Books with current issues, Environmental books, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

Where is Bear? by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Where is Bear? by Camilla dela Bedoyere and illustrated by Emma Levey takes the reader on a wonderful journey all over the world to meet different types of bears!


Who knew that there were this many types of bears and of course many more that aren’t mentioned in the book!

This book is full of fun dialogue between a rabbit and all of the different bears she encounters on her journey to deliver a birthday present to her friend Ping the Panda Bear! As we meet each type of bear we also meet the different animals who share the same habitat.

Children learn many different facts through the conversations the animals are having with eachother and will enjoy spotting what each animal is up to.

Emma Levey’s illustrations are colourful and eye catching so your child will not only be engaged with the fun dialogue but also with the creative drawings.

Where is Bear? is a wonderful book to engage your child into not only the world of bears but also an awareness of different habitats around the world.

So what can you do with this book?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Which bears are threatened or endangered species? Investigate why this is happening.
  • What sort of habitat do the different bears live in? Are any of these habitats changing due to human action?

SCIENCE/GEOGRAPHY

  •  Could any of these bears ever encounter each other?
  • Plot on a map where the different bears are from – make it more detailed than the one in the story.

LITERACY

  •  Create your own non-fiction picture book that allows the reader to learn about something in a fun way. Aim to engage younger readers into more complex topics.
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Books with current issues, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Don’t forget the numeracy skills

There is a lot of focus on Literacy skills – and so there should be BUT numeracy is equally important and the embedding of those basic skills in the early years is really important.

However, many parents may feel that numeracy doesn’t play a role in home readers and sight words BUT it can.

  •  Count the letters in each word in the selected group of sight words. Group them according the number of letters in each group.
  •  Clap out and talk about or write down the amount of syllables in each word.
  •  Stretch out each word and count how many sounds there are in the word as opposed to just letters. (e.g. shop has ‘sh’ ‘o’ ‘p’)

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When reading:

  •  Look at the page numbers – discuss odd and even numbers. Look at how many pages there are and count on from the last number.
  • How many illustrations are in the story?
  • How many full stops?
  • How long is the book? Use informal measurements such as fingerspaces before you measure in centimetres.
  • How heavy is the book? What might it weigh the same as?
  • What shape is the book? What else is shaped like this? Count sides and then think about why books are square and not triangle or circular!

 

And perhaps consider this article, a very good reason to help your child to love mathematics: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/a-dire-lack-of-interest-in-students-wanting-to-pursue-maths-careers-20170330-gv9pwa.html

 

Books with current issues, Environmental books, Parent tips, picture books, Teacher tips and resources

Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver

Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver was the last book she produced in her artistic career and it truly is a wonderful book to be remembered by.


Rock Pool Secrets take children on a journey into the secrets of a rock pool through high and low tide. Children can discover the different animals that hide amongst the rocks and see how they survive fluctuations in the water level, food availability and predators.

Rock Pools are always a fascinating place to be and there is so much hidden deep down crevices and cracks, behind seaweed and darkness.

Each page engages the reader as they search for camouflaged animals, hidden molluscs and inky octopuses.

Rock Pool Secrets is a beautiful book to help your child become aware of these imagination inspiring places and how something so small can do so many amazing things.

So what can you do with this book?

SCIENCE

  • Learn about different animals that live in rock pools. Discover their life cycles, habitat and eating habits.
  • Where are rockpools situated?
  • Are there any famous rockpools in the world and why are they famous?

 

LITERACY

  • Using this book as a springboard, choose another area of interest in the area of science. How could you present this new topic in an interesting and engaging manner? Try to engage your peers in a new way so that they can learn something new.

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Why do we need rockpools?
  • How can the ph of the water effect the livelihood of rock pool creatures?
  • What sort of creatures only live in rockpools?
  • Are rockpools ever in danger of destruction?
  • If all rockpools were destroyed, what might the oceans look like?

SCIENCELearn about different animals that live in rock pools. Discover their life cycles, habitat and eating habits.Where are rockpools situated?Are there any famous rockpools in the wor

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What do you love about you? Karen Lechelt

What do you love about you by Karen Lechelt is a delicate story about how we can find beauty in ourselves.


The little girl in this story asks her animal friends what they love about themselves and each one can come up with one thing that they love and how it helps them to be happy and appreciative of life.

At times young children can start to see faults in themselves and these faults seem to be noticed at younger and younger ages. My daughter was upset only last week about the fact that one of her ears was slightly bigger than the other. She was only worried for a short time and it hasn’t come up again but this book has really helped her to see beauty in herself and not to get caught up on the small stuff.

What do you love about you has been illustrated in soft pastel colours which gives the book not only a calming feeling but also the feeling that each character is truly genuine about what they love about themselves.

What do you love about you should be a book that every school and home has, being an easy read with descriptive illustrations, all children will take something away from this and perhaps find that a little bit of positive self reflection goes a long way.

After you have read this book –

  • Ask your child what they love about themselves. Wait for them to answer and don’t push for more than one response.
  • Talk about great things they have done and can do.
  • Praise those positive actions throughout the day and celebrate the goodness they have.
  • Building up your child’s self esteem while they are young is vital so that they can entre the teenage years full of confidence.
Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Encouraging a love of literacy

There has been a bit of a focus on my blog about sight words and home readers – which both play a role in learning to read but how can we ensure our children love reading? And continue to love reading throughout their lives?

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Here are a few tips:

  • Let them see you read. Let them see you read a variety of materials – not just the tablet or iPhone! Grab a book from the library, read the newspaper, subscribe to an informative magazine. Show them that reading is for pleasure – not just for school or work.
  • Take them to the library. Show an interest in what they are passionate about. Borrow books prolifically rather than always buying them. You can borrow up to 20 books at a time for those younger readers – encourage that and show that you love doing it to.
  • Take the pressure off. Don’t make your child sit and read a book they don’t enjoy. If you find they are not enjoying reading – find something they will enjoy. Many older children love reading graphic novels as there are pictures alongside the words (Smile by Raina telgemeier )
  • Try and read out loud every night or morning – whatever works for you. Listening to a story being read aloud has a calming effect on many children and adults. It’s a space where we can sit, listen and imagine. (We loved reading Mopoke and Juniors will love Time Travelling with a Hamster
Books with current issues, Environmental books, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues

Aquatica: a beginner’s field guide by Lance Balchin.

Before the earth’s environment collapsed, under the weight of industrial pollution and radioactive waster, the oceans teemed with an abundance of life. 

It’s now 2200 and all that moves now is only mechanical…..


Aquatica is the second book by Lance Balchin which explores a future where all animals and insects as we know them now are long extinct and all that we have are mechanical creatures.

Aquatica explores a world filled with aquatic animals who have evolved from robotic drones into free thinking, dangerous attackers. Life in 2200 is dangerous yet amazingly interesting.

The protagonist Liberty Crisp, aged 15, is on a mission to document each of these species and try to befriend them so the world does not destroy itself even more than it has.

You can spend hours looking at the details of each mechanical creature and reading the detail of it’s habitat, speed and lifestyle. Lance Balchin ignites our imagination and makes the reader ponder the future – what do we want it to look like for our children?

So how can you use this book at home? 

 – Revisit Mechanica and the activities included.

 – Visit a nearby water way and investigate the different living species that live within this environment.

 – Look at what you put down your drain at home – could any of this effect marine life?

 – Make your own Aquatica creature  and test to see if it can live in water.

 – Look at organisations such as WWF, Greenpeace and see how they help our oceans.

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Slow down world by Tai Snaith

Do you sometimes feel like your world is moving too fast? 

Soothing words, mesmerizing sentences and a calm atmosphere encompass you as you read this magical and relaxing picture book.

Slow down world encourages the reader to spend quiet time looking into your imagination, moving at your own pace and not letting worries get the better of us.

This book is a timely reminder for all of us who are swept up in a busy world to stop, take a breath and move in the moment. It also helps us to reflect on the wonder each of us have within ourselves.

This book has been written with children in mind but I truly believe that readers of any age will appreciate the message it is sending us.  Life is too short to rush, worry and constantly think about what is coming up next.

After the story there are several suggested activities for children to do and think about – mindful hugs, gratitude, outside play, stopping and breathing and expressing feelings.

Each illustration has been created through collage which gives a playful approach to the calm message.

Slow down world by Tai Snaith is a beautiful picture book, one which will remain with you long after it is read and hopefully encourage you to slow down -because when you slow down you have more time to make friends, try new things and appreciate special moments.

Parent tips

Library visits and learning to read

Why should you take the time out of your weekend or afternoon to visit the library if your child already does so during school hours?

Here are my seven reasons as to why you should visit your local library:

  • You’re promoting the idea of sharing within the community. Many children have been brought up to expect everything new. Libraries promote the idea that we can share wonderful resources, take care of them and lend them to someone else. Lucy’s Book is a great read to instil this! img_4836
  • Community activities. Many libraries run after school clubs and activities. This is a wonderful way to meet other people in your community who are like minded. These activities are often free or at a minimal price and may run over school holidays.

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  • Libraries promote a love of learning – forever. There are many different sections and types of reading material in the library which allows your child to see beyond the picture books.

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  • Borrowing books promotes a love of reading which in turn helps literacy skills!

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  • You learn how to research through books and well designed online material. Help your child to know that research isn’t just a google search – show them a book and the index page – they will gain so much more knowledge this way!

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  • You can borrow talking books, music and movies! There are so many different ways to learn and through the library your child can find the best way they can enjoy literature.

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  • Librarians are great. They are passionate about books and are there to help the youngest of readers. Say hello to your librarian and tell them what you are reading – there is a chance they haven’t had time to read that latest book and they love hearing your thoughts!

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eco living, My creations, Parent tips

Down the drain

I’m talking the talk so I’d better walk the walk.

I’ve read and blogged about many books that inspire us to take better care of our rivers, lakes and oceans and the creatures within.

So here is a recipe to make your own toilet bombs.

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Simply pop them in the bowl, scrub whilst they fizz and your bowl will not only be clean but will also smell lovely!

  •  1 cup of bicarbonate soda
  •   1/4 cup of citric acid
  •  3 tablespoons of castile soap.
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil. (feel free to change these oils around as you please)

Mix dry ingredients then add wet ingredients.

Push into ice cube moulds and let set for 3 hours.

The mixture may fizz and rise a bit in the moulds so just press down until it settles down.

Enjoy the smell!!

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Parent tips, picture books, Teacher tips and resources

Loving all types of literacy

Linking literacy to books is a passion of mine (as you may have guessed) but so is learning to read.

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The early years of any child’s life and then formal education are vital for building a love of literacy. If we miss those years children struggle through many areas of their lives as reading is such a big part of it!

Here are some simple ways you can start to build phonemic awareness in a fun way which involves books. No worksheets. No writing. No repetition. Just books and conversations!

  • When you look at the front cover read it out loud. Read the authors name, illustrators name and perhaps even the blurb. Ask your child if they can think of another name that starts with the same sound as the authors first name. Start with the initial letter but if you child can do it, blend the first two letters and find names with that sound.

 

  • As you read look for pictures that might look like letters – this can be lots of fun and can be done as you drive in the car or go for a play outside!
  • If your child is a keen writer – write down their favourite words or sounds from the book. Stick these words on the wall and they can copy them or even make them out of blocks or shapes when the time suits them.

 

  • Make up your own story together – write it down if you like and illustrate.

 

  • Don’t just focus on home readers – make sure your children are reading books they choose for pleasure.

 

  • You don’t always need to read books – try comics or magazines, non-fiction and audio books! . Exposure to different forms of literacy opens their mind and encourages passion from an early age.

 

  • Let me know your thoughts!