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Newsletter – Signs of Spring March 15, 2024

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Hello Book Bums families!

Poison ivy, birds' eggs, and Easter ideas: this week's newsletter is full of signs of spring! Dr. Christy shares ideas and resources for getting the most out of non-fiction reading this season as well as our regular book recommendations and word fun. Read on and enjoy!

Word of the Week

alleviate (uh-leev-e-ayt) verb/action word - to make less severe

To alleviate the stress on their backs, some kids use rolling backpacks to carry their books.

Literary Calendar

  • March 20 is the birthday of American author Louis Sachar.
  • He is the creator of the Wayside School series as well as the classic Holes.

From our Bookshelves

Fancy Nancy

At Book Bums, we use this Fancy Nancy book by Jane O’Connor, to teach our students that o-i says /oy/, but we also use it to expand our students’ vocabularies and even to share some information about poison ivy. In the story, Nancy knows the rhyme, “Leaves of three, let it be,” but she still gets poison ivy. With some non-fiction investigation, Nancy ends up learning quite a bit about poison ivy, and she even learns how to alleviate the terrible itching that can come with it. Share this book with some kids you adore, and you just might spare your family some itchy misery. At the end of the book, they talk about the song “Poison Ivy” by The Coasters.

poison ivy

Tips for Families

If you find yourself with itchy bumps and “scratching like a hound” as the Coasters sang, try Tecnu’s Extreme Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub. It’s a miracle worker! I got some natural poison ivy soap for my birthday. Hopefully I won’t need it, but I’m all set—just in case.

Poison ivy soap

In the Fancy Nancy book, Nancy’s neighbor shares a remedy (“A remedy is fancy for medicine.”) made with jewelweed. Jewelweed grows in most of North America, including Ohio. Because jewelweed thrives in partially shaded areas, has lovely flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and the sap can be used to relieve itching from a variety of ailments, you may want to consider adding this native plant to your garden.

Tips for Raising Readers and Writers

Host a nonfiction investigation with some kids you love.

Gather some great books around a topic of your choice. (Eggs, maybe?)

Make your way through the materials provided in the Foundations for Literacy PDF: Nonfiction (NF) Text Features and highlight what text features you can find in the books you’ve gathered. Because not all text features are in all nonfiction books, you may not find every one listed. That’s okay but keep your eye out for another book that might have what you’re looking for.

Your kids will learn how to better navigate nonfiction texts when they’re familiar with headings, captions, graphics, sidebars, glossaries, and more! Discover the power of comparison images and cutaways. Why are some words in bold and others are italicized? Help your children learn to use these NF tools to navigate fact-filled books more effectively.

Remember, your attitude sets the stage for how well this practice will be received. Use high-interest materials. Planning a culminating activity to enjoy when you’ve finished might help.

My childhood friend sent some beautiful tiny shells and lots of shark teeth for my granddaughter. I’m already planning how we can use that sweet gift to fuel our NF investigation. I already purchased the book Shark Lady by Jess Keating.

I believe we may be headed to the Newport Aquarium soon, too.

Just for Fun

Your lips only touch when naming four letters of the alphabet.

Your lips only touch when making the sounds for three letters of the alphabet.

(You’re trying it now, aren’t you?)

We’ll share the answers to which letters at the end of the newsletter.

Seasonal Sensation

Because Easter will be celebrated on March 31st, I thought I’d share some of my favorite egg-themed gifts with you. Think of it like Oprah’s Favorite Things . . . but if you want anything, you’ll have to buy your own.

Whose egg

1. Whose Egg is That, by Darrin Lunde
You knew we’d include a book! The featured eggs in Whose Egg is That come from all kinds of animals, and the images show each egg’s actual size. Another nerdy thing you could notice with your kids is how an apostrophe is used for possessives. The text reads, “Whose egg is that?” Kids are encouraged to take a guess, and on the next page it says something like, “A robin’s” and then it adds some interesting facts.


2. Float and Hatch Dino Egg
In truth, I’m not sure how this one is going to be received, but it’s an egg-themed toy I purchased for my two-month-old grandson. It’s a bath toy, but it could also be a pool toy as well. Cute, right?

egg round

3. Egg Shakers
Add some of these in with your Easter Egg hunt eggs and then have the kids sing songs, keeping rhythm with their egg shakers. We use these in our Little Letter Learners lessons to shake as we sing the a-b-c song.

egg letter box

4. Alphabet Matching Eggs
This is a great gift! Kids love matching the uppercase letters of the alphabet. The colors provide a bit of support as they are making matches. Also, we love pressing the letters into kinetic sand for an additional bit of letter learning fun.

Egg cooker

5. Egg Cooker
If you don’t have something like this, you’re missing out. Make the perfect hard-boiled eggs every time—and it’s fast with easy clean up. Make deviled eggs, egg salad, and just plain ol’ hard boiled eggs in a jiffy for a handy, protein-rich food. TIP: Buy your eggs now because it’s more difficult to remove the shells from super fresh eggs.

Wordology Workshop

  • The Latin root ov means egg.
  • In French this gives us the word oeuf for egg.
  • In English, we find this root in words such as oval, ovum, and ovary.

It started with . . .

Devil whisper

And here’s where we are now . . .

Devil whisper 2


Your lips only touch when naming four letters of the alphabet. Those letters are b, m, p, and w.
(Note: w /double u/ has the /b/ sound in its name.)

Your lips only touch when making the sounds for three letters of the alphabet.
/b/, /m/, /p/

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