Literacy Lalapalooza 4 – I ❤ Creative Literacy

Literacy lalapalooza logoOur Literacy Lalapalooza is a 14-month celebration of the Reading Tub’s 10th Anniversary. It is our way of thanking you for sharing the gift of literacy. Each issue will have  

  1. Idea for literacy and reading.
  2. Tools and/or Resources suggestions (e.g., websites, games, toys)
  3. Book ideas, one for each reading group: 0-4, 5-9, 10&Up

Sign up for the newsletter edition and DOUBLE the creative literacy ideas. Subscribers already got their email with a completely unique set of recommendations. You must select “Literacy Lalapalooza” in the Sign Me Up For … section

1 Literacy Idea: Table Top Interviews


Liven up an evening meal – or breakfast – with a quick two-minute, one-on-one interview. One question, with one follow-up.

The second question forces the interviewer to think about what was just said to ask a logical follow-up.

Everyone can play. Kids love to talk and you might get some great conversations going.

2 Literacy Tools / Resource Suggestions

With the Inauguration now behind us, we are free to celebrate  Lame Duck Day (6th) and Do a Grouch a Favor Day (17th). It is generally believed that a stationary company created Send a Card to a Friend Day, but writing counts as literacy, too! 

card making kit for kidsMake Your Own Cards Kit
by Made by Hand

With colorful paper and lots of “pop outs,” kids can send a note to Grandma or tell Dad “I Love You.” Here are some other card making kits for kids.

hangman by Optime SoftwareHangman (aka Erase the Face)

This is a classic game. Most of us grew up with the pen-and-paper version, and some of us played it on the chalkboard at school, now there are any number of free Apps – for Kindle, iOS, and Android – that make it easy to play any place, any time.

3 Books Recommendations

Did you know its Love Your Library month? It’s true. So head on over and find books for celebrating President’s Day, Black History Month, and even Card Reading Day (the 21st).

Infant / Toddler Audience (ages newborn to 4)

It’s not a leap year, but we can leap forward to thinking “spring.”

Finklehopper Frog by Irene LivingstonFinklehopper Frogr
written by Irene Livingston
illustrated by Brian Lies
Tricycle Press, ©2003

When Finklehopper Frog looks out his window and sees everyone jogging, he wants to go outside to join them. Despite his best effort to do everything right, he’s just not a good jogger. With the help of a friend, he learns that jogging isn’t for everyone. Kids can empathize with Finklehopper when the neighborhood animals tease him…and also appreciate the moral of the story: we each have our own special talents.

The book hops along quickly, with great rhyming and some near-tongue twisters, too. The story is sweet, and there are some nuances in the illustrations that only a parent can love! We thought this might get tiresome after so many readings, but we continue to enjoy the story as much as our toddler does. Read the Reading Tub review.

Emerging & Developing Readers (ages 5 to 9)

easy reader about civil warFrom Slave to Soldier, Based on a True Civil War Story
by Deborah Hopkinson
illustrated by Brian Floca
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, ©2005

John McCline had a hard life on the farm. Not because tending the cows and churning butter were hard, but because he was a slave. His Uncle Silas told Johnny that Abe Lincoln would set them free, and told Johnny that if he was young, he’d join the Union army and fight. So the day some Union soldiers marched by the farm, Johnny joined them. This is an informational easy reader about a slave who became a soldier in the Civil War.

This illustrated biography introduces new readers to the personal, true story of a slave who fought for the Union Army in the Civil War. Although the Civil War sets the scene, the story focuses less on the issue of slavery and more on Johnny McCline’s life and character. As an adult, and having read other accounts, it seems a little Pollyanna-ish, but I liked it for its focus on personal responsibility and perseverance. Read the Reading Tub review.

Middle Grade & Young Adults (Ages 10 and Up)

written by Andrew Fukuda
Amazon Encore, ©2010

Seven years ago, Xing (pronounced “shing”) and his parents emigrated to the US from China. As a young boy Xing was often asked to sing. Because of his beautiful voice, his father wanted Xing to have the chance to develop his gift in America. Xing, who wants to be called “Kris” to get people to stop butchering his name, has been cast as the lead in his school’s production of The Man of Jerusalem. But his father would never get to hear him sing. His dad was killed in a hit-and-run accident. That’s not the only death. Now, someone is killing the students in Xing’s high school. 

Suspense will keep readers turning the pages and wanting to know who is killing all of these high school students. There are a number of themes that will resonate with teens. Some are more personal (like fitting in) and others much broader (like cultural acceptance). This is not a book for every reader, largely because of its references to school shootings. Still, it offers food for thought about the subject now fresh on our minds again. Read the Reading Tub review.

Wrapping it Up

To those who have also subscribed to the Literacy Lalapalooza newsletter we hope that the new ideas here complement the recommendations and tips you got in your mailbox. Its not too late. We’d love to have you join us for the next twelve months of our Literacy Lalapalooza..

Have some favorite children’s or young adult books that make great gifts or new family traditions? Reviewed them on your blog? Please share your faves! Its not a party without you.

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2 responses to “Literacy Lalapalooza 4 – I ❤ Creative Literacy

    1. Hi Erica, Yes, Crossing can be a little bit scary … it is one of those books that stays with you even after you’ve closed the back cover. It is still a great, thought provoking read. Hope you’ll stop by to tell us how the table-top interviews went!

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