How to find a book your kids will love

Featured

With so many books to pick from and so little time how can we find the right ones? I decided to share some strategies I use when picking books for my kids.

Here is my ORGANIZED approach.

  1. I go over each book from Scholastic Books order catalog my kids bring home from school from time to time and check it’s reviews on Amazon.
  2. If I like what I hear, I write down the name of the book in my Notes app on my iPhone.
  3. Next time I am at our local library, I try to find a book from my list.
  4. If my kids enjoy reading it, I read reviews (Amazon again) of all the books of that author and check out the ones that looks promising at my local library.

Here is my SPONTANEOUS approach.

  1. When I am at a library and have no idea what to pick, I come to any book shelf and start going through books one by one.
  2. I use Amazon app to “Search” each book with “Scan It” feature. It is so fun to scan book’s barcode!
  3. I read the book’s reviews on Amazon.
  4. If I like the reviews, I give the book a try!
  5. I pick more than one book before heading out of the library. I like to give my kids and myself more options in case some books won’t work for us.

Let the Peace Be with You!

 

Louis Sachar

Featured

My kids (9 and 10) went crazy about Louis Sachar  (pronounced Sacker) books after we had discovered Wayside School Series at our local library.

Each book is a collection of short stories describing a particular person. Each story is like a fable with exquisitely done details. The situations seem ridiculous, but a nugget of truth woven into the fabric of each one.

Then we gulped up The Marvin Redpost Series. This series contains 8 books for beginning/intermediate readers. Each book is an easy read with short interesting chapters.

After that there was There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom and Holes!

It was hard to put kids to bed in the evening, they begged to have another 5 minutes. My son would wake up earlier in the morning, so he can read some more.

Let the Peace Be with You! And Happy Reading!

Lesson 1: “Identifying Nouns”

This is a review lesson. Kids must be already familiar with the definition of noun.

Start the lesson with asking kids to write the title “Nouns” in their notebooks and explaining that today they are going to review what they already know about nouns.

I. Definition

Ask kids to recall what is a noun together. Make sure kids understand that a noun is a word and NOT an object itself.

Noun is a word that names a person, place, thing or idea.

Ask kids to write the definition down into their notebooks.

II. “Who?”

Ask kids to give you examples of words that name a person: girl, uncle, nurse. Then ask them to write down the following statement:

A noun can tell you "Who?"

While writing, kids will have time to think about the statement. After they are finished, ask them why is this statement true. (Who? A boy. Who? A clown.)

Challenge: Give kids two words: baby and boy. Ask them to determine if the words are nouns by using definition of a noun and the “Who?” question. (Both words name a person. Who? A baby. Who? A boy.) Now, build a phrase “baby boy”. Ask kids find nouns in the phrase. Based on definition, both words should be nouns. But if we try to see what questions do they answer, then Who? Boy. (noun) What kind of boy? Baby. (adjective)

Summary: We need both: the definition of a noun and the “Who?” question to identify a noun in a sentence.

III. “What?”

Ask kids to give you examples of words that name a place: school, gym, park.

Ask kids to give you examples of words that name a thing (anything you can see, hear, smell, taste or touch ): chair, cat, ice cream.

Ask kids to give you examples of words that name an idea (anything you cannot see, hear, smell, taste or touch): joy, bravery, liberty, peace.

Then ask them to write down the following statement:

A noun can tell you "What?"

While writing, kids will have time to think about the statement. After they are finished, ask them why is this statement true. (What? A table. What? Love.)

Challenge: Give kids two words: tree and branch. Ask them to determine if the words are nouns by using definition of a noun and the “What?” question. (Both words name a thing. What? A tree. What? A branch.) Now, build a phrase “tree branch”. Ask kids find nouns in the phrase. Based on definition, both words should be nouns. But if we try to see what questions do they answer, then What? Branch. (noun) What kind of branch? Tree. (adjective)

Summary: We need both: the definition of a noun and the “What?” question to identify a noun in a sentence.

IV. Exercise: “Sort Nouns”

Ask kids to make a table with 4 columns in their note books by dividing the page first into 2 columns, and then each column into 2 more columns.

Name the table Nouns; name each column as PersonPlaceThing and Idea.

Explain that you are going to read some words.  Kids need to sort and write the words under the correct column. After each word, stop and ask kids under what column they put the word and why.

Nouns

Person Place Thing Idea

Note: The words you want to use for the exercise depends on the kids level. It is helpful use words from their previous spelling tests to reinforce their memory.

Note: Include NOT nouns words and compound nouns in your list.

Sample word list: Chair, park, sing, friend, love, Maryblue, popcorn, time, club, officer, zone, freedom, read, north, zoo, president, Californiadog, talk, pencil, gym, sad, number, scout, pink, and weekend.

V. Exercise: “Sort Nouns II”

Continue filling out the table from the previous exercise. But now, use words in content by reading a story. As before, stop after each sentence and ask kids what words they found, what column they chose and why. At that time, you can even display the sentence on your board for visual learners.

Story: Emma and her mother went to the science center in the city. They wanted to see the Ancient Egypt exhibition. They looked around at all the artifacts on display. There were statues, jewelry, and coins. Everywhere they looked there were exotic items to see. 

VI. Summary.

Summarize the lesson’s points by asking kids what is the correct way to identify if a word is a noun. (By using the definition of a noun and the “Who?” or “What?” questions.)

VII. Homework.

Find and write nouns for each letter in the alphabet. Ask kids to be creative in their choice of words and surprise you.

David Lubar

My daughter (9) brought home a book by David Lubar.

The book contains 35 tales. Some are silly, some are horrifying. She loved it so much, she finished the book (192 pages) in 1 day. I have to admit she had troubles getting to sleep that night. I was a little bit worried. But she sleeps just fine now.

Next day she came home with another book by David Lubar.

The book contains another 35 tales. She told me that the stories are perfect to tell around a campfire. Again, she finished it (208 pages) in 1 day.

Next day she came from school very upset – there was no other “weenie” books at the school library. I know now that it is time for me to go to the library!

Let the Peace Be with You! And Happy Reading!

Katy Kelly

My daugther (9) enjoyed a Lucy Rose series (4 books) by Katy Kelly.

Written in diary form (easy for younger kids to finish small entries) and in kids words, each book is a new adventure for Lucy Rose. In this series kids are smart and funny and independent.

While checking out more books of Lucy Rose series from the library, I noticed that Katy Kelly has a boy oriented series as well – Melonhead (3 books).

I checked one book from that series as well. My daughter got very excited when she saw it. She explained that Melonhead is one of the characters from Lucy Rose books.

The series seems a perfect opposite to Lucy Rose. In it kids are smart, funny, creative and inventive.

She and my son (10) ended up reading all 3 books of Melonhead series.

I read the first book. I admit, I giggled a lot. I even re-told my husband some funny parts of the story.

Let the Peace Be with You! And Happy Reading!