Building Your Bookshelf: Robert McCloskey
Adding Great Stories to Fuel Great Thinking!
Building a Bookshelf for your child can be a virtual or concrete task. That means that you can build a bookshelf of books that you borrow and read, read online, or books that you have and keep on the bookshelf. Putting quality books with great storylines and writing into your child’s hands is a great way to enhance vocabulary, story retelling, following more complicated plots, and character building ideas. We’ll be “adding books” to your bookshelf” as we look at new and old books.
Books: Make Way for Ducklings, Homer Price Books, Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, Time of Wonder
Author and Illustrator: Robert McCloskey
Recommended Age: As a read aloud, you can start the picture books at preschool. They are listed as grade 2 and up reading level. The Homer Price books are better read-alouds from Kindergarten and up. According to Scholastic, the reading levels are grade 4 and up. See each specific book’s level here. All of these books are more nostalgic in nature, but certainly are able to be understood by children today. All the picture books have won a Caldecott medal.
Make Way for Ducklings – Mother Duck is leading her large brood of ducklings to the pond in Boston. Wonderful illustrations (and duckling names!) make this a winner for your bookshelf!
Blueberries for Sal – Sal goes blueberry picking with her mother outside their home in Maine and has a wonderful adventure!
One Morning in Maine – Meet Sal and her family again as they go through a day living on the shores of Maine!
Time of Wonder – A trip through what you may see when you are in Maine. This has beautiful color illustrations and does have more poetic and lyrical writing.
Homer Price Books – These are the most fun to read with older children as you follow Homer on his adventures (including his pet skunk!) as he helps others out and solves mysteries. My personal chapter is Homer Price and the Doughnuts!
Make Way for Ducklings:
Blueberries for Sal:
Do you have a favorite Robert McCloskey book? Let us know what you would recommend and why in the comment section below.
Get our Free Author Study Worksheet to complete for a home or school project. Robert McCloskey is an excellent author to use! Tutor Doctor provides in-home, customized reading tutoring to Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas.
Jen Benoit, MEd, has read Homer Price to every class she has ever taught (even Kindergarten!...but just the doughnut chapter!). She also has a great fondness for the Ducklings book as she lived in the Boston and the area for many years. She took her son there for the first time just recently to check out the Duck Family statues!
Preschool in a Minute
Cookie Sheet Letter Matching
One activity you can do with your preschooler in 1-5 minutes with something you may have in your home or easily get from the dollar store! That’s it! Preschool in a Minute!
Most of us have magnetic letters for our preschoolers, but often they hang out on the refrigerator door (or floor as they did at our house for a season!) and that is the only use they get. Well, here is another way to use those great learning tools!
Activity: Cookie Sheet Letter Matching
Materials: A full set of upper case or lower case magnetic letters (these can be found at the dollar store), a cookie sheet (used or new from dollar store), a bowl to hold the letters, and a printout sheet of letters from here or make your own!
Prep Time: Time to gather all magnetic letters, cookie sheet, and print out alphabet sheets here.
Why I Love This Activity: There are several reasons this is a GREAT activity for your little one.
It helps develop identification of upper and lowercase letters.
It helps with fine motor coordination to pick up the item and put it down where it belongs.
It can travel with you and be used in the car or at visits and appointments. Because it is magnetic, the pieces do not fall off as easily. If you are concerned about using it in the car, just pack it for when you reach your destination.
Age Level: 3 and up (you can try it with younger ones if you feel they are ready)
Attention Span: 3-5 minutes at first, but as you do these over time, you can see their interest grow and you can move to the next level of interest.
Place the letters in a bowl next to or above the cookie sheet.
Put the paper on the cookie sheet and talk about matching the letters.
Choose the first letter and talk about what it looks like and where it might be on the sheet. Be sure you are using the paper that has the same letters (upper or lower case) as the magnets. Children are going to identify the same things first.
Continue matching letters until your child loses interest or you are finished.
Matching Upper to Lowercase – As you continue working with the letters and your child is learning lowercase, put out the uppercase magnetic letters with the lowercase sheet to challenge them. When my son did the uppercase matching sheet quickly, I knew it was time to change over to the lowercase. Don’t worry how fast or slow your child goes. Look for accuracy.
Practice Letter Sounds – As you match the letters, talk about the sound each letter makes and a word that starts with it. For example, when matching B to B say, “B says buh” like in Bubble! Next time you blow bubbles together, remind her of the B sound. Tying all of these things together helps it to become more natural rather than taught specifically.
Sight Words – As your child starts recognizing that sounds make words, bring out one of the sight word sheets (or make your own!) here. Sight words are common words in books that children may see. They are usually short. Even if your child is not reading, he can work on these sheets because, again, they are matching letters to letters. Soon, your little one can form words. It may be some time before he can read them, but it is a good practice to have them “make words.” Print out sight word sheets here.
Using Numbers - This variation works on numbers and number words. You can download sheets here that give spaces to match numbers with the number words. Your child doesn’t need to read because in the beginning you can read the words to them. As you read them emphasize the beginning letter and sound so they know that “seven” starts with an S. Read more on this website as I am a big fan of these cookie sheet ideas! If you really enjoy them, she has a whole set you can purchase for just a little over $5.
Do you have an idea for using magnetic letters? If so, leave your idea (and URL below!).
Looking for more ideas? Get our free download about how to use cookie sheets and puzzles below.
Jen Benoit, MEd, works with her husband, Tim, providing in-home, private tutoring to Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas. They also like to match magnetic letters with their preschool son!
Writing Prompt Wednesday
Story Plot Graphic Organizer
When looking at a picture prompt, students are usually asked to write a story or descriptive paragraph about the picture. Many students get blocked when trying to decide how to write about it. One way is to use graphic organizers.
This one is called the Story Plot Organizer. It helps the student visually break down pieces of the story in these areas:
· Rising Action (What leads up to the high point)
· Climax (High point or Turning point of
Falling Action (Events leading to the conclusion or resolution)
· Resolution (What happened in the end; how the conflict was resolved)
This is Boston Marathon season (and many other marathons!). This month's picture prompts are for your student to put together a story about running. It is easier to think up rising action, climax, falling action and resolution when looking at a marathon or a race. In the Boston Marathon, for example, Heartbreak Hill may be the climax for some writers because it is the most intense part of the race. For others, crossing the finish line may be the climax. It all depends on how you write it.
Feel free to use the picture prompts below. Although not from the Boston Marathon, they may inspire some ideas. Use your own pictures if you are looking for a different story type.
Using the Story Plot Graphic Organizer, the student can visually work at creating various parts of the plot.
He or she fills in the different sections of the graphic organizer with phrases and words.
Then he or she will turn those phrases and words into a story.
So, now it is your student's turn to use this writing prompt for a descriptive writing exercise.
Get and use our free download below. You get a formatted sheet with further instructions that you can use today with this picture writing prompt or your own. Just click on the picture below.
What story would you like to use this graphic organizer for? Leave your ideas below.
Jen Benoit, MEd, enjoys the writing process and has used graphic organizers often with her students. She co-owns Tutor Doctor - Tutoring in the Triangle providing private, in-home tutoring to Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill, and surrounding areas.