It’s me, Deanna, the teacher with 20+ years experience who, like you, is practicing social distancing at home with my child. I have decided to use my training and experience to develop a daily list of activities for you to do at home with your kids.
Note: I have been doing more to support teachers in my board as they are supporting their own students. This means I have less time to work on these posts. But feel free to look at previous ones for inspiration. I am also going to start slipping in some suggestions for teachers as I know these blog posts are being shared by teachers.
Today is International Children’s Book Day. The day was chosen by the International Board on Books for Young People and it is traditionally chosen to be the same day as Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday. I thought this would be a good time to revisit reading as an activity for your child.
Reading for pleasure is one of the best indicators of future success. Once you account for socio-economic background, the children who read for fun tend to do better in school. And children are made readers in the laps of their parents. So one of the things that is hopefully happening in your house is time for reading every day. Some of that should be independent, silent reading and some should be shared reading (a.k.a. reading with your child). Or have them read to you while you are doing something like laundry. And don’t forget using some of those teleconferencing tools we have all had to master in the last few weeks to have your child read to family and friends.
There are lots of places to get books, even with everything shut down. Your local, independent book store is possibly still making deliveries. Check with them first. Then there are your big online retailers. You can also check with your local library for digital options like ebooks.
There are also a lot of places that have made their electronic catalogues free during the time that schools are locked down. This is a mix of fiction and non-fiction.
- TumblBooks (may also be available though your library, check their website)
- Elementary Digital Bookshelf: PreK-8
- Secondary Digital Bookshelf: Grades 5-12
- ABDO Zoom Online Database: Grades PreK-2
- Capstone Interactive ebooks
- Time Kids – You will have to create an account and it is free for the rest of the year
- COMIXOLOGY – 60 Day unlimited access to comics and manga – YES THIS IS READING, PARENTS!!! (And my teacher colleagues. It’s reading, and often hard, given the non-linear format for the text.)
- Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature
- Audible Stories – Audio books for children.
- Razz Kids – Leveled readers for kids – free access for the rest of the year. Check with your kids teacher to see if they already have an account as this is a popular program for primary students.
- Unite for Literacy – gorgeous, photo based picture books
One of the other things that are happening is that celebrities and authors are using their social media feeds to read stories to us all. Please take advantage of them as some of these people are gifted storytellers, readers and voice actors.
- Mo Willems – the award winning author and illustrator is hosting a daily doodling session for kids. Each day, he includes instructions for people to download.
- Josh Gad – The star of Frozen and Beauty and the Beast is reading a story a day on Twitter.
- Neil Gaiman – the author reads all of his book Coraline on his website.
- Dolly Parton – this starts tonight, April 2. Once a week she will be reading selections from her Imagination Library
- Levar Burton – will be having three storytimes a week on his Twitter feed. (And seriously, if you have Tween aged kids and up, check out his podcast.)
- Mondays – 12pm EDT – Kids
- Wednesdays – 6pm EDT – YA
- Fridays – 9pm EDT – Adults
- Peter H. Reynolds – Author of the Dot, has multiple ones on his facebook page. Loads new ones, Monday through Friday. Live at 11 am.
- Mac Bennet – Reading on Instagram every day at 1
More are listed here.
Please take some time to share (or discover) the love of books with your child. We are a species of storytellers. Help your children appreciate that.
Deanna Toxopeus is a teacher with 20+ years of experience teaching students from Grade 1 to Grade 8. She is currently an Itinerant Teacher of Assistive Technology with the OCDSB. The opinions she expresses in this blog are wholly her own.