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Children's Books and Reading Blog The Children's Books and Reading Blog keeps you up-to-date with all additions and changes to the childrens-books-and-reading.com web site.

  • How I learned to read
    on January 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    I was in first grade in 1941. The school system (one of the best in the country) adhered rigidly to the look say method. I wasn't reading while it seemed […]

  • 2015 Winners of Caldecott Award and Newbery Medal
    on February 3, 2015 at 11:28 am

    The latest winners of the oldest and most prestigious awards for children's books - the Caldecott Award and the Newbery Medal - were announced on 2nd February 2015. The 2015 Caldecott Award was won by Dan Santat, the illustrator and writer of The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. This is a picture book about friendship and courage. An imaginary friend, Beekle, is born on an island far away and waits to be chosen by a real child. Eventually, fed up with waiting, he heads off on a courageous and emotional journey to the city to find his own human. Read more here about previous winners of the Caldecott Award, including our all-time top favourites. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander was the winner of the 2015 Newbery Medal. It is about two 12-year-old African American twin boys who are basketball stars, coached by their father, a former professional basketball player, and supported by their mother, the assistant-principal. When an attractive girl arrives on the scene, the brothers begin the painful process of moving apart for the first time. This novel, suitable for readers aged 11 and over, is written in verse with quirky vocabulary adding an amusing touch to the narrative. You can read more about the previous winners of the Newbery Medal here. […]

  • Best Word Book Ever
    on January 20, 2015 at 11:55 am

    After being read to from the better books, a child will often be interested in seeing the words for anything that interests him or her. Richard Scarry's […]

  • Book and Toy Gift Ideas
    on November 27, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Can't think what to give your little ones for Christmas? I love to give books as presents to the special children in my life, and often I try to go one step further and pair a book or two with a similarly themed toy to create an educational book and toy gift combination. The toy helps to spark the child's interest in a new subject and then, when they are captivated enough to want to find out more, they can turn to the book to extend their knowledge. Here you can find some of my favourite book and toy gift ideas for children. In each case I have suggested two books in addition to a toy which perfectly compliments the book choices. […]

  • Newbery Medal Winners by Recommended Reading Age
    on October 14, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    First awarded in 1922, the Newbery Medal was the first children’s book award in the world, and it continues to be one of the best known and most discussed children’s book awards. Reviewing past winners is a reliable way of finding inspirational and captivating novels suitable for young readers aged 8 and over. To help you choose just the right book for your child look no further than this full list of Newbery Medal Winners grouped by recommended reading age. You will even find recommendations for the very best of the best - those books considered by some to be most deserving of receiving this prestigious award. […]

  • Fun Kids' Workbooks
    on September 16, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Are you looking for some fun, engaging and educational kids’ workbooks to help your child practice literacy skills such as reading, writing, vocabulary and spelling? The trick is to find workbooks which practice literacy skills in a fun and appealing way so that your child is motivated to do them without too much fuss. Generally my children would rather play than complete written exercises (surprise, surprise) so I am always on the look out for engaging workbooks which help to disguise the work as play. Click to keep reading and find out more about our favorites. From comics to crosswords, silly stories to interesting comprehension exercises, you should find something here to engage your child. […]

  • Reading Picture Books by Theme
    on September 4, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Do you have a bookshelf full of children’s picture books, many of which you never read? A great way of choosing different books to read is to think of a theme with your child and then choose three picture books from your bookshelf (or the library) which follow this theme and read those books together. For example, you could choose books which contain dogs or trains or nocturnal animals or monsters. My children are now reading chapter books and longer novels, but we still like to return to our library of picture books and read those regularly, and we love to use this way of deciding what to read. […]

  • Summer Reading Challenge
    on July 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Have you got a plan yet for keeping your children reading throughout the long vacation? My summer reading challenge is simple. I have challenged my boys to read one book a week and write a book review for each book once they have completed it. If they achieve that, they will get quite a substantial monetary reward at the end of the holidays (enough to buy many, many thousands of Rainbow Loom bands - their latest craze!). Click to read more and download the templates we are using. […]

  • Creative Writing Activity: Make A Comic
    on May 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I am always trying to think of new, fun ways to encourage my children to get writing. Writing helps to develop literacy skills, such as vocabulary, grammar and spelling, as well as improving thinking and communication skills. Using technology in a creative writing activity is one way to engage your child. Anything to do with an iPad never fails to capture my boys' attention and there are some excellent apps available which your child can use to create their own e-books, comic strips or movies. However, I do worry that all the fun, creative tools that these apps provide can distract from the process of writing. The sheer versatility and potential of these apps can be a bit overwhelming for a 7-year-old (and, frankly, also for a 40-something-year-old!). There can be a tendency for your child to spend all their time tweaking the pictures or drawings, leaving little time for writing interesting prose to accompany the pictures. So I decided to use one of these apps in a structured creative writing activity which would allow my son to concentrate first on writing the words to accompany a comic strip, and afterwards on tweaking the pictures. Keep reading to see what I did. […]

  • Vowel Sound Directory
    on May 10, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I have recently come across a great resource for helping my children to independently work out how to spell a word correctly while they are writing. As they work through the process of choosing the correct spelling for a particular word, they become more familiar with the different spelling patterns and so build on their spelling skills. The Vowel Sound Directory lists each of the different vowel sounds, grouping them into three categories: short vowels, long vowels and 'r' controlled vowels. Each vowel sound is listed on a separate page of this spiral bound flipbook together with all of its spelling alternatives and example words for each alternative spelling. Read more about the Vowel Sound Directory and how to use it to encourage your child to think logically and independently about how to spell words correctly. […]

  • Crosswords for Kids
    on April 16, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    As well as being fun to do, solving crosswords can be a great way for your child to develop their vocabulary and spelling skills. Crosswords for kids help your child to learn about the meaning of words and how to use them in sentences. To solve a crossword puzzle, your child needs to search for alternative words, evaluate word choices and differentiate between homophones (words which sound the same but are spelt differently eg pear and pair). These are all useful skills which help to enhance your child's vocabulary and reinforce difficult spellings. If your child is struggling with a word, they can turn to a dictionary for help, thereby helping to develop their dictionary skills. Keep reading to find out how my children used specially designed puzzles to help practise spelling commonly misspelled words. […]

  • Advice about Reading for Kids
    on April 7, 2014 at 11:04 am

    The most popular advice on this site about reading for kids. Check out which pages our visitors like the most. […]

  • Fun Writing Activities
    on April 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Writing is a complicated process. First your child needs to formulate their ideas, then they need to search for the right words to express these ideas coherently. Next they must think how to spell the words and finally they need to write them down neatly, thinking about punctuation and sentence structure. No wonder some children are not that keen on writing! Developing competence in writing takes time, and takes longer than learning to read. If you want to encourage your child to write more, think of fun writing activities for them to do, such as those shown here. While engaging in the writing process your child will learn many things. On the one hand they will develop literacy skills such as vocabulary, grammar and spelling. In addition, by thinking about what to write and how to write it, they will also develop their thinking and communication skills. Click on the link to find out more. […]

  • Word Wall
    on March 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    The latest addition to our kitchen wall is this Word Wall to help my son with his spelling. I have been really happy how enthusiastically he has taken to it. All I did was print out a title, stick it on a large sheet of white paper and laminate the sheet. I then bought some coloured whiteboard marker pens, for that added multi-coloured look. When my son spells a word incorrectly or doesn't know how to spell a word, we work out the correct spelling and then he writes it on the Word Wall. At meal times I encourage him to look at the words and quizz him on a few at a time. Very simple and very quick. No time for him to complain or get bored. When he spells a word correctly a few times, we rub it out to leave room for the next word. […]

  • Reading Fluency Activity: Read & Record
    on March 25, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Following on from my post last week about reading fluency, read more about how my son and I have worked on improving the expression in his reading with this fun Read & Record reading fluency activity. It is amazing how a couple of props can make something as potentially boring as re-reading lots of fun! Take one tape recorder (or voice recording app, in our case) and one bell and, hey presto, you are all ready to create your own audio-enhanced picture book. Click on the link to find out more. […]

  • Reading Fluency
    on March 21, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Practical tips on what you can do to help your child improve their reading fluency. […]

  • The site has had a facelift!
    on March 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    The Children's Books and Reading website has had a facelift! It still has the same great content, but now with a fresher look and a brand new logo. I hope you like it! Click on the logo and have a look. Thank you so much for following my site. Is there anything you would like to see more of? Do contact me and let me know. I would love to hear from you. […]

  • Top 10 Kids' Activities for Early Readers
    on March 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    The top 10 most popular kids' activities on this site to improve your early reader's literacy skills. […]

  • Top 10 Kids' Learning Activities for Developing Readers
    on March 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    The top 10 most popular kids' learning activities on this site to improve your developing reader's literacy skills. […]

  • 2014 Caldecott Medal Winner
    on January 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    The 2014 Caldecott Medal winner has just been announced by the American Library Association. This prestigious award is presented annually to the American artist of the most distinguished picture book for children published in the United States. This year the award has been won by Brian Floca for his picture book "Locomotive". The perfect book for any train-lover, "Locomotive" paints a picture of life on America's early railroads. It is 1869 and a train approaches the platform. The book describes the mechanics of the locomotive, the responsibilities of the crew members, the passing landscapes and the thrill of the passengers experiencing the sights and sounds of this new mode of travel. Click on the link below to check out all the past winners of the Caldecott Medal. […]

  • Children's Christmas Books
    on December 9, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Which children's Christmas books will you be reading on Christmas Eve? Here are some of our favorites which we come back to year after year. […]

  • Children's Book Lists
    on December 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    All of the best children's book lists in one place, for easy browsing to find that perfect book. […]

  • Non-Fiction Picture Books
    on December 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Expand your child's knowledge and horizons with these fascinating and informative non-fiction picture books. […]

  • Pathwords Jr: A Video
    on November 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

    One of our favorite spelling word games at the moment is Pathwords Jr. It keeps my kids entertained while also teaching vocabulary, spelling and spatial reasoning. Watch this video to see my six-year-old son having fun playing it: […]

  • Spelling Word Games
    on October 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Here are some of the best spelling word games for helping your child to improve their spelling and vocabulary. […]