Top 3 releases in September 2019

Spring is here and many new books are being released as I’ve started noting down titles I am adding to the Christmas shopping list (am I allowed to talk about Christmas yet?) . If you have been following along with this series, you know that as speech pathologists, Tania and I are on the hunt for books which tell a good story (with strong story structure), sophisticated vocabulary and provide opportunities for back-and-forth conversation with your child as you read. You can catch our previous posts for June, July and August. Let’s get into this month’s picks!

1. Who’s Afraid of the Quite Nice Wolf? by Kitty Black and Laura Wood

“Who’s Afraid of the Quite Nice Wolf” is a funny, heart-warming story about friendship and finding the courage to be yourself. The story also introduces children to the idea of stereotypes and how to break away from them. There are many great Tier 2 vocabulary words to introduce to your kids in this book, including fearsome, bold, pleaded, commenced and retreat. Tier 2 words appear more commonly in written text than in conversation, so they are important for reading comprehension and they are usually able to be used in multiple contexts. Providing a kid-friendly definition of these words will help your child to understand them, rather than having to ‘guess’ the meaning from the rest of the sentence or context. For example, “If you say something has commenced, it has just started.” Another great element of this book is the print concepts you can highlight.

Who’s Afraid of the Quite Nice Wolf (New Frontier Publishing)

TOP READING TIP: Make Print Pop – “This poster says “WANTED” – it’s written in big letters to get people’s attention. The poster shows photos of wolves and the numbers written under it tell us how much money you would get if you can tell the police where they are.”

2. The Immortal Jellyfish by Sang Miao

Death is a difficult concept at any age group and psychologists recommend books to be a non-threatening platform to explore these topics with young children. In this book, a young boy’s grandfather dies suddenly and he feels overwhelmed and confused. To his delight, they meet again in a dream, where his grandfather takes him to Transfer City, where our departed loved ones live on through our memories. In this modern, Eastern telling of the afterlife, death is not an ending, but a new start to life, just like the Immortal Jellyfish which is constantly maturing and then regressing, staying as present as our deceased loved ones do in our memories. The illustrations of this book are magnificent and the imaginative narrative makes for a beautiful, accessible approach to the idea of death for young readers.

The Immortal Jellyfish (Flying Eye Books)

TOP READING TIP: Talk about your own experiences, helping your child transfer information from boooks to real-world contexts. e.g. “When my dog died, I printed photos of him doing all the things he loves. When I looked at the photos, it reminded me of the wonderful life we had together.”

3. Two For Me, One For You by Jörg Mühle

Two friends share three mushrooms… who will get the extra one? This book is a great introduction to the genre of persuasive text with the two characters, Bear and Weasel each coming up with one argument after another for why they should have more. A twist at the end of the story sees the two friends outwitted by another creature in the woods! This is a fun story to read, again filled with many opportunities to explore vocabulary with words such as stunned, delighted, agree and grumbling.

Two For Me, One For You (Gecko Press)

TOP READING TIP: Highlight comparative language – “Weasel wanted another, but Bear wanted even more.” “Bear argued that his stomach was bigger than Weasel’s. Do you think your stomach is bigger than your brother’s?”

Let us know if you have read any of these or have recommendations for any other awesome new releases this month!

As always, your favourite books for enriching oral language and early literacy development are featured in our wide range of themed book boxes. Browse our selection here and visit our social media feeds (Instagram and Facebook) to see and hear more about the books and activities.

Are your kids Fancy Nancys?

Some parents may be very familiar with Fancy Nancy (http://www.fancynancyworld.com/) – a fictional children’s book character who loves anything ‘fancy’. The books encourages kids to use sophisticated vocabulary like scrumptious (instead of yummy), exquisite (instead of pretty), gigantic (instead of big). While it is exciting for kids to delve into Nancy’s fancy world of delectable cupcakes, aspiring artistry and spectacular soccer games, there is merit in what the author is trying to do. Continue reading “Are your kids Fancy Nancys?”

Little Sponges

This morning my two year old daughter demanded “Beet-bic (Weet-bix)! Beet-bic here!” as she tapped on her highchair tray.  Before I could respond with my usual line “Be patient please.  Your Weetbix is coming.”  She yelled “Patient…patient!” nodding furiously in the hope this new word would make her Weetbix come faster.  Shocked at such sophisticated language use (and quietly beaming with pride), I placed the Weetbix in front of my little genius.  Well OK, genius?  Slight exaggeration but she is certainly a little sponge soaking up every word she hears!

Continue reading “Little Sponges”

Tripping in the car with kids?

‘I spy with my little eye’ another parent resorting to screen time to avoid the overplayed car games or backseat arguments between siblings on long car trips.  Guilty! As a child, I remember playing “punch buggy” which involved hitting your sibling when you spotted a VW, this was before devices of course. This generations’ version of ‘punch buggy’ is known as ‘Spotto’ and involves counting yellow cars (with no punching involved).   While many car games like ‘Spotto’, ‘Punch buggy’ or ‘I spy’ are observation games, these car trips are also an opportune time for your children to practice their vocabulary and word finding skills.  So when you have the energy these holidays, here are three easy and fun word games to play with your little people in the car that will build their vocabulary skills (plus you can rest assured that you will be setting your child up for literacy and life!)
Continue reading “Tripping in the car with kids?”

‘Pet parenting’ your kids?

I am ashamed to admit it but at times my toddler reminds me of the dog I never had. A rather uncouth comparison, there are an uncanny number of similarities between the way we parent canines and our offspring.

Recent studies suggest that the average dog is as smart as the average two year old child so perhaps my observations aren’t all a coincidence.

So here are 5 times my toddler has reminded me of a dog…so far (yes you read that correctly… lol)!

Continue reading “‘Pet parenting’ your kids?”

WordPLAY: Do your kids play with trucks, dolls AND words?

According to Einstein, “Play is the highest form of research” but does this just refer to water play or pretend play?
No! WordPLAY, the ability to understand, use and play with language, more specifically vocabulary, will have a significant impact on your child’s success in school and in life.

In fact, as Stahl and Nagy (2006) report, the size of children’s vocabulary knowledge is strongly related to how well they will come to understand what they read.

Continue reading “WordPLAY: Do your kids play with trucks, dolls AND words?”