Tag: preschool

Early Literacy Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

Early Literacy Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

Literacy Tips for Parents of Preschoolers | benefits of reading at home, fun learning ideas, raising readers, reading with your child, encouraging tips, learning to read, teaching kids to read

If you have a preschooler, you are probably wondering about HOW to prepare your child to become a reader. The most important job you have as a parent during this stage of the reading journey is motivation. We want our kids to see learning to read as an exciting adventure, and we’ll talk about about it in this free ONLINE video training. Get five literacy tips that you can use immediately with your preschool-age child.

Scroll down for all the resources mentioned in this training.

Need to find more time in the day to read with your preschooler? Check out this post for 12 fun ideas!

Books and resources mentioned in this video:

(Rolling Prairie Readers does use affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you purchase any items we recommend. For the full disclosure policy, you can click here.) 


TOP TIPS FOR CHILDREN IN PRESCHOOL:

  • Talking about stories allows a child to learn more about emotions (WHY a character feels the way they do), reasoning/logic, and picture-text connections.
  • Act out stories together. Encourage your child to bring characters and plots from their favorite stories into their block/dramatic play.
  • Expose your child to lots of new experiences! Prior knowledge will help your child understand what they’re reading later.

Teach your child to “picture walk” through a story. Sometimes this is a fun way to introduce a new book! Children who know how to deduce a story from the illustrations are not dependent on a reader to decode the text every time.

  • Watch TV with the captions on!
  • Introduce letters and sounds. Keep this fun and low-pressure (child-led) if you can. We used jumbo magnetic letters and an oil pan.
  • Rhyming games are a fun and important way to learn ending sounds. Make a points system for nonsense words and those with more than one syllable.
  • Give your child plenty of opportunities to write! Make a writing station with paper and pencils/crayons, use chalk outside, etc.

Grab our FREE Guide for Parents of Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers!

Grab our FREE Guide for Parents of Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers!

Raising children who love reading doesn’t just happen. So let’s be more intentional together, okay?

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

Are you looking for a fun Valentine’s Day activity for your kids that doesn’t require glue or glitter? I learned a long time ago that I am not a crafty mom, but I am more than willing to set up open-ended play ideas for my kids! Sensory play has been a wonderful way for our girls to explore new tactile materials over the years. This simple Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin combines smooth textures and lots of opportunities for fine motor play and math discovery.

Valentine's Day Sensory Bin | activity ideas for kids, fine motor, colored rice, simple Valentine's activities, smart play ideas for preschoolers, fun sensory play, tactile activities, sensory bin fillers, learning through play

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you.You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

As I mentioned in this post about sensory bin storage, we keep a big basket down in our basement with all of our sensory bin materials: dried corn, peas, and beans, uncooked popcorn, and various shades of rice and noodles. (You can click here for instant access to our favorite tutorials about dyeing rice and noodles.) 

I’m usually not a big fan of using rice because cleanup can be a giant pain. However, the varied colors in this Valentine’s Day sensory bin make it worth it! For this sensory filler, I left 1/3 of the rice white, and split the rest into two colors: pink and red. The best part of using colored rice is adding fun accessories like funnels and jars. The sound of rice filling up a glass jar is a wonderful sensory experience for all ages!

Valentine's Day Sensory Bin | activity ideas for kids, fine motor, colored rice, simple Valentine's activities, smart play ideas for preschoolers, fun sensory play, tactile activities, sensory bin fillers, learning through play

You can extend the play of this Valentine’s Day sensory bin by changing out the accessories every week or so. We love using heart gems from dollar stores and ice cube trays to practice one-to-one correspondence (counting). We also have gathered these items:

  • red cups (these are our favorite)
  • heart-shaped cookie cutters (we have had these for years)
  • and a stainless steel bowl, funnel, and jar (glass or plastic, whatever your kids can handle)

You can also add magnetic letters or small heart-shaped foam stickers with letters written on them (see video below) for a literacy activity.

If you try this Valentine’s Day sensory bin, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


Get four more Valentine’s Day activity ideas to help your child build attention span and independent play skills.

Just add your information below to get instant access to our FREE Valentine’s Day Invitations to Play download!

Best Books for New Readers

Best Books for New Readers

Not too long ago, a friend reached out to me for some new book recommendations. Her oldest daughter is getting ready for Kindergarten, and she wants to be sure that their family library has a variety of books for new readers. As parents, we often hear a lot about books for babies and great books for reading aloud, but finding “just right” readers for our five and six year olds that aren’t boring or dry can be tricky.

Note: I strongly believe we should continue reading to our children long after they become readers themselves. There are lots of beautiful picture books for older children, so don’t be too quick to rush into chapter books exclusively!

Best Books for New Readers | best books for kids, reading lists, recommended books, early readers, learning to read, printable list, free download

Children who are learning to read have lots of internal motivation…at first. As parents, our goal is to make sure that our children have access to humorous, high-interest books. You know, books that our children actually want to read. Keep in mind that some children will LOVE stories, while others will be drawn to non-fiction or how-to books. (One of my students, a reluctant reader, fell in love with joke books during third grade. He read every humor book the library had on the shelf before moving on to higher-quality literature in his fourth grade year.)

As the mom of a new reader myself, I try to keep a healthy balance between “easy reader” books and higher quality literature for my 1st grader. Honestly, I see it as being similar to checking out a Nicholas Sparks book and a classic by one of the Bronte sisters for myself. Sometimes, it’s nice to kick back with an easy “beach read.” Good readers read a lot, so new readers need lots of books to choose from.

Organizing Books for New Readers

Our home library used to be organized by author’s last name, similar to the public library. Once my youngest became an independent reader, I reorganized the shelves by reading level. It was a lot of work at first, but I’ve seen her confidence grow. It’s nice that she can quickly find a book that she wants to read from a tub of books she knows she can read. Scholastic has a Book Wizard tool that makes leveling most books a cinch!

Best Books for New Readers | best books for kids, reading lists, recommended books, early readers, learning to read, printable list, free download

Best Books for New Readers

This is not an exhaustive list, and your children might find other books they prefer! Hopefully it will give you a good starting place when you go into the library or book store. If you would like a printable copy of the list (with even more book ideas!), just fill out the form below. It will arrive in your inbox immediately.

(Just a reminder that Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.)

Maisy books by Lucy Cousins

We read a LOT of Maisy when our girls were younger. There are lots of titles available, and the text is usually simple and silly.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (and sequels) by Doreen Cronin

 

I believe strongly in the power of humor to keep new readers motivated. If your child doesn’t know the Click Clack series, add these to your library list!

Fairmount Avenue series by Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is incredible. I adore all of his books (and there are LOTS), but this sweet autobiographical series is a must-have for new readers. Tomie’s childhood is laugh-out-loud funny and sweet.

mouse books by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum and Owen are our two favorites, but Lilly’s adventures are fun, too! Kevin Henkes knows how to write for children, so you can’t really go wrong with any of his books.

Pete the Cat books by Eric Litwin

When Pete the Cat first arrived in bookstores and libraries, children and adults alike were smitten. For some reason, James Dean (the creator of Pete) and Eric Litwin (the original author) have split ways and the newer books aren’t as memorable or fun to read. I Love My White Shoes and Four Groovy Buttons are great!

Everything written by Leo Lionni

Lionni is a gifted artist, and most of his books feature animals, a sure kid-pleaser. Little Blue and LIttle Yellow is different from most of his books, which oddly makes it my favorite. A Color of His Own and Swimmy are other beloved books in our house.

Frog and Toad collection by Arnold Lobel

I remember reading these books as a child, and I love sharing them with my own girls.

Anne Rockwell

As I mentioned above, my second daughter much prefers non-fiction books. Anne Rockwell’s stories are a good balance–lots of facts and simple illustrations! These two were big hits in our family.

Henry and Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant

Cynthia Rylant is a fantastic author for new readers. Henry and Mudge is one of two series she’s written that I often recommend for young children. What’s better than a series of early reader books featuring a boy and his dog? (P.S. When I Was Young in the Mountains is one of my favorite picture books of all time!)

Mr. Putter and Tabby books by Cynthia Rylant

This is another sweet series of books for new readers. Try the first two books from the library and see if your family enjoys the characters.

Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems

Mo Willems has been a favorite author of mine since Knuffle Bunny came out. The Elephant & Piggie series is laugh out loud funny, while still talking about some of the BIG feelings that our new readers struggle with. Best of all, there are lots of choices to keep your kiddo giggling.

What are your favorite books for new readers?


Best Books for New Readers | best books for kids, reading lists, recommended books, early readers, learning to read, printable list, free download

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