Read Aloud with Children

5 May

Recently I have been working with my son on reading aloud, because his reading test at school shows his reading speed is below average. I am not too concerned about his reading speed, since I know he can read fast when he doesn’t have to read aloud. But I do want to work with him on reading aloud as a way to improve his self-expression and story telling skills.

To do a good job in reading aloud, kids have to learn to coordinate multiple tasks into a smooth process: “read by eyes”, “process information by brain”, and “read out aloud”. My son is good at each single task, but is not so good at putting all tasks together.

What I have been doing is to find short stories for us to read to each other. One book my son has enjoyed is the FREE Aesop for Children from Libray of Congress. They are short and all are good stories. We will each read 1 or 2 stories. Because they are short, I can find time to ask him read the words that he did not pronounce clearly again.

Another thing I just started doing is to listen to professional read children’s books together. One good resource I found is Caldecott Literature Series from New Hampshire Public Television. It has many prefessional read children’s books. While watching the videos, I asked my son to pay attention to the rhythm and intonation, and try to mimic how others reading the book. I try to point out the importance of pause – where and how long do you pause for a comma or a period.

Do you have to work with your child on reading aloud? What would you suggest to use for a school age child? Any tips you would like to share?


Free Online Math Games from PBS

23 Apr

Here is a collection of free online math games from PBS. Most games are for elementary kids.

free online math games from PBS

Free online books for kids

8 Apr

Since I have been working with my son on writing, and it is impossible to separate reading with writing.  I have found some great resources of free reading materials for kids.

The first one is Free Kids Books.  It offers children’s books for purchase.  Some books are free, but all books are available for free in PDF format.  You can print out the PDF and put them in binders.  The benefit of that is you can have your child draw or write on these pages, and it become the child’s creation too.

Read to Me is a website where kids can listen to books read by the authors.  A nice feature is for some books they have lesson plans that provide talking point and activity ideas.  It is a great help for parents.

Storyline Online is another site offers free books.  It is run by Screen Actors Guild Foundation, all books are read aloud by some very famous actors and actresses.  In addition to books, they also offer book related activities, which is always a welcoming feature for the busy parents who have no time to come up fun activity ideas for the kids.

Update: Now I find some more resources, and some are from comments.

Wegivebooks: is another great site for free children’s books.  Seems they have a very large selections.

Memetales: not completely free, but when you sign up, you get 15 books for free, and each week you get a new free book.  You can read it online, or on your iPhone/iPAD, or Android tablets, including Kindle.

Gutenberg project: it is a site with more than 30,000 free eBooks, either via Kindle or iBook.  Although they are not all for kids, but there are a lot kids books, including picture books.

Do you use any online resources for reading?  Would mind sharing with everyone?

How to help child in writing

26 Mar

I have been trying to have my son to write more. I think it is a critical skill for kids to have, no matter what they decide to do when they grow up.

I found this wonderful article series on ThisReadingMama. It shares some very good thoughts and tips on helping kids to write. Now thinking back, I realized I have done something wrong before.

Here is what I learned:
1. We should make the kids feel they are the author, meaning they decide what they want to write. It doesn’t mean we cannot offer ideas, but we should respect kids being the author.
2. A good way to help kids coming up ideas and structure their thoughts is to model the writing process. We work with the kids, think aloud, so they can hear our thinking process, and know how do we structure our thoughts.  Kids need know it is not a linear process, and it is ok to change from your original plan.
3. A good tip I learned is, when reading books together, discuss how other authors put together their stories. How did they start the story? How did they make the transitions between chapters, so the readers stay hooked? How did they end the stories? Before, when we talk about books, we mostly just talk about the story itself, now I know we should also talk about the writing.

I have only finished two articles in the series. If you are trying to help your child in writing, I highly recommend reading the whole series. I’d love to hear what do you think about her articles and what is your tip of helping kids to write more.

Great online resource for Pi Day

16 Mar

It was Pi Day two days ago.  I was able to find some very interesting websites that are math related.

First, is this great infographic It is very big, probably not reasonable to print out at home.  But I was able to print just part of it for my son.

Next, I found this article with 22 free websites for Math teachers, all are Pi day related, such as Pi day activities, challenges, fun facts.  While it is for math teachers, parents can also find it very helpful.

Lastly, here is a picture for everyone.  I did not create it.  I found it  Have fun with math!

Wife of Pi

Decide blog focus

26 Feb

Thank everyone for the great inputs. I am really touched by the support from the community. Like several comments mentioned, it is hard to maintain two blogs, but I will try. I think for this Game4Learning, I will go broad, everything is playful learning can be included here.

With that, I discovered a new website is very cool – It is everything Dr.Seuss related, books and games. Kids get to play and learn at the same time. Since Dr.Seuss birthday is coming up (March 2), this could be a good site to visit after reading couple Dr.Seuss books.

How to decide your blog’s focus?

2 Feb

I have not been posting much on this blog.  There are two reasons: one to keep up with one blog is quite busy already, especially the self-hosted one.  For me, to keep running, I have to keep looking for good apps, play the apps, and decide on the one I want to write a review on.  Then write and post the review is a lot work too – it is not just typing what you want to say, there are the pictures that I want to be the right size, the links to the App Store.  There are so many apps with similar name, without a picture and a link connected directly to the store, people could easily downloading a different app and not even knowing it is not the one I recommended.  Then there is email correspondence with readers, app developers, … So has been keeping me very busy.

The second reason: I have not completely figure out what should be covered in this blog.  One thing I know I want to go beyond apps.  Because there are still many kids don’t have access to an iPAD or iPod, I hope I can help them too.  Plus I have come across many good online resources and would love to share with everyone.  However, it’s hard to decide what – do I focus on online games?  shall I include board games?

What would you like to see in this blog?  Online learning resources?  Free resources?  Any educational resources available on iPAD?

What I learned from blogging?

16 Jan

I have been doing blog for about a year now.  My first blog was closed by wordpress.  It is was quite a surprise, because there was no warnings – the night before I was able to login, the next day I was not.  I learned afterwards, that the reason they closed my account is because I had backlinks to my self-host website.  So the first important lesson learned from blogging, is to read the contract carefully.  Make sure you really understand the terminologies.  When I first started blogging, I had no idea what backlink is.  I assumed I won’t do anything illegal, then I should be fine.  I did not read the contract word by word.  If I knew that was not allowed, why would I do that?

My first blog was actually doing well.  I gained followers pretty quickly.  I then decided to move to a self-host site, so I can have more flexibility on web layouts.  The first blog’s focus is educational applications (app) on mobile devices for kids, called iGameMom.  App is an area that is developing quickly.  With so many apps on the App Store, it is very hard to find good educational ones for kids.  More and more kids are having access to a smart phone or a tablet nowadays.  As a parent myself, I know I don’t want to my child to play games all the time.  Once I found there are good educational apps out there, I know this is something other parents would like to know.  My blog iGameMom started and grew quickly.  Thus the 2nd lesson learned, find a topic that meets other people’s need.  When people feel the value you offer, they will come back and read more.

When I just started blogging, I am not sure what to write, and how to write.  So I read other people’s blogs.  I read a lot.  Instead of following persons, I follow topics.  From reading, I had a good sense what are people’s concern, what are they thinking, … It helps me form my own topics.  I look for apps that help on people’s concerns.  This is the 3rd lesson learned, to make your blog relevent to your readers by reading their blogs.

That’s all for today.  I will share more at another time.

Game for Learning

12 Jan


An interesting website worth visiting

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