As the school librarian and someone who has a passion for literacy, I want my students to be inspired to read and write. Last week was one of those times where I was reminded exactly why I do what I do. Through Wondermore’s Authors-In-Schools Program, we were lucky enough to have Michelle Knudsen come and speak to our K1 and K2 classes.
Michelle Knudsen is a New York Times best-selling author. Her picture book Library Lion was selected by Time Magazine as one of the Best 100 Children’s Books of All Time. Other books Michelle has written include Marilyn’s Monster, Big Mean Mike, and Argus. I start every school year off by reading Library Lion to the students, as it is great way to introduce students to the wonders of the library and library rules.
Wondermore believes “powerful interactions between the creators of children’s books and underserved K-8 students in Boston motivate children to become better readers and writers.” I couldn’t agree more! Being able to put a face with the name really allowed the students to connect to the stories Michelle shared and stay engaged. Meeting authors like Michelle makes books accessible and real to students. Authors are real people that work through the writing process just like we do. Before the author visit, the students and I read many of Michelle’s books and brainstormed questions we wanted to ask during her visit (“What is your favorite book?” “How do you make a book?” “Why is Big Mean Mike so mean?”) The K1 and K2 teachers did a great job readying the students and familiarizing them with Michelle’s stories. Michelle even commented on how well-prepared our students were. Go Shaw students!
The visit was incredible. All of the students loved Michelle and how friendly she was. They loved her props and the nonfiction facts she presented, as well as her picture books. At the end of the visit every student received their own personally autographed copy of Library Lion. I could tell this author visit will stay with the students for years to come. If the end goal was to get our Kindergarten students excited about reading, then it worked! Many of them are already asking when we can have another author come visit!
Thanks to the winter break and snow days, we all had a VERY short first week back at school. But just because we aren't inside the Shaw doesn't mean learning has to stop! I thought I would share some of my favorite educational websites to keep our brains active during these cold days. And the best part about them... they are FREE!
Highlights for Kids
I remember reading this magazine as a kid, so it's great to see that Highlights now offers online ways for children to play and read. I love their Hidden Pictures puzzles! Put your brain to the test and see if you can find all of the hidden objects inside the pictures. They also have crafts, recipes, games, and jokes.
Learning Games for Kids
This site offers educational games to help build skills in literacy, math, science, and social studies. They also have some great games to get kids practicing and improving their typing skills.
National Geographic for Kids
I love NatGeo's mission stating, "We teach kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and to make it a better place." This site is filled will interesting facts about animals, nature, and different countries. You can watch animal cameras and try science experiments. There's also a "Little Kids" section for even the youngest adventurers in your house.
Games and videos from educational shows like Curious George and Wild Kratts.
This site aims to help preschoolers and kindergartners learn how to read. They do a great job of using games to teach letter recognition and phonics.
I hope everyone stays safe and warm. Enjoy the snow days!
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)