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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

20 Sites to Improve Your Child’s Literacy




Photo credit: Jasmic


















By Karen Schweitzer, for  The Children’s Book Review

Immersing children in literacy activities can help them improve their reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling skills. There are a number of organizations and sites that provide online activities, teaching tips, and free books for children. Here are 20 sites to explore over the summer.

National Children’s Literacy Website – This non-profit organization is dedicated to improving and promoting children’s literacy in child care and home settings. Helpful materials on the National Children’s Literacy Website include general literacy tips, advice on teaching children to read, educational activities, story-time tips, and links to additional resources.
Reading Comprehension – The University of Connecticut provides a wide range of literacy resources for children and adolescents. Resources include vocabulary instruction, text comprehension instruction, teaching strategies, and a list of websites offering comprehension practice.
Literacy Zone – Created by Woodlands Junior School in the UK, Literacy Zone offers online literacy games and activities to help children improve spelling, grammar, punctuation, and writing skills.
StoryPlace – StoryPlace is a digital library created specifically for children. Library materials include free online books, online activities, take-home activities, and reading lists for preschool and elementary students.
Starfall – Starfall relies on phonics to help children learn how to read. The site offers movies, interactive games, and engaging activities for readers in pre-k to second grade.
The Baldwin Online Children’s Project – The Baldwin Project makes classic books freely available to children online. The project publishes books that are in the public domain (books published before 1923). Books are sorted by author, titles, genre, and subgenre.
International Children’s Digital Library – This online library hosts nearly 5,000 high-quality digital books in more than 50 different languages. Books contain both text and illustrations and can be discussed in a community forum.
Storynory – This site publishes a new audio story each week. Storynory offers both classic stories and original tales that have been adapted from stories around the world.
Kiddie Records – Kiddie Records publishes recordings of children’s records that were made between the mid forties through the early fifties. Recordings include classic stories like Horton Hatches the Egg and Casey at the Bat. All of the recordings can be downloaded or played for free online.
DogEared – Dog Eared is a National Geographic book blog written by kids for kids. The blog offers reviews, book recommendations, and a book of the month feature.
RIF Reading Planet – Operated by the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit children’s literacy organization, the RIF Reading Planet provides book reviews and recommendations, an author showcase, reading activities, teaching strategies, and much more.
The Reading Tub – The Reading Tub is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting reading and literacy projects. The organization’s site offers a book zone and a special section for budding writers.
KidsLit – Operated by the director of the Menasha Public Library in Wisconsin, this blog offers book reviews and recommendations for children and young adults. New reviews are posted each week.
Grammar Girl – Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty provides a free podcast that covers common grammar mistakes and issues. Each podcast episode lasts only a few minutes and provides easy-to-understand grammar advice and tips.
The Story Kitchen – Created by Bruce Van Patter, The Story Kitchen offers dozens of story starters to help inspire young writers. Each story beginning consists of a few paragraphs with a note at the end that encourages site visitors to finish the story.
Writing with Writers – Writing with Writers is a scholastic project that allows kids to work with authors and illustrators in special workshops designed to improve writing and literacy skills. The project also provides featured writing activities and step-by-step writing guides.
ClassMarker – ClassMarker makes it easy to test your child’s reading comprehension or vocabulary. The site allows you to make free online quizzes with multiple choice, true false, short answer, and fill in the blank questions.
Flashcard Maker – Scholastic’s Homework Hub Flashcard Maker is a good tool for children who need to learn sight words. They can test themselves online or print the flashcards to practice off the computer.
FreeRice – This UN World Food Program site offers a great vocabulary-building trivia game for students at any level. Every time a question is answered correctly, FreeRice donates ten grains of rice to hungry people.
Shelfari – Created specifically for book lovers, this social media site makes it easy for kids to track the books they have read and make a list of books they would like to read. Shelfari is also a good place to discover new books.
Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review of The Trees Have Hearts by Mrs.D. PUBLISHED IN BEDTIME STORIES


Picture




Review by PJ LaRue


Any adult or child that has felt the pain of leaving friends behind when moving will relate to The Trees Have Hearts. The little girl moved from another country and doesn’t speak English. Her sadness lifted when she played in the garden and made friends with the trees and the Old Wind.  Interestingly, there are three different trees, Sassy the pink magnolia tree, Chance the purple plum tree and Shadow the weeping cherry tree. Even the variety of trees in the story carries the same message of acceptance of differences in people. Spending time with nature soothed the lonely girl as she watched the blooms open and the fruit ripen. It also gave her time to learn her new language and begin to make other friends. 

In addition to the primary message of accepting people, there was another message neatly slipped into the story. The trees taught the little girl to “bite, kick and scream if bad people tried to take her away.” This is a perfect way for the author to pass on safety tips in a non-threatening way to small children. 

 
I’d recommend this book to anyone with children, whether they are planning a move, or not. Its message of love and friendship might help children befriend a new child in school or in their neighborhood. It might even teach adults a thing or two about new co-workers, as well!


Courtesy of P.J. LaRue 

PJ LaRue

P. J. LaRue is married and has a Russian Blue cat named Sasha that was given to P. J. after being adopted from a shelter. Hiking to waterfalls are her favorite vacations. She loves to travel and plans to take the Mystic Princesses to different locales. She'd like to pass the love of travel to young girls along with the knowledge that they can solve their own problems. She hopes you enjoyed The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool and that you'll look for her next book, The Mystic Princesses and the Magic Show.

Twitter:@PJ-LaRue


Buy Mrs.D.'s Book

 



Follow the delightful story of a little girl who discovers the real meaning of friendship in The Trees Have Hearts.
ISBN 13 (SOFT): 978-1-4691-3479-6
ISBN 13 (HARD): 978-1-4691-3480-2


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