Best Books for Boys: Book Review

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My five-year-old son is currently learning sight-words.  We read plenty of picture books together but I’m trying to figure out the next step to help him learn to love reading.
best-bk-for-boys coverHow Do You Get Boys to Love Reading and What Books Should They Try?

I was thrilled to see this new book from Scholastic, Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys (K-8). How to Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives.

Pam is also a mom and literacy advocate. She is the Executive Director of LitLife and LitWorld, organizations developing strategies for children’s literacy on the national and global level. In this book she focuses on strategies to encourage boys to love reading. Just what I was looking for.

I had heard friends say that it was harder to get boys reading than girls and Pam shares a list of statistics supporting that boys do struggle with reading more. Because of that, she founded and directs an initiative called Books for Boys and created this book for teachers and parents to use as a guide. 

Pam gives a variety of modern tips about how to engage boys in reading. She suggests books aren’t the only things we should have boys read. Additional reading options include video games, texting, sports page/magazines, websites and blogs.  Anything that interests them, encourage them to keep reading. Surround them with words. We also shouldn’t stereotype books into gender as it is just as fine for boys to read Anne of Green Gables as much as Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Find out what they are interested in and find something they can read about it.

Pam presents the “READ Model” including four elements to create a love of reading.
R- Ritual
E – Environment
A- Access
D- Dialogue
We need to create a reading environment, make reading accessible, make reading a habit and talk about what we are reading.

The final and largest section of the book, Pam shares her favorite books for boys by reading level and genre. Starting with Flat Stanley for emerging readers, she gives a description of each book she suggests and gives a discussion or activity idea to go with each book.

This book was very well organized and will be a great reference book to use now and as my son grows older. Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys is a much needed resource for anyone teaching boys to read. After reading this book, I can’t wait to check out the books Pam suggests for emerging readers. I’ve already put several books on hold at the library that I hadn’t heard of.
Linking Life to Literacy LO june 11 
I loved how Pam separated her picks into categories so much that I decided to organize the books in my son’s room by genre so he could find his favorite books better.
I grabbed some containers from IKEA and grouped his books into categories. 
     Box #1 – Trucks, Trains and Cars
     Box #2 – Dinosaurs and Animals
     Box #3 – Story books, Pirates and Lego
     Box #4 – Superhero books, Star Wars and Firefighters


He has a transportation themed room so we have the alphabet train (a classroom border) along the wall so we can play letter games and recite the alphabet together. (Anything to get more letters around him.)


I found some pictures on Google Images to match my categories and printed them out. Some were outline images I had my son color to get him involved. Then I helped him sound out the words to match the pictures and put them on the boxes.

What are your favorite boy books?  My son has been on a pirate kick lately.

Disclosure: I was sent a free electronic copy of Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys. All opinions are truthful and my own.
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Stacks of Books

Monday, June 20, 2011

Adam Bateman, 2011 The Fourth Thousand Years, books. Matter of Words Exhibit
I recently visited the Museum of Art at BYU's College of Fine Arts and Communication in Provo, Utah.  I walked into the "Matter of Words" exhibit and was amazed to see this stack of books created by Adam Bateman (The Fourth Thousand Years, books, 2011).

Showcasing a variety of books as art, it makes me hope the printed book never goes away.  It made my heart so happy to see so many books. I wish I had a room full of books just like this (okay, I'd have to put them on shelves so I could get to them). It was a beautiful sight.

If you live in the area you should stop by to see this and the rest of the exhibit.
Admission is free and it will be on display until Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011. Click here for more details.

DIY Flower Basket Tutu, Dance Teacher Thank You Gift

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My daughter just finished her dance classes. We wanted to give her teacher a gift so we added a tutu to this flower basket. I think it turned out so cute and her teacher loved it and hung it outside her dance studio. I had seen this cute tutu table that inspired me to create this.
I got this hanging flower basket from Sam’s Club for $5 just after Memorial Day weekend. I had the fabric left over from a party and the ribbon in my stash so this came together quickly and easily.
100_4914_1Items Needed:
Hanging Flower Basket, 2 yards of tulle fabric (tutu netting), scissors, 1 rubber band (large enough to fit around the basket), 1 inch wide ribbon (about 6 feet, depending on size of basket).100_4915_1
Step 1: Put Rubber Band under lip of basket.
Step 2: Cut fabric into 4 inch wide, by 24 inch long strips. This gets a little tricky due to the type of fabric. It is easiest to lay out on a cutting mat and use a rolling cutter.
Step 3: My daughter tucked the fabric behind the rubber band and pulled it half way through so it was about 12 inches in front and 12 in back of the band. She liked being able to help make this for her teacher.
Step 4. We wrapped a ribbon around the lip of the basket and tied it in a bow.
Add a nice thank you note. My daughter wrote a note but I also like this music themed card for a dance teacher from the blog Eighteen25.
The tutu flower basket looks beautiful hanging up.
100_4966_1  Linking Life to Literacy LO june 11
Ballerina Princess Cover
My daughter loved reading this Ballerina Princess book the past few months while taking dance classes. I’ve started collecting the ‘Step into Reading’ series. It has been great with my beginning readers. The series has many recognizable characters (Disney Princess and Cars, Barbie and more) and has different reading levels. You can find them at Target and Wal-mart. Make sure to read some books with your child as they are taking dance classes.
Here are some more great ballerina books to check out.
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Linking to: Today's Creative, Get Your Craft On
Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories AtoZ
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