I love these little books! If you are looking for an easy, effective way to teach your children or students how to read, why don’t you give BOB Books a try? Let me tell you a bit about how they work. The very first set introduces the letters of the alphabet a few at a time. Each book tells a very simple story using the letters as they are introduced. The first book introduces the letters A, M, S, and T. The sentences read “Mat sat. Sam sat” and so on. Each book introduces a couple new letters, thereby adding on the variety of words that can be formed.
Each set gradually gets more complex, introducing rules of phonics by way of using slightly bigger or more complicated words in the stories. The pictures on each page help tell the story and are very comical, yet simple. My kids love the pictures!
What I love most about these books is that the first ones are so simple they inspire confidence in a kid’s reading ability. Your child will be able to read the whole book! Once he or she realizes they CAN read, they will want to keep going. My 5 year old keeps a box of these books on the shelf next to her bed to practice reading during her quiet time. It’s great because while big sister is reading away on the top bunk, she has books that she can actually read, too!
About the Book: Set against the Taiwanese criminal underworld, The Foreigner is Francie Lin’s audacious debut novel. A noirish tale about family, fraternity, conscience, and the curious gulf between a man’s culture and his deepest self
Emerson Chang is a mild mannered bachelor on the cusp of forty, a financial analyst in a neatly pressed suit, a child of Taiwanese immigrants who doesn’t speak a word of Chinese, and, well, a virgin. His only real family is his mother, whose subtle manipulations have kept him close–all in the name of preserving an obscure idea of family and culture.
But when his mother suddenly dies, Emerson sets out for Taipei to scatter her ashes, and to convey a surprising inheritance to his younger brother, Little P. Now enmeshed in the Taiwanese criminal underworld, Little P seems to be running some very shady business out of his uncle’s karaoke bar, and he conceals a secret–a crime that has not only severed him from his family, but may have annihilated his conscience. Hoping to appease both the living and the dead, Emerson isn’t about to give up the inheritance until he uncovers Little P’s past, and saves what is left of his family.
The Foreigner is a darkly comic tale of crime and contrition, and a riveting story about what it means to be a foreigner–even in one’s own family.
My Review: I generally love books set in Asia, I should get that out of the way first! I also love thrillers and stories that grapple with identity.
This book is unique because Francie Lin is as female author tackling first person point of view from a male perspective. And it’s her debut novel. I think we can expect tremendous things from her in the years to come as she pulls it off pretty successfully. This novel is crisply written, there’s no unnecessary blathering within its pages, it’s sharp and to the point.
Emerson Chang has just lost his mother, the last relative and person with whom he has a strong tie and connection. Fulfilling her last wishes and intending to pass the inheritance on to his brother, he heads to Taiwan. Once he arrives, he discovers his brother is deeply involved in some business that appears to be illegal. Desperate to salvage this last familial tie, he quickly finds himself caught up in the seedy world of criminal activity in Taiwan with no clear answers in sight.
I found Emerson to be a sympathetic character for the most part. I have to admit I did not fully understand his attachment to his mother and um, her remains and this was a bit off-putting for me. While I could understand why he wanted to have a relationship with his brother, I found myself shouting, “go home!” at the book.
I guessed the criminal activity that his brother was involved in long before it was revealed but this could be because it’s something I pay a lot of attention to. Having said that, I still found this book to be a page turner and I caught myself thinking about it and wanting to return to it when I wasn’t reading. The sign of a great book for sure!
A great exploration into the dark and seedy world of criminal Taiwan, but more than that, an exploration of the true nature of family.
Emily and her granny worked on this book over vacation. I wanted to show you some children’s writing. Emily was keeping a journal and wrote important things in it. We then began doing some writing and illustrating. As you can see, a seven year old can do quite well. I will be back with more tips for helping children write when I go back to school in a couple of weeks. Until then – keep reading!
LEAH: I like to read books with my kids that have something to do with the activities that we are naturally doing. For example, Christmas stories at Christmas time, stories about camping when we are going camping, pumpkin-carving stories in the fall. So for the summer, we will be reading school vacation stories such as “When It’s the Last Day of School,” Fourth of July stories such as “Fourth of July Mice,” and beach stories such as “Swimming With Dolphins.” My mom (Sally, who also writes for this blog) has been great about supplying my girls with all sorts of seasonal books and it is so much fun. Reading books like these add to the anticipation of the events you have planned for the summer.
1-1/2 cups of corn starch
1 cup room temperature water
green (or whatever color you want) food coloring
Mix the ingredients and allow children to play with the mixture. When “pushed” together, the mixture will appear dry and solid; as children let go of the mixture, it flows like a smooth liquid.
What can you do with oobleck? Try making it into a ball. Does it bounce? Try to pull it apart, slowly and then quickly. Hold it in your had to see what happens. Does it stick to the table?
What are your summer reading activities? Write up a post and share! Be creative! It doesn’t have to be kid related. Invite your readers to join in the fun by linking back here and then come sign the Mr. Linky with a direct link to your post (and NOT your general URL). Remember, everyday of participation earns you an entry in the contest pool.
Just a reminder that our group discussion of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming starts on Saturday!
Why not encourage your child to keep a journal/diary during the summer months? Your child could write about the activities he/she is involved in – or maybe chronicle a family vacation. I would suggest getting a notebook which interests your son or daughter. I’ve noticed my students are carrying around really nice journals their parents have possibly bought from the book order or maybe at Target, Walmart, or a book store. They LOVE writing in them, where they aren’t always excited about writing for school. I would suggest this is a great time to have your child concentrate on CONTENT and VOICE. You could check occasionally for mechanics, but don’t discourage your child with correcting them to death – encourage creativity. Your children could even write stories in their journals/diaries.
This might also be a time to buy your son/daughter pens (which they usually can’t use in school). They really think pens are awesome for some reason.
Whoa – maybe you could even keep your own journal and share what you are writing with your child occasionally. Maybe even make some mistakes to see if they notice (-:
Have fun and write up a storm this summer!
One of the problems my students have with writing is that they were taught “invented spelling” in kindergarten and first grade. One way to help them move away from invented spelling and move toward conventional spelling (or book spelling) is to make them a copy of their own spelling book. Whether we like it or not, spelling is important in writing. Even though we have spell check and mostly use computers, it is still important to know how to spell words correctly. A personal spelling book can help develop this habit. Staple several sheets of paper together to make a 26-page booklet. Help your child write a letter of the alphabet (in order) at the top of each page. You could add some commonly used words to the spelling book right away. When your child writes, encourage him/her to open their own spelling book to the page with the first letter of the word they want to spell. Write each word on its corresponding page, and have your child repeatedly refer to these words throughout the writing session. Encourage your child to grow as a writer by using his/her own spelling book whenever he/she writes. This lifelong skill teaches independence as well as spelling correctly! Independence means that they have the skills to find words they cannot spell without depending on us! Happy writing!
One of the most successful strategies I have used in teaching my second graders how to write a friendly letter is having a penpal class in another school. My students write to other second graders all year – not in our school but another district school – and they LOVE it! The children really get into this – and it gives them a real-life purpose for writing. What I love is when they find the mistakes – although they never seem to find the mistakes in their own writing…
I would recommend your child writing to a friend in another state, a cousin, or any family member they don’t see often. If you don’t have anyone in mind, you could google children’s penpals – you could find a penpal in the U.S. or overseas. I hesitate to recommend a website because I haven’t used one, but I know there are plenty of these sites out there in cyberspace. Maybe your child could write to a missionary’s child in another country. You could get some ideas at your church or another local church that supports missionaries.
When our daughter was in high school, she had many penpals from all over the world. I know you can also find penpals for younger children online. This is an awesome and fun way to encourage writing! Make sure they know and use the five parts of a letter: heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature.
Getting your child off on the right foot in writing will save heartache and power struggles later on. Why not begin by giving your child a bag full of fun writing supplies? You could add such things as a variety of fun pens, pencils, and erasers, a lamp for his/her desk, different types of pads of paper (a teacher supply store is a great place for this), stationery, envelopes, stamps (or stickers he/she could pretend are stamps), a notebook for a journal or diary, and a child’s dictionary and thesaurus (check with Scholastic). After the initial gift, you could continue giving one fun writing gift for birthdays and holidays. After giving the gift, model how to use it. The time will be well spent. Have fun!
Using joke books is a great way to check your child’s comprehension – and guess what? Children LOVE jokes and funny riddles! Choose some joke books, funny poems, funny stories, or articles for your child to read. Observe what tickles his/her funny bone. Giggle with him/her and tell your child what you thought was funny. With time, as your child becomes better at listening and reading, he/she will laugh without any explanation from you. When this happens, you will know that his/her comprehension is increasing.
I would recommend some of the following books/authors to try this with: Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, any riddle or knock-knock joke book, Junie B. Jones, The Black Lagoon series, and there are many more. Maybe you could recommend some?