By Maya Payne Smart Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston is a lovely picture book biography of a singular literary talent. Author Alicia D. Williams masterfully weaves threads of Hurston’s complicated life story into a tale simple and propulsive enough to maintain the attention of young children, yet complete and nuanced enough to satisfy Hurston’s grownup fans. The book traces the jagged rise of the iconic writer, from a spunky young girl . . .
By Laila Weir When you’re raising a young reader, love and literacy are always in the air. This Valentine’s Day, bring both together with these three fun ways to support early reading and writing skills while you celebrate love in all its many forms (and even a little chocolate!). You’ll learn about wonderful picture books to explore—and expand—the concept of love with your child, play a sweet ABC matching game made from a chocolate box, and create words by crafting your own paper version of . . .
By Michelle Luke We all know reading aloud to kids is great for literacy. And inviting them to retell the stories in their own words afterwards can make it even better. Retelling helps deepen kids’ comprehension and support the oral language skills that underpin successful reading and writing. In this story time activity, we explore Chinese traditions for the Lunar New Year. In traditional celebrations, a mythical Chinese lion dances in the new year to bring good luck and scare away . . .
By Chrysta Naron Happy Year of the Ox! In China, each new year is characterized by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. For 2021, it’s the ox. In this Lunar New Year story time activity, we’ll delve into this zodiac by reading Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee. This wonderful book is a modern interpretation of the traditional Chinese zodiac story, filled with the love of a young girl for her grandmother. (It also shares the classic tale at the end of the . . .
By Chrysta Naron Happy New Year! Lunar New Year, that is. Whether Lunar New Year is part of your family’s traditions or something you’d like your child to learn about, this activity is a fun way to share literacy and learning around this celebration. A book is always my number one choice for diving into any holiday or topic with children. And for this activity, I highly recommend Grace Lin’s Bringing in the New Year. Its vibrant illustrations, fold out pages, and simple text are a joyous . . .
By Chrysta Naron Teaching reading and all the early literacy skills that underpin it requires time and repetition. As a teacher, I always seek activities that keep this practice variable and exciting. And as a certified chocoholic, how could I pass up the chance to mix up Valentine’s Day chocolate and literacy into one fun learning game? This activity begins with spending quality time reading a sweet picture book to your child. A part of Rachel Bright’s Love Monster series, Love Monster . . .
By Karen Williams It’s the season of love, and Valentine's Day presents us with the perfect opportunity to explore the concept of love with our little ones. How does love make us feel? How do we show our friends and family we love them? What does love have to do with being kind? These 14 children’s picture books about love reinforce early literacy and offer a wonderful starting point for conversations about love in all its forms. Whether it’s love for the planet, love for our friends, or . . .
By Maya Payne Smart There are hundreds of books dedicated to exploring the life, dreams, and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Among picture books alone, approaches to King’s story include cradle-to-grave biographies, roundups of his famous speeches and quotes, and deep dives into stories of the March on Washington, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, his memorial in Washington, D.C., and more. So how’s a parent to choose which books are best to explore with their child? Here are a few . . .