Books for Exploring St. Patrick’s Day
When I started to gather books about St. Patrick’s Day, I had no idea I would find so many! Among the nonfiction books, I found that many were similar in their approach and levels of reading difficulty and content. I’ve grouped them together.
Common Elements: easy text, basic information, photos
St. Patrick’s Day by Carmen Bredeson
St. Patrick’s Day by Josie Keogh (sorry, no link)
Common Elements: history, traditions, illustrations (photos and/or paintings), glossary, resources
I've listed the extra elements for each book.
St. Patrick’s Day by Ann Heinrichs, illustrated by Joel Snyder
Includes several poems
St. Patrick’s Day: Day of Irish Pride by June Preszler
Includes a craft: Leprechaun Trap
St. Patrick’s Day by Jennifer Blizin Gillis
Includes a St. Patrick’s Day timeline
What is St. Patrick’s Day? by Elaine Landau (sorry, no link)
Includes a project: Grow a Cup of Green
Happy St. Patrick’s Day by Abbie Mercer
Includes a recipe: How to Cook Irish Soda Bread
St. Patrick’s Day: Parades, Shamrocks, and Leprechauns by Elaine Landau
Includes a craft: Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold
Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick’s Day Symbols by Edna Barth, illustrated by Ursula Arndt
Gives more detailed information than the books above
The St. Patrick’s Day Shillelagh by Janet Nolan, illustrated by Ben Stahl
Starting in the mid-1800s, this story tells about a shillelagh (wooden walking stick) as it gets passed from generation to generation. On St. Patrick’s Day, each owner passes it on to a son or daughter as he/she becomes old enough to appreciate it.
Shannon and the World’s Tallest Leprechaun by Sean Callahan, illustrated by Kathleen Kemly
Shannon loves to stepdance but she doesn’t have the clothes and shoes she thinks she needs to win a stepdance contest. When her shoe breaks, she decides to summon a leprechaun and ask him for help. One comes, but he’s tall—is he for real?
A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by Tom Curry
Every year, on St. Patrick’s Day, the towns of Tralee and Tralah hold a competition: which town is the best decorated? Every year, Tralah wins. So one year, Tralee has a new idea—paint the whole town green. Things are going well until a stranger comes with a request for help.
The Luck of the Irish by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Mike Gordon
Katie makes each of her classmates a paper shamrock with three heart-shaped leaves. On St. Patrick’s Day, her teacher brings in the shamrock she's made—with four leaves. Katie thinks her shamrocks are all wrong and leaves them in her bag. Katie’s teacher decides it’s time for some research. Which shamrock is correct? This is a Robin Hill School level 1 reader.
Green Shamrocks by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Joëlle Dreidemy
A few weeks before St. Patrick’s Day, Rabbit grows some shamrocks. He’s planning to weave them into a shamrock chain to wear at the St. Patrick’s Day parade. But on parade day, his shamrocks are gone. Will he find them in time?
Have I missed your favorites? Add them to the Comments Box!
Online Games for Dinosaur Fans
Do you like dinosaurs? Great! Here are online games and activities just for you!
Dinosaurs! from Scholastic
online games and activities
Dino Games from KidsDino
make-a-dinosaur, online painting, memory match, and more
Diego's Dinosaur Adventure from Nick Jr.
a game based on the TV show
Dinosaur Games from the Dinosaur Museum
games plus other dinosaur-related things to explore
Dinosaur Games from Primary Games
games and puzzles
Hope you have fun with these!
Dinosaurs: Perfect Portals to Literacy!
The key to boosting literacy skills with reluctant readers is to find something they really love and supply them with books and activities all about it. High on lots of kids’ love list? Dinosaurs!
Here are lots of ideas to spark your dino-lover. Several are classroom based but don’t let that deter you. Each site has ideas that will work well at home.
Dinosaurs – Teacher Resources from Teacher Vision
resources and activities for reading, writing, math, science, and social studies
Dinosaurs from Teaching Ideas
drawing lessons, posters, fact cards, and more
Dinosaurs from Making Learning Fun
activities, tracing, science, and more
Dinosaur Crafts from Enchanted Learning
puppets, diorama, hats, and more
Dinosaur Train Activities from PBS
activities and crafts based on Dinosaur Train episodes
Dinosaur Activities from DLTK
birthday ideas, crafts, greeting cards, and more
Magical Hatching Dinosaur Eggs from Growing a Jeweled Rose
This is very cool!
Dinosaurs! from Busy Teachers Café
Make a Fossil, Create Your Own Dinosaur, Dinosaur Skeletons, and more
Dinosaurs for Kids from Science Kids
facts, quizzes, videos, and more
For those kids who just can’t get enough of dinosaurs, Friday’s post will have online games and activities.
Dinosaur Fever! Books for the Whole Family
If you are a dinosaur fan, I think you’ll like a lot of today’s books. I tried to include a mix of nonfiction and fiction books.
For the fiction books, I looked for books in which the dinosaur characters were dinosaurs—not ones that acted like people and just happened to look like dinosaurs.
How Do We Know About Dinosaurs? by Rebecca Olien, illustrated by Katie McDee
This beginner graphic book does a really nice job of showing how scientists use fossils to gather knowledge about dinosaurs. Along with clear text and graphics, the back pages have a glossary and further resources.
Can You Tell a Brachiosaurus from an Apatosaurus? by Buffy Silverman
Using clear text, photographs, and illustrations, this book compares the two dinosaurs. It compares parts such as legs and teeth, plus eating habits. It’s nicely done. The series includes 5 other books comparing similar dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus.
Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled by Catherine Thimmesh
This book is pretty amazing. It explores how paleoartists figure out what dinosaurs probably looked like. Working with clues from plant and rock studies and other sources, they decide on details such as muscles, scales, feathers, and other details that fossils only suggest. This is a book for upper elementary and older students.
If Dinosaurs Lived in My Town by Marianne Plumridge, illustrated by Bob Eggleston
This book combines humor (If Stegosaurus lived in my town…we would climb on her plates like a jungle gym!) with facts about the individual dinosaurs. The illustrations are fun—they combine photos of real people and town settings with paintings of the dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs Dominate: Jurassic Life by Dougal Dixon
Each of the 12 dinosaurs in this book has a painting, a fact file, a fossil, and a short description. The back pages include 2 glossaries, one of the dinosaur families and one of dinosaur vocabulary.
Pterosaur Trouble by Daniel Loxton, illustrated by Daniel Loxton and Jim W.W. Smith
Quetzalcoatlus was a large pterosaur (extinct flying reptile). It was one of the largest animals that ever flew. This book describes a day in the life of one Quetzalcoatlus, based on what is known about its life on Earth. The illustrations are a nice combination of present-day photos and pterosaur/dinosaur paintings.
Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss
This is an ABC book with fantastic illustrations. Each dinosaur picture is created of hundreds of the first letter of the dinosaur’s name. Some illustrations have one or more flaps that make the illustration even better. Although there aren’t a lot of facts on each animal, each fact is really interesting. I love this book!
The Greatest Dinosaur Ever by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spiron
Each of 12 dinosaurs declares, in a single paragraph, why it is the greatest dinosaur ever. The large painted illustrations show the dinosaurs in their environments. I could see this book leading to lively discussions!
Dinosaurs by Sarah Walker and Samantha Gray
This DK Eyewitness book is full of dinosaur information. There are 21 two-page chapters, covering topics such as skeletons, herds, brain power, and the digging up of dinosaurs. There are lots of strong illustrations and clear text. The last pages contain two quizzes, a board game, a maze, and a glossary.
Are Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? by Julie Middleton, illustrated by Russell Ayto
A boy and his father are at a museum. Surrounded by gigantic dinosaurs, the boy asks, “Are dinosaurs dead, Dad?” Of course the father says no, but the boy is not convinced. In the end, the father has his doubts, too. Funny!
Dino-Basketball by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Barry Gott
The Grass Clippers (plant eaters) and the Meat (meat-eaters) are ready to play ball. They are fierce players and both teams use their best skills. If you are a basketball and a dinosaur fan, this book is for you. And if you are a fan of wrestling, football, or baseball, this series also has a book for you.
Down at the Dino-Wash Deluxe by Tim Myers, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan
A boy works at a dino-wash, where they scrub, rinse, and dry dinosaurs. All goes well until a scary T-rex shows up. Nervous, the boy gets ready to use the shampoo. But T-rex wants nothing to do with shampoo. Can you guess why?
Dinosaur Kisses by Davis Ezra Stein
When Dinah hatches, she has to explore and try things out. When she sees two animals kiss, she wants to try that out, too. However, she doesn’t get the hang of it right away… I particularly like the little picture on the last page.
Deadly Dinosaurs by Niki Foreman
It’s closing time at the Dinosaur Museum. Some of the dinosaurs come alive and tease and argue. This Level 1 DK Reader would be perfect for young dinosaur lovers.
No doubt, some of you have a favorite dinosaur. Write its name in the Comments Box!
Fun Dr. Seuss Games for the Whole Family
March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Here is a bunch of ways to have great Dr. Seuss fun!
Click on the Games and Activities button. Lots to do!!!
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! from NEA
There are over a dozen online games and activities.
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That! from PBS Kids
There are games based on the TV show.
Click here for Monday’s post on Dr. Seuss books.
What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Write it in the Comments Box!
Read Alouds: Supporting Literacy One Book at a Time
Reading lots of books aloud is my number one tip for increasing interest in books and reading. Not just for when children are preschoolers but throughout the elementary years, or longer. Reading aloud, for as long as your child allows it, has lots of benefits:
You may have stopped reading to your child when he first learned to read. If so, I encourage you to start again.
The following was written initially as a promotion for picture books. Although picture books are GREAT for read-alouds, lots of other books (chapter books, biographies and other nonfiction) are great, too. The main criteria for a good read-aloud?
So…what’s so good about read-alouds?
They are fun. Read alouds provide a pocket of time in which you move into a different world: fantasy, foolishness, humor, drama, unknown places, courage …
They are motivating. When my son was in elementary school, he was a struggling reader, so I read to him all the time. Eventually, he developed good reading skills. By then, he was eager to read because he’d loved the stories we’d shared for so many years.
They are easier to follow. Sometimes books can be confusing if a child doesn’t have the background knowledge. The beauty of read alouds is you can stop and clarify. This can be direct, “Do you understand this part?” or indirect, “I don’t quite get this part. I’m going to read it again.” or “I’m confused. Do you get this?”
They often introduce new vocabulary and expressions. Books tend to be filled with words and expressions kids (and often adults) don’t know. This can be a real motivation-buster. When you read a book aloud, you can stop and talk about new words. Don’t know the word either? See if you and your child can figure it out from context or look it up. Or, if it doesn’t really seem to matter, just keep reading.
They introduce a variety of writing styles, authors, and illustrators. Sometimes classroom teachers don’t have the time to read a wide variety of books with their students (a sad but real situation.) No problem! You and your child can read whatever you choose
They provide an excuse to stay close. This is true no matter what type of book you choose. Picture books demand to be seen. And even though reading aloud a chapter book with can be done from the other side of the room, why keep that distance? Sitting close is the way to go.
They provide windows to complex subjects and ideas. Well-written books can introduce, clarify, raise questions, challenge and spark interest in all kinds of subjects: science, history, philosophy, emotions, math, attitudes, cultures …
Repeating myself: I meant it when I said being interested in a book yourself is not necessary when choosing a good book to read aloud. Your child’s interest is much more important and her choices may very well expand your own interests.
When my son was little, we decided to read aloud THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame. Fairly quickly, I discovered that this book was not easy to read aloud. I kept wishing that my son would lose interest. No chance. However, I soon got caught up in the magic. To this day, I get a little misty thinking about how much we both loved that book.
Celebrate the Power of Words and Stories and
Take Action for Global Literacy with LitWorld
March 5, 2014 is World Read Aloud Day. It is sponsored by LitWorld, a global literacy organization based in New York City. World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people.
World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.
To learn more and to register to participate in World Read Aloud Day, please visit by clicking HERE
Dr. Seuss: The Perfect Source for Literacy!
March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Although he died in 1991, his life is one to celebrate every year. Why? The following explanation, found in an article in Examiner.com, says it perfectly:
Not only are Dr. Seuss books fun, they can open the doors of a child's imagination. Several of his books even go a step further with underlying messages of peace, acceptance and environmental awareness.
The best source for ideas for using Dr. Seuss is the first site. It is truly amazing. I’ve also listed other good sources for ideas, crafts, activities, and all sorts of things.
Be sure to check out the last few sites. They prove that Dr. Seuss had something for all of us.
This may well be the best author site ever created. It has information about Dr. Seuss and his books. It has games and activities based on the books and on individual characters. There is a section on where Seuss events are being held around the nation. The Educator section has resources, news about special events, and tips on how to use Seuss books in the classroom. The Parent section has activities, crafts, recipes, printables, and other resources.
NEA's Read Across America from NEA
Seven links are included:
Dr. Seuss from ABC Teach
There are lots of worksheets based on the Seuss books.
Dr. Seuss Activities from Random House Kids
There are worksheets, puzzles, mazes, and activities.
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That! from PBS Kids
Based on the TV show, there are games, printables, videos and more.
Dr. Seuss Crafts & Activities from Mom Endeavors
This site has over 75 activities, crafts, and recipes.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday from Family Crafts
There are crafts and book activities
Over 50 of the Best Dr. Seuss Fun Food & Craft Ideas! from Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons
The ideas look quite fun and the directions/recipes seem easy to follow.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Lessons for Middle and High School from Examiner.com
Hooray for this! I love that there are Seuss resources for older students. Dr. Seuss really had a lot to say to people of all ages.
Dr Seuss...In Middle Grades??? from Making It Teacher
This middle school teacher makes a case for using Seuss books in the classroom and includes some ideas for using them.
Dr. Seuss for Older Students from AdLit (All About Adolescent Literacy)
Three articles are included:
Click here for Monday’s post on Dr. Seuss books.
What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Write it in the Comments Box!
Celebrate Dr. Seuss's Birthday with Books!
Dr. Seuss’s birthday is March 2. In all, he wrote over 60 children’s books. Too many, of course, for me to include in a book post. Here are just a few—some are favorites of mine, others are ones I’d never read. Wednesday’s post will include websites to explore for activities and crafts. Friday’s post will have online games to have fun with.
Early Readers and Read Alouds (actually they are all good read alouds)
Green Eggs and Ham
This is my favorite Dr. Seuss book and one of my all-time favorite read aloud books. There have been periods when I could quote whole sections without looking at the book. It’s funny and yet shows a wonderful try-it-you-may-like-it lesson.
Fox in Socks
This one is another good read aloud but tricky. The tongue twisters start easy enough but then watch out! Maybe hold a contest?
Hop on Pop
Dr. Seuss’s mastery of early readers really shines in this book. With really simple words, he created a book that is not only readable by beginner readers, it’s fun and interesting.
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Read this for the wonderful sound words: moo, buzz, pop, klopp, eek… This book begs for the reader (or listener) to listen for more sounds and to imitate them. And if you need clear examples of onomatopoeia, this is a perfect book!
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
Bartholomew would be happy to take off his hat off for the king. Problem is, every time he takes off his hat, a new one appears on his head. The problem continues, hat after hat, with the king’s anger increasing with each hat. Yes, there are 500 hats in all. This was probably the first Dr. Seuss book I ever read and reading it again sent me back to being a kid. (This was a shocker to me—this book was published in 1938!)
The Butter Battle Book
Yooks eat their bread with the butter side up. Zooks eat their bread with the butter side down. This small difference causes great conflict. First there is a wall and then a guard with a switch… and then a slingshot, followed by a triple-sling jigger. Each weapon is followed by a greater weapon. How will this arms race end?
Horton Hears a Who!
With his big ears, Horton the Elephant can hear noises that others can’t hear. In fact, he can hear all the people who live on a speck of dust. Being kind, Horton carries the dust speck to a flower to keep it safe. The problems start when others, who can’t hear the voices, tease Horton for being a fool. The underlying message is stated simply: A person’s a person. No matter how small.
Your Favorite Seuss: A Baker’s Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss
Included: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, Horton Hears a Who!, McElligot's Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, Happy Birthday to You!, Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book, Yertle the Turtle, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, The Sneetches, and Oh, the Places You'll Go! That’s a lot of Seuss! Each story is introduced with a short essay by other authors, including Stan and Jan Berenstain, Lane Smith, and Pete Seeger.
I probably missed your favorite Dr. Seuss books. What are they? Write them in the Comments Box!
Lots of Funny Fairy Tale Jokes
Time to laugh! To go along with this week’s Fairy Tale theme, here are some funny jokes for you and your friends.
As a child, the wicked magician always wanted to saw people in half.
Was he an only child?
No, he had lots of half-brothers and sisters!
Do you know what's inside Aladdin's lamp?
It would take a genie-us to find out!
Why was Cinderella no good at playing hockey?
Because she was always running away from the ball!
How did Jack know how many beans his cow was worth?
He used a cowculator!
Aladdin: Get me a fur coat.
Genie: What fur?
Aladdin: Fur to keep me warm, that's what fur!
On which side of the house did Jack grow the beans?
On the outside!
Sarah giant living here?
What does a magician like to keep up his sleeve?
What kind of pet did Aladdin have?
A flying car-pet!
Why did the Ugly Duckling's parents fly south for the winter?
Because it was too far to walk!
What do you say when the three bears want to sit down?
Three chairs for the Three Bears!
What steps do you take when a bear is chasing you?
Very big ones!
What's brown and hairy and can see just as well from either end?
A bear with its eyes shut!
Godfrey tickets to the Giant's Ball. Want to come?
The giant could smell an Englishman a mile away, so he knew that there was an intruder in the castle. The gates were locked, so how had Jack got inside?
What did Little Red Riding-Hood say when she saw the big, bad wolf wearing sun-glasses?
Nothing . . . she didn't recognize him!
The little tin soldier had been in the army ever since he was a tiny baby.
He was in the infantry!
What goes: MUF OF EIF IF?
A giant walking backwards! (This one is my favorite!)
What has six legs, four ears and a shining suit of armor?
A prince on horseback!
When does a prince get very wet?
When he becomes the reigning monarch!
When is a piece of wood like a king?
When it's a ruler!
Why did the chicken lay golden eggs?
Because if she dropped them they would dent the floor!
Why did the Little Mermaid ride a sea-horse?
Because she was playing water polo!
Why didn't the giant have any teeth?
Because he slept with his head under the pillow and the fairies took them!
Why was there always a conversation going on in the garden?
Because Jack and the beans talk!
What did the sea say to the Little Mermaid?
Nothing, it just waved!
Which part of a mermaid weighs the most?
How did the witch know it was exactly twelve midday?
She used her Witch Watch!
If you were in Rapunzel's tower during the day, what would be the furthest thing that you could see?
What would you call a kind-hearted ogre?
Why was the Little Mermaid embarrassed?
Because she saw the big ship's bottom!
Where do ogres dance?
At the odd ball!
Who goes out with an ogre?
What's brown, furry and has twelve paws?
The Three Bears!
Where do kings and queens get crowned?
On the head!
Did you hear about the two-headed ogre who got so angry that he was beside himself?
How does an ogre count to nineteen?
On his fingers!
Optician: "Have your eyes ever been checked?"
Ogre: "No, they've always been red!"
What do you give an ogre with great big feet?
Lots of space.
What do you say to a three-headed ogre?
Hello, how are you today? Hello, how are you today? Hello, how are you today?
What sort of pills do you give to a two-headed ogre?
Aspirin, because they are good for splitting headaches!
Which is the scariest fairy-tale?
Ghouldilocks and the Three Brrrrs!
All of today’s jokes came from KidsJokes.com
Do you have some fairy tale jokes that you like? Write them in the Comments Box!
Boosting Literacy Skills with Fairy Tales
I love fairy tales. Even the ones that don’t match my views of how the world should work offer things to talk about. (Girls don’t have to be princesses!) They also show clear literacy principles: character development, story structure, point of view…lots of good stuff!
Evidently, others also consider fairy tales as gold mines for boosting literacy skills. Here are a bunch of ideas for how you can use fairy tales. Although many of the sites are geared for classroom use, each one has activities that would be perfect for home.
This site has lots of good ideas for crafts, dramatics (fairy tales are GREAT for acting out!), and writing. There are also a bunch of book recommendations.
10 Fun Fairy Tale Activities from B-Inspired Mama
There are lots of good ideas here. I love the Jack and The Beanstalk Sensory Play link, with a bean-play bin and clothespin people.
Each of over ten stories has crafts, puppets, puzzles, and printables. There are also links to nursery rhymes and songs.
Fairy Tales Theme from PreKinders
There are activities and printables. Scroll down to the end for more fairy tale links.
Fairy Tale Arts, Crafts and Activities from Pinterest
There is a variety of ideas here. I like the one for making pipe cleaner people.
Check out the three YouTube videos!
This site has 12 Grimm fairy tales that are based on a 1914 translation. The presentation is quite interesting.
Stories in the 'Fairy Tales' Theme from Speakaboos
There are 21 fairy tale videos. Each video has animation and text that lights up as it is read. There are also activities to go with each video. This is a nice site.
Are you looking for fairy tale books? Click here for Monday’s book post.