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365+ Ways to Make Writing Fun for Kids

Cam ‘writes’ every day and she thoroughly enjoys it.  Sometimes Cam’s writing is self-directed and other times I provide her with a variety of writing prompts or invitations. But mostly she just likes to spend time in the dedicated space we have set up for her to write. I often write about or share photos [...]

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Over the past three years, The Reading Hour has become an event that my family and I very much look forward to.

We love books every hour of the day, so we always go the extra mile to make The Reading Hour a little bit more special than our average storytime.

This year we’re planning a quiet evening at home together as a little family. Mainly because Cammy and I already have a late night planned for Wednesday; Jane Godwin and Anna Walker will be attending Cammy’s kinder for a special Book Week evening event.

We might start the night by viewing I’m a Dirty Dinosaur on Story Box Library (free for anyone to view on Tuesday 19 August), then we’ll read a few books from our collection that are fantastic for reading aloud, especially by torch light. We might re-enact a few scenes from these adventurous tales and enjoy some reading snacks and a hot chai-chocolate drink before getting ready for bed.

What are your plans for The Reading Hour?


5 Great Read Alouds from My Little Bookcase

These are our favourite read alouds at the moment, full of rhyme, repetition, suspense and exciting page turns. They’re a little more lengthy which maintains Cam’s interest.

Scary Night by Lesley Gibbs and Stephen Michael KingScary Night by Lesley Gibbes and Stephen Michael King (Working Title Press, 2014)

Go ‘tip-toe creeping’ on a mysterious midnight walk with a hare, a cat and a pig.

The subtle rhyme and use of alliteration and prepositions make this story fun to read aloud. The snapping, roaring and screaming have us in suspense, but it’s the questions Lesley Gibbes directs at the reader that my kids love the most.

‘Were they scared? You bet they were.’

Purchase this book from The Kids’ Bookshop.

I am Cow Hear Me Moo by Jill Esbaum and Gus GordonI am Cow Hear Me Moo! By Jill Esbaum and Gus Gordon (Viking, Penguin Group 2014)

Nadine has her friends fooled in this story. Pretending to be brave is hard work, but Nadine’s efforts pay off in the end and she keeps her fearless reputation.

This is an edgy rhyming story with witty illustrations by Gus Gordon. There are scary moments that will make you jump and others that will make you giggle.

‘Three cheers for Nadine!’ someone hollered.


Did she tell them she wasn’t a hero? Um, no.

Purchase this book from The Kids’ Bookshop.

The Frog Who Lost His UnderpantsThe Frog Who Lost His Underpants by Juliette MacIver and Cat Chapman (Walker Books, 2013)

Go on a search through the jungle to find a pair of underpants that have been stolen.

This book is nothing short of hilarious. Put simply, the tongue-in-cheek humour, rhyming stanzas, action words and plain nonsense make it fun to read aloud.

‘Now please don’t think me rude, but I am shocked to see a frog so plainly in the nude.’

But just try holding back a chuckle when you see how Frog tries to stand out from the crowd at the end of the story (I’m giggling now just thinking about it)

Purchase this book from The Kids’ Bookshop.

Between the PagesBetween the Pages by Joan van Loon and Chantal Stewart (New Frontier Publishing, 2013)

This book is a clever one, and demonstrates what wonderful adventures stories can take us on.

Two twins find themselves in all sorts of prickly situations: they fall into a python’s nest, come cheek to cheek with a monster and paddle to the top of a waterfall. The only thing that stops them from disaster is the quick turn of a page.

The illustrations are detailed and show how much the boys love their book, as do the creatures in the story.

‘Don’t stop. Just turn the page. Quick!’

Purchase this book from The Kids’ Bookshop.

The Great Snortle HuntThe Great Snortle Hunt by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley (Simon & Schuster, 2012)

Brave the after-dark sounds as three friends take a walk to a scary-creepy house in an attempt to spot a Snortle.

The illustrations and fun typography are also great additions to this story, which thankfully ends sweetly.

‘The wind whistles- eeek! Tall tree branches creak.’

Purchase this book from The Kids’ Bookshop.

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About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

Helping children CONNECT TO READING (Book Week 2014 Ideas)

Book Week is a time to celebrate books and all the wonders they entail, and in 2014 the Children’s Book Council of Australia is asking us to help our children connect to reading, with this year’s theme being CONNECT TO READING: READING TO CONNECT.

I’ve had a bit of fun brainstorming and interpreting this theme, and I’ve got a fun list of ideas for helping children connect to reading and read to connect during Book Week.

CBCA Connect to Reading Postcard_My Little Bookcase

Connect: (verb) Bring together or into contact

1. Visit a bookshop or library

2. Read the CBCA shortlisted titles and winning books

3. Find a book to read with someone special

4. Host a Book Swap party

Connect: (verb) Link to a power supply

5. View stories online (Story Box Library is a wonderful source for Australian stories. Get some ideas for using Story Box Library during Book Week, or visit the website on Tuesday 19 August and view a free story during The Reading Hour.)

6. Listen to audio books

7.  Interact with digital books

8.  Watch a book adaptation

Connect: (verb) Associate with others in relationships

9. Write to an author or illustrator you admire

10. Attend a book launch or book event

Connect: (verb) be meaningful and relevant

11.  Read books of interest

12.  Play with books

13.  Dress up as a favourite book character

14.  Be inspired by a book to make, create or craft

15.  Dine with an imaginative book character

16.   Write, make and publish your own books

17. Explore storylines by setting up simple play scenes

Who's Driving Play Scene_My Little Bookcase

Visit The Book Chook and Children’s Books Daily for some more ‘connect to reading’ ideas.

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About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase