Reading aloud

Picture books: poetry in motion

I’ve been thinking a lot about picture books and why some work and are memorable while others just land with a thud when read. I continue to ask myself what is it about those picture books that resonate with readers and particularly those that can be shared many times between adults and children, delighting both.

Dear Mo Willems

Addie takes her mom on an exploration of her favorite author, Mo Willems. The exploration goes beyond his books and includes watching a Reading Rockets interview with Mo Willems and drawing him fan mail.

A Strawberry Farm-to-Table Adventure

Carol shares the delicious fun of strawberry picking at a local farm, and how a book and Highlight magazine article lead to baking adventures in the kitchen with the kids.

One of my favorite things to do when the weather turns warm is taking my kids fruit picking. Yes, it gets hot. Yes, there are bugs flying around. Yes, it involves manual labor. But when you bite into that plump, perfectly ripe strawberry, blackberry, peach, fuji apple, and the list goes on, your mouth fills with such sweet and juicy goodness that it’s well worth the effort.

A Bonfire, a Bookstore, and Whales: Our Cape Cod Adventure

In this post, Carol shares how she prepared for a beach trip to Cape Cod with a Summer Tip text, and discovers the fun of stopping by a local bookstore. She’s also discovering how the role of books in their lives is evolving, and making summer explorations more memorable.

Our First Exploration: Money!

In Carol’s first blog post about her summer adventures with her kids, she uses the Start with a Book site for the first time. She shares the fun times (and mishap) they have exploring a topic Addie is learning about in school, money.

For our first Start with a Book adventure, we explored the topic of money. Addie’s learning about quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies in Kindergarten, and had lots of questions about where money comes from and where it ends up.

Meet Carol Shen

Meet Carol Shen, her daughter Addie, and her son Taylor. This summer, they will be sharing their Start with a Book summer adventures with us. Join the Shen family for a summer full of reading, talking, and exploring!

Little Journey’s End

This is it! Our last Laura Ingalls Wilder landmark — her beloved home at Rocky Ridge Farm. It seems fitting to end our Little Journey here, where Laura and Almanzo ended their own wanderings in 1894.

Books make a big difference

Working with children means that you work with the significant adults in their lives. I’ve often found — both personally and professionally — that parents are flummoxed by the huge number of messages about raising children; all too often parenting becomes fraught with guilt.

I also know that all parents simply want the best for their children. They just may not know how to provide it. I saw this firsthand when I worked with parents who had been separated from their children due to incarceration.

Round Robin by Any Other Name ... Oral Reading for Older Readers

I am seeking your advice based on the email correspondence below that I have had with my principal. She noted that I was practicing "round robin reading" on a classroom observation. Upon asking her to remove it (since it was not what I was doing), I realized that she doesn’t entirely understand what that practice looks like. I gather from her response that she is only interested in the teacher modeling expert reading and students not reading aloud in the classroom at all. I personally believe that there is a place in the classroom for students to read aloud.

Little Museum of BIG Little House Treasures

En route to Mansfield, Missouri, Laura and Almanzo’s final home, we had time to think and talk about the places connected to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family that weren’t on our Little Journey itinerary. Once we reached Mansfield, our mileage for the Little Journey would be more than a thousand miles, so there were some places along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway we just couldn’t include, like:


"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943