You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2009.

What happens when Jason’s (from Foxtrot) Halloween costume collides with Twilight phenom?

A great laugh! Click here.

Have a fabulously fun and safe Halloween today!


For those who are planning ahead (now that Halloween is almost here), here’s “The Turkey on the Farm” sung to the tune of  “The Wheels on the Bus.” turkey

Click here for the words and directions.

Click here for the audio version.

It’s ppprreeetttyyy silly!

Gobble, gobble,


As we barrel past Halloween in the next few days, many thoughts will turn to the holidays–and getting gift buying out of the way! Dr. David Elkind puppyaddresses several issues concerning gifts to kids in this blog post.

I am not a cynical or skeptical person, but I do believe that when dealing with businesses, we have to always be on the alert. Businesses are in the business of making money. They are not in the business of keeping our or our children’s best interests in mind.

Toys are for fun. Toys are for pretending. Toys are for being active. Toys are for relaxing. And when those things are in place, toys are then for learning and growing.

Anything more or less is junk. Or pure unadulterated “make a buck off a kid” marketing. Businesses really cannot have it both ways, saying that a “toy” promotes responsibility and caring–and then making it impossible for a child to be responsible and caring. (I say impossible because a child with the toy but without the money, ie, most children, cannot play. This has always been my main problem with Pokemon as well.)

Imagine being a child and still learning about the world. What message does this “toy” send? If I don’t have money, I can’t be caring? I can take care of things for a while, but when it becomes inconvenient then it’s ok to let things die? Or playtime, leisure time, down time can only happen if I have money?

Webkinz is not selling a toy here. They are selling a product to make a buck, pure and simple.

Where’s their responsibility? Maybe they played too long, didn’t pony up, and are now inured to what real life caring and responsibility are like.

Shop wisely this season,


That’s what my grandmother called it when our handwriting was tip tipawful–“chick’n scratchin’.” And that’s what I imagine print on a page looks like to children who are still figuring out what books are all about.

Print Awareness is one of the six early literacy skills needed by kids before they are able to begin learning to read.

If a child has print awareness, they realize that the “chick’n scratchin'” on the page is more than scritchy-scratchy marks on the paper. They realize that the marks make shapes and that a shape is either the same or different  from another shape. And all those shapes together represent the sounds of the language they hear, day in and day out.

You have to think like a child, figuring it out for the first time, to truly appreciate the remarkableness of the discovery.

While any book with words printed in it can encourage the development of print awareness, some make print a little more noticeable. Words might be in color or in a different type style from the rest of the text. They may wander, fly, or splash across the pages. The words may be very few and far between, very big or very small. What they all have in common is that the print somehow stands out, making it more likely a child will notice  and start seeing the print as separate from the pictures–and not just a bunch of “chick’n scratchin’.”

Here are some of my favorites:

  • I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Beaumont
  • Freight Train by Crews
  • Tip Tip Dig Dig by Garcia
  • Yikes! by Florczak
  • Rain by Stojic
  • A Visitor for Bear by Becker

Which books do you think are especially helpful in building print awareness?


In honor of another  Storybox Special delivery today (complete with new books!), trainhere’s an oldie but goodie–Down by the Station.

Click here to listen, complete with directions. Click here for words.


In case you haven’t seen this yet, check out JibJab’s version of Monster Mash with the characters from Twilight.

Lots of fun!


Three kids and dad review the new movie version of Sendak’s classic Wild ThingsWhere the Wild Things Are. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it might help you decide whether it’s one for you and your kids.

What I like about the review, however, is how well it demonstrates conversation with kids. Better still is that it’s conversation with kids about books.

How much parents talk with children is one of the strongest predictors of reading ability years later. Yep, just conversation. But many of us have forgotten what conversation with children looks like.

  • It’s two-way, back and forth.
  • It’s free of no’s and commands and reprimands.
  • It’s respectful. It allows kids to say the way they see it and experience it. It’s not about right and wrong answers.
  • It’s unhurried. Children need time to talk. They have to hear, then figure out what they heard and what it means, then think of a response, then figure out the words for that response, and then actually produce the response. None of that is automatic for young children. We have to give them time.

So follow Z-Dad’s example and find a good book to read and talk about with your kids!


Thanks to all who found a kiddo or two (or three or more) to read The Very theveryhungrycaterpillarlHungry Caterpillar to on October 8th, Jumpstart reached its goal! Caterpillar was read on that date to more than a million children!

You’ve still got time to purchase a copy online from Jumpstart or at sponsor Walmart. It’s a special edition copy and a portion of sales goes back to Jumpstart to support their literacy programs. (Hint, hint: these would make great holiday gifts).


This one made me laugh until I coughed (I’ve got the flu, remember?)!

Great strip!

Take care,


Hopefully, I’ll be back next week.


Cathy Puett Miller has a wonderful postdad and boy reading today with a letter from the author Aliki about reading to your children.

While the whole letter is worth reading, I think Aliki nails it here:  “When I sometimes hear ‘I’m too busy’, I wonder what is more important? The dishes?”

We all need that kind of jolting reminder every now and then, not to make ourselves feel bad but to throw our world back into proper perspective.

So, go read to a child!


Here are three pumpkin fingerplays for you to enjoy with your kiddos! ClickPumpkin line here for audio. Click on each title for the words or scroll down the left hand column.

Have fun!


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