by Phoenix Desertsong, Parent of Three
Ebooks can really help young children get involved with the literary world. Sometimes, it can be hard to get children to sit down long enough to actually read to them. Fortunately, there are many interactive ebooks available today to catch young readers with short attention spans. Learn about some of the benefits of interactive ebooks for homeschool reading activities.
Interactive Ebooks Give Homeschool Students Multimedia Reading Experiences
If you try to sit your five-year old homeschool student down and read him or her a classic book like Treasure Island, it’s likely you’ll encounter some resistance. Even if you are trying to read your child an adaptation made for kids, some children simply do not want to sit long enough to successfully read very much of it.
But, if you get Treasure Island as an interactive ebook, you get a multimedia experience that include cool pirate-themed music and animated pictures. The more of your child’s senses you can get involved in a story, the better. There are even interactive ebooks that can read the story aloud page by page. My own children enjoy the Dr. Seuss interactive ebooks available on mobile devices. Interactive ebooks will often highlight the words as they are read, allowing children to learn the phonics and tone of many words.
Interactive Ebooks Get Homeschool Children with ADD Involved in Reading and Learning
Interactive ebooks have become particularly popular for parents with children who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). It’s been found that many children with ADD can benefit from interactive ebooks that would never pay attention to a standard book. In these cases, having ebooks available on a computer or other multimedia device such as a tablet get children who wouldn’t touch regular books a chance to read and learn.
With homeschool, you can have reading activities exclusively using interactive ebooks. Some kids that have been diagnosed with ADD or just have issues with paying attention may struggle with focusing during reading time in a traditional school setting. But, with homeschool reading activities, you can choose whatever will get your children reading. After all, as long as they read something they enjoy, it does the job.
Interactive Ebooks Involve Kids Who Need More Activity
Reading standard books may be too much of a passive activity to interest highly active children for long. But, with interactive ebooks, tapping a screen or clicking a mouse to make pictures move or change pictures will capture the attention of many otherwise hyper children. Children don’t even have to sit still to read a book if they are reading it on a mobile device like an Android tablet or iPad. The children still receive the benefits of being read a regular book and it keeps them busy.
So, if you're having trouble getting your homeschool kids to pay attention during reading time, interactive ebooks on either computer, tablet, or other mobile device is something you should definitely try.
Interactive Ebooks Are Great Educational Tools
Some people may think that interactive ebooks are too much like video games. But, the educational value of interactive ebooks can’t be overlooked, especially when it comes to kids seeing the words as they are read. The animations can keep a better hold on your child’s senses, something that still pictures in regular books can’t always do.
Interactive ebooks can help beginning readers learn vocabulary, phonics, context clues, and more. They can even help older readers improve their skills. In any case, interactive ebooks are fun and can teach children even more than just what’s said in the story. Interactive ebooks can be used by parents, daycares, and teachers alike
So, if you have a child who resists story time and wants nothing to do with letting you read him or her a book, try out interactive ebooks. You may just find that interactive ebooks are the key to getting your child to love reading. Who knows. After reading interactive ebooks for awhile, he or she may even pick up a regular book! Interactive ebooks are definitely worth a try, especially for homeschool reading!
Have you ever used interactive ebooks for your own homeschool reading activities?
by Phoenix Desertsong, Published Author
While harder to find than regular ebooks, interactive ebooks, also known as multimedia ebooks, can be lots of fun for children of all ages. Many of these ebooks are interactive books for preschoolers, but they exist for older children, as well. These interactive multimedia ebooks have audio and video features that can add lots of educational and entertainment value beyond the original book itself. While not all are educational ebooks, the interactivity makes them perfect for reading time or homeschool
“Old School” Interactive Ebooks for Kids
Interactive ebooks for kids have actually existed long before ebooks became even a thought on the internet. Some regular kids books actually came with a CD with an interactive version of the book or activities related to the book. They used to be only available at larger bookstores and by special order. Today, you can still buy them online, but some places allow you to download them.
What’s great about interactive ebooks is that your child not only can interact with the book, but can even sometimes alter events within the story itself. No longer are you passively reading the story, but actively being involved with it. Also, by being interactive, there are lots of opportunities for the story to reinforce other reading skills, such as vocabulary or phonics. This makes even older interactive ebooks good learning tools for students.
“Old school” multimedia ebooks either ran directly off of a CD or comes as an executable (EXE) file that you can download. This is because it’s not a document, but instead a program. Some of them even have the ability to have multiple users and allow the child to enter his or her name to personalize the experience. Some even allow you to put the child’s picture into the story, with adult assistance, of course.
Modern Interactive Ebooks
Today, there are still plenty of multimedia ebooks, but they are available today on Amazon KIndle or as apps from the Windows Store, the Google Play store, iTunes, and other similar software download platforms. They offer the same interactivity as the older multimedia ebooks, but often with a small download size and no need for a disc. These newer ebooks are much easier to find and much less expensive than the “old school” multimedia ebooks on CD.
It’s still possible to find some multimedia ebooks in the computer software aisle of big box stores or office supply stores. The ones you can find in these sorts of places tend to be very inexpensive.
Finding Older Interactive Ebooks For Download or Sale
Not every “old school” multimedia ebook has made its way into modern app stores. Some older ebooks may also not be compatible with newer computers. However, if you happen to come across them and you can get them to work, they are still a lot of fun, although they are limited to being run on a personal computer.
If you’re looking for multimedia ebooks not available in your local retail stores, you’ll have to turn to eBay, Amazon, and other online retail websites. This is where they can become expensive. But, it’s also possible to find them at thrift stores or even yard sales. Some of them are even highly collectible if the disc is in top condition.
Whether they’re old or new, multimedia and interactive ebooks can greatly encourage young readers by allowing them to be more actively involved with their favorite stories. Hopefully, by playing along with these interactive books, their interest in regular books will increase dramatically. They were effective back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, and interactive ebooks for students and kids definitely aren’t going anywhere.
by Phoenix Desertsong, Parent of Three
Ebooks are a hot commodity on the internet. Many of them are given away for free to promote products and in marketing for companies. But, best of all, free ebooks are a great way for up and coming authors to gain an easier chance of discovery and name recognition. So, it's often possible to find great free ebooks for kids. Still, witheverything that comes for free, there will be some that won't be worth your time. So, here's how to find the best free ebooks for your children.
Find Free Ebooks from Up-and-Coming Children’s Authors
It’s quite common for aspiring book writers and novelists to turn to distributing free ebooks online to get their work out into the world. There are many reasons authors do this. Some are sick of being rejected by literary agents and publishers and decide to self-publish their work. By giving out a free ebook or two, up-and-coming authors can get people to visit their website and sign up for mailing lists. Many self-published authors have done extremely well this way.
Despite what some people may think, many authors who put out free ebooks are actually publishing quality work. Keep in mind that publishers tend to reject books before they even see anything of the actual manuscript. Publishers will typically reject anything that doesn’t fit in a certain genre or doesn't have an obvious market.
In particular, many children’s book writers have turned to giving away free ebooks for their first couple of books in order to build their audience. Sometimes, small presses and literary agents who are happy to take a chance on indie authors will discover them this way. Most of the time, these authors are happy to just build their own book business. So, if you discover a quality free ebook from an up-and-coming children’s author - or any author for that matter - be sure to share it with your friends and family.
Free Children’s Ebooks Are Easy to Find, But Which Are Good?
There are so many websites on which you can find free children’s ebooks. Of course, the major online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble are a great place to start. Kindle and Nook are happy to let authors offer ebooks for free just to build their sales rankings.
But, there are also plenty of independent websites that exist almost entirely for the purpose of distributing free children’s ebooks. One good way of getting free kids’ ebooks is to join kids clubs online. These clubs tend to send you free children’s ebooks monthly or even weekly just by signing up by email.
Most sites that let you download free ebooks will require that you register with the site by email. While most sites are safe, be aware that you may receive a lot of unwanted email due to sites that will sell your email to mailing lists. How sites plan to use your email address should be in the fine print so look at this before you sign up with any sites.
Don't pay subscription fees to any free ebooks sites because authors typically give everything away for free. Always beware of sites that ask you to sign up for a free trial to download any books. While many of these are also legiitate book clubs that are actually no obligitation if you cancel before the trial period ends, read the fine print.
Beware of educational websites that will be sneaky by asking for your PayPal email address. Do NOT sign up for these as they are trying to subscribe you for auto payments, which may still remain active even if you cancel. While PayPal is good about getting you your money back if you have proof of cancellation, it can take ten days for that money to be returned. Save yourself the headache and avoid them. it's a common scam, and even if you are willing to pay, they often don't provide what they promise.
Always Look Over Free Ebooks Entirely Yourself Before Reading Them With Your Child
Before reading any ebook with your child, definitely be sure there will be no unwelcome surprises. While discovering a book together can be fun, you never know what you'll find in something you downloaded for free from the internet. Unless you know the author, even if you got it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, it's better safe than sorry to know the entire book’s contents before sharing it with your child. Most of the time it will be fine, but you never know what strange things a free ebook will have.
Be aware that some of these sites have educational ebooks with certain political or religious slants. You will want to review ebooks carefully before actually showing them to your children, of course. Sometimes these slants and agendas are hidden within the book and aren’t openly advertised. Keep this in mind when downloading free children’s ebooks, even from major retailers.
Free ebooks for kids are an awesome resource for homeschool or reading time. Just be careful what ebook sites you use and look over what you download carefully. You can find some great educational and entertaining resources for your child thanks to free ebooks.
Read Across America Day is an annual holiday celebrated across the United States. This reading holiday was started on March 2, 1998 by the NEA, or the National Education Association. Everyone is encouraged to celebrate reading on Dr. Seuss’s birthday (March 2) every year.
Read Across America is actually a literacy campaign that lasts all year. However, Read Across America Day is still important, as it encourages the promotion of everyday reading and gets free books out to students and schools across America.
How Can Your School Or Organization Celebrate Or Get Involved?
There are many ways to celebrate or get involved with this special day. Find great ways to celebrate on Seussville, including printable activities and guides. ReadingRockets is also offering free downloadable print guides for parents, teachers, and anyone else interested in improving children's reading achievement. They also link to similar free publications from other sources.
Another idea on getting involved is to volunteer to read to children at schools, hospitals, and daycare centers. To do this, you will need to contact the appropriate departments at the locations you are interested in offering your services to.
Simply celebrating the holiday by reading with or to your children or students and holding your own events and activities also helps to promote this special day. Some teachers and parents like to use t-shirts and other fun gear to get children excited about Read Across America Day.
LEFbooks.org (The Literacy Empowerment Foundation) is giving away free books to literary organizations and schools across America, for a small handling fee of 65 cents per book. They do this throughout the year. To promote Read Across America Day, help a teacher or organization become aware of this or request some books for your own literary organization. The books are currently for reading levels from Preschool up to grade 2.
How We Celebrate and You Can Too!
As a homeschool teacher and public school parent, I also happen to be celebrating Read Across America Day with my kids. In the past, we’ve made hats similar to the one worn by the "Cat In The Hat" in Dr. Seuss's books. The children could then wear the hats and read Dr. Seuss stories aloud to one another. We’ve also attended library storytime events. Usually, we get out and do a variety of activities throughout the week of Read Across America Day. Although we read a great deal every day, I still feel it is important to celebrate this day and let the children know just how important reading is.
Any other ideas you have related to celebrating reading and motivating children to read will also help to promote and celebrate Read Across America Day. There is no exact formula or limit to reading, celebrating reading, or promoting reading. Simply get out there and do it.
Directions: Read the story below. Then, remember what happens in the story to answer the questions. To print, highlight the text section, then right click and choose "print selection. If you don't mind printing the images, you may also select file, then print. Some systems may require that you copy/paste the text into another program before printing if you choose to leave out the images.
Marge's New Blue Hat
Marge woke up happy. It was Saturday. Today was going to be great. She would get a new hat today. Marge was very excited. She could hardly wait. While she put on her best outfit, she wondered what kind of hat she would pick. There were two hat stores in the mall she was going to. Marge was excited about more than the hat. This would be the first time her mom would trust her to go to the mall alone. She wouldn't exactly be alone. Her friend Sinda was coming, too. Since Marge was turning 12 on Sunday, her mom told her an early birthday present was for Marge to go to the mall and pick a new hat. Her mom said that since Marge was growing up, she might be able to trust her to do more grown-up things and shopping was one of those things.But, she had to bring a friend because, like her mom always says, "Safety Comes In Numbers".
Marge had never gotten ready so quickly before. She dressed and ate the eggs, pancakes, and fruit her mom had left her all within 15 minutes. That was a new record. Quickly gulping her milk down, she dialed Sinda's phone number, but before she started to hear the ring, the doorbell rang. It was Sinda. Sinda was just as excited as Marge. It was also the first time she would be trusted.
Marge and Sinda rushed out the door, remembering to lock up the house and to take along their personal alert systems that would make a loud sound if anyone bothered them. They walked two blocks to the bus stop and waited five minutes before a bus pulled up. They looked at the screen on top to make sure it said 65. Number 65 was the bus to the mall. It said 65, so they got on.
Sinda watched for their stop while Marge watched out for strangers. As the bus pulled into the mall stop, Sinda and Marge stood up and held onto the safety poles. When the bus stopped, they got off carefully and walked straight to the mall, making sure to watch the strangers.
Once they were inside the mall, they went straight to the first hat store. They wouldn't have to go anywhere else. Marge spotted the perfect hat.
1. What day of the week was it when Marge got her hat?_____________________________________
2. Who went to the mall with Marge? _____________________________________________________
3. Why did Marge's mom let her go to the mall without a parent? _______________________________
4. How old was Marge on Saturday? ______________________________________________________
5. What bus went to the mall? ___________________________________________________________
6. What color do you think the hat was that Marge saw? ______________________________________
What made you think it was that color? __________________________________________________
7. What do you think will happen after Marge pays for the hat? __________________________________
On the back of the page (or on a seperate paper), write the ending to the story. It should be a happy ending. Start with what happens after Marge sees the hat.
We all know books can help create smart children. But the first step is finding the right books. Use this experienced mom's tips for choosing children's books that create smart readers.
When choosing books for your child, there are many factors to consider and many reasons to purchase various books. Choosing children's books that create smart readers comes in several steps. At first it may seem complicated because there are so many books out there. But it's not all that difficult if you follow a few simple tips.
Take your child with you to shop for books Book shopping should not be done hurriedly. First, you must find the section of the store that is appropriate for your child's age and reading level. Once you have done this, allow your child to pick out several titles that look interesting. It's okay if your child picks more books than you are going to buy. You need to research the books first anyway. Don't be afraid to take a whole stack to a nearby table, counter, or chair so that you can sift through them.
Key points to look for:
Stimulation factor - If your child is not stimulated, she will not want to read the book. Have your child look over the book and maybe even read a few pages. If your child is interested, you are one step further. This will be easy for children who are interested in most books. Other children may take a while before finding something they like. That's okay. Each child is different. Do not give up hope if your child takes a while to decide. Your child should pick more than one stimulating book. Stimulating the mind can occur in many different ways. If your child is interested and engaged, chances are, his mind is being stimulated. Some children are stimulated by pictures. Others are stimulated by words, actions, or characters. How your child is stimulated does not matter. However, if your child does not get stimulated by any part of the book, it's time to choose a different book.
It's all in the details - Out of all the stimulating books your child has chosen, look for books that use details in describing characters and events. The books should use adjectives as often as possible. A book without many adjectives could be fairly boring. A book loaded with adjectives will invoke imagination and excitement. Your child should be able to picture what is going on, whether the book has illustrations or not. Also, in checking for details, you should ask yourself "Would I be able to ask my child questions from this book and expect to get detailed answers?" If you can answer yes, you have chosen a book with the correct details.
What levels do you need? - You should have a few books still left to move on to the next step with you. The last thing you should be looking for in a good book is the level. It should be slightly above your child's current level. Books will generally not be labeled at levels, unless they are readers. The best way to tell is to read a few paragraphs. If it is slightly harder than what your child normally reads, that's what you're looking for. The reason for this is to challenge the child. Do not go too high, though. Choosing too high of a level could instead discourage a child because it is simply too difficult to understand. If you can't tell by reading it yourself, have your child read aloud a small section. If your child gets most of it with ease, but struggles on a few words, this is the correct level to choose.
Be variant - Another important thing to remember is that books should be a variety of subjects and genres. Your child should have fiction as well as non-fiction. There should also poetry, short stories, and novels for children old enough to read novels. There should be classic and current books. Also, the child should not be limited to just stories on their favorite thing. The books should be about many different people, places, events, and things.
Tips for success:
The methods above can also be applied to library books. Do not feel obligated to always be purchasing books. The library is an excellent source to use. Children should be exposed to different books regularly, so if your budget doesn't support this, it's time to get a library card. There is no excuse for a child not being able to read when the library is free.
Never say your child hates to read. This is where many parents make a mistake and think that if their child cannot find an interesting book, their child must hate reading. Never speak the words reading and hate in a sentence together. This will further discourage a child who is struggling. Always encourage children. For a child who is taking longer than normal to choose, you might want to say something like "I know you like dinosaurs. Maybe we should look for a dinosaur book". Say this rather than "Hurry up. You always take too long to decide. We don't have time for this". Parents who choose the latter option in frustration will find that they will have problems with reading with their child.
Now you should have some good books that will help create smart readers. Encourage your child to read every day. While it's true that your child reads at school, your child should also be reading at home. Now that you know how to pick the correct books, your child should be well prepared and have a nice selection of books to choose from.
Teaching kids to read is a rewarding challenge that all parents face. These two fun and affordable toys can help teach kids to read and make reading time more enjoyable.
The Learning Journey Match It! spelling puzzle featured above can be used in a variety of ways. Teaching kids to read can actually be fun.
Kids should enjoy simply putting together the puzzle. However, for added benefit when teaching kids to read, parents can ask them to sound out the words during the process.
Kids just learning to read can still play this game, even if they don't quite know how to spell, since there is also a picture and the pieces will only fit together if they are paired in the correct order.
There are 20 of the word puzzles. Each puzzle has 3-4 pieces.
The GINMIC Magnetic Letters and Numbers with Easel can be used to spell out words with magnetic letters. The alphabet letters can also be used separately from the easel to form more words on a table or other smooth surface. Switching the way you do things helps keep kids interested.
Also try writing the letters and words on the wipe off board and playing sound and word games. This helps to provide some added variety in learning letters, sounds, and words.
Using the letters, easel, and puzzles in various ways helps ensure that the child is learning the lesson and not just memorizing the words based on pictures.
Combining these two products adds more flexibility and variety. However, they also can be used separately as well.
When teaching kids to read, remember to allow time for them to enjoy the learning activities in their own ways too. This way, they don't feel forced and the education comes more natural and easily.
LAST CHECKED/UPDATED 7/27/2022
*Author has no affiliation with the product manufacturers but is a part of the Amazon affiliate program and may receive compensation if items are purchased through links. This does not influence the author's opinion on these items.
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