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Teaching Textbooks

Current Read-Aloud ~ Darien’s Rise {AIO Passages}

imageAlthough I had pulled out the Borrowers series for us to read, the kid’s weren’t too excited about it. {Don’t worry, I’m keeping them handy}. Fortunately, I bought a big pile of books at a recent homeschool book sale, so there were plenty of books to choose from.

Darien’s Rise by Paul McCusker

Our kids love the audio cd’s from Adventures in Odyssey, so we I pulled out the first book in the Passages series by AIO ~ Darien’s Rise by Paul McCusker. The story parallels a key Bible story, which I was SO happy to have the kids figure out early on {grins}.

So far, the book has been a hit. I don’t want to give too much away {in case you all want to read it too!}. In this story two young children, Anna and her brother Kyle, travel to the land of Marus and are caught in the middle of a conflict between a powerful king and his general.

The story is set in a different time and place, so it has been very fun to think about what this Bible story would have been like during a period like the 1930’s or 40’s. The deeper conversations that the book has prompted have been wonderful. When we were talking about the king not listening to God, it started a talk about how listening to God is similar to how we obey our parents {all a good thing}.

As soon as we’re done reading Darien’s Rise, I have a fun little surprise for the kids ~ the audio adventure of Darien’s Rise. I know that it seems like it might be duplicating, but Adventures in Odyssey does such an amazing job with their recordings, and we always catch a little something more when we listen to the dramatized version of books.

Need a few read-aloud suggestions?

Here are a few of the books that we’ve read and enjoyed recently:

What books are you reading as a family to ward off the summer heat? Anything good on your lists? Leave a comment below!

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Number Word Printables for Read! Build! Write! Mats

I have a few different number word card printables to share with you all today that will go along with the Read! Build! Write! Mats. This coming year we’ll be working more on number words, so I pulled together a few different pages to use with the number words 1 – 20.

Number Word Cards


There are two different sets of word cards. One set for the numbers 1-10 allows your child to also count using 1:1 correspondence for the numbers. The other two sets are the number itself along with the number word.

All downloads are in the green columns on the Read! Build! Write! page

The Read! Build! Write! Vocabulary Mats

Not familiar with the Read! Build! Write! mats? Basically they are a fun way to work with your child on word identification and spelling.

Read, Build, Write collage

Here’s how you use the mats:

Read: Place one of the vocabulary cards in the top box and read the word together.

Build: Use letter tiles or magnets to build the word in the second box.

Write: Finally, practice writing the word in the bottom box.

Print the mats onto cardstock and then laminate them so that you can use Vis-à-vis markers or dry erase markers on the mats.

Read, Build, Write collage 2

Check out the Read! Build! Write! webpage to find additional themed vocabulary cards to go along with all of the Early Learning Printable Packs that I’ve put together so far.

All downloads are in the green columns on the Read! Build! Write! page

Additional Early Learning Number Printables

Looking for a few other free printables to use when practicing those numbers? Check out these resources:

~ Number Tracing Cards ~ great ‘take along’ activity for numbers 1-20

~ Number Playdough Mats {for numbers 1-20}

~ Number Matching Cards ~ colorful and they also include Roman Numerals for older children to use!

Hope these help you all out! Feel free to ‘pin’ the printables and share them with others! If there are some other vocabulary cards that you would like to see me put together, leave a comment and let me know!


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Top Ten Picture Books for Preschool and Kindergarten ~ Preschool Corner {& 5K too}

Preschool CornerI’ve been going through book baskets all over the house, making stacks of ones to pass along to friends, ones to keep for the future, and smiling at some of our favorites from this past year.

Which then made me want to share our top ten favorite picture books from this past year with you all. To be a favorite, it had to be a book that was read so many times that a mother can honestly find herself reciting lines from it should she wake up in the middle of the night {not that it’s ever happened to me ~ ahem}.



Our Top Ten Picture Books for Preschool and Kindergarten


In the Castle (English Heritage)

In the Castle by Anna Milbourne. There are knights, jousts, swords…it’s just a little boy’s dream come true. When we did our knight unit, In the Castle was the book that we started with and it was pulled off the shelf so often throughout the year too.


Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky. Can you honestly believe that this book wasn’t in our house until this year? {I’m still surprised}. This book was so much fun to read and do LOTS of activities with this past year! Finding a big ol’ stump in the neighbor’s yard just like the one in the book made it even better.

Snowy Valentine

Snowy Valentine by David Peterson. This was a book that my friend Cindy found and we both literally got a bit teary reading through it. Two bunnies. One looking for the perfect valentine for his wife…and just a sweet little story. We used this book during our Valentine’s Day unit. and it’s another one of those that you just want to keep around.


On the Moon (Picture Storybook)

On the Moon by Anna Milbourne. The illustrations in this book are wonderful and we have become a HUGE fan of this author! A trip to the Air and Space museum as well, made this book a fast favorite!


Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack {also Angus and the Ducks}. Reading these two books together was a lot of fun since we could compare some of the illustrations and see a ‘different view’ in the stories. We also had a lot of other fun go-along activities for Angus Lost as well.

On a Pirate Ship (Picture Books)

On a Pirate Ship by Sarah Courtauld. The illustrations again are amazing and similar in size/layout to the other On a… series. The books can also be found via Usbourne. Even though we didn’t do a pirate unit this year, this book is a constant ‘must read’.


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. As much fun as reading the book was, I think that Kaleb’s attachment to this book came because of the torn paper art project that we did along with it as well as the snow crystals.


Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry was a book that a reader emailed me about and it’s one of those classics that we will hold on to forever! Rhyming text, a cute problem of a ‘too-big’ tree, and a fun time remembering who is next in line for the tree topper. This is another one of those books that I can’t believe we hadn’t read before now, but am so glad that we did!


Cowboy Small by Lois Lenski. For our cowboy unit, this book was the favorite, hands down. You have to love a boy who has a horse named Cactus.


The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup. Although this book is now hidden away in our Christmas box to be pulled out for the holidays, it was very well loved because of the pirate theme. And it makes for a super-fun way to decorate gingerbread men each year too!

Those are just a few of the books that we enjoyed this year, but the ones that I remember reading so many times. What books have been worn out in your house?


More Preschool Links

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Grab a button for your post below and be sure to take a minute to visit the person who linked up before you. You can read more in the updated guidelines for Preschool Corner.

Be specific in your ‘link title’. Leave either your blog name or theme and provide an age range for your activities. Something a little like this:

Police Officer Theme {ages 4-5}


Preschool Corner

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Our Current Read-Alouds ~ Swiss Family Robinson and Homer Price

Reading out loud together has really been something that has taken off over the last few months in our family. After reading The Underland Chronicles by Susan Collins, I wanted to find some other books to read that we would enjoy just as much and also wanted to mix in a few classics along the way.The Swiss Family Robinson (Great Illustrated Classics (Abdo))

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

As we were wrapping up our school year, we picked up the Swiss Family Robinson to read. The Great Illustrated Classic version of the story isn’t quite as intense as many of the other translations, but overall was great. Reactions to the story were mixed overall, because several kiddos loved The Underland Chronicles so very much ~ and Swiss Family Robinson was so very different {perhaps I should have read them in a different order ~ ahem}.

We put the book aside for a little bit this past month. When I attempted to start another book, we had a bit of a mutiny on our hands.

Apparently a few of my kiddos enjoy seeing things through to the end of the story and didn’t like to be left hanging.

We finished up the book this past weekend by the light of the campfire. Then this week we sat down to watch the Disney version of the Swiss Family Robinson to see how the story compared to the movie {on a sidenote, has anyone seen the tv series to recommend at all?}.

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Now that we’ve finished reading the Swiss Family Robinson, we’ve pulled out the book Homer Price by Robert McCloskey to read {you may recognize him as the author of Blueberries for Sal}. We’re about 2/3 of the way through the book and the kids are giggling at the funny short stories and antics all about Homer {they especially loved the mystery story about the robbery and the skunk}.

Next up is either The Borrowers series or another fun adventure book that I recently found…but that will be something I’ll have to share next month!

What are you all reading together?

Spring Theme Vocabulary Read, Build, Write Cards

Since spring has sprung in our area, I pulled together some spring-themed word cards to go along with the Read! Build! Write! Mats.

Spring Theme Read, Build, Write cards

To download the set of cards, just visit the Read! Build! Write! Mats page and click on the ‘Spring’ text link in the center column. You’ll also want to download a set of the Read! Build! Write! Mats and laminate them before using.

More Spring-themed Printables for Preschool and Kindergarten


If you are looking for a few more spring-themed printables and learning fun, be sure to check out the following links:

~ Garden Printable Pack for preschool and kindergarten {this is a HUGE bunch of printables!!}.

Garden Printable Pack


~ Bird Theme Printable Pack for preschool and kindergarten

Bird Theme printable pack


~ Pond Life Printables for preschool and kindergarten



~ Pond Life Tot Pack from 1+1+1=1


Our Current Read-Alouds ~ The Underland Chronicles

For the past few weeks the kids and I have been reading together a lot. A LOT. There have been some stretches where we will read a few hours. Or we’ll grab a short snippet of time here and there ~ where ever we can!

A series that has had us all captivated is The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins {moms with older kids may recognize her name from the Hunger Games book}. We borrowed the first book from the library and after 1/3 of the book I went ahead and purchased all of the books to keep on our shelf {Amazon had a lovely 4-for-3 deal!}.

Gregor and the Prophecy of the Bane

Currently we’re reading Gregor and the Prophecy of the Bane. Two of the kids have been sneaking the book off to read ahead. We’re just about ready to wrap it up and I’ll be honest and tell you that even I am enjoying it. Even though there are rats and cockroaches and bats. Big, giant creatures that live under our world {shudder}.

A little over a week ago we lost power for the evening and we all snuggled up under blankets in the living room with a lantern and read together. That night {and the fun} is burned in my mind and just makes me smile when I remember the kids all laughing at what was happening in the story and their cries to start the next book immediately as we finished the story.

I love that the kids are so excited to be read to, want to race ahead to read the next book, and are SITTING STILL and really listening!! Typically, I have a hard time staying awake {even when I am the reader}, but this has infused some caffeine into me as well. I’m having fun using different voices for characters, helping the kids catch the subtle humor when a line is delivered correctly ~ so many little things!

What have been some of your favorite books to read along as a family? We’re going to need more when we finish up these books! :)



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