Post Tagged with: "literacy blog tour"

World Read-Aloud Day is Wed., March 7

wrad2012badgeIt’s very important to read to your child.

In fact, we consider it one of the top three most important things you can do to help your kid develop a love of reading.

Every day – but especially on Wed., March 7 – take the time to read to your child.

Or even someone else’s. Or a bunch of kids. There’s no downside – and a huge upside.

More information on WRAD here.

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Silent E

Here is a great video that teaches what Silent E does. (Spoiler alert: For one thing, it makes a hug huge!)

Thanks to, who brought this to my attention via a tweet.
Their website is fantastic – it’s a collection of videos that kids just gotta see.

And if you’re in the mood for something slightly more modern…

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Keeping kids reading

My son reads a lot.

Erm… well, he used to.

It appears that I’ve been resting on some laurels that have deserted me while I was looking the other way. (To use an overly complicated metaphor.)

Over the summer, I started to notice that my son has been playing more video games and going to bed later and reading less and less.

What got me thinking about it was a book I picked up recently that had a chapter entitled, “Good readers: How to keep your child reading.”

I realized that I have been assuming that once he became a good reader, my son would always turn to books. And now I think that isn’t necessarily the case. The bond between a boy and his books might actually be more tenuous than I thought.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that lately video games, baseball and TV have been winning – and books are going unread. Like, for weeks.

So here’s what I did. First of all, I started reinforcing a more normal bedtime. I told my son when he has to be “in bed,” and when he has to be “asleep.” There’s a half-hour difference in those times – and that’s for reading. So he goes to bed before he’s completely exhausted and then he gets half an hour to read.

Next, I asked him why he’s not enjoying reading. It turns out he been waiting for the next book in the series he’s working on (Macdonald Hall by Gordon Korman). It was sold out at our local bookstore and no one had gotten it for him for his birthday. So he’s been waiting.

We could have ordered it online, but when you only buy one book you have to pay shipping, so we tracked it down and then went really, really far to a bookstore that had it. And we bought it for him. All of that seemed a bit crazy at the time, but it paid off: he started reading the book in the car on the way home. Sha-zam!

The third thing I did was start reading to him at bedtime again. As he’d begun reading more and more by himself, I realized I’d been reading to him less and less frequently. My husband bought another book by Gordon Korman (Who is Bugs Potter?), and I started reading that to my son out loud – while he was in the bath. I took advantage of a captive audience, I admit it – but again, it worked. Who is Bugs Potter? is a pretty awesome book. (I’ll blog about it soon.)

It piqued his interest and now I’m happy to report that my son is reading again. A lot.

I figure we’re good until he runs out of the Macdonald Hall books and finishes Bugs Potter. So Rick Riordan, if you’re reading this, could you please hurry up and finish the next book in the Kane Series? Type, darn you! Type!

I’ve got tons of stuff I want to blog about in the upcoming weeks… great books. A few products I’ve ordered from Hasbro that look like they’d be great at promoting literacy. Some research I’ve been reading up on. The results from that study we all took part in. And I’m hoping for a few more articles by Julia. So stay tuned!

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Get your video-kid reading

  • March 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm
  • Uncategorized

Kids can be into video games and enjoy reading, too!

Your child loves video games but isn’t a big reader? No problem. Here are some tips that will get your video-loving kid reading.

1) GO WITH THE FLOW. Studies show that kids are more apt to read things that interest them.

If video games are a huge interest for your child, try to work with that:
*Subscribe to a gaming magazine. There are tons of them, and they contain what gamers crave-tips to help them unlock secrets in their favourite games.

*Suggest gaming websites that have a lot of written instructions, or which require the player to type instructions in order to progress in the game. For instance, Dungeon Scroll is a new kind of hybrid game combining a word game with a RPG (role-playing game).

*Kids who like video games may also like comics and graphic novels. At websites like Make Beliefs Comix they can create their own comics online.

*There are some cool online literacy and math games at Bite-Size Literacy.

2) THINK LIKE A GAMER. If your child has a Nintendo DS, get him to use the PICTOCHAT function to type messages back and forth with his friends. From the DS’s main screen, click on PICTOCHAT. It will bring up a screen and a mini keyboard your child can use to type messages.
How about PICTOCHAT Hide-and-Seek? Have one child hide and have his friend type messages via PICTOCHAT with clues to find him. (This game was developed by an eight-year-old boy who loves video games.)

3) GET HIM TYPING. It’s a skill he needs for gaming anyway, and it will develop his literacy skills. Once kids can type, getting them to write stories and essays will be much easier since they’ll be able to get their thoughts down as fast as their brain can come up with them.

Make sure the typing program you choose is QWERTY-based so they’ll learn to use the Home Row. An excellent one (that worked for my child) is Dance Mat Typing, by the BBC.

4) SUGGEST ONLINE GAMES that include a literacy component. For instance, at Club Penguin, kids control a virtual “penguin” who plays games and can chat with other “penguins.” In the Club Penguin book room there’s a great typing game where the penguins can type a virtual book to earn all-important Club Penguin dollars.

5) GET YOUR CHILD BOOKS WITH SHORT BLOCKS OF TYPE AND LOTS OF IMAGES. Boys in particular like books with facts, lots of visuals and chunks of text.

Here are some suggestions:
*The Encyclopedia of Immaturity by Klutz.
*Guinness World Records
*Books on magic or featuring science experiments

6) CONSIDER V-BOOKS. This is a brand new genre in publishing, and it may be appealing to kids who like gaming. Kids read the book, and every few chapters there’s an instruction from the writer to go to a website and input a password that lets the child see a video. The video supports the book in some way and furthers the plot. The v-books that are currently available (Skeleton Creek, by Patrick Carman, for instance) are too scary for most kids. However, he recently released Trackers, which is apparently less scary (although it’s still pretty intense, from what I’ve seen). In any case, this is just the tip of the iceburg. This is clearly a new realm in publishing for kids and young adults, and within a very short time we’re going to see an explosion in the number of books that cross the boundary between paper and technology. To check out Skeleton Creek and Trackers, visit the author’s website. For a book series with a different type of online accompaniment, read The 39 Clues, by Peter Lerangis. Kids can go online ( to track down clues and enter a contest to win prizes.

7) SET SOME BOUNDARIES. There’s no getting around it–you will have to set “screen-time” limits. Kids can’t read if they’re gaming all the time. How much will depend on your child, but some parents say no gaming during the week, and then two hours of screen-time a day on weekends.

This post is part of the Literacy Blog Tour (March 8-14, 2010) – welcome tourists! We hope you’ll be back again and again.

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Getting active kids reading

Sitting and reading is not the only way.

At age five, girls are able to sit still and listen about 2.5 times longer than boys, according to studies.

But we don’t need research to tell us that most boys would rather get up and move around than sit and read.

Here are some great ways to keep active kids happy while they’re learning. (Statistically, this tends to be a boy issue–so we’re using the male pronoun–but if you’ve got an active girl these tips will apply just as well.)

1) LET HIM MOVE. Let your son play with a ball while you read to him. Having a ball to quietly hold and catch helps lots of kids concentrate better.

2) INTERRUPT THE STORY. When you come to a plot point, stop and ask him, “why do you think that happened?” or “what do you think that meant?” Not only does it help with comprehension, but it breaks up the monotony of listening.

3) GO OUTSIDE. It’s called “environmental literacy” – finding things to read outside. There are tons of signs and advertisements to read out there, and even word puzzles to figure out. What does that parking sign mean? When can you park here? How much is parking? What is that an ad for? Do you believe the ad? He’ll have to read carefully to figure out the answers.

4) MAKE EVERYTHING A CONTEST. Active kids, and especially kids who like sports, love to be timed, challenged, and rewarded. When you play literacy games, getting out a stopwatch can bring the right measure of fun competition to it.

5) PLAY ACTIVE GAMES. Take a long strip of paper – say four feet long by four inches high (or several strips). In marker, write a sentence on it. Then cut the sentence up into words. Hide the words around your backyard or playground. Have the child run around and collect the words, bringing each one back to you when it’s found, before running out and getting the next one. When he has them all, he can piece them all into a sentence. Time him and see if he can do it faster the second time around.

6) HOST A TREASURE HUNT. Use signs to lead your child up to his bedroom, across to his dresser, over to the bathroom, down to the basement, into a closet, up to the attic, into the fridge… and then over to the dining room table, where he’ll find his treat (chocolate, or a wrapped book, or some other small reward). It’s a great game that combines reading with physical activity.

7) WRITE A STORY WHILE YOU’RE WALKING. Schedule a long walk, just the two of you. While you’re walking, lead him to create a story – with characters, an interesting setting and a couple of plot points.

Extending this activity: When you get back home, he can dictate the story so you can write it down, or he can type it up. Make it into a book and add illustrations. He’ll have something tangible that he has created.

This post is part of the Literacy Blog Tour (March 8-14, 2010) – welcome tourists! We hope you’ll be back again and again.

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