By Laila Weir Easter is coming, and that means egg hunts and baskets full of goodies. Chocolate and jelly beans are fabulous, of course, but if you’re like us you may be seeking additional ways to celebrate that involve a little less sugar. (And dying eggs can only get you so far.) Don’t worry! MayaSmart.com has you covered, with various enriching activities and DIY gifts that offer plenty of Easter fun and build literacy skills at the same time. We love DIY storytelling dice to get the . . .
By Chrysta Naron Have you ever looked at an uppercase A? Really looked at it? It’s tall, angular, and has nice long lines. Now look at a lowercase a. It’s short and round and sometimes even has a little hood on top. You might think, “How are these two symbols the same letter?” Well, your young child is probably thinking the exact same thing. It’s important for us to help kids learn the connection between uppercase and lowercase letters—that these two symbols are actually one and the . . .
By Chrysta Naron As a teacher, I love to make a themed activity that goes beyond a simple craft (though I love a good craft too), and an Easter egg hunt is a fun option to mix up our playground time when spring rolls around. But if I gave my four-year-olds a bunch of candy in the middle of the day, I’d have kids bouncing off the walls like pennies in a tin can! So I created this sight-word Easter egg hunt, instead. Why sight words? Well, sight words—also called high-frequency . . .
By Chrysta Naron One March a few years ago I was teaching Pre-K and had hit a teaching wall. I felt like I had exhausted my whole arsenal of reading activities. My students were bored of the same small-group activities as they progressed from learning letters to reading simple words. I didn’t know what to do to spice things up. Cue Cara. Cara, one of my students, showed up one day and proudly showed me a bag of her newest treasure: chocolate gold coins to share with the entire class. . . .
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 Laila Weir Happy Lunar New Year! Whether this celebration is part of your family’s traditions or something you’d like your child to learn about, why not mark the occasion with fun activities that support early literacy at the same time? Below, we walk you step-by-step through four easy activities to do with your young children. You’ll find crafts, simple alphabet- and writing-themed games, and picture book recommendations—even a storytelling puppet who helps kids develop the . . .
By Michelle Luke As spring begins, so does a new year for people from certain cultural traditions, including the Chinese tradition that my family follows. This Spring Festival is a time to greet the Lunar New Year and welcome a new animal from the Chinese zodiac. In this tradition, each year is the year of a different zodiac animal. People born in the year of a particular animal are said to possess some of that animal’s qualities. For example, those born in the year of the rabbit are . . .
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 . . .