Literacy skills: practicing without practice

The following post is by contributor Robin Zipporah of Not-Ever-Still.

My sweet kindergarten girl is a beginning reader. She can read almost anything, slowly, as long as she doesn’t get frustrated or lose patience. Her handwriting is the same – it’s quite good, really, but sometimes when she’s tired or hurrying she still transposes those Bs and Ds or draws a backwards 9.

She’s like many smart kids, I think – she’s quite capable but she has perfectionist tendencies and because she is bright, she’s not accustomed enough to confronting challenge. Put those two qualities together, and sometimes she gives up entirely too easily. She wants help or declares her disinterest in favor of coloring or another activity.

So I’ve been intentionally building in little bits of reading and writing practice into our regular daily activities…without, you know, really drawing attention to the fact that we’re practicing anything. They aren’t drastic and they don’t take too much time; mostly they’re little ways of changing our routines. And as a bonus, they’re so much more than reading and writing activities – they’re fostering self-sufficiency and confidence in my girl.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Fun and Simple Bookmark Crafts for Kids

The following post is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore.

We are bookworms around here – and proud of it! We tend to have many books in progress, and we never seem to have enough bookmarks. Not to mention all the crafts and recipes the girls like to mark for future projects. I was getting tired of grabbing receipts and junk mail to mark our spots. It was time for bookmark craft camp!

Here are three of our favorite bookmark projects. They are fun and easy to make, and the results are lovely and unique. Bookmarks make great gifts, too! One of our favorite birthday gifts for friends is a carefully chosen book accompanied by a handmade bookmark.

Okay, fellow bookworms, let’s get crafting!

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January 9th: Weekend Links

snowman Photo by woodleywonderworks

Winter has fully descended where we live!  Is it cold where you are?

If you have a little free time in the coming week, would you take a moment to read through the Simple Kids Showcase FAQ page?  You may just be inspired to share something from your family with the Simple Kids community in the weekly Showcase!

Grab your mug of hot tea (or cocoa!) and settle in from some weekend reading:

Simply Practical

Throughout January 2010, Mandy of Organizing Your Way is running an amazing series called 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!  Click on the link to see topics she has already spoken to as well as what is coming up.  She has invited some of your favorite bloggers to join her in sharing wisdom on each topic.  This may be all the practical inspiration you need for the entire month!

Simply Delicious

angry chicken: bread of the monkey
itty bitty fish: a meal for the new year
The Picky Apple: Homemade Tortillas

Inspired Projects

red bird crafts: art boards
Playful Learning: Bird Watching Station
Family Fun: Fan-Tastic Snowflakes

Inspired Images

davejenbarnes: Project 365 (2)

Inspired Words

Handbook of Nature Study: Fresh Thoughts on Nature Study
A Holy Experience: When Your New Years Resolutions Feel Like Trying To Walk on Water
Steady Days: Start the New Year with a Child’s Heart (column from Angie of The Creative Mama)

Happy January! Stay warm!

Winterize Within, Part Four: Books

seussbooksPhoto by evelynshere

Wow! We have been working hard this week.  I think today would be a great day for a lightweight project.  Today, we’ll focus on Winterizing Within with our children’s books.

As we have each day this week, we will use the 3 Ps to structure our winterizing efforts:

1) Pause to find just a little time today to sort through the children’s literature in your home.  Thirty minutes or less seems right for today.

2) As you work through the books in your home, you may want to focus less on purging and more on pondering about where your child is on his path to literacy.  Do you have a new toddler who is ready for slightly more complicated stories?  Or is your preschooler ready for chapter books?  Would the upcoming holiday gift season be a good time to add new life to your home library?

Invite your older children to think about which books to keep, and which can be donated, sold, or tucked into storage.

3) We’ve been pushing ourselves quite a bit this week.  As you sit surrounded by the books that mean so much to your family today, take a moment to luxuriate in the joys, beauty, and timeless truths offered by literature.  You deserve a little downtime to read, reflect, and respond to whatever inspiration you find in the pages of your family’s books today!

What is the state of your home library? Is it up-to-date and organized? Are there books that need mending? Is your child ready to move up to more challenging books?

October 16th: Simple Kids Showcase and Weekend Links

This week’s Showcase comes to us from Mary Beth of My Girls:

Our family’s helper jar is a fun way to engage our kids in the entire process of giving.

From saving to delivering–with shopping and packaging sandwiched in between–we gain much from giving in this small way. We never miss the amount of money that we collect (both times we’ve been surprised at just how much we’ve managed to save). Instead we gain the experience of helping people enjoy something that we often take for granted.


givingjar1

givingjar2

Join us, won’t you?.  Read more about how to get started here!

Thank you, Mary Beth!  If you would like to see your family featured in the SK Showcase, send your submission via email to me at simplekidsblog at gmail dot com.

The month of October is just bursting with all kinds of inspiring reading!  Here are just a few of the treasures I have come across this week:

Simply Practical

fantastic, practical, real-life parenting advice at Parents Ask (via Mariah of Playful Learning, one of many contributors to this parenting community)

the Happiness Project: Seven Tips If You’re Chronically Late (via Parent Hacks)

Simply Delicious

More Than Burnt Toast: A Recipe for Orchard Apple Salad . . . a taste of autumn
Under the High Chair: Playing with Pumpkin: a worthy recap
Phe/MOM/enon: Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Inspired Projects

This Vintage Chica: Make Your Own Spiderweb
ABC and 123: Bats and Spiders
The Crafty Crow: Where the Wild Things Are :: Crafts and Treats ::

Inspired Images

Holy Experience: Slow Down: looking for gold

Inspired Words

A Worthy Life: the very definition of insanity
Clover Lane: What NOT to Regret

May your weekend be full of happiness and health!