Hidden Gems

I find the majority of people purchase books on Amazon (myself included), but there are times when I love to browse in a bookstore. In my travels I’ve come across some awesome small bookstores that remind me why I love reading so much. Small, independent stores stock books I probably wouldn’t look at in a Barnes and Nobles because there is so much too look at. The hole in the wall stores narrow down their focus to books guaranteed to engage readers of all ages. Sadly, these small stores don’t exist in my part of New Jersey, so when I find one during my travels my husband knows to expect new books to come home with us.

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As parents and educators, while it’s convenient to order books online from Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Usborne Books & More, going to small bookstores allow kids to explore books in a quiet setting. They can interact with new books and genres, and spend a few quiet minutes reading a few pages to see if they like the book. Many of these small bookstores also offer story time and sell cute stuffed animals that make great book buddies. The people who work and own these stores are also extremely knowledgeable and clearly book lovers.

 

This past weekend wasn’t super hot in New Jersey, so we drove up to Peddler’s Village in Pennsylvania. We have gone there a few times, but never with Molly. I really wanted to get her a new toy and there was a toy store where we were headed called JaZams.

Educational BooksNever did I expect to fall in love with a store so much. While we looked at the toys, Sticker BooksI noticed a few Usborne books and immediately got excited. They had a few educational books and a nice variety of sticker and activity books. This was one reason to love the store, but then we went to the other side where the books were located.

They had at least 100 boardbooks for little ones on all different topics that included classic and modern stories.  They also had the new Usborne Beauty and the Beast book
(that is gorgeous in person) and bathtub books.

At this point I was more excited than any young child in there, until I saw the section for toddlers-YA, which is when I wanted to move in. The bookshelves were filled and organized and nestled int he middle were two window seats for readers to utilize. As with the infant books, the children’s section had a great variety of classic and modern books. The decorations also promoted reading and added to the cozy atmosphere.

So while it is convenient and cheaper to buy books online, nothing beats the experience of going to a small bookstore.

Toddler Literacy

Last week I discussed literacy in the first year, so today I want to share some information for toddler literacy. In preparing for this class, a lot of my research for toddlers overlapped my baby research information. Many of the same materials we use with babies can also be used with toddlers.

This post is for parents and early childhood educators on literacy in toddler years (from my Facebook class). It includes toddler development information, stages of learning and book suggestions.

get-dressed-max-and-millieYoung Toddlers (12-24 months)

  • Books with children doing familiar things
  • Books about daily routines/customs

Toddlers (2-3 years old)

  • Simple rhyming books that can be memorized
    • Kids this age can say 150-300 words so they can recobig-book-of-colorsgnize those used in rhymes
    • It helps them learn sentence structure and expressing a complete thought
  • Books about counting, shapes, colors, and size

    • Kids this age can distinguish the difference between sizes and colors
    • Foundational skills are developing at this age (numbers and letters)

 

Motor Skillsvery-first-fingertrail-playbook-garden

  • Gross Motor Skills– larger movements
    • Crawling, running, etc.
  • Fine Motor Skills– small movements
    • Using fingers, toes, lips, and tongue
    • These are skills that can be practiced with books

Potty Training

  • Many parents say this is the most stressful part about having a toddler. It’s important to talk to talk to your toddler about going to the bathroom and use books to help him or her get familiar with going potty. potty-training-books

New Siblings

  • Some children have a rough adjustment to welcoming a new sibling. You can help ease the transition by including your toddler in discussing the new baby and by reading books about family.

Special Interests

  • By two years old many children have a special interest. This can be animals, trains, trucks, ballet, etc. Make sure to have plenty of texts to reflect your child’s interests. little-ballerina-dancing-book

Strategies

  • Talk or sing about pictures. This helps with comprehension skills. Some examples include:
    • Who or what is in the picture?
    • What are it/they doing?
    • What color are they? Etc.
  • Show children the words.
    • Point while reading
    • Books with labels
    • Feel free to spell the words out as well
  • Ask Questions.
    • While reading ask comprehension questions that include why, how, and what. Focus on feelings and actions from the story.
    • Encourage your child to ask questions while reading.
  • Let child tell the story.
    • By around 2 ½ or 3, children can memorize a text. Use this to their advantage by letting them “read” stories they memorized so they can embellish and make it their own.
      • This helps with creativity and processing skills.

For more information on toddler books, feel free to follow my Facebook page or check out Usborne Books and More.

 

Touchy-Feely and Sight Words in One Book

Having a child can be expensive, so when I see a product that can grow with my daughter I get excited. I’m very picky with choosing books for Molly because I want texts that she can use for years instead of a month or two.

As a new mom, I do a lot of research on how to give my baby a strong start and the most popular suggestion is reading to your child (see previous post for more ideas on this). However, I’ve noticed that as Molly gets older she sometimes needs a little more stimulation, so we have introduced touchy-feely books in our house.

Molly is constantly drawn to bright colors and lights, so I want to read books that are visually appealithats-not-myng to her. She is also starting to grab things more, and we are working on introducing her to new textures. Usborne’s That’s Not My collection is perfect for Miss Molly because of the bright colors, cute themes, and touchy-feely pages. These books are perfect for me because they can be used now and also when she is in preschool and kindergarten.

This post is for parents on how to use the That’s Not My collection at home to engage your young reader.

When I purchased my mini consultant kit in January it came with the That’s Not My Dinosaur book, which is adorable for a little boy. As a girly girl myself, I had to get Molly one of these books that was geared towards a baby girl. I was debating between the Princess and Dolly and decided to go with Dolly this time around (I’m planning to get the Princess and Mermaid soon).

The physical construction of these books is incredible. As with many baby books this one is a board book, but it’s extremely lightweight with thicker pages than other baby books. Molly has seen me hold a book and turn pages for a few months now, but this was the first book she wanted/was able to grab by herself. She was able to lift the book on her own and hold the pages with her four-month-old hands. molly-reading-thats-not-my

The pictures are large and use contrasting colors for little eyes to see everything clearly. Each page has different color schemes, which helps keep Molly engaged longer. The touchy-feely components match the main idea of the page. For instance, the page Molly is on says, “That’s not my dolly. Her hat is too soft.” The touch and feel aspect on this page is the doll’s hat.

One of my favorite things about this collection is how they can also be used with early readers. These books are perfect for helping little ones with sight words and learning to read. Each page has a handful of sight words (to see the Dolch list click here) and is made up of simple, concise sentences that are manageable for young readers.

Some suggestions for using That’s Not My with preschool/kindergarten kids:

*Use them frequently. They are small and light enough to throw in a bag to use while you’re out and about, or read one a day as an activity. They are definitely a quick read, which is all you need sometimes.

*Show off! Kids love to show friends and family when they can do something new. Have your child readthats-not-my-monkey the book (or have them help you) to people the child feels comfortable with. This will not only boost their confidence, but also give them the additional practice.

*Relate the theme to daily life. If you’re taking a trip to the zoo, get your child excited by reading books like That’s Not My Monkey or That’s Not My Lion. There are so many different options so this is quite easy to do, especially if you use them seasonally.

These little books are portable, durable, and adorable. I love how they can be used from infancy all the way through kindergarten. For more information visit my store.