Book Review ~ ‘Clever Tykes’ storybooks

The Impressionists Boolino Art Book Review Moonlight Publishing

 Book review ~ ‘Clever Tykes’

Clever Tykes storybooks aim to inspire positivity, resourcefulness and enterprising behaviour in their target market of 6-10 year olds.  And let’s cut to the chase because in my opinion, they all do just that.  Back in January 2017 every primary school in the UK was gifted a set of these books which is fantastic and means that Clever Tykes books have the potential to empower a lot of our children… the future generations in fact.  No mean feat but utterly possible with this little collection!
Book Review ~ 'Clever Tykes' Storybooks

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The joys of bedtime reading

Our daughter loves to read.  She always has done.  From back in her first year at school when her phonics learning grew before our very eyes, with sounding out, blending, understanding, expanding her vocab… She’s always thrived in her literacy.

I’ve never held back in my passion of reading with children.  Our daughter is proof that by reading to them every day, then with them, as they learn to read, their literacy goes from strength to strength.

One way that we’ve continued to instil books into our girl’s daily life is with the fabulous old-fashioned bedtime story.

bedtime reading 2 literacy parenting imagination

I’m sure that the vast majority of households with young children build this into the evening routine.  But what about when your young child is growing at an alarming rate both physically and mentally?  What when they don’t want you to read to them or even with them any more?

I knew it would come some day and at 7 years old, that day inevitably came.  However, every cloud as a silver lining!  Why?  Our daughter now asks me to read my book while she reads hers, “Let’s read in our heads, Mummy!”  I’m more than happy to oblige with this because it gives me some down-time and chance to read a few pages to!

And after ‘lights out’, the torch goes on.  At first, she did this on the sly but soon realised that she wasn’t being told off for not going to sleep straight away and now reaches for her torch when it’s lights out.  And so her little bedtime reading adventure continues for a little while longer each night.  I remember myself that there’s something about being immersed into another world, while tucked up in bed, reading by torchlight.  It takes the magic and imagination to another level…

She often reads the same books that I did, such as the Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree books.  And that to me, is the most magical thing about the bedtime reading.  I distinctly remember all those wonderful characters literally coming alive from the pages of the book.  What a wonderful time and what wonderful memories!

How did you feel when reading the bedtime story out loud disappeared from your child’s routine?  Or do you still have it, but in a different way, like us?  I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment (below) or tweet me @AllSortsHere.  And come and say hi on social media ~ 

 

Thank you 🙂

~

Who else could I share this post with but the #DreamTeam, given that it’s bedtime reading?…

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Captain Pug book review #AdventuresofPug

Welcome to my ‘Captain Pug’  book review!

Captain Pug 1 review book for children Bloomsbury publishing Dog who sailed the seas fiction Laura James Eglantine Ceulema

Here we have a lovely little tail tale which follows Pug and Lady Miranda on a  nautical adventure.

The first thing I noticed was that, given it’s a book for children, at 124 pages long, it doesn’t take long for the author Laura James to build up Pug into a lovable character.

You see, Pug is afraid of water and isn’t very keen when Lady Miranda turns him into a seafaring Captain for a day!

Nonetheless, he perseveres and we come to the point when Pug faces his fear of water.  A fear that Lady Miranda is unaware of.  This worries Pug.

We now learn that when Pug gets sad and worried, he gets hungry.  As luck would have it, his nose leads him to an unattended picnic basket, which he falls into…

And so the adventure really starts… with a Pug-napped Pug!

The story moves on at a good pace, which is great for children.  James’ story-telling kept the attention of our little girl (aged 6), who loves a good book.

And what good story for children is complete without good illustrations?  They appear on every page and help to move the story on.

Captain Pug 1 review book for children Bloomsbury publishing Dog who sailed the seas fiction Laura James Eglantine Ceulemans literacy reading

One of our favourite parts was when Pug finds himself the captain of a boat in a rowing race.  He’s very worried about being on the ‘open sea’ but there’s no food to calm his nerves.  He barks and barks, which the crew take to be him ‘barking orders’ and row faster!

The speed worries Pug even more, but with no food on paw hand to calm him down, he barks more, which makes the oarsmen row even faster…

Will Captain Pug and his crew win the boat race?

I’ll leave it there for you to find out for yourselves!…

The final verdict from us?

A heart-warming, slightly farcical story for children; as we follow a pug who faces his fear.  Beautiful, colourful, quirky illustrations and endearing characters.

The right length to enable a good adventure to unfold.

A portable size too – perfect for little(ish) hands and to slip into a bag for an adventure on the move!

And a good price… published by Bloomsbury and available from Amazon
for £5.99

Join the conversation #AdventuresofPug

And include @AllSortsHere in the tweet!

~

And in January 2017…

Cowboy Pug is coming!  Yeee-haaa!

We’re looking forward to reading a new adventure with Pug 🙂

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We were sent this book to review but all opinions are my own. See here for my full disclosure policy.
Also, this post contains affiliate links.

~

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“Pretty post-its and pencils” ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

Pretty post-its and pencils ~ a poem

Pretty stationery pens postit notes postits pencils upcycle cot desk imagination literacy writing making creating parenting poem

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When my Mum and Dad upcycled my cot,

There was not one tiny detail that they forgot;

More holes were drilled in the legs to ensure

The top could be lifted to last me past four…

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There was space for my pen pots, for sellotape, and for glue

And paper a-plenty to make pictures for you.

My imagination station’s a place just for me,

To potter, to write, to develop literacy…

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And let’s not forget my maths and my sums,

Times-tables, number bonds ~ numeracy’s such fun!

I’ve made cards for my friends and my family too,

And even pets’ birthdays, they can’t read them, mind you!

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With paper, pens, pencils always ready for me,

My Imagination Station’s the place to be!

On an ipad or a tablet you can tap, touch and swipe,

But nothing beats paper, so don’t believe the hype!

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Yes technology’s great in this cyber age

But there’s something ’bout writing a story page by page…

We’ve even made paper, I learnt how to at school,

It sits on my desk, next to my very own pink rule…

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What I mean to say is that there are no rules,

With pretty post-its and pencils, my imaginative tools…

Creativity has no bounds, it’s true,

With mine, I’m never stuck for something to do…

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By Carol Cameleon 2016

The story behind the poem: I happened upon this little arrangement on our little girl’s desk.  I thought how pretty the bits and pieces looked randomly among her other creative tools!

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Got some writing to share? Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere using the #WonderfulWorldofWriting or #www hashtag and I’ll retweet!

WonderfulWorldofWriting

 

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The Library Archives and a Love of Books

Our little girl has a love of books and was really excited to browse the books at her school’s week of hosting the travelling book fair.  She had been promised a new book from us and after a quick perusal of the shelves, made a bee-line for What the Ladybird Heard Next
by Julia Donaldson.

The library archives and world book day reading literacy history books 2

This surprised me a little because she tends to be much more into chapter books than picture books these days.  She even got a new book storage cushion for Christmas!

It must be the very clever rhymes and therefore the rhythm of Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len’s misdemeanours!..

We’ve just recently moved house and joined the local library.  With our little girl enjoying reading so much, we were keen to get registered as soon as possible.

The ‘switch over’ from our old library got me to looking at the history of our old library accounts.  You might call them ‘the archives’.

The library archives and world book day reading literacy history books 1

You can just about barely (!) see in our little girl’s account that she has borrowed 289 books since she joined as a baby.  And that’s not including the books she’s got a home, some of which she has read over and over and over again!

Thankfully, the world of books is still at her fingertips and she loves to go along with us and using the machine to take out and return books.

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Do you visit your local library very often?  What does your child like best about it?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below 🙂 

*This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you happen to purchase something from the link you click, I get to have a little happiness too! 🙂 

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How to lay the foundations in phonics for your child

Walking home from a Phonics Presentation at our little girl’s new school, I reminisced in my own mind how we have laid the foundations in phonics, right from the day she came home from hospital for good.

literacy phonics reading writing parenting learning sounding vocab blending foundations

When she started her new school, she began on reading level 5.  By the end of her first week there she was up to level 11.  With comments from her teacher:

What a fantastic reader!

…To me, that tells a story of how you can encourage your child with reading and lay the foundations for phonics:

In the beginning –

Read, read, read with and to your child!  Read anything… read everything.  Read to them while they’re kicking around and babbling under their play gym, give them a little commentary of their surroundings while you push them in their pram.

The middle –

The more you read, the more their vocab increases, their recognition of different sounds, different letters, different tones, different fonts, different languages develops.

I’m not a professional or an expert in literacy but I do know that encouraging our little girl to read, making it fun, giving her confidence in her reading, praising all the time where due, has helped give her a love of reading and writing.  Her favourite books are currently the Rainbow Magic ones and I’m going to dig out my old Enid Blyton books which I’m sure she’ll enjoy too.

The ‘end’ –

With reading, I don’t think there is an ‘end’ in the sense that there’s always something new to read, always a different way of interpreting the written word.

In fact, this is just the beginning of our little girl’s literacy journey (and therefore our literacy journey with her).  An exciting ‘once upon a time’ 🙂

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What about you?  What did you do to encourage your child’s reading and phonics?  Have you got any tips for reluctant readers?  I’d love to hear in the comments below 🙂 

*This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you happen to purchase something from the link you click, I get to have a little happiness too! 🙂

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A novel book storage idea

When our little girl unwrapped a cushion from her Grandma and Pop for Christmas, she was really excited… and so was I!

Book cushion a novel book storage idea reading nook library organisation

Having been to a Christmas Fayre, my lovely Mum saw these brilliant cushions that double up as a novel book storage idea!

When our little girl saw that her cousin had a similar cushion, she was even more excited.

When she unwrapped 5 new Rainbow Magic books, she slotted a couple into the little pockets on her new cushion.

What a neat idea!

The cushion now flits between her reading nook and her bed, as do the cats most days.  I’m convinced that the cats enjoy a read when she’s not there!  She’s even been known to take it in the car with her over the Christmas break!

Our little girl chose to spend some of her Christmas money on a Rainbow Magic bookmark, which arrived just after Christmas.

What I love is that our little girl is being so very patient (mostly) because she’s pre-ordered another Rainbow Magic book for delivery in March…

Whereas I… well I haven’t got a lovely book cushion but I have managed to explore our new (to us) library and brought a couple of books home 🙂

To be perfectly honest, I was really disappointed with ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ by Jennifer Worth.  Having devoured a couple of her other books, I had high hopes for this one but just couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters which seemed more like character studies than the interesting insight into history that I was expecting.

So I tried a different genre, recommended by Maddy at Writing Bubble.  This one is by Liane Moriarty ‘Big Little Lies’ and I am enjoying it.  It’s hard to put down and I’ll hopefully report back in a few weeks 🙂

 

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The Imagination Station ~ #WonderfulWorldofWriting

WonderfulWorldofWriting blog writing linky nursery rhymes books by a little bear aged 5 primary school learning education literacy

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This week, the last in our little bear’s Reception year at ‘big’ school, I’m not penning a poem (like I did last week).  Instead, I’m handing the spotlight over to our little bear (aged 5) and her imagination station!

Hubby and I are passionate about reading to our little bear.  She has a desk that will grow with her as she goes through the various stages of development in literacy at school.  When I was blogging as Mummy Bear, I wrote this poem about changing her cot into a desk.  And she uses this desk daily.  At this stage of her life, she uses it for colouring, writing, sticking, crafting ~ being creative.  As she goes through school, I’m sure it will be used for more ‘focussed’ activities…

As the end of Reception approached, we began to sit at it (me/hubby teetering on the edge of a little chair!) while doing her homework.  This meant that it needed a good tidy up but it has also put her in the homework mindset.

Her desk gives her ready access to all things creative, ready access to all things that fuel a 5 year old’s imagination and this is what she came up with.

nursery rhymes book writing literacy inspired creative humpty dumpty wonderfulworldofwriting 1 edit collage

As I was pottering around, she asked me how to spell the odd word.  But really, the majority of this is her own work.  And that’s what makes me oh-so-very-proud 🙂

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Join in with #WonderfulWorldofWriting and link up with any genre of writing… I’ll share every post on twitter and other social media.  Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere and I’ll retweet (it’d be great if you could use #WonderfulWorldofWriting too!)

Linky open from 0600 Wednesday to midnight the following Tuesday GMT

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Books for children – developing speech and language

books for children to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years main abc pic final edit

I make no secret of my passionate belief that reading books to your children every day helps to develop their speech and language skills.  Right from when Our Little Bear was only just home from hospital as a newborn, I would read her cloth books while she happily kicked and gurgled under her play gym and at feeding time, in fact any time really.  Then she moved on to board books and took her abc’s and her 123’s in her stride.

Fast forward to 5 years later and there is no denying that all of this has stood her in very good stead with her literacy.  While in her first year at school, she has learnt her phonics, learnt to read and write and just recently her teacher told us that she is doing ‘fantastic’ with her spelling.  All of this reading to her and with her in the foundations of her early years can surely be no coincidence…

So, which books are recommended to develop your child’s speech and language skills?  Kimberly’s blogpost at MommyEdition talks us through a comprehensive list of books to do just that.

From read-aloud, nursery rhyme and picture books like ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ by Robert Louis Stevenson…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years 1

and books for the late talker like ‘The Einstein Syndrome’ by Thomas Sowell…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years einstein syndrome thomas sowell 1

 

to books about animals and classic stories like ‘Sammy: The Classroom Guinea Pig’ by Alix Berenzy…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years sammy classroom guinea pig alix berenzy 1

 

Do pop over to Kimberly’s post at MommyEdition for more information on the above books and follow MommyEdition on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest

…and let’s not forget the role that letter blocks and flash cards play like ‘Read with Biff, Chip & Kipper: Fun with Words’…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years biff chip kipper flashcards 1

Indeed, we used flashcards when our little bear first started her reading and it helped immensely.  It also helped that we had picked up the flashcards through hubby’s work book club that happened to be the same series that our bear’s class was using – the Biff, Chip and Kipper series from Oxford Reading Tree.  By turning it into a game, our bear had no idea that she was learning!

Of course, along with reading books to and with your child, talking to your child is a great stepping stone to great vocab, literacy and speech.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all words and opinions are my own.

So tell me, which books did you or do you enjoy reading with your child?  Were/are any of them the same ones that you read as a child?

Share in the comments below the link badges!

~

The Uncheshire Wife
The Twinkle Diaries

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The benefits of reading with our children ~ May #PaperyPeep

library benefits of books reading blog literacy imagination

On one of our most recent visits to the library, I had a chat with the librarian who knows our faces very well.  We go regularly, in between work, school and general life.

We used to go several times a week when I first returned to work after maternity leave.  Back then, I had 3 clear days off and we had more time to ‘play’ with.  As a result, our little bear absolutely loves our library and it’s been really lovely to see her go from the ‘book bus’ reading corner which contains board books, to chapter books like the Rainbow Magic series by Daisy Meadows (which she’s reading in this post).

On this visit, the librarian asked if I wouldn’t mind completing a short survey because they were looking to reduce the manned hours there.  Understandably, the librarian was very concerned, from her own personal (and financial) viewpoint but also for that of the community.

While Our Little Bear was at pre-school I remember one of their information posters which outlined the benefits of reading to and with children.  I was very pleased that we were already doing the suggested activities (and more) for the suggested amount of time.  We’ve been very fortunate that our little bear has a passion for books and has thrived in her reading at school.  She recently went up to stage 4 in the Biff, Chip and Kipper Oxford Reading Tree series.  (Proud Mummy-and-Daddy Moment!)  And read the whole book from beginning to end with no help – no mean feat with 24 pages at 5 years old, in my opinion…

Her love of reading has shown in her writing and spelling, too.  Just this week, she has got 40 out of 40 in a spelling test on high frequency words (also known as ‘tricky’ words).  You can see why I argue that literacy in our children is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle – the reading’s connected to the spelling to the writing…

With that in mind, it’s a real shame that part of the library ‘experience’ is likely to be affected by taking away that ‘stamping’ of the library book due to more self-service…

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Do you visit your library regularly?  Have you seen the benefits of reading to your little ones?

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Linking up to:

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