Literacy Lalapalooza – Happy 2013

Our 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 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: Clean Out the Sock Drawer

red sock puppet

No matter the color, no matter the condition socks make great puppets! Playing with puppets is a great way to build or practice literacy skills (story telling, imagination, putting events in order).

Your puppets can be brought to life with a set of eyes or they can be elaborate like some of the puppets in this collection of Yahoo! Images photographs.

You can create your own characters or act out a favorite story. The skies the limit …

2 Literacy Tools / Resource Suggestions

The Frisbee may have been invented this month, but we’re not likely to be out playing with one! With the possibility of snow, ice, or bad weather always on the horizon, its nice to have some fun things to do. Here are some handy ideas that can help ward off cabin fever and still sneak in literacy.

National Geographic Tongue TwistersJanuary 17 is Pickled Peppers Day … A handful of Tongue Twisters is sure to keep everyone “tied” up and laughing!  There are plenty of Tongue Twisters for Kids books. Here are a few websites, too.

Game ClassroomGame Classroom – Games from all over the web are sorted according to skill, topic and grade level (K to 6). There’s a homework help section with learning tips, online resources and sample problems.

According to the site, content was created by professional educators with more than 200 years of teaching experience, and has been outlined using US state educational standards. There are games here simple enough for children younger than five, yet more challenging ones too.

3 Books Recommendations

If ever there was an excuse to read a book together Hot Tea Month and Cuddle Up Day (6th) are it! Earlier this week, the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards (Cybils) announced the finalists in nine categories, including picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, poetry books, and novels. These short lists are built on books with literary merit AND kid appeal … so do check them out.

Infant / Toddler Audience (ages newborn to 4)

Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep by Maureen WrightSleep Big Bear, Sleep!
written by Maureen Wright; illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Marshall Cavendish Publishing, ©2009

 Old Man Winter tries to tell Big Bear its time to hibernate. The only problem is, Big Bear doesn’t hear very well. So instead of “sleep,” Big Bear is off to drive a jeep, sweep, even leap! Will Big Bear ever get his rest? 

Big Bear is a cutie and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this story. The added benefit is that Bear’s hearing loss helps kids understand how words work.

Emerging & Developing Readers (ages 5 to 9)


easy reader by Cynthia Rylant

Annie and Snowball and the Teacup Club
by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
Simon & Schuster,  ©2008


Annie and Snowball (her pet rabbit) love to play with cousin Henry and his dog Mudge. But Annie loves teacups, too. Little boys and big dogs don’t like dainty things, but they love Annie, and they want to help her find other teacup lovers. When Annie decides to create a Teacup Club, Henry is there to help paint the sign, make the cookies, and, best of all, share the leftovers.

The story is likely to inspire little girls to create their own teacup clubs. This is an illustrated chapter book for kids just moving to longer books. The chapters are presented subtly (simple titles, not numbers), perfect to keep reluctant readers reading longer than they had planned. Read the Reading Tub review.

Middle Grade & Young Adults (Ages 10 and Up)

Sisters of the Sword by Maya SnowSisters of the Sword
written by Maya Snow
HarperCollins Publishers, ©2006

In feudal Japan, girls do not become samurai. Sisters Kimi and Hanna know more than most girls because they have trained with their brothers, sons of the Jito (governor). Still, they can never attend the dojo, the school where boys are trained to be samurai.

After witnessing their fathers’ and brothers’ murders, they escape with their lives. There is no time to mourn, and the girls must set in motion a plan to regain their family honor. Their first step: disguise themselves as boys and find a way to become samurai. Can they fool Master Goku, the man who trained their father? Will anyone discover their true identities? Will they ever, truly be safe?

This title launches an adventure series set in feudal Japan, with two sisters studying to be Samurai. Teens will devour this fast-paced adventure of two sisters. This book may be particularly appealing to twins. This is an ensemble cast of diverse, interesting characters. There are several males with whom pre-teen and teenage boys will immediately connect.

Read the Reading Tub review.

Wrapping it Up

With so many wonderful books – not to mention seasonal favorites – it is so hard to narrow down our choices. Whether you’re looking for Christmas or Hannukah stories; books with snow or winter themes, or ideas built around your young reader’s favorite subject, visit the Reading Tub to see what our families are sharing with their kids.

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 have another thirteen months of Literacy Lalapalooza celebrations ahead.

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.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.