Friday, April 1, 2016

Reading Starts at Home

One of my favorite things to do is to read aloud, especially with my own children.

My mom read to me everyday so it was always a special activity that was very important for me to do with my family too.  
In fact, my oldest Brianna is now 21 and I still read aloud to her.

She lives in Belgium and when working on her book club Books Without Boarders a few weeks ago, she picked The Day the Crayons Quit for one of the books.  It was such great fun reading one of my favorite picture books to Brianna and watching her little face light up when I did. We had such a wonderful conversation and lots of laughs during the book....She even asked me to read The Day the Crayons Came Home when we finished the first one.   You can read about Brianna and I's read aloud and her book club in this post on her blog, Living Light and Breezy.

Even though she is an adult now, there is nothing like a parent reading aloud to you.  It is something special I will share with them forever.

And with Hagan being only 10, we do tons of reading aloud....chapter books, the ESPN website, and lots and lots of picture books.  He is the one I have sit down with me as I pour over all of the new picture books I buy every week.  
The beautiful books from Cantata Learning have been new favorite book to share in our home during the last year.  

In all of the Cantata Learning books, you will find stories paired with incredible songs and illustrations.  

These are PERFECT for sharing at home.  When you can bring reading, singing, and moving into the mix...that is the perfect combination for a whole lot of fun.  

Last week my friend Kellie shared this sweet video with me.

I gave her a couple of the Cantata Learning books when I visited her at school and she brought them home to read and sing with her daughter Hadley.

I love seeing the interaction between of them.  You can see the importance of reading and singing at home with your children.  Not only was Hadley learning, singing, and reading, she was also interacting with her mom in such a loving and meaningful way.  Kellie enjoyed it just as much as Hadley.
Hadley learned the song and hand movements to Miss Mary Mackalong with I'm Bringing Home My Baby Bumblebeewhich were two classics that we sang when we were little.
Kellie and Hadley found the music on the CD in the back of the book. They are in every book from Cantata, so they are very easy to tie in music and singing at home with parents and families.

Also, children can use these CD's by themselves and play the music while following along in the book.
Every song is also located online at
The songs can be listened to or downloaded for free.  

Kellie and Hadley found Miss Mary Mack on the Cantata Learning site and played it from there too.  
Cantata has made it especially easy for our youngest learners (and parents) by putting a QR code on the back and on one of the first pages of every book.

All you have to do is scan this QR code with any free QR Code Reader app (like this one) and the song will pop up from the website to play.  It is that easy.
The book experience at home can be enriched by a couple of additions located towards the back of each book.

There is a Glossary and Guided Reading Activities which will be helpful in conversations as reading the books and afterwards in extending the reading and singing experiences too.
You will find the sheet music and lyrics.  Children love seeing the music and following the words with their finger or the music with an instrument.
If you don't have real instruments, you can make instruments from just about anything you have at home.

One of our favorites ways is to take plastic eggs and fill them with materials that make noise.

Here is a picture of my friend Ella who is singing and playing her egg instruments as she listens to our 2nd grade friends at Van Meter sing their new library song yesterday.
Hand movements are also important and can be done anywhere....even in the car like Ella is doing here to Wheels on the Bus.  

With the CD in each book, this makes it very easy to sing along in the car like she is doing.  
On the back of the books, you will find this infographic that shows how Cantata Learning Songs and Books Reinforce The Development of Early Learning Skills.  

The books and songs that Cantata has created for all of us are definitely part of these developmental milestones essential to physical, cognitive and social & emotional learning, growth and success.  
We have created this helpful handout to share with parents and families to show the importance of reading and singing at home.  

There are also 5 tips for using Cantata Learning books and songs during daily storytime.  
 This one-page handout can be found on the Cantata Learning blog.
You can download this as a printable PDF from the Cantata Learning website here
The Cantata Learning books are also available as eBooks on Capstone Interactive.

These have the audio and song built in, which is great for any age.
One more place to share is the Cantata Learning YouTube Channel where you will find every Cantata Learning song.  It is another place children will enjoy going to listen to the songs.

As you can see, Cantata Learning can bring reading and singing to our homes and schools in many different and wonderful ways.  This is important to the development of our children and is such a special experience for families to share together.  

So, go to Cantata Learning today and see what new songs you can learn with your children today.  

And even when they are 21, living away from you, they will still love reading and singing together. 

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