4 Weeks to Read

I’ve been testing this reading system out for a few weeks and am finally ready to share. It’s pretty freaking good, I must say!

4 Weeks To Read has a 98% rate, is $99 (they also do $25/month for 5 months!) — use SMALLFRY10 for 10% off –AND it’s guaranteed so after 30 days, if it didn’t work for you, you can get your money back! Here’s the run down:

4 Weeks to ReadLearning Dynamics is a school in Utah that is easily the top 3 schools for early education. They pride themselves in having preschoolers 100% ready for Kindergarten. Reading and ready to go! Since their schools aren’t in every state or worldwide they wanted to create a reading program for people who couldn’t attend their school, or like me, who chose a less expensive option for schooling. My friends who have taken their kids there swear by it and said it was worth every penny! I don’t doubt it after seeing their 4 year olds reading up a storm! I went a different path and have really had to work extra hard with my first grader. But, NOW I can have that same gold standard education for Raleigh with 4 Weeks to Read!4 Weeks to ReadThe owner told me about how this program came to be and I loved the story! They had a team of teachers, educators, experts look through every literacy program they could get their hands on. 13 years of research later they were unimpressed. So they wrote their own! He was telling me 3rd grade reading ability is a predictor of people who end up in jail! While they have a kindergarten through 2nd grade to catch up, by 3rd grade it’s not just playing catch up, but it’s typically falling further behind. Which is why, at least in Utah, their prevention programs are in 1st grade!4 Weeks to ReadI know for my 1st grader, it’s his confidence that sets the tone for us practicing reading. Struggling through a book really derails that. What I really like about the system is that it helps them master a grouping of letters at a time so they can master an entire book and have that confidence boost! Also their lessons are 15 minutes which is about all I can get out of him! So even though this system is for a much younger age demographic we’ve been reading them to his baby brother and of course he’s flying through them and feeling so confident! I love that I can help him strengthen his skills in such a quick way. Use my code for 10% off SMALLFRY10 and you can win one on my Instagram as well!!

4 WEEKS TO READ 

Children Book Swoon

Walking through the bookstore I recently spotted this darling Coco Chanel book. Stopping dead in my tracks I started digging through the rest of these pieces of gold!

Im a sucker for great design and text. These are a dream for mother like me! Links below to each book in this gorgeous series of women who changed the world in Little People, BIG DREAMS.

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Coco // Audrey // Rosa // Marie // Amelia // Frida // Maya // Emmeline 

While we are talking about beautiful design in children’s books, here are a few other recent finds I’m swooning over.

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Me A Compendium // The 50 States // Shape Shift // Shapes

Chapter Books for Kids!

By Jenna.

The other day on Instagram I asked for book suggestions for my 2nd grader who’s reading on a 4th grade level and it’s blowing my mind! What to order for him was on my mind when I put the question out there and now there are HUNDREDS of responses to sift through!

But yay I did the work for you and listed the top 10 suggestions people had for little readers….if you’re anything like me this is new territory and I hope it helps you shop. If you have any suggestions that I didn’t include I’d love to hear them in the comments – we are always looking for more books to read for Quinn since he is an insomniac and reads instead of sleeps…next topic, how can I get him to sleep?! 😉

books

Percy Jackson | I Survived series | The Lion The Witch The Wardrobe |
Who Is/What Was series | Illustrated Harry Potter | Fablehaven | Roald Dahl |
Lemony Snicket | Diary of Wimpy Kid series | Magic Treehouse Series

Kids Activity Learning Books

We had some interesting stats send to us that had us thinking more reading with our kids before age six (we’ll include the stats below!) This has made our kids new found love of workbooks even better! They love feeling like they are getting smarter and being creative, while we sit back with pleased smiles on our faces. All of these books encourage creativity while perfecting skills they need. AND, each are affordable. Perfect additions for Spring and Summer breaks for road trips or just down-time!Kids-Learning-Books

1. The Wipe Clean series are the kids very favorite right now. They come with a dry erase marker, and when you finish each page you can wipe it clean and start over again. It has been such a great addition to Dash’s learning how to perfect his letters and Sunny beginning to learn his numbers. 2. Things That Go 3. Letters Wipe Clean 4. Paint By Sticker 5. Paint By Sticker Kids – These came in our Alt Summit swag bags and Hayes works on a page almost every night. Its so calming to do as an adult so of course it’s a great option and way to work on those fine motor skills while decompressing from the day. 6. Doodle Book for Boys encourages them using their imagination to complete pictures. 7.The Girls Doodle Books. 8. My Book of Numbers 9. My First Book of Cutting

Back to those stats! 95% of our behavioral patterns established by age 6, wow! And o top of that changing those set behaviors in adulthood occur with 9 to 1 odds. This one stat especially had us thinking about how to lessen the weight of negative conditioning, whether it be from us or at school, or friends. It made us think even more about how we can add those important lessons into their everyday reading and conversation. Thanks to the authors at Inspirational Nursery Rhymes for giving us the heads up about these! Such great topics to instill those important traits, before that important age of 6! If you need a few more ideas to add to your bookshelves here are their offerings:

 

 

 

 

gift guide: kids coloring books

Another gift idea we love to gift the kids (and their cousins and friends) is a beautiful coloring book! It’s such a great activity to do while they’re out of school and there are so many beautiful options!coloring-bookParis, of course. //Drawings from some of our favorite bands! // We love the idea of showing our kids the world but letting them decide how it should look. London, too! //  NYC like a real New Yorker // Patrick Hruby art book – with guides to show just how colorful and intricate it can be, or of course color in your own style. Eye Spy style treasure hunt you can color! // Alexander Girard‘s black and white line drawings – made colorful by you! // Doodlers Anonymous is filled with 90 drawings from contemporary artists from around the globe, their doodlers make our masterpieces. We love this one! // Educate your kids about the best time (in our opinion) for art and decor – the Midcentury! // One more Paris.

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Interactive Books

We’re happy to have Janssen of Everyday Reading guest posting today with her favorite interactive books for kids! Books where they don’t just read the words and look at the pictures, but they can actually participate, touch, feel, and experience elements of the book, too! Janssen is an ex-librarian, turned mother and we’ve loved being able to follow along with her book reviews, and we recently participated in her “In My Book Bag” series which you can find here. Welcome, Janssen!

Small Fry Interactive Books1. Press Here by Herve Tullet. This book is just SO fun. Each page gives you an instruction (“tap the yellow dot twice” or “shake the page up and down”) and on the following page, the picture has changed according to your actions. My three-year-old never gets tired of reading it. (Tap the Magic Tree just came out this summer and has a similar concept, but revolves around the seasons).

2. Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost. I bought a copy of this for the library when I was an elementary school librarian and I didn’t shelve it once the entire year. As soon as one child brought it back in, another would snatch it off the cart and check it back out. I especially like this book because it’s both a story and provides drawing instruction.
3. Out of Sight by Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais. Like many children, my daughter is obsessed with animals and animal books. This is my all-time favorite one. Each page shows some part of several animals on flaps (a collection of tails, or paw prints or coat patterns). Once you lift the flap, the corresponding animal is revealed with some interesting fact about the animal (I learned so much!). Our whole family was sad to take this one back to the library.
4. Busy Bunny Days: In the Town, On the Farm & At the Port by Britta Teckentrup. Originally published in Germany, this book is a cross between Richard Scarry and Where’s Waldo?, with tons of details to look at and a tricky badger hiding on each page. The illustrations are bright, detailed, and beautiful, and I could look at the different spreads all day long.
5. The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg. This book is such a classic. A postman goes on his daily rounds, delivering letters to various fairy tale characters. At each delivery, there is a letter, with a pocket on the page where you can pull out the actual letter. We owned this book, unopened, for years before we had children, but once our first child was old enough to enjoy books, this one became part of our regular rotation. Opening those letters never gets old!
6. Round Trip by Ann Jonas. Oh, this is an amazing book. All in black and white, it begins with a trip to the city. And then when you reach the end of the book, you flip the book upside down and read back the other way, returning home. It’s mind-boggling to see all the pictures turn into completely different images just with a 180 degree spin. (I remember reading it with my dad, who loved how clever the whole idea was).
Find more of Janssen on her blog here.

bookworms: land of nod

Last October we gathered ten of our favorite bloggers and asked them about their most beloved books to read to their kids. We loved hearing all of your favorite book additions (check out the hundreds of comments here for lots more children’s books ideas!)

We loved that mini-series so much we are happy to bring it back today with more of our favorite picks from The Land of Nod! They have the most flawless assortment of beautiful children’s books and we each reviewed a few with our kids. First up: Jenna, Quinn and Jude!
land of nod | children's booksTrucks Go by Steve Light truly the favorite we own. It’s long horizontal layout is so unique & the kids spend minutes  scanning the pages. The bright, bold illustrations and
exciting fonts are so fun to look at for Jude and read with Quinn. This book gets read every day at our house, it’s especially wonderful because it captivates my almost two year old which can be difficult to do!

Hug by Jez Alborough is such a fun story that my four year old loves to read with me. It’s an easy read and the illustrations are darling. Who doesn’t love a story about a monkey?!

Andy Warhol Colors is a wonderful twist on the typical color book. Full of unique Andy Warhol paintings, it’s a beautiful and modern way to teach your children both colors and art history! This would make a great gift and even if you don’t have children, add this to your coffee table collection. Guests will be sure to love it!

land of nod | children's books

Nicole, Dash and Sunny:

Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino is a story about a robot that breaks free from this daily routine of be plugged into a computer and uploading information about the world, and finds himself in the city having all sorts of new experiences he had never learned being plugged into the computer. The illustrations are incredible, and Dash giggles through the entire story, he loves having real life adventures just like Doug. I think this is the perfect way to teach kids to unplug, and that outside is full of adventures and new experiences.

Spoon by Krouse Rosenthal is a story about a spoon who envies all he other utensils for all the qualities they have and adventures they get, but eventually realizes that being a spoon isn’t so bad when his mother points out to him all the things spoons get to do that knives, forks, chopsticks, etc. don’t. I love this story for kids because it shares the importance of finding the beauty in ourselves and our own talents.

This is Paris by M. LASIK is one book in a series of many others (this is London, this is New York, this is San Francisco.) I have brought these books home from a few work trips/vacations whenever I visit beautiful cities. I visited Paris prior to having children, so when I saw that Land Of Nod carried it, I jumped right on This Is Paris. These books teach about the interesting facts and unique beauty of each city. Dash enjoys learning about them through Lasik’s books because of the gorgeous illustrations and the comedy he adds into his writing.

land of nod | children's books

 

Emily, Hayes and Callum:

My kids are obsessed with cars and trains, as so many boys are! We checked out Donald Crews Freight Train at the library and they were both mesmerized, so of it was a no-brainer to add to our collection! I love it for it’s beautifully colorful and graphic illustrations. The text Crews uses makes the train come to life – you can almost hear the sounds of a train while reading – and it helped me be able to tell the difference between the different train cars which is vital for my very detail-oriented three year old!

Because we loved Crews so much, we checked out Truck as well. Equally graphic and stunning, this is all about trucks and a truck’s journey. With no words, it forces you to get creative and really dissect the illustrations which is fun!

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers is a treasure and I don’t use that word lightly. All about a boy who is just trying to get his kite down, so he throws whatever he can find to knock it loose. It’s silly, and beautifully illustrated, and it’s captivating for adults and kids alike. I want to live in Jeffers world, and that’s my favorite part about reading to my kids or on my own!

Check out Land of Nod’s amazing library here, what books would you add to the list for us to try out?

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bookworms: part one

It seems like ages since we wrote our very first post (a real tear-jerker that makes us cry even today!) here at Small Fry and yet it was only a few weeks ago! While we’ve shared a lot of ideas in these few weeks, some elaborate, some inconsequential, it could be said that none will connect us more readily to our kids than sitting down and reading a book with them. Watching their little backsides settle into our laps, smelling their hair, feeling their soft skin on our arms and legs, watching their chubby fingers turn the pages. Feeling their chests rise and fall, or their shoulders shake with laughter.  It really is one of life’s most simple pleasures and studies show the benefits to our kids’ well-being and intellect are staggering.

What could be more important for a children’s lifestyle blog than to promote reading together? For today and tomorrow we have gathered our favorite bloggers from across the country and asked them to share their family favorites. Check back tomorrow to see the rest, and enter to win the whole series of our favorite bloggers’ favorite books!

Bookworm Series

>> Dani of Sometimes Sweet:

Danielle Hampton

Being an English Lit. major and later a high school English teacher, I’ve always considered myself a lover of books and a total bookworm. So when my husband and I found out we were expecting a son back in 2010, I had many dreams of bedtime story sessions, trips to the library, and spending hours upon hours reading with our little guy. From day one we read to Henry, and now, two years later, our sweet boy is just as big of a bookworm as his mama. Our favorites change weekly and sometimes even daily, thanks to the insanely huge vintage book collection my parents kept in tact for my sister and me. My Mom is an elementary school teacher and former librarian, so you can imagine how many books she handed down for us to enjoy. And enjoy we do! Henry’s current favorite book is Crictor by Tomi Ungerer, a story from 1958 about a very distinguished lady, Madame Bodot, and her pet Boa Constrictor. Another current favorite is Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, a book about one of Henry’s favorite things in the entire world, big trucks! Reading with Henry is one of the sweetest things in my world, and I can only imagine one thing sweeter- the day he is able to read to me!

>> Elizabeth of Dear Lizzy:

Elizabeth Kartchner

Choosing one of our favorite books to read was tricky! Mostly because there are my favorite books and there are the girls’ favorites. My favorites make me cry… like the one when the mother rocks her son to sleep until she’s too old… “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always…” (even now… sniff.)The girls’ favorites we re

ad over and over and over yet they laugh their faces off like it was the first time we’d cracked it open.
Let’s settle this with one we both like:
I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt.They enjoy it because of one obvious reason… anything close to the word “stinky” to a six and four year old is hysterical. And I don’t mind reading it for the umpteenth time because I can’t resist their cute, crinkled noses and their laugh helps me forget when I wanted to pull my hair out earlier that day.

It’s a good one. Even though the pages are wrinkled, torn and we all practically have it memorized, it is far from ordinary to us.

>> Dana of Dana Made It:

Dana Willard

When it comes to reading with my kids I’m often drawn to books with bright colorful artwork, because they enjoy it AND I enjoy it. Sometimes I’m even inspired by the illustrations to sew clothes, like the Put Me in the Zoo outfits here. But I have to say that our all-time favorite stories are classic Curious George. They’re just perfect for all of our ages!

My six year old Lucy can read the words to me or her four-year-old brother Owen. Or I can read the books to everyone. Or we just sit there oooing and ahhhing over the simple art (Lucy often asks which hot air balloon is my favorite when we get to that story). Or Lucy and Owen can flip through the books in the car. We love Curious George! I mean, who doesn’t? Just another two years till our baby Clara will love him too.

>> Liz of Say Yes to Hoboken:

Liz Stanley

One of my very favorite books is called Where You Came From by Sara O’Leary. The little boy’s name is Henry (my son’s name!) and it’s a really sweet, beautifully written, and gorgeously illustrated discussion between the mother, father and s

on as they try to remember where he came from, “Don’t you remember? Your mother grew you in her garden. She said the hardest part was waiting, be patient, stopping herself from picking you too soon”.

I’d highly recommend it for a young child or toddler whose too young for the real birds and bees talk. A friend recommended it to us a year ago and I still can’t get through it without tearing up a little bit. It’s so sweet. [Image credit: Modern Kids Photo]

>> Nicole Christensen of Small Fry:

Nicole ChristensenLittle Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal was a gift to us when my first baby was born. It is quite the coincidence because it is such a parallel to his life, in a very opposite way. Little Dash sure has a sweet tooth, and the story teaches of a pea that isn’t allowed to eat his veggies unless he’s finished all his sweets. It’s a perfectly charming way to teach kiddos about the importance of eating healthy. We never tire of this darling little story.

>> Stephanie of Modern Parents Messy Kids:
Stephanie Morgan

It’s old-school, I know, but I loved reading Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown to both my little ones when they were babies, even tiny babies. There was something so special about reading them the same words my mom once read to me.

Even when they were too small to understand the story, my kids loved to watch me point to everything we were saying goodnight to and, bonus, when they got bigger we moved on to “Goodnight Seattle”. Did you guys know there are versions available for lots of different cities? They’re fabulous.

>> We don’t know about you, but we’re all anxious to add these books to our own collections!  Check back tomorrow for 5 more blogger’s pics and a huge giveaway of each of these selections!

Have a great weekend everyone, thank you for reading Small Fry! Also, thank you to everyone who entered our Old Navy gift card giveaway! Congratulations to Megan, check your email for details!

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