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Dream Big, Little Scientists: A Bedtime Book
Author: Michelle Schaub
Illustrator: Alice Potter
Published: February 18, 2020 by Charlesbridge

Summary: Twelve kids. A dozen bedtimes. Endless sweet ways to say goodnight with science! Spark curiosity and exploration with this innovative bedtime story for budding scientists that introduces eleven branches of science. From astronomy to physics to chemistry to geology, this STEM picture book will help kids get excited to explore. Includes further information about each branch of science.

Praise:

About the Author: Michelle Schaub is an author, a veteran teacher, and a poetry-in-the-classroom advocate. Her books include Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections and Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market; her poems have appeared in And the Crowd Goes Wild, A Global Gathering of Sports Poems, and The Poetry Anthology for Celebrations. To download free activity kits and curriculum guides for her books, visit her website: http://www.michelleschaub.com/; Twitter: @Schaubwrites; Instagram: @schaubwrites

About the Illustrator: Alice Potter is a London-based illustrator and children’s-wear print designer. Dream Big, Little Scientists is her first picture book. www.alicepotter.co.uk

Ricki’s ReviewThis book is very cleverly conceived. The spreads depict the different branches of science, and I had a lot of fun (as an adult) playing detective and examining the different bedrooms. My sons adored the book and asked questions about the different scientists and posters on the walls of the bedroom. We googled and learned about new scientists! A significant amount of thought and care went into this book, and it was not lost on me. I’ve read this several times now with my sons, and each time, I find something new that I enjoy. This book will make readers really excited to learn about science. Further, the language is beautiful, and it is very fun to read aloud. I have two science-y friends who are having a baby soon. You bet that I’ll be buying this book for them!

Kellee’s Review: I love when a traditional book is turned upside down and turned into something new and fresh, and that is exactly what Michelle Schaub and Alice Potter have done. It is a next level bedtime book because while it has such lyrical text that definitely will bring some yawns, it also is a book that will bring lots of curiosity to its readers as each spread unleashes another discussion about a different branch of science. Each page we looked at the posters, decorations, and books to see how they all connect. It was wonderful how the illustrator brought the authors intentions to life!  

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Download the EDUCATORS’ GUIDE!

From the author’s note: “Be curious! Look around, explore, and talk about the world where you live . . . just like a scientist! To explore the different branches of science even more, visit: www.sciencekids.co.nz

Visit www.michelleschaub.com/scientists to learn about the scientists on the posters in each kid’s room.”

There are some great assets for this book in addition to learning about each scientist, including a book trailer. Here’s the link to the page on her site: https://www.michelleschaub.com/dream-big.

Additionally, doing a visual analysis of each spread as a connection to science would be such an interesting activity!

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which page excites you the most? Which branch of science is depicted on that page? Why did the page interest you?
  • Which scientist intrigues you? Why?
  • How did the author creatively organize this book? How does this increase your interest, as a reader?
  • How does each room reflect the branch of science the child likes?

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Read This If You Love: Books about Science; Bedtime Books

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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review**

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Tuesday: Fred’s Big Feelings by Laura Renauld, Illustrated by Brigette Barrager

Thursday: Author Q&A and Giveaway!: Honey, The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln, by Shari Swanson, Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
**Giveaway open until Thursday!**

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “How to Incorporate a Picture Book in the Classroom” by Brooke Van Sickle, Author of Pirates Stuck at “C”: An Alphabet Adventure

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

I am back from SAN DIEGO, and what a wonderful vacation it was! And now back to the regularly scheduled program:

This week with Trent, we read primarily Fly Guy books because he checked out a BUNCH from the public library. He even read a couple to me! I’m so proud of his reading progress!

  • Elizabeth Acevedo’s upcoming YA novel-in-verse is just as special and brilliant as her first two novels. It delves into so much–family, identity, economy, womanhood, and sisters. Be excited to read it!
  • I love that Ellen Hopkins wrote a middle grade that will soon be published! Closer to Nowhere does what her YA novels do, discuss topics that too many people are afraid to discuss, but just for a younger audience. You’ll want to read this one, too!

Ricki

I am with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law this weekend, so I’ll share more next week!

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Kellee

  • Slowly but surely reading: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
    (I should finish it this week hopefully!)
  • Listening: Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
    (I’ll probably finish this this week also!)
  • After that, I have so many choices! Schneider reading will become very real soon, so I am trying to get some non-Schneider reading in as much as I can 🙂

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Tuesday: Dream Big, Little Scientists Michelle Schaub, Illustrated by Alice Potter

Thursday: Trent’s Favorite Reads as of his 6th Birthday

Sunday: “Daylight” by Barbara Dee, Author of Maybe He Just Likes You

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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“How to Incorporate a Picture Book in the Classroom”

As a teacher, I LOVE to read new picture books to my students, but sometimes it’s hard. Especially when I’m trying to connect them back to the curriculum (particularly the Common Core standards that we have in the states.) So I’ve discovered some easy tricks to incorporate a picture book into the classroom.

How to Incorporate Picture Books into Your Curriculum:

The Internet has helped immensely in creating new lesson plans. Particularly in thanks to Pinterest. Once I find a picture book I love (and know the students will too), I will try to use it in the classroom.

First, I Research the Author’s or Publisher’s Website for a Teacher’s Guide.

Most authors have a website to get to know them better and use it as a listing for the books they’ve published. But some also have free resources for teachers and parents to use alongside their books. So this is where I start.

If I can’t find a resource on the website, then I’ll do a quick Google or Pinterest search.

If None Exist, then Create your Own Guide.

The easy, already-done-for-you way is always preferred, but we can’t always be so lucky. In the case of not being able to find any teacher resources online, you can always create your own lesson plan that works with your curriculum.

The steps to create your own lesson plan based on children’s books:

Step 1 – Look for Teaching Elements.

A lot of picture books are designed with a lesson in mind (even when they’re just funny or adorable.) I’ll look for those to pull into a current lesson topic I know we’re going to cover. Like a counting book, a specific person of interest, or emotion we’re discussing.

If the book doesn’t have a specific teaching element, then I will revert to common core standards that I know need to be resolved for that grade level. Like recognizing phonemes and understanding the basic parts of the story structure, (characters, setting, etc.)

Step 2 – Look for Worksheets that connect to the Element.

Even if a book doesn’t have a worksheet created for it, there are still TONS available online. Especially on Pinterest.

Worksheets like building-a-story, character development, letter recognization, etc. work great in a pinch when I’m in need of something to use alongside a story.

Step 3 – Get Creative.

Now that I’m a published author, I create teacher’s guides for my books. And I always try to make sure the book can be used for all subjects (including science, social studies, music, etc.). Which means I’ve had to learn to be creative.

In these situations, I will come up with a fun activity that will connect back to the book but also work in the classroom setting. Like with my upcoming book, PIRATES STUCK AT “C”, I have a worksheet where the students can tell me what they would hope for if they found a chest of treasure.

This is geared for Pre-K to Kindergarten to help with their writing skills, but it could also be used in an art class since the other half is drawing their treasure ideas. My goal is for the students to have fun while learning.

If you’re in need of a picture book that already comes with a teacher’s guide, my new book PIRATES STUCK AT “C” that comes out this month! I’ll be sure to send you the guide for free. Just email your order number to me at brooke@journeytokidlit.com.

Happy reading!

Guest Post by Brooke Van Sickle: Brooke Van Sickle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and  Regional Webmaster for the Iowa-SCBWI region. She’s also a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPa).

 

PIRATES STUCK AT “C”, published by BiblioKid Publishing, is Brooke Van Sickle’s debut picture book. She also has 2 more books expected in 2020. When not writing her own books, Brooke teaches other aspiring writers how to write and publish kids’ books at www.journeytokidlit.com.

Learn more about her on her website www.brookevansickle.com and connect with her on social @journeytokidlit.

Picture books are definitely so important in the classroom–thank you, Brooke, for helping us guide the use of them!

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Honey: The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln
Author: Shari Swanson
Illustrator: Chuck Groenink
Published January 14th, 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books

Summary: Based on a little-known tale from Abraham Lincoln’s childhood, this charming picture book written by debut author Shari Swanson and illustrated by acclaimed artist Chuck Groenink tells a classic story of a boy, his dog, and a daring rescue.

Deeply researched and charmingly told, this is the true story of one extra-special childhood rescue—a dog named Honey.

Long before Abraham Lincoln led the nation or signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he was just a barefoot kid running around Knob Creek, Kentucky, setting animals free from traps and snatching frogs out of the jaws of snakes.

One day, young Abe found a stray dog with a broken leg and named him Honey. He had no idea that the scruffy pup would find his way into Abe’s heart, become his best friend, and—one fateful day—save his life.

About the Author: Shari Swanson is a debut author who has been a middle school language arts teacher as well as an appellate lawyer. She received her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she wrote her thesis on musicality in picture books. She lives in Southern California with her husband and their dog, Honey. To learn more, and to download a free curriculum guide and activity kit, visit her website: shariswanson.com.

Twitter: @ByShariSwanson
Facebook: Shari Swanson, Author

Author Q&A: Thank you to Shari for answering some questions for us and you!

Q: Why did you specifically choose this moment in Abe’s life to focus on? What did you hope to add to the Abe Lincoln narrative?

A: This story captivates me for several reasons. First, I love that we see Abe as a child—prone to distraction, earnest and loving, and with a deep compassion for animals. I feel it adds depth to our understanding of him as a man and makes him relatable to current children who might share these characteristics. Second, that Abe might not have grown up to be a man and our president without Honey gives me shivers. I believe Honey is an American hero, and that Abe’s kindness to Honey came back to bless him later. Kindness is something that causes ripples to go out and touch others in ways we usually never see. Finally, this is one of very few stories that features Lincoln’s mother, Nancy. Very little is written about his Kentucky years with Nancy, and she died shortly after the Lincolns moved to Indiana. That mother-son bond was important to him and is precious. I hope that this story fleshes out the narrative of Lincoln by showing his compassion from an early age as well as how his behavior was rooted in kindness. I also feel this story helps us appreciate the fragility of life and how interconnected everything is.

Q: What type of research did you do to prepare?

A: I’ve been twice to Kentucky to walk where Lincoln walked and explore the hills and hollows where he grew up. I’ve descended into several of the known caverns there to picture how he might have felt when he got stuck. I’ve been to all of the Lincoln museums and national sites in Kentucky to soak it in and ask lots of questions. I’ve read every book I could find on Lincoln’s Kentucky years, including chapters in larger biographies, pored over primary sources, like interviews, auction receipts, and land sale documents. For the timeline, I dove deep into every resource I could find, skimming for references to Lincoln with animals, loving that his affection for animals stayed with him all the way until the end. It makes me cry to think of his dog Fido and his horse, Old Bob, at his funeral. The picture of Old Bob, riderless, in the funeral procession, is powerful. Most all of this didn’t make it into the book, but I love research, and, as a former appellate lawyer, I’m a stickler for detail.

Q: Tell us your journey of your debut picture book.

A: My journey on this book began years ago when I was teaching middle school. We were reading an excerpt from Russell Freedman’s book on Lincoln and a sentence about Abe’s childhood caught my attention. I wanted to know more about his best friend then and their adventures. I threw myself into research, discovered Austin Gollaher, Abe’s best friend, and had my local library send for a copy of his narratives. Back then, the book was dusty and old in a college archive room. Now it is available online. I had the deep pleasure of telling Russell about my hopes to write a picture book about Lincoln’s childhood, and he encouraged me. When I was getting my MFA, I learned how to take the massive amount of information I had and draw out just a thread for a picture book narrative. HONEY is the culmination of those efforts.

Q: Lastly, what do you hope is the readers big take away from Honey?

A: I hope children and adults fall in love with Honey and his boy. I hope readers feel the story is both grounded in its time and timeless.

Curriculum Guide:

Activity Kit: 

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**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for the copy for review and giveaway & to Shari Swanson for her participation!**

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Fred’s Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers
Author: Laura Renauld
Illustrator: Brigette Barrager
Published January 14th, 2020 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Summary: An inspiring picture book biography about the inimitable Fred Rogers, beloved creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Fred Rogers was a quiet boy with big feelings. Sometimes, he felt scared or lonely; at other times, he was playful and joyous. But when Fred’s feelings felt too big, his Grandfather McFeely knew exactly what to say to make him feel better: I like you just the way you are.

Fred grew up and created Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the television program that would go on to warm the hearts and homes of millions of Americans. But one day, the government threatened to cut funding for public television, including Fred’s show. So, Fred stepped off the set and into a hearing on Capitol Hill to make his feelings known.

In a portrait full of warmth and feeling, Laura Renauld and award-winning illustrator Brigette Barrager tell the story of Mister Rogers: a quiet, compassionate hero whose essential message—that it is okay to have and to express feelings—still resonates today.

Praise: “Renauld’s lively, approachable text welcomes young readers in the same way that Rogers welcomed his young viewers into his living-room set . . . Bright, well-researched, and welcome.”  –Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Review: Fred Rogers just stands for everything that is good in the world. Just look at these banners made by the publisher with quotes from him/the book:

They just fill me with so much joy, and they bring back all of the feelings I had when watching Mister Rogers. And those feelings are exactly what you will get while reading this book. The narrative biography accompanied by the bright text just bring Mister Roger’s story to life. In an interview with Fuse 8, the author said “I had to walk the line between it being recognizable for [adults who are familiar with Mr. Rogers] and easily understandable for [children who were born after the show stopped airing who have no idea who the man in the cardigan is].” I think this is exactly what she did because in addition to my nostalgia, it is a book that Trent has wanted to read multiple times.

Additionally, because of this book, I decided to introduce Trent to Mister Rogers. He knows Daniel Tiger, the cartoon spin-off, so I explained that Mister Rogers was where Daniel Tiger came from. So, I turned on one of my favorite episodes (making crayons!), and Trent was immediately sucked in. He said that he liked that Mister Rogers taught him things and talked nicely to him. YES!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In the same Fuse 8 interview I mentioned above, I loved what the author shared when asked “How do you envision the book being used?,” and I think it is a perfect jumping off point for teachers: “Whether Fred’s Big Feelings is a child’s first encounter with Mister Rogers’ affirming messages, a teacher’s springboard into a discussion about expressing emotions, or a librarian’s selection for a display of American biographies….” Yes to all of these! It is a great picture book biography example and definitely hits on social emotional skills! Also, if you truly want to dive into the book, there are many places that would allow for inquiry projects to learn more about: history of children’s tv, puppeteering, Koko, Yo Yo Ma, Ying Li, Wynton Marsalis, public television, etc. Oh, and you can always watch an episode of the show!

Discussion Questions: 

  • What about Mr. Rogers makes him appealing to the audience?
  • How did Mr. Rogers act towards children that was viewed as a bit different?
  • Why do you think Mr. Rogers was so popular?
  • Why is it important to talk about feelings?
  • How did Mr. Rogers change the future of PBS?
  • How was Mr. Rogers’s show different that what was available to kids?
  • How do the illustrations add to the mood of the text?

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Read This If You Love: Mr. Rogers!

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**Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for a copy of the book!**

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Tuesday: Reviews and Giveaway!: Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson

Thursday: Schneider Family Book Award

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Literacy Infrastructure: Strategies to Develop Pre and Early Readers into Avid Active Readers” by Jeff St. Germain, Author of How I Read

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

As warned, I am gone this week–I’ll fill you in next week on why 🙂

Ricki

Although I read a plethora of picture books this week, I thought I’d share this book: Student-Driven Differentiation by Lisa Westman. I like this book because it includes a lot of student voice. It offered me a lot of ideas for practice in my Methods classroom. K-12 teachers will find a lot to think about with this text. I had a lot of fun thinking through units and lessons.

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Ricki

I am enjoying listening to Dig by A.S. King!

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Tuesday: Fred’s Big Feelings by Laura Renauld, Illustrated by Brigette Barrager

Thursday: Author Q&A and Giveaway!: Honey, The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln, by Shari Swanson, Illustrated by Chuck Groenink

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “How to Incorporate a Picture Book in the Classroom” by Brooke Van Sickle, Author of Pirates Stuck at “C”: An Alphabet Adventure

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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“Literacy Infrastructure: Strategies to Develop Pre and Early Readers into Avid Active Readers”

Converting reluctant readers to avid readers is more of a challenge than to prevent children from becoming reluctant readers.  I have read many awesome strategies to convert these reluctant readers but as a passionate literacy advocate,I focus on laying the “ literacy infrastructure” with the objective of developing pre and early readers into avid active readers.

Infrastructure’s 2nd definition by Marriam-Webster’s dictionary:”the underlying foundation or basic framework as of a system or organization”.

Literacy infrastructure: Think of every experience that builds a child’s language skills, exposes them to genres and models ways on how to process incoming information, as a child’s literacy infrastructure

Language skills are developed through the process of “word experiences” and the “word-experience” is the fundamental skill relied on so that children can learn to read.  In the article Early Catastrophe by Betty Hart and Todd Ridley (date), it confirms that children that have 13 million or less word experiences are less likely to become proficient readers and unlikely to earn a high school diploma and most of these children are raised in underserved homes.  While children that have 25 million or more “word experiences” are  highly likely to be proficient readers, earn a high school diploma  and qualify to enter in a higher education program.

Expose pre and early reading age children to as many genres as possible and you will greatly increase their chances that they will develop a desire to learn to read.  There has to be at least one genre that your child will enjoy reading, and the best time for a child to discover this is before the age at which they should be prepared to learn the phonetic reading skills.

Modeling the act of reading to children is very important! Do you read to a child or with a child? Knowing that children’s minds are like sponges and that they mimic the people around them, they can subconsciously develop active reading skills from the way literature is read to them or with them. Because of the method in which you read with your child, you are modeling a way or ways in how to process and manage new information that is presented within the literature that both of you are consuming.   The steps that we take to manage the information presented by the author are regarded as “active reading skills”, which are formally taught in the middle school years, but I posit that these skills can begin to develop in the pre reading years while children are being read with.

Active reading skills are helpful to obtain the lesson as well as to increase the entertainment of the piece of work a person is reading.

My series: How I Read, How I Play, and How I Eat are written in the same style with the same main objectives, to develop language skills through word experiences and to recognize that the world we live in is quite diverse. These books have no main characters,and if you think about it, you, the readers are the main characters.  I wrote these books under the premise of sitting in a room with four or five pre reading age kids and asking them the question,”how do you read (eat or play)?”  I then wrote down some plausible answers that these children might have come up with; for the sake of fun. I  ad-libbed and rhymed some of the plausible answers and like magic the text of my books was completed.

For the most fulfilling experience when you read my books, discuss the assumed silly replies that I wrote down. Share your own (being silly is optional) and request your child to share theirs. Your discussion will not only lead to a volume of quality word experiences but it could also be quite enlightening such that you better understand what, why, and where and how your child likes to read, eat, and play. They are very important activities at this age! Any information that you can apply that increases the quality and volume of positive experiences related to reading, eating and playing is useful to you as the primary educator and nurturer.

The plan for the sequel: How I Help, How I Learn and How I Respect is for me to obtain real replies from brilliant young minds and creatively write them into books.  For this series, I would expect to donate the majority of the proceeds to the benefit of supporting children’s literacy.

My  501c3, Timely Active Literacy Skills Development (TALSD) has not yet been established, and my goal is to complete that project 2020. All children could use a unified network of literacy tools and resources while the underserved children need programs to assure that they access these tools and resources on a regular basis. The vision that I have will provide all kids with the opportunity to enter kindergarten with the quality of literacy infrastructure necessary to develop as proficient readers through the third grade so that they are able to read to learn there after.

To learn more, visit https://howtoreadbooks.com/

About the Book: How I Read celebrates the mystical yet plausible answers from our beloved pre-readers to the question, How do you read? Follow along to discover the whimsical, creative, and sometimes unexpected responses of children from all walks of life.

About the Author: As a dad, an uncle, and a friend of pre-reading age children, Jeffry St. Germain loves to read and converse with them. He enjoys using a play on words for the sake of igniting thoughts and smiles. In a nutshell, this defines the writing style of How I Read.

Thank you so much for this guest post–what a fun away to approach early literacy!

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