Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reading With Charlie

While we were visiting family out of state, I was able to tutor my sweet nephew Charlie for a few weeks. I wish we lived closer because it was so much fun working with him. 

Here are some of the activities we did together to help with reading:

*Whiteboard practice: We did EVERYTHING on the whiteboard. We practiced vowel sounds by writing a word and then I'd ask him to change the "a" sound in cat to the "u" sound and hold up his whiteboard nice and high to show me what word he made. We did this with much more complicated words such as stack to stuck.

*Ending practice: We practice endings such as "ed" "ing" and "ies" in words like played, hopping and puppies. Since we were slightly limited on resources, we practiced these types of words with magnets, letter cards, magic "finger" writing in the air, on the whiteboard, and with chalk. Using shaving cream or whipping cream would have been fun too!

*Spelling practice: Any of the above activities can work for practicing spelling words but we also practiced with pictures and letter cards. What made it fun is that we were outside on a blanket, still enjoying the sun. {this is the activity in the picture above}

*Journal writing: Since reading and writing go hand in hand, I gave Charlie his own notebook where we practiced writing with crayons and he was able to take home each day. This gave him the opportunity to write stories or draw pictures if HE wanted to. If he did, he earned a sticker. :)

We played a few other games that I had saved from teaching as well as reading together for 15 to 20 minutes daily. The best way to improve fluency is to read everyday for at least 20 minutes. 

Last, to help motivate Charlie, I gave him a mini notebook where he could earn 3 stickers during each "session." He could earn them for: using his best handwriting, reading his very best, and overall always doing his best. We then set goals: when he earned 15 stickers he could go get a special treat and when he earned those stickers we set another goal. Positive reinforcement is SO important when helping a child learn and be successful.

Charlie and I had so much fun working together and hopefully some of these activities/tips will help you at home or in the classroom!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Improving Your Toddler's Comprehension


LOVED this article taken from The Baby Center website. Comprehension is such an important skill to have and will improve your child's reading skills starting at an early age. This is a great idea that is easy and quick and doesn't require anything store bought....just a blanket!

Improving comprehension, memory games

"Your toddler has begun to realize that every toy, every animal, every person, every thing, has a name. And she relies on you for labels. She constantly points at pictures in books and asks, "What's that?" Or she just points repeatedly at the picture until you name it for her. She comprehends many more words than she can say easily and is filing the information away for later.

Sometime between 18 and 24 months, toddlers begin to be able to think about things that aren't present. She knows that her shoes are in her closet and will go fetch them if you ask her to. Or she stands in front of the pantry and asks for a cracker, which she knows is there even though she can't see it. If you want to test her on this ability, play a very basic version of the game Concentration. Hide a favorite toy under two or three blankets. She won't be foiled when she removes the first layer and the toy isn't visible — she'll keep searching. In fact, she'll have fun looking for things that you hide."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Baby Nurseries

Well it has been WAY TOO LONG since I have posted! I am so sorry to all of our wonderful, dedicated readers. But we still love you so much and I can't wait to get back on the wagon and get to blogging again. But I DO have a great excuse....I am expecting again! Owen gets a new little sibling and we are so thrilled. :) So back to the lack of blogging....I have been SO SICK and TIRED and so therefore super super LAZY. But I am finally getting some energy back; I just hope that the sickness will leave soon. 

So since babies are on my mind....I just had to share some of these ideas for nursery decor. It's not very educational but it's definitely FUN. :)

{images taken from HERE}

I am thinking that I need to spruce up Owen's room since it will now be home to TWO lovely babes. 
(I know that Owen will be 2 when this babe is born but he is still my baby).

We can't wait!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Moms Who Teach Mondays

Hello everyone!  I’m excited to be able to share with you some of the ideas I’ve come across that have helped me teach my little guy who is two and a half. I’m a stay at home mom with no teaching background, but I have a passion for teaching my little joy.  Teacher-2-mom is my best resource for teaching and I’m grateful to Mama J and Mama K for starting it.

I’m going to share with you a few ideas that we love right now besides all of the wonderful ideas on teacher-2-mom.

The first activity I wanted to share is a counting activity.  I recently created a felt board of "The Five Little Ducks" song (an idea I got from a friend). You can Google the lyrics to "The Five Little Ducks" and listen to it on Amazon or iTunes (we love the version by Raffi). Brayden absolutely loves it and asks to do this counting activity several times in a row.  We sing "The Five Little Ducks" song together and each time we count down he takes a duck away, then at the end of the song he puts all the ducks back.  To help him with number recognition I cut out felt numbers to go along as we count down. I plan on using the felt board for teaching shapes and storytelling too.

Another activity we do a lot is read. Shortly after Brayden was born a friend of mine let me borrow a copy of “The Read Aloud Handbook” by: Jim Trelease. Check it out at the library if you haven’t.  I think it’s been mentioned on teacher-2-mom. It’s a wonderful resource and there is a great list of book recommendations.  Ever since then I have been reading aloud to Brayden. Now that he is two and a half I hear him say phrases from books we read several months ago (at the time I didn’t think he was listening, but now I have proof that he was).  With each passing month his attention span and vocabulary have grown.  To help expose him to books, and allow him access them, I keep books at his level several places around the house.  It’s always a sweet moment when I find him looking at books and enjoying a story on his own. 

Recently we checked out a Winnie the Pooh audio book to listen to in the car. Brayden has been enjoying it and asks to listen to it every time we get in the car.   A friend of mine recommended the Dr. Seuss Audio. We’ll be trying that next. 

The last activity I wanted to mention was singing.  It’s so much fun for everyone.  Some good learning songs that we love right now are listed below:

“Open Shut Them” by Hap Palmer

“What is your Name” by Hap Palmer

“My mommy comes back” by Hap Palmer

“The Bean Back” by Hap Palmer

‘Tap your Sticks” by Hap Palmer

“Brush your Teeth” by Raffi

“Shake My Sillies Out” by Raffi

“I Am a Child of God” Children’s Songbook

Happy Teaching!  I can't wait to learn from other moms on Mondays.

Thank you so much Ashley! What wonderful ideas that we can't wait to put to use!
Can you tell that Ashley is an amazing photographer!? You should check out her website here.

If you would like to be featured on "Moms Who Teach Mondays" please email us at
{Please note: you do not need to be an educator or past educator to contribute...just a mommy :)} 

Monday, June 6, 2011


We have not one, not two, but THREE winners!!

Please email us at to claim your prize. :)

I posted about this giveaway on FB!

Jackie said...
I have been following your blog from day one and using the math counting chips like crazy! I would love to do the same with the vowel kit!

Elle said...I would love to have this because I feel I have NO learning/teaching activities for my kids and just recently thought about looking for some but have no idea where. This would be so great to have. Thanks for the giveaway.
 {winners drawn courtesy of}

Also, as mentioned earlier, if you'd like to buy my Short Vowel Review click HERE. :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Journal Writing ~ Summer Challenge

This summer challenge your child to keep a journal. I used to tutor students over the summer and I would always start my sessions by having the child write in his or her journal. I would give them 5-10 minutes (longer if they would like) to write about anything from my list of topics. I usually would give them three choices and they choose the one that they liked the best. We would paste it on to the page and then the child would proceed to write.

The beauty of journal writing is that it pours from the child's heart and mind. It is imaginative, creative, and exciting. Journal writing is not to be graded, critiqued, nor judged. It is writing in it's PUREST form. I LOVE IT!

There are many ways of making journal writing fun for your child. Here are the steps that I came up with:

1. Let your child choose their own journal and then let them personalize it! (Try the Dollar Store.) They need to take ownership of this very special writing space.

2. Let your child choose their own writing utensil. (I always let my students use a pen for their journal writing. Not only is it EXCITING for a child to write with a pen, but they cannot erase any of their mistakes which reinforces writing in it's PUREST form. I love that!)

3. Share some of your journals with your child. (I always loved to share my own journal entries from when I was in elementary school with my students.)

4. Take a few minutes before writing to model to your child what journal writing looks like.
5. Give your child a few topics to choose from to write about. (If they would rather write about something that they thought of, then that is great too!)

Here is a list that I used with my students:
Journal Prompts (ideas)

Cut out an idea and paste it in your journal.


Write about a time when you were brave, or finish this sentence: I am brave because . . .


Write about a time when you were helpful.


Write about something or things that you do well.


Write about three things that make you interesting.


Write about a time when you were honest.


Write about a time when you were dishonest.


Write about favorite things to do at recess

Write about your best friends. Who are they? Why do you like them? What do you do together for fun?


If you could have any animal in the world for a pet what animal would it be? Shark? Piranha? Alligator? Leech? Why?


What country would you like to visit? Why?


Write about the most exciting thing that ever happened to you.


Write about a time when you were nice to someone in your family.


Write about books that you like


Write about your home


Write about things you play with


Write about soccer or other sports you like


Write about your favorite foods


Write about your school


Write about your family


Write about the world


Write about yourself (describe yourself or write about your interests)


Write about animals


Write about your friends


Write about a vacation


Write about your favorite activity


Write about your favorite candy


Write about your favorite toy


Write about your favorite computer or video game


Write about what you are doing during summer vacation


Write about what you do after the school day is over


Write about how you are feeling


Write about your favorite drink


Write about a favorite friend


Write about one way you can be kind to animals.


Write about a time when you were mean to someone in your family.


If you could have anything in the world what would it be?


If you could be any super hero or video game character who would you be and why? What would you do?


What would you do with a million dollars? And why?


Write about a goblin named Billy who is blue and green and slimy.


Write about yourself. What color is your hair? What do you look like? Write details.


Pretend you are the president of the United States. What would you do?


What would you do if you had magical powers?


Write about an embarrassing moment. What happened? Who was there?


Would you like to be on TV? Why? What would you like to do?


If you were a pencil, what would you do? Or what would you draw?


Write about your favorite cartoon character. Why is it your favorite?


Who are your favorite sports players? What sports do they play?


Write details about your life. Where were you born? Who do you live with? Where have you lived?


Write about what would happen if one morning you woke up and you were a stuffed animal.

6. Allow your child enough time to write a page or so depending on their ability level. Encourage 
your child to add details in their writing.

7. Finally invite your child to read their entry aloud to you! ENJOY!

Happy Journal Writing!!!

**Don't forget about our AWESOME GIVEAWAY!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Owen and I have made a few trips to Petco these past few weeks and he has LOVED it. Where we live it is HOT HOT HOT and so anywhere that is air conditioned and free is a major plus. I took him in a cart around the store so he wouldn't be running wildly, and we just went up to each animal's cage and talked about the animal, what sound the animal made, and how it felt. He was so happy to see them move or "talk" and would laugh each time. It was so cute! It was the perfect little outing that was "different" yet a good use of our time. And we went home happy. :) So if you have a pet store near by, it's definitely worth a little trip to change things up a bit!

Don't forget to enter our GIVEAWAY if you haven't already!! :)