Did you know that books hold a special role in raising a bright, happy, healthy child? Of course books are fun to see and share, but story time can give your growing child the perfect brain boost, too! We know that every child learns and grows differently, so we've created a checklist of story time tips to wow any lucky little kiddo.
School's out! What next?
By now, your kiddos are either already out of school for summer break or are just counting down the days. It's possible they may have even been looking forward to this break since school started in the fall. For a child, summer break means active days outside, ice cream, playdates, lemonade stands, swimming…and hopefully lots and lots of reading! On top of all the fun and activity, you want to also make sure they are continuing to learn and finding the joy books they love. (Hint: this is how little ones become lifetime readers!)
Whether your child is not yet in school, has just finished preschool, kindergarten, or the first grade, personalized books can make summer awesome. You'll surely keep your kids busy learning and having fun with our personalized books summer reading guide!
(Artwork from Marianne Richmond's Hooray for You!)
Maybe your child already has plans to be the next J. K. Rowling, keenly writing away at their desk every day, or perhaps your child is a reluctant writer, not wanting to complete their social studies journal assignment. Either way, it's Encourage a Young Writer Day and we have something to celebrate! We have some tips and ideas to help your child bloom into an eager writer or expand and grow their love for writing and reading they already have.
Tips to Share with Your Young Writers
• Read, and read often.
• Read with a pen and notebook nearby.
• Write, and write often.
• Write about passions, experiences, real life (or imaginary life works too!).
• Write from the heart.
• Follow your curious mind.
• Learn form and structure first.
• Use family and friends to find character inspiration.
• Be observant. Bring a notebook wherever you go, writing down notes or interesting things that could later make it into a story, poem, or essay.
• Be daring with your words. Keep an interesting word log and record new words you come across—words you don't know or words you don't use very often. Other books you're reading or listening to others' conversations are great ways to collect interesting words or tidbits.
Ways to Encourage Your Young Writers
• Make writing/journaling dates together. Go to a special local spot to grab a hot chocolate or smoothie, and bring your pens or pencils, journals or laptops. Write about what you observe, or how the smoothie tastes, or what you're most looking forward to over the summer. Writing by hand is always helpful for younger writers and readers, but if typing on a computer is more inspiring for him or her—let them go for it.
• Encourage your child to share their work with you. Make sure you find three or four things to praise, and one suggestion to improve their work. It can be a school piece or something fun your child did at home.
• Read together daily, as part of your routine. Or, if your child is older, check in and make sure your child is open to reading for leisure. Of course you can, and should, still read together too!
• When you're reading together, ask your child to point out his or her favorite words, or words her or she doesn't know. Write them down in a journal, and look them up together. Later your child will have an entire well of word possibilities when feeling stumped.
• Celebrate your child's imagination, always encouraging them to unleash their wildest thoughts and stories. Who knows—it could be the next Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or James and the Giant Peach!
• Be as encouraging as possible, offering your child affirmation and positive reinforcement in their creative work.
Easy Writing Activities for Writers of All Ages
• Make lists. Start with simple topics, like "10 things that remind you of spring" or "Five of your favorite animals." Then, see how your child can incorporate these ideas into a story, essay, or poem. Remember, they can be as imaginative as they'd like!
• Use artwork, pictures, or photos for inspiration. You can even see if your child would rather draw a picture first before writing. Then they can use that drawing to create a story. Hint: These make great character or setting sketches!
• Write a how-to piece. Let your child choose write about what their favorite thing to make, do, or practice is. For example, if she loves to ride bikes with friends, let her see if she can put together interesting directions on how to ride a bike. (It's harder than you probably think!) This allows the writer to really strip down their writing technique and get to the core of their writing. It's just a great way to practice simplifying your writing.
• Make an "I Remember" collage. This exercise is inspired by author Joe Brainard, who wrote a collection of memories using "I Remember" at the start of each recollection. You should definitely do one too! Then, come together and read them out loud. You'll even sense a poem unfolding as you read/write these.
A Few Resources
Check out Second Story Window for some fun, prompted writing activities for kids, including workbooks, worksheets, etc. For example, find writing activities and crafts for each month of the year here.
Reading & Writing Readiness Pinterest board has some great resources for kids' writing and storytelling activities as well.
Inspiring Personalized Book for Young Writers
Hooray for You! Personalized Book
Hooray for You! is the perfect gift to show someone how special they really are. What better way to celebrate a child's unique traits than by giving them a personalized book made just for them?
More Bears! Personalized Book
Warning: More Bears! is not a bedtime story—it was written to be read (and yelled!) out loud. This delightfully silly personalized book is sure to have your child calling out "More Bears!" within the first few pages!
(Artwork from Marianne Richmond's If I Could Keep You Little...)
Spring has sprung! OK, so maybe not quite yet for everyone…but we're getting there.
Late last week marked the first day of spring. For some of us, the beginning of spring means it still feels questionably like winter outside. But do not fear. We are staying positive that this wintry feeling is on its way out here soon. Spring is finally springing—let's keep this positive thought in mind through the rest of March and into the beginning of April!
If you've been cooped up most of the winter, it's time to get inspired by the arrival of spring's longer, lighter, and brighter days. Get outside if you can; weather temperatures in the forties and fifties are totally bearable.
Five Activities (that you may have forgotten about!) to Get Outside and Enjoy the Simplicities of Spring:
1. Do your own rendition of the spring happy dance. Splash in puddles. Dance in the rain. Even though it's very possible the rain is still quite cold, children will love getting out all the rain gear that's been buried in closets—raincoats, boots, umbrellas. If everyone's bundled up, splashing around in puddles is such a fun and freeing activity. A spring celebration is a special occasion! Wet weather is better than frozen weather, don't you think?
2. Bust out the sidewalk chalk. Get as colorful as possible. Ask your kids if they remember how fun it was to draw and doodle all over the sidewalk and driveway. If there aren't any rain puddles to go hopping about in, this is a great alternative. Maybe you can get them to even practice their cursive or handwriting, or encourage them to draw all things spring (a butterfly, a rain cloud, a blooming flower).
3. Find a hill or nice grassy area and watch the sunset. This is an activity you just can't pass up as we're transitioning into brighter days. Get the whole family, pack a pre-dinner snack, and enjoy one another's company.
4. Practice spelling and ABCs with sticks in wet mud or sand. Grab a stick and use it as a writing utensil. Your children will love getting the permission to get a little dirty and play in the mud. See if they can write out their name or any other fun words you can think of.
As for the too-dreary-and-rainy-to-get-outside days, or the days that feel and look strikingly similar to our winter ones, stay in and read a book that celebrates spring. Read books with pastel hues or watercolor illustrations. Our author Marianne Richmond (who currently lives in Minneapolis and is likely dreaming of spring right about now) is known for her beautiful, blooming watercolor and pastel illustrations.
Check out the titles below for some spring-spiration and a warm reminder that brighter days are on their way.
Put Me In The Story's personalized books for spring that will get everything around you bloomin'!
I'll Never Let You Go Personalized Book
Personalize Put Me In The Story's newest release by beloved author and illustrator Marianne Richmond. Illustrated in watercolor with pastels and soft tones, I'll Never Let You Go is a wonderful story about growing up and letting go, while holding on with all of your heart. Show your child the meaning of unconditional love illustrated through the sweet, personalized story of your child's affection for their most beloved best friend, Blankie!
If I Could Keep You Little Personalized Book
Every parent has experienced the powerful feelings of watching their child grow up while wanting to hold onto every moment a little longer. Now this favorite bestselling picture book from Marianne Richmond, If I Could Keep You Little…, can be personalized for your child to express those heartwarming feelings in words to remember forever.
I Believe in You Personalized Book
Marianne Richmond's I Believe in You is a vibrantly illustrated children's book that expresses everything that your child wants to hear. I Believe in You encourages your child to see their own strengths and talents as you do. Personalize this meaningful book with your child's name, photo, and message, and let your son or daughter's uniqueness shine brighter!
Happy World Poetry Day! Today is the perfect day to celebrate children's books for their exceptional rhythm and rhyme.
Reading children's books is a fun way for the whole family to honor the poem in one of its most playful forms. We are so excited to celebrate World Poetry Day with you because we know how important poetry is for all of us!
Beyond its importance and usefulness as a learning tool for kids, it's beautiful, magical, and has the power to evoke feelings, memories, and more. Poetry also offers a unique space to express yourself, whether reading or writing it. Though these messages sound like abstract topics to teach a child, they're really things that just come naturally over time, as long as you commit to a reading routine. All the more reason to continue reading with your child as much as possible!
Introducing children of any age (babies and toddlers included) to poetry is an exceptional way to help develop phonological awareness and encourage children to read with the fun sounds and rhythm. Reading poetry aloud to your children (captivating illustrations are must) will enchant them into learning repetition and rhyme. And remember, nursery rhymes are a wonderful place to start for babies and toddlers.
What's so important about phonological awareness?
Phonological awareness is the ability to learn and understand letters, words, and their correlating sounds. Since poems and children's books are designed to rhyme, blend different sounds together, incorporate repetition, and entertain children, they're a great tool to understanding language and communication. Chanting, singing, or simply hearing poems is an effective way to introduce children to language patterns and how language and text connect. A child will then organically learn to identify sounds and parts of words, making natural connections. Poetry allows children to play with language and explore the many forms of speech.
We have a few ideas and activities for you and your children to explore the power of poetry! The tips below are best for children ages six and up, but don't forget to share a rhythmic book or nursery rhyme with your babies and toddlers today. (Yes, even singing counts!)
Tips to hop on the poetry wave with your kids:
1. Check out our very own Kenn Nesbitt's Poetry4Kids.com, a great resource for kids to explore a "funny poetry playground" and discover how fun poetry really is. You'll find a handy poetry thesaurus for reference (great for parents and teachers too), and tons of other great tools and lessons. Poetry4Kids is a helpful place to start for young boys and girls who may be reluctant toward reading and writing poetry.
2. See the poetry in things! For example, sing a favorite song with your little one and point out the fact that song lyrics are a form of poetry. Then write down the lyrics and explore the poem's structure, form, and perhaps repetitive nature. Or, use photographs to inspire poetry writing. Pull out old scrapbooks, family vacation photos, etc. and write down a line for what you see.
3. Take a poetry walk. Celebrate poetry by observing our beautiful world. Find a scenic or interesting location for a poetry outing where you can record various sensory images (an important part of poetry). Parks, museums, and historical spots produce creative results! You and your child can write down one line for each interesting happening, and at the end of the outing, put together your lines in a poem and see what fun you come up with! Be sure to display it on the fridge or bulletin board when you're done.
4. If you're a poetry enthusiast yourself, create a poem Mad Lib activity for you and your child to do together! Here's how: choose a poem that you especially love (and that's somewhat easy to understand for your child). Remove one or two words from each line, choosing words that represent a variety of parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.), print it out on a new piece of paper, and fill in the blanks with new words that correspond to the command. Have fun with it, be silly, change it up! Remind your child that they're indeed a poet. If you love poetry, this activity is as much for you as it is for your little one!
5. Pick out children's books that celebrate rhyme, rhythm, and repetition! This is pretty easy to do because most children's books are written to be read aloud together. However, there are certainly books that rhyme or flow more rhythmically at a more obvious pace. So, read aloud today and celebrate beloved children's stories for their sound, sense, and expression! (This activity is appropriate for all ages!)
* Use coupon code POET20 to take advantage of this offer and receive 20% off our regular price shown on the website. Your discount will be applied to all titles on the Put Me In The Story website and will be calculated at the time of checkout. Shipping and taxes are excluded from the discounted amount. Offer expires 3/25/14 at 11:59pm CST.