Episode 6: Read Alouds

Wood block print of a family in a kitchen ironing, cooking, and sitting at the table reading a book together.
“Family Circle”
Wood block print by Ashley Bryan

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Books we mention

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Read Aloud Focus Suggestions

  • Orientation: the size and shape of the book, a landscape orientation has shorter height than width, a portrait orientation has a shorter width than height 
  • Dust jack: the cover that goes around a hardback, cover of the book
  • Endpapers: the pages glued to the inside of the cover of a hardback, they often feature elements of the story that add to the understanding of that story, paperbacks sometimes feature them as the first and last bound pages
  • Front matter: the cover, title page, copyright page, dedications, etc.
  • Second story: these are stories that are not written into the the text of the story, but are seen in the illustrations 
  • Gutter: the split between the right and left pages
  • Air frames: the white space around the illustrations
  • Typography: the fonts as well as how they are presented on the page
  • Single- and double-page spreads
  • Also think about how time is shown progressing in illustrations

Midseason Bonus: Book Recommendations

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Recommended Board Books

  1. Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
  2. Sandra Boyton books– whichever float your boat on this one
  3. Julie Flett (Cree-Metis) board books such as Little You, We All Count, We Sang You Home
  4. Celebrate My Hopi Corn by Anita Poleahla (Salina Bookshelf board books)
  5. Fruits in Suits and Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman
  6. Stanley Board Books by William Bee- these are great concept books for parents who like aesthetics
  7. Wordless stories such as Good Dog, Carl

Recommended Picture Books

  1. The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin (really anything by Grace Lin)
  2. Milo’s Museum by Zetta Elliott
  3. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
  4. The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
  5. Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
  6. Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  7. The Last Stop On Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson
  8. The Frances books by the Russel and Lilian Hoban
  9. Chirri & Chirra books by Kaya Doi
  10. Sunday Shopping by Sally Derby Miller, illustrated by Shadra Strickland
  11. Cherries and Cherry Pits by Vera B. Williams
  12. Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder

Recommended Easy Readers

  1. The Silly Tilly books by Lilian Hoban
  2. Get the Giggles: A First Joke Book
  3. Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel
  4. You Should Meet series (for older readers)
  5. Holiday House I Like to Read series (I don’t know why this is the Kindle editions, but you can use it to find the paperbacks; see here for the reading levels of each title- remember A, B, and C are the absolute easiest)
  6. Katie Fry, Private Eye by Katherine Cox
  7. Ling and Ting by Grace Lin
  8. Benny and Penny books by Geoffrey Hayes
  9. King and Kayla series by Dori Hillestad Butler

Recommended Chapter Books

  1. Lola Levine series by Monica Brown
  2. Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro
  3. Ruby Lu series by Lenore Look
  4. Museum Mysteries series by Sheila Connolly
  5. The Infamous Ratsos series by Kara LaReau
  6. City Kids series by Zetta Elliott
  7. Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake (excellent themes of friendship)
  8. The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron (there are more of these books than listed in the series, be sure to look at your library for all of them)
  9. Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
  10. The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis

Recommended Middle Grade

  1. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia (I clearly didn’t remember this book as well as I thought. My description is generally correct, but the details I shared aren’t totally accurate.)
  2. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  3. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  4. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny Detectives Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath
  5. X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
  6. Lumberjanes by ND Stevenson (although you might find them under Noelle Stevenson)
  7. The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
  8. Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older
  9. The Greenglass House by Kate Milford
  10. The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

Episode 5: The Picture Book

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Transcript

Surveys of the Publishing Industry

Book Photos: Shrek

Book Photos: Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus

Book Photos: They All Saw a Cat

Books we mention

Other resources

“We’re comfortable with the idea of a child’s verbal intelligence growing with and by means of literature. But we tend to take visual intelligence for granted…We know there is value in the intelligence of the eye, we have big museums dedicated to it, but we’re not sure how to teach it. How do you teach color, form, line? You do it the same way you do words and sentences and ideas, by slowly increasing the level of complexity, depth and multi-layeredness.” -Chris Raschka

Independent Presses

Episode 3: The Reading Process

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The Stages of Reading Development

  • Pre-Reader
  • Emergent Reader
  • Early Reader
  • Transitional Reader
  • Self-extending Reader
  • Advanced Reader

Things to Keep Your Eye On

  • Squinting while reading or holding the book very close to their face
  • Frequently needing to sound out the same word again and again, even after sounding it out previously within the same sentence or book (if it happens a lot or over an extended period of time)
  • Frequently skipping sounds within a word while they’re sounding it out, or starting sounding out the word in the middle of the word or the end of the word (if it happens a lot or over an extended period of time)
  • Frequently not able to retell a story or part of a story that they have just read

Books we mention

What we’re reading:

Pre-Reader:

Early & Emergent Reader:

Transitional Reader:

  • You Should Meet series (there are two links there to two boxed sets of the books; skip RBG because the Supreme Court sucks, even her)
  • Who Was/Is…? & What Was/Is…? series (linked to two of the lesser offensive titles in this series, but do not really recommend this series)

Self-Extending Reader & Advanced Reader:

Reading Spark

Other resources

Episode 2: What is kidlit?

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Podcast Coming Soon

A burgundy square with a teal circle in the middle. The circle has bright pink headphones and and at symbol with the a replaced by a house. Under the circle is the text At Home Librarian Podcast in grellow and orange.

You read that correctly. I am starting a podcast with my oldest, and one of my best, friends who happens to have experience that parallels mine. A long time educator, Alexis was in the elementary school classroom, while I was in the library.

When I first conceived of the idea of a podcast I wanted to talk about reading and kids books. I think this blog is evidence of how much I like children’s books and reading. But in addition to being a librarian who loves those things, I am also an unschooling parent. Which has gotten me a lot of questions from “concerned” strangers about how I knew how to teach my kids to read. It was always reading they hyper focused on. I have yet to have a stranger worry about my kids’ ability to add or subtract.

Yet, it’s not just random people in the grocery store who feel worried about kids learning to read. A lot of caregivers get notes home about their child’s reading in school or worry their children don’t like reading. Or worse, fight with their kids over filling in reading logs. Some parents don’t want to homeschool because they’re afraid they don’t know how to teach reading. Caregivers can feel helpless to understand why reading feels like a chore or contextualize the notes they’re getting from teachers. Despite the hand wringing over my kids, my experience in both the classroom and library helped me have context and confidence around what to expect and do when it came to working with my kids and I want other people to have that too.

Alexis and I decided to work together to create a podcast where we could support people who don’t have our experience understand how learning to read happens and what they can do to support their kids. This is way beyond those ridiculous “Ten Things To Do To Raise a Reader” lists you see plastered all over blogs. We’re giving you the perspective of two decades in the classroom, some of the science behind what’s happening, and what resources are out there to help. We’ll give you vocabulary and thoughts on how the current educational system makes reading a chore by setting benchmarks that only apply to a narrow set of children.

And as we started recording and diving into the things we wanted to talk about, we realized we had way more than one season. We realized we could talk about spelling, math, play, and writing. So look for future seasons with those topics.

The podcast should be available on all major podcast platforms. Be sure to give it a listen, subscribe, and review it to bump it up in the ratings so other folks can find it. I’ve started a new tab at the top of the blog homepage to easily find the audio for the show, transcripts of episodes, and show notes.