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Family storytime is a great way to learn and grow together, and this summer’s series, “Summer Reading Resource: Literary Guides for Expanding Family Reading Time” provides a wealth of resources for supporting children in developing literacy and comprehension skills. The ten books included in the series this summer appeal to a wide range of readers, and are filled with rich stories that encourage readers to learn about important themes like friendship, finding personal strengths, and connecting with nature.

S.D. Nelson’s “Buffalo Bird Girl” tells the story of a young Hidatsa girl, following her through a year’s worth of seasonal change and detailing the activities that take place in her life based upon the changes taking place in the natural world. Helping readers learn about Native American culture, the story presents families with information that challenges them to compare their own lives to those of members of the Hidatsa tribe – and accompanying hands-on activities offer experiential learning centered around local Native American culture.

Journaling is back in fashion! Encouraging your children to absorb the world and then springing their ideas onto the page is the gold standard in creative and personal development. Read on how to see how to set up this creative outlet and how to make it a family involved project.

Running all summer, our highly popular and comprehensive series of literary guides are written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England. They are designed to enrich the reading experience of your child. Each week a new book is featured.

This week’s book is for 5th graders and for kids at middle school level, and it’s a literary treat of intrigue and mystery! “When You Reach Me,” by Rebecca Stead is one giant enigma built upon clever riddles, as it covers two children interacting with Manhattan. The literary guide hones in on maximizing the developmental skills of detail tracking, note-taking, supporting inferences with evidence, and building a system of connections as the story progresses.

The literary guides have proven to be popular this summer. Read on to see how you can further develop your child’s reading experience with these wonderful guides!

Running all summer, our highly popular and comprehensive series of literary guides are written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England. They are designed to enrich the reading experience of your child. Each week a new book is featured.

This week we have a peach of a read called “Alec’s Primer,” by Mildred Pitts Walter. It’s a true story of freedom that spends time just up the road in Grafton, Vermont. It’s an inspiring narrative of perseverance and the spirit of self-education. The literary guide will direct you to enable your elementary school age children to explore themes of freedom, slavery and the Civil War. In addition to supporting place-based studies of the Civil War and the abolition movement, a reading of the book can spark discussion on topics such as what it means to be free, the ethics of restricting access to knowledge, courage, determination, and strength.

Our summer series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience, and mobilize critical thinking.

This week’s guide looks at local author Mordicai Gerstein and her book “The Mountains of Tibet.” The subject covers critical thinking with regard to topics such as religion and reincarnation. Children will consider different cultures and their belief systems, and critically analyse similarities and differences they may notice, in relation to themselves. Needless to say this is a stimulating exercise for kids- especially for third graders and older.

Our series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience. A quality outlook to your child’s reading releases so much in terms of a child’s reading and sophisticated interpretation of themes.

This week Jeanne Birdsall’s “The Penderwicks” is set in the Berkshires and covers the adventures of four daughters and their eccentric dad while on a quirky vacation. The text drives critical thinking and theme connection and is suitable for those kids ages 10-11. The guide provides direction on how to maximize this wonderful reading experience! Download it now for free!

Our summer series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience, and mobilize critical thinking.

This week’s guide helps us navigate William Steig’s “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” under the banner of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ The illustrations offer first and second graders challenges to find clues linking to the overall narrative, and a wealth of new words to discover. They’ll also be inspired to construct that verbally watertight wish (we’ve all done it!) and to imagine where it could take them. Literally an inspiring read that will enrich your child’s literary development.

Our summer series of literary guides written by graduate students in the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England are designed to maximize your child’s reading experience, and mobilize critical thinking.

This week’s lit guide to Arthur Dorros’ story, “Abuela,” inspires young readers to connect to Hispanic culture, learn Spanish phrases and also to recognize illustrative patterns. The great concept of ‘journey’ is also open to exploration.

Read on and see how “Abuela” can lead your child’s literary development!

Emily Dickinson, born and raised in Amherst, MA, is one of western Massachusetts many notable poets and writers. The Emily Dickinson Museum, comprising of the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens, welcomes families, children and writers into Emily’s life as lived in the Pioneer Valley in the 1800’s.

One of the best times to visit the Homestead and to check out the community-based educational opportunities this local resources offers, is during the museum’s upcoming annual Garden Days. There will be many opportunities to for community engagement, including volunteering, workshops, family gardening activities, and times to reflect and feel the inspiration of the Pioneer Valley as Emily did over 150 years ago!

The Forbes and Lilly Libraries are holding their Edible Book event on Sunday, April 6th this year, an annual event that crosses culinary arts and language arts with creative free play!

National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

In “One Clover & a Bee,” Amy shares two poems to read and recite with your kids while crunch through autumn leaves or during indoor transitions…

This month in “One Clover & A Bee: Poems for Families to Learn & Love,” Amy’s pick for July is a poem by Emily Dickinson…

Making Journals with Kids Can Encourage & Support Language & Visual Art Skills It’s no secret of parenting that kids have a lot to say. Just as our own adult brains are constantly stirring through ideas, memories, and observations, children’s brains are working just as hard. They make note of interesting things that they see in their surroundings, develop characters and stories inspired by their experiences, and they may even craft clever… Read More

Take a Poem to the Beach To kick off the summer, here’s a poem by E.E. Cummings. Cummings is known for his inventiveness—his play with language and form. That playfulness is usually most obvious in the capitalization (or lack of) and punctuation (seemingly random) in his poems, and kids love to see a grown-up breaking those rules. ——— maggie and milly and molly and may by E. E. Cummings maggie and milly… Read More

Big Ideas (in the Ordinary) I’ve noticed that often when we try to write, we get stuck because we think we need to write about “big” subjects. So we sit and chew on our pencil and stare into space and decide our lives just aren’t exciting enough for Art with a capital A. It’s really a shame, because lots of interesting, imaginative writing gets lost this way. The poem I’ve chosen for… Read More

Hampshire County Law Day 2013 Spoken Word Contest for Middle & High School Youth As we teach our children how to conceptualize the world, they are most certainly forming their own opinions about what it means to live and exist within it.  We give them lots of information on the past, and perhaps even more than that, we give them advice and guidance for navigating today and the future.  We share with… Read More

The Edible Book: A Benefit for the Friends of the Forbes & Lilly Libraries The Forbes and Lilly Libraries are holding their Edible Book event on Sunday, April 22nd this year, an annual event that crosses culinary arts and language arts with creative free play! And April vacation week is the perfect time to start thinking with your kids about participating and supporting our local libraries! What is an Edible Book? It’s… Read More

Three Wishes Writing Contest If your child had three wishes, what would their wishes be and where would they take them?  The Odyssey Bookshop’s annual children’s creative writing contest’s theme this year is “Wishes” – kids ages 5-11 years old can enter by writing a story or essay addressing their three wishes. The contest’s goal is to get kids to practice writing creatively and to learn to articulate their thoughts and express… Read More

Embracing Difference Empowers Individuality Although all of my previous posts have dealt with the lessons I learned and taught inside my classroom, some of the most profound moments have come when my students walk out of these doors to create the next chapter of their lives. Today I received an email from a former student simply entitled “Thank You.” When I saw who the sender was, I couldn’t help but smile. Here… Read More

100 Links (Spring/Summer 2011) Nearly every day we add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing of online resource that are educational and entertaining! Where are these links? Hilltown Families Del.ici.ous Page!  This icon can be found at the top of our site,… Read More

100 Links (Winter/Spring 2011) Nearly every day we add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box below. Where are these links? You won’t find them on your blog… Read More

100 Links (Fall 2010/Winter 2011) Nearly every day we add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box below. Where are these links? You won’t find them on your… Read More

100 Links (Summer/Fall 2010) Nearly every day we add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box below. Where are these links? You won’t find them on your blog… Read More

In school, we call these “sight words,” and in first grade, teachers spend lots of time purposely building a “word bank” so that kids can recognize and read them instantly. Having a strong sight vocabulary builds reading fluency and confidence, so it’s well worth some time and practice at home.

NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY March 4th is National Grammar Day. In honor of this new holiday (click here to read more) we’ve posted eight videos celebrating Nouns, Verbs, Pronounds, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Adjectives and Interjections. These School House Rock grammar videos will stir fond memories in most parents while capturing the attention of your kids. Have fun! NOUNS VERBS PRONOUNS

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