Earth Day!

There are so many interesting stories that connect Nature and so many actions we can take – right in our own yards, neighborhoods, and schools – to help.

 

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For K-3, Lexile 860
Today, in honor of Earth Day, today I read Cactus Hotel on my You Tube Channel, Creating Smart Readers. This book has been a longtime favorite of teachers and children for many years. It leads to further study about lifecycles, plants and trees, and animals and their habitats.

I like to pair it up with A Log’s Life (P-3 Lexile 730) which is similar in lifecycles of trees, especially for Earth Day. Another beloved story – based on true events – is A River Ran Wild (P-3 Lexile 670).  This one is about water pollution caused by factories and how years of work by local residents brought the Nashua River in New Hampshire back to health. Children will notice the borders the author paints around the cover and each page of the book to show what is happening in

the story. This is similar to the border on the cover of Cactus Hotel. After reading these stories, children will enjoy researching the lifecycle of any plant, tree, or animal and then making a book about it – of course, with page borders to illustrate the facts.

Books about Nature

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For K-3
Here are some other books that you and your children might like that are about Nature:

  • Wangari’s Trees of Peach (P-3 Lexile 600)
  • Strange Trees (K-3)
  • Antsy Ansel (K-4)
  • Over and Under the Pond (1-2 Lexile 660)
  • From Seed to Plant (K-3 Lexile 560)
  • Kate Who Tamed the Wind (P-3 Lexile 540)
  • Shark Lady (P-4 Lexile 730)
  • The Great Kapok Tree (P-3 Lexile 590)
  • Manfish – Jacques Cousteau (K-3)

A Word about Lexiles

Please know your children’s reading levels, measured now in many schools using Lexile levels which are a range of numbers that coordinate with grade levels for average readers.  If you look at the chart to the right and reference the Lexile numbers (where available) for the highlighted books, you will notice that many stories are too difficult for the children in the grades stated. If there is no Lexile level for any book stated here, it is because there wasn’t one available. Please look them over first. That is why I always recommend that you read a story to your children first and then let them go off and read on their own if they wish.

Saving the Earth

Children learn about protecting the Earth in school, at home, in stories, and on television. There are so many interesting stories that connect Nature and so many actions we can take – right in our own yards, neighborhoods, and schools – to help.  Perhaps you and your children can plan a recycling routine at home, visit a virtual recycling plant, make bird feeders, start a garden, or plant a tree.  There are good stories about any part of Nature that interests you and your family.

Connect Stories and Art

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For K-4 Lexile 560)
Sky Tree by Thomas Locker was published the year after I started teaching Reading in an elementary school and about the same time that I started to fall in love with picture books.

Not only does it feature the author’s beautiful paintings of the same tree throughout the year, it contains beautiful language to describe what is happening in each painting. This led to many writing lessons.

A colleague and I also used this book as part of an afterschool club, Stories and Art, where we first read it and then the children painted their own tree in each of the four seasons.

Storytime on You Tube

Please join me at my You Tube Channel, Creating Smart Readers (link to the right) where I read a variety of stories for children. I am working on a series of stories about famous people and something special for a Summer Book Club.

Please let me know what you and your children are reading together and feel free to ask any reading questions. If you subscribe to this Blog using the link to the right, you will receive notification every time there is a new posting.  The same is true for my You Tube channel stories.  Just subscribe to receive notice of each new story.

“Happy Reading!”

Are Your Kids Bored Yet?

My goal is to add three (or more) stories each week.  At the same time I will post a Read-Aloud Guide for most of them on this Blog. 

Are your kids bored yet with school closings? I hope that my read-aloud stories will help. These are the three stories I am going to read on my You Tube Channel, Creating Smart Readers,  for next week starting Monday, March 23, 2020. By now we have all be cooped up inside our homes for at least a week so let’s do something new. I will read a story out loud so kids see a new face and hear a different voice. They are missing their classmates and teacher. Parents might be working from home. Here are some ideas for the kids that I hope you will enjoy.

The Stories

First. Mingo the Flamingo will take us with a lost flamingo who is trying to fly back home. I will give some ideas on activities for kids to do after the story. It will be helpful if you have a craft box ready.  Do you have any glue, paper, crayons, pieces of fabric, yarn, leftover buttons or feathers? Kids will be encouraged to try to make their own flying machine – either with a paper drawing or using random objects.

Next, The Dancing Turtle takes us to Brazil and the rain forest. Can you spare some time after the story to help your kids do some research on the rain forest and the country? Can you find a map or globe to show them where Brazil is located? Do you have  music available so the kids can do their own dancing?

Finally, Mighty, Mighty Construction Site shows how teamwork and persistence can get the job done. After the story, I will suggest that kids create their own construction site with toy cars and trucks if you have them.  If not, can you help them make some drawings?  Let’s help our kids use their imaginations.

The Read-Aloud Guides

I created Read-Aloud Guides from my own lesson plans in school where I used high-quality picture book stories like these in my Reading Lessons for all grades. Of course, the level of the story is based on the grades and ages of the children.  I used picture book lessons for every grade level from one to 12.

In these Read-Aloud Guides, you can choose as much or as little to use with your children as you wish.  They include reading skills (ie. cause/effect, problem/solution, making inferences, making predictions), vocabulary/tricky words and grammar, analyzing illustrations, before-reading motivators, during-reading questions, and after-reading activities including graphic organizers, writing, crafts, research, and day trips.  We can’t do any day trips during this virus lock-down, but there are many virtual tours available online.

Below are the downloadable Read-Aloud Guides for these stories.

MINGO Guide

The Dancing Turtle

Mightly consruction site guide

I hope you and your children are uplifted by these stories and that you find the Read-Aloud Guides useful. There is a jumbo book of guides available to purchase on the right. My goal is to add three (or more) stories each week.  At the same time I will post a Read-Aloud Guide for most of them on this Blog.  Please contact me on my You Tube Channel or here with any questions or suggestions and let me know how your children are enjoying the stories. Please   “Happy Reading!”

Sneak Preview of upcoming stories:

You Tube Read-Aloud Stories

During these unsettling days when schools and many businesses are closed, kids are missing their friends and their daily schedules in school.

Hi Everyone!  I just wanted to let you know that I have posted two read-aloud stories for kids on my new You Tube Channel, Creating Smart Readers.  (Sorry, I am having trouble attaching a direct link but you can cut and paste the link below into your browser if you experience trouble.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl8RzfMioWaox_dSKH3BPhg?view_as=subscriber

During these unsettling days when schools and many businesses are closed, kids are missing their friends and their daily schedules in school.  So I’ve decided to do what I love to do – read my favorite picture books out loud.  A new face and voice just might be welcomed.

So far, I’ve posted three stories.

  • The Firekeeper’s Son, a story about trustworthiness set in ancient Korea
  • Don’t Need Friends, a story about an unlikely friendship in a junkyard
  • Henry’s Map, a story about a tidy pig who makes a map of his farm

Also, I am including Read-Aloud Guides for each story here if you want to download them and use the ideas to enhance the stories with your children.  The beauty of You Tube is that you can listen to the stories as many times as you like and it is completely free.

Here are the two Read-Aloud Guides:

Don’t Need Friends

Firekeepers Son

Henry

My plan is to continue adding stories for you and your child’s enjoyment.  Please contact me with any questions about using the Read-Aloud Guides. “Happy Reading!”