Literacy Crafts for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that just begs you to break out the glue, construction paper, and scissors and get crafty. Here at Red Apple Reading we think the only thing better is mixing in a little literacy with the craft! After all, you might as well sneak a bit of learning into the fun. This year why not try out one of these literacy friendly Valentine crafts with your kiddo?

 

Beaded Name Hearts
This Valentine craft from Fun-A-Day encourages literacy as well as fine motor skills. Kids arrange pony beads into fun patterns and thread their name into this cute creation. All parents need to provide are multi-colored beads, letter beads, and pipe cleaners.

Conversation Heart Letters
What’s Valentine’s Day without those sweet conversation hearts? Small children will get a kick out of practicing their letters with this classic candy. Kids place the candy hearts onto the letters to create a yummy alphabet. Visit TotSchooling to download their free conversation heart Valentine’s printables today!

Write a Valentine Letter
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to pen a letter to someone you love. Encourage your child to write a letter to a special person in his life listing all the things they love about him or her. Afterwards, supply your kiddo with markers, stickers, glitter, etc. to decorate their note.

Jar of Hearts
Your child will create her very own jar of hearts with this special Valentine’s Day writing activity.  Whether she chooses to write down the things she appreciates or people she loves, she will end feeling grateful for all the good stored up in her jar. This free download is available from Inspired Elementary.

The Sweetest Thing Writing Activity
This Valentine’s Day inspired writing activity comes from The Applicious Teacher. Children write about their sweet acts then display them on a homemade heart or chocolate kiss. Visit the website for instructions on how to assemble this craft and to purchase additional printables to expand the writing project.

Valentine’s Card Sentence Scramble
Who doesn’t like to receive cards on Valentine’s Day? Your child can create this adorable folding caterpillar card for someone special in his life. Have him unscramble the words to discover the message, then place each word on a different section of the caterpillar. When the card is unfolded this message appears: “Valentine, I’m buggy for you”. Visit Scholastic for instructions.

Valentine Book Marks
Let your little one create a Valentine-themed book mark. Simply provide cardstock, markers, stickers, and ribbon. After she completes her creation, present her with a new Valentine-themed book to go with the bookmark.

K is for Kiss
If your child is currently learning her letters, she will enjoy making this “K is for Kiss” craft. The end result (a googly eyed chocolate kiss) is adorable! Visit Our Crafts-N-Things to view this cute project.

The Day it Rained Hearts Craft
This craft is based on the book, The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. Your kiddo will love the finished creation with red felt hearts falling from tissue paper clouds and blue yarn rain woven through gray cardstock. Of course, you’ll also want to read the book that inspired this craft! Check out the instructions at I Heart Crafty Things.

Love Monster Paper Bag Puppet
Here’s another goody from I Heart Crafty Things! If your child is familiar with the book Love Monster by Rachel Bright, he’s sure to enjoy this fun art project. This simple craft only requires a paper bag, red construction paper, glue, and a little cardstock. When he’s finished he’ll have his very own Love Monster puppet! Read Love Monster today!

Get crafty this Valentine’s Day with an art project that combines the two great L’s – Literacy and Love. When you make one of these crafts with your kids, we have a feeling that you will be speaking their love language!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Red Apple Reading.

 

Fluency: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Fluency: What It Is and Why It's Important  |  Red Apple ReadingFluency can be broken down into 3 components: the ability to read a passage accurately (without having to stop and decode individual words), at a reasonable pace (not too fast or too slow), and with proper expression (paying attention to punctuation). Let’s explore the different facets of fluency and how you can help your child master each one. For convenience, we’ve listed individual interventions under each component, but you’ll quickly find that these activities are beneficial for all aspects of fluency!

Accuracy
It’s imperative for children to read accurately if they are going to have any real sense of what a passage is about.

  • Review Unfamiliar Words – You can help your child with this aspect of fluency by going over any new words with her before she reads the text. If she is reading a book about birds, for instance, you might introduce the word chickadee beforehand.
  • Repeated and Timed Readings – Another way you can help your little one improve her accuracy is with timed repeated readings. Simply set a timer for one minute. Let your kiddo read the same passage aloud to you several times, while keeping up with how many words she gets correct each time. Chances are you will see improvement with each reading!

Pace
Pace is another critical component of fluency. Reading should be performed at a reasonable rate.

  • Repeated and Timed Readings – Yep, the above timed reading activity will help your kid with pace as well! When children don’t have to stop and decode individual words, their pace naturally improves.
  • Record – One way you can assist your child with pace is by allowing her to record herself reading aloud (you’ll notice all these interventions involve reading aloud – it’s important!). Many times children don’t realize how slowly or quickly they are reading. When they go back and listen to themselves, they will get a better idea of whether they need to slow down or speed up.

Expression
Reading with expression involves paying attention to punctuation and the mood of the story. Reading with feeling makes the text more enjoyable and aids in comprehension.

  • Model by Reading Aloud – One of the ways kids learn to read with expression is by hearing someone else read with expression. This is one of a thousand reasons why parents should read aloud to their children. When we read a story to our kids they pick up on the nuances of our speech patterns and learn how expressive reading sounds.
  • Echo Reading – This intervention builds on the previous one. You will read a sentence or passage aloud using appropriate expression, then your kid will “echo read” the same passage (trying his best to sound like you).

As your child’s fluency improves she can begin reading more advanced texts and choosing titles that interest her rather than simple, decodable books. This will lead to a greater love of reading! Visit our Finding Fluency Pinterest board for more ideas on developing fluency.

Helping Your Struggling Reader

 

Helping Your Struggling Reader | Red Apple Reading

 

Some kids seem to be born readers. They pick up on the nuances of phonetics quickly and are reading independently on or before schedule. However, not all children find reading to be an easy skill to master – and that’s alright. Each child becomes proficient at reading at their own pace. The good news is, if your child struggles with reading, there are several things you can do to help him improve his skills.

 

 

Read Daily – Often, children who struggle with reading do not relish the task of dedicated daily reading time. However, it is important for your child to read every day. Sit down with your kiddo and work together to come up with a number of pages that they will read each day.

Find Interesting Material – Do everything you can to make reading appealing for your kid. If your child is interested in what she is reading, there’s a better chance she will stick with it.

Find Balanced Material – It can be challenging to find books that are easy enough not to frustrate your reader, yet don’t seem “babyish” in nature. Finding good material is worth the effort! Take a look at these high interest/low readability books from This Reading Mama.

Make Tasks Manageable – You may find it helpful to break up reading time into manageable chunks for your kid. For example, instead of having your child read the whole book, take turns reading with him. If you sense he is becoming frustrated, take a quick break and grab a snack. By managing daily reading wisely, you can cut down on aggravation and increase productivity.

Implement Oral Repetitive Reading – If your kiddo struggles with reading fluently, take time to listen to her read the same passage aloud to you several times. Usually, children improve with each reading. To see an example of this type of reading practice check out this video.

Prep for Success – Everyone wants to see their kid succeed. With a little prep beforehand, parents can ensure a more positive reading experience for their child. One way to prepare for reading is to go over potentially hard vocabulary words with your child in advance. Also, be sure your child is well rested and not hungry; a tired and hungry kid is not ready to work hard.

Provide Incentives – Who doesn’t enjoy being rewarded for a job well done? When your child has put forth significant effort to improve his reading, a little positive reinforcement is in order. Extra television time or a favorite treat can go a long way in providing the needed incentive to persevere in reading.

If reading is a struggle for your child, don’t panic! Begin today implementing some of the above strategies. It will be hard work for you and your child, but most good things require extra effort! If you suspect your child is facing a bigger issue (such as dyslexia, apraxia of speech, etc.) then contact your child’s teacher and ask for a formal evaluation.

 

10 Things Your Kids Should Know About Martin Luther King Jr.

On January 16th our country celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This holiday is the perfect time to reflect with your child on the amazing life of one of civil rights’ most important figures. Why not take some time as a family to discuss some of the significant events in King’s life? Red Apple Reading has compiled a list of 10 things your kids should know about Dr. King to get you started.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • King was intelligent. He skipped two years of high school and enrolled in Morehouse College at age 15. After he graduated from Morehouse he attended Crozer Theological Seminary where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He then went to Boston University where he earned his doctorate in systematic theology.
  • Some of King’s primary influences were his father – Martin Luther King, Sr., Jesus Christ, Morehouse President – Dr. Benjamin Mays, and Mahatma Gandhi.
  • King believed that peaceful civil disobedience was the best and most effectual way of bringing about political and social change.
  • King wrote Letter from a Birmingham Jail (a stirring defense of civil disobedience) in April of 1963 after being arrested for participating in a civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. This powerful manifesto was written without reference materials or notes and was over 7000 words long. Click here to read or listen to King’s letter.
  • King presented his I Have a Dream Speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. Dr. King delivered his speech at the March on Washington, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Click here to view King delivering his full speech.
  • Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was the youngest person to ever receive the prize.
  • King was the influential force behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the Selma March. These events helped to propel the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).
  • King was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 by James Earl Ray. He was in Memphis supporting a sanitation workers’ strike.
  • King is remembered on the 3rd Monday in January, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This holiday was observed for the first time on January 20th, 1986.

If you would like to further explore the life of Dr. King, check out the following websites!

 

Books: The Perfect Gift

Books: The Perfect Gift - Red Apple ReadingIt can be intimidating trying to find the perfect present for every person on our list. Plus, last-minute shopping can often be chaotic – hitting the stores and surfing online can put a damper on the merriest person’s holiday cheer. Look no further. Red Apple Reading has the perfect gift idea for everyone on your list: BOOKS!

  1. Books Provide an Escape – When you give a book you give a vacation. Books are the perfect way to escape our everyday lives and experience something new and different.
  2. Books Engage the Mind – There’s nothing wrong with some occasional mindless entertainment; but books are not only entertaining, they also engage the mind.
  3. Books Keep on Giving – A book is the gift that keeps on giving. You can go back multiple times to a good book and revisit the characters who have become old friends.
  4. Books are a Good Fit – Books are a good fit for everyone. You can always find a book no matter what the gift recipient’s interests. Biographies, novels, cook books, graphic novels… the possibilities are endless!
  5. Books are Inexpensive – Relatively speaking, books are not an expensive gift. Thrifty shoppers can also take advantage of sites such as Half.com which often have new or like new books for discounted prices.
  6. Books Communicate Value – When you give a book as a gift, (especially to your children) it communicates that you value reading. It’s important for our kids to understand that we as parents consider reading to be a gift.
  7. Books are Versatile – Books are available in so many forms these days you can easily find the right version for even the pickiest person. My husband is not a big reader but he’s listened to hundreds of audio books on his commute to work over the years. Maybe a subscription to Audible would suit a similar person on your list. Or, if your loved one doesn’t have the space for books, why not give him a Kindle or Nook gift card?
  8. Books are Simple – No special skills are needed to work a book. Anyone who can read can enjoy one. Even children who aren’t yet readers enjoy looking at picture books!
  9. Books are Easy to Wrap – We all know how demoralizing it can be to attempt to wrap a gift that is weirdly shaped. Books are easy. Books are straightforward. Books are easy to wrap.
  10. Books can be Shared – After you read a book you can pass it on for others to enjoy. In fact, a book is one of the few things you can unashamedly re-gift!

It’s pretty easy to see why a book is the perfect present. We’d love to hear about a meaningful book you received as a gift. Leave us a comment below! Merry Christmas from all of us at Red Apple Reading!