Friday, December 31, 2010

Storytime: Sleeping (Dad and Me)

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read Sleeping (Dad & me)

This is one of a series of books by Jan Ormerod that focuses on the relationship between a baby and his father. In this book, the father is asleep and baby comes in to peep under the covers at his feet, then tickle them and eventually, baby ends up cuddling with his father in the bed. The story is gentle and the illustrations soft. There are very few words which allows parents/teachers to discuss with their young toddler(s) what is happening in the story. Another aspect I like about this story is that the father has a full beard. It is easy for the child to see the father in this story as a Muslim man and his son. 

This book was really enjoyed and I wasn't permitted to read it just once. Only after several read alouds was I allowed to put the book down *smile*. Of course, this is exactly what we are after when reading aloud: we want the child(ren) to love hearing the story, over and over and over again insha'Allaah.

Your local library may or may not have this book because it is out of print, however, you may be able to find it at local used book shops and you can find it on Amazon very cheap. If you can find Sleeping (Dad & me) your child may really enjoy this book insha'Allaah.

Another book from this series, Messy Baby (Dad & me) may also be a book your young toddler will enjoy...waallaahu a'lam. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Storytime: The Moon

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read, The Moon

The poem and pictures in The Moon are a delightful mix that make an afternoon read aloud cozy (this book can be a bedtime story also). In this book, a father wakes his son for a late night trip out on the water to see the moon. The mother and baby stay at home while father and son make their way to the dock. Along the way, children have a wonderful peek into the habits of nighttime creatures.

From the first lines: "The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;/She shines on thieves on the garden wall" children will find an easy comfort in this story...waallaahu a'lam. The poem has a cadence that is easy for young children to follow and the meaning is not too complicated (the illustrations are very helpful with this aspect), which allows them to enjoy it. This poem also seems to have an inherent softness to it that children may welcome. This is a book that you may enjoy reading aloud to even the smallest child.

"The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;/She shines on thieves on the garden wall"...

Aren't those enticing first lines?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Storytime: Table, Chair, Bear

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read

On the inside of the jacket of this book it says that the book is a "playful introduction to languages" and while that may be true, this book can also double for a "first words" book for children who speak any of the 13! languages the book is written in. Familiar objects from childrens' environment are presented in simple pictures and along side each picture, the word for this object is provided in each language.

For children who are learning Arabic, or any of the other twelve languages, this book is helpful because it not only presents the name of the object written in each language, but it also provides the transliteration as well.  The last two pages are by far, the best part of the book (well for me..hehe). Colourful and playful, they are an invitation for exploration. And a nice way to start a game of "I Spy" with your infant or toddler *smile*.

So if the language spoken in your home is: Arabic, French, English, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Portuguese, Lao, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Cambodian or Navajo, and you have an infant, toddler or kindergartner who is still enjoying the fun of learning language, insha'Allaah, they might thoroughly enjoy 'Table, Chair, Bear'.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Storytime: أنا تفاحة (I Am an Apple)

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read Ana Tuffah  (I Am an Apple)

This book is a translation of the book I Am an Apple (Hello Reader Science Level 1)

'I Am an Apple' gives preschool aged children a colourful look at the life cycle of an apple. From bud to flower to fruit and beyond, children learn about the life cycle of the apple that just may be in their lunch that day. The illustrations are colourful but non-intrusive. Children have the chance to focus on each detail on the page and gain an appreciation for the process that Allaah has Decreed will produce yummy apples yearly. The text is brief, yet is able to teach science without the story being dry and uninteresting. This is a story that children may enjoy and you may, like myself, end up reading it several times - by request *smile*.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Storytime: Colour Farm

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read Color Farm

Through imaginative use of cutouts, Ehlert has created two books in one. Each recto page shows a barnyard animal--cow, chicken, rooster, duck--composed almost entirely of geometric shapes. Turn the page, and the verso shows one of those shapes cut out and labeled on a contrasting background. The book will also encourage awareness of and experimentation with the ways shapes combine to form--or even simply suggest--the objects in our world.  {Recommended for} Ages 1-5.
Book review: Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Umm An-Nu'man: Some of the animals were not obvious and I had to take a second look to see how the shapes made the animal indicated. The colours are very bold and this attracts young eyes. This is not a book I would choose to have in my personal home/school library but as a book to check out from the library or have in your classroom library, 'Color Farm' is passable. It may depend entirely on whether or not your child(ren) like the style that Lois Ehlert illustrates in - so I suppose it is a matter of preference and taste...waallaahu a'lam.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Storytime: الكلمات ليست للإهانة (Words are not for Hurting)

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read, الكلمات ليست للإهانة

This book is a very nice edition to a teacher's and/or parent's personal library.

Children love to speak and speak and speak masha'Allaah. They play with language because in this way, they learn it - its nuances, syntax and its grammatical structure. But as children learn to speak, many also learn to say hurtful words to others. This book teaches children that they can make good choices when speaking and they can think about what they are going to say before they say it. It reinforces the hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa salam), "Speak good or keep silent".  Words Are Not for Hurting (Ages 4-7) (Best Behavior Series) is a nice support story that can be used along side The Box of Manners published by Learning Roots.

I chose to mention this book here because it is available in both Arabic and in English alhamdulillaah. You may be able to find this book at your local library and if you do, consider checking it out insha'Allaah (you can purchase the book in Arabic here insha'Allaah). In the classroom, it can be a book that you choose to read during circle time or during the morning meeting. At home, you may choose to read it when sibling disagreements escalate and you notice that a good choice of words ceases to be made.

'Words Are Not for Hurting' also teaches children alternate ways to express themselves that do not result in hurt feelings insha'Allaah. In edition, children are taught positive ways to respond to others who choose to say hurtful words to them.

This is a book worth considering adding to your classroom or home library insha'Allaah.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Storytime: Jump, Frog, Jump!

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read, Jump, Frog, Jump!

"This is the turtle that slid into the pond and ate the snake that dropped from a branch and swallowed the fish that swam after the frog -- JUMP, FROG, JUMP!" This is one of the lines of a story that causes a lot of excitement at storytime! *smile*. I don't recall a single class that didn't like this story and have fun with it. This is a cumulative story (each time a new event occurs, all of the previous events in the story are repeated.) that builds suspense which really helps children enjoy the story. The fact that the story is predictable also helps build excitement for children as they wait to say (sometimes loudly..hehe), "Jump, Frog, Jump!"

This book is a fun read aloud for preschool to grade 2. The reading level is for ages 9-12 so it's also a great way to include older children in the joy of reading aloud: invite them to read to your class or younger children at home!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Storytime: First Snow

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read First Snow

This story is about the first snow as seen through baby bunnies eyes. One of the little rabbits awakes to find the world outside covered in a white fluffly blanket of snow and he begins to explore. His siblings follow and together they romp and play in the first snow. The illustrations provide readers with a sense of wonder and awe, making this book great for read alouds or independant readers as well.

First Snow is recommended for children ages 4-8 for independent readers and can be read aloud to children birth to eight years old insha'Allaah.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Storytime: Play With Me

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته


This is a very...innocent book. The simplicity is a welcome change from the usual picture books we are so used to - no computers and other technolgy based toys are present. Written in 1976, the story is about a little girl who, having no one to play with, goes to the meadow to find animals to play with. All of the animals are wild animals and none will play with her which makes her sad. In the end, her dilemma of having no one to play with is solved.

For children in older grades (i.e. middle Kindergarten to the end of grade 2), you may find this activity guide for the book helpful.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Storytime: I See and Red, Blue, Yellow Shoe

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Helen Oxenbury is known for writing books for babies and toddlers that are warm and reflect the daily lives of children. Events that commonly occur in a baby or toddlers life are depicted in soft, inviting illustrations that children seem to really enjoy. In 'I See' children are introduced to five or six things that they may commonly see in their environment. On each page, accompanied by the illustration, only the word is there: the name of the person or object. This is especially nice when introducing vocabulary to very young babies or young toddlers.

'Red, Blue, Yellow Shoe' features real life photography of items commonly found in children's environments: a teddy bear, a flower, a cat and a rabbit are just a few of the items children will have fun looking at and naming their colour in this vibrant, fun board book.

Both books are very simple which makes them great for toddlers. And the fact that they are board books is another plus too *smile*.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Storytime: I Love Bugs

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read I Love Bugs

This is an adorable story with many uncommon words that are great vocabulary builders. Words like creepy, squirmy, dangling, spiny, swipey, frily, and clitter-clatter are numerous throughout the story. These are wonderful words that enhance a child's ability to describe objects and/or people in his/her environment. A great book to read to help children build a collection of adjectives that can later be their writing insha'Allaah! And the story has a funny ending too. I think that was my favourite part of the book *smile*.

When teaching writing to students, prior to our Writing Workshops, I like to read books like these. Before reading the story, I invite children to listen for words that describe things and/or people. While reading the story, I also pause and point out how the author used a combination of words to really help the reader "see" the object or person, and know more about him/her/it, even if there is an illustration provided. After we finish the story, I take a few minutes to discuss with students how those words helped them enjoy and understand the story.

Sometimes, we even have a bulletin board reserved especially for words like these that students can refer to when they are writing independently. Or if I have already had my students make miniature, personal dictionaries, we take those out and add descriptive words like those found in this story.

An extension to this read-aloud could be inviting students to make their own bugs and then write a story describing their bug to the class (encourage them to use some of the adjectives they heard in this story *smile*). Students can also make books about bugs which they illustrate and write. Using adjectives from this story, students can produce funny, witty stories to share with their classmates, family and friends insha'Allaah.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Storytime: One, Some, Many

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read One Some Many by Marthe Jocelyn

This is a vibrant book that presents the mathematical concept of quantity to children.

The Director of the Curriculum Materials Centre in the Faculty of Education at the Memorial University of Newfoundland recommends this book with reservations for the following reasons: "Unfortunately, this is an overly ambitious list of mathematical elements to include in a graphic concept book, especially one with such a limited text. As a counting book, it is disappointing that there are no numbers and that the sequence of counting is interrupted by the integration of the other concepts. Also, the elegant, stylized illustrations have the potential to cause confusion when young children are counting objects. For example, daisies with coloured centers and large overlapping petals are used to represent "two, a few, [and] a few is more than two." In all cases, the petals are not attached to the centers, and, if children count the petals rather than the centers, they will not get the correct information. A similar problem occurs with the number ten as Slaughter has chosen rectangles in a building to illustrate the number. There are ten rectangles for windows, but also another (although differently coloured) rectangle for the door, and the building itself is a rectangle. Young children may not be able to discriminate between those that represent the number and those that do not. Another problem is that the illustrations will not assist in understanding the difference between “some” and “few” as three pears are depicted for “some” and later three sailboats for “few.”

She says she "would only recommend it [the book] for children at the upper end of the suggested age range who already know the concepts and are beginning to read on their own. Even then, an adult may need to note that the two interrogative sentences should have capitals and that the plural form of the verb is generally used when adding numbers, rather than "two and three is five.”

With that in mind, the book was only used for an art experience and not much emphasis was placed on the concept of quantity.

The review of 'One, Some, Many' is Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association

This book is recommended for children in Preschool - Kindergarten

Monday, November 22, 2010

Storytime: In the Snow

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Today we read In the Snow by Sharon Denslow

Winter is almost here insha'Allaah! It's a great time to start reading about snow insha'Allaah. This book, In the Snow, is a delightful story about a child who puts seeds out for the animals during the winter. Throughout the story, children see the animals that are awake during the winter months.

The illustrations are soft and vibrant at the same time. The background features a pristine snowy world punctuated by brightly coloured birds and squirrels of varying shades of brown. A very nice contrast!

The rhyme (the story itself) is short and is not traditional so children may not initially realize that the story rhymes. By varying your reading, you can help children to hear this insha'Allaah.

After reading the story, you may wish to plan for ways you can put seeds out for animals this winter too insha'Allaah.

Children 2-6 years old may enjoy this book insha'Allaah.