Category Archives: reading

Fifteen Books and Book Series for Ages 6-10

Book List

Big Brother is a crazy fast reader. He loves books. He devours them. I can’t keep up. I am constantly on the lookout for new books and book series to introduce him to. It’s so hard because so many of the books he is able to read are filled with witchcraft, sorcery, sex, boogers and farts and so much more.

I’ve been reading a book called Six Ways to Keep the Good in your Boy. One chapter was very specific on reading being a huge contributing factor in character development. It strongly encourages us to expose our children, boys specifically, to real heroes and purity and authentic manhood. It does not down booger and fart books… but it encourages to limit them and push your son beyond his current level. It does not down fantasy, but does encourage to stay away from books where the line between good and evil becomes blurred and evil things are made out to be good… like friendly, sparkly vampires… just saying.

So.. with that in mind, I asked Big Brother what his favorite books are and here is the list we came up with (they are in order of reading level/ ability):

Henry and Mudge are great for beginning reading, together or alone. There are several books in the series. A girl’s counterpart exists as well… Annie and Snowball.

All of my children love Amelia Bedelia. It meets several different levels of comprehension. Little Sis and Big Sis love the silliness and Big Brother loves the clever word play. Some of the books are about halloween or haunted houses…we just avoid those.

I will admit. I am not a huge fan of Junie B Jones. I think the language is unnecessary and there is an underlying disrespect for adults. I have had many talks with Big Brother and Big Sister about these books. We talk about appropriate language versus inappropriate. Then we discuss where Junie B should have a different attitude, etc. I also told them that if they started using words like “stupid” or “dummy” etc in their own language, the books would have to go. Honestly… I didn’t make that big of a deal out of the whole thing and they quickly tired of the books on their own.

Read my blurb on Junie B Jones above… that’s kind of how I feel about these books as well. Big Brother is really enjoying them right now. I am okay with it as long as these aren’t the ONLY books he’s reading. They are cleverly written and have quite a bit of subtle humor and word play… which Big Brother is a big fan of.

This mystery series has a female protagonist. She is known for her photographic memory. Big Brother has enjoyed this series as well. There is also an easy reader companion series called Young Cam Jansen. Again, there are some haunted house/ ghostly ones… so check titles first.

We are huge fans of Nate the Great. The easy reader mysteries are very clever and great for fans of mystery and detective stories. They usually include riddles and jokes at the end.

Although there is magic involved in these books (a wizard sends them on their way in the Magic Treehouse to solve mysteries), it is not the focus. The books are filled with facts about history and science. The children have to collect clues to solve problems. We’ve enjoyed the historical aspects about presidents, wars, etc as well as the animals ones about oceans, penguins, tigers and more. Big Brother has kind of outgrown these as they are rather short and a fairly quick read for him.

Although this isn’t a chapter book, it is a favorite around our house. It is also sure to provide hours of entertainment. Watch out though… this books was on the banned book list once upon a time for topless bathers on the beach… I haven’t seen any such pictures in the copies we’ve checked out from the library… maybe it was taken out in later printings?

We just recently discovered the Buddy Files. They are all about a dog detective and his adventures. Big Brother was an instant fan.

This is a classic series about a mouse and his motorcycle. It was a favorite of mine when I was little!

The Boxcar children is about 4 orphaned children who were adopted by their grandfather. The series has several books. We always leave the library with at least one or two in our basket. There is always a mystery to solve.

The Little House Books are a total favorite at our house. Big Brother loves them just as much as the girls. We just recently finished the entire series and they immediately wanted to start all over again. They just love hearing about Laura’s life on the prairie. I have read these aloud, but Big Brother is able to read them himself. Our library has several abridged versions that are great for early readers.

Big Brother wanted me to include this on the list. We read this off and on this past year as part of our Exploring Countries and Cultures from My Father’s World. It is a collection of short stories of real missionaries and heroes of the Christian faith.

I adore the Chronicles of Narnia. They are by far some of my favorite books. While I’m not sure my kids are ready for ALL of the books in the series, I think the first two or three are okay for now. Unfortunately, my kids don’t agree. They were a little nervous as I read through the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’m hoping they’ll warm up to them soon. I know these books have sorcery and magic. However, what I like it that there is a clear good and a clear evil. The lines are not blurred. You know that the good is good and will win in the end. Not to mention the parallels to Christianity being great for discussion.

The Lego Ideas book is another suggestion from Big Brother. He reads parts of this every day. He has the profiles of the featured builders memorized. He loves to try to recreate the creations in the book and has started putting his own Lego idea book together. This book has inspired him to think outside of the instruction manuals that came with his lego sets.

We just checked out a few more from the library that we are trying out… Hardy Boys (early editions), Sugar Creek Gang, Cul De Sac Kids, Alvin Ho and Summer According to Humphrey.

I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite books for children? Please comment below so we can grow this list!

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Summer Reading Incentive Programs


My kids love to read and, like their mom and dad, love FREE stuff! Every summer, we try to participate in a few programs to earn rewards, like free books.

Here are a few programs to consider:

Barnes and Noble– Read 8 Books, log them in your journal, and receive a free book

Half Price Books – Read 300 minutes in a month and receive a $5 gift certificate to Half Price Books.

Pizza Hut – Book It has a summer reading challenge, but it doesn’t look like they’ve released the details at this time.  Sign up for email updates here.

Chuck E Cheese – Read consecutively for two weeks and earn 10 free tokens.  (Download the Reading Rewards calendar.)

Pottery Barn Kids – Kids earn a free prize after reading all the books on a pre-selected reading list.

Be sure to check out your local library as well… they usually have programs through the children’s department!

Did I miss any? Comment below and I’ll add it to the list!

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Freebie Friday- Free ABC Venn Diagrams

One activity I often did when teaching preschool was having the children sort the letters of the alphabet… they would sort which letters were curvy and which were straight.

I whipped up a couple of Venn Diagrams (one for upper case and one for lower case) that you are welcome to use with your preschooler or kindergartner. Not only does this help kids with letter recognition, it also helps with sorting and classifying.

Please enjoy and be sure to give credit where credit is due.

Upper Case Venn

Lower Case Venn

I’d love to get your feedback… Are these printables helpful? Is this something you will use? Thanks!!!

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Sight Word Practice and Bob Books

Big Sis has been ready to start reading for quite some time. She loves books and has been “reading” them non stop for as long as I can remember. We were ready to move past the memorization stage and start decoding words and figuring out this business of reading. I’ll share with you how we’ve been doing things for the last few weeks.

I’ve tried a few different readers with Big Sis this year, but the Bob books are my favorite so far. I like the repetitive text and how each one builds on the previous one. We read the books together. I let Big Sis sound out the words as best she can and step in to help when she needs it. We read a couple of books each day. We review some of the previous and then start a new one every few days.

After we read, we play word games.

Making words is one of Big Sis’s favorite games. We use the magnetic letters and practice word families. For this one, I put the letters “AT” together at the top. We change the first letter of the word and practice sounding out all the things that end with “AT.”… they can be real or nonsense words.

She has other games like the one pictured above that she can do on her own. This one is a bean bag with a clear window. Inside are beans with thirty common sight words. She can shake up the bag and read the words that come up to the top.

Another game is her My Little Pony game that I posted about a couple of weeks ago.

Incidentally, the little bean bag game was made by me and you can find more like it in my etsy shop. FREE SHIPPING

How do you teach reading to your little ones?

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My Little Pony Meets Sight Words

I came across an idea for using matchbox cars to learn sight words  on Pinterest one day when I was looking for sight word activities.

I was trying to come up with a way to make it more girly for Big Sis. She LOVES My Little Pony… so this is what I came up with:

I put together a list of words from the easy readers we’ve been working on and spread them out on the poster I made.

I also have the words written on cards. At first, I call the word and show the card to Big Sis.  She then finds the word on the game board and places a pony on top.

We continue like this until all the cards have been used. It is my hope that she will eventually not need to see the card, but will be able to read the word after hearing it called.

Big Brother wanted in on the action so I let him be the caller. This worked out for me because Little Sis, who is potty training right now, needed my assistance in the bathroom.

What games or activities have you found to help your children learn to read?

Big Brother wants me to make him a game too… his will probably involve dinosaurs and math facts.

I have linked up with the Hip Homeschool Hop in a while…so, here you go!
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Celebrating Seuss Part 3- Party Time!

We’ve been gearing up for it all week… Dr. Seuss’s birthday party!!! Our friends came over for a Seuss filled morning.

There are so many great Seuss books to choose from…how do you pick?!?

We started with There’s a Wocket in My Pocket. We talked about how Dr. Seuss used his own made up language to create fun characters and stories. After we read the story, we played a game to come up with our own crazy rhyming words:

I had a few words written on cards. Each child got to take turns drawing a card and reading the word. We then made a list of words that rhymed with it… real or made up. If you want to extend this activity, you can take the list of crazy words and have your child make up a silly story. We might save our list for a rainy day!

Next Up, we read  Oh Say Can You Say… a book of tongue twisters. The kids that could read took turns reading the different tongue twisters. Then we played The Cat and the Hat, I Can Do That Came (You can buy it on Amazon or Target and I’m sure other places). This game is fun and silly and great for preschool and early elementary. It gets kids up and moving!

Next up, we read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. We headed over to the table where I dumped out a bag of swedish fish (gummy fish). The kids first sorted the colors :

Then, we made predictions on who had the most, least, etc. and proceeded to make a graph to see how the different colors compared:

After this activity we had a picnic style lunch and watched a Cat in the Hat video. When the video was over, we headed back to the table for cookie cake, grinch punch and to listen to the story, the Cat in the Hat.

Grinch Punch is simply green sherbert and sprite…I think I poured about half of a two liter bottle of sprite and scooped about half of a quart of sherbert together. (I guess I could have just said 1 liter and 1 pint..but you get the point).


The kids had fun.. the grown ups had some adult interaction. Big Brother is already planning for next year.

Did you celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday? What was your favorite activity? Favorite Dr. Seuss book?

My favorite book is There’s a Wocket in my Pocket.




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Celebrating Seuss- Part 1

We are HUGE Dr. Seuss fans around here. Did you know that his birthday is coming up this Friday? We are planning a Dr. Seuss birthday party with some of our friends.

To lead up to the party, I’ve planned some lessons to get us Seussified (Dr. Seuss isn’t the only one who can make up words).

I, of course, turned to Pinterest for some ideas. Here are a few that we will be using this week. I am also going to throw a few of my own original lessons in there as well… be sure to check back during the week to see what else we’re up to.

First of all, we are going to watch a short video about Theodore Giesel, A.K.A. Dr. Seuss:

Then, we will put some of the events of Dr. Seuss’s life in order using this timeline. UPDATED (2/24/14)… the previous link no longer works, but here is another one with a great timeline of Dr. Seuss’s life.

I selected about ten major highlights and printed them in large font on a separate word document. Big Brother will have to put them in chronological order.

Another idea I really like is this design a hat activity:

However, because I want big brother (6 years old) to work on his addition facts, I’ll probably give him two dice and have him add the sum when he rolls them. I’ll give him key that say if the sum equals 2, color the strip red, 3- blue, 4- green, etc.

For big sis (5 years old), I’ll give her one die and let her do one to one counting with a key to determine the colors for her hat.

During the week, we’ll be working on this:

You have to sign up with Teachers Pay Teachers to receive this printable book… there is no cost to sign up and this book is FREE!!!

Other activities we’ll do will include polling our friends about their favorite Dr. Seuss book.. we’ll graph the results.

We’ll play rhyming games, draw silly creatures and write stories about them, read lots and lots of Seuss books, party on Friday and so much more.

As I said, be sure to check back in the week to find out what we’ve been up to!

In the mean time, here are some websites with some great Seuss activities, printables and more…

Two Teaching Mommies

Erica Bohrer’s First Grade


PBS Kids

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More FREE Kindle Books

I saw this book this morning for FREE on Kindle… then I started searching for some more… and thought I’d just share the list I found with you:

The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer

ESV Bible

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Secret Garden

If you go to the Kindle store on  Amazon, you can see all the categories of Kindle books. They show the top paid and top free books. There are SO MANY to choose from… I would caution you, however to “be careful little eyes what you see.” There is quite a bit of free stuff out there that is NOT good for you and definitely not good for your little ones. If you can weed through the junk, you’ll find some treasures.

Also.. remember, you don’t have to have an actual Kindle to enjoy these deals. You can download the Kindle App on your PC or most Smartphones. Go here for more details.

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Six Flags: Read to Succeed

Attention kids grades K- 6:

Your reading could earn you tickets to SIX FLAGS!!!

This is from the Read to Succeed website:

Read to Succeed is a free educational program sponsored by Six Flags to inspire kids in grades K through 6 to engage in recreational reading.

Students who complete six hours of recreational, non-school-related reading are eligible to earn a free admission ticket to a participating Six Flags theme park.   Teachers who have 10 or more students in their class participate and complete the program are also eligible to earn a free ticket.

Schools must be within a 250-mile radius of a participating Six Flags theme park in order to participate.

The deadline to submit all student reading hours is March 1, 2012 at 5pm Eastern Standard Time.

They have made some changes from the program last year, including changes for homeschool.  You can read about the changes and register your homeschool at

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Get Out of That Pit- Chapter 3

We took this week as a fall break from Homeschool. It’s been nice, but I’m having a hard time being motivated to do anything. While we were staying with family over the weekend, however, I did find time to snuggle up with my favorite four year old and read… she read Berenstain Bears and I read some more of Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore.

Chapter 3 is called “When You Slip Into A Pit.” It’s all about how you make choices that seem harmless at first, but eventually land you in a pit. We put ourselves in a pit without even meaning to. Most people don’t “mean” to have an eating disorder, an extra-marital affair, a pain-killer addiction, a massive debt… these things all start with good, maybe even pure intentions, but somewhere along the way take a wrong turn- which heads straight into a pit.

Beth Moore points out a strategy, a three step progressive plan that Satan has to slip us up and land us in the pit, in the muck, in the mire. It is this:

1. Distraction– a small distraction that becomes a big one is called a stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10:5 basically says a stronghold is anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. So.. anything that pulls our attention away from the Lord.

2. Addiction– a couple of weeks ago, my husband preached at the church where we got married. He recently graduated from seminary with a degree in counseling. He talked about addiction and how not many people would be comfortable calling themselves an addict, but the truth is we all struggle with addiction- in the Christian world, we call it idol worship- giving our affection, time and efforts to anything other than the Lord is idol worship.

3. Destruction– this is Satan’s end goal. He doesn’t just want to hurt us or trip us up… he wants to DESTROY us!

If you’re a Christian, you have a built in alarm system. The Holy Spirit is in us, and if we don’t quench Him He’ll tell us early on when we’re headed for trouble. He’ll also tell us whether to be careful right where we are or bail out all together.

Read that last sentence again… to stay put and be careful or to bail out all together..some situations need to be abandoned. Don’t fool yourself or justify your actions in the name of ministry… abort the plan. Let’s say you’re volunteering for something at church and getting chummy with one of the men who is helping who is NOT your husband. All of the sudden you find yourself spending more time with him, enjoying his company, “harmlessly flirting,”.. abort! Run away! It is not worth ruining your marriage and breaking your vows!

Or.. an example a little closer to home for me… we had a neighbor who would frequently… like multiple times a day come to our door asking for money, pain medicine, food, my phone… at first I didn’t mind. I wanted to help the family. I wanted to share Jesus with them. I thought if I turned them away or said no, they would have a bad view of Christianity. After a few months of this daily routine, I found myself hating her. I hated every time I would hear a knock at the door. I wouldn’t let the kids play outside. I closed the shades and turned off the lights and hid. I would blame the neighbors if something was missing from our house or something was wrong with our car. I found myself in a pit of bitterness. We sought wisdom and were told over and over again to set boundaries… to say no.It became clear they were only interested in what they could get from us… when we started saying no, they soon moved on.

Another way you can sometimes recognize Satan at work is that you begin to feel backed into a corner… It’s ironic Satan tries to sell us the philosophy that God wants to squelch us and confine us and that, like Him, we should be able to do whatever we want… Satan promises wide- open spaces, but then he backs us into a pit.

I feel like that sums up a lot of how I saw God in the last couple of years. I was so mad about having to leave my comforts and follow my husband to seminary. I saw it as God trying to squelch me. Even a couple of months ago, I asked my husband how much more God was going to do to squash us in the area of money (we had just lost our second car and were going to have to be a one car family for a while). My husband told me not to ask that question because he doubted I really wanted to know the answer.

Instead of having a pity party when things don’t go my way, I really should be saying:

If I should say, “my foot has slipped, ”

Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,

Your consolations delight my soul.

Psalm 94: 18- 19

Contrary to what Satan would have you believe, God doesn’t want to squelch or squash you. He wants to console, love and build you up. His ways are not our ways and don’t make sense all the time… but really… the Lord is the only one who can be trusted 100% of the time.

I highly recommend that you read this book and not just go on my thoughts.. what stands out as important to me may not be what stands out to you.

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