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All in a day’s work-Reading for meaning with toddlers.

April 22, 2016
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All in a day’s work is book of the week this week and I have chosen it to focus on comprehension. It’s never too early to begin comprehension with your child- it is an important skill and you can start when they are toddlers-as long as you use books with simple text and short sentences.

All in a day’s work is great for this. Carter loves Thomas so I had his attention and focus straight away and with it’s short, sharp sentences it wasn’t information overload for him. On each page it asks the reader a question and then provides the answer. This is perfect for a literal comprehension focus. Literal comprehension means that the answer is directly stated in the text.

Eg: ‘Some passengers need to get to town, which engine do you think can help? Yes Thomas’s coaches are perfect for delivering passengers.’

After reading this page, many literal comprehension questions can be asked. Examples of these questions include:

  • Which train is helping the passengers?
  • Where do the passengers need to go?
  • How is Thomas helping the passengers?

The first few times we did this, I helped Carter answer the questions. We re-read the text to find the answers and there was lots of discussion using the pictures as a guide.

It’s important to ask the questions at the end of each page, rather than the end of the book allowing your child to answer while the sentences are still fresh in their memory.

By teaching reading for meaning, toddlers will begin to understand that not only do we read for enjoyment but we also gather information from a text. It’s great for their language development too!


The diggers are coming! Susan Steggall.

April 15, 2016

Book of the week is for all the trucks and diggers fans out there! We are always on the hunt for books about diggers, and I am constantly trying to find ones that not only have great illustrations but are good quality books. This book is fantastic! The illustrations are designed as a collage-different and very bright and engaging, the text rhymes-encouraging participation through prediction and the text flows across the page and through the illustrations-a different concept making reading with your child a lot more fun! The story also details the process of constructing a house from digging the foundations to the family moving in, therefore children a little bit older might also be interested in this story. Enjoy this read with your little ones.

Steve Parish story books.

April 7, 2016
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Book of the week comes from a series of books this week-Steve Parish story books.

I love these books for a number of reasons.

  1. The books are printed using cursive font making it easy on the eye for children and also introducing them to the type of writing that is generally used in schools.
  2. The story has been typed in larger text. This is great as because it is bigger it draws a child’s eye to it and if a parent points to the words as they read, a toddler can begin to follow them, learning the reading process. You can also use this opportunity to point out full stops, talking marks, exclamation marks and other grammatical concepts to them as they are big enough for the child to see on the page. They may not pay any attention-but introducing it and continuing to point them out makes a child aware that they exist and eventually they will start to respond and maybe even point them out to you.
  3. The photos as opposed to illustrations is a great change and very engaging for toddlers. Steve Parish’s photos provide many talking points for parents and their children as they get a close up view of the animals like never before!

A great series of books, well worth checking out. IMG_3566

Book of the week….how it’s chosen…

April 1, 2016

I’ve been asked a few times what i see as important when choosing a ‘good fit’ book for Carter.

At his current age (2) there are a few things I look for in particular.

  • Rhyme: I consider this to be important for a number of reasons. Rhyme encourages participation through prediction. As parents read rhyming stories to their child, the level of engagement increases as the child begins to hear the pattern and starts to participate by predicting the next word. Rhyme also increases vocabulary by introducing word families.
  • Detailed illustrations at this age are also important. Bright, colorful illustrations which compliment a story help to engage a child. At this age they cannot follow the words on the page so their focus is on illustrations. When they are looking at the pictures, a child is mentally ‘taking their own pictures’, good illustrations will encourage children to use their own imagination.
  • Teaching points. Fiction stories are often used for teaching in the classroom, not only for literacy but also numeracy. Counting the animals, stories with a focus on telling the time, books are a great way to combine a love of reading with mathematical concepts.

As children get older, ‘good fit’ books change and books are chosen for a variety of different reasons. For toddlers, however, these three main things to keep an eye out for will assist you when choosing a book for your child.

Animalia-Graeme Base.

March 31, 2016

This weeks book of the week is one that Carter and his daddy enjoy reading together.

Animalia is a fantastic book because it encourages children to use their imagination. The boys spend most of their time making up their own stories when they ‘read’ this book together. They look at the pictures, talk about what they can see and what might be happening to the creatures in the story. This helps to promote oral language skills through introducing new vocabulary and encouraging communication in the form of speaking, listening and responding.

This book is also great for teaching the initial letter of words and the sound that letter makes. The sentence on each page introduces the letter to be focused upon through clever alliteration and parents can continue to focus on this during reading time as the child points to the pictures. As children get older they can think of alternative pictures that could also be on each page and create their own stories about the creatures, telling those stories to parents.



Words with stickers!

March 29, 2016
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Now the weather is starting to get cooler, it’s time to get creative with indoor activities. Stickers are a lot of fun, aren’t too messy and can be great for learning too!

These alphabet stickers were a cheap buy from Kmart and kept us very busy!

Carter chose the words he wanted to spell, I told him what letters he needed and he stuck them on. The focus was not only spelling the words but sticking them in the right order, the emphasis being on him learning that words are organised from left to right. This will further assist him when he is learning to read, recognizing that the starting point is to the left of the page and he reads towards the right.

The possibilities with this activity are endless. For children learning the alphabet you could stick letters on in alphabetical order, children in the lower years of primary school could use them to spell the words they are learning at school, parents could cut out pictures and children could label them using the stickers, for older children parents could challenge them to spell any word with 6 letters, 7 letters etc, the list goes on!

Peter Rabbit Easter Surprise!

March 24, 2016

Reading for enjoyment is very important so this weeks ‘book of the week’ is in celebration of Easter this weekend.

Peter Rabbit is Carter’s best mate, he has had his Peter Rabbit comforter in his cot with him since just after he was born so choosing a book with his best mate in it got him interested straight away. There’s not too many teaching points with this one, but that’s ok too, sometimes it is great for children to simply enjoy reading a story with mum and dad with their favourite character in it.

We always try to choose books that relate to an event if there’s one approaching so this one’s a great one for Easter. New life is the central theme to this story so you could touch on that with older children too.

Happy Easter everyone!


Australian Animal series.

March 17, 2016

Book of the week this week is actually a series of books, Alison Lester’s Talk to the Animals series.

We started reading these stories to Carter when he received them as a present when he was four months old and they quickly became a favourite! Why? The repetition became very familiar, and he began to join in when we would make the animal noises. They are also rhyming stories so he began to predict the words and it encouraged him to participate. Stories that allow children to get involved increases engagement and makes reading a fun activity that can be enjoyed by both toddler and parent.

Carter loves animals, so this was an added bonus for us!!

Get your animal voices ready mums and dads, you will love these books!

Hairy Maclary’s Rumpus at the Vet!

March 10, 2016

Hairy Maclary books are a lot of fun. Carter loves the characters and the rhyme aspect of the book means that he is able to join in and predict what word is coming next (or in his case, we’ve read them so many times he has now memorized what word is coming next!)

This book’s illustrations in particular are fantastic and we’ve been able to draw on the mathematical concept of counting using the pictures of the animals at the vet. Carter enjoys counting how many birds fly out of Grandmother Goff’s cage and I’ve been helping him use his finger to do this which encourages one to one correspondence. Mastering this skill helps a child in their early years of schooling as they learn to count a collection of objects. It takes a lot of repetition but this book with its engaging illustrations makes it a fun way to practice this skill.

Carter’s Cafe.

March 8, 2016
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We involve Carter when we are cooking and although it can get quite messy, he loves it and it’s been great for his language development. We make smoothies everyday, banana pancakes are a weekend tradition with Daddy and he loves making muffins with Grandpa when he comes to visit. When Grandma bought him his own food set and pots and pans this week and Carter started ‘cooking’ I noticed just how beneficial those cooking experiences have been for him. He has been introduced to a variety of vocabulary along the way and having his own set has allowed him to use his imagination and prior experiences to create his own play scenarios.

We have since created a menu and Carter uses this when he invites people into his cafe. You rarely get what you ordered and if he’s not happy with your choice he will recommend something different but he’s absolutely loving it and is using words such as ‘ingredients’ and ‘recipe’, naming different fruits and vegetables, and even experimenting with some mathematical concepts. Whilst cooking with us we talk him through the recipe and the quantities that are needed, so he is learning what 1 cup looks like as opposed to half a cup, he counts 3 eggs, he is looking at the different sizes of spoons (e.g 1 teaspoon of cinnamon/1 tablespoon of coconut oil) and he is beginning to verbalize this knowledge and use it in his own cafe.