Archive

Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Six Flags Reading Program Sign up

December 3rd, 2013

We always look forward to our annual visit to Six Flags Great America. Now is the time to prepare for it and motivate the kids to keep reading as well.

Follow the link to register your homeschooled kids to earn free admission for completing 6 hours of reading. https://feedback.sixflags.com/rts/default.aspx

Ready, Set, GO!

The Six Flags Read to Succeed Program is now accepting registrations for the 2013-2014 school year.

Go Big this school year when you and your students participate in the Six Flags 2013-2014 Read to Succeed Program.

Register for Read to Succeed 2013-2014

If you participated last year, your online account is still active. You can login and confirm your information is still correct and make any updates, if needed.

If you are new to the program, registration is now open so you can sign up today. Once you login to your account, you can download everything you need to get started from your Teacher Toolbox in your online account. Your Teacher Toolbox will have the Student Reading Log, Parent Letter and instructional guides. Your students can begin logging their hours as soon as you hand out the Student Reading Logs.

We appreciate your dedication to encouraging students to read and look forward to another successful school year.

Sincerely,

The Six Flags Read to Succeed Team
sixflags.com/read

Six Flags reading program coming soon

September 17th, 2012

Here’s the latest info from Six Flags. Registration opens in just a few weeks!

On behalf of Six Flags, I would like to thank you for your past participation in our Read to Succeed Six Hour Reading Club and provide you with some detail about our upcoming 2012-2013 program. In this electronic world that we live in, reading has become more important than ever. We plan to continue to do our part by offering you and your elementary school students free tickets to Six Flags when they participate in the Read to Succeed program.

Beginning October 9th, you will be able to register online for Read to Succeed at sixflags.com/read. At that time you will need to have the following information available to complete your registration:

  • Your name
  • Name of your school
  • Your email address
  • Your school’s physical address (for ticket delivery)
  • Number of students in each grade you teach

If you are a school coordinator (registering on behalf of multiple teachers) you will need:

  • Name of each teacher
  • Email address of each teacher
  • Approximate number of students in each grade each teacher teaches

We will send you another note on or before October 9th when the new Read to Succeed online registration form is ready to go.

Thank you again for your participation in Read to Succeed!

Sincerely,

The Six Flags Read to Succeed Team

Homeschool Book Award

April 14th, 2012

Received by email:

Welcome to the second year of the National Homeschool Book Award!
We are very excited to announce the 2012 nominees following a very
successful inaugural year!

www.nationalhomeschoolbookaward.com

It is free to participate, we announce the nominees November 2011, you
read the four nominated books and the voting will take place October
2012.

Beginning in January 2012, we will dedicate a month to each of the
four titles. Posting activities, snacks, links, and games that you can
use with your own kids or a book club. Sign up at the link below.

http://www.nationalhomeschoolbookaward.com/getinvolved.aspx

2012 Nominees are;

My Name is Mina by David Almond, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, The
Candymakers by Wendy Mass, and Selling Hope by Kristin O’Donnell
Tubb.

Looking forward to a great year of reading & fun!

Blair Loder
National Homeschool Book Award

More info by email: contact@nationalhomeschoolbookaward.com

Homeschool literature club

April 3rd, 2012

Received this via email:

HomeschoolLiterature.com is thrilled to announce the arrival of the first ever book club featuring fictional children’s books with homeschooled characters! This book club is designed BY homeschoolers FOR homeschoolers, and is perfect for co-ops, support groups, and family studies.

Each book in the HomeschoolLiterature.com Book Club is studied using a mixture of worksheets, hands-on activities, and online games. Activities are available for both older and younger student groups. All books included in the Book Club can be easily obtained either at your local library, local book stores, or via online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Best of all, participation in the HomeschoolLiterature.com Book Club is ABSOLUTELY FREE!! Simply come by HomeschoolLiterature.com to register, and you can access all of the Book Club materials immediately! While you are there, check out our large and growing list of book reviews for homeschoolers.

Kane County Cougar’s Reading program

September 30th, 2011

Once again it is time to prepare for Ozzie’s Reading Club. We have enjoyed this program for many years now. I like that it is not a preset reading goal, but you and the child determine what is best for them. It excites them about reading, and rewards them with a great outing in the spring.

If you would like to participate in 2012,  please contact Amy.

Amy Mason

Kane County Cougars § 1 Cougar Trail § Geneva, IL 60134

Phone: 630.232.8811 § FAX 630.232.8815

E-mail: ozziereadingclub@kanecountycougars.com
2012 OZZIE’S READING CLUB

Reading assistance

June 5th, 2011

Received information about this helpful resource from Steve and Robin Blaha:

We are former homeschoolers who for the last six
years have been providing one-on-one reading instruction in our
reading clinic.  Children of all ages, abilities or disabilities have
received all the tools they need to become proficient readers.
Parents are encouraged to participate in classes, therefore being
equipped to help their students with reading activities at home.  We
provide a warm relaxed environment and students are never blamed for
difficulties they may have.  They very soon blossom into confident,
capable readers.  We still have a few openings for our Summer Reading
Boost.

The details . . .

Organization Name: Academic Associates Reading Clinic

Contact: Steve or Robin Blaha

Location: 570 Forum Drive, Roselle, IL

Email: academicassociates1@yahoo.com

Website: www.everychildcanread.com

Phone: 630-307-0777

TOS Crew Review — Read for the Heart

May 27th, 2011

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Reading is an integral part of learning, and more so it is an irremovable part of our family life. Because of this, I am constantly on the lookout for good books. You know the ones. The ones that have withstood the test of time. The ones that both boys and girls can’t wait to hear more of. The ones during which you would never fall asleep. The ones that spark meaningful conversation even after you have closed the cover for the last time.

Sarah Clarkson wrote Read for the Heart to do more than just recommend some good books. She wrote it to help cast a vision for giving reading a place of prominence in your home. By the time you get to the book list you can’t help but be fingering your library card debating which book to put on hold or check out first. I know reading is important, but this book helped reignite my desire to pass my love of reading on to my kids.

Product: Read for the Heart

Details: A 384 page book with encouragement to make family reading and individual reading time a priority. Over 300 of the pages are lists of books that include summaries and background information to help you choose the best reads for your family and your kids.

Price: $17

What I loved . . .

  • Inspiring. I can find oodles of book lists all over the internet. While I appreciate getting a good book recommendation now and then, I really appreciated Sarah’s casting of a vision for reading. I love to read, and yet it is one of the first things I drop from my schedule when time gets tight. She reminded me with a passion how important time spent reading is in our home and school.
  • Personally and statistically supported. Creating beautiful word pictures, the author shares what crafted this love for reading in her heart. And, she shares statistics, quotes, and other encouragement as to the importance of reading. We owe it to the development of our kids’ minds to read early and read often, and this book can be a great catalyst to encourage you in the endeavor and give you the tools (great books!) to enjoy doing so.
  • Lists and more lists. Not just an alphabetical listing of books (although the index does provide that), this book breaks down the lists by popular genres (historical literature, fairy tales, picture books, etc.) Beyond that, each entry includes the author, other books by the author, illustrator, copyright date, and a brief summary of the book. A few quick lists also reference Caldecott winners, Newberry winners, and books especially for boys, girls, and families reading together.
  • Reading tips. Aside from rich motivation and abundant lists, she also gives some tips to making reading time special. From locations to treats she will stir your own imagination in this area.
  • A must have book. This book offers an incredible resource when doing your book shopping. I am always looking at books at a used book sale and trying to figure out by reading a sentence here and there if I or my kids will like the particular book. I will definitely bring this guide along with me now to see what it has to say when purchasing unfamiliar books. Obviously it won’t have all the good books listed either, but it does have many, and many that I am not familiar with as well. I look forward to bringing Sarah with me to all the book sales now and ask her advice before  I buy. :)

Some considerations . . .

  • One person’s opinion. You might feel differently. Her glowing opinion will not guarantee that you will like it. For example, she loved Across Five Aprils (which I have also heard many other people rave about), and I had to force myself to trudge through this book with my kids a few years ago. I was not impressed. But, we are all entitled to our own opinions and will love what others didn’t and vice versa.  You will still need to determine what books are a good fit for your family’s interests, values, attention span, academic subject, and personalities.

This book stirred up an incredible amount of enthusiasm within me. I cannot wait to finalize plans for the coming school year and include some of the great books recommended in this resource. I would strongly recommend this book to any homeschooling mom needing encouragement and ideas for making reading come to life in your home. You can check out the table of contents as well as a sample chapter if you would like to see a bit of the book for yourself and accept Sarah Clarkson’s invitation to more than just a “reading list, but to a reading life.”

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Apologia as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.



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TOS Crew Review — Go go Kabongo!

April 4th, 2011

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I love when education comes cleverly disguised in fun games, my kids do, too. Go Go Kabongo while still in beta form has plenty of educational fun to offer its subscribers. This is geared toward 4-7 year olds and since I have two that fall in the category, we figured we could give it a try.

At first my daughter thought the characters were a little creepy, but they have a quirky appeal to them and she was won over pretty quickly.

For example, here’s Karl:

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You might catch him saying chuckle worthy things like, “I have never felt better . . . unfortunately.” I don’t know that the kids grasped his humor, but I couldn’t help snickering as they played.

Product: Go Go Kabongo

Details: An online world for kids to build pre-reading skills in a fun, interactive environment that rewards them for learning.  Each habitat offers three different learning games and a different alien-like host to take you through them. The games involve letter recognition, sound identification, sequences, mazes, and more.

Price: $4.95 per habitat, but if you sign  up now you can get two free. There currently are three total. This is a one time purchase.

What we loved . . .

  • Builds pre-reading skills. While my kids are kind of more in the early reader category they did still enjoy these games. However, they are definitely geared toward the pre-reader as I would say most of the games are to help build reading readiness. They seem like they would be effective in doing this, but I didn’t have any non-readers to test it out on, except my 10 month old and he doesn’t know how to use the mouse, yet.
  • Offers rewards. Each game provides rewards that they can choose. Sometimes they can pick a sticker for the comic book area, a decoration for their treehouse, or an item for their skate park.
  • Easily navigable. My kids found their way around without any help from me. They easily knew what to do by listening to the characters and following the arrows. If they weren’t reading they might have needed some help finding the map and knowing what the items were that they hovered over initially. After playing a couple times they would likely remember what was where, but they would likely not be able to read “Avatar Maker” and “Comic Book Maker.”
  • Helpful emails. Each week you receive an email update about what your child did that week. If they were not there the email lets you know they were missed. If they did an activity you will get an entry like this in the email:
  • Game Level Skill
    Design A Door 4 Spatial Awareness: Being able to visually determine the placement of objects in space helps readers begin to identify sight words and particular letter groups as representing certain sounds.
  • More on the email. The email also gives you tips on extending the activities and topics that they cover as well as other online resources that you might find helpful.

Some considerations . . .

  • Beta version. As a beta version you will still find some glitchy areas. Sometimes the rewards for the games would be blank rather than images of their choices. Sometimes they would say, “Decoration 22,” and sometimes they do what they are supposed to.
  • Limited habitats. Each habitat has three activities so you are basically able to get up to 9 minigames total. I expect they will add more as the site grows, but for now it offers somewhat limited gaming variety. However, at a price of $4.95 for three games, you’re not going to go wrong either.

Go Go Kabongo was a winner with my kids. Not fantastically so, but they did enjoy it and played it in their free time on occasion. A couple of the activities involved identifying certain letters (b then p then d) and this was great for my child that struggles with reversals at times. The characters were cute, as long as you could get past their creepiness, the games were simple, but fun, and my kids did enjoy decorating their treehouse and tweaking their avatar. Lots of winning elements in a program that can benefit the pre-reader in your house.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through GoGoKabongo as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.



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TOS Crew Review — Zeezok movie review

April 1st, 2011

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Great books and great movies need to be savored. A quick viewing, or a quick read through might be enjoyable, but you will get far more out of a book or movie if you take some time to discuss the contents and participate in activities intended to draw out the meaning and experiences in the story.

Zeezok has taken films with educational value and created movie guides to accompany them. These can easily fill a week of activities or be spread out over a few weeks. Students should view the movie, and possibly even read or listen to the book as well before or during the completion of the other suggested activities.  We did choose to listen to the audio book during our car rides so we could all have a good comparison of both the book and movie, although the guide is based on the movie.

The movie and book that we studied was My Side of the Mountain. It tells the story of a boy, Sam Gribley who went out into the mountains to try to prove himself as an outdoorsman. He lives on his own, relying on his naturalist know-how to survive. We loved how he trained a falcon to help him hunt food. He made clothes of deer skin and stored up provisions for the long, cold winter that would come to the mountains. The story tells of the challenges of living away from civilization and modern day conveniences and prompted lots of conversation in our house about what it would be like to live on your own like that. Some of my kids would jump at the chance (but probably be home by dinner), and others had no desire to prove anything by leaving the comforts of home. Either way, we enjoyed learning from Sam Gribley’s experiences.

Product: My Side of the Mountain Movie Guide

Details: A downloadable 32 page teacher’s guide to lead students through a middle-school unit study based on the movie My Side of the Mountain.

Price: $12.99

What we loved . . .

  • Movie day! I don’t use videos or movies as part of my teaching day very often, so for my kids to watch a movie as part of class was pretty exciting. Brought back memories of junior high science and the thrill of a period “off” when you saw the tell-tale movie or slide projector in the back of the room. Well before the day of DVDs, of course.
  • Interactive. After viewing the movie we got to dig into the guide and the suggested activities. While many of the activities were discussions of various aspects of the movie and related topics, they did also have a good representation of activities that required internet research, drawing, creative writing, outdoor observation, and other related tasks.
  • Great for the whole family. While this is geared toward middle school kids, we watched the movie together and read the book together. We also enjoyed some of the discussions in the movie guide together. Some of the topics obviously got a little over the younger one’s heads, but they all participated at some point. The young ones definitely enjoyed the nature walk and discussion of wilderness survival.
  • Summaries and answer keys. No good teacher’s guide could be without an answer key and summaries to jog your memory. They had helpful recaps of sections of the movie and had all the answers so I knew if my kids were on the right track.
  • Well designed. The movie guide gives you the activities and one option for going through the activities. Families could easily tweak the topics and cover them in a different order or more slowly if desired. Using all the activities would definitely give the viewer a good background to the various issues, animals, and characters in the movie, and book
  • Worldview discussion. We are really big on worldview discussion in our house, so I was excited to see a discussion outline centered specifically around worldview. This took the movie to a personal level and helps draw out some of the philosophical undertones in the film and book. I would have liked to see even more in this area including exploration of the worldview of Thoreau and possibly the movie director.

Some considerations . . .

  • You will need other materials. Obviously, if you are doing a movie guide you will need to get your hands on the movie as the whole basis for the study. We easily found a copy at our library.
  • This book/movie talks about Thoreau. They focus mostly on his naturalist abilities, but in the movie guide it has an activity which involves memorizing a passage from Thoreau’s book, Civil Disobedience. While it is an interesting passage to discuss (focusing on the responsibility of the individual over the government), I would have rather read and discussed it and left the memory work to Psalm 19 or some passage of Scripture recognizing God’s handiwork in nature.

These movie guides (there are many others available) would add a little pop to many topics of study. Using these guides and the corresponding movies, families can enjoy a change of pace and some interesting conversation. We found it easy to incorporate into our other lessons and enjoyable for each of the kids to participate and learn. Check out their other movie guides as well to see if one might fit a subject you currently have in your studies. And, check out the other reviews since many different movie guides were received and reviewed by other crew members.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Zeezok as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.



TOS Crew Review — Reading Kingdom

March 7th, 2011

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Let me introduce you to a new friend of ours. My son named him Nate. This friendly owl is helping teach my kids to read and write, and doing a pretty good job of it, I might add.

Through Reading Kingdom, my 5, 7, and 9 year olds are interacting with letters and sounds in a brand new way. This program tackles more than just learning to read. It identifies six skills required for successful reading. The six skills are: sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar and comprehension. So, it doesn’t start with sounds, it starts with learning sequences. Kids also learn to type in the process since it is a computer based program and they must be able to type to interact with it.

After some time in the introductory levels, my son made it out of Letter Land. He was thrilled when he made it to the soccer field today:
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Reading Kingdom focuses on whole word recognition and alternating between clicking correct words and then typing them out to reinforce the word. This is a great integration of learning styles and keeps the kids as active participants in the learning process. Great for active learners and for kids who might also struggle with reversals. The word-focus is clear and builds one step at a time.

Product: Reading Kingdom

Details: An online program that helps 4-10 year olds learn to read through a third grade level.

Price: $19.99 per month or $199.99 for a year. Additional children are $9.99 each per month

What we loved . . .

  • Game based, but solidly educational. While Reading Kingdom involves games and game type graphics, it is all about learning the skills needed to read. Children interact with helpful cartoon characters to begin building their reading vocabulary.
  • Rechecks learning. The program naturally includes quite a bit of review and retesting. This helps them to confirm mastery of the topics and skills. It is brief, so I did not find it boring to my kids, but it did make sure that they were ready to move on.
  • Teaches the little words. One of the foundational principles for Reading Kingdom is that much of our language is made up of those little words that hold the sentences together, but early readers often miss. So, they focus on them and drill them, and repeat them, and make sure that the kids notice them, read them, and understand them. I think this is a great component of the program.
  • Short sessions. Because reading does involve some tedious exercises, they break it down into very small lessons. If the kids are having fun and want to continue they can easily do more. But, they are not pressed to continue for 45 minutes or more on repetitive lessons that are helpful, but sometimes not very exciting. My son would do one lesson in a sitting, my daughter would sit for three or four. It was nice to have that flexibility and not feel like they were leaving in the middle of something.
  • Excellent program for kids that rush or struggle with letter order. My 9 year old has a tendency to rush. Although she can read, she likes to skip things, filling in the mental gaps as she goes. This program won’t allow that. She has to click what they tell her to. She has to type the letters they ask for. She has to spend the time to slowly make the progress and show what she knows. In order to do well she needs to make sure that she gets letters in the right order and at the right time to move on successfully.

Some considerations . . .

  • Program can be touchy at times. This is my biggest beef with a program that we really liked overall. My 7 year old daughter was getting really frustrated and bored stuck in the training part of the program (Letter Land and Sequences) and she is already a good beginner reader, so I figure I would help her out. **Ahem** I know, I should let them learn and not step in, but I knew she knew this stuff, she just kept making little mistakes in the way she entered the letters. So, I stepped in to save the day. Well, after a few minutes, I realized she was better off without me. ;) On one screen I would type too fast and it would not register my typing. Another page I would try typing instead of clicking the letters and would get it wrong. I was taking her backwards instead of forwards. After a session of failure I did start to have it figured out and began to improve. A few more sessions and I got her out of Letter Land. She is now much more happily and successfully living in the land of Reading and Writing Level 1. And, we both learned a bit in the process.
  • Sometimes I didn’t know where they were going. They have some interesting exercises. They show a sequence of letters and then kids need to pick it out of a longer sequence of letters. They teach apostrophes and quotation marks.  And, while I’m sure they have a purpose, sometimes they just seemed cumbersome to the kids. I understand why the sequences are important, but they just seem to need an awful lot of repetition to get their point across.
  • NOT phonics based. In fact, the author is quite clearly against phonics instruction. She makes some claims that I disagree with regarding phonics, but I guess she is entitled to her professional opinion. I can see the benefit to combing whole language and phonics, but I have worked with too many kids to discredit phonics based programs entirely. I do agree that there are bad phonics programs out there, and many of her criticisms would hold true in those, but there are also great phonics programs that her criticism would not hold up against. To hear all of the differences between this and other reading programs, check out this document.
  • Would be nice if it repeated words at times. This is just a personal preference I suppose. But, there were times when my child would be celebrating a right answer and miss the instructions for the next screen, or would not hear the word they were supposed to type. There was no way to go back and hear it again and so they were left to guess what they were supposed to do.

This was an interesting program, definitely different than other reading program that we have used in the past. Some things we loved, some things that left me sour. You can see for yourself if this program is a great fit for your kids with their free trial. It would definitely be worth giving it a try, and if you have a struggling reader in your home, this could be the key that unlocks the world of reading for them. I would definitely encourage a melding of this with a phonics program, but it can give kids a confidence boost to get them on their way.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Reading Kingdom as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

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