board to focus on from Teachers Pay Teachers, because of the massive variety of contributors! However, as I was researching homeschooling pin boards, it seemed like almost all of them had pins from Teachers Pay Teachers. Don’t be put off by the name – there are many freebies!
  13.  Not Consumed Homeschool (Kim Sorgius. Various Contributors) – This is a good, all-around helpful board for those seeking homeschool encouragement and ideas. With  78 contributors and 18,000 pins, this board provides plenty of ideas!
  14.  Year Round Homeschooling (Misty Leask) – If you prefer a year round homeschool option, you need to follow this board. Contains great year round homeschool products, ideas, and encouragement!
  15.  Nothing But Books for Kids (Red Apple Reading) – Last (but not least) come check out our Pinterest board containing book lists and recommendations for educators and parents. If you are searching for a specific type of book for your kiddo, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here!

Red Apple Reading loves homeschool families! We hope you’ll find these Pinterest boards helpful as you prepare for the school year ahead. We invite you to take a look at all of our Pinterest boards too. You’re sure to come away with several great ideas for your homeschool.

10 Yummy Books About Ice Cream

July 17th is National Ice Cream Day! Celebrate by taking the kids out for ice cream and picking up one of these sweet titles!

Yummy Ice Cream Books - Red Apple Reading

Yummy Ice Cream Books - Red Apple Reading

 

Ice Cream: The Full Scoop (Gail Gibbons) – A delightful book which chronicles the history of ice cream. A fun book for preschool and early elementary students!

Should I Share My Ice Cream? (Mo Willems) – In this installment of Willem’s Elephant and Piggie books, Elephant faces a conundrum. Should he share his ice cream with his good friend Piggie? Preschoolers will like this one!

Curious George and the Ice Cream Surprise (H.A. Rey) – It’s summer time and George has just got to find a way to cool off. Will he be able to catch that ice cream truck? The preschool and early elementary crowd will enjoy this one!

Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream (Tom Watson) – Stick Dog and his buddies are on a mission to catch the loud, strange truck that leaves behind yummy puddles. They encounter many obstacles along the way, including the police! Older elementary students will enjoy this Stick Dog adventure!

The Ice Cream Kid: Brain Freeze! (Todd Clark) – Irwin Snackcracker is a pretty normal 4th grade boy. He likes booger picking contests, pizza, and ice cream. One day at school, Irwin manages to score the last Fudgsicle; his superpowers begin to emerge with each bite! If your 7-12 year old kid enjoys some good potty humor, she is sure to like this book.

Ice Cream Summer (Peter Sis) – In a letter to his grandfather, Joe reassures him that he is not forgetting to stay on top of his schoolwork. It’s just that all his reading, math, and writing skills seem to revolve around his favorite summertime treat: ice cream! Beware the illustrations in this book might make you hungry! A nice choice for early elementary students.

I Am an Ice Cream Truck (Ace Landers) – Preschoolers will enjoy this board book that is shaped like an ice cream truck. Kids will watch as the people line up to receive their sweet treats and hear (thanks to a sound chip) the familiar tune of the ice cream truck!

The Ice Cream King (Steve Metzger) – When Teddy visits the new ice cream shop, he imagines an ice cream dreamland where he is the Ice Cream King! Preschool and early elementary students will enjoy this ice cream dream world and parents will enjoy the lesson on sharing that concludes the story.

Wemberly’s Ice-Cream Star (Kevin Henkes) – When little Wemberly is given an ice cream star, she discovers a way to share it with her friend; but it takes some patience! This is a sweet book for preschoolers!

The Scoop on Ice Cream (Bonnie Williams) – This installment of History of Fun Stuff provides early elementary students with the interesting history of ice cream. A level three reader containing fun ice cream trivia!

 

There’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer day than with a delicious ice cream cone. Red Apple Reading hopes you enjoy National Ice Cream Day!

 

8 Compelling Reasons to Read to Your Child

8 Compelling Reasons to Read to Your Child

As parents we are constantly battling the clock. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done! Our lives are full and it seems like we never check everything off of our to do list. So you may think adding one more item to your already busy schedule is unrealistic. Red Apple Reading would like to offer 8 compelling reasons why you should be reading aloud  to your child daily (yes, even if  they are already reading independently!).

 

 

  1. They are only young once.  Believe it or not, one day your kiddo will be 18 and leaving for college or work. When that day comes, you won’t wish that you had spent more time cleaning the house. Your opportunity to cuddle on the couch and read a book together is now! Take advantage of every opportunity to read with your child – they are only little for a short while.
  2. You could use the break.  Parenting is a 24/7 job. Our work is never done! There will always be clothes to fold, dinner to cook, and book bags to go through. Even parents need a break and sitting down for a few minutes and reading with your kiddo is the perfect pick-me-up. Chances are you will be more productive for having had the rest!
  3. It’s fun!  When one of my children asks me to read to them, it’s hard to stop what I’m doing and switch gears. However, I very often discover that once I sit down and begin reading I find myself enjoying the story.  Before I know it I’m caught up in what’s happening to Harry Potter and my son is reminding me it’s time for bed.
  4. They are watching you.  Kids are smart. They understand that the things we give our time to are important to us. When parents consistently make reading time a priority it sends a clear message: reading is important!
  5. It models fluency.  In order for your kiddo to truly comprehend and enjoy what he’s reading, he needs to acquire fluency—the ability to read words and sentences accurately, at a reasonably quick pace, without the need to stop and decode individual words. One way children develop an understanding of fluency is by hearing text read to them. Reading to your child regularly provides a good model of how fluent reading sounds.
  6. It generates discussion.  I have had several good discussions with my children as a direct result of reading aloud to them. Questions such as, “What would you do if you were in this character’s situation?” or “How would you change the ending of this story?” are just a couple of ways to start a great conversation with your child.
  7. It aids vocabulary development.   According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, ” the vocab that a child has at the age of two is proportional to the number of words he’s heard spoken to him before that time.” So when you read aloud to your child, you are exposing him to new words and helping to increase his vocabulary.
  8. You’re making memories.  What will your kid remember about their childhood when they are grown? What will you remember? You will never be sorry you took time to lose yourself in a story with your child. When you read to your child you are making memories that will last a lifetime!

These are just a few of the great reasons why you should be reading aloud to your child. Why not start today making reading time with your kiddo a priority?