Sunday, June 27, 2010

Indestructible Books!

Baby L absolutely loves, loves, loves all books. Especially to eat! In the early days, I didn't mind so much if she slobbered a little on the pages, until one day while reading I found a chunk of The Wheels on the Bus in her mouth! Worried about ink poisoning, or choking, or who-knows-what, that was the last time a board book touched her lips.

But then, yesterday L. and I made a trip to our favorite bookstore, WORD in Greenpoint, and got ourselves some of these awesome indestructible books! The pictures are absolutely gorgeous-- just one animal per page to look at and talk about. They are slobber-proof, chew-proof, and you can wipe them off with a sponge! What could be better than that? Lily can really sink her three teeth into these books!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer at the Library

Baby L. and I went to the library and guess what we found?

Board books for summer!

The library is the perfect place to hang out on a hot summer day. It's air conditioned, they have comfy seats, there are plenty of people for
Baby L. to watch, and there are tons of books. What more could you want?

We read a stack of books together, but came away with two summertime faves:

Splash! by Flora McDonnell is an absolutely adorable little book with elephants, tigers, and rhinos on a hot, hot, HOT day--just like the day we had today! Baby Elephant figures out how to cool everybody down.

Beach Day! written by Anahid Haparian and illustrated Kristin Sorra was the perfect book for us today. With just two words per page, L. could turn the pages just as quickly as she wanted. No waiting around for mommy to read the words--instant gratification! Plus the book is the perfect read to help us imagine the beach and do some wishful thinking--when we can't get in the car to drive there.

While we read our board books, there were plenty of other babies and kids in the library. Baby L. spent just as much time people-watching and socializing as she did looking at books! Everybody wanted to say hi--not that I blame them. She is irresistibly cute!

L. was especially enthralled by watching two brothers playing with a wire and bead toy. When they got up to pick books from a nearby shelf she studied them, watching their every move. When they turned and waved hello she nearly exploded with excitement! (Luckily our library isn't the totally-completely-silent type of library).

What are your favorite things to do with a baby or toddler at the library? Leave a comment to share your ideas!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Reading Life for You and Baby

This is the time of year in schools when the teachers and I start talking with kids about their summer reading lives. Kids look back over their reading logs and reading notebooks and ask themselves questions like: "What kind of books do I like best?" "Which genre was my favorite?" "How much time and how many pages can I read in one sitting?" "What do I want to read more of this summer?" "What skills and strategies do I tend to use most? Least?" "What do I want to work on as a reader, and how will I do it?"

Some kids decide on a series they want to read, others make a goal for themselves, such as reading 40 minutes every day, or reading books on a topic, like volcanoes, or dogs, or soccer! Lots of teachers take their classes trips to the local public library to make sure everyone has a library card, and some teachers even send books home with kids for the summer.

As for me, one of my many summer reading projects is to read several books at each reading level from level G to level Q (that's from about first grade to third grade). Knowing the books will help me be an even better reading teacher, and will give me lots to talk about with kids and teachers this fall! I'm partnering up with my colleague, D.D., and we're going to meet a couple times to swap books and talk about them!

And, for Baby L, this summer we're going to do a couple things to make sure she has plenty of reading in her life too!

1) I've been working on videotaping myself and Daddy B reading her favorite books. That way she can listen to us read when we're at work and she's at home with the babysitter!

2) Baby L is turning pages now! So when we read, I've been letting her practice turning the pages.

3) When we read, I let her spend a long time looking at each page, so she can notice as much as possible in the pictures.

4) When we read, we read a couple books in a row. When she seems uninterested we stop. She usually is happy and engaged for 3-4 books now. Who knows how many books we'll be up to by September!

5) Our goal is to read every day, no matter what!

What are your summer reading projects? Leave a comment!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Baby's First CSA

Baby L and I went to our first CSA pick-up of the season today!

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We belong to the East Williamsburg CSA. You sign up for a share of vegetables, or fruits, or flowers, and then once a week you go and pick up your food. The food comes from a local farm (ours is Hearty Roots Farm), and is grown organically. A quick Google search will probably help you find a CSA near you!

But what does this have to do with reading, you ask?

Well, research shows that background experience and vocabulary are huge factors in children's literacy. Why leave Baby L with Daddy in the apartment when we can all go to the community garden where we pick up our fresh vegetables? Baby L watched and cooed and screeched while I picked out our spinach and broccoli and turnips. I gave her a big red radish to play with, and then we walked around the garden and talked about the flowers that had just been planted. A perfect June experience for Baby!