Tag Archiv: literacy

Vikings, Venomous Vorpents, and other inhabitants of the Isle of Berk

If you don’t already know, the Isle of Berk is the setting in which our family’s favorite book series takes place: How to Train Your Dragon. These stories are simply fantastic, I can’t say enough good about them. We started reading them aloud as family about 2 years ago and all of us- from middle aged husband to my toddler daughter- thoroughly enjoyed the action packed yet thought provoking tales of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third and his tiny dragon, Toothless. In fact we’ve read the books several times each at this point, and listened to the audio books more times than I could care to count as well. So needless to say, being such fans of HTTYD, dragons are a source of interest for my children. I’d go so far as to say dragons are a source of motivation for LittleMan and SunnyGirl. Which is what inspired this activity.
V is for Venomous Vorpent, Suzy Homeschooler1
In the books, the dragons love (more…)

Middle Earth, Wizards, Elves, Dwarves, and such

I haven’t mentioned it much but my family loves -LOVES- Lord of the Rings. My husband read the books in highschool, I’ve basically got the movies memorized, and LittleMan thinks the LOTR LEGO games are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Last year I put together this pretty sweet Lord of the Rings small world play in our dry bathtub, it was a pretty big hit with LittleMan. Just some LEGO figures, silk leaves, smooth stones, washable paint, and a bit of dry moss to pull it off.
Middle Earth, small world play and free printable copy work cards (more…)

Kirby, Lee, and the Comic Industry

As I’ve stated before, we are pretty big fans of Jack Kirby around here. I know most people love Stan Lee and while they did work together, I just really believe that Kirby hasn’t gotten the public appreciation he deserves. Lee may have been the idea guy but Kirby was the artist. The two of them together created most of the characters we know and love today- Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and dozens of others can all be accredited to the dynamic duo of Kirby and Lee.

Free Printable Marvel Comic Early Readers from Suzy Homeschooler

One of the great things about comic books, besides being a beautiful art form, is that they encourage reading. LittleMan first sparked an interest in reading on his own not because of the many, many books we had around the house, nor because of our daily read-aloud time. No, he was content to be read to and never learn to read independently. That was, until he found comic books. (more…)

Fun Early Literacy Ideas from Letter Recognition to Early Readers

Literacy is something I’m fairly passionate about so I’ve spent a great deal of time and effort trying to instill in my children a love of words and books and the knowledge that they can bring you. For your convenience I’ve gathered many of my past literacy posts in this one page so you can find them all in one place.
Early Literacy Ideas from Suzy Homeschooler
(Be sure to click on the red links to read more.) (more…)

Sensory Bag to Practice Letter Formation

Sandpaper cards are fantastic for learning letter formation, but lets face it, if you don’t change things up once in a while you (and your children) can get tired of the same ole-same ole.

Here is a super simple way of practicing letter formation, all you need is a plastic baggie, some dish soap or hair gel, food coloring or liquid water colors(optional), and duct tape (also optional).
Sensory Bag to Practice Letter Formation from Suzy Homeschooler (1) (more…)

Alphabet Block Beads: 3 toys in 1

Sometimes toys and learning tools can be found in the most unexpected of places. Take for example these alphabet block beads. I picked up a pack of 12 on clearance for $1.50 in the bird aisle of our local pet supply shop. They are meant to be used to make bird toys but I thought the children might get some use out of them, and I was right.
Alphabet Block Beads (5)

As I mentioned in our post about emergency relocation, a good travel toy should be compact and serve multiple purposes. These blocks do just that. When paired with a pipe cleaner they make a fun threading toy for SunnyGirl’s fine motor practice. (more…)

6 Ways to Use a $1 Foam Puzzle

I know I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again, Dollar Tree is a homeschooler’s friend. Our latest Dollar Tree find was a foam puzzle with the letters A -Z and numbers 0-9. It has been pretty easy to adapt this puzzle to practice fine motor, literacy, math, and even life skills. Here are 5 ways we’ve enjoyed using our $1 find:


Learning your phone number. The age in which children should learn this varies. Some 4 year olds can grasp the concept of a phone number, some 6 year olds still struggle with it. Whenever your child seems ready, you should teach them their number (or in our case, mom and dad’s cell phone numbers). Knowing their phone number is especially useful if they ever become lost or separated from you. (more…)

The Day I met Norbert the Nutjob -or- How I got my First Audio Book

I’ll admit, there was a time when I didn’t see the point in an audio book. My husband offered to get some audio books for the children’s daily quiet time and I declined, “Why would I want an audio book when I could just read aloud to them?”

That all changed the day I met Norbert the Nutjob.
You see, when I read aloud to my children, I often get into the character and adjust my voice to reflect the character’s personality and mood. Norbert the Nutjob is a Viking chief and, like most Vikings he did not speak, he yelled. However, unlike other Vikings, Norbert had a story to tell.

I entered into Norbert’s monologue oblivious to the task I was taking on. When the text said he yelled, so did I, and I did so without a second thought because I had done it so many times before. I yelled when I read the voice of Stoick the Vast. I yelled when I read the voice of Gobber the Belch. I yelled for so many other Vikings and I did so easily because most Vikings are men of few words. It is easy to yell a sentence or even a paragraph.
But Norbert the Nutjob did not stop at one meager paragraph nor did he stop at one measly page. No, Norbert jabbered on and on and on for an entire chapter about the vegetable that we dare not name (potato) from the land that does not exist (America).

By the end of the chapter, I had literally lost my voice.

The next day, when I was still struggling to speak due to the strain on my throat, I quietly asked my husband to please, please get us some audio books.
How I got my first audio book and audio book rental services (more…)

Chapter Books for Pre-Readers

I have read chapter books to LittleMan since he was born. Its not that I have anything against the short story books that are usually recommended for small children, its just that I prefer richer plot lines and complex characters.

When reading chapter books to small children, I’ve learned the hard way that an interesting story is a must. Many favorites just aren’t enough to keep the 1-4 year old crowd sitting still for long periods of time. For example, The House at Pooh Corner was not well received. Luckily, there are many classic tales that keep children young and old sitting on the edge of their seats. Anything by Roald Dahl is sure to be a hit in our family. LittleMan has made me read George’s Marvelous Medicine to him so many times that I believe we might both have it memorized.

Recently we started listening to the Harry Potter series on audio book and, while it was hit or miss the first 3 chapters of the Philosopher’s Stone, chapter 4 got LittleMan hooked and begging for more.

Chapter Books for Pre-Readers (more…)