Why Kindle Kids Edition Belongs in Your Family Library

Why Kindle Kids Edition Belongs in Your Family Library

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

As a parent creating a literacy-rich home environment, you may have considered purchasing an e-reader for the young readers in your family. As much as children benefit from exposure to traditional picture books and chapter books, there’s no doubt that e-readers have many advantages.

  • They’re light and portable, making it easy for your child to have reading material handy at all times.
  • E-readers can store thousands of books, making it possible for your family to own titles without worrying about physical storage.
  • Reluctant young readers often find an e-reader more exciting and “cool” than a traditional paper book.
  • Struggling readers benefit from the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, and most importantly, font size.
  • Embedded tools such as dictionaries boost comprehension on the spot.

These advantages make e-readers a powerful part of a literacy-rich home environment.

If you’ve been thinking of adding an e-reader to your family library, you’ll want to check out Amazon’s Kindle Kids Edition.

No Apps, No Videos, No Games – Just READING

Here’s what I love best – unlike tablets or phones, Kindle Kids Edition is only for reading. There are no apps, no videos and no games. If you’ve ever thought your child was using a tablet or phone to read, only to discover they were watching YouTube videos or playing Minecraft, the Kindle Kids Edition may be just what you’re looking for.

Designed for smaller hands, Kindle Kids Edition measures 6.4” x 4.7” x 0.5” and weighs just over 10 ounces. It comes with your choice of four cute cover designs, and the covers are built to withstand heavy use. A fully charged battery can last for weeks of daily reading sessions.


A Gift That Packs a Punch

Kindle Kids Edition comes with one free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. This is what makes it a terrific gift option. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is a monthly subscription that offers more than a thousand popular titles for children ages three to twelve years old.

When you give Kindle Kids Edition to a child in your life, you are also giving them more than a thousand books.

                                               It’s hard to imagine a gift with more impact on a young reader.


With Kindle Kids Edition, parents and kids can set reading goals together, and kids can earn “Book Worm” and “Over Achiever” badges. There are three built-in features which enhance comprehension and study skills. Word Wise provides quick “pop up” definitions above difficult words, and the Kindle Dictionary allows kids to look up words themselves. The Vocabulary Builder turns words that have been looked up into flash cards for extra practice.

Kindle Kids Edition comes with a 2 year worry-free guarantee. If anything happens to your Kindle Kids Edition, you can return it and Amazon will replace it for free.


Part of a Literacy-Rich Home Environment

Kindle Kids Edition makes it so easy for kids to always have books at their fingertips – it has a well-earned place in every literacy-rich home environment.

 

 

 

 

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11 Powerful Reasons to Make Audiobooks Part of Your Family Life

11 Powerful Reasons to Make Audiobooks Part of Your Family Life

If you are trying to create a literacy-rich home environment and raise kids who are passionate readers, be sure to add listening to audiobooks to your list of family activities.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

Here are eleven compelling reasons to make audiobooks a regular part of your family life – or to give the gift of audiobooks to the families on your holiday gift list.

1.  Listening to audiobooks promotes a literacy-rich home environment. Kids who grow up in a literacy-rich home environment tend to learn to read easily, and develop a lifelong passion for books and reading.

2.  It fosters your family’s identity as readers and book lovers. Prioritizing time to listen to audiobooks together sends the message loud and clear, “We are a family that loves stories and books.”

3.  Enjoying audiobooks together creates shared memories you’ll treasure forever. My husband and young adult children still reminisce about listening to Holes by Louis Sachar on a road trip to Sedona, Arizona.

4.  Listening to audiobooks can involve all family members, no matter their age level. You’ll be amazed at how many children’s chapter books and novels are enjoyable for adults, too. Did you know that kids’ listening comprehension levels are typically two years above their reading comprehension levels? Younger children who may not be ready to fully understand a story can sit nearby and enjoy quiet activities or a snack while listening and being a part of family time. You can choose a wide variety of books without worrying about leaving anyone out.

5.  Listening to audiobooks together leads to terrific family discussions. Listen to a chapter while cooking dinner, and then discuss it together as you eat dinner. While listening in the car, pause after each chapter to let everyone share their thoughts and reactions to the story.

6.  Relaxing by listening to an audiobook reduces stress and calms the mind and spirit. When life gets crazy and the energy level in your home is too rambunctious, load up a favorite audiobook and feel the chaos subside.

7.  Listening to audiobooks improves language development and vocabulary in children of all ages, and improves speech articulation in younger kids. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to expose your children to the rich vocabulary found in high quality literature. Skilled voice actors model crisp, clear pronunciation and speech articulation.

8.  Audiobooks help kids improve their listening and visualizing skills, which are crucial for good comprehension. Children who listen to audiobooks develop the ability to listen carefully and visualize the events in the story.

9.  Listening to audiobooks is a powerful, effective way to support struggling or reluctant readers. Listening while following along on a device or in a book improves decoding, fluency and comprehension.  It also builds confidence and motivation by giving kids access to the same popular books their peers are reading.

10.  It improves fluency in readers of all ages, by modeling reading rate, phrasing, tone and expression. Kids start to model their own oral reading after the expert readers and voice actors who narrate audiobooks.

11.  Audiobooks offer an attractive, persuasive alternative to screen time. Instead of breaking out the tablets in the car, load up an audiobook. Experiment to find other times to substitute an audiobook for screen time. Once your kids have become accustomed to listening, you might be surprised at how willing they are to accept this alternative!

 

Listening to audiobooks is a powerful strategy for developing literacy in your children.

 

Fortunately, audiobooks are easy to find these days, and the cost doesn’t have to be prohibitive.

My favorite way to get audiobooks for free is through Overdrive, a network of libraries and schools. With a card from a participating library, you can check out any eBook or audiobook for as long as 21 days. Unlike many sites that feature free audiobooks, Overdrive provides access to just about any title available. This is important because you will want access to quality children’s literature.

The easiest way to purchase audiobooks is through Audible by Amazon. You purchase credits by the month or in bulk, and then use them to buy audiobooks. (Each audiobook costs one credit.) Credits start at $14.95 per month for one credit and range up to $229 for 24 credits.

Credits do roll over from month to month, but not indefinitely. Be sure to check the current terms of service. The selection of available titles is vast and up-to-date, and Audible offers a 30% discount on any additional titles you purchase.

To start your family’s free 1 month Audible trial, click here.

Looking for a thoughtful, meaningful gift for a birthday or holiday? Audiobooks are a fantastic gift option for anyone from families to individuals of any age. To give the benefits of audiobooks through Audible by Amazon, click here.

I hope you’ll make audiobooks a part of your family culture today. The benefits are priceless, and I promise you won’t regret it!

 

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How to Fire Up Your Child’s Motivation to Write (Check Out This Video!)

How to Fire Up Your Child’s Motivation to Write (Check Out This Video!)

I love to provide kids with “cool” writing supplies. It’s a fun, effective way to increase motivation and interest.

With this idea in mind, I designed this “make your own” or “create your own” blank comic book for kids. You’ll see that I left the front cover entirely blank. It’s a good idea to have your child design the cover on a separate piece of paper and then glue it to the front of the book. This avoids disappointment and drama if it takes a few attempts to get the artwork right. Or if you prefer, your child can use Sharpie or other permanent markers to create their design right on the cover.

The inside has blank comic book pages. This blank comic strip format is really flexible, because younger or struggling writers can tell their story mostly through illustrations with just a few sentences. Older or more confident writers can compose longer text, with fewer illustrations.

Comic strip stories can be just a few pages long, or you could use the whole book to tell one long story.

Take a closer look at our “Make Your Own Comic Book” in this video.

This blank comic book would make a great daily journal for kids. They can illustrate what happened during the day, with dialogue or captions to go along with the pictures.

Wouldn’t this make a fabulous family keepsake as a travel or vacation journal for kids? The possibilities are endless! Fire up your young writer’s motivation with this “Make Your Own Comic Book.”

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11 Colorful Books About Rainbows Your Kids Will Love

11 Colorful Books About Rainbows Your Kids Will Love

Spring has sprung, and springtime rains and happy sunbeams bring rainbows to bright blue skies. Celebrate spring evenings with bedtime read-alouds from this list of wonderful rainbow books for kids. Or, choose a few to read aloud while your little ones enjoy rainbow arts and crafts.

Books about rainbows are a great way to teach little ones about colors, and older kids are fascinated by the science that creates these wonders of nature. There’s something for kids of all ages on this carefully curated list. Read on to find the perfect rainbow books for your family.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

Light Makes a Rainbow by Sharon Coan

Light Makes a Rainbow is part of an excellent “Science and Literacy” series of books by Teacher Created Materials. It provides a very clear, easy-to-understand explanation of how and why rainbows appear. The explanation is perfect for kids of any age, and the text itself is an “early reader” level.
rainbow books for children

 

All the Colors of the Rainbow by Allan Fowler

All the Colors of the Rainbow is another “early reader” book, part of the Rookie Read About Science series. books about rainbows

 

My Color is Rainbow by Agnes Hsu

My Color is Rainbow is a sweet story about a white arch searching for his color and all the other colors he meets on his journey. You may find your family talking about being “green and helpful,” “orange and friendly,” or “blue and peaceful” as you go about your day.

 

children's books about rainbows

 

Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed) by Ged Adamson

Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed) is the story of the most beautiful rainbow ever, who came one day after a rainstorm…and stayed. Ava is so happy that her friend stayed, but is staying what rainbows are really meant to do? This is a poignant story about appreciating things that are special.

rainbow books for children

 

What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz

In this clever little book, a different colored ribbon loops across the top of each page, which features pictures of familiar items of that same color. After you follow the ribbon through the book, you’ll come upon a special surprise on the last page. What Makes a Rainbow? is a unique and imaginative take on rainbow books for children.

 

A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman

If you know Corduroy, then you’re familiar with the gentle, distinctive artistic style of Don Freeman. In A Rainbow of My Own, a little boy embarks on a search for the end of the rainbow, and imagines what it would be like if he found it.

 

How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney

In How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow, the sun and clouds have always cooperated to take care of Earth. Their favorite task is to create rainbows, until one day an argument sends both of them off to sulk. With no rainbows, all the colors fade away and world becomes a gloomy, sad place. Fortunately, a single box of crayons still exists, and escapes their classroom to save the day. This cute book teaches children about persistence, teamwork and friendship.

 

Rainbow by Marion Dane Bauer

Rainbow by Marion Dane Bauer is part of the “Weather Ready-to-Read” series of books for early readers. It shares the “science” of rainbows with a short, easy-to-read narrative story and artistic illustrations.

 

The Rainbow Goblins by Ul De Rico

This book is similar to an old-style Grimm’s fairy tale, so bear that in mind when considering it for your children.  However, the story is utterly captivating in that fascinating way that original fairy tales are, and the illustrations are detailed and sophisticated. The Rainbow Goblins is the tale of seven colorful brothers who prowl the land to feed on rainbows.

 

Rainbow by Jane Cabrera

Rainbow by Jane Cabrera is the perfect rainbow book for babies and toddlers. It’s a board book with die-cut pages, full of colorful objects and animals to point to and name. Each object is labeled, so this is a good book for early readers, too.

 

Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall

Penguins Love Colors features adorable wide-eyed baby penguins on a quest to create a special gift for Mommy. It’s a simple, straightforward story that little kids love. The illustrations are bold, bright, and clear.

Add some color to your family library today with a few new rainbow books for kids.

 

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20+ Fun Toys and Games That Make it Easy to Learn the Alphabet

20+ Fun Toys and Games That Make it Easy to Learn the Alphabet

Toys and Games That Teach the Alphabet – In this post, I’ve curated a list of games and toys that make learning the alphabet easy and fun for everyone. Note: please check recommended ages and make sure products are appropriate and safe for your little ones.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

Bath Letters and Numbers

Foam Bath Letters and Numbers by Little Tykes help you create a literacy-rich learning environment everywhere in your home! They’re a great way to make alphabet learning part of bath-time fun.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Bean Bags

Alphabet Bean Bags are a versatile tool for reinforcing alphabet knowledge in a hands-on, kinesthetic way. They come with an activity guide with directions for hands-on alphabet games. Measuring 2.75″ by 2.75″, these felt beanbags are lightweight and easy for young children to handle.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Cookies

These cute 2″ Alphabet Cookies help reinforce letter recognition and beginning sounds, plus CVC words and vocabulary. They come in a sturdy jar with directions for four different games. You get the full alphabet plus extras of the letters that are used more often. Aside from the games that are included, you could use these for matching games, sorting games and bingo markers!how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden ABC/123 Blocks Set

This Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden ABC/123 Blocks Set is a classic.  The 1″ blocks are carved or printed with letters, numbers and pictures.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Jumbo ABC-123 Rug with Game Cards

This Jumbo ABC-123 Play Rug by Melissa & Doug can be used as decor in a kids’ room and as a game! It comes with 36 over-sized double-sided playing cards to match to the letters and numbers on the rug. It’s highly durable with a nonstick rubber backing. Best of all, there’s plenty of room for more than one child to play at a time.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Learning Resources Alphabet Marks The Spot Floor Mat

The Alphabet Marks The Spot Floor Mat is one of the the best ways I’ve found to let kids use gross motor skills and movement to learn the alphabet. It’s perfect for rainy or snowy days. Although the rug above is awesome, this mat is great because it can be stored away when not in use.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

LEGO DUPLO Play with Letters

The LEGO DUPLO Play with Letters set is a versatile choice that offers endless opportunities for hands-on alphabet learning.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Soft Foam Blocks

These lightweight 5.5″ Alphabet Soft Foam Blocks are printed with uppercase letters. They provide opportunities for gross motor skill activities to build letter recognition.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Robot Transformer Action Figure Autobots

What a creative way for kids to work with the alphabet! These Alphabet Robot Transformer Action Figure Autobots are irresistible manipulatives for learning the alphabet.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Soup Sorters

Alphabet Soup Sorters offer plenty of opportunities for sorting and matching to learn letters and sounds. Each can holds little cardboard photos of items that start with that letter, plus the letters themselves. These are great for imaginative play as well as more structured activities.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Dinosaurs

These Alphabet Dinosaurs help kids learn lowercase and uppercase letters while developing fine motor strength and dexterity.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Memory Game

This Alphabet Memory Game is a terrific way to build lowercase and uppercase letter recognition and practice letter sounds. Add this to family game night!

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Go Fish Letter Matching Card Game

Alphabet Go Fish is a classic that every child should play! Add this to family game night for extra practice with letters and sounds.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Bingo! Letter Learning Game for Kids

Alphabet Bingo is another classic for your game shelf. Instead of using a “caller” to say letters, this game has players reach into a bag and pull out a letter token, then check for a match.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

The manufacturer of these two games, Peaceable Kingdom, has a whole line of themed, educational games for kids. They’re awesome.

 

Alphabet Island – A Letter & Sounds Game

Alphabet Island – A Letter & Sounds Game provides practice matching lowercase and uppercase letters, and matching uppercase letters to letter sounds.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Slap Jack

I love these Alphabet Slap Jack cards for so many reasons. They are the size of a deck of standard playing cards and perfect to drop into your purse or keep in the car. Uppercase and lowercase letters are on separate cards, which adds tons of flexibility in playing games (directions included). The vowel cards feature pictures with the short vowel sound, which is much more useful than the long vowel sound. These are perfect for families on the go!how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Melissa & Doug ABC-123 Abacus

The little spinning tiles on this Melissa & Doug ABC-123 Abacus are so appealing to kids. This toy develops hand-eye coordination while providing practice with sounds and uppercase letters.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train

V-tech’s Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train is designed for your youngest learners, ages 1 to 3. It can be used as a push toy, a riding toy, or for floor play.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Phonics Bus

Oh my goodness, my parents gave this LeapFrog Alphabet Phonics Bus to my son 20 years ago! My kids spent endless hours intently pushing those letter buttons to see what sounds they would make. This updated version has four modes – letters, animals, games, and music. Each mode integrates letters and sounds in some way.LeapFrog Alphabet Phonics Bus

 

Spinning Lights Learning Hippo

Also by Vtech, this Spinning Lights Learning Hippo helps kids learn numbers in addition to the alphabet. Pull the bird “handle” down to learn about letters, sounds, objects, and animals. Press the ABC button to sing along to the alphabet song.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

AlphaPup Toy

The AlphaPup Toy by Vtech is a classic pull toy for toddlers and preschoolers. When your little one pulls AlphaPup along by the leash, 3 different educational songs play. Push the colorful stripes on AlphaPup’s sweater to hear letters and sounds. This cute toy comes in green or purple/pink.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Deluxe Letters and Numbers Wooden Stamp Set

This Deluxe Letters and Numbers Wooden Stamp Set by Melissa & Doug is a fantastic addition to any family’s arts and crafts cupboard. It comes with an alphabet and numbers activity pad.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Train Lacing Beads

Also by Melissa & Doug, Alphabet Train Lacing Beads develop fine motor dexterity while helping kids learn letters and sounds. These wooden “beads” can be used for matching, sorting, sequencing and spelling.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Wooden Lacing Cards

These Alphabet Wooden Lacing Cards are old fashioned lacing cards themed with alphabet letters and matching images. Each lacing card features an uppercase and lowercase letter on one side with a matching picture on the other. They’re great for exposure to letters and sounds while kids are busy developing fine motor skills and dexterity.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet
You’re sure to find something on this list that will boost your child’s alphabet knowledge and help create a culture of reading and literacy in your home. What toys or games will your add to your family’s collection? Let me know in the comments!

 

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How to Make it Easy for Your Kids to Develop a Gratitude Practice

gratitude journal for kidsThis post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

Today I’m sharing our gratitude journal for kids. It’s one of my favorite items from our line of Draw and Write Journals for Kids on Amazon.

365 Days of Gratitude – A Draw and Write Journal for Kids is a great tool for helping children develop a gratitude practice early in life.  At the same time, it gives parents a concrete strategy to support the development of reading and writing. Plus, it’s a valuable way to spend quality time together.

The journal is 8.5” by 11” and has 183 pages. This allows it to lie almost flat while your child is drawing and writing. Each two page spread has four spaces for your child togratitude journal for children draw and then dictate or write what they are grateful for.

There are so many ways to use our gratitude journal for kids. One easy way is to have your child draw a picture of what they are grateful for. Then, have them dictate a response to fill in the prompt “I am grateful for…” and write it down for them.

Dictation is a great way to model writing for younger children, and develop concepts about print. After you write, be sure to read it back to your child, touching once under each word. If it seems easy and casual and things are going well, ask your child to count how many words are in the sentence. Or, have them show you a particular word that you think they might know, perhaps the name of a sibling or a simple sight word.

Instead of drawing, your child could cut pictures out of a magazine. Or, you can find images online and print them out.

You could also use photos of family vacations and outings, or daily activities like eating dinner or playing outside. Your child will love to express gratitude about family members pictured in photos, or about the various rooms in your house. A fun option is to have your child pose with the item or person they are grateful for, take a digital photo and then print it out.

Instead of having your child dictate, they could fill in the prompt themselves, using their own spelling. Or, you could make it more of a shared task, encouraging your child to ask you when they are unsure about how to spell a word.

Depending upon the age of your child and the amount of time you have to record that day’s entry, you can choose if you want to illustrate with a drawing or a photo, and if you want to have your child dictate or write more independently.

This Draw and Write gratitude journal for kids is undated, so you can start it at any time. The beginning of a new calendar year in January is a great time to start. Or, a child could begin journaling after receiving this as a birthday gift.

No matter how you use 365 Days of Gratitude – A Draw and Write Journal for Kids, in the end your child will have a treasured keepsake.

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7 Awesome Book Subscription Boxes That Will Delight Young Readers

7 Awesome Book Subscription Boxes That Will Delight Young Readers

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission. 

I was so excited when book subscription boxes for kids became popular.

For years I’ve created themed gifts based on a specific book, or a specific subject. For instance, I might give a child The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and include a couple of related toys. Or, I might pick three favorite dinosaur books and add a plush dinosaur. One of my favorites was when I chose books for a friend’s two boys, and found matching pillowcases!

Subscription Book Boxesfor KidsWith book subscription boxes, I can give themed book gifts to the children in my life, and the giving goes on all year. This also gives me a way to connect with the recipients as the months go by. I like to check in every now and then by email or text to see what books and goodies have arrived. This gives my young reading friends an authentic reason to write, as they dictate to a parent or use budding keyboarding skills to reply.

Giving a book subscription box is a great way to build a child’s personal library, and expose them to new genres and subjects. For a reluctant reader, receiving a box in the mail each month creates a ton of excitement, which often transfers to the books themselves.

Read on to discover the best book subscription boxes for children of all ages.

 

 

Bookroo

Bookroo is geared for kids ages birth to 10. Depending on age, kids receive board books, picture books, or early chaptersubscription book boxes for children bookroo books, beautifully wrapped. For board books and picture books, the curators of this box are aiming for what they call “hidden” gems, rather than classics. Books are chosen through a rigorous review process which includes input from 12 families with young children.

Older children receive one “hidden gem” early chapter book, and one well-known “classic” early chapter book. Bookroo is a great book subscription box option for families who want some help expanding their library in new directions. $19.95 per month.

 

Reading Bug Box

book subscription boxes for kids Reading BugThe Reading Bug Box offers three options for book subscription boxes for kids. The Baby Bug Box is for ages 0-30 months, and includes three board books each month. The personalized Reading Bug Box is for kids ages 0-13, and includes three or four books based on the recipient’s age, gender, and interests. There is even a Reading Bug Box for 2, a personalized book subscription box for two children at the same address. $19.99 per month.

 

 

OwlCrate Jr.kids' subscription book boxes owlcrate jr

OwlCrate Jr. is a book subscription box for kids ages 8-12. Each box includes a middle-grade novel, as well as related goodies that are fun and educational. Examples are science or art activity kits, notebooks, bookmarks, writing tools and collectible toys. $27.99 per month.

 

 

The Story Box

book subscription boxes for childen The Story Box

The Story Box is for younger children, ages 0-6 years old, with three options to choose from. The Board Book package includes two board books each month. The Picture Book package includes two hardcover picture books each month. The Family package includes one board book and one picture book.

Books are chosen by a team that includes a speech pathologist. This team looks for books that have attractive illustrations, strong vocabulary, fun story lines, rhyming, and alliteration. A unique feature of these book subscription boxes is a helpful parent guide, with easy tips for supporting children’s speech, language, and pre-literacy skills. $14.99 per month.

 

 

Kid Curated Bookskids' book subscription boxes Kid Curated Books

Kid Curated Books offers boxes for four age groups ranging from 0-14. Parents provide detailed information about their child’s reading level and preferences, including what types of books to avoid. Parents can provide monthly feedback so that future book choices will better match their child’s needs and interests.

Each shipment contains four books. There’s a 15% discount when you sign up a sibling, and gift cards are available. $34.99 per box, with the option to deliver as often or as seldom as you like.

What I really love about Kid Curated Books is their stand alone book boxes for baby showers, holiday gifts, or birthdays. The baby shower boxes are my favorite. They include a variety of classic books with a matching onesie. Absolutely adorable, and so much easier than trying to track down so many themed items.

There are two STEM boxes for young engineers and scientists, and two “Girl Power” boxes for both younger and older girls. These boxes are beautifully packaged and include a card and a bookmark.

 

Amazon Prime Book Box

gift book box subscriptions amazon prime book boxAre you a Prime member? Amazon has added another benefit to its Prime membership. The Amazon Prime Book Box program is set up to send your child either four or two hardback books in each box, at up to a 40% discount from Amazon’s list price.

Age groups are baby-2 years old, ages 3-5, ages 6-8, and ages 9-12. A unique feature is that you can specify delivery every 1, 2 or 3 months. Five days before shipment, Amazon will send you a curated list to choose from, or you can let it be a surprise. $19.99 per box.

 

STEM Reads Book Clubsubscription book boxes gifts for kids STEM Reads

The STEM Reads Book Club is a monthly book club for children (ages 4-8) who love to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). 

Each themed box includes two (or more) handpicked, kid-friendly books, exclusive author notes, engaging learning activities, and fun surprises. Boxes often include new or recently released titles, including some from up-and-coming authors or publishers.

Books are chosen by a team of advisers with advanced STEM degrees and professional experience in science writing and editing. Subscriptions do sell out, so don’t delay if this book subscription box sounds like a good match for your young reader. $34.95 per month.

A book subscription box is a great gift for kids, and a fantastic way for you to support and encourage any young reader in your life. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do!

 

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Halloween Books for Kids (A Book Talk Featuring My Two All-Time Favorites)

best halloween books for kidsThis post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

Today I’m so excited to introduce a new feature here at A Family of Readers.

Click below to watch my first video Book Talk, about two of my very favorite Halloween books for kids, Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.

You’ll discover why your kids will love these books, and pick up a few fun tips for reading them aloud.

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Alphabet Puzzles for Kids (With a Video Review of My Favorite)

Alphabet Puzzles for Kids (With a Video Review of My Favorite)

Alphabet puzzles are great tools for teaching and learning in your home. They are interactive (your child is physically doing something) as opposed to passive (just taking in information), and they’re just plain FUN. Obviously puzzles are meant to be put together, but used separately, the pieces themselves make awesome toys and manipulatives for learning letters and sounds.

I had honestly forgotten how much I LOVE alphabet puzzles. I went on a search for some of my favorites over the years, and ended up getting lost in happy browsing.

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Let’s start off with these two favorite alphabet puzzles that I’ve loved for years.

 

The Melissa & Doug See-Inside Alphabet Peg Puzzle

This Melissa & Doug See-Inside Alphabet Peg Puzzle is the perfect all purpose alphabet puzzle. The colors are vibrant and  the shapes of the letters are clear. The little pegs on the pieces makes them easy to take in and out, and are perfect for little fingers to practice a pincer grasp.

There’s a cute picture under each puzzle piece, so you can use this puzzle to start matching sounds with letters. Simple and classic.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Click on the video below to watch as I share all the reasons that this puzzle is a great choice.

Melissa & Doug Alphabet Sound Puzzle – Wooden Puzzle With Sound Effects

The Melissa & Doug Alphabet Sound Puzzle also has clear, brightly colored uppercase letters. It adds sound, making it a bit more versatile. As each letter piece is popped into place, the puzzle plays a recording of that letter’s name and sound.

Kids LOVE this because it is such an immediate reward for putting the piece in the correct place.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet & Numbers Foam Puzzle

Foam puzzles are great because they offer a different tactile experience than cardboard or wooden puzzles. Foam is easier to cut into precise forms, so the shapes of the letters tend to be more accurate. Because of this, I like to have kids practice letter formation by tracing their index finger along the top surface of each foam letter.

Foam alphabet puzzles are easy to find at your local dollar store, but if you need convenience, here’s this set at Amazon. Of course, I love that it includes both lowercase and uppercase well-shaped letters! (And as a bonus, you get a foam number puzzle, too.)

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Melissa & Doug Alphabet Express Jumbo Jigsaw Floor Puzzle

Floor puzzles are fantastic choices for reinforcing the alphabet because they involve physical exercise as kids move around putting the pieces in order. They are also offer valuable opportunities for children to work together cooperatively.

This Melissa & Doug Alphabet Express Jumbo Jigsaw Floor Puzzle features both lowercase and uppercase letters, along with an adorable friendly animal to represent each letter.

The pieces are thick enough that they can stand up on their own on an uncarpeted surface. How cool is that? You could make a ten foot long alphabet train and then scoot it along the floor as if it were chugging down a track. It would also make a great prop for imaginative play, maybe along with blocks to build a train station.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

The Learning Journey Match It! – Upper & Lower Case Letters – Self-Correcting Alphabet Matching Puzzle

Alphabet matching puzzles are fun and motivating for kids. They love to find the two or three pieces that belong together for each letter. These next two choices are great for older preschoolers and kindergartners, or any child who is still working on matching letters and sounds.

This Learning Journey Match It! – Upper & Lower Case Letters – Self-Correcting Alphabet Matching Puzzle is awesome because it includes both lowercase and uppercase letters AND a picture to represent the letter. The three pieces for each letter all face up, with no back side.

A great option is to pull out the pieces for just a few letters at a time, for a few minutes at a time. You don’t have to tackle the whole set, but your child feels the satisfaction of a finished puzzle for each letter that you did choose.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Fun-to-Know® Puzzles: Uppercase & Lowercase Alphabet

If your child is an older preschooler or kindergartner and you are starting to work with words, the Fun-to-Know® Puzzles: Uppercase & Lowercase Alphabet is a terrific choice.

There are two puzzle pieces for each letter, printed on both sides. One side matches lowercase and uppercase, and the other side matches a picture with a word. So flexible! You could have your child match a letter to its picture, then flip over the letter to take a look at the word and complete the puzzle.     

Remember to offer the pieces for a few letters at a time, to avoid overwhelm and frustration, and build success and keep it fun.   

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Learning Resources Alphabet Puzzle Cards

These Learning Resources Alphabet Puzzle Cards are different because each letter is a two-piece puzzle by itself. Each one is approximately 5 inches tall and features two or three pictures of items that start with that letter. 

You know what I would love to do with these? Mod Podge them together and use them as wall decor in a child’s bedroom.  I’d probably buy one set to play with and one set to use as a wall border or to create an alphabet chart at a child-friendly height. They’ve got numbers available, too!how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Each of these alphabet puzzles offers different opportunities for your child to explore letters and sounds in a fun, engaging way. Pick one today to liven up and refresh your family’s collection of alphabet toys and games. You may discover that it re-ignites or increases your child’s interest in working with the alphabet.

Keep these in mind as gifts for preschoolers and kindergarten-age children, too. You can’t go wrong with a good quality alphabet book, puzzle, or game!

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10 Terrific Alphabet Books to Treasure With Your Kids

10 Terrific Alphabet Books to Treasure With Your Kids

Teaching the alphabet to toddlers, preschoolers or kindergartners doesn’t ever have to be tedious or boring, or hard work – for you or your child. It can and should be fun and easy for everyone in your family.

alphabet books for childrenAlphabet books are an important part of your family library.They provide exposure to letters and sounds with all the benefits of reading aloud to your child.

Kids who have seen and heard the alphabet through the happy experience of being read aloud to by a loving adult will absorb so much knowledge about letters and sounds. You’ll be amazed at how easily and naturally it happens.

Try to snuggle up together with at least one alphabet book every day. Keep book baskets in convenient places throughout your home, and make sure each basket contains an inviting alphabet book. Stow a couple in the back seat of the car, and send one along on trips to the grandparents’ house.

The great thing about alphabet books is that as soon as your child can recognize a handful of letters, they can “read” an alphabet book by looking for the letters they know.

This list was so hard to narrow down, but here are ten of my favorite alphabet books, in no particular order.

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A to Z by Sandra Boynton

My husband and I loved reading Sandra Boynton books to our kids. A to Z by Sandra Boynton is filled with her whimsical animal characters, each one representing a letter and performing an activity starting with that same letter.

Most of the activities are likely to be familiar to young children, but some provide more unique opportunities for vocabulary development. My personal favorite is “Aardvark Admiring,” with an illustration of a smiling aardvark adjusting his bowtie.

There’s no particular storyline – just simple, clear illustrations of one animal and one activity representing each letter. It’s a great book for introducing the alphabet to toddlers, and preschoolers can quickly memorize it and “read” it to themselves.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Max’s ABC by Rosemary Wells

Next up is Max’s ABC by Rosemary Wells. The “Max” books by Rosemary Wells are subtly hilarious and the sibling relationship between Max and Ruby is so sweet.

I’ve seen kids get so excited when they realize that they already know Max and Ruby from other books and the Nick Jr. television show.

This alphabet book features a silly storyline that gets crazier and crazier as Ruby tries to help Max solve the problems created when his ants escape from their ant farm. I love that each page focuses on just one letter while still maintaining a plot! The rhythm of the story makes it fun for adults to read and easy for kids to chime along with. 

(As an aside, a great thing about the 40+ Max books is that there is one for just about every childhood experience imaginable.) I always enjoyed finding books that matched what was going on in my kids’ lives when they were little.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

No list of alphabet books would be complete without the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.  I included this book in this post, and everything I said over there applies here, too.

I appreciate that this book features lowercase letters in addition to uppercase letters. (One of my pet peeves is that kids need exposure to both uppercase and lowercase letters, right from the start.)  I also love that John Archambault illustrated the letters crisply and clearly so that it’s easy for children to tell them apart and notice the differences in their shapes.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

 

The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra

How cute is the idea of Alphabet Town? In The Sleepy Little Alphabet, parents (the uppercase or capital letters) are trying to put the children (the lowercase letters) to bed. It is not going smoothly. Excuses and stalling abound, and will be familiar to parents and children alike.

To me, half the fun of the naughtiness and silliness is in the expressions on the letters’ faces. The uppercase parents actually look harassed, and the lowercase kids are gleeful.

The illustrations are simple and clear, but there is plenty of detail to notice. Lowercase “f” is holding flowers, lowercase “j” is jumping, and lowercase “s” is swinging. In a nice satisfying ending, lowercase “y” is yawning, and lowercase “z” is snoring cute little “zzzzzzz’s”.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Click on the video below to watch as I share my new favorite alphabet book.

 

Dr. Seuss’s ABC

Another classic, Dr. Seuss’s ABC is as zany as any of the Dr. Seuss books, and equally as fun to read aloud. Full of nonsense words, awesome rhythm and ridiculous rhymes, it asks “Big B, little b, what begins with B?” and then answers with a tongue-twisting alliteration of a response.

The illustrations are vintage Seuss, colorful and imaginative.

Two things I really like about this book: it includes both lowercase and uppercase letters, and it matter-of-factly presents the ideas that letters represent sounds and words begin with specific letters.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

 

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert

It’s always nice to find a themed alphabet book that can be used in many ways. Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables weaves in nutrition, culture and geography with pictures of fruits and vegetables from all over the world, illustrated in Lois Ehlert’s unique watercolor collage style.

It’s sort of a picture dictionary of fruits and vegetables, with an encyclopedia included at the back in the form of a detailed, illustrated glossary. I bet you’ll come across a fruit or vegetable that you haven’t heard of before!

This one is great for older children as well; you could find the locations on a map or prepare a newly discovered fruit or vegetable for the family to try.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

My First ABC by DK

My First ABC by DK is part of the “My First Books” series and it certainly lives up to that name. This sturdy board book is perfect as a first alphabet book for babies, with just a few clear and colorful photographs for each letter.

This visual style and layout is the easiest for babies to focus on at a very young age. A few months later, it lends itself beautifully to asking a baby or toddler “Can you find the ________?” and watching chubby little fingers proudly point to the item named.

Each photograph is labeled clearly, making it easy for adults to point to the word as we read it. This starts developing print awareness, the understanding that the little black marks on the page have meaning. An early understanding of this concept makes learning to read so much easier later on.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Sesame Street: Elmo’s ABC Lift-the-Flap

Elmo’s ABC Lift the Flap offers a rich experience in so many ways. The pages are busier than some of the other books I’ve mentioned, and a single two-page spread offers plenty to look at, find, discuss, or do.

Each letter is on a large flap that lifts up to reveal a picture and a sentence or two. Many smaller flaps throughout the book lift up to show pictures underneath. Almost everything on each page is clearly labeled.

If you want to keep the flaps intact, you might want to keep this book reserved for reading to and with your child, as opposed to reading by your child.

This is a great choice for toddlers and preschoolers who love Sesame Street and are familiar with the characters.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

 

A Is for Apple (Smart Kids Trace-And-Flip)

A Is For Apple is a simple book that offers so much. It’s an interactive book that offers a kinesthetic aspect, with grooved letter shapes for kids to trace with an index finger or stylus.

Uppercase and lowercase letters are included, with two simple pictures for each letter. One of the pictures is printed on a flap, and the other is revealed when the flap is lifted.

Perfect for children ages one to three, this book makes a great first birthday gift or gift for any one-year-old.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

 

Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham

Like Sleepy Little Alphabet and Max’s ABC, Z Is for Moose has a definite plot. It elicits giggles and roars of laughter, as Moose impatiently tries to claim his time on stage during Zebra’s ABC production. Be sure to look carefully at the illustrations to catch all the humor.

When Moose isn’t chosen to represent the letter “M,” his tantrum is epic, and readers will wonder how this situation can possibly be resolved. Because Z is NOT for Moose, right? Turns out that it can be, when friendship saves the day.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet
I hope you’ll use this list as a starting point for a baby’s or toddler’s alphabet book collection, or as inspiration for expanding the library of a preschooler or kindergartner.

Include alphabet books like these in your read alouds on a regular basis, and I promise you’ll be delighted with your child’s easy, natural progress.

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