By Laila Weir Engaging kids in creative storytelling is a time-honored pastime and a fun, screen-free vacation activity for the whole family. It’s also a powerful tool to build key literacy skills, from vocabulary and comprehension to imagination and fluency. There are so many fun methods to get the stories flowing, including classic games like taking turns saying a word or a sentence to create a goofy group story. One innovative method we like involves storytelling dice and . . .
By Chrysta Naron It’s that time of year again. When kids are looking forward to a break from the classroom (or class Zoom). When beach bags take the place of backpacks. And when parents begin rapping on my door with panicked looks asking, “What do I do to help them read?” And I get it—with camps to attend, a desire to spend fun time together, and constant stories about summer reading losses floating around, summer reading can feel overwhelming. Never fear! We’ve got you . . .
By Sarah Tiglao Learning letters, letter sounds, and eventually sight words becomes a fun game that your little one will want to play again and again, with this easy activity that grows with your children. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to make a fun, simple, free alphabet flash-card game to play at home or bring with you. You’ll also learn how to adapt it to your child’s skill level as they progress—plus how to keep it fun even for kids who aren’t yet emotionally prepared to . . .
By Laila Weir Raising a successful reader means more than having books around and sending your child off to school when the time comes—unfortunately, all too many kids are coming out of U.S. schools less than literate. To ensure children’s success, parents should actively teach them the ABCs and then support them all the way through learning to read, write, and spell well. But what if your child just can’t sit still? There’s no need to force things. Instead, find ways to meet them . . .
By Laila Weir Brunch. Breakfast in bed. Whatever your preference, a special morning meal with Mom is what Mother’s Day is all about for many families. If you’re preparing a yummy surprise for a mother of young children, you can get the kids involved and turn it into a super adorable moment that’s also a learning experience by letting them run a pop-up restaurant for the occasion. Young kids love pretend play, and they love doing real-life, grown-up things. Creating a . . .
By Laila Weir Telling and sharing stories is a tradition so ancient and universal that some say that it’s what makes us human. It’s also an incredibly powerful tool for engaging children and building literacy. In fact, some teacher training suggests that storytelling supports all areas of literacy learning—listening skills, imagination and creativity, language use and story structure, and more—as well as improving cultural connection. But we knew that, didn’t we? The power of story is . . .
By Chrysta Naron One of my strongest memories growing up as a child was playing board games with my family. My dad’s favorite game was Sorry! Each time he bumped my piece off the board he shouted, “Sorry! I’m not sorry!” Was my dad creating trending phrases 20 years ahead of time or secretly a songwriter for Demi Lovato? Uncertain. But one thing’s sure—30 years later, I carry the warm memory of those evenings with me. Family game nights can be a really wonderful way to spend quality time . . .
By Laila Weir To set kids up for long-term success and get them kindergarten-ready, it’s important to introduce them to letters early and often. Repetition is key to really fixing these all-important squiggles into their memories, as is exposing them to letters in a variety of contexts. But as any parent knows, small children have a whole lot of energy to let out of their systems. Getting our little ones outside keeps them healthy and happy—and offers a welcome shot at tiring them . . .
By Chrysta Naron May is the time to celebrate and lift up the mothers and mother figures in our lives. But rather than just limiting our celebration to one day, let’s make a DIY Mother’s Day gift that lets them know how much we appreciate them every day. I love to kick off most kid projects with, you guessed it…a book! While there are many incredible picture books for this special day, I am particularly fond of A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams. Most other Mother’s Day books focus . . .
By Sarah Tiglao Earth Day presents a great opportunity to teach our children to care for the planet, but finding the way to explain these complex issues to young ones can be difficult. Read on for fun literacy-building activities that will help your children develop a love for the planet and foster their budding belief in their ability to help make the world a better place. Sharing a good book with our little ones provides one of the best ways to teach young kids about important topics . . .