Tag Archives: reading

Top 5 Christmas books to read to your children!

reading-to-kids-on-christmas1. Elf on the shelf

Ages: 2-6

 The Elf on the Shelf is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopt’s an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their elf each morning.

This book may not be overly educational but it’s a nice story especially in the lead up to Christmas!

 2. Pop-up Peekaboo: Christmas Board book

Ages: 0-2

This is one of the best books for Christmas for younger children. A little taster of what’s in store at Christmas time.

The latest addition to DK’s Peekaboo series, this Christmas book features big, bold pop-ups that jump from the pages when babies and toddlers lift the flaps. As young children explore the spreads, they’ll learn to recognise, name, and describe different objects, providing a perfect early learning opportunity and fun way to build book-handling skills.

What will pop out of the Christmas stocking? Who will come out of the chimney? What’s hiding behind the Christmas tree? Babies and toddlers will delight in the surprises in this Christmas-themed pop-up book.

3. Wombat Divine

Ages: 3-5

There isn’t a Mem Fox book we don’t love! Also appropriate with children performing in the Christmas play at school or preschool. This is one of our favourite Christmas books.

Wombat loved Christmas. He loved the carols and the candles, the presents and the pudding, but most of all he loved the Nativity Play. Wombat loves the Nativity Play so much that he tries out for every part, but he doesn’t seem to be right for any of them. Luckily, wise Emu knows the perfect role for a sleepy wombat, and it’s the best Nativity Play ever.

4. The Jolly Christmas Postman

Ages: 3-5

What children don’t enjoy opening the little envelopes on each page of the Ahlberg’s picture books.

It’s almost a preparation for opening all the cards that arrive in the letterbox at this time of year. Children can take each colourful gift out of its envelope and discover for themselves what well-known fairy-tale characters are sending to one another for Christmas! Your children will want to write letters of their own by the end of the book!

5. The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas

Ages: 3-5

This is an adaptation of the old favourite; 12 days of Christmas with a real Aussie slant.

It’s December in Australia and the days are getting warmer. When a young woman receives a kookaburra up a gum tree from her true love, it’s a sign that Christmas is on the way.

A lovely book to teach your children about a different culture.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

How to create an educational ‘Roald Dahl day’ with your kids!

Roald DahlDo you wish you could encourage your children to spend time less time playing computer games and more time reading or playing outside?

The key is to set out a specific time when they can play the Playstation, treat it almost as reward for completing homework or for reading a few pages of a book. It definitely shouldn’t be the first thing they do when they get home from school!

In order to combat computer addiction we recommend planning a themed day based on a popular novel, it will make for a fun and educational Sunday afternoon!

As it’s Roald Dahl’s birthday this month, we thought it might be a fun idea (and a trip down memory lane for parents who read his books as kids too!) if you set aside a couple of hours with your children to pay tribute to some of his work. Pick a book a week, like Matilda, read it with your children, watch the film with them, then create some enjoyable educational (don’t tell the kids that) activities like the ones we’ve put together below:

1. Matilda visits the library regularly to find new books to read. Visit your local library and see what services it offers. Why not make poster to advertise the library?

2. Matilda reads ‘The Secret Garden’, ‘Great Expectations’ and many other famous books. Ask your kids to find out more about these stories and their authors.

3. Matilda’s friend, Fred, has a pet parrot which he lends to her. Encourage your kids to make a ‘guide’ to teach people how to look after a parrot (or another pet), a good idea if you’re thinking about getting a family pet too!

4. Can they write about their favourite teacher (like Miss Honey)?

5. Matilda reads a limerick out loud to her class. Find out how about limericks, explore different examples and try to write one with your children.

6. Ask your kids to write out a recipe for the chocolate cake that Bruce Bogtrotter was forced to eat in front of the school. Then make it!

7. Nigel uses a mnemonic to remind him how to spell ‘difficulty’. Can you think of other tricks to help you spell complicated words that you could teach your kids?

8. In the chapter ‘Miss Honey’s Cottage’, there are lots of complicated words (e.g., mysterious, phenomenon, precocious, self-consciousness). Encourage your children to look them up in the dictionary as you’re reading the book with them.

9. Encourage your children to listen to the audiobook version of the story. Can they retell the story to you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

World Book Day 2014

World Book DayWorld Book Day is an important day in every schooling calendar as it’s a celebration of reading, authors, illustrators and, of course, books. Marked in over 100 countries, children and teachers dress up as their favourite characters from popular novels, it’s the largest celebration of its kind. Yesterday saw the 17th World Book Day, where children of all ages throughout Toronto came together to appreciate reading.

A recent report suggest that students, primarily teenagers, are reading books that are too easy. Do you feel that teachers aren’t pushing your kids to read challenging titles? The organizers of World Book Day have released a list of 50 books that could help to “shape and inspire” teenagers. The list of 50 feature books are split in to categories such as books that will “make you cry”, “help you understand you” and “teach you about love”. It’s a great list of books.

There are some books on the list that could have been left off, like Twilight, but on the whole we agree with most of the books that have been included. Out of the 50, here is our top 10 books for teenagers to read:

  1. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  3. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  4. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  5. The Shining – Stephen King
  6. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  7. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  8. 1984 – George Orwell
  9. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  10. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

If you feel that many of the books on the list may be a little too difficult for your son or daughter, we can definitely make sure their reading, grammar and spelling is up to scratch. We’re also running a promotion at the moment, 30% off 4 lessons, check out our Facebook page for more information!

Fun fact, did you know that the largest book store in the world is in Toronto? Cleverly titled World’s Largest Bookstore, it’s a 3 storey building that has over 20 kilometres of shelving! It’s on Edward Street, just north of the Eaton Centre.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

How to improve your child’s reading abilities

So I ended the blog last week without providing any solutions to your child’s reading problems. I understand that might seem odd, but don’t freak out, because this weeks blog will focus on the best way to improve your child’s reading skills.
Yes, you read that right. I purposely used the singular “best way” in my description. I say this because I believe the best way to improve reading skills is to read more material, more often. In fact, as a parent you can take certain actions to promote your child to read more. Here are some of those actions.
1. Read to your Child
Your child may not be reading because they are struggling to read. This creates a catch 22. You can break the cycle and help build your child’s confidence by reading to them. As you read together, get them to read and sounds, then words, then full sentences, and finally whole pages. Slowly they will eventually be able to read basic words and sentences by themselves.
2. Surround Your Child with Books
In order to boost your child’s vocabulary, they need to continue to read more material.  Yes, you could buy one or two book at a time, but I recommend having a great variety of books on different subjects. The reason for this choice is because it will help ensure that your child will find a book that they deem interesting. If your child is interested in the book they will be more engaged and read more often.
3. Set up a Reading Time
If surrounding your child with a greater variety of books doesn’t spark their interest, it’s a good idea to become more active and make sure that they are reading. You can ensure that they are reading by setting aside a time in the day that they have to read. This can be whenever, but at least an hour (can be more) should be set aside for reading. If you need some help to ensure your child is reading, Light in the Attic learning has a homework hub with a licensed instructor who can do this, and also answer questions about a word’s meaning and pronunciation.
4. Reading is Just Not About Books
Reading can be done anywhere. I take this notion to heart and when my son was learning to read I took flash cards and labelled the entire house. This is a true story and just proves that your child can read anything, anywhere as long as they are reading. It is important to find something that interests them and run with it. The only thing is to make sure you can sustain your child’s interest in this type of material over time. Broadening the material your child’s reads will ensure they never run out of content.
Before I close this blog, I like to say that all of these options are not mutually exclusive and can be used together! Which way do you think is the best?
All the best,
David

Leave a comment

Filed under Teaching Techniques

Key signs of reading problems

Girl readingAs children head back to school for the winter semester, parents want to give their children the best opportunity to succeed. Even with the best intentions, parents sometimes let one of the most glaring problems slip their attention. I’m of course referencing reading problems. Reading is an essential skill that every child must learn and falling behind in reading comprehension is a major detriment to a child’s academic and regular life.

Being such a detriment, figuring out the signs of reading problems is very important for both the parents and the students. In order to help you out, I’ve organized, by grade, some key signs that your child might be having reading problems.

1. Before School, Preschool and Kindergarden
At this time a child’s vocabulary begins to expand. They should be learning new words and sounds. If your child is struggling to understand new words and sounds, and their vocabulary seems stunted, your child might be experiencing the first signs of reading difficulty.

Here are two examples to help identify this problem. The first example is when your child is learning their ABCs. If they have trouble learning or skip certain letters your child might have trouble understanding sounds.

The second example is with nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes are a great way to measure a child’s ability to understand sounds. Your child disliking nursery rhymes and/or having difficulty to understand the rhymes even after hearing the nursery multiple times might also be an indicator that they will have trouble reading in the future. Overall, these are some keys ways in which you can tell if your young child might or is developing reading problems.

2. First Grade
I believe the first grade is the quintessential grade in developing strong reading skills. The reason first grade is so important is because it is the time where students begin to learn many key words. In fact, if your child currently in first grade has not learned at least 100 words by this point (mid way point of the year) they are having trouble with their reading comprehension skills.

Another way to really tell if your first grader is reading well is to hear them read (crazy right?)  Here are some indicators that they are having trouble reading:

  1. Skip words when reading.
  2. Guesses words they don’t know.
  3. Has trouble remembering words

I like to end today’s blog by saying that these signs are not guarantees that your child is having trouble reading. So take everything in stride and if you need help identifying if there is problem, we are here to help!

Thanks and all the best,
David

Leave a comment

Filed under Advice