Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reading Aloud Fun Facts

Libraries really are The Grand Central Station of every great city and town. I'm choosing to take my children somewhere exotic this week - how about you?

xoxo Michele

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Heart Library Living At Home: Nick's Shelf

As a 5th grader, Nick does plenty of reading on his own, and that solitary time is a necessity. But I see reading aloud with my children as sacrosanct. Mostly because I'm bossy and crazy about spending time with them. But there are some wonderful benefits in reading aloud with your children. 

Safety. We create a sanctuary of safety when we read to our children. We can cover every topic under the sun without sounding preachy. Yes, I've been told I can sound preachy; but amazingly enough, not when I'm reading. 

Picture Books We Heart
                           Space                           Classics                              History

                   Poetry                          Music                               Civil Rights

Structure. We are building a beautiful life when reading aloud: compassion, emotional growth, critical thinking skills and insight into a variety of situations. I pick out the books we read from the library - again, mostly because I have control issues. Also because it helps keep a solid balance of different genres. Nick will pick out five books on Jeff Gordon, and completely slingshot past the poetry - but when I read Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson with him, he enjoys it.

Chapter Books We Heart
                    Fiction                   Non-Fiction               The Bible                        HF           

                         Faith                                 Science                                      Humor

Sharing. My favorite part? We connect and get to know each other in a more meaningful way because we are surrounded with new ideas, situations and dilemmas ~ and who doesn't love a problem, especially when it is someone else's problem? More book inspiration here.

BONUS: I get to pretend I'm all cool and celebrity-ish. 

I hung out with Bill Bryson today, he's such a cheeky chappie.
Mom, that's just creepy.

Nick will let me ask him hundreds of questions ~ and he provides heartfelt answers ~ that under different circumstances would harvest crickets. Reading makes me feel like a more confident, competent parent. I know, it always comes back to me me me.

How Much Time Is This Going To Take?

My goal is twenty minutes each night, but I'll let you and only you in on my secret squirrel knowledge about books and time:

Books can manipulate time like no other medium.

Reading aloud with your children can change your thinking on time and how to spend it. 

If you have tips and secret squirrel schooling that help in reading aloud with 5th graders (or teens - I'll be there soon and would love some insider knowledge), please share. I love, love, love hearing from you.

You can find the entire Library Living At Home
series here

xoxo Michele 

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Heart StoryTimes To Go

                                                 StoryTimes To Go 

I'm interrupting our regularly scheduled Library Living At Home for important news. 

If you can't make it to the library for story time, bring story time home to you.

The StoryTimes To Go kits come in a canvas tote and include books, cd and manipulative (each kit is different). We've gone more than a little bit country over Farms: StoryTimes To Go.

I've been librarying for years and only recently discovered this beauty. My daughter has started checking them out so she can teach her classroom.

There are over 100 StoryTimes To Go kits to drool over, on almost every subject, season and holiday you can think of. Check with your local library and share this beauty with the children you love.

xoxo Michele

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Heart Library Living At Home: Reading Aloud

I'm often asked, how do you find the time to read to your children every day*?
 I make it a priority, and I make it super simple. 
How simple?

We read in bed.
And I keep a shelf of books right by my bed.

This quote inspired me years ago to make our home a living library:

"There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents' interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me."  ~ C.S. Lewis

How and What To Read Aloud

I try for 20 minutes per child; for me that's an hour. I have regrets about how much time I spend on the internet and TV, but I never regret this time. Reading to your children will quickly become your favorite moments of the day, not to mention theirs. Not sure? Read this. Or this. And this. Need inspiration? This father and daughter encourage me to read daily. 

Picture Books - Eighty percent of what I check out from the library is picture books. Why? 

You are never too old for picture books. If you're walking past that section of your library thinking "too young for me" you are missing out on an endless source of educational beauty. Try this, or this, or this. We learned so much from this and this. Pictures books are priceless knowledge for every age.  

Picture books are quick reads. Some nights you may not have 20 minutes to spare per child. Picture books will graciously give you peace of time. Try this, this or this.

Chapter Books - My goal is a chapter per night. I should mention that we start a lot of chapter books together, but the kids finish them on their own. Nick complains that I don't read fast enough - but this also isn't a regret. He may not have started the book if I hadn't read the first chapter. 

Tip: If your children aren't begging you to read another chapter, you may have the wrong book. I have two or three back-up chapter books just in case. That is another gift from the library: trying without buying = you'll take more risks on books that you might not otherwise pick up. Try this (thanks for the recommendation, Amy, my son loved this read), this (thank you, Pam, we all loved this great read), this, or any of these.  

Tomorrow I'll share Nick's shelf and how I read aloud with a 5th grader. Do you have tips on how you read aloud with your children every day? Please share!

*My Definition of Every Day: Almost every weekday night unless we are out late for some strange reason, mostly mornings on lazy weekends, and practically the entire morning and late evening during the summer months. But there are many days when we don't read - I'm not completely insane. 

xoxo Michele

Monday, February 20, 2012

Library Living At Home: The Kitchen

Welcome to my wild and crazy idea of sharing how we library at home. 

If you are a parent, you are a teacher. The library has the tools you need to create a creative and inspiring home-school of learning without stress or spending. I'll show you how we shop the library and turn our home into an enchanted world of wonder. 

The library provides the material, but you have to make it accessible. Give your kitchen a Mini Library Makeover. 

Make Room on your kitchen or dining room table for a mini library. Use your favorite bookends and a bright tablecloth, even if it's really a shower curtain (mine is). Put a lamp on the table. Make it a place you'll enjoy slowing down, sipping tea and reading for five minutes. 

Variety Is The Spice Of Life. Choose topics that appeal to you and your family, but select a few new genres that encourage growth. Take these great reads back to the library each week and pick up a new mini-library for your kitchen. Before long, your children will help pick the table reads.

Short Order Booking. I borrow devotionals, poetry, short stories, gardening and home design, travel guides, graphic novels and comic books for the kitchen. Breakfast usually means hurry - so handy, quick reads are perfect way to start the day for your entire family.  

Kiss The Cook! While my hubby does most (okay, all) of the cooking, I completely drool over the cookbooks. Arielle and I have had a blast making bread, pies and countless treats because the library lends us this love:

Shopping the library should be exciting. I look at the shelves see small cities. What do you see?

If you have some tips on library living in the kitchen, please share. We all would benefit from your knowledge.

I want to do a linky party. Should we do a linky party? How does one go about doing a linky party? 

xoxo Michele

I Heart Imperfect {Borrowed} Beauty

 Today I'm celebrating imperfect beauty with The Nester.

Say hey to my smoochie bunny bookend with the imperfect ear.

Knowing all of Sir Georgie's brokenness just makes me love him more. He's borrowed beauty (a great yard sale find), just like the books he supports (they came home with us from the library). 

Beauty can be borrowed, that is what the library has taught me. And borrowing rather than buying has opened my eyes to another truth: sharing makes life simpler, sweeter. Really. There is less stress on so many levels when you share. Did you ever notice how serene libraries are? Yep. It's because they have perfected the art of sharing.

Thank you, Nester, for sharing your imperfect beauty with all of us. When a brave soul shares, others feel less embarrassed to be real. Especially when your tablecloth is really a shower curtain, and it clashes with the pattern on the lampshade. And the oranges can't stand the madness any longer so they roll across the table... but are ultimately foiled by the bulwark bananas. Madness I tell you. 

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
~ C.S. Lewis

Share your lovely, imperfect self with others and let the library share its borrowed beauty with you.

xoxo Michele

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Heart Library Living At Home

Lovely Lilly asked me, "What do your bookshelves say about you?" We have books in almost every room of our home, but most don't live on the shelves. 

My favorite bookshelves can't be bought, but you can always borrow them.

The bookshelves I heart don't even reside in my home, and yet they are my bookshelves
If you library, they are your shelves, too.

We borrow all kinds of beauty and set up shop all over our house. I would love for you to come back tomorrow and take a peek at how we library at home. Just promise me you'll ignore the bedraggled carpets and dust bunnies everywhere. 

We'll start with my Achilles heel, I mean the place with all the food...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Heart Maira Kalman

President's Day is Monday - a perfect time to bring home this beauty from the library and savor it with your family:

The first Maira Kalman book I brought home from the library was The Pursuit of Happiness.

Principles of Uncertainty

She's a gift to our entire family. Her art, her ideas make us think. 
Ask questions. 
13 Words

Like any great author, she inspires us to learn more about a subject.
Dig deeper. 
Or just laugh out loud.

This is my daughter's favorite book:
Talking With Artists

You can find a complete listing of all her books here

I'm taking some time off to read and enjoy my family. Actually, I'm completely behind on doctor and dentist visits, my hair is blue from a slight mishap with at-home color in a bottle, and the dog hair under my bed is starting to bark. If you check out Maira's books from the library you won't even miss me.

I am so thankful for my bloggy friends and family.
 Your encouragement is a blessing to me. 

Back next week!

xoxo Michele

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Heart...

Our guinea pigs. 
Guitar practice.

You thought I'd say the library, didn't cha?

xoxo Michele

I Heart LOVE

Gather a group of sweet hearts and what do you get? Love for others. The girls made bookmarks for our local retirement community. 

They were inspired by a book from the library. They used felt hearts rather than construction paper, and stuffed the hearts real puffy. But the idea started within the pages of a book. And that book came from one of the sweetest places on earth. 

Libraries inspire a lifetime of learning and loving others.

xoxo Michele

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Heart Music

Guitar lessons have commenced in our home, and the amount of music we check out from the library has increased. Do you remember spending half a Saturday afternoon holding that record cover in your hands and studying it as you were listening to the music? I did that with this and this and this as a child. 

There are so many options now on how to receive music. If you're downloading music you are missing out on the photos, the lyrics and sometimes even a letter from the band, like on this cd from The Avett Brothers

But if you purchased every cd that sparked an interest, chances are we'd eventually see you on Hoarders. So how do you shower your family with a myriad of musical geniuses without breaking the bank? Library

The library welcomes us to bring home the artist and then share their beauty with others.

Last night we devoured the Grammys. In our Jammys. It never fails to inspire spontaneous dancing and shrieks of delight when Adele or Taylor Swift take to the stage. But we also discover new talent, like this duothat rocked our socks off (they are teaming up with Taylor Swift on the upcoming Hunger Games Soundtrack). And opportunities to school our children on her and him. And him. You just know Carl and I live for these moments.

All of this musical beauty is available at your local library. What will you borrow today?

xoxo Michele

* The Civil Wars rocked the Grammys.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Week of Wonder: The Links

Fascinating read.

Inspired by using what you have.

Brook Shields at home. Can someone please tell me the book title on her coffee table... Orange and white flower hat?

This table runner is so swoonie.


This post inspired this read.

My favorite photos of the week.

Arielle and I have new obsessions.
  This and that.

Can't wait to see her and her and them Sunday night at the Grammys.
These boys are performing, too.

Angelina Jolie has a crush on him. Read this, watch this and this, and so will you.

                              Source: Teaching Literacy

Hope your weekend is full of wonder. Visit your local library.

xoxo Michele

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Heart Valenteens and a Giveaway

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. 
If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, 
I would do that again by reading, 
just as I did when I was young.”    ~ Maya Angelou

The amazing Amy Sullivan has invited me to join her today for some sweetie Valenteen love and a giveaway. Please come over and join us!

Open your Valenteen's heart to the ultimate role model of service ~ the Library.

xoxo Michele

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Heart Coffee Table Books

The first time I checked out a coffee table book from the library I was sweating the thought of security stopping me at the door. Was I dreaming? They were seriously letting me borrow this beauty, without paying for it? 

Now I don't panic while strolling out those double doors, but I'm forever awestruck at the artistry and knowledge the library lends us. 

The library caters to your interests, and carries the classics as well as modern marvels. My hubby loves photobiographies, including this and this. He's thrilled when I remember to bring home a Sports Illustrated coffee table book, especially this one. But he also loves this and this, and even this.

Have you shopped coffee table books lately? To bring home several new books for our living room every few weeks is priceless. Enjoy fashion? How about Chanel, or Vogue for inspiration. 

My children are exposed to new ideas, artists, the wonders of our world, even the great beyond. National Geographic coffee table books also make a gorgeous gift because you'll carry those images in your heart long after you've returned the book.

You won't believe they let you walk out with Picasso.  Take two deep breaths, kiss both your ears and thank the library fairy. His name is Ben Franklin. Love art? Don't miss this and this.

If your library carries more than one book by Stanley Greenberg, do yourself a favor and check them all out.

Dorothea Lange schooled my family on the Great Depression, The Dust Bowl, and the Japanese internment camps with her photographs in a way reading could not.

The travel coffee table books take me there when my wallet can't. I share my pillow with Versailles and Galapagos because I'm bi-hemispheric and have absolutely no shame in admitting this. Oh, and this one, too.

The dynamic duo of Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat is our current favorite. What will you put on your coffee table from the library this week?

xoxo Michele