Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Finds - Quackgammon

 Quackgammon is a fun-filled game fashioned after the classic Backgammon but on a child's level.  They begin to learn the rules of Backgammon but with an easier playing strategy.   The game is made by Endless Games, Inc.

  I use this delightful game with the children to reinforce sight words and to build their vocabulary by having them read a word before each turn.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How Do You Make Those Important Sight Word Drills Interesting? By Playing Games, of Course!

Children love to play games...but they don't much like to have sight word drills, so combine the two for a winning strategy!

I have not met a child yet who did not like to play games (and win)!   I have seen great improvement in sight word memorization by the addition of game playing.  You can pick any game your child desires to play and it will be an avenue to improve his/her reading vocabulary!  Just put the sight words on index cards (twice each, if the number of words is just a few to begin with), pick a favorite game and have fun!  This is not a challenge for your child in that you always want enjoyment to be the number one byproduct.  So make sure that this is determined as a "helping game".  More words will be memorized if you tell him what he does not know, then trying to make him guess.  The next round of using the words will display his mastery of them, just by your helpful assistance.

When playing these games, I always read the words, too, before my turn!  It is great reinforcement for your child.  No time to do this?  Have an older sibling play along, even with his own set of cards to practice.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Finds

These great toddler friendly(and Mommy friendly, I might add) stamps are made by Crayola.  They feature rolly-polly animal characters, are self-contained, and are very easy to stamp.  With just a little pressure to the bottom they create a cute little stamp.  They are constructed to allow the toddler a great time of creating without frustration or assistance. 

The sweet little one who is having great fun with these stamps is my granddaughter, Eden, who is 18 months old.

Happy Stamping! 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


These last couple of weeks I have been reading a wonderful book that a friend shared with me, When Children Love to Learn.  It is a compilation of essays on "A Pratical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today". 

Rather than go into more detail concerning Charlotte Mason and her philosophy (I will write a post about her later), I would just like to quote one of the contributors, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay,  relating to my last topic, using children's interests to motivate them to read.

"I've known teachers who apply Charlotte Mason's Methods with children and teenagers in some of today's toughest schools.  If these teachers are careful to choose books that catch the children's interest and imagination, they and the class are well into accomplishing their goals...Get 'shining eyes' first, and the coveted question, 'Can't we read more?' will come.  This question shows that what you are doing is succeeding.  As children become interested, chapter by chapter, they will form new habits.  It won't seem like work at all!  They like listening, imagining, thinking.  These activities are satisfying!"

So whether you are in the classroom teaching your own children or other's children, how wonderful to have the children excitedly desire to be read to and to read!

May you experience the JOY of reading with your children!!!!.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fourth in a Series of Musings on Exciting Ways to Motivate Your Young Child to Read

Finally, my fourth musing on ways to motivate your child to read!  One of the best ways to incite reading in a child is to find books, articles, etc, about things that interest him/her.

My grandson gave me a few pointers, this holiday season, on the names of all the tractors, and if they had crawlers or wheels on them, and the names of all the trucks as we watched them go by from the entrance of our development. 

 I'll never forget the time that he told me that he had ridden a gator and I thought for sure he was telling me a tall tale.  His Dad  had to explain to me that it was a John Deere "Gator".  (What did I know?  My husband says that I am from the "concrete jungle" - a city girl)

How has my grandson learned all these things about trucks and tractors in his short 3 years?  My daughter-in-law told me that when they go to the library she is hard-pressed to get him to pick out books other than ones relating to tractors (especially John Deere), and trucks.

  In our church we have a group of little boys whose parents regularly encourage them to delve into their interests with gusto.  What they learn in the books and articles, they bring into their lives, and demonstrate all that they have learned in so many diverse ways.  Some of the readings are quite detailed and advanced, yet they read and study because of their high interest level.  They don't seem to be deterred at all.

 I have seen the cutest stories recorded on DVD about space and rockets and intrigue...made by a 10 year old and a 7 year old! 

I have heard the most amazing tales about trips taken to the far reaches of the world in a little wicker boat stocked with little critters and creatures, and a encyclopedia, of course, to identify all his finds during his adventures!  
And, what little boy isn't intrigued with trains?! 
If you are wondering how to motivate your child to read/enjoy reading, look to his interests and you will discover that your child will avail himself of opportunities to read and to be read to!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Afterthoughts - Baking

Eden Grace donning her apron
I took a little hiatus (3 weeks) from blogging while my family was here for 2 weeks , plus I needed one week to recoup!

We had a lovely time together as everyone gathered from California, New York, and Florida to the Lone Star State of Texas!

As families go, I think I have one of the best!  Loving children and grandchildren, and a loving, wonderful husband!  We had a blast! 

One of the things that has become a yearly Christmas (we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas 2 days apart) tradition is baking cookies with, now, my 2 grandchildren, Silas, 3 years old, and Eden Grace, 16 months old.  So I thought I would share with you some pictures of the fun we had baking some sugar cookies together!  From start to finish this year!


Silas looking at the ingredients that were listed on the recipe.
(What can he see with that hat on I ask you?)

Eden Grace helping the mixer beat the ingredients
Silas adding the salt
Silas cutting out the dough that he rolled
Sugar-cookie man!
Two little bakers hard at work
What an accomplishment!

Time for the icing

"It's more fun this way, Daddy!"
"Am I going to be able to get this icing to the cookie before it drips all over the table?"
Serious concentration
Lots of colorful cookies
"Yummmm! The best part, Nana!"

PS:  Silas loved the colorful recipe and could read the word "cup" by the time we were done looking at the ingredients!  (See - "Third in a Series of Musings of Exciting Ways to Motivate Your Child to Read")

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Finds

I found this book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!, by Bill Martin JR, and John Archambault,  and a cassette to go with it in the early 1990's.  The class I was teaching then was an alternative kindergarten class.  The children loved it!   I can't read it now to my grandson without singing it!

Since then Bill Martin Jr,  Michael Sampson, and Lois Ehlert have done a numbers book , and John Archambault and David Plummer have written ABC Chicka Boom with Me.  The last is a sing-along phonemic awareness/phonics songs and activities workbook.

Any of these are a great addition to a young child's wish list!