Book-based activities, literature response crafts for interactive readers workshop lessons

March is National Reading Month, starting with the NEA's "Read Across America." Looking for ideas to inspire a life-long love of books? Here are reading response activities, interactive ELA (English language arts) lessons, book-based crafts and literature response lessons. Book activities are hands-on, multi-sensory, cross-curricular Montessori-style. Use for interactive Readers Workshop, special education students, reluctant readers, divergent learners and summer reading enrichment.
Reading response journal. Have kids create personalized reading logs, respond to literature and complete book-based activities. Check my blog Free Lesson Plans 4U and Free Printable Lesson Plans for tips to make literature response journals and activity suggestions. Here are free printable reading activitiesand calendar tracker from PBS.
Homemade books. Cut book covers from cereal box. Cover with scrap wrapping paper or wallpaper. Cover with magazine picture collage. Decoupage by painting pictures with watered-down school glue, front and back. Cut lined paper pages (for text) and blank paper (for illustrations). Or use scrap paper and draw in text lines.
Book-based promotional materials. Have kids play marketer for their favorite book or author. Make posters, book covers advertising literature. Create 3-D sculptures, models or dioramas based on books. Make book-based merchandise: toys, snacks, food, games. In homeschooling, my 6th grade son designed a "Hobbit Holes" cereal box designed on his favorite J.R.R. Tolkien novel.
Book diorama. Create scenes from books using recycled products. Arrange scene in shoe box. Use small dolls (Lego, Fisher-Price, Little Tikes, Polly Pockets) as characters.
Story-reading audio/video presentations. Make audio recordings of kids reading books. Covert to mp3 files for iPod. Videotape students reading and story-telling. Upload videos to Youtube.
Story-telling. Students read aloud to younger students. Students act out children's books and present to younger or special needs classes. In high school, our oldest daughter acted out a Shel Silverstein's poem "Noise Day" for special education kids. They loved when she skateboarded across the stage!
Book-music connections. Create music playlists based on books. Select metaphorical songs. Kids will love choosing modern songs to represent story themes. Our family saw a production of "Macbeth." The play was set to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," "The Decemberists "This is Why We Fight" and "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant. It really resonated with students and helped them understand and relate to Shakespeare.

For more reading response activities, visit my blog Kidz Literature.

Free Thanksgiving holiday activities, printables

Check out these free printable Thanksgiving activities. Children will love coloring and making Thanksgiving party decorations, invitations, greeting cards, games, table decor, placemats and more with these printouts. Print 3D turkeys, Native American Indians crafts, pilgrims, pumpkins, harvest cornucopias--all the traditional holiday themes. These are perfect for preschool and elementary social studies crafts too.   Free printable Thanksgiving holiday activities, crafts, coloring pages, cards

Best books for kids on bullying: bibliotherapy and bully-busting children's literature

It’s not the most pleasant way to start the school year, but back to school orientation cover bullying and bully buster tips. First, it's important to understand that bullying isn’t just the stereotype from the Charles Atlas ad, where the big guy kicks sand in the little guy's face while the dismayed girl looks on.
Bullying prevention back then was flawed too. "Frail, puny" boys were exhorted to build up their muscles, take on the bully and impress the girl. Dubious motive aside, it wrongly implies that "might makes right." Coping with persecutors is about inner fortitude not brute strength.

Even the term bullying prevention is misleading. It suggests that the bullied are responsible for making bullies stop bullying. But harassment happens to people in all sizes, colors and orientations. People don't do anything to make themselves targets. Bullies bully because they can. True prevention tells bullies they can't and punishes them when they do.

Here's a list of children's literature books on bullying to teach kids what bullying is, what it feels like and what to do if they are bullied. Bullying prevention happens in clever, avant-garde ways. Through gentle bibliotherapy, children see bullying for the cowardice it is. These children's literature books help kids laugh at bullies, diffuse the pain and get past victimization to the find the chutzpah they need to deal with their tormentors.

"Hooway for Wodney Wat" by Helen Lester. Poor timid Wodney Wat (Rodney Rat) can barely "squeak clearly" to his friends, let alone to big mean Camilla Capybara. But when the mouse-sized hero is forced to take on Camilla, rodent to rodent, everyone at P.S.182 School for Rodents hears the bully buster loud and clear. This is one of the most endearing children's literature books on bullying ever.

"The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig" by Eugene Trivizas. This fractured fairy tale is the funniest of the children's literature books on bullying and one of the most humorous ever. And therein lies the bibliotherapy for kids. There's a lesson to be learned when three gentle, peace-loving little wolves teach one pyromaniac pig bully to dance.

"A Bargain for Francis" by Russel and Lillian Hoban. The redoubtable Francis badger brings off a scathingly brilliant coup against her devious, double-dealing sometime-friend often-times bully Thelma. Bully buster Francis gets the prize for best plot twist in children's literature books on bullying.

"Ira Sleeps Over" by Bernard Waber. Ira loves his teddy Ta-Ta. When he's invited stay the night at his friend Reggie's house, his bullying big sister convinces him that "Reggie will laugh" at boys with bears. But Ira and Ta-Ta have the last laugh on sister.

"The Bully of Barkham Street" by Mary Stolz is a tender, heart-jerking look at how a bully is grown. It's bullying prevention from the roots up. In this bibliotherapy, children may find themselves sympathizing with the bully.

"Mouse Soup" by Arnold Lobel. Fox wants to make soup out of Mouse, but Mouse pulls a Scheherazade and makes mincemeat of Fox. Children will howl as the bully gets his comeuppance.

"The House on East 88th Street" by Bernard Waber teaches people not to judge a bully or a bully buster by his cover. You couldn't ask for a nicer neighbor than Lyle the crocodile than Lyle, but the Loretta the cat next door is terrified of him. Read how Lyle befriends the fractious feline. Check out Lyle's other adventures in diplomacy too.

"Thomas the Tank Engine" by Rev. W. Awdry. A little engine is alternately the bullied then the bully. Will rascally Thomas ever learn that bigger isn't always better? Kids learn many important lessons watching cheeky Thomas fail and rethink his choices.

"Emil and the Detectives" by Erich Kastner. Young Emil is stalked by some very fierce men with nasty intentions, but this sensible, prescient but boy takes them on and saves the day.

"Go Away Big Green Monster" by Ed Emberley. In what might be the most proactive and interactive of kids books, children take down a monster of a bully one piece at at time!

Read these books for kids to explore creative bully buster ideas. They may not prevent all issues but they will help children have a clearer idea how to deal with tormentors.

Black History Month: civil rights, race riots and how Detroit heard Martin Luther King Jr. 'I Have a Dream' speech before March on Washington

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is honored for his contributions, but not just for African-American rights. He furthered civil rights for all Americans. MLK Jr. Day also commemorates the "I Have a Dream" speech famously given at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963. That speech might not have happened if not for the goddess of gospel Mahalia Jackson goading Dr. King, says Yahoo! Music. And, the Lincoln Memorial wasn't the first platform at which Dr. King spoke those words. Detroiters heard them first on June 23rd of that year, commemorating the 1943 race riots.  Detroit heard Martin Luther King Jr. 'I Have a Dream' speech before March on Washington

Free printable Thanksgiving lesson plans, games

With the holidays fast upon us, why not gear up with the fun, educational activities, parents. Teachers and homeschoolers, these activities are for you too. Check out these sources for Free Thanksgiving holiday crafts, games, greeting cards, coloring pages, printables perfect for kids home on vacation or classroom Thanksgiving units.

Children's literature books on bullying: Bully buster bibliotherapy for kids

 With the Orlando shooting at an LGBT nightclub fresh on minds and heavy on hearts, it's a good time to discuss bully buster tips with children. First, it's important to understand bullying. The bully stereotype is the Charles Atlas ad, where the big guy kicks sand in the little guy's face while the dismayed girl looks on.   Children's literature books on bullying: Bully buster bibliotherapy for kids |

Free printable Raggedy Ann and Andy coloring pages

 As a little girl, my favorite cartoon dolls were Raggedy Ann and Andy. We didn't have television and I met Raggedy Ann and Andy in a collection of stories we had. I had a little Raggedy Ann doll with a little red heart sewn on her chest. American writer Johnny Gruelle told the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy stories to entertain his sick little daughter, Marcella. She passed away in 1918 and Johnny Gruelle published them in memory of his beloved child. Raggedy Ann dressed in a gingham apron, white pinafore and petticoat and bloomers and Raggedy Andy, in a little sailor suit. Both had red yarn curls and triangle noses. They lived with other toys, in Marcella's nursery.  Free printable Raggedy Ann and Andy coloring pages |

Free printable Wonder Pets coloring pages, Nick Jr activities for kids |

"Wonder Pets!" is Nick Jr channel's totally adorable cartoon. Wonder Pets are fuzzy, cute, cuddly animals similar to Webkinz. Wonder Pets features Tuck the baby turtle, Ming-Ming an aviator baby duckling and Linny, a little guinea pig. Wonder Pets! is a perfect show for toddlers, preschool and the young at heart. Here are free printable Nick Jr Wonder Pets coloring pages and activities for kids.  Free printable Wonder Pets coloring pages, Nick Jr activities for kids |

Multicultural kids books: Reading around the world of children's literature

 Homeschool parents and teachers, do you need reading activities for National Reading Month in March? Why not read around the world of children's literature? Take an around the world tour with kids books! Here are globe-trotting children's literature selections from pole to pole and occident (west) to orient (east). Older children can hone their skills by reading aloud to younger children. This list of kids books has value-added lesson plans as children's literature selections have global social studies, history, geography and multicultural literature connections.

Read around the world to visit children in other lands and experience their lifestyles, religion and culture. Many of these children's literature kids books are Caldecott Medal recipients. This means that they have been recognized for their art and illustrations. Typically a Caldecott winner depicts multicultural lifestyles  Multicultural kids books: Reading around the world of children's literature |

Free printable James Bond 007 Spectre coloring pages, James Bond cars models

Bond is back. "Spectre"--which opened Nov. 2015, is the newest James Bond 007 film and it's also the most lavish and multi-national. Spectre picks up where Ian Fleming left James Bond in "Skyfall." For 54 years now fans have flocked to see Agent 007. And the tide doesn't seem to be ebbing. Talk is that Bond filmmakers may be eyeing the electrifyingly talented Idris Elba could as the next James Bond after Daniel Craig. How about free printable James Bond coloring pages to celebrate Spectre. Use these to celebrate Global James Bond Day on October 5.  Free printable James Bond 007 Spectre coloring pages, James Bond cars models |


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