A Beatrix Potter Treasury

Today we feature a wonderful treasure chest of books, audios, videos and lessons about the stories of Beatrix Potter. Her classic artwork and stories are utterly delightful and should be known by every child. What better stories than these to share with your littles?

CLICK HERE to read almost all Beatrix Potter’s original picture books online or download them in kindle and mobi format at Project Gutenberg.

CLICK HERE to listen to almost all Beatrix Potter’s books online or to download them in mp3 format or to iTunes. There are three massive collections on this Librivox page, and you’ll just have to pick and choose which narrators you enjoy best. You can follow along the readings using the picture books from the Project Gutenberg link above.

CLICK HERE to go to a youtube page which offers up a couple dozen Beatrix Potter stories and related videos, including all the episodes of “The World of Peter Rabbit and His Friends”. (As always with youtube, parental oversight is recommended.)

Resources from PeterRabbit.com:  CLICK HERE to go to the download page — and don’t miss the 39 page PDF of Beatrix Potter Teaching Resources!

Mad-Lib Stories for Children

In the tradition of Mad-Libs, here’s a great site that will give you hours and hours of family fun.

In this classic phrasal template word game, one player prompts others for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story, before reading the often comical or nonsensical story aloud. There are over 2000 user-created children’s stories on Word Blanks, including favorite nursery rhymes, children’s stories, theme songs and original stories.

Most of these are perfectly fine for all ages, but a very few can get a little “kid gross”, so you may wish to preview the stories before playing them.

CLICK HERE to go to the site!

Build an Endless Cube with Legos®

If you have a stash of LEGOs in your home, here’s a terrific little project that kids of all ages will be absolutely fascinated by, courtesy of Frugal Fun for Boys & Girls:

Grab the LEGO® bucket, because this is such a fun building project! Make an endless cube, also called an infinity cube, out of LEGO® bricks. This cube transforms shape over and over without an end. It’s such a neat toy to build, and it’s fun to play with!

CLICK HERE to go to the instructions, parts list and video!

Projects, Experiments & Hands-On Fun

TheHappyHousewife.com has a great collection of almost 100 hands-on projects, crafts and experiments especially for homeschoolers, on all sorts of interesting topics, including:

Turkey Feather Science
Testing for Starch
Milk Fireworks
The Physics of the Trapeze
Fun Ways to Improve Writing Skills
Buoyancy Experiments
…and dozens more.

CLICK HERE Take a look and browse through the collection yourself!

Parker Phonics

Author and educator Stephen Parker has written three books on teaching your child to read using his “Synthetic Phonics” system, and has made all three freely available on his website in PDF ebook format. Here’s what he has to say about his background and the techniques he uses to teach children to read:

I’m a life-long teacher of mathematics, computer science, and reading. After teaching my own 3 children to read by their third birthdays, I became interested in reading instruction in general. What I discovered in many schools baffled me: a method called Whole Language (since discredited) and now, in its place, Balanced Literacy.

There is no “balance” in Balanced Literacy. Essentially, it’s Whole Language with some ineffective phonics added in after the child starts “reading” based on memorized sight words. Balanced Literacy will not alter the scandalous fact that 2 out of 3 of our children never become proficient readers. 

A word can become meaningless when people start using it to indicate anything they want. This has happened to the word “phonics” in some educational circles where one hears talk of “analytic” phonics, “analogy” phonics, “embedded” phonics, and “onset-and-rime” phonics. 

None of the above are methods for teaching reading. They all rely heavily upon memorization of sight words and on guessing strategies. Genuine phonics, that is to say, synthetic phonics, is the only type of phonics that functions as a stand-alone method for teaching both reading and spelling.

Synthetic phonics uses neither sight words nor guessing strategies. It is employed right at the start of reading instruction – and the child is not expected to memorize any whole words. Instead, the child is taught, explicitly, to correlate individual sounds with individual letters. 

As soon as 5 – 8 such letter/sound correspondences are mastered, the child can begin authentic reading, that is, taking an unknown word and blending the sounds of its individual letters into a recognizable pronunciation – a process called decoding. 

It’s the only way to teach reading in a manner that respects the reasoning ability of the child. Children, like adults, need to understand what they’re being asked to do, especially if the task requires significant effort over an extended period of time. 

CLICK HERE to go to the download page!

Great Authors teach Spelling!

Wheeler’s Graded Studies in Great Authors: A Complete Speller

We end the week with this fantastic spelling book, which uses great quotes from famous authors (Shakespeare, Longfellow, Coleridge, Burns, etc.) as both copywork and spelling practice… with particular attention paid to spelling rules and trickier spellings.

This is perfect for upper elementary through jr high spellers. Loads of great quotations too, if you just want to use this for copywork and penmanship. Highly recommended!

To download this scanned PDF ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer.

Mac users: Press the “control” key then click on the link above and save to your mac.

Teach With Games – and make your own, too!

Here’s a neat – and FREE! – way to create your own simple printable games to help younger students review or memorize what they are learning.

TeachWithGames.com has developed a online tool that lets you quickly create free printable card games with your own customized information, PLUS you can also search for games others have made studying the same information you need to memorize. Once you make a game you can save it for yourself — and as soon as it’s approved, it will also be shared with others to study the same subjects. It’s a community of games!

There are four different style game formats that can be used for different information: Pairs, Sets, Categories, and Sequences. Examples of all these can be found on the site. And you can click HERE to view a short instructional video that shows you step by step how to get started and create your first game.

Access to the tool is free when you register for a free membership on the site.

CLICK HERE to go to the website!

Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp – Audio Dramatization

Here’s another wonderful “Living Book for the Ears” audio dramatization for you, from the CBS Radio Adventure Theater, originally broadcast in 1977. Tom Bosley (the father from “Happy Days” is the host and narrator). This dramatization is quite faithful to the original story, and is adapted from “The Arabian Nights”.

To listen to this 40 minute audio dramatization online, just click the link below. To download the mp3 file to your computer, “right click” the link and “save link” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key, then click the link and save to your mac.

ALADDIN AND HIS WONDERFUL LAMP