Whether your relationship to the youth in your life is one of teacher, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or someone else special, part of what you do can be considered coaching.
As a coach, there are a few qualities that lead to success. Things like patience, fairness, commitment, leading by example, willingness to learn, keeping everyone involved, making it fun, and encouragement.
You can apply these good coach qualities to reading, in whatever reading technique you are using: reading aloud to the child, reading aloud in unison, having the child read the same thing back to you, helping the child while he or she is reading, and having the child read independently. (There are specific things you can do during and after reading, too. Another time we can touch on some of those tips.)
Coaching is important, but so is selecting the book that is just challenging enough; books should be just beyond the child’s reading ability range, but not enough so reading it is discouraging or overly frustrating. That’s where leveled books help. These are books that experts have selected according to criteria such as reading scores. For a handy table and full description of the leveling criteria used by LILY at Leveled Reader, go to Leveled Reading Guide. Once you find what level your child is at, Leveled Reader can help you select those books to enhance your child’s reading program.
And what is most important? To set aside those few minutes every day to read. Whether you are the teacher, parent, grandparent or other relative or special person, your child will remember that extra effort you made providing those books that were just challenging enough and coaching them with their reading.
We all want the best for the youth in our lives. Developing skills that lead to a child having the best advantages to make the most of their talents, skills, and dreams must be started at a young age. Just like walking – skills were learned incrementally and practiced to the point where walking was easy and, from there, we could run if we chose.
The time to lay the foundation for success is now. To get started, here are some key habits:
When you engage in the above, you are building listening, language and communication skills; increasing attention span, comprehension, vocabulary, proper grammatical structure, curiosity, and creative thinking skills; and expanding exposure to new words, experiences and knowledge. Armed with reading and language skills and all that comes with it, school assignments (and later work assignments) become easier and the ability of confident and creative self expression is enhanced. And the added plus? Bonding.
In thinking about the Paxton Hood quote, “Be as careful of the books you read as the company you keep…”, I am reminded how important it is to learn about friends, companions, companionship, and family.
Leveled Reader has selected several books on these important subjects. Not only are they engaging and introduce the subject in an intriguing and varied milieu, but they are leveled for your convenience so you have a better idea of which books would be appropriate to challenge your young reader–and capture their attention and curiosity.
The book, Zelda and Ivy and the Boy Next Door, takes a wry and honest look at the relationships between friends. [Age Level: 5-9 years. Grade Level: 1st-2nd, 2nd-3rd. Leveled Group: L-M.]
For friends of a different sort, the book Tara and Tiree, Fearless Friends, a True Story, is an amazing story of Jim and his two dogs and what happens when Jim falls through the ice on the frozen lake. [Age Level: 5-7. Grade Level: K-1. Leveled Group: E-F.]
The True Story of Owen and Mzee is a story about a young hippopotamus and an old giant tortoise after the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami. [Age Level: 5-7. Grade Level: K-1. Leveled Group: G-H-I.]
Or how about Henry and Mudge and the Family Trees? This is a story of best friends—Henry and his 180-pound dog—who are going to their first family reunion. [Age Level: 6-8. Grade Level: 1-2. Leveled Group: J-K.]
Or you can choose from the “Friendship” or “Families” subjects yourself by exploring Shop by Subject and exploring the wide variety of popular literature Leveled Reader’s team of educators and other… Continue reading
We all know the curiosity of a child. So many successful men, like Bill Gates, stress how important creative thinking is and how curiosity is a part of being a creative thinker. In an article on About.com, Bill Gates talked about how to promote creative thinking and innovation. Among his tips were “Read a non-fiction book every week, read …. read with pen and notebook in hand; jot down any idea that comes into your consciousness.”
Leveled Reader has an entire section of non-fiction books for all ages and reading ability. One book is Amazing Creations. This is such an engaging book. With its graphic illustrations and photographs as well as a high-interest topic, the child’s attention is captured from the first to the last page. It is for the 5-7 year old, grades K-1 (Leveled Group: G-H-I) – perfect for children transitioning from early readers to more challenging storylines. The non-fiction format also makes this a valuable resource to have on your shelf.
There are so many other non-fiction books for children to choose from. With many already leveled and ready to enhance your child’s reading program. Choose from books about American frontier heroes, how to be a medieval knight, ocean creatures, bugs, horses and much more.
Helping the child in your life retain that curiosity will be helping them develop the skill of creative thinking – a key to greater success and happiness.
“If we encounter a man of great intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Recently, the USA Today newspaper printed pro and con editorials on rating teachers according to student test scores. As a result, letters to the editor have appeared. There is agreement with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), that teachers need to be well-prepared. But, there are other influences affecting teacher competence: resources, policies, class size, community, economics and population to name a few.
In one letter, an ex-teacher from Missouri states, “Every working day, teachers look to inspire students to do their best. Keeping that student motivation at a high level is very challenging.” With school district budgets shrinking, classroom sizes increasing, and teacher lay offs ever present, we feel that the teacher’s original goal remains to inspire and motivate our youth to become productive participants of society.
We know that teachers are thinking outside the box to achieve that goal. Streamlining curriculums, avoiding any duplication—working more efficiently and effectively, is the name of the game. Working as a community, in collaboration with parents and other agencies who can contribute toward that goal is one of the ways to think outside the box.
As we have expressed in previous blogs, it is our belief that literacy is key to any child’s success. Helping teachers and parents find ways to economically and efficiently encourage literacy is our contribution to the end goal. If children are literate, their scores will be higher. If teachers have the support they need from the community, the kids will be more interested in learning and the teacher’s dreams can remain the focus instead of the politics of education.
Exposing children to reading, getting them interested in reading, is a step in the right direction. It is true, the Leveled Reader staff can’t spend twenty minutes a day reading to the child or… Continue reading
It is Women in History Month. There are so many famous women in history to consider. One who comes to mind is Florence Nightingale…..and that reminds me that nurses are taught the five “R’s” as a way to avoid medication administration errors: right patient, right time and frequency, right dose, right route, and right medication.
Well, when you think of it, the same can apply to elementary school age readers. To set the stage for success, you must provide the right book to the right child at the right time as well as the right encouragement at the right intervals.
Studies show that when the right book is read at the right time, a child chooses to read more. They become motivated to read more and with more practice, the child increases comprehension. You can see the beginning of a success story in the making. And how satisfying is that for the teacher, parent, or other person interested in the child?!
Along with knowing the reading level and other details about the child in your life, as teachers and parents, the time set aside to learn what your child is interested in is important in choosing books. A goal of Leveled Reader is to collaborate with you through our blog and through the way we level our books, helping you choose that right book at the right time.
Perhaps next time we can talk more about study results regarding improving reading test scores, motivating a student, and the things teachers and parents can do to positively influence the children in their lives. For now, just knowing that a student’s ability to understand text is crucial to reading success—and success in general–in later years is enough to inspire us to help in any way we can.
Keeping in mind the five… Continue reading
Whether you are a teacher, parent, or supportive person in a child’s life, you want the best for that child. Part of offering the best is providing opportunities. One way to do this is through reading. Books open up the world, the universe to readers. They can be transported to different areas and times—or to their own area and time, knowing they are not alone.
When choosing books for the child in your life, you might feel overwhelmed with the selection. Which book will be appropriate and hold the child’s attention, yet challenge them? Leveled Reader helps you find up-to-date and interesting literature that not only meets the guidelines educators have set, but opens the door to possibilities.
By taking your child’s reading scores from school, you can refer to the handy chart available. This chart compares several popular leveling systems to find the equivalent Guided Reading level. Here is how you can use the chart:
• Find your child’s score on our chart
• Read across the chart to find the Guided Reading equivalent score
• Search our inventory for books that fit into the Guided Reading category on the chart which matches your child’s school report.
The leveling chart gives you a good idea about the books in your child’s target reading range, making it easier for you to choose books to supplement your child’s school program.
Leveled Reader’s team of educators and other professionals have brought the power of the leveling system to every day popular literature*…..Lily hopes this helps you find inspiration and the best in current, exciting reading materials to meet the literacy needs of the child in your life—and open the doors of so many opportunities and possibilities.
*Please note that our levels may not match any specific program’s levels 100%. Our staff take… Continue reading
As educators, teachers know how important music is to the development of our youth. As a leveled book store, you may wonder why we would encourage teachers to acknowledge a month that celebrates music. Becuase we are more than a bookstore. We truly care about providing information to teachers and parents that will help them support the children in their lives to embrace reading with passion.
There are a multitude of studies and sites dedicated to the value of music and music in education. In fact, there is a recent study indicating the brain processes language and instrumental music in the same areas of the brain and overlap each other. As a result, researchers say music education can help children with developmental dyslexia or autism more accurately use speech. “Music making is a multisensory experience, activating links to several parts of the brain,” according to Gottfried Schlaug, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. There are many benefits of music education, both in instruments and singing. Among other things, music enhances the brain’s ability to recognize voices, discern verbal nuances as well as tune out noise.
To celebrate and draw importance to music, we can recommend “A Mouse Called Wolf” by Dick King-Smith, “Dancing Dinos Go to School” by Sally Lucas, and “Mr. Putter and Tabby Toot the Horn” by Cynthia Rylant.
“A Mouse Called Wolf” is recommended for the 4-8 age group (grades K-3). It is about a tiny mouse with a big name finding a slightly chewed piece of sheet music with the words “Wolfgang Amadeus Mo”…with the family mouse hole just behind the leg of a grand piano played twice a day by an elderly woman, Wolf loves the… Continue reading
February is quite the month for celebration. Not only is there Valentine’s Day, but it is the month in which two presidents are honored—and also to be honored is the history of African Americans. February is Black History Month.
Did you know that Sojourner Truth’s birth name was Isabella Baumfree? She became an itinerant preacher during the mid-1800s, on a mission to abolish slavery. Our selected book, titled “Sojourner Truth: Path to Glory” by Peter Merchant, takes the reader through Sojourner’s enslaved childhood and free adult life and why she changed her name. She successfully proclaimed her message of equality for blacks and women, even though she was illiterate, through giving speeches and writing poems and a book.
This book is included in our Level J-K book set as well as available as a single book purchase. Generally appropriate for Grade Two students, but may be appropriate for some Grade One students. As you review our Leveling Criteria chart, you can best determine the Level based on various reading test scores.
For a printable resource on Sojourner Truth, you can visit the Scholastic site.
We all know Jackie Robinson is famous for baseball. Did you know he was the first black player in modern major league baseball? And, in 1962, he became the first black player to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. Read more about how special Jackie Robinson was in our selected book, “Jackie Robinson: He Led the Way” by April Jones Prince.” In simple, engaging language, this book follows Jackie from childhood through his career… Continue reading
We feel the same way at LeveledReader.com. With school budgets getting tighter and classroom sizes larger, teachers have less and less time to do the things they would like to do. Usually, k-12 teachers have to spread their time out over all subjects and this can mean reading does not get the attention it needs.
Because of our decision to accept school purchase orders for leveled book orders, I’ve met teachers from all over the US that buy books to supplement their school reading programs. It doesn’t matter whether they are from the West Coast or the East, teachers are all dealing with the same frustrations and dreams.
If you are like the many teachers I have had the pleasure to know, one of your dreams is to engage your students and spark that small flicker of a flame that has so, so much potential. When you know you have made a difference in a child, it is a lasting memory. Having an impact on a child’s love of reading is a memory that gives you inspiration. With your classrooms seeming to get larger and larger, that dream is still alive, but your time is shorter to try to figure out how to find the spark to ignite those hints of a flame. By supplementing your schools guided reading program with books from LeveledReader.com that have been selected to engage today’s youth. You can help reduce the amount of time it takes to creatively find the very thing that will help you fulfill your dream—and give your students the opportunity they… Continue reading