Category Archives: Language Arts

Learning About Authors and Illustrators

Kindergartners and First Graders are curious and interested in learning about the authors and illustrators of the books that they are reading.  Here is a site that has it all in once place. It is full of links to the websites of over 600 authors and illustrators. You just click on the first letter of the authors or illustrator’s name and you will be brought to a list where you will be able to choose the author or illustrator that you are looking for. Have fun!


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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Online Sites, Parents, Reading

Books Available at All Times

Books Available At All Times


Learning to read is just like learning any other new skill, it takes practice…lots of practice.  This is especially true for first graders.  We do lots of reading at school.  There is guided reading in small reading groups, reading to yourself, reading with a buddy, reading a worksheet, reading a big book, reading the room (reading all wall charts in the room) and the list goes on and on.  Then the children go home and for some, the reading stops.  Many children want to read at home, they are so excited about their skills and the love of reading that they just can’t stop.  Then there are the children who read the bare minimum because they are only reading because their homework said that reading at home was required.  Then there are the children that don’t read at all at home.  Their excuses are many, “I don’t have any books at home”(hard to believe since we send the children home with books every Monday and they check out library books on Tuesdays), “I couldn’t find my book”, “I was busy”, but the one I can never believe is “my parents didn’t have time to read with me!”  What?  Your parents didn’t have time for you?? Parents, your child needs your guidance not only while learning to read, but also after they have become a reader.  Your child should have access to books anytime they want to read one.  Many parents have ipads and iphones – find the sites that free offer books for your child to read ( and then teach your child how to use your device.  Make sure your child has books in the car, books by his/her bed, books in the living room for when you turn off the TV. Children will read if given the opportunity and it is up to you the parent to see that your child is reading at every available moment, and not just because he/she has to.  If you want your child to become a lifetime lover of books, you have to do your part in instilling this love NOW!

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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Parents, Reading

Sentence Starters

Yesterday I talked about making short patterned books for the early reader and writer.  For more detailed information, please read yesterday’s blog and remember that only 1 sentence starter should be used per book.  The same sentence starter should be used on every page of the book.  Today I will give you part 2 of the list of Sentence Starters for these books.  These are just some of the repetitive patterns most frequently used for beginning readers.

Can you…..?

Can you see a…..?

Can you see the…..?

Can you see my…..?

Here is a …..

Here is my…..

This is a…..

This is the…..

This is my…..

I like a…..

I like the…..

I like my…..

I like to go to…..

Look at the…..

Look at me in the…..

Look up at the…..

Come to the…..

Go to the…..

We can…..

We are…..

We like…..

It is a…



Filed under Beginning Readers, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Writing

Sentence Starters for Simple Books

Blog 90 Sentence Starters for Simple Books


Your Kindergarten child is just about half way through the second quarter of school.  One popular second quarter goal is to encourage more writing from our Kindergartners.  How to do that? Easy.  I am sure that you have noticed that your child has a longer attention span since the beginning of school and that your child is interested in more things.  The way I like to introduce simple writing and simple reading simultaneously is with short patterned books.  They are easy to MAKE, yes MAKE, no money involved and your child will love them.

Materials that you need:

  • 2 sheets of copy paper
  • Stickers of something that your child likes (i.e., a page of scrapbooking stickers full of items, like transportation, or princesses that your child likes)
  • Pencil


  • Fold the two sheets of paper in half, staple together to make a small book
  • Place a sticker on each page
  • Pick ONE sentence starter from the list below and write the same sentence starter on every page.
  • Your child will finish the sentence by writing the name of what is in the picture.
  • Now you have a book.


I see a…

I see the…

I see my…

I can see a…

I can see the…

I am a…

Here is the…

More sentence starters tomorrow.

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Pattern Books Part 2

This is a continuation of the list of pattern books that I began in yesterday’s blog. Children will enjoy listening to these books and will begin to recognize the pattern in the text.


26.  Lizard’s Song                                           George Shannon

27.  The Magic Fish                                                  Freya Littledale

28.  May I Bring A Friend                               Beatrice de Regniers

29.  Monday I Was An Alligator                              Susan Pearson

30.  Monday, Monday, I like Monday           Bill Martin, Jr.

31.  My Five Senses                                        Aliki

32.  My Days Are Made Of Butterflies           Bill Martin, Jr.

33.  Pierre                                                      Maurice Sendak

34.  Play With Me                                          Mary Hall Ets

35.  Rain Makes Applesauce                        Julian Scheer

36.  The Runaway Bunny                               Margaret Wise Brown

37.  “Sound Of” Books                                   Bill Martin, Jr.

38.  Spring Is A New Beginning                      Joan Walsh Aglund

39.  Serendipity Books                                   Stephen Cosgrove

40.  The Tallypo                                              Joanna Galdone

41.  The Teeny Tiny Woman                           Seuling

42.  The Three Bears                                      Paul Galdone

43.  Treeful Of Pigs                                         Anita Lobel

44.  The Turning Of The Year                          Bill Martin, Jr.

45.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar                   Eric Carle

46.  What Do You Do, Dear?                        Sesyle Josllin

47.  What Do You Do With a Kangaroo        Mercer Mayer

48.  What Good Luck, What Bad Luck         Remy Charlip

49.  Where In The World Is Henry?                 Lorna Balian

50.  Whose Mouse Are You?                         Robert Kraus

51.  Would You Rather?                                John Burningham

The Monroe County Public Library in Indiana has compiled a very detailed list of includes 8 types of predictable books, including pattern books:







  • Astley, Judy (1990). When one cat woke up. New York: Dial.
  • Baer, Gene (1989). Thump, thump, rat-a-tat-tat. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Barton, Byron (1989). Dinosaurs, dinosaurs. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell
  • Brandenberg, Franz (1989). Aunt Nina, good night. New York: Greenwillow.
  • Emberly, Ed (1974). Klippity klop. Boston: Little, Brown.
  • Hutchins, Pat (1982). 1 hunter. New York: Greenwillow.
  • Jonas, Ann (1989). Color dance. New York: Greenwillow.
  • Martin, Bill (1991). Polar bear, polar bear. New York: Henry Holt.
  • McKissack, Patricia, & McKissack, Frederick (1988). Constance stumbles. Chicago: Children’s Press.
  • McKissack, Patricia (1986). Who is coming. Chicago: Children’s Press.
  • Peek, Merle (1985). Mary wore her red dress. New York: Clarion.
  • Prelutsky, Jack (Ed.) (1983). The Random House book of poetry for children. New York: Random House.
  • Roffey, Maureen (1988). I spy at the zoo. New York: MacMillan.
  • West, Colin (1986). “Pardon?” said the giraffe. New York: J.B. Lippincott.
  • Wildsmith, Brian (1965). Brian Wildsmith’s Mother Goose. New York: Franklin Watts.
  • Banks, Kate. Peter and the Talking Shoes. (EJ Ba)
  • Banks, Kate. Spider, Spider. (EJ Ba)
  • Bender, Robert. A Most Unusual Lunch. (EJ Be)
  • Brown, Margaret Wise. The Runaway Bunny. (EJ Br)
  • De Regniers, Beatrice Schenk. Going For a Walk. (EJ De)
  • Domanska, Janina. Little Red Hen. (J398.2 Li)
  • Dunbar, Joyce. Four Fierce Kittens. (EJ Du)
  • Dunbar, Joyce. Seven Sillies. (EJ Du)
  • Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats. (EJ Ga)
  • Galdone, Paul. The Gingerbread Boy. (J398.2 Gi)
  • Galdone, Paul. Little Red Hen. (J398.2 Li)
  • Galdone, Paul. The Three Bears. (J398.2 Th)
  • Galdone, Paul. The Three Billy Goats Gruff. (J398.2 Th)
  • Hutchins, Pat. Little Pink Pig. (EJ Hu)
  • Jennings, Sharon. Jeremiah and Mrs. Ming. (Ej Je)
  • Kalan, Robert. Stop, Thief! (EJ Ka)
  • Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed. (EJ Kr)
  • Maris, Ron. Are You There Bear? (EJ Ma)
  • Maris, Ron. I Wish I Could Fly. (EJ Ma)
  • McNaughton, C. Suddenly! (EJ Ma)
  • Nodset, Joan L. Who Took The Farmers Hat? (EJ No)
  • Patron, Susan. Dark Cloud Strong Breeze. (EJ Pa)
  • Wing, Natasha. Hippity Hop, Frog On Top. (EJ Wi)
  • Zemach, Margot. The Little Red Hen. (J398.2 Li)
  • Williams, Sue (1992). I went walking. Orlando: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.




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Pattern Books

Kindergarten and first grade teachers and Kindergarten and first grade children everywhere are talking about patterns.  We talk about them every day and encourage the children to not only find them in the world around them, but to create their own patterns whenever they have a chance.  Another place to look for patterns is in many children’s books.  Books are rich in text and many authors write the text with a repeating pattern which can be thoroughly enjoyed by young children. Children are so proud of themselves when they recognize the pattern in the print and know the words that are coming next.  Just try to skip a few words from a pattern books while reading it to your child and see what happens!  Here is a partial list of pattern books which your child may enjoy again and again and again.

  1.  A House Is A House For Me                Mary Ann Hoberman
  2. A Kiss Is Round                                     Karia Kustin
  3. Bears In The Night                               S. & J. Berenstain
  4. Biggest House In The World                 Leo Lionni
  5. Brown Bear, Brown Bear                     Bill Martin, Jr.
  6. Chicken Little                                      Barry Zaid
  7. Chicken Soup With Rice                      Maurice Sendak
  8. Color Of His Own                                 Leo Lionni
  9. Did You Ever See?                               Walter Einsel

10. Do You Know What I’ll Do                   Charlotte Zolotow

11. Don’t Forget The Bacon                      Pat Hutchins

12. Farmer Duck                                       Martin Waddell

13. Fortunately                                          Remy Charlip

14. Gingerbread Boy                                Paul Galdone

15. Goodnight Moon                                Margaret Wise Brown

16. Goodnight Owls                                  Pat Hutchins

17. Grouchy Ladybug                               Eric Carle

18. I Don’t, I Do                                         Leland B. Jacobs

19. If I Had                                                Mercer Mayer

20. I Like Bugs                                            Margaret Wise Brown

21. I Paint The Joy Of A Flower                 Bill Martin, Jr.

22. The Important Book                            Margaret Wise Brown

23. It Looked Like Spilt Milk                        Charles G. Shaw

24. Leo The Late Bloomer                         Robert Kraus

25. The Little Red Hen                               Paul Galdone

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Write Every Day


  1. Your child should be writing every chance that he/she gets.  Put a pencil, crayon, marker or paintbrush in your child’s hand and let them explore the writing process.  Knowing how to write your thoughts down on paper takes many, many weeks, months and years to practice.  Many incoming Kindergarten and first grade children know their letters and sounds but they are hesitant to use them when writing for fear of making mistakes.  Encourage your child to try and write the first sound that they hear in any sound.  If they want to write Mom, have your child sound out the first sound, M.  If your child wants to write pumpkin, have your child sound out the first sound, P, etc. If you have a reluctant writer, a child who won’t even give writing a try, then have him/her write the alphabet letters for practice just to be able to put letters down on paper.  Writing begins with baby steps and that’s where we are in Kindergarten and even at the beginning of first grade, learning our baby steps of writing.  Please have paper available for your child along with writing tools such as pencils and markers.  If you are headed to the grocery store, have your child ‘write’ down your list.  If you are preparing dinner, have your child ‘write’ down what you need from the cabinet before you can prepare your meal.  Young children will write when they have a purpose, but often will not, when they are presented with a sheet of paper, a pencil and an order to ‘write’.  Help get them started and then watch out, your child’s writing will really take off.

Re-posted from 2009

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