My daughter is now 8 years old and a very fluent reader. Very often I hear the same question, What did you do with her when she was little? Well, we read a lot, and I maintained a diary of our reading activities in weekly What My Child Is Reading entries in my blog. I decided to make these reading diaries more useful and create a new series on my blog where I will share our best books for each month for ages 3, 4, 5, and 6. Moreover, I will pair each book with an extension activity – sometimes with ours and sometimes with activities from my creative friends from Kid Blogger Network. In this post I am featuring books that we read when Smarty was 6 and 7 years old.
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1. A Gift for MamaWe stumbled on this book by accident, and I thought that it will make a good chapter book to read for Mother’s Day. I was also intrigued that the book featured a Jewish family in Poland, which is relatively close to my own birthplace of Belarus. An interesting twist in this book is that Sara does not want to make a homemade gift for her Mom. That’s what she does every year, but this year she wants to buy her something from the store. However, she does not have any money of her own and finds ways to earn the money she needs. Did her Mama appreciate the gift? Read the book to find out. At home we certainly encourage our daughter to make homemade gifts for us, and this year I was showered with cards, homemade perfume, and even a sewing project. I also wouldn’t mind to get some flowers in these beautiful gardening clay pot made with a technique that is quite accessible for younger children as well.
2. The Gift of the SunWe read The Gift of the Sun by Dianne Stewart as part of our virtual journey to South Africa. It’s an interesting folk tale similar to some stories from my native Russian culture where a seemingly lazy person prospers through luck, with the twist that now he actually has to work more to maintain his newfound wealth. Sunflowers are in the center of this story, and a great extension would be to grow sunflower seeds and make a sunflower journal as described in the post from The Nurture Store.
3. The Warlord’s Fish
I already recommended a book from The Warlord’s series by Virginia Pilegard – that’s because we love these books so much. The story lines are all fictional, but they introduce fantastic scientific discoveries that came from China. There is an activity page in the end of each book that explains how to make inventions described in the book. The Warlord’s Fish introduces a compass, and What Do We Do All Day combined making a compass with using it to read a city map.
4. Look What Came from GermanyAre you doing country studies? When Smarty was in the second grade, her class did a fun project called a heritage report. Since we live in Silicon Valley, children had no problems pinpointing a heritage country, since many kids are first or second generation Americans in their families or were born outside of US. Smarty chose her father’s country of Germany, especially since she just traveled there with him. By the age of 7, she was ready for a longer non-fiction book from the series Look What Came From… and then she put together (with some help from us) a country study for Germany.
5. I Wonder Why Spiders Spin WebsMy daughter really enjoyed I Wonder Why series that has books on different topics. I Wonder Why Spiders Spin Webs is great for this time of the year when kids can observe many insects in nature, and it offers a lot of interesting facts about insects even though I sort of agree with an Amazon review that said that those questions are unlikely to come from the minds of children. If you want to have some non-crawly insects in the house, make them from playdough following this simple tutorial from A Little Pinch of Perfect.
6. My Father’s DragonI have to admit that I did not read My Father’s Dragon of Elmer Elevator myself. Smarty had it as a read-aloud in school in the first grade, and she was very enchanted by the story. I got a trilogy book for her later at the library book sale, and she read it multiple times since then. In school, the kids built Wild Island with a playdough on a paper plate, but I don’t think I kept a photo of that project (and most certainly not the project itself :)). Frugal Fun for Boys did the whole literature unit based on My Father’s Dragon, and they draw a map of Wild Island as one of the activities in the unit.
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