Post Tagged with: "young readers"
If your kids could use a little brush-up on their spelling, beezi might be the game that does it.
My son and I took the game for a test drive. He figures he’s a better speller than his mother (who is a writer by trade, a-hem).
We really enjoyed beezi. For off, it was easy to figure out how to play it–a huge plus. I hate having to read through two pages of directions to figure out a game before you can even play it.
And it was fast-playing. Another plus.
Essentially, beezi takes you around a board; you select cards and spell words. The harder the word, the further you go on the board. Special spaces on the board let you roll again, skip a turn or advance.
The game includes spelling challenges at different levels. That’s good because it means that your eight-year-old can play with your 10-year-old at the same time. And it makes it extra flexible for playdates.
There’s also a Teens and Parents edition, which we will definitely have to get (we were given this one by beezi, for review). We did find that the younger game was a bit too easy for my 12-year-old. Although, he did not—I stress, did not—win against his mother.
Because kids write down their answer, rather than just spell it out loud, the game can definitely help kids improve their spelling. The game provides a real incentive to sound words out and try to get them right. It also gives adults a chance to explain why certain words are spelled the way they are.
Some kids are shy or embarrassed about not being able to spell very well. Even my son, who’s a pretty good speller, didn’t like to admit it when he couldn’t spell certain words, and I can see that. So you may want to keep that in mind when you’re playing. Usually, I was able to explain that “everyone gets that one wrong,” or “that spelling rule is tricky” and then roll the dice and keep the game moving.
The game is themed around bees, a riff on “spelling bees.” The bee theme continues with the die, which features six types of bees (from honey bee - the easiest words to spell, to killer bee - the most challenging). My son likes “Shaggy Fuzzyfoot” the best; Shaggy’s a wildcard. And the object of the game is to reach the “beehive” in the middle of the board.
The illustrations are quirky and modern, and the dice is one of those big, chunky ones that are such fun to roll.
Bonus: The next time I go to a restaurant or a long car ride with my son, I’m going to bring along the card deck. It will be a terrific quiz-me activity, even without the game board. beezi would also be a good game to take to the cottage, because everyone can play it, using different level card packs.
beezi: the s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g game sells for $29.99 and is available at toy stores and Chapters/Indigo. You can also purchase it from the beezi website ($10 to $15 shipping within Canada).
(If you’re in Toronto, buy it from my friend Sam at her Playful Minds toy store. Tell her I sent ya.)
On the beezi website, click on Take the Beezi challenge for a fun online spelling challenge.
That’s every grade one student — more than 500,000 of them. No matter what school board they’re with, whether they’re homeschooled, whether they live in a remote community. Everyone gets a book to take home and read over and over again and keep.
The program is funded by TD Bank and it’s administered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. The CCBC selects wonderful books. Just the right books, in fact. And this year’s gem is no exception.
Author/Illustrator Philippe Beha’s little grey cat once went missing. He put up signs around the neighbourhood in hopes of getting him back. Several people called with cats – however, they were always the wrong ones.
Beha’s story folds into a brilliant and beautiful picture book, “I’ve Lost my Cat,” with charm and depth and sensitive wit. The half-million children in Canada who will be receiving Beha’s book will love it.
In the book, our protagonist is handed many animals – and even a melon – that fit some part of the description of his cat. He accepts them all graciously, finding a home for the elephant, the penguin, the bird and even the sheep he’s presented with. And just when he least expects it… he finds his cat. (Didn’t think you’d mind the spoiler.)
The book is “J’ai Perdu Mon Chat” in French.
Every child deserves to have a book of their own. Not only does owning a book promote literacy, but it promotes self-esteem. TD and the CCBC began their Grade One Book Giveaway Program in 2000. Since then they’ve given away millions of books.
It is a very, very good thing.
Visit the CCBC here, and get a list of the previous years’ books – you know they are sure-fire winners, every one.
You can also pre-order it on Amazon here.
Gabby is illustrated by the wonderful Jan Dolby and published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.
Gabby is a smart, quirky little girl with a special reading book. When she accidentally drops it, all the letters fall out. When she starts putting the letters together into words, whatever she spells — she creates! As you can imagine, this gets her into quite a muddle. What can she do to put things right?
Visit my author blog for Gabby here. The author blog has lots of fun illustrations, colouring pages and information about Gabby.
She would scatter letters around the room. Each letter had a price on it.
“Easier” letters like E might be worth a penny or five cents, whereas “harder” letters like Q or Z might be worth a quarter.
(Are you seeing where this is going?)
The kids would run around the room, collecting the letters; they would then put them together into words or phrases.
Then they’d add up the “money” they’d earned and… cash them in, using their parents as the bankers.
My niece said the game succeeded in making her friend much more interested in words and in reading.
And, presumably, in banking.
Here’s another case in which a mom successfully bribed her daughter into reading.
I’m excited! The illustrations are by Jan Dolby and it’s published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.
I’ll be doing some readings in schools, book stores and at Word On The Street to publicize the book.
I sewed and stuffed some fabric letters to use during the readings. It occurred to me that letters like this are also great for new readers, since they can hold them and make words out of them. Making letters and words tactile for kids is a terrific way to get them reading.
There are lots of ways you can do this without making your own fabric letters (trust me, it’s a lot of work). You can use Scrabble tiles, foam letters from the dollar store, letter dice from a game like Jr. Boggle or Alphabet Scoop, or you can cut out letters or words from magazines.
Julie Booker is an author, a teacher, a librarian and last but not least, the mom of twin toddlers.
All this to say, she knows her picture books!
Her Canadian summer picture book reading list was recently published here on 49th Shelf, an awesome Canadian book website.
Below is her list of the best of the best. For her comments about each one, visit 49th Shelf.com. Click on their book links for more information about each book.
Jelly Belly by Dennis Lee
M is for Moose by Charles Pachter
City Alphabet by Joanne Schwartz and Matt Beam
Eenie Meenie Manitoba by Robert Heidbreder
The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service
Butterscotch Dreams by Sonja Dunn
My pick from here - If you're not Canadian and you've never read The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, get your hands on a copy because you will fall in love with its folk-charm illustrations and true-life story about a boy who loves his Montreal Canadiens hockey team. (If you are Canadian? You've already read it.) Oh, and another way you know Julie Booker knows her books? Her last name, sha-zam!
“Mr. Morton is the subject of the sentence and what the predicate says – he does!”
Thanks to Tina, via her FB page, for this.
• Fostering imagination
• Putting events in sequence
• Inspiration for writing a story
• Staving off boredom while you’re waiting at a restaurant
• General all-round silliness.
There are nine dice. Each one has six simple pictures. For instance, a happy face, a magic wand, a tree.
You use the nine images to build a story.
I was happy when I found a magical tree.
The magician used a tree to make his wand. It was a happiness wand.
I “wand-ered” over to a tree, where I stopped and smiled at my own pun.
The great thing is that there are no wrong answers. And all kinds of possibilities.
You can use as many or as few dice as you want. You can ignore some. You can make the images mean just what you want—even if that wouldn’t be someone else’s interpretation of the picture.
And you can get as silly as you want.
Rory’s Story Cubes are portable and stored in an elegant little magnetic-closure case. We bring them to restaurants and roll them while we’re waiting for the food to come.
If you’ve got a few kids in your group—even if they’re very diverse in terms of age or interests—it’s a great way to keep them occupied. And laughing.
There’s a great back-story to this game. Rory originally invented his cube game for companies to foster creativity and teamwork. He has since come up with a number of different versions, including a version with just “action” pictures (verbs), one that’s about voyages, and a smart phone app.
Rory’s story cubes sell for about $15 and they’re available at most toy stores or online at the Rory’s Story Cubes website.
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.