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The Best Winter Reading Hot Chai-Chocolate

The Best Winter Reading Hot Chai-Chocolate Recipe by My Little Bookcase

I know we shouldn’t be flippant with our use of the word ‘hate’, but I can’t think of another word to describe how I feel about winter. There really is nothing I enjoy about this season. So I hibernate. Every year.

I bunker down with a supply of good books and my favourite winter-reading drink, and I let them warm my soul  until the sun shines again.

I’ve kept my special Hot Chai-Chocolate recipe closely guarded for years, but it’s so deliciously decadent that I thought it was time for me to finally share this heavenly goodness.

Hot Chai-Chocolate Ingredients (For One)

  • 200ml of Milk
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 or 2 chai teabags (depending on how strong you want the chai flavours)
  • 1 chocolate spoon (prepared in advance-see instructions below)

Hot Chai Chocolate ingredients_ My Little Bookcase

How to make the chocolate spoon:

1. Melt 125g of chocolate of your choice (I like Aldi’s Orange or Chilli Dark Chocolate) in the microwave.

2. Pour into chocolate spoon mould (We purchased ours for $5 at Woolworths) and refrigerate until set.

3. Keep the spoons in a sealed container until they are needed.

How to make Hot Chai-Chocolate:

1. In a saucepan, combine milk, star anise, cinnamon quill and chai teabag/s.

2. Heat the saucepan for a few minutes on low to medium until the milk only just begins to simmer (you want the milk very hot so that it melts the chocolate spoon but it’s important not to burn the milk).

3. Strain the milk and pour into a glass.

The Best Hot Chai-Chocolate_ My Little Bookcase

4. Stir the chocolate spoon through the milk until it melts. You might also like to use the cinnamon quill as a spoon once the chocolate begins to melt (If you haven’t prepared chocolate spoons, simply stir approx 25g of chocolate through the milk).

Enjoy your warm chai-chocolate drink while reading a favourite book.

The Best Hot Chai-Chocolate_ My Little Bookcase

What I’m reading this winter:

Young Adult Fiction is my genre of choice when I read for pleasure and I’ve come across some truly captivating stories this year. I’m sure you’ll love these if you also enjoy YA Fiction or maybe they are worth a look if you have teenagers of your own.

Follow the links to our sister bookstore, The Kids’ Bookshop, for more book details or to purchase the books.

Intruder by Christine Bongers

I kept coming back to this book for weeks before I found the courage to start reading it. I found the first chapter quite confronting, having a fear of intruders that penetrates my own dreams most nights, and I didn’t think I could read on. But, Christine captured me with her incredible writing and I was drawn in by the intriguing characters and their back stories. Thankfully I did, because the intruder storyline actually comes second to the protagonist’s journey of healing and relationship-building after her mother’s death.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I found this story to be quite unique- especially in voice. The character is fascinating and unlike anyone I’ve ever met. She is a genius for a start. Her objective look at the world and her story took me on a discovery of human nature- of loss, of belonging, of social norms, of relationships and of human coping strategies.

Dead Dog in the Still of the Night by Archie Fusillo

I love Archie Fusillo’s gutsy writing and this book takes me into a world I’ve never known. I was transfixed by the two young boys in this story, who grow up in working-class Melbourne, have volatile relationships with those around them and find themselves in deep trouble when they leave a dead dog on the door step of a young single mother. The boys get up to a bit of mischief, and I think young boys might really enjoy this story.

Quincy Jordan-Crystal Bay Girls Book 1 by Jen Storer

Quincy Jones is the first book in the series of young girls who live in Crystal Bay.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend these books as an adult read. They are really written for young adults, and I’m certain young girls will be hooked by these stories.   I personally love stories that take me back and remind me of how vulnerable we are as adolescents and young adults. Quincy’s story really broke my heart. We follow her as she moves to a new town with her mum after her father walks out on them.

Romy Bright- Crystal Bay Girls Book 2 by Jen Storer

I’m about to start reading Romy Bright, the second book in the series. We meet her in the first book.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’m sure this book needs no introduction. I’m quite late to this reading party. Have you read it yet? The Kids’ Bookshop has a beautiful gift edition though.

What do you enjoy reading for pleasure?

Can you recommend any good reads?


Visit our Pinterest board for more yummy reading snacks

Reading Snack Pinterest Board

Be sure to join one of our communities for more literacy-based inspiration, or subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on future posts.

About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

Introducing Sight Words Through Office Play

We’ve recently discovered a fun way to incorporate ‘sight words’ (also referred to as ‘high frequency words’, ‘most used words’ or ‘Magic Words’) into our play.

Introducing Sight Words through Play by My Little Bookcase

What are ‘Sight Words‘ or ‘High Frequency Words’?

Even if your child hasn’t begun bringing home ‘sight‘ or ‘high frequency’ words, it is likely that you have already seen or heard about them. As the names suggest, these English words are the most commonly occurring words in everyday texts (accounting for more than 50% of the words we read in a text). Children are often encouraged to learn these particular words as a whole by sight or memory; mainly because the words are seen so regularly in texts and will assist in reading fluency and comprehension, but also because some of the words are more difficult to decode due to their uncommon spelling patterns.

Using ‘sight words‘ or ‘high frequency words‘ in a play-based setting

Cammy is now five and is currently attending pre-school. We have chosen not to explicitly teach her how to read before school through rote learning or structured reading programs, but we are conscious in providing experiences that build literacy foundations through play and exposure to language. We do a lot of reading, we play games with letters and sounds and I’ve recently begun to use words as props in her play.

You may remember that my hard drive crashed last year. I didn’t get a chance to throw it out before the kids took ownership of it. They love to tap away at it, writing stories and sending emails. so I decided to make use of it in a recent invitation to play.

I set up a simple office play space (e.g. pens, stapler, calculator etc.) at our writing station, opening the laptop and leaning a list of ‘high frequency words’ against the screen.

Introducing Sight Words through Play- My Little Bookcase

Although the idea of ‘sight words’ is to learn them by memory, I am hoping that Cammy will recognise spelling patterns within the words so I rearranged some of the words to create simple lists for Cammy. I tried to:

  • Start with words consisting of two sounds.
  • Group words that had similar sounds (first sound or last sound)
  • Also, Cammy’s experience of letters is with lowercase, but the laptop presents uppercase letters, which is why I presented the list in both formats. You can simply provide the words in one format if it seems too overwhelming for your child.

Introducing Sight Words through Play- My Little Bookcase

This was simply an invitation for her to play with the words. There weren’t any instructions or expectations from me.

Cammy did choose to look for the letters on the laptop. Our laptop is dead, and I think this is a great thing for the purpose of this play. Cammy can’t see what she is typing. She can’t see if she’s made any errors. She can’t print out the words and ask me to correct them.  She doesn’t feel any anxiety or pressure to learn words. NONE OF THIS ACTUALLY MATTERS at this point!

What matters is that she is seeing the words, deciphering letters, looking for patterns in the words and all while she is playing.

Introducing Sight Words through Play- My Little Bookcase

Try it yourself: There are many lists that have been compiled (e.g. Dolch, Fry, Magic 100 Words) if you wanted to try this yourself, but you will be able to find a list easily by using the terms ‘sight words list’ or ‘high frequency words’ in an online search.


Follow the following Pinterest boards for more sight word activities or to prepare your child for learning to read:

My Little Bookcase's 'Learning to Read' Pinterest Board

My Little Bookcase-Reading Tips Pinterest Board

Be sure to join one of our communities for more literacy-based inspiration, or subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on future posts.

About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase