Super Hammy is a Youtube Star

Super Hammy flies on Youtube!

I had a lot of fun visiting the offices of DC Canada Education Publishing in Ottawa recently – the home of Super Hammy – My First Reading Series.
It was a pleasure to meet the talented team behind the Super Hammy project – Mei (the director of publishing), Leonard (Senior Editor) and Mary Ellen who does French translation.  Thank you to Doreen who filmed and edited the video.

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Have a look at the video –

 

This is a series of 15 books I’ve written and illustrated that can be used by parents and teachers for children who are just beginning to read, or parents can read them to children who are not yet readers. They’re perfect for preschool, kindergarten and grade one.
They feature a super hero hamster, his friend Little Mouse and bad guy, Bad Cat. The stories are simple and funny. These are the kinds of books I would have loved to use when I was a kindergarten and Reading Recovery teacher.
The books can be purchased individually or as a set through DC Canada Education Publishing.

What is the “Does it Make Sense?” Reading Prompt?

So, your child is reading along and comes to a word she doesn’t know. What do you do?  

Do you tell her to sound it out? Say the sounds?  No. You ask her what word would make sense here.
Children use basically three reading strategies when learning to read:
Does it make sense?
Does is sound right?
Does it look right?
The most POWERFUL  of these is the first one – Does it make sense?  Reading for meaning.

Mother and Daughter Reading Together --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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Sight Word Flashcards…there’s a place for them!

It’s a good idea to use flashcards to help your child learn sight words which are the building blocks of reading (and writing).  However – 

  • Use flashcards in addition to teaching sight words by using books you’re already reading with your child. Why?
  • We want the words to be meaningful to your child. When you point out a sight word such as “I” in a story you’re reading, your child sees how the word is used. It’s part of a story and has more meaning than if it’s isolated on a card.

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  • When your child is about 4 years old, you can start introducing sight words, but it really depends on the child. Some children might be ready at 3 years, some at 5.

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Here Comes Super Hammy…

The official book launch for Super Hammy – My First Reading Series…is Thursday, February 23rd, 2017.

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I’ll be attending the Reading for the Love of It Conference which runs February 23 and 24 at the Sheraton in Toronto. If you’ll be attending the conference, stop by booth 702 and I’ll sign some books for you! The official launch is Thursday, Feb. 23rd from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The books can be purchased individually or as a set.

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“The Super Hammy reading series is a collection of 15 books about a mighty little hero Super Hammy who goes on big adventures with his friend Little Mouse. His simple and funny stories are told in small sentences – just right for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and grade one.
The stories are carefully written with controlled vocabulary and simple sentence structures. The characters and humorous story lines and illustrations will appeal to children and make learning to read fun. The books are designed to facilitate the teaching of reading for classroom teachers, Reading Recovery teachers, teachers of English Language Learners and students with special needs, and for parents. An audio CD is included in the box set.”  DC Canada Education Publishing
Hope to see you there!

How to Teach Your Child the Alphabet…

There are many ways to learn the alphabet.

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Your child can watch any number of wonderful children’s television programs and play educational games on the computer.  But, here, I’ll show you some simple things you can do at home with one of my favourite teaching tools – magnetic letters.

So, do you teach the upper case or capital letters first?

I’d start with the lower case or small letters – a, b, c and so on. Then, add the upper case letters. Why? Take a look at a page of print in a book. What do you see more of? Upper or lower case letters? Right! Your child will need to know both to begin to read most efficiently.

Read alphabet books.

  • Say the name of the letter and say the sound it makes.
  • Ask the children’s librarian at your public library for some ABC books.

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How Books Work – for Slightly Older Kids…

Here are more features about print on a page to show your child. 

Once you’ve introduced the features we talked about in my previous blog – Show Your Child How Books Work, you can point out some more “advanced” items. These would be for a child about 3 and a half to 4 years of age or older.
This is about showing your child how books work. This knowledge will come in really handy once your child begins to read! Teachers call this concepts about print.

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Do this while reading  with your child. Look for the different features in the book you’re reading. Introduce one item at a time. One day you might talk about a period, the next day point out a question mark.
  • Point to a period. Say: “This dot means stop. We stop reading when we come to a period.” And then, demonstrate by reading the sentence and coming to a stop.

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Show Your Child How Books Work…

How a book “works” may be obvious to you, but don’t assume your child knows! 

There are some important features about books or print (words) on a page that you should  point out to your child as you read a book together. Teachers call these features “concepts about print”.

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Focus on one thing at a time. Do it casually, once or twice while reading a book. Do one thing one day, another one, the next day. We want to make reading fun and enjoyable for your child.
The following items might seem obvious to you, but don’t assume they are for your child.

Show. Point. Demonstrate.

The first 4 items can be introduced when your child is a toddler.

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