bububooks

Helping children develop their American and native cultural identities together.

Posts Tagged ‘learning to read’

You Can Lead a Child to Books…

Posted by bububooks on March 6, 2010

Language Magazine’s Editorial in the January 2010 issue focused on the importance of enjoying reading in order to develop literacy skills.  I really liked the editor’s viewpoint and got permission to reprint the article here for you.  If you’d like more information on or to subscribe to Language Magazine: The Journal of Communication and Education, please visit their website, www.languagemagazine.com.

Language and literacy are the tools with which knowledge is built.  Without their acquisition, no child has the chance to become an astronaut, a scientist, a doctor, a movie star, or even a musician.  Without aspirations, children cannot flourish and life loses some of its magic.  Yet, we continue to deny so many of our children the opportunity to develop their own language and literacy skills by refusing them access to books that are suitable for them and might even excite them.
According to a newly released study (see News, p. 10 by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), in more than 90 percent of school libraries, books in languages other than English account for less than five percent of the collection and, in nearly 60 percent of school libraries, they account for less than one percent. While nearly 14 percent of responding schools reported that at least 25 percent of their students were English Language Learners (ELLs) and a quarter of all respondents rated free-choice reading as the most effective ELL initiative.
Now, I can already hear the English-only brigade proclaiming that all books in school libraries in America should be in English because that’s the language spoken here, but even the most hardened English-only advocate must appreciate that children will never become literate in any language if they don’t enjoy reading. And reading in a second language is hard work at first —imagine being obliged to pick up War and Peace every night for your bedtime read.
Librarians consider “school-wide reading initiatives that encourage free choice reading” to be the most effective teaching strategy for ELLs. Many teachers and experts agree (see Opinion, p.26). Restocking our school and public libraries with books that will interest today’s kids is a relatively low cost policy with no drawbacks and an enormous upside. Not only is it a long term investment which will serve children for many years to come, but, for those who are counting, nearly all the money will end up with American publishers (yes, there are many American publishers of books in languages other than English) so the investment will satisfy stimulus package requirements.
Britain’s Cambridge University recently released the results of a three-year study (see News p.11) into elementary education, which warns “that prescribed pedagogy combined with high stakes testing and the national curriculum amounted to a ‘state theory of learning.’ Prepackaged, government approved lessons are not good for a democracy, nor for children’s education…Pupils do not learn to think for themselves if their teachers are expected to do as they are told.” This completely contradicts the blindly accepted notion that more standards and testing make better schools —the basis for the federal education funding.
Another $250 million was allocated to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teaching earlier this month. About the same amount of funding would buy an appropriate library book for every child in public school across the nation. Instead of pinning all its hopes of school reform success on standards, assessment, and incentive schemes, the government, like all wise investors, should spread its bets.

Daniel Ward, Editor

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Book Review: Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems/Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno by Francisco X. Alarcón

Posted by bububooks on December 14, 2009

book coverIguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems/Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno is an absolute delight.  Parents, do not be intimidated by the word poem in the title!  What Francisco X. Alarcón gives us with this picture book is an introduction to image. The poems, short and simple, will teach your children to grow with an acute appetite for sensory details.  This collection, like the others in its series, is very visual and while it explores much associated with winter it also touches on many important themes our children face each day such as identity, community and cultural awareness.

The illustrations, by Maya Christina Gonzalez, are vivid and play a large role in the overall joy that is found in this book.  Gonzalez does an excellent job complimenting each poem and her artwork is colorful and alive.

Suited perfectly for children in grades 3-5, this book will help children begin to build their creative process using small detail.  Because the poems are observations, young readers will be able to identify similar visual details during their own day-to-day experiences.  While in nature, walking to school, or even while spending time with family at home, they may begin to notice detail in a new way, an important skill for all children.  This book, and the others in this seasonal series provide an excellent tool for building sensory skills.

Furthermore, if your child is a young student of Spanish, this book is effective in isolating a few words at a time, so the Spanish does not become overwhelming.  Because the poems are short, they can be broken up into daily lessons.  It is a perfect and joyful book for any age to read.

–Jacey

For this book and the others in its series (Spring, Summer and Fall), click here.  Get it in time for Christmas!

We wanted to share with you one of Jacey’s favorite poems from the book, perfect for the season! Happy Holidays!

Nochebuena                                            Christmas Eve

me encanta                                              I love
el sabroso                                                the delicious
olor                                                            aroma

de tamales                                               of tamales
cociéndose                                              simmering
al vapor                                                    in their steam

toda mi familia                                      my family
a mi alrededor                                        all around me
cantando                                                 singing

las alegres                                              the joyful
canciones de                                          songs of
Las Posadas                                          Las Posadas

todos                                                       everybody
ansiosos                                                eagerly
esperando                                              awaiting

ese ruido                                                that very
de papel                                                 special
tan especial                                          paper noise

que hacen                                             gifts make
los regalos                                           when we
al abrirlos                                             unwrap them

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More events this past weekend, SCAEYC and the Georgia Literary Festival

Posted by bububooks on October 19, 2009

Rome Library

Rome Library

Jacey and Laura both represented bububooks at events this past weekend.  Jacey visited beautiful northwest Georgia for the annual Georgia Literary Festival in Rome.  Despite the cold temperatures, she says she enjoyed her time up there and got to meet some pretty cool people, authors and booksellers.  Maybe she and her husband will make a camping trip up there in the near future!

SCAEYCLaura headed up to Columbia, South Carolina, for the South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children conference.  Having never been to South Carolina before, she thoroughly enjoyed the city of Columbia and the people.  By the end, she was giving hugs as she left the conference!  At the conference, Laura met lots of GREAT people who are all seeking to improve the lives of children and teachers in South Carolina.  She says it was an inspiring weekend and she looks forward to going back as she develops stronger relationships with the people she met from throughout the state.  She’s so sad (and has been chastised by us) that she didn’t get any pictures of her new friends but promises to take more pictures next time. It has been her favorite trip for bububooks by far!  Thank you South Carolina and the SCAEYC!

GA Lit Fest

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Fun and Surprise at GAYC

Posted by bububooks on October 13, 2009

bububooks' booth at GAYCI had so much fun this past weekend in Atlanta at the Georgia Association on Young Children conference.  Not only did I enjoy meeting various childcare providers from throughout the state, but I also appreciated the enthusiastic response from them regarding our mission at bububooks to help bilingual children with literacy and cultural identity development.

I also had two pleasant surprises throughout the weekend. First, my hotel happened to be in a Korean part of town.  Being half-Korean, I found my way to a BBQ restaurant and indulged in some good ol’ Korean BBQ!  Even better, I invited some newly made friends to join me. It was both their first times to try Korean food and they loved it! I thought, “what a great way to embrace our mission by introducing people to a new cuisine!”  Second, as I was packing up at the end of the conference, I walked past a room where a session was still continuing.  The attendees were singing a song I had never heard before. However, the tune was that of the Air Force Song! I found myself humming the Song as I finished loading up the car (I’m an Air Force veteran).  I couldn’t believe I still remembered the words and it brought back many memories of the jovial times in which we would sing the first verse. J

Thanks to GAYC and all the attendees for making my trip so joyful! Off we go into the wild, blue yonder…

Laura

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An Inspiring Story for Reading

Posted by bububooks on September 25, 2009

Donors ChooseWe decided to post this thank you letter not to boast, but because the author, a teacher in a public school, offers a first-hand view of what we at bububooks strongly believe.  We like to say, “L is for literacy, not language.”  This is why we advocate for English Language Learner programs in our schools.  Please read this teacher’s note below for a perspective on what non-native English speakers face while trying to grow up.

This thank you letter comes from Donorschoose.org.  This website connects teachers in public schools who need funding for specific projects and willing donors.  Check it out at www.donorschoose.org!

Dear Laura,

Thank you so much for your generous donations. Reading is so important, and is essential in becoming successful in today’s society. Many of my English language learners are not thought of as the bright kids that they truly are because they struggle with reading. I have learned through my classes that most of my students can read and write in Spanish (their native language). The importance of reading–in any language–is immeasurable!

With the ability to read (in any language) comes vocabulary development; fluency; comprehension; and critical thinking skills, such as, prediction and sequencing. Reading in Spanish will help students transfer their knowledge, and learn more readily in English. Research has shown that students who continue to read and write in their native language, will find it much easier to learn to read and write in a new language.

These bilingual books will help my students this year–and in coming years–by allowing them to continue to read and learn in their native language, while acquiring new English skills. The books will also allow parents who feel “left out” the opportunity to engage in their children’s’ education and help them to develop a love of learning.

Once again, thank you for your generosity and compassion towards my students and me!

With gratitude,
Ms. R.

Thanks for reading.  To see the specific project, visit http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=314515&pmaId=409319&pmaHash=-973939887&utm_source=dc&utm_campaign=ity&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Project#bus

Have a great weekend and feel free to share projects you’ve donated to on DonorsChoose.org!

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Final post in the checklist series: Reading skills for third graders

Posted by bububooks on August 27, 2009

In the last of our checklist series, bububooks offers a checklist for reading skills that your child should develop throughout the third grade.  Be sure to talk with your child’s teacher for your questions.  Happy reading!

√ My child uses what he knows of phonics and word parts (prefixes, roots, suffixes) to sound out unfamiliar words.

√ My child reads third grade level texts (stories, non-fiction, magazine articles, computer screens) with fluency and comprehension.

√ My child explores topics of interest and reads longer stories and chapter books independently.

√ My child can explain the major points in fiction and non-fiction books.

√ My child identifies and discusses words or phrases she does not understand.

√ My child asks “how,” why,” and “what if” questions and discusses the themes or messages of stories.

√ My child uses information he has gathered and his own reasoning to judge explanations and opinions and distinguishes cause from effect, fact from opinion, and main ideas from supporting details.

√ My child understands and reads graphs and charts.

√ My child uses context to gain meaning from what she reads.

√ My child correctly spells words he has studied.

√ My child gathers information from a variety of sources, including books, articles, and computers, and uses it in his writing.

√ My child reviews her own written work for errors and works with teachers and classmates to edit and revise her work to make it clearer.

√ My child is starting to use metaphors and other literary forms in his writing.

√ My child discusses her writing with other children and responds helpfully to their writing.

√ My child develops his vocabulary and knowledge through independent reading

√ My child builds her vocabulary through synonyms and antonyms.

√ My child uses parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) correctly.

The information is provided by The National Institute for Literacy.  For more information, please visit: http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html

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Reading checklist for second graders

Posted by bububooks on August 23, 2009

Next in our reading checklist series comes the literacy skills your child will learn while in the second grade.  Check back to this list throughout the school year and remember to talk with your child’s teacher about any questions you have.  Happy reading!

√ My child reads and understands second grade fiction and nonfiction, and compares and connects information from different sources.

√ My child reads for specific purposes and specific questions, and explores topics of interest on her own.

√ My child answers “how,” “why,” and “what-if” questions, and recalls information, main ideas, and details after reading.

√ My child interprets information from diagrams, charts, and graphs.

√ My child takes part in creative responses to stories, such as dramatizations and oral presentations.

√ My child pays attention to how words are spelled and correctly spells words he has studied.

√ My child spells a word the way it sounds if she doesn’t know its spelling.

√ My child writes for many different purposes and writes different types of compositions (for example, stories, reports, and letters).

√ My child makes thoughtful choices about what to include in his writing.

√ My child takes part in writing conferences, revises and edits what she has written, and attends to the mechanics of writing (spelling, capitalization, and punctuation) in her final version.

√ My child learns new words and shares them at school and at home.

√ My child uses clues from context and his knowledge of word parts (roots, prefixes, suffixes) to figure out what words mean.

√ My child is increasing his vocabulary with synonyms and antonyms.

√ My child uses parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) correctly.

√ My child learns new words through independent reading.

Be sure to tune in later this week for that last of this series: third grade.  In the meantime, check out http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html for more information.  This checklist is provided by the National Institute for Literacy.  Give your child the gift of a lifetime: teach them to read!

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Reading skills for your first grader

Posted by bububooks on August 19, 2009

In our checklist series for learning to read, we focus on the skills first graders develop for this blog posting.  After the building blocks your child developed last year in kindergarten and strengthened over the summer, keep in mind this checklist of skills that usually develop as your child goes through the first grade.  As always, be sure to talk with your child’s teacher about any questions you may have.  Keep up the good work and have a great school year!

√ My child knows all the letters of the alphabet.

√ My child knows the difference between letters and words, and knows there are spaces between words in print.

√ My child knows that written words represent speech and can show how words are represented by letters arranged in a specific order.

√ My child knows some punctuation marks and where sentences and paragraphs begin and end.

√ My child is beginning to understand and explain why people read.

√ My child can put together (blend) and break apart the sounds of most one-syllable words and can count the number of syllables in a word.

√ My child can sound out words he doesn’t know, and recognize some irregularly spelled words, such as have, said, you, and are.

√ My child reads first grade books aloud, and can tell when she cannot understand what she is reading.

√ My child reads and understands simple written instructions.

√ My child uses what he already knows to enrich what he is reading.

√ My child predicts what will happen next in a story.

√ My child asks questions (how, why, what if?) about books she is reading and can describe what she has learned from a book.

√ My child uses invented spelling in his writing and also understands that there is a correct way to spell words.

√ My child uses simple punctuation marks and capital letters.

√ My child writes for different purposes–stories, explanations, lists, letters–and reads and revises her writing.

√ My child uses language with more control, speaks in complete sentences, and uses more formal language at school than at home and with friends.

√ My child is curious about words and uses new words when he speaks and writes.

√ My child is beginning to see that some words mean the same thing (synonyms) and some mean the opposite (antonyms).

√ My child is learning that words play different roles in sentences–that nouns name things and verbs show action, for example.

This checklist is provided by the National Institute for Literacy.  For more, visit http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html.  For more on bilingual children’s books, visit www.bububooks.com.  Happy reading!

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Teaching your kindergartener to read

Posted by bububooks on August 14, 2009

As school swings into session, we thought we should continue the learning to read checklists.  Below you’ll find Part 3 in our series.  Your child should develop the following skills throughout her kindergarten year.   Keep in mind, she won’t have these skills right away, but usually develops them by the end of kindergarten.  Be sure to talk with your child’s teacher for more details or if you have any questions while your child enters the magical world of reading!

√ My child listens carefully to books read aloud.

√ My child knows the shapes and names for the letters of the alpahbet and writes many uppercase and lowercase letters on his own.

√ My child knows that spoken words are made of separate sounds.

√ My child recognizes and makes rhymes, can tell when words begin with the same sound, and can put together, or blend, spoken sounds.

√ My child can sound out some letters.

√ My child knows that the order of letters in a written word stands for the order of sounds in a spoken word.

√ My child knows some common words such as a, the, I, and you, on sight.

√ My child knows how to hold a book, and follows print from left to right and from top to bottom of a page when she is read to in English.

√ My child asks and answers questions about stories and uses what she already knows to understand a story.

√ My child knows the parts of a book and understands that authors write words and text and illustrators create pictures.

√ My child knows that in most books the main message is in the print, not the pictures.

√ My child predicts what will happen in a story and retells or acts out stories.

√ My child knows the difference between “made up” fiction and “real” nonfiction books and the difference between stories and poems.

√ My child uses what he knows about letters and sounds to write words.

√ My child writes some letters and words as they are said to her and begins to spell some words correctly.

√ My child writes his own first and last name and the first names of some friends and family.

√ My child plays with words and uses new words in her own speech.

√ My child knows and uses words that are important to school work, such as the names for colors, shapes, and numbers.

√ My child knows and uses words from daily life, such as street names and the names for community workers–teacher, mail carrier, etc.

This information is provided by the National Institute for Literacy.  For more, please visit http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html.

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Getting your toddler ready to read

Posted by bububooks on August 10, 2009

Hello there! This blog posting serves as a ‘prequel’ of sorts to the last blog posting and focuses on getting your toddler (2 or 3 years old) ready to read.  Below is a checklist for you as you help your toddler grow with strong reading skills.  And REMEMBER: you can follow this checklist in the language YOU feel most comfortable!  Literacy skills transfer across languages, so be sure to expose your children to your native language.

√ I read with my child every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

√ I encourage my child to bring his favorite books to me so that we can read together.

√ I point to pictures and name them out loud, and encourage my child to point to pictures while we read.

√ I watch to see if my child sometimes makes eye contact with me when I read aloud.  That tells me she is paying attention to me and the story.

√ I talk with my child throughout the day about things we are doing and things that are happening around us.

√ I try to be patient when my child wants to read the same book over and over again.

√ I encourage my child to “play” with books—pick them up, flip them from front to back, and turn the pages.

√ Sometimes I listen when my child “pretends,” to read a book—he holds the book, goes from page to page, and says words, even though they’re not the words on the page.

√ I give my child paper and crayons so she can scribble, make pictures, and pretend to write.

This checklist was taken from the National Institute of Literacy.  More information can be found at www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html.  Happy reading!

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