What We are Reading Wednesday: Early Readers

 

Ethan reading from one of his favorite series books, Henry and Mudge

Once I thought Ethan was ready to start reading books on his own (he had strong phonics skills and had memorized some high-frequency words) I introduced him to some “early readers.”  He had zero interest.  I just don’t think he had the stamina to read more than a list of words or a few simple sentences at a time.  I knew he had the necessary skills so I did not worry or get discourgaged.  I just waited.  And waited.  And then one day he just started to gobble them up!

What qualifies as an “early reader” or “easy reader,” you ask?  Easy readers are books with not too many words per page that are easily decoded, contain high frequency or sight words, are easy to comprehend and have illustrations that are strong clues to the text.  Easy readers are also often full of action and dialogue and do not have much descriptive language.

An early reader is a good fit for your child if he/she is able to read it independently or with minimal help.  This is something NYC public school teachers call a “just-right” book.  If the level of text is too high, it will only frustrate your child.  Ethan loves to read his easy readers snuggled up with me, out loud to his sister or alone in his bed before bedtime.

It can be hard to find early readers that are actually easy enough for a new reader!  We started with these…

The above books were so great because they are books that a new reader can actually read independently and it will really help to build their confidence!  Some books that you find in the bookstore labeled Level 1 are really much too difficult for a new reader.  Ethan loved the above titles for when he was just getting started!

From there Ethan moved on to some really fun easy reader series books.  First, The Fly Guy series really helped him take off with his reading!  He found them so funny!  Each book in the series follows the same format, which really helped build his confidence and in turn his stamina.

He also loved…

The Narwhal and Jelly series is definitely the supreme favorite in our house!

For those of you in NYC, public school first graders are considered to be meeting the 1st grade reading expectations if they can read books like these by the end of the school year…

Do you have any favorite books for kids on this reading level?  Please share in the comments!

Friday Finds

I recently found a great resource for Montessori elementary math materials from Montessori Kiwi.  I purchased quite a few downloads on the topics of place value, addition and number bonds for Lillian and adding with 10’s and multiplication for Ethan.  Everything I’ve downloaded has been wonderful and the kids are loving the all the new math materials!

I also listened to a great podcast from The Knowledge Project – Decoding Difficult Conversations:  My Interview with Negotiation Expert, Sheila Keen.  Sheila is an author and lecturer at Harvard Law School on the topic of negotiation.  She talks about the art of negotiation with your children.  I learned a lot!

My kids have been LOVING these sticker mosaic books!  Seriously, they will sit for hours with them working carefully and quietly!

Quarterly Reports

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Soon it will be time to file the 4th and final quarterly report in NYC.  The quarterly reports are how the NYCDOE monitors attendance and the progress of homeschooled students throughout the year, similar to report cards in traditional school.

You report the subjects and material covered and then issue a “grade” or written evaluation.

This year I reported on the subjects of :  Arithmetic, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies/ History, Physical/ Health Education, Visual Arts and Music.  Personally I provided a brief written evaluation as opposed to a letter grade.

As the year went on I found it helpful to set a reminder in my calendar two weeks before the report was due to write it, then the week before it was due to mail it.  I also mailed everything via Certified Mail so I could have a record that the report was delivered.

You do not receive anything in return from the NYCDOE that they have received or approved your Quarterly Report but I’m assuming they would reach out if there was a problem!

 

 

What We are Reading Wednesday: Classic Chapter Books for Young Children

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My kids have been so eager to listen to chapter books over the last few months.  They are currently 6.5 and 4.75 years old and both equally enjoy this read aloud time.  I read aloud from our current chapter book every day at lunch and I bring it with us if we are out and about and have any waiting time.  Thanks to NYC parking regulations from time to time we have to sit in our parked car and wait for the street sweeper to come by which is another opportunity to read aloud.  They have loved these books so much that they also ask me to read at other points of the day when we are home.

Here are the books we have read between January and May:

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

The Mouse in the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary

Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary

James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Now, some of these books were written in the 1930s and ’40s.  Obviously parenting practices have evolved since then.  I was concerned about some topics in these books such as spanking in Mrs. Piggle Wiggle or the physical and verbal abuse endured by young James in James and The Giant Peach.

I even considered skipping over these parts or changing the words.  And, in full disclosure I did skip over a few words here and there (words like stupid, for example). We also talked about the words Indians and Native Americans and how in the past people used words we don’t use today.  

However, the books have opened up some interesting conversations and they have handled these topics beautifully.  They were not scared or traumatized.  

With that said, the kids and I highly recommend the books on this list!  

Here is a sneak peak at the next few classic children’s chapter books we plan to read:

The Littles by John Peterson

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

Catwings by Ursula K. Le Guin

Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

Update from the NYCDOE

I previously blogged about how I filed my first Letter of Intent with the NYC Department of Education for my son, Ethan, who has a 2012 birthday.  A few weeks after filing, I received a package in the mail from the NYCDOE.

Included in the package were:

  • the Regulations for Home Instruction in NY State (all 20 pages)
  • a letter with information specific to this 2018-2019 school year
  • a list of compliance items and due dates

The next compliance item for us is the Individualized Home Instruction Plan or IHIP and it is due on 8/15.  I’m currently working on ours and will post more when it’s complete.  Legally we have to submit 4 Quarterly Reports and an Annual Assessment.  That’s a lot of paperwork!

What are the homeschool regulations like where you live?  Do you have to submit a lot of paperwork?  I’ve read that New York has some of the strictest regulations for homeschooling .  For anyone who lives in NY, this is probably not surprising!  It is exciting to be inching our way towards becoming official NYC homeschoolers.

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Photo by Lukas Kloeppel on Pexels.com

4 Year Old Birthday Gift Ideas

Lillian will be four years old soon!  I normally think about what gifts to buy for birthdays or the holidays for months in advance.  I love to give gifts and I want to be sure my kids will not only love the gift but that it will inspire their creative play and be worth the space the present will take up in our tiny apartment!

I chose these gifts because we already have a Terra Barn from Target and lots of Schleich farm animals.  It is the most played with toy in our house.  Not only do I know she will love these horse sets to go along with the farm, we already have a designated spot in our house for the farm setup.  We don’t need to find a new storage/ organization system.  I love adding on to things I know the kids already enjoy.  I also love the brand Schleich.  The items are high quality and very lifelike!

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She is also getting two books, because I just can’t give my kids a gift that doesn’t include at least one book.  I chose the Wildflowers book because Lillian LOVES flowers and I chose the Story Orchestra book even though we already have one copy because my kids love this book SO much and have such a hard time sharing it!  Problem solved.

Here are the gifts we purchased for her.  I can’t wait for her to open them!

*all links are Amazon affiliate links*

Schleich Horse Club Mobile Vet – this is on sale right now on Amazon!

Schleich Foal with Blanket Playset

A Little Guide to Wildflowers by Charlotte Voak

The Story Orchestra:  Four Seasons in One Day by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

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Friday Finds

I was happy to find this post from Nicole at the Kavanaugh Report with ideas for Montessori materials and activities for a four year old.  Lillian is so close to turning 4!

Thinking even further ahead to the fall, I am considering these Autumn Guides from Whole Family Rhythms.  “The Guides are designed to help you plan, create and animate a gentle, balanced and holistic rhythm in your home, flowing between structured, adult-led activities and child-led, imaginative free play.”

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Check out this amazing new place for kids called The Muse Gowns that just opened in Brooklyn!  How fun!  Trapeze classes?  Sign me up, please!