Tag Archives: vocabulary

#blogbookaday: Lexie the Word Wrangler

13 Mar

31019568.jpgSummary:  “Lexie is the best wrangler west of the Mississippi, word wrangler, that is. She watches over baby letters while they grow into words and ties shorter words together into longer ones; she herds words into sentences, hitches sentences together, and pens them all in to tell a story. But lately, something seems off at the ranch. First the “d” goes missing from her “bandana,” leaving her with a “banana” to tie around her neck, and soon afterward every “S-T-A-R” in the sky turns into “R-A-T-S.” There’s no doubt about it there’s a word rustler causing this ruckus, and Lexie plans to track him down.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: This is an adorable story of wordplay set on a ranch filled with cattle, lariats, boots, hats and, of course, a cowgirl. Lexie is the best word wrangler around – raising baby words, putting words together and creating stories, but when a word rustler starts making trouble, all of Lexie’s hard work may be for naught.

Personal Reaction: Since I reviewed a numbers book yesterday, I thought it was appropriate to share this book today – as I said yesterday, I love picture books that use wordplay to make them fun for kids and adults to read together. This would be a fun story to read and then for kids to work on their own word wrangling or story writing. I love books that can easily lend themselves to extension activities and this definitely works well for that!

Title: Lexie the Word Wrangler
Author: Rebecca Van Slyke
Illustrator: Jessie Hartland
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!


Importance of Reading to Babies

11 May

freestock_217914181As a former children’s librarian, I know the importance of reading aloud from birth. But, it’s nice to see that science backs up this knowledge with a new long-term study by the New York University School of Medicine. 250 mother-child pairs were monitored from when the babies were 6-months to 4 1/2 years old. They monitored how often mothers read to their children and how involved in the reading they were – did they talk about the pictures, ask their children questions, etc.

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5 Early Literacy Practices: READ

15 Mar

ecrrMy nephew is about five months old and I am forever receiving text and photos of him from my brother and sister-in-law telling me how much he enjoys being read aloud to!  Babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages will connect reading with snuggles, love, hugs and kisses when parents/caregivers make reading a special time they share together.  One of my best friend’s daughter at age 2, 3, and 4 will sit still enraptured by books for as long as she can get mom or dad to read to her.  Kids are not inherently born to dislike reading – some may be moving around too much to care, but persistence will win! I have another friend whose son could have cared less about being read to as a baby, but he’s three now and absolutely LOVES it!

If you encourage reading from a very young age children will see the value of it and enjoy doing it as they get older.  There are tons of great picture books out there and there are some that are not so good too!  But, that’s one of the best parts of visiting a library, when you find a favorite book that you borrowed, you can then spend the money to buy the book for your home library.

By reading aloud, kids begin to understand how a book works, which way you open it, the parts of  the book and even how the text works.  Without knowing these important pieces, children would find learning how to read much more difficult.  Children also learn amazing vocabulary words from books.  You’ll find much more advanced words in picture books than you would normally use in conversation making picture book reading an important tool for a child’s vocabulary.

I was reading aloud to my friend’s daughter one day, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? and was just doing what I normally do in storytime – asking questions about the story and her daughter was answering all of them – what sound does this animal make?  what color is that animal?  And afterward, my friend looked at me and said, “I didn’t know she knew so much!”  Her daughter had heard this story before so she knew it very well and was able to answer my questions about what was happening.  Storytime is very similar  – it models to parents how to read aloud, questions that you can ask your child to answer, ways to extend the reading of the book, which is why, again, libraries are such an integral part of a child’s growth.

Picture Books in the Classroom – Not just for storytime!

11 Sep

I tweeted this story yesterday, but thought that it was so interesting that I wanted to get the chance to comment on it today. Yesterday, on the School Library Journal website they posted an article titled, “Teachers Find Many Reasons to Use Picture Books with Middle and High School Students.”  The writer spoke to a number of middle school and high school teachers who use picture books in their classrooms to assist in critical thinking, learning as an English Language Learner, as an introduction to classic text and to create a community of readers.

For many students, I would expect classic picture books can take them straight back to their childhood.  I think picture books can make English class more accessible for students, because picture books seem unassuming and inviting.  Picture books also make a great study for vocabulary, which is why it’s so important to read aloud to your children every day.  The rich vocabulary is very different from every day spoken word and studies show that children are more ready to learn when they get to school if they’ve been read to regularly at home.

In the library, it’s not uncommon that I’ll hear a parent talking with a child saying, “Oh, don’t take that baby book, you’re a big kid now.”  And it breaks my heart, picture books are not just for babies, in fact they aren’t the best choice for babies at all.  They’re great for absolutely everyone, including preschoolers, elementary, middle school, and high school students, not to mention adults.  And don’t even get me started on the art that book illustrators create, it can be absolutely stunning!

Wooo-Wooo: Train Story Time

10 Aug

This week was out train-themed story time.  Our story times run in six-week sessions and I try to make sure to include some sort of “boy” theme each session – whether it’s cars, trucks, construction vehicles, etc.  This session I decided on trains.  It’s not always easy to find books that work really well as read-aloud books for toddlers, especially when you’re reading to a large group of 20-30 kids.

The books I chose for our train theme included some classics and some newer books as well.  We read Freight Train by Donald Crews – a classic story about colors and a great read aloud because the kids love yelling out the colors.  The other great thing about this book is that we learned a new word.  One car is described as the green cattle car and I explained that cattle is another word for cows.  This is a great way to teach young children vocabulary because you can talk about cows all the time but the word cattle doesn’t come up that often.

We also read the book And the Train Goes…. by William Bee.  This is a relatively new book published in 2007 with wonderful illustrations and it’s another great read aloud because the kids get to help make the sounds effects.  And finally the last book we read was called The Rain Train by Elena DeRoo published just last year in 2011 – it’s a beautiful and quiet story perfect for bedtime, but we talked about the rain and how it sounds and the text is written in a very interesting pattern – kind of like listening to a train ride down the tracks.

I definitely want to share the song we listened to as well.  This was a great song – very energetic and exciting to listen to. The CD is called “Ralph’s World” and it has some great songs including “Drivin’ in My Car” and the song we used for our train-themed story time, “Choo-Choo Train.”  If you’ve never listened to this CD – it’s a real treat!  And as usual we learned a little sign language during story time, I taught the kids the word for “train.”

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