Review: S is for Smiling Sunrise Alphabet Book by WordsBright

I have a sweet little book to share with you today.  It is called S is for Smiling Sunrise by WordsBright.  WordsBright is a small little publishing house for educational children’s books.  S is for Smiling Sunrise is their debut book.  I think it is an excellent choice.

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When you open the first page there is a space to write in the child’s name and the name of the person giving the book.  I remember when I had my baby shower for my now 9 year old son lots of people gave us books instead of cards.  They inscribed a little message to my yet to be born son.  We treasure these books now almost 10 years later.  I could so see giving this book to another expectant parent.  What a sweet little gift.

As you turn the page there is a dedication and then a note that says

At least ten percent of net earnings from this book will be given to health and education projects for disadvantaged children.

Clearly WordsBright publishing is more than just another children’s book publisher.

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S is For Smiling Sunrise is a twist on your traditional alphabet book where every page brings fort a new letter with a corresponding word that starts with that letter and a sweet little poem, plus more!  I’ll get to the more in a bit. We begin with…

look-inside-51-825x660A is for Artwork

Drawing and painting

Singing and dancing too

Art makes life interesting!

 

Written for the early childhood set (prek-3rd grade) this book is vibrant in color, flowery in language and vocabulary, and an overall delight to read for both adults and children.

I chose to read this book with my daughter Joyanna who is just shy of 5 years old.  She already has a good grasp of her letters.  She is able to identify them easily and she knows MOST of their sounds.  This book was a fun way for her to just practice hearing them all in new way.

The book itself is a hardback book and the pages are made of a high quality paper.  This is a book that can handle the demands of multiple readings and the rugged handling of little hands. There is an  audio CD, with MP3 available via download and Teacher’s Guide as well. The CD makes the words in the book into sing song like rhymes that were quickly burned into everyone’s minds!  Joyanna loved repeating them.

The teacher guide helps you use the book to teach your children values and virtues that are mentioned in the pages of the book itself.  How sweet!  As I said before, this is a book that more than just another alphabet book.  You are given some ideas for question to help you start conversations with your child both before and after you read the book.  There is help with laying down new vocabulary words and over all just a great deal of information to help your family really get the most from this book.

If you are looking for something fun to ready yet enjoy digging into books and really soak the most out of them then S is for Smiling Sunrise by WordsBright just perfect! 

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Wordsbright Review

Review: Preschool Curriculum by La La Logic

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I’ve been passionate about preschool education for almost 20 years.  My oldest daughter isn’t quite five years old yet, still a preschooler, and totally thrilled to try anything Mommy tosses her way.  This time we were given the chance to review a Preschool Curriculum by La La Logic.  

What Is La La Logic?

This curriculum is aimed at children ages three-six.  One account can be accessed by 5 children.  This program happens both online and on paper.  In total you will find 100 weeks worth of online curriculum with worksheets that can be printed off weekly.  An internet connected computer is a must as well as a printer and some of the standard preschool supplies like scissors, glue sticks, and crayons.  The online component can also be done on a tablet.

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How We Used It

There is a suggested weekly schedule which we followed.

Day 1 includes a Brian Challenge.  Children can do extra practice if they desire.  This Brian Challenge is the entire online portion of this program.  It involves about 10 minutes of games and logic activities all on the computer or tablet.  There is quite a bit of matching, comparing, listening, counting, puzzles and other similar activities.  As the lessons move up they do get continuously harder. You can track children and mark their lessons complete.

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Brain Challenges can be done in just one short snippet or you can place it on continuous mode and your child can play for however long you decide.  The first time we logged on somehow we ended up in this mode.  My daughter and I were pretty confused as it seemed there was no endpoint.  I found the other mode and the next time she gave it a try she was much happier.

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Day 2 This is an offline day.  The activities vary from week to week and the focus or theme changes regularly.  Sometimes  as an example it is literacy or math related, other times it might be more socially related.  Children will complete activities like matching shapes, arranging objects by size, or sequencing a story and many more.

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Day 3 the children repeat the Brain Challenges from day one.  There are more worksheets to complete that compliment the brain challenges the children just completed.

Day 4 the children extend the enrichment activities from day 2.  Sometimes children will roll play or act out concepts learned earlier.  They might narrate stories or play games.  This is where we move away from the paper and the computer and into some fun hands on activities.

Day 5 the children can revisit the Brain Challenges again and/or have some family fun.

What Did We Think?

Over all I really like this program.  I love that though there is an online component to this the screen time is pretty minimum of as little as 20 minutes in a week.  This is fun for my daughter and easy for me as her mom who is juggling two other school children and a baby.

I love the variety of activities.  It covers a wide range of subjects from logic to math to literacy.  It makes the whole thing exciting.  You can choose how much to do in a day or a week.  If you take a couple of days away it is easy to jump right back in where you left off.

This could easily be used as the majority of your curriculum.  You may want to think about adding in some phonics and if your child is pretty good with math you will probably need to add some activities that get your child recognizing numbers and number sense above ten.

This is completely open and go.  If you have typical supplies like glue and scissors, pencils and crayons you are set to go.  I love that.  I was able to squeeze this in between nursing the baby and teaching my older boys.  I need easy and I need flexible.  This has that.

La La Logic Review
 

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Review: The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live Published by Gryphon House

GryphonWe recently received for review a book called The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live published by Gryphon House.  Let me just start this review by telling you that I think this the single best book on teaching preschoolers that I’ve ever read.  That is a heavy thing for me to say as I have an entire library of books on the subject that I collected over the last 17 years from college, through graduate school and during my tenure in the teaching profession.  Teaching preschoolers was once the sole reason for my existence each day.  It is still a subject near and dear to my heart.

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The book was created by two moms, Kathy H. Lee and Lesli M. Richards.  Both are homeschooling mothers and they wrote this book from that perspective.  To me this makes the book unique as your typical what to teach a preschooler books isn’t written from the prespective of the child learning at home, but in some sort of institutional school setting.

The book itself is just gorgeous.  It full of beautiful glossy photos of real children engaging in and learning through play in the world in which they live.  It’s a sturdy book that will hold up to lots of handling.  I’ve already flipped through mine more times that I can count and you surely will too.

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The book is just overflowing with wonderful information about why learning at home is so beneficial for our littlest children.  How they benefit from a rich and comfortable family environment.  They cover child development and explain how children’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive domains grow so richly in a fruitful and playful environment.  Every topic is covered from Communication and Emergent Literacy Skills to Mathematics.  The author explains to you why such things are so important for little preschoolers and just what activities you can do to develop them.

This book is so meaty with ideas and photos.  Real life children in real life homes learning through activities that you can do with your little one.  The materials are generally familiar toys and other things either easily purchased for cheap or already found in your home.  You can’t help but read the pages and be inspired to really enhance the world of your preschooler.  Nothing is hard.  There is no real right way. It’s just fun and engaging and enriching for your child.

Sprinkled throughout the entire book are special recipes that you can easily create with your child.  You will also find purple pages that are specific notes directly from the authors that share an experience with their own childhood, the family, or some great suggestion.  Such inspiration!

I think my favorite chapter is chapter 5.  Home Life = Learning, Slow down and teach.  A quality preschool education does not need to equal fancy curriculum, expensive workbooks, and the latest gadgets.  So much wonderful development can happen through every day life.  Including your preschooler in sorting the laundry, cooking dinner, and cleaning the house is so simple.  It is so fulfilling for your tot and your relationship with each other can grow stronger.  Can I say it again? Such inspiration. But don’t fret, the very next chapter delves into how to make time for these things AND how to take care of YOU the Mom and educator.

There are chapters in here on how to organize everything, how to plan for rough days and seasons of illness and stress.  They even discuss what to do if there are special circumstances such as a child with special needs or chronic illness.

Then there are the activities.  Oh so many activities.  I wouldn’t consider many of them to be new and profound.  If you’ve spent any time reading up on preschoolers chances are you’ve hit upon many of them or at least variations of them.  But here they are…. all in one place!  No hunting around pinterest or blogs or a stack of books for them.  We have gardening activities, cleaning activities, chemistry activities, nature activities, gross motor activities, fine motor activities, block play, math.  Oh the list is nearly endless.  And the best part is… you don’t have to modify them!  They are written to you, the HOMESCHOOLING parent.  They do not assume you have 20 kids in a class!  The activities are geared to families at home with just 1 or a few preschoolers underfoot.  What a refreshing perspective. Here are a few photos of my own preschooler enjoying some activities from this book!

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These next photos were part of a chemistry experiment mixing vinegar and baking soda.  I guess my little gal didn’t quite know what to expect.  Her reaction was priceless.
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Oh, one of my favorites!  I call it goop!  Simple cornstarch and water.  It’s hard to see in the photos but this stuff is weird! 
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storyboard-1023Do I love this book!  Absolutely!  Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live is just fabulous.  It is so refreshing to have a preschool book come from the perspective of the HOME.   The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live published by Gryphon House is 224 pages is just pure and wonderful preschool love and it sells for $29.95.  If you have a preschooler in your home get yourself a copy! You’ll be glad you did! 
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