Free Printable Christmas Mad Libs

Christmas Mad Libs

Do you love fun and silly family activities? My kids were cracking up last week as I reminisced about the footy pajamas I got every year for Christmas . . . with butt flaps. Remember those? (Super classy!) Anyway, I decided to include the idea in a Christmas mad libs type letter. It's a free printable and should be silly enough for some good laughs. Christmas Mad … [Read more...]

Summarizing Fiction

FLOW MAP

Now that we've covered determining importance and summarizing nonfiction, let's talk about summarizing strategies for fiction. This is SO hard for those natural retellers who want to tell you every last detail of the story. That's why summarizing has to be taught, modeled, and practiced. A lot. Flow Maps Flow maps are thinking maps for sequencing the main events in a … [Read more...]

Summarizing with Thinking Maps

TREE MAP

Summarizing doesn't come easily for most kids. Most kids are natural retellers. You know, those kids who tell you every last detail of a movie that they just watched? (Oh, the agony!) :) Which is why I want to tell you about using thinking maps (graphic organizers) to write summaries. The goal with summarizing, unlike retelling, is to only pull out the main idea and key … [Read more...]

Writing Gifts for Kids

gifts for kids

Are you looking for gifts for kids who like to write or to inspire them to write? Sometimes all it takes for kids (and me) to want to write is a brand new journal and a pen that is awesome. Have you ever noticed that, too? Gifts for Kids Who Like to Write 1. My ABC Keepsake Book (age 3+) I think the My ABC Book Keepsake is so cute --  it's filled with eye-catching … [Read more...]

Word Play Kids Love

word play

Get kids loving and learning words with these 5 fun word play activities -- guaranteed to entertain and delight! 1. Tongue Twisters My daughter’s drama teachers uses tongue twisters as a warm up. And we love practicing them at the dinner table. We mess up the words all the time which cracks us up. Try our favorite tongue twisters: Unique New York. Toy boat. Irish wrist … [Read more...]

Make Your Own Note Card Book

notecard book

Make your own book with this quick and easy handmade book idea. All you need are large notecards and a stapler. And, for illustration help, consider using Mudpuppy's sturdy stencils for kids. We think they're indestructible! Make Your Own Book Fold large notecards in half. Take your stapler and staple in the crease at the top and the bottom. See how easy it is to … [Read more...]

Punctuation Hunt

punctuationhunt2

Punctuation is  a very important part of writing. And for some kids, it can be a bit hard to master. Sure, a period goes at the end of a sentence, but those commas can be tricky. I wanted my beginning writers to start noticing punctuation marks and see examples of correct usage, so I sent them on a punctuation hunt. I grabbed an old magazine that was headed for the … [Read more...]

Collaborative Story Writing for Kids (in the Digital Age)

collaborative storytelling for kids

Our teenage babysitter gave us the BEST writing idea -- and my kids took off with it! A Collaborative Email Story Writing Idea In a collaborative story, each person takes turns telling the part of the story. 1. Pick the Writers Invite trusted friends, babysitters, or family members to write the story with you. If your kids have email like mine do, be sure that you … [Read more...]

15 Ways for Kids to Learn New Vocabulary

how to learn vocabulary words

Fluent readers need a big vocabulary. The more words a child knows, the better reader and writer he is. (Anderson and Freebody, 1981; Graves, 1986; Stahl, 1998) (DOE, NAEP, 2011) So it's up to us as parents to help our children develop a large vocabulary. The best way to learn new words is to use them, play with them, listen to them, and apply them. While it is possible … [Read more...]

Storytelling Activities for Kids

Storytelling Play

Storytelling activities allows children to stretch their thinking and imaginations. Here are more storytelling activities and ideas to inspire word play, storytelling, and writing. Storytelling Play Activities for Kids 1. Haikubes  Haikubes are meant to inspire haiku but we use them to make silly sentences and start stories. They make a great centerpiece for the dinner … [Read more...]