All About Reading Level 4

Books on My Nightstand – and All Over the House

The amount of books that I’ve been piling on my nightstand, stuffing in baskets, and dropping all over the house is just about ridiculous lately. I do believe I have a book problem.

(I suppose there are worse things, right?)

Books to Read in 2014

At the beginning of the year I set a goal to read 12 non-fiction books by the end of the year, because typically those are the books that I avoid. I’d much rather read book candy, but my brain really needs some deeper stuff to fill it up and my heart really needs encouragement too.

Technically, I’m a little behind on the original list, although I have finished ten books now (see the full list here). That may have something to do with the fact that I have four books currently in hand that I am reading (sticking to one at a time is apparently boring).

Non-Fiction to Recommend

Not a Fan

One of the books added to my list last month, Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, was an accidental order (I was supposed to order the journal). We’ve been working through the series with our homegroup and it has been great – so now I’m reading the book too!

    Parenting with Love and Logic

Parenting with Love and Logic goes along with Loving Our Kids on Purpose, a book I read earlier this year. Rick and I are now reading them together. Both books  have clicked with how my brain works and have given me some good parenting tips (and I can use all that I can get!).

I’m also looking forward to these few books…

Favorite Fiction Reads

As You Are by Sarah Eden

Reading before bed is just relaxing. Especially on my Kindle. Here are just a few of the books that I’ve recently enjoyed and recommend.

  • Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon – just know that it’s the first in a series, and the rest of the books aren’t available yet. Boo.
  • As You Are by Sarah M. Eden – cannot say enough how much I love her books!
  • The Lady Emily Mystery series by Tasha Alexander – I happened to pick one up at the library and immediately went back to read all EIGHT of the books in the series. Good, clean, and well written (and I like that).

If you’re interested in seeing all of the books that I’ve read so far this year, visit my 2014 Pinterest Reading Board.

What are YOU reading right now?

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Look What Just Arrived at Our House!!

Yesterday, a fun box – complete with silly snail art – showed up on our doorstep and inside was the final level of All About Reading. We took advantage of the $20 off special that is being offered on the new release of Level 4 and cannot wait to dig in.

All About Reading Level 4

Our boys have been using All About Reading since it first released, and it is truly my favorite reading program by far. Zachary will be working on Level 4 this year and he was so excited to see the box – that says a lot to me!.

(On a side note, I wasn’t stalking the Fed Ex guy at all in anticipation of its arrival…nor did I do a little happy dance when it showed up. Nope, not me.)



The only time that All About Learning Press offers discounts is during the release week of their new product, so I wanted to let you know about the sale just in case! Through September 15, 2014 you can save $20 off the Level 4 bundle and also save money on the individual components of the program.

In Level 4 (the final level of the All About Reading series), your student will learn exciting new concepts, including words with multiple suffixes, fifteen new phonograms, and methods for decoding multi-syllable words – and continue to establish a firm foundation for a lifetime of learning. Every component of reading is taught: decoding (phonics and structural analysis), vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

New concepts are applied through engaging hands-on activities and beautifully illustrated, fully decodable short stories.

For more details and to see what’s included in the Level 4 materials, check out the All About Reading Level 4 overview page. You can even download samples of four complete lessons from the teacher’s manual, activity book, and decodable readers.

Want a sneak peek at the Level 4 activity sheets? Check out this blog post to download three FREE reading activities.


Win the All About Reading Level 4 Set!

Be sure to hop over to the All About Learning Press site and enter their  GIVEAWAY for the brand new level! But hurry! This giveaway ends on September 14th – and the sale ends September 15th! (p.s. if you purchase the program and then win – they will refund your purchase! How great is that?)

We’ll keep you posted on our progress throughout the year, but this is a program we recommend 110%!

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Sweet Wisdom from a Simple Picture Book

A few months ago I shared a 30 picture books in 30 days challenge that was mainly to get me reading more books with our youngest. Turns out there are quite a few kids in the house that were willing to crowd around when the books were pulled out (you can never be too old for picture books, right?).

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

Those books were read over and over again, lots of cuddles were had, and it really was a GREAT challenge for our family – and one that has encouraged even more reading, especially so the youngest doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

When we read The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco, I have to admit that I almost started crying a little when reading one of the last pages of the book. If you’ve never read the book before, it is the story of a grandfather and his granddaughter who begin chasing bees to find the bee tree. One by one, people in the town begin looking with them in search of the bee tree. (It’s really a sweet book!

The Bee Tree quote

There was one part though that I absolutely loved. Because this quote is SO very true of what I want for our children, but also what books bring to our lives.

Grampa took Mary Ellen inside away from the crowd. “Now, child, I am going to show you what my father showed me, and his father before him,” he said quietly.

He spooned the honey onto the cover of one of her books. “Taste,” he said, almost in a whisper.

Mary Ellen savored the honey on her book.

“There is such sweetness inside of that book too!” he said thoughtfully. “Such things….adventure, knowledge and wisdom. But these things do not come easily. You have to pursue them. Just like we ran after the bees to find their tree, so you must also chase these things through the pages of a book!”

I still remember the hours and places I spent reading as a child. The corner of our living room curled up in a recliner. Backseats of cars. Under the covers at night when I was supposed to be sleeping (shhh!!!). And that craving hasn’t ended as an adult. There are so many books that I read just for pleasure or read to learn more! If you know me well, chances are you’ve seen me toting around a book – or two!

Teaching our own kids to read has been so amazingly rewarding. Especially knowing that the steps taken early on will be with them for the rest of their lives and play such a big part in their learning! The early stages of reading can be a challenge for some kids (it has for a few of ours), but I have loved watching things ‘click’ with them one by one and love watching as they begin to love  books and what lies between the pages.

The analogy of chasing things like the Mary Ellen and her Grampa chased the bees gives such a wonderful visual for kids and adults. We have to pursue knowledge and wisdom (even we as adults!). The learning never stops – for that I am thankful. And sometimes those little nuggets of wisdom are resting  within the pages of a simple picture book.

What books have you enjoyed reading lately with your kids? Remember those picture books can be full of wisdom too!


Grab this free reading activity from All About Reading!

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Our Latest Read Aloud – Sky Jumpers

Sky Jumpers

Summer vacation inevitably means time spent driving in the car.  While I love to actually read a book to the kids, there are times when an audio book is wonderful for helping squeeze in some reading time (and keeping the kiddos in the backseat a little quiet too – grins).

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman is the latest book that we found (no, it wasn’t on our original 25 Books to Read Aloud together, but that’s okay with me!)

Here’s our quick take on the story…

Sky Jumpers follows the story 12 year old Hope after World War 3 has left the world desolate through the droppings of bombs that destroyed nearly everything, leaving a mysterious air called Bomb’s Breath. One breath of this deadly air will kill a person. Towns are surrounded by this air, but Hope has discovered a way to dive into it and survive (although she shares this secret with only a few friends).

As the town struggles to survive, the inhabitants of the town all work on inventions that will help others in their daily lives. Big or small, each person is required to do their part. The only problem is, Hope really isn’t good at inventing. All of her past attempts have been failures and success isn’t looking like an option for her.

The town is attacked by bandits in search of a rare antibiotic, and Hope is faced with a choice of helping her town keep the medicine and escaping through the Bomb’s Breath to get help from a nearby town or just handing over the medicine and allowing friends and fellow townspeople to die without the medicine.

Our kids are fairly picky when it comes to audio books and since they LOVED Sky Jumpers, I thought it would be great to share it with you! As soon as the book was done, they wanted to know if it was part of a series and when the next one would be available to read (and yay – Sky Jumpers: The Forbidden Flats will be available in September!!). Honestly, this was a book that I enjoyed as well and wanted to listen to whenever we had the chance. If the audio book is available, the narration is fabulous on it.

p.s. Be sure to visit Peggy Eddleman’s website for some Sky Jumper extras too (fun!).

What book or books are you reading together right now?

Leave a comment and share a good read with us!


Books We’ve Previously Read Together

Here are a few other books that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

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30 Picture Books in 30 Days – for 5 to 8 year olds

Picture Books for Kids

There are days when I feel that one of our kiddos is getting the proverbial short end of the stick. While our older kids had more of my time and energy, the youngest – well, there are occasions that it just seems that he gets the leftovers.

And then I start beating myself up that I am not doing enough for him.

BUT, there are also times that I am a wee bit justified in these feelings. Reading pictures books with him is one of those areas. There are so many amazing books that we have in our home and while some of the copies are ragged and worn from being read over and over with our oldest, Kaleb hasn’t had that same reading time.

Don’t get me wrong – we read a lot as a family, but many of those books are not targeted specifically to his age range. While he enjoys the other read aloud, there really is something special about flipping through a picture book, talking about the pictures and the story, and enjoying that time together as well.

“In your eagerness over discovering children’s literature, you need to be careful not to push your children into books beyond their years. It could mean missing those books tailored for their present age.”

- Gladys Hunt

In an effort to be more intentional in this one specific area, I set the goal to read 30 books in 30 days with Kaleb. There are more than thirty books in the stack, but at least one book a day is that I picked out for him, and then he chooses another book from our shelves. The hope was also that we would re-read many of the books that he was exposed to during the month.

(and 30 isn’t a difficult number to reach, is it?)

After only two days, he was climbing into bed with me in the morning carrying books and reminding me that we needed to have our reading time, and we’ve been snuggling up to read a few books together. It has been such a fun and wonderful time as we talk about books that I loved when I was little and also re-read other fun books, giggle at silly things, and just enjoy the time together.

Choosing the Books

There were several books that came immediately to mind – ones that our older kids loved and also a few that I enjoyed as a child. When my brain started fizzling out on book ideas, I pulled off the book Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt where there is a great chapter on favorite picture books (if you need a jump start on ideas, there are tons of good ones here).

Other places to get book ideas:

  • Look around at your local library – it was fun going through the shelves and finding some old favorites of mine.
  • Check out the book lists from Five in a Row and other homeschool companies. See what books they are recommending to read.
  • Look up some of the Usborne books online – some of our more recent favorites have come from the beautiful picture books they offer (and many of their books are also available via Amazon too).
  • Ask friends – many of mine have a great library at home as well and they lent me some of their favorites.

We pulled books from our shelves, baskets, visited the library and finally borrowed a few from friends. Our book pile quickly grew!

What’s in Our 30 Book Stack

30 Books in 30 Days-1

Over the next few weeks you may see me post pictures on Instagram and Facebook on the books that we’re reading, but here’s a look at the ones that I specifically have piled up for us to read together. There are a few more that I want to read, but either can’t find our copy or haven’t had the chance to borrow the book from a friend – so we’re filling in with another book.

  1. Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack
  2. Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting
  3. The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills
  4. Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
  5. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
  6. Peter and the Wolf by Janet Schulman (with orchestra cd)
  7. Mrs. Peachtree’s Bicycle by Erica Silverman
  8. Henry the Explorer by Mark Faylor
  9. The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
  10. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  11. The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear and Jan Brett
  12. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  13. Make Way for Ducklings by Roberts McCloskey
  14. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  15. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  16. Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne
  17. The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice Ransom
  18. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  19. Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henkes
  20. Maybelle the Cable Car by Virginia Lee Burton
  21. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  22. One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
  23. The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
  24. The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
  25. Pirate Boy by Eve Bunting
  26. If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura J. Numeroff
  27. The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Lowrey

Keep in mind this is hardly an exhaustive list of great picture books. There are so many more and after the thirty days is over, we’ll be back at our library pulling more books off the shelf!

“Once you begin enjoying good children’s literature, you will find yourself in a  treasure house of reading.”

My one goal is to make special time for books, especially ones that my younger one will enjoy. This isn’t a checklist to complete (although I do love a good checklist!) – it’s just time spent cuddling, reading, and rediscovering some fun books – and introducing them to a boy who may not have read them with us before. And when the thirty days is done? Well, hopefully this will be just the tip of the iceberg in our picture book reading adventures!

What one picture book do YOU remember reading when you were a child?

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