Tag: Reading

Use Kid’s Interests to get them Reading

Helping Reluctant Readers

The other day I mentioned that Matthew spends a bit too much time on Minecraft. He actually has a great mix of things he does: imaginary play, sports, building lego, running around with Hannah, T.V., board games with us, playing hockey.

Good habits develop slowly. It’s just that his favorite thing by far is watching gamers play Minecraft. Those gamers are like Santa to these kids. And they are great with kids too.

I might actually write to DanTDM and see if he will encourage boys to read and not be online so much. After all, the boys watching might spend more time online than the actual gamers. Who knows.


But here’s the thing. At the book fair the other day Matthew wanted another Minecraft manual. I said but you haven’t read the other one yet. He said he had. Wow! I was so busy concentrating on the books I had bought him in summer and the lack of worn pages 😉 that I had no idea he actually read the Minecraft one.

He often prefers non fic but I don’t see him reading it all that much. If Minecraft is getting him to read even a little, it’s a hidden blessing in my book.

I’ve also noticed he’s started singing hymns with me and that’s reading right there. So there is reading being done just quietly unnoticed.

Wishing you all a quietly unnoticed productive day 😉

Any thoughts on combining a favorite hobby with reading?




Reluctant Readers

Well it’s Monday and I’m still wading through the flood of doodles in my inbox 😉 Hopefully I’ll get pick one by next week. (Send your doodles to catherine_mrsj@hotmail.com)

I’ve got two reluctant readers at home, though I think the youngest will catch up now that two teachers and mum and dad are bombarding her with flash cards and books.

It’s a very frustrating time when kids who can read don’t want to. As writers we know it’s as simple as them finding an author they can connect with. For my oldest I thought it was Jack Stalwart. He has a whole shelf of them but now he’s done that he’s picky again.

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” — Roald Dahl

I’m on the hunt for ideas, suggestions and recommended books for reluctant readers and will share them here.


Today’s recommended books are over at Imagination Soup website. Melissa Taylor has a whole reading list for reluctant readers that looks really fun. Check it out here. You can even buy the books direct from her site.

Here’s a few tips:

Can anyone conjure up a wacky poem to get kids reading?

Have a great Monday!

If you are interested in writing more poetry, come and join us at Poetry Bootcamp on Facebook and share a poem or two.

Catherine Johnson writes and illustrates poetry for kids. Her latest book is Zompoemz ebook of kids poems.


V is for Video

Today for V is for Video of Rena Traxel’s AtoZ Poetry Challenge we are asked to read our poems aloud to see how they sound and/or write about Vampires. Renee La Tulippe, talented children’s write who blogs at No Water River as well as writing for children and editing. Rena makes videos on her blog of fellow poets’ poems is on Rena’s blog today telling us all about reading your poems aloud. This is an area in which I need a bit of practise to get that fun slick jumpy feeling (there is a technical word for it that escapes me as usual :)) in a poem. And make sure you check out Julie Rowan-Zoch’s awesome illustration of a Vampire Bunny. I haven’t decided what animal mine is yet, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

And by the way tomorrow on Twitter pick your favorite poem from the whole month of poetry on all those sites like Greg Pincus’s and No Water River and put a link to it with the hashtag #pocketpoem. Google Poem in your Pocket for more info.

Vampire Vichy

Vampire Vichy sucks up odours when the moon is full.
Nice ones, bad ones, strong ones, weak ones, odours plentiful.
Vichy is crazy about Jasmine,
but equally zany about loos.
There is no fragrance on this earth that hasn’t been sucked out of yous.


Eating yoghurt at 2 a.m.

I’ve been poorly this week which is so unusual for me. But don’t worry my daughter’s been looking after me. She got me up at 2 a.m. and insisted we watch tele and eat yoghurt. That was her up for the day, thanks darling! I’ll remember that when you’re ill (just kidding 😉 When you try and fall asleep during the day your mind is so active it’s almost impossible to sleep. All those things you should be doing racing through your mind, a bit like this really:

Sleep deprivation is the norm, but let’s not complain, afterall it has its benefits: It helps with ADD, social media addictions and shaky hand syndrome lol.

But let’s get serious for a minute, (we can do this) and hop on over to Kristen’s post this week. It really does help you prioritize after reading it. And make you want to take public speaking lessons and learn about taxes. Okay maybe not the latter 🙂 but it does scare you silly make you realise you can’t just concentrate on the things you like doing, you have to save time and energy for the other stuff too. Time and energy they sound familiar some how. Anyone remember them?


Midow loves parsley

Have you ever seen a rabbit eat this quickly? I should play this to my kids to show them how fast you are supposed to eat your dinner 😉

Anyone with any speedy fast talents? I try to do housework quickly, does that count? 😉


Squashed Cupcake style

Month of Poetry is in full swing now and we are all getting so much from it. I have learned so much from the young ones this week, so I thought I’d share with you and let you experiment too!

Squashed Cupcake wrote this post and her idea of using spidergrams really set my imagination off. I’d also read somewhere else about rifling through dictionaries for random words to use in poems. The poem below started with random words from the school book club leaflet.

Magnetic boom on the drain,
Drowsy, puzzled, pink penguins,
worried where the vanishing lady lived.
They found her in the pocket
and asked for peace.

They had to count seven smelly feet
before the weather scared the boom away,
leaving them with one more big dream
to find the lost magic.

If you fancy trying it too, why not grab a newspaper and write down some random words, maybe do a spidergram like Squashed Cupcake and make up a poem.


One Snowy Night

via google images

One Snowy Night written and illustrated by Nick Butterworth,

Harper Collins Children’s Books, September 2011, Fiction

Suitable for: All grades

Themes/Topics: Winter is definitely a theme here and so is friendship and compassion. Percy the park keeper had a warm bed for the night, he was perfectly fine, he didn’t have to be helpful if he didn’t want to. But he was and that makes him compassionate, which is a lovely attribute to teach your children. Children could say what they would do in that circumstance.

Opening and brief synopsis:  It’s cold in the park in winter. But Percy the park keeper doesn’t mind. He puts on his warm coat and his big scarf and wears two pairs of woolly socks inside his wellington boots. Percy likes to be out in the fresh air.

Synopsis: (via Harper Collins) 
Percy the Park Keeper always feeds the animals in the park where he lives. But one cold winter’s night Percy discovers that his little friends need more than food and he must find a way to help them find a warm place to sleep for the night.

Percy’s hut is nice and warm but Percy discovers that if you invite one animal in you’ll have to invite them all in and his hut is only small – it’s certainly going to be a squash!

Links to resources: I struggled to find resources for this book, except for these Visual aids, however I think kids would love to act this story out in the classroom and pretend to be the different animals seeking shelter for the night.

This book is adorable and it really seems like one Susanna would love. It is just her own writing style and subject. The illustrations are so cute too!

This book is listed under the Perfect Picture Book tab on Susanna’s blog. Please check it out some time.

Have a lovely weekend!


Yorkshire Pudding

via google images

Apologies in advance if these pictures make you want to devour the screen. What a subject to bring up in January of all months (looks down and sighs 🙂 Yorkshire puddings were a huge Sunday lunch tradition when I was growing up in Yorkshire. Gravy from the stock of the beef mixed with good old Bisto granules. Most of the time we had the Yorkshire puddings first like a starter and then the meal, but the odd time we’d have one of two small ones mixed on the dinner plate. The point back after the war was to fill you up on Yorkshire puddings first because there wasn’t much of anything else after. They are cheap to make and absolutely delicious. I’d love to say easy to make but you have to make sure the oil is SO hot when you pour the batter in the trays. I’ve seen/made bad Yorkshire puddings (not nice).

Anyway here’s a website I found with the recipe and all about Yorkshire puds. From one pud to another 😉 Yorkshire Puddings


Inspired by You

Carrie Daws, fellow blogger on Kristen Lamb’s brilliant blogging course gave me the Inspirational Award a little while ago. Thank you Carrie! Rather than me make a list of all of you, why not rather check out Carrie’s blog award post and find some new bloggers to follow. Carrie’s blog looks fab!

Here’s a few things you may or may not know about me:

  • I am a Yorkshire lass, my mum makes the best Yorkshire puddings. Despite moving to New Zealand for four years and I’ve been just over three years now in Canada I have never lost my Yorkshire accent – yay!
  • I once sat outside a beautiful government building in Paris and tried to write a poem about it, thinking it was the very different and modern George Pompidou centre (just behind). Yes, I felt a bit of berk after that, but no one knew (until now ha ha haaa!)
  • I au paired in Paris for a year after Uni and really sucked at it, but I was great at exploring Paris!
  • I used to be so into Formula One Grand prix racing that I once had to sit by a radio and ignore everyone at a party I was at. Same with Wimbledon tennis when the village fete was on. I sneaked off to a tent where they had tennis on and spent the whole fete watching tennis.

I’m inspired by all of you. If I didn’t suck at making them I’d make you all some Yorkshire puddings 🙂


Can’t Sleep Without Sheep

You have two special treats here today 🙂 This is our very own Perfect Picture Book Friday Susanna Hill’s book, Can’t Sleep Without Sheep. (I can’t wait to see her face – metaphorically speaking 😉

Can’t Sleep Without Sheep
written by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Walker Childrens, September 2010, Fiction

Suitable for: All grades

This is a great book for bedtime all about getting to sleep. Anything to do with sleep can be covered with the help of this book. It is also a good one for knowing your worth as the sheep discovered.

Opening and brief synopsis:
Ava had a hard time falling asleep. Her mind was always so busy!
Wanted: Trustworthy animal for nighttime position. Must be nimble and reliable . . .

Whenever Ava can’t sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it’s the sheep that are growing tired-until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava’s fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all.

With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

 Links to resources: Activities, Resources from Susanna’s website.
There are probably loads more sleep related games you could play to go with this book, like sleeping lions.

The illustrations are sensational, I absolutely love to open this book. It really is a delight to look at and a delight to read. Well done, Susanna!!!

By now you’ll be wondering what the cake is doing down there. Please help yourselves and come back again later, it will still be here 😉 Aren’t I lucky having a Friday 13th birthday!         

via google images