Tuesday, April 17, 2018

5 Tips for Raising a Reader

Raising a reader is a daunting task.
As a former language arts teacher, book lover, and Usborne book lady, here are my top tips to
Raising a Reader!

1- Expose your child to lots of books!

Children are inquisitive.  They ask a billion questions a day.  One answer I have always tried to stray from is, "Because I said."  Filling your shelves with fairy tales and classic stories is great, but don't forget about non-fiction books that answer the questions kids are most curious about.
I love the fact that our books from Mother Goose Time could be anything.  This year alone, we have received a folktale book, an ABC book, counting book, a non fiction book about places all over the world, and so many more!

2- Read aloud at least 20 minutes every. single. day.

One of my most favorite parts of the day is curling up on the couch and reading a stack of books with my girl.  Not only is it sweet cuddle time for us, but it's exposing her to a wealth of vocabulary.
Ever since she was able to walk, if you sat on the floor, she was high tailing it to your lap with a book.

3- Engage with the text.

Reading with kids is not supposed to be a race, so don't speed read.  Stop on the pages, look at the pictures, ask your kiddos questions about what they see or notice.
One thing I love about MGT books, is they make them interactive when they can.
By simply adding a tracing element to the letters, this ABC book becomes more than just another ABC book.  It helps expose the reader to how to make letters not to mention it has some great facts about ocean animals!  A non-fiction interactive ABC book!  What's not to love?

4- Read with VOICE.

Make reading fun by changing your inflection and tone.
Differentiate between characters with different pitches.
Changing your voice helps your reader comprehend the story and makes reading such an enjoyable experience.  It doesn't matter if you think you sound silly, your reader will LOVE it!

5- Make books easily accessible. Face them outwards and place them all over the house.

We are visual creatures and drawn toward things by how they look.
Kids can't tell anything about a book by looking at it's spine, so make them face out when you can.
Put stacks in different places- not only on the shelves.  Books by the bed, in little corners of rooms, in baskets all over your home, makes them easy to grab and enjoy anywhere.

My girl loves read along books too! They are her number one thing to do during quiet time
(which is usually my blogging time).

I know I have barely scratched the surface, but these are tips that definitely work for us, and I hope they inspire you as you raise your lifelong reader.

What tips do you have?

Comment below!  I'd love to hear them <3

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Preschool Ocean Art: Salt Painting

This month we are becoming Deep Sea Divers and exploring the Ocean with our Ocean Commotion Unit from Mother Goose Time.  We live about 4 hours from the coast, and my girl has yet to see the ocean; but that didn't stop us from experiencing.
We first tasted the Ocean.
After drinking regular water, we added a little bit of salt to our cup so we could taste what ocean water is like.  The face my girl made was priceless!  Wish I had my camera then.  
She obviously didn't like it, and when I asked her what it tasted like she said,"Yucky!"  
I told her that the ocean was filled with salt and we were going to make some art using salt today.

We've done salt painting in the past (a year and a half ago) when we first discovered 
Mother Goose Time, and I absolutely LOVE it!

I set up this Invitation to Create.
One thing I try to always do, especially when we paint, is use Artist tape around the edges.  It creates a nice border for her art, keeps the paper in place, and really gives a great finished look to the final piece.  

I asked my girl what 3 colors she wanted to use, and she said red, blue and yellow.
I put about 3-5 drops of our liquid watercolors in each cup and then added water.  MGT sent us a pipette, paper, the image you see on the stand and a little packet of salt.  I knew she would want more salt, so I poured a generous amount of table salt into her bowl while she grabbed a spoon from her play kitchen,  Then she started to paint.

The magic really started to happen when she placed the salt on her paper.  She loved pouring it into piles and it gave her work some beautiful dimension.  It was fascinating watching how the color would spread through the salt.  We did end up propping up her tray so the watercolor would go down the paper instead of pooling in a spot.  She painted her masterpiece for about 30-45 minutes, but it needed to dry overnight.

We looked at it this morning and it was so gorgeous!  The colors were rich and the dimension was so intriguing.  The salt had crystallized and adhered to the paper. However as I went to grab my camera to take a picture, she pressed her finger into the dried mound of salt, cracking, and breaking apart the mound!  My insides screamed "NO" as my head reminded me,
"This is her work.  Let her mess with it."

"I just want to touch it," she replied.  So she did, and while the paper was still taped to the tray, we tapped it upside down over the trash to loosen the salt bits she had scratched away.
Then something magical happened.
As we turned the tray over, we saw the most exquisite colors and craters!  I let her tap on her tray some more over the trash can, and the end result is below. 

It is absolutely gorgeous!
I have about 5 of her abstract paintings that she has created using MGT framed throughout the house.  You better believe this too will be framed!  
I could just stare and look at all these little nooks and crannies of color.

I can't wait to make some more.  Maybe I'll do my own.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more adventures and quick ideas to try with your learners!
And if your a Pinterest junkie like me, you can follow me here.

Here are links for my go-to items for our art projects:


Happy Painting!