Friday, March 29, 2013

Books for Easter Baskets

The Easter Bunny is bringing Mia two new books in her Easter basket this year:

Bunny My Honey by Anita Jeram and Sweet Dreams Lullaby by Betsy E. Snyder. Neither are books about the Easter holiday, but I like them better that way. If they are only about bunnies (or just happen to have bunnies featured prominently in them ;)) then the books are readable at any time of the year...not just Easter and Springtime. 

Some other great last-minute additions to Easter baskets would be: 

Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson 

Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes 

This Little Chick by John Lawrence 

Spring is Here by Taro Gomi 

Little Lamb (Mini Look at Me Books) by L. Rigo

I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom 

Gossie and Gertie by Olivier Dunrea 

The Fuzzy Duckling by Jane Werner Watson 

Duck and Goose by Tad Hills 

Cheep! Cheep! by Julie Stiegemeyer

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Little Reading Spot...

Last week I convinced my husband to dismantle Mia's crib so we could make some changes to her bedroom. She turned 3 last month. She doesn't sleep in her crib. She never really has. She hasn't even napped in it for about a year (she only naps about twice a month these days). Mia and I cosleep. She still wakes up several times a night and needs to nurse for a few seconds before she can fall back, it's definitely easiest for me to sleep with her. I like cosleeping. I know it won't last forever...and sometimes I wish she slept in her own bed, just so she could have a cute bed in her own bedroom...and I do miss sleeping with my husband (who is a crazy/noisy sleeper and sleeps in another bedroom, poor guy)...but for the most part, I love the way things are. 

Anyway...for the last year or so, Mia's crib has been used as a fun little playpen, a trampoline, storage, and a bed for the cat. My husband, Scott, and I had discussed moving the crib before, and decided we'd leave it for a while. A few months later, I realized that Mia wasn't really playing in it that much, so I wanted it out of the room. 

We left the crib mattress on the floor where the crib had been, just in case Mia started to freak out once the crib was gone (which she only did briefly after seeing her crib in pieces), and I think it was a great idea. 

I doubt she will ever sleep on it, though. Every night at bedtime, I lie down with her on my bed (we have a queen mattress and a twin mattress pushed together and on the floor) until she's asleep. We will be moving in a few months, and then I plan on doing this same thing every night, but in MIA's new bedroom. That way she'll get used to sleeping in her own room. 

Until then, now Mia has a tiny bed in her own bedroom that she can sleep on anytime she wants...but can also use it for other a reading spot. It's the third one in her room! There is also a chair and a beanbag. I know people say you can never have too many reading spots...but it's not that big of a room! I'm thinking I might move the chair into our living room. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Books for Older Toddlers

Alice in Wonderland: a BabyLit Colors Primer - Jennifer Adams 

The Babies on the Bus - Karen Katz 

Baby Penguins Everywhere! - Melissa Guion 

The Belly Button Book - Sandra Boynton 

Down on the Farm - Merrily Kutner 

Duckie's Ducklings - Frances Barry 

Five Little Chicks - Nancy Tafuri 

Flip, Flap, Fly - Phyllis Root 

Gideon - Olivier Dunrea 

Humpty Dumpty - Salina Yoon 

I Can Do It Myself - Stephen Krensky 

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean - Kevin Sherry 

Little Bea - Daniel Roode 

Little Owl Lost - Chris Haughton 

Little White Rabbit - Kevin Henkes 

LMNO Peas - Keith Baker 

A Lovely Day for Amelia Goose - Yu Rong 

Meeow and the Blue Table - Sebastian Braun 

Mouse Paint - Ellen Stoll Walsh 

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? - Dr. Seuss 

My Mermaid Counting Book - Sue Hendra 

Noisy Nora - Rosemary Wells 

Now I Am Big - Stephen Krensky

Tap Tap Bang Bang - Emma Garcia 

The Three Bears - Byron Barton 

What Shall We Do with the Boo Hoo Baby? - Cressida Cowell 

Where is the Green Sheep? - Mem Fox 

Wow! Said the Owl - Tim Hopgood 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Author Spotlight

One of my favorite authors for older babies and toddlers is Leslie Patricelli.
She has numerous picture books and board books. Mia has always loved them.

What are some of your (or your baby or toddler's) favorite books? 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tips for Reading Aloud to Children

Reading aloud to your child is one of the most important things you can do as a parent or as a teacher of young children. Beginning in infancy, children benefit from hearing language and stories. Experts also agree that even after a child has learned to read, they still benefit greatly from hearing stories aloud. Here are some tips: 

1. Read the book to yourself first so you get a feel for the rhythm and tempo. 
If you're worried about pronunciation, you'll want to read the book by yourself before you have an audience. Most preschool books have vocabulary that most adults can read without problems. But, a good book will challenge children by introducing new words.

2. Hold the book so that the child/children can see the pictures while you are reading. 
This, of course, is much easier if you have a child on your lap and are reading one-on-one. But most classroom storytimes occur in front of a group of children. It takes practice to learn how to hold the book up for the audience and still read the words. Even though it might be difficult, it's important because children use the context clues in the pictures to comprehend, process, recall, and retell a story.

3. Choose books that you will enjoy reading aloud. 
Children will hear the genuine excitement in your voice and that excitement is most often contagious!

4. Read with expression! 
Using a monotone is no fun for anybody and you will quickly lose your audience- even if they are "captive."When your audience starts wiggling, poking, and pulling their neighbor's hair, you have lost their attention. Reading with expression engages the children and invites them into the story.

5. Encourage children to participate in the story. 
In some stories that repeat the same text on each page, the children can become a part of the story experience. For example, in "The Napping House" (by Audrey Wood), each page ends with "where everyone is sleeping." You can ask children what they think will happen next. Children will often anxiously anticipate their participation. Find ways to make a story an active rather than a passive experience.

6. Be prepared to read the same books again and again...and again. 
Once you find books that you enjoy reading aloud, it is likely that your children will want to hear them repeatedly. This is a great thing because memorizing stories is often a child's first step to becoming a reader!

7. If you need an example of how to read aloud, consider choosing a book that has a CD with it. 
Listen to the story with your child, and then, when you read it, you will have an idea for how to imitate the rhythm and tempo of the text. Public libraries have many of these books-with-cds available for check out.

8. Don't skip the important parts!
Spend some time looking at the cover and illustrations. If it's a book that you are reading for the first time, talk about the cover, and ask your child to predict what will happen. During the story, refer to the illustrations. Tell the children the author and illustrator's names. These are parts of a book that adults often take for granted and skip over when reading to children, but these are important parts of the story. 

9. To point or not to point? 
Should you point to the words when you read a story? Maybe sometimes, but not all the time. The very first time you read a book, you should just let the story flow naturally. On future readings, you can certainly point to the words you are reading so that the children begin to make the connection between spoken and written words. When you are pointing to the words,
slide your finger across the sentence as you read. Avoid pointing to each word, one by one, as that tends to create a choppy speech pattern. Once children know a few words by sight, point them out in stories that you read.

10. HAVE FUN!!!

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Great Books for Babies and Young Toddlers

It's never too early to start reading to a child...and that includes babies! I started when Mia was about 2 months old, but that might not work for all families. Mia was an angel newborn and young baby. Ah, the memories! ;)

When I used to do "Book Baby" storytimes at the library, it seemed like babies didn't get much out of reading until about 6-9 months. Of course, taking a baby to a storytime with 20-40 other babies/toddlers and their parents (yes, I used to get that many people attending my programs! It was craziness at times!) is totally different than reading one-on-one with a parent or other caregiver. Actually, I think having that many people at a program for babies and toddlers isn't ideal. It's way too distracting. All the babies and toddlers want to do is pay attention to each other. Thankfully, not every "Book Baby" program I ever led had that many attendees. I highly recommend taking babies and toddlers to library storytime programs. I often hear from other parents that they don't even try because their littles won't or can't sit still for stories...but parents don't need to worry about that. These programs are designed for small children who have short attention spans. The librarians know all about child development and don't (or shouldn't!) expect anything different. Also, just because a young child hasn't calmly listened to stories read aloud in the past doesn't mean that they don't get anything out of it. When parents read to their small children at home, they shouldn't demand that their children sit still. Let them move around while listening to the story. Make storytime fun. Children will begin to stay still for longer and longer periods of time as they grow...but parents need to make sure to give their children plenty of opportunities to practice this skill. Part of this means practicing it around other people in our world.

Whether it is reading one-on-one at home, or to a group of babies/toddlers, here is a long list of wonderful books for babies (any age, really) and young toddlers. Mia just turned three years old a week ago, and she still enjoys reading all of these books.

Babies and toddlers like animals. Any book with colorful pictures of animals and with animal sounds in the text will always be a winner with small children. Also, books where the text is that of a nursery rhyme or song (be sure to sing the song!) are always safe bets with young children.

Have fun!

Books for Babies (Personal Favorites) 

All Kinds of Kisses - Nancy Tafuri

Big and Little - SAMi 

Boats - Byron Barton 

Bouncy Baby - Begin Smart 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Hear? - Bill Martin Jr. 

Cat - Matthew Van Fleet 

Clip-Clop - Nicola Smee 

Dear Zoo - Rod Campbell 

Duckie's Rainbow - Frances Barry 

Dog - Matthew Van Fleet 

Freight Train - Donald Crews 

Hello, Day! - Anita Lobel 

Hello, Animals! - Smriti Prasadam 

I Am a Bunny - Ole Risom 

I Kissed the Baby! - Mary Murphy 

I Like Bugs - Lorena Siminovich 

In My Meadow - Sara Gillingham 

Little Miss Spider - David Kirk

Mommy, Carry Me Please! - Jane Cabrera 

Old Bear - Kevin Henkes 

Pantone Colors - Pantone


Peek-a-Moo! - Marie Torres Cimarusti 

Rainbow Fish - Marcus Pfister 

Saffy - Paola Opal  

Ten Little Babies - Gyo Fujikawa 

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes - Mem Fox 

That's Not My Kitten - Usborne Touchy Feely 

Tubby - Leslie Patricelli 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: and Other Favorite Nursery Rhymes - Sanja Rescek 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle 

Where is Baby's Puppy - Karen Katz 

Where is My Baby - Simms Taback 

Where's Spot - Eric Hill 

Who's At Home - Nancy Davis 

Who's in the Garden - Phyllis Gershator 

Whose Baby Am I? - John Butler 

You Are My Cupcake - Joyce Wan 

You Are My Sunshine - Caroline Jayne Church