Monday, 28 July 2014

Wilbur's Book of First Words

I'm always on the look out for books that will engage Abigail (who is 6 and not that fond of books), so I was quite pleased when I found Wilbur's Book of First Words in Emily's man-sized pile of books that she wanted to bring home from the library today.
Wilbur, if you've not met him before belongs to Winnie the Witch, a bit of a hapless witch who lives in a black house. Abigail likes her because she like silly things and that's a very good description of what Winnie gets up to. Silly. Emily quite likes her too, even though the books are a bit long for her, which I guess is why this was in 'the pile' at the library. There are a whole series of Wilbur books but I stuck with the first words as our taking home one as it's one of those books that you can file under 'two birds with one stone'. Emily take it can quite happily on face value with its silly pictures and opposites to look out for; Abigail can use it as a simple independent reader which features characters that she is familiar with. I do find it difficult to engage her with independent reading because her comprehension is far above her reading level. This book gives her the satisfaction of being able to read a Winnie book all by herself; even though it's not a 'whole story' as such, it is definitely more engaging than just a list of words. We all know that a happy reader is one that will read more, so I'm quite sure we'll be working our way through this series. I'm also hoping Emily will use her pester power to get Abigail to read it to her. There's something special about seeing the two of them snuggled up sharing a book.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Mind Your Beeswax.

This week we've been learning all about the bee. There's a lot of interest in bees at the moment because the planet needs them and they're disappearing. Even the man who works in the honey aisle in Tesco was telling us that in China they were fertilising flowers by hand as there weren't enough bees. So, Project Bee was launched.

First up we had  bit of reading time with  The Beeman. It's the story of a boy whose grandfather keeps bees, earning him the name 'The Beeman'. There's lots of reasons to love this book: it features grandparents; it could feature a white family, but it doesn't; it has a nice cumulative narrative like 'This is the Train to Glasgow' (or This is the House that Jack Built). It has beautiful illustrations and is packed with information about bees; it even has the recipe for grandma's muffins for you to try at home. There are many directions you could take with this book but we're sticking with the bees for now!

Abigail was interested in the life cycle of the bee and the different roles that bees have in the hive. There are also notes on beekeeping and bee behaviour which we'll go back to later. I had a look on Ted Ed for videos about bees and picked out this one, which explains why bees use hexagons in their honeycombs.

We finished off for the day by having honey sandwiches (of course), but there's so much more to explore on this subject. Colony collapse disorder, building a bee bath and baking those muffins are all on our to-do list!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Tip For Reading With Kids #2142

OK, so this is a bit outlandish...... have a book store in your living room!