This is Jason Mraz, one of the musicians my husband and I adore. Last night, we (grown ups only) were lucky enough to attend his acoustic concert at the Sydney Opera House – what a treat!

I can’t help but admire songwriters/musicians. The great ones possess an amazing ability to compose and intertwine wonderful lyrics and music – no easy feat… and to be brave enough to put it out there for all the world to hear.

It’s humbling to think of the creative possibilities and courage God has gifted upon humans.

As I sat there in the concert enjoying the musical feast surrounding me, I thought about the wonder of language. It’s the means by which we express ourselves and it takes an entire lifetime to master – if it can be mastered.

My literacy challenge for this week focuses on vocabulary. My aims from Weitzman, E  & Grenberg, J 2010, ABC and Beyond: Building Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood Settings published by the Hanen Early Language Program, Canada, are:

  • Select books that include non-fiction as well as stories
  • Pre-select new vocabulary (no more than five new words per book)
  • Include a variety of types of new words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs)
  • Introduce new vocabulary by stressing, showing, telling, relating and saying words again.
Here are some reflections on  my last literacy challenge: turning book reading into a conversation.
  • We’ve cut down the number of books read in one session to allow more time for conversations.
  • So much is achieved by observing, waiting and listening to what children have to say about the story. Just pause and wait for them to say something. A conversation awaits. A chance to learn more about your children and how they understand the world awaits.
  • Conversations build up relationships.
Finally, here are the books we’ve been reading these last two weeks. I have marked our highly recommended books with an * and added them to the Lessons Learnt Journal Favourite Books List.
My First Batman Book by Downtown Bookworks Inc*. If you have little ones who adore superheroes you simply must get this book and the others in the same series (there’s a Superman and Wonderwoman one too). There are fun interactive features for young fans. This Batman book has a glow-in-the-dark bat signal. One to add to the Christmas shopping list.
That’s Not My Dinosaur an Usborne touchy-feely book by Fiona Watt & Illustrated by Rachel Wells*. Very cute pictures and fun textures throughout to engage the youngest of readers. My children can’t get enough of dinosaurs.  I don’t think dinosaurs were really this cute when they were around though.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr & Illustrated by Eric Carle*. Classic children’s book. Great for learning colours and animals.
Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack by Lynley Dodd*. We finally have another Hairy Maclary book to add to our collection. We love Hairy Maclary and his new friend Zachary Quack. We can’t get enough of Hairy Maclary. With this week’s literacy challenge focusing on vocabulary, the Hairy Maclary series offers boundless opportunities. We will have to revisit some Hairy Maclary books.
Who’s Driving by Leo Timmers*. This is book published by Gecko Press. I have been very impressed by the books published by Gecko Press. The books are engaging, fun and encourage conversations. This particular book has children looking for clues to see which driver “fits” into which vehicle. They have to look at what the driver is wearing or has on him/her and make conclusions about whether that sort of driver would drive that vehicle. A fantastic book with opportunities for children to verbally articulate and validate their opinions.
999 Tadpoles Find a New Home by Ken Kimura & Illustrated by Yasunai Murakami*. This is another Gecko Press published book and it’s a seriously good book. Although this is probably the longest book N & M have come across so far, the story and pictures are so engaging, they request for it to be read first every night. They can retell the story and love adding their own bits to the story as it’s being read. A great book to add to the Christmas shopping list.
The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm, Many Silent Years Part 12, God’s Promise One is Born Part 13, God’s Promised One is Announced, Part 14. I don’t know why we didn’t do it before, but we only just started using the audio CD that comes with this book. The boys love listening to another voice (and accent) reading to them. We’ve just read the Christmas story and it’s amazing to think this is the first time N&M hear the actual Christmas story and are beginning to understand it.

What are you reading this week? How are you promoting literature and literacy in your home? Are there any books that you adore and highly recommend? Share the love and leave a comment, and don’t forget to check back for responses.

N & M: 3 years 5 months
E: 16 months

Lessons Learnt Journal

Check out our Lessons Learnt Journal Favourite Books List.
Read about the whys and hows of our weekly books routine.

We are part of the following book sharing parties:

Smiling like Sunshine Book Sharing Monday


About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.