Creative Reading Adventures

  • Books vs. Movies: 10 Best Children’s Books to Movies

    Books vs. Movies: What’s better?

    Obviously, in the books vs. movies debate, I’m always going to pick books! I used to have a strong opinion that a book should NEVER be a movie. Ever. Most of the time, I think the movie ruins the book!

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    Wondering what’s better- the book or the movie?! Click the image to read and compare both the children’s book vs. movie with this list of 10 best children’s books turned into movies!

    When I was getting my Masters of Education At the University of Virginia, I took a Children’s Literature class. I was very adamant in my views of children’s books turned into movies until my professor gave me a different perspective. She said something like this:

    “Any time they turn a children’s book into a movie, more people are aware of that book. It brings a wider audience to the story. Even if half of those people never read the book, you know some of them will read the book to compare!”

    I truly had never thought of it this way before! Because of her, I have a new appreciation for books turned into movies. Anything that encourages a child to read is a win in my book!

    I’m sure everyone is thinking about Harry Potter when I’m talking about books vs. movies. I’m actually not including this one on my list because I personally read Harry Potter in high school (mostly because J.K. Rowling hadn’t written them all yet!). I do think there is some type of badge of honor when your child can read the Harry Potter series. I honestly do not think anything after book 4 is appropriate for elementary students.

    Picture Books Turned Into Movies

    As you know from this post, we should never stop reading aloud to our kids!

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    While any type of reader can sit through a movie, I truly think children’s books turned into movies are perfect for those Reluctant Reader Rosies. They get an automatic reward of screen time when they complete the book!

    Not sure what type of reader you have? Click here to take the quiz!

    The main problem I have with picture books turned into movies is that the movies are loosely based on the book. Normally, a picture book does not have as much content as a chapter book, so the movie producers need to get a little more creative in the story line.

    Questions to Ask while Reading & Watching

    I will always recommend reading the story first and discussing it with your child before hopping right into the movie. Talk about:

    • the characters
    • the setting
    • give a brief retelling of the story

    All before you jump into family movie night!

    The biggest skill I work on in Adventures with Books, my virtual book club for second and third graders, is backing up your reasoning with text evidence. For picture books, the evidence can be from the pictures! Ask your child,

    “What is your favorite part?”

    Then, be sure they tell you WHY. The why is always more important to me than whatever part they pick. Talk about your favorite parts BEFORE you watch the movie so they can watch for that part and see if their favorite part changes in the movie!

    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

    I love Judith Viorst’s Alexander character and how horrible of a day he has! It is easy for kids to connect to Alexander. As a classroom teacher, we used to change Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day into a Wonderful, Amazing, Very Good, Super Awesome Day!

    Where the Wild Things Are

    This Caldecott Medal-winning picture book is a “must for every child’s bookshelf!” This is a very common birthday theme for little ones and everyone just loves Max!

    The Lorax

    The Lorax is a book I love to read around Earth Day in April every year. It’s a great reminder to be kind to our environment and the trees!

    Jumanji

    Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations come alive from this book to multiple Jumanji movie interpretations! Another Caldecott Medal winner, Peter and Judy first found this game- Jumanji- over 30 years ago!

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

    I always read this book right before our weather unit in fourth grade! The movie interpretation is equally as cute.

    Polar Express

    The Polar Express is a magical story of a little boy’s train ride to the North Pole. Do you believe?

    Chapter Books Turned Into Movies

    Chapter books that are turned into movies are more likely to stick to the story line. There is more content in a chapter book so this makes sense. Some of these books a Beginner Reader Ben will not be able to sit through. You could always read sections of the book aloud if your Beginner Reader will sit through a longer book!

    reading-quiz

    Not sure if what type of reader you have? Take the quiz here!

    Because of Winn Dixie

    If you’re new around here, Kate DiCamillo is one of my FAVORITE authors! I absolutely adore anything she writes, and love comparing this book to the movie!

    Matilda

    Matilda is a gifted five-year-old who clashes with her terrible headmistress and has some crazy adventures! The book really comes to life in the movie.

    Ramona & Beezus

    Beverly Cleary is a classic children’s book author. Please note the book is titled Beezus and Ramona, but the movie switches the names for the title! Ramona is a beloved character with an entire series devoted to her antics!

    Charlotte’s Web

    This classic story is a perfect family read aloud. Watch Charlotte and Wilbur come to life on the big screen!

    The One and Only Ivan

    Katherine Applegate is another one of my favorite authors! The One and Only Ivan is also a movie now on Disney+.

    This is definitely a book for older readers. Be prepared to feel all the feels if you choose to read and watch this one with your kids!

    Flora and Ulysses

    A bonus book turned movie for you! Flora and Ulysses is coming out on Disney+ on February 19th. So, start reading it with your kids today and you’ll be ready for the release 😉

    If you’re looking to bring joy and FUN into your family read alouds, check out my Bonding with Books box. Flora and Ulysses is featured in February’s box!

    The Great Debate

    After you read one of these books, then watch the movie, let me know which you prefer! I will almost always pick a book in the books vs. movies debate!

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  • Should you read aloud books to your kids?

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    Why read aloud books?

    There are so many benefits to reading aloud to your children. So, why read aloud books? As a teacher and a mom, I can tell you that read alouds are my favorite time of the day. There is something special about that time you spend reading aloud together. Your kids are captivated by words, by your inflections in your reading, and by books. Is there anything more magical than that?

    Even if you have a Fluent Reader Freddie, you should read aloud a book! (Not sure what type of reader you have? Take the quiz with tips and strategies here!) I think many parents stop reading once their own child can read themselves. As Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer,  points out, 

    “We do not age out of read alouds.” 

    (If we did, the audiobook industry would not be thriving). Think about your own reading habits. I know I listen to Audible on the go and enjoy listening to books. The same is true for our own kids, even if they are fluent readers!

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    Read Aloud Books for Your Relationships

    I think we all know that reading aloud helps your child fall in love with books. I have fond memories of curling up on my mom’s lap or looking forward to our class read-aloud time- even in 8th grade! Reading aloud helps build your relationship with your kids.

    The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading. It isn’t achieved by the book alone, nor by the child alone, nor by the adult who’s reading aloud- it’s the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony.

    -Mem Fox, Reading Magic

    Mem Fox is a children’s book author and author of the book Reading Magic, an entire book devoted to the benefits of reading aloud to children!
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    In the spirit of reading aloud, my product, Bonding with Books, takes a children’s chapter book and transforms it into a family read aloud experience. As you turn the pages of the book, you find different Post-Its signaling you to open a small gift or complete a family activity that connects to the story. The idea is to get your child excited about reading and getting the whole family involved in the experience! You can read more here.

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    When should you read aloud to kids?

    Anytime! I firmly believe in always reading before bed time. When I speak to moms groups, I always encourage them to find another time during the day to read aloud other than bed time. Can you read aloud at breakfast? Can you listen to an audiobook in the car together? You can read more tricks to squeeze in reading during the day here.

    I used to find any excuse to read aloud to my class- after recess to calm us down, at the end of the day when things get a little crazy, at the beginning of a lesson to make connections to what we were learning. 

    I started that this year with my own kids while we are distance learning. Transitions are hard for kids, so we struggled going from screen time all morning to eating lunch and being respectful. I started reading aloud different chapter books for the first ten minutes of lunch. It truly was amazing how different their “recess” time was once we transitioned nicely from our screens with a read aloud!

    How much time should I spend reading aloud to my kids?

    There’s no guideline for the right amount of time to read aloud to your child, but I would argue the more time you spend, the better! Teachers advocate for 20 minutes of independent reading per day. That’s in addition to whatever reading they are doing in school or hearing from you!

    If you have an emergent or a beginner reader, you’ll be reading aloud to them simply because they cannot read independently. Not sure what type of reader you have? Take the quiz here!

    For younger readers, Mem Fox recommends 3 books per day, a favorite, a familiar, and a new book. She clarifies that if your child wants to read the same book for forty minutes that’s fine too! I know my toddler will read the SAME book straight for twenty minutes. It drives me crazy, but she can now “read” Goodnight Moon to me, so I’m calling that a win 😉

    What should I read aloud? 

    There are so many options for children’s books! I would definitely recommend finding books that interest your child. The more interest they have in what you’re reading, the more they will want to read with you!

    If you’re looking for specific book choices that I love as a mom and a reading specialist, take the quiz here, and you’ll get book suggestions once you find out what type of reader you have!

    I spend a lot of time picking out books to include in my Bonding with Books boxes. I try to pick high-interest books that I know your children will enjoy and add to the stories with small gifts and activities. You can see my selections here.

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    When do I stop reading aloud to my kids?

    Never! I had a friend tell me that she remembers her mom sitting on the edge of her bed reading aloud to her in high school. HIGH SCHOOL! That’s amazing. Guess what?! She still loves to read. It’s easy to want to stop reading aloud to our kids once they can read independently. 

    Mem Fox explains in Reading Magic:

    “If we are always reading aloud something that is more difficult than children can read themselves then when they come to that book later, or books like that, they will be able to read them- which is why even a fifth grade teacher, even a tenth grade teacher, should still be reading to children aloud. There is always something that is too intractable for kids to read on their own.”

    Remember, your child can comprehend much higher than they can read independently. By reading aloud to them, you are giving them exposure to harder texts and these can lead to great discussions. 

    What’s your next family read-aloud? Let me know in the comments! If you need a family read-aloud activity box, be sure to check out Bonding with books here!

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  • Valentine’s Day Children’s Books for All Ages

    Valentine’s Day Children’s Books for All Ages

    Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to gift a book! The following list is for Valentine’s Day Children’s Books for any age. If you’re looking to see which category you should shop for books for your child, take the “What Type of Reader Do You Have?” quiz and you’ll get even more book ideas for your reader!

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    This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.


    Valentine's-Day-Books

    If you’re looking for a great family gift this Valentine’s Day that gets the whole family reading, you may want to check out Bonding with Books! This family reading activity box makes a perfect Valentine’s gift!


    Valentine’s Books for Toddlers

    Indestructible Book: Love You, Baby

    You know I’m a HUGE fan of these Indestructibles books for babies and toddlers. Mostly because they truly are INDESTRUCTIBLE! Had a baby friend over and they drooled all over this Love You, Baby book? No problem! Throw it in the dishwasher and it looks exactly the same- sans germs!

    Guess How Much I Love You by Anita Jeram

    Is this a classic for all babies and toddlers? I love gifting this book at baby showers for the newest little baby’s book collection! It’s also perfect for Valentine’s Day!

    Love Monster by Rachel Bright

    This book is printed both as a board book and as a picture book. This little monster just wants to be loved. Rachel Bright has written 3 different books about this furry little monster, so you know he’s a good monster to get to know!


    Valentine’s Books for Preschoolers

    Tiny T. Rex and the Perfect Valentine by Jonathan Stutzman

    We are huge fans of Tiny T. Rex in our home! We love the original Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug picture book. This is a board book and makes the perfect preschool Valentine!

    Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

    I think we all know the very hungry caterpillar! This LOVE edition is very sweet, and you can start making text-to-text connections with your preschooler when they realize this very same hungry caterpillar appears in this book as well!

    Llama Llama I Love You by Anna Dewdney

    Llama Llama is a preschool favorite! This sweet story is perfect for those little ones who love Mama Llama and Little Llama’s adventures!


    Valentine’s Day Picture Books

    These Valentine’s Day Picture Books are great for kids of all ages! From preschoolers to older kids, picture books make great family read alouds. Many people associate picture books with Beginning Readers, but picture books are great for ALL readers. Not sure what type of reader you have? Take the quiz here!

    Love from the Crayons by Drew Daywalt

    These adorable crayons will always be a part of my book round-ups! You may be more familiar with the original, The Day the Crayons Quit. I loved reading this original book in my classroom when building a classroom community! This love edition is a great Valentine’s Day children’s book!

    Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

    This sweet story is about a young girl who loves her hair. “There is nothing my hair can’t do!” She has a big day and tries to give her dad the day off from doing her hair. A couple of issues arise, but the idea is that she loves her beautiful hair and the reason for the big day is so very heartwarming.

    I am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde

    This may not be your typical Valentine’s Day children’s book, but I just love this “I Am” series by Susan Verde. And you KNOW I love Peter Reynolds! I love any books that help teach feelings and any social-emotional lessons, and these books do just that!

    From the book’s description:

    Love means showing kindness, living with gratitude, and taking care of our minds and bodies. Letting our hearts lead the way can help move us closer to a better world.

    Words to Love By by Rick Warren

    This book is a MUST for your family library. The whole premise of the book is that words may be tiny but have a BIG impact. We constantly revisit this book when we need this reminder.


    Valentine’s Day Chapter Books for Transitional Readers

    Not sure if you have a Transitional Reader Taylor? Take the quiz here to find out!

    Anne’s Kindred Spirits by Kallie George

    This book series is inspired by Anne of Green Gables! This is the second book in this early-reader series starring Anne as she settles into life at Green Gables and makes friends. When Anne meets her neighbor, Diana, she knows she has found a “kindred spirit.” This sweet and funny story highlights love and the importance of friendship.


    Calendar Mysteries: February Friend by Ron Roy

    Ron Roy is the author of this Calendar Mysteries series! If he sounds familiar, he also writes the A to Z Mysteries series. The Calendar Mysteries are for younger readers featuring the younger siblings of the A to Z Mysteries kids!

    In this story, Bradly is passing out his valentines to his class, but one of them has no name on it. This card tells them to look in the classroom closet and they find a bunny! The students need to figure out which friend left Douglas, the bunny, in the closet and why. They need to solve this mystery soon since the bunny gets sick.

    Owl Diaries: Warm Heart Days by Rebecca Elliott

    This sweet book is about a little owl, Eva, and her adventures on Warm Hearts Day (similar to Valentine’s Day). I truly love this beginner graphic novel, and it’s actually featured in my February Bonding with Books box!

    Eva is so busy making everything for her class Warm Hearts Day celebration, she forgets about her family! Learn how putting others before her plans helps make everyone’s Warm Hearts Day special.

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    Rebecca Elliott’s Owl Diaries: Warm Heart Days is featured in February’s Bonding with Books box for families with kids ages 5-7. This family reading activity box makes a perfect Valentine’s gift!

    Cam Jansen: The Valentine Baby Mystery by David A. Adler

    Cam Jansen is a great transitional reader series! She’s always solving mysteries. In this particular book, she’s at the hospital waiting for her mom to have her new baby sister. There are lots of surprises and adventures in this Valentine Baby Mystery, which is why this is my February choice for my Adventures with Books virtual book club for second graders!


    Valentine’s Day Chapter Books for Fluent Readers

    Not sure if you have a Fluent Reader Freddie? Take the quiz here to find out! It was challenging to find books about Valentine’s Day that did not focus on boy/girl relationships or secret crushes. I like to focus on friendship and spreading love, but apparently, older chapter books do not 😉

    Geronimo Stilton: Valentine’s Day Disaster

    This funny adventure books were favorites of my third graders! Geronimo Stilton lives in New Mouse City, and in this particular book, it is Valentine’s Day! Geronimo sent all of his valentines, but on February 14th, opens his mailbox to find it empty! Did everyone forget about him on Valentine’s Day?!

    Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

    While not exactly a love story, watch the friendship develop between Flora & Ulysses in this heartwarming story. Watch this mother-daughter relationship develop in a story that shows that love always wins! This book is becoming a movie on Disney+ being released on February 19th. This Kate DiCamillo book is featured in February’s Bonding with Books box for families with kids ages 7-10.

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    To order your family reading activity box, click the image above and unwrap your child’s love of reading this Valentine’s Day.

    Let me know in the comments~ What type of reader do you have? Which book are you reading this Valentine’s Day?
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  • The Importance of Vocabulary: How to Help Your Child

    The Importance of Vocabulary

    I think we all know the importance of vocabulary for our children. The more words they know, the easier it is to read and comprehend difficult books and texts.

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    The Importance of Vocabulary for Beginning Readers

    Do you have a beginning reader? Not sure? Take this quiz to find out! Beginning readers are just learning to read. They are starting to learn decoding strategies where they sound out words. When a beginning reader sounds out a word, if they know the word, they continue to read and it makes sense to them.

    However, if this same beginning reader does not know what the word they sounded out, they may continue to try to sound out the word. They may keep reading even if they have not read the correct word. Either way, correct or incorrect, they do not know the word so they do not understand what they are reading. Remember, the whole goal of reading is to understand what we are reading. Vocabulary is a huge part of reading comprehension.

    In 2000, the National Reading Panel identified vocabulary as one of the five core components of effective literacy instruction for primary grades.

    The Importance of Vocabulary for Fluent Readers

    If you have a Fluent Reader Freddie (find out here if you do!), Vocabulary is important in learning to read and reading to learn. When texts become more complex, the vocabulary becomes more difficult. Content vocabulary needs to be explicitly taught.

    How to Develop Your Child’s Vocabulary

    The very best way to build your child’s vocabulary is to READ ALOUD to them. There is a lot of reading research that supports the text in picture books contains more diverse vocabulary than your typical conversation with your child.

    Reading aloud provides SO much meaning through:

    • tone
    • hand gestures
    • facial expressions

    Reading together fosters active learning. You naturally pause to add information, explain a word, or answer your child’s questions. Simply by reading together you are encouraging and fostering vocabulary development.

    Why Read Aloud?

    If you’ve heard of the push for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, there is a LOT of research on the importance of early literacy. The founders of this movement state:

    “The most important predictor of school success is being read to at home during early childhood.”

    The benefits of reading to your child are not just for vocabulary growth. You are fostering that love of reading from an early age and building a reading relationship together. If you are looking for great books to read aloud for all ages, you can check out this post!

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    I think this graph above just reiterates the importance of reading daily. So, your child could be exposed to almost 2 million words per year or less than 10,000 depending on how much they are reading daily. If that’s not incentive to set up a daily reading plan, I don’t know what is 😉

    If you are looking for book lists based on your child’s ability as a reader to add to that vocabulary growth, be sure to click here to take the quiz and you’ll get one delivered straight to your inbox! Happy reading!

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