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Tuesday, May 8

I Got Rhythm (Lena Horne)

We are a reading family -- we read quietly, and together aloud, every day.  Our curriculum is literature-based, and we're constantly devouring living books!

But how does that translate into teaching children to read?  How do you get your child to the point where s/he is a reading aficionado, too?

One of the earliest steps is through rhyme.  We start with a book, such as the Dr. Seuss one below, and point out very basic words...and that works in some cases, but figuring out the rhythm of the language is substantially more important.  (See below for how this also applies to foreign languages.)

We expose our kids to the rhythm of oral language from birth; but we must also expose them to the rhythm of the written language for them to become successful readers.  This begins with us reading to them.  I started reading to mine when they were babies, and even now, as teens, still read aloud regularly.

Reasons for reading rhyming books include :
  • It teaches children how language works through means of repetition.
    • As with anything, learning to read is a skill of repetition.  The more you do it, the better you get.  Remember to give grace - no matter the age of your child - as s/he progresses on the road to becoming a good reader.  (This includes 9 and 10 year olds who are just starting out.  Many late bloomers become excellent readers and catch up to their peers in a short time.)
  • It helps children experience the rhythm of language. As they recite nursery rhymes they learn to speak with animated voices, so they can someday read with expression to their children, too!
    • Try leaving out a rhyming word the next time that you read.  You child will probably fill in the blank, and be delighted that s/he can do so!
  • When children are familiar with a nursery rhyme or rhyming book, they learn to anticipate the rhyming word. This prepares them to make predictions when they read, another important reading skill.
    • Kids love repetition.  How many times have you watched the same 30 minute video over and over again?  But they love to do this!  They learn the movie's rhythm, and can anticipate what's coming next.
  • Because rhyming is fun, it adds joy to the sometimes daunting task of learning to read.
    • Fun is always good!
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Some brand new books, that will quickly become household favorites, include....

LLAMA LLAMA LOVES TO READ (Anna Dewdney and Reed Duncan)

Llama Llama learns at school.
Counting, writing, reading, rules.
Friends and school -- there's nothing better.
Llama learning all the letters!

Anna Dewdney's beloved Llama Llama is growing up and learning to read! Throughout the school day,the teacher helps Llama Llama and the other children practice their letters, shows word cards, reads stories, and brings them to the library where they can all choose a favorite book. By the end of the day, Llama Llama is recognizing words and can't wait to show Mama Llama that he's becoming a reader!

About the Author
Anna Dewdey passed away in September, 2016, at the age of fifty from cancer. A teacher, mother, and enthusiastic proponent of reading aloud to children, she continually honed her skills as an artist and writer and published her first Llama Llama book in 2005. Her passion for creating extended to home and garden and she lovingly restored an 18th century farmhouse in southern Vermont. She wrote, painted, gardened, and lived there with her partner, Reed, her two daughters, two wire-haired pointing griffons, and one bulldog.  Anna was a warm-hearted, wonderful, wise soul who will be forever missed, but whose spirit lives on in her books.

This super-sturdy case-bound board book introduces babies and toddlers to 100 essential first words and to the artwork of Dr. Seuss! Illustrated with images from his most beloved, classic books (among them One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, and Hop on Pop)--the book also features Little Cats A-Z--the tiny cats from The Cat in the Hat Comes Back--doing something fun on every page! Perfect for learning and for play, there's plenty to look at and talk about on each page.

SLEEP TRAIN (Jonathan London)
A little boy climbs into bed with a book and starts counting the train cars in it, between the engine and caboose. "Ten sleepy cars going clickety-clack," reads the refrain. But as the boy counts cars and gets sleepier and sleepier, his room looks more and more like one of the train cars from his book--the sleeping car, of course!  Rhythmically told by the author of the Froggy books, Sleep Train is also stunning to look at. 3D illustrator, Lauren Eldridge, has sculpted an entire train full of intricate details. Part bedtime story, part counting book, part children's fantasy, Sleep Train is a magical ride to dreamland.

About the Author & Illustrator
Jonathan London is a poet, an adventurer, and the author of twenty-eight books about Froggy, as well as many other picture books and novels. The parents of two sons, he and his wife live in northern California.

Lauren Eldridge grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and studied landscape architecture, before turning her hands to model making. She now lives with her husband, two daughters, and their "beast" of a dog in Madison, Wisconsin. Find more about Lauren and how she works at

So how does this relate to foreign language??
TalkBox takes the same approach to foreign languages that moms take toward teaching their babies how to speak a first language.  It's the most unique approach toward instruction that I've seen, and it's ingenious!  

This is a program that you'll want to look into further, if you're at all interested in teaching a language.  The program is designed to start at any age...even before babies are speaking.

As the above post states, use code REFTXQEZGJNHU to get $15 off your first box.
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