Sunday, November 18, 2007

Children's Book Recommendations for the Holiday, 3rd Sunday

Good morning! As some of you know, I'm filling in for Lady Bronco on Sundays for November. This is the third Sunday I'm giving my suggestions for holiday gift-giving for children. These are books which I have read a bazillion times to children as a Certified Professional Nanny (one class at nanny school was on choosing books for children) and as a Homeschool Mom who uses literature-based and history-based curriculum.

One of my proudest moments as a mother is when I find a child asleep with an open book on her head. In case you're curious, that's JESSE BEAR, WHAT WILL YOU WEAR?

I read to my children from birth. My eldest child started phonetically sounding out words a month before her second birthday. My second child did the same thing at age four. My third hasn't learned yet, but loves to be read to and sits in on lessons. I believe in teaching children to read as soon as they are able and want to. Considering that, I thought maybe some of you would like recommendations for teaching children how to read. It really is very easy and you don't need expensive curriculum. First of all, you need to read out loud to the child every day. Nurture the passion for learning they're born with. Share the love. Secondly, get a good book on the teaching children how to read. Here are my favorites:

PHONICS PATHWAYS by Dolores G. Hiskes

I think it's important to find a good program and stick with it. Don't just try and give up after a few days. Don't push your child. Make it a fun, quality-time activity you do every day. Also, contrary to what many programs claim, your child does NOT have to learn to write at the same time. Actually, children vary on their handwriting ability based on their fine motor skills. Each child matures differently in this area and I don't worry about any lag in skills until about age eight.
On with the children's book recommendations!
For babies through about age six, I suggest SNOW BALLS by Lois Ehlert. Ms. Ehlert is one of those authors you can buy any book by and know you're getting a winner without cracking it open. Her stories are compelling and her illustrations vivid. Her words are in large print, which is great for early readers. Run your finger under them as you read out loud.

Patricia Pollaco is another author whose books you can buy without even looking and know you got a winner.

This is one of our favorites for the preschool through about age seven group. Other Patricia Polacco favorites at our house include THUNDER CAKE and MRS. KATZ AND TUSH, both of which are loved up to about age nine.


Finally, for the older children, check out the Step-Into-Reading, Step 4 books by Random House publishers. This non-fiction series covers everything from the Titanic to Pompeii. My eldest child couldn't get enough of them!

That's it for this Sunday, Blog Buds! Now, go out there and make a difference in a child's life by getting her a new book for Christmas.



Mystery Robin said...

We used 100 EZ Lessons and I loved it! It's really a great method - and the kids are so much happier once they know how to read on their own.

Michelle Moran said...

Okay -- that photo is absolutely precious!!!

Kimber An said...

Yes, I'm sure they were, Robin!

I've found that a lot of the misbehavior of young children (about age 1 to 4) stems from their burning desire for knowledge and self-reliance. They don't know to ask to be taught these things. Too often, parents and caregivers mistake the whining and crying for children wanting to be babied. Not so.

Have a fussy eight month old? When my middle child was like this, I figured out that her thinking abilities were developing faster than her speaking abilities. I got a book on baby sign language and taught her a few simple signs, like 'More' and 'All Done.' She was much happier after that.

Imagine being dropped in the middle of China and no one speaks English and you don't speak Chinese. How would you find something to eat? What if someone accused you of a crime? How would you explain yourself? You couldn't and you'd be very upset. You'd go hungry and punished for a crime you didn't committ. It's the same way for toddlers and even preschoolers. They're newcomers in a foreign land they're desperately trying to understand.

Kimber An said...

Oh, thank you, Michelle!

We take pictures of our children the first time we catch them asleep with books on their heads. It's right up there with Baby's First Tooth and Toilet Training in developmental milestones.

Michelle Moran said...

HA! I'm going to have to remember that...

Cheri said...

Kimber - I completely agree - I think so much of that fussiness is just general frustration at not being understood.

Kimber An said...

Hi again, Michelle!

Hi, Cheri. Yeah, I think learning a baby's 'language' from birth is one of the fundemental things a new parent needs to do. It's right up there with feeding and diaper-changering. The reward is more sleep at night.

Lisa Shearin said...

Oh that picture is just too cute! I love it!

Kimber An said...

Oh, thank you, Lisa!