Archives For reading

Baby, Baby! Board Book

Heather —  September 29, 2016

Baby, Baby! is a cute board book by Diane Stortz, illustrated by Ailie Busby. The book showcases typical baby abilities while teaching about God’s love. Baby will enjoy rhymes, colorful illustrations, a big mirror, familiar activities, and other smiley babies. This book combines all these features into a short rhyming poem, ending with a reminder that Baby will always be loved by God. #BabyBaby #FlyBy Take a peek at what we thought about this book:

This board book for babies is a nice gift for baby or a baby shower. To view book or purchase it: http://tinyurl.com/zglnavk

Want to win one? Leave me a comment about your favorite baby book!

I will draw one winner from commenters. Giveaways are open to continental U.S. residents and Canada only.  Ends 10/9/2016.
Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
child using e-reader on iPad

It is Summer! An extra good time to relax and learn while having a good time…

As a home educator and a mom, I really count on technology to provide my kids with all kinds of resources and activities.

The tech resource getting the most use lately in our homeschool and home is my our iPad.

From using safari for quick research, to watching documentaries, to reviewing apps with whiteboards and algebra, my teens get a lot out of the iPad. My youngest really likes the iPad most for watching shows and playing games. I am okay with that, but I try to find at least educational games and things for her on there.

A new e-reading platform launched by Ruckus Media Group called the Ruckus Reader turned our iPad into a fun e-Reader for my baby!

The Ruckus Reader IS the main technology. Within that, there are loads of digital storybooks you can download for your children. Right now, I think there are about 30 titles that work with this format. The titles range from the storybooks to interactive readers (iReaders and eReaders) that have both the story and then games and maybe video as well, and also some of my favorites — the video books, great stories narrated by celebrities.

The titles are basically for kids 3 to 8. You will see old favorites like My Little Pony, Curious George, Crayola. Many publishers are working with Ruckus Reader, so there are many ebooks so far, and more are being added all the time. I just got a notice to go update and get a new ebook that was just added, in fact.

I like that there is a real variety of fiction and non-fiction, and the videos and such. My daughter is already a good reader, so I am not using the app to teach reading so much, but for the younger children, many of the titles are designed to build upon each other and help children learn to read, while the included games actually measure the child’s progress.

You can download Ruckus Reader titles individually, but it is great to download the whole library! The price is very reasonable at $24.99 for six months, as you get access to over 25 titles. OR, you can get the first title in a series for free, then pay $3.99 each or 2 for $5.99. My daughter and I loved getting the entire library, it felt like Christmas downloading like crazy!

Our favorite titles in this Ruckus Reader?

I love, love the SeaWorld Bookshelf. This includes Sharks, Penguins and Whales.

My daughters favorites include My Little Pony and Transformers.

We are both looking forward to one that is coming: Cyberchase!

There is a nice twist on this App, as it keeps track of my child’s progress and emails me updates, called the Reader Meter, weekly.

So what are the Cons?

  1. I worry that I will lose all the ebooks we have if I do not get this again in six months.
  2. I wish all the ebooks would stay under one main icon on my iPad (I hate having lots of icons all over the screen)
  3. Although the technology for the reading is designed around state standards, it is still a new technology. So far, my meter reader is a little off and doesn’t “know” that my child is a good reader. I have seen this with several of our technologies that keep track of childrens progress. It is still a developing technology.

What are the Pros?

  1. I have tons of really well designed eReaders, iReaders and Videos right on my iPad desktop.
  2. With the six month subscription, I have almost 30 ebooks already, o that is less than .99 cents an eReader, iReader or video. And, I will continue to get more.
  3. All are educational in nature and suitable for her age. She does not get frustrated and need help, but sits and plays.
  4. The titles include tons of characters she knows like Curious George and My Little Pony, plus old classic stories that she enjoys.
  5. Most of these titles have options so they can read the book to the child and they lead the child in the games
  6. The reader meter does keep track of what my child spends time on and I can eve email that info to her dad and grandparents (you can set it to email to up to four email accounts)
  7. The App notifies me when new titles are available.
  8. I love the little library shelves in the App. Adorable setup

All in all, I really recommend the Ruckus Reader App. Go take a look! You can connect with Ruckus Reader:

Website

Facebook

*I received a trial membership for Ruckus Reader in order to do this review. I have given my honest opinion.

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I am joining another book club! I love these. Today is the kick off for reading and sharing.

We read and chat about the chapters on facebook or by blog post. No worries, no pressure.

Amanda, of The Pelser’s A Shelter for the Heart, is hosting this and she has all kinds of information in the Shepherding a Child’s Heart Book Club announcement post.

Go check it out. I would love to see some old friends participate with me, hint, hint!

Talking Fingers TOS Review

Heather —  October 11, 2010

She is concentrating on keeping her fingers in the correct typing position!

Talking Fingers is described as “Revolutionary reading software that includes phonics, spelling, keyboarding and word processing.”

To be honest, when I first logged my five year old into the program, I was a bit put off by the talking hands.

BUT, after working through the program and seeing how it actually works, how interactive it is and how appealing it is to my daughter, I have to say, this program is a winner.

Last year, I reviewed a few great programs. One was a typing program. One was a phonics program. They were both good. But, I want to say that this is different, better. This program manages to effectively teach several things at the same time.

With this program, my daughter is learning to type, and learning phonics, reading…spelling. AND, she wants to do all these difficult things, mainly because she is involved in the story.

talking fingers1

What story? Well, the program for Talking Fingers incorporates a storyline. Your child will be fighting off a bad little green guy, and making plenty of friends (one for each letter of the alphabet) while working through all their lessons.

I was surprised how into the lessons/game my daughter got! The plot and experience definitely appeal to a 5 year old.
From time to time, she has gotten a bit frustrated—mainly because this work is not easy—this is a serious learning program. She has to use the correct fingers for typing, and listen and sound out things…and she is in the beginning levels.

Yesterday, just when she was the most frustrated, she managed to pass a “level” and then got an award certificate to print out. This certificate had a couple of her favorite characters, and she was so proud!

If you have a child about 5 or older, I recommend trying out this program. You can find a link to try 8 free lessons or just a sample here: http://www.talkingfingers.com/online-demo/.

After poking around a little, I found out that Talking Fingers was “Founded in 1982 by neuropsychologist Dr. Jeannine Herron, Talking Fingers has based its software development on many years of research on how the young brain learns. In addition, the software is field-tested extensively in California schools.”

The Talking Fingers program is also correlated to State Standards.

Also, If you join their mailing list, you can get 20% off of your order.

You can also find info about Talking Fingers here:
http://www.talkingfingers.com
http://www.talkingfingers.com/blog
http://www.twitter.com/readwritetype

See what my crewmates have to say about Talking Fingers

I received Talking Fingers online lessons for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.

Purposeful Reading

Heather —  July 16, 2010
This one will read with me:)

This one will read with me:)

A good blog friend of mine, Annie Kate over at Tea Time with Annie Kate wrote a post today that reminded me of one of the reasons I love reading her blog…because her actions as a homeschool mom–and just as a person–are purposeful, considered and thoughtful.

Why do her posts strike such a chord for me? Well, I think it is that I tend to rush around a bit too much for my own liking, and have trouble sometimes, just sitting down and accomplishing things that I really want to do that take a bit of that sort of consideration and restfulness.

Anyway, today Annie Kate’s post was about keeping a list of books she has read, and participating in a meme that another blog friend, Kristin, over at A Day In The Life, is doing, called 52 Books in 52 weeks.

Not only did I absolutely love the list of read alouds Annie Kate included in her post, but because it is Summer, I was kind of struck by the meme. Hey, I want to do that, my mind just yelled. Which is funny, because I had seen that meme before, and thought Kristin was great for doing it…but I was too busy to really hear or care.

You can also go to the 52 books website...

go to the 52 books website...

Now, with Emma’s scare and diagnosis of epilepsy behind me, all the kids school, and whatever else seemed to happen to me–I’m pretty sure I’ve blocked some stuff out–it really has been a horrible year– basically what I now call my “lost Spring,” …now that’s behind me, and the book lover in me wants to read, wants to make a list, wants to sit down with ice tea and lemonade and do a read aloud, for God’s Sake!

There. I feel better. So, deep down, what appeals to me in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks meme is not whether or not I actually read 52 books. It is that I pay attention to an activity I love, and make a record of some of that….and especially that I add some read alouds, read lazily but with purposefulness, to any remaining babies who will sit with mom and listen…

51dzP4iA3lL._SL300_Wish me luck. If you want in, please join up. Take a look at Kristen’s and Annie Kate’s lists. Sit on the couch and read more than just “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy” by Mo Willams (we LOVE that one, but that’s like a warm-up-:)

If you have any ideas for great read alouds, please leave me a comment!

Anyway, this post kind of answers the 52 book question of the week–what makes me want to read a book? I always want to! I just have to make time. And, here’s a link to one of my reviews to get me started: Wholesome and Fun Summer Read For Teens, a review of Trouble With Treasure, by Susan Marlow.

Learning for her, Mom time for me!

Learning for her, Mom time for me!

I am enjoying the busy, warm, fun days of Summer right now, and I honestly do not want to talk about school much at all! However, I do think lying by the pool, going on nature walks and letting my children plan menus on these lazy Summer days are all forms of education also, so…I do believe it is true that teaching is always going on one way or another for all parents!

I hope you are enjoying times of rest and peace with your children. I have to admit, our days have been either absolutely lovely or I am pulling my hair out, wondering what just happened to our peace. Anyway, last Summer, I began the season with more rules. This time around, I was a bit more relaxed.

After two weeks into it, I am going back to one rule–the We Are Having A Siesta rule. I posted about this last year (read here: have a summer siesta for your kids!) and it really worked well for us to have an hour of quiet and rest after lunch, with reading, but always in the same spot and no getting up and running around and NO electronics.

I am not sure how I forgot to do this again until now, but now we are doing it again:) What are some of your favorite ways to support yourself and your kids during the Summer?

Big Helps for Little Readers

Heather —  April 12, 2010

All About Spelling

Summary & Rating: 5 I am really impressed and intrigued by the products used with the All About Spelling (AAS) and the All About Reading (AAR) curriculum. While I have not used the entire program we are enjoying the two readers we have and many of my crewmates have a very high regard for the whole All About Spelling program.

Now, the All About Reading is a component of the entire reading and spelling program, and the book I am reviewing today is the second book in the AAR library. This What Am I? collection of short stories follows up where the first Beehive Reader (now titled Cobweb the Cat) left off. (You can see my review of Cobweb the Cat, here)

And, thank goodness this second reader came quickly, because my brand new reader, Em, has been waiting expectedly for this next book! She loves these and is very proud of her “readers.”

As with the first reader, I was impressed with the quality of the book. This reader also has a nice, sturdy hardbound cover and is a perfect size for small hands. The paper quality is good and the binding is tight–all things I want for a book my little one will be carrying everywhere.

The stories within the book are delightfully illustrated and the reader contains quite a few short tales that definitely appeal to my child! Many of the same characters appear from the first book, which is nice for continuity for the kids.

Now, with these readers, while they are useful and fun on their own, they are also designed to meet a certain reading level…a reading need. So, for example, What Am I? coordinates with the first 14 steps in All About Spelling Level Two.

You can currently purchase the readers on the All About Spelling website and soon, there will be an entire All About Reading program that will include more decoding skills, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and reading practice. I am hoping to review that!

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

The All About Reading, What Am I? Book was provided to me for my review and I have given my unbiased opinion.

Beehive Reader

Rating & Summary: 5 If you have a beginning reader, you will adore this. We actually found out that my daughter was reading when she opened up the Beehive Reader and started reading it to us! As no one had read this to her yet, we knew she could do it. She thought the stories were hysterical. I was a bit in shock, but ran and got my cellphone and took the movie below:)

This charming hardbound children’s book  is more than a delightful storybook. It is also a phonics based Reader. Darling illustrations and catchy storylines will get your child’s attention!

The reader can be used alone or with the All About Spelling Curriculum (AAS)–this particular reader correlates with AAS level 1. I have not used the program, but many people I know like the entire program. After seeing the quality of this reader, I know I need the All About Spelling Program:)

I also like the size–5.5×8.5–perfect for small hands. The quality of the binding and pages pleased me. I was surprised to find the inside illustrations in black and white, but that actually helps to not distract from the text.

The reader has 160 pages and some creative tales that are perfect for kids:

…a busy cat lives in a windmill
…a sleepy bear cub takes a nap
…a grumpy duck demands a snack
…a singing bat befriends a lonely king
… a curious boy shrinks from tall to small

You can see a sample from “At The Pond,” here.

The Beehive Reader sells for $19.99. At first, I thought this was pricey. But, then I thought about the fact that it is well bound and has 160 pages–and, created to teach reading skills–not just for fun. So, the stories are specifically targeted to help new readers do well and not get frustrated–for me, that is money well spent.

You can purchase the reader and the All About Spelling Program on their website, here.

There are also plans for another reader to come out in the Spring. I will be looking for it!

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say about AAS and the Beehive Reader, click here.

The Beehive Reader was provided to me for the purpose of my review. I have expressed my unbiased opinion on this product.