Monday, September 28, 2015

Meet Kirby...

Before I introduce Kirby, a couple of things...

  • Little Free Library Storytime is THIS Saturday, October, 3rd @ 10:30 am.  Bring a blanket or a towel and join in on the fun!  Also, please bring a used book to help fill our library.  See you there!

  • Currently our Preschool Readers assessments are free.  However, this will change in October.  Schedule your assessment  TODAY while they’re still free.

MEET KIRBY….. the newest member of our Preschool Readers team!

I’m excited to announce that Kirby Newkirk is now one of our Tampa preschool reading specialists!

Kirby Newkirk is very excited to be working as a Preschool Readers Specialist. She was raised in Tampa and graduated from H.B. Plant High School in 2010. Last year, she graduated with her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Florida, and went straight into working on her Master's degree through UF's online program. She recently moved back to Tampa to complete her internship at an elementary school and will receive her degree this upcoming December. Kirby has experience working at a preschool while attending college and has served as a reading tutor for several kindergarteners and first graders in Gainesville. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling when she gets the chance!

Fun Q & A with Kirby:

Q: When you were a child, what story did you love to read (or have read to you)?
A: I loved when my mom and I read "Is Your Mama a Llama?" at bedtime.

Q: Now that you are an adult, what children’s book do you like and feel all kids should have on their bookshelf?
A: I still think that Dr. Suess books are the best children's books to read because of their rhyming nature and silliness that makes kids laugh.

Q: Why do you love reading?
A: I love to read because it is something that I can do in my free time when I am not focusing on school or my work. There are no limits to reading for your own pleasure; you can pick anything that interests you!

Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: I think that Jodi Picoult is an amazing writer because she adds plot twists to her stories. I can usually read her books within a couple of days because I can't put them down!

Q: What is one word you would use to describe yourself as a preschooler?
A: Silly!

Q: Who was your favorite childhood teacher and why?
A: My 4th-grade teacher always made learning fun and interactive; she is one of the reasons I wanted to become a teacher.

Q: Why do you love teaching?
A: I enjoy working with students to help them reach their full potential. I believe that teachers can help instill motivation of learning for children by creating fun and engaging lessons.

Q: Fill in the blank: If you really knew me, you'd know that…
A: I think peanut butter on an apple is the greatest snack ever.

Happy reading,
Preschool Reading Specialist & Consultant, Owner: Preschool Readers

PS Can’t wait to see you at storytime on Saturday… don’t forget to let your friends know!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oldies but Goodies!

Before I get to the ‘goodies,’ a couple of reminders...

  • We’re hosting our first Little Free Library Storytime this Saturday, September, 19th @ 10:30 am.  Storytime, the playground, and shopping at Hyde Park Village?  I can’t think of a better way to start your Saturday!  We hope to see you there!

  • Our #fallin2reading challenge is back and starts September 21st.  This is a free 5 day online challenge filled with simple, fun, literacy-rich activities for you and your little one to participate in together.  Click HERE for more info or to sign up!

In honor of summer slowing down, I thought I would share with you five of my most effective blog posts of the past year.  

Many of you are new and have never seen these, and those of you who have been around for a while will love the reminders now that school is back in full swing!

In, Educational Standards, I provide a free printable of the kindergarten reading standards.

In, You WILL Want To Save This Information, I tell you how to find books on your child's reading level.  

In, Sharing is Caring, I give a list of free educational Youtube videos.

In, Need Help? Successful Reading Strategies!, I offer suggestions to the two most common misunderstandings when it comes to encouraging beginning readers.

In, Asking The Right Questions?, I share my list of skill building questions you should be asking your child during storytime.

Find these posts helpful?  Please share (social share links below)!

Happy reading,
Preschool Reading Specialist & Consultant, Owner: Preschool Readers

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I’m often asked how to tell when a child is ready to learn to read.
“My son knows his letters and sounds, should I sign him up for sessions?”
“My daughter just turned four, do you think she’s ready to read?”
This is such a hard question to answer.
Age alone can not determine if they’re ready to read (I’ve worked with children as young as two).
And knowing their letters and sounds before learning to read is not necessary.
The thing is, all children are ready at different times.
And that’s OK!
But, there are some tell tale signs to look for.
If you can answer yes to most of these questions then your child might be ready to read:
  • Your child knows the proper way to hold a book.
  • Your child understands that books are read from cover to back.
  • Your child understands that sentences are read from left to right.
  • Your child knows that words on the page can be read.
  • Your child is able to retell a familiar story in his own words.
  • Your child can answer simple questions about a story.
  • Your child knows the letters in his or her own first name, and can recognize his or her own first name in print.
  • Your child can recognize words or signs he or she sees often (local restaurants and stores, street signs)
  • Your child understands word boundaries. If you say the sentence, ‘don’t let the cat out’, your child is able to separate the sentence into five individual words.
  • Does your child enjoy being read to, at least for short periods of time?
  • Does your child pretend to read or write?
  • Does your child frequently request read-aloud time and show a general enthusiasm for books?
You might also like this interactive online assessment, Get Ready to Read! Screening Tool.
Your BEST bet in determining if they’re ready?
Contact us today!
Schedule your child’s FREE assessment!  
Call: 762.233.7323 or Email:
Happy reading,
Preschool Reading Specialist & Consultant, Owner: Preschool Readers
PS Saturday, September 19th from 10:30-11:30 is our first ever Preschool Readers Storytime in the Park!  Join the fun!
PPS Our #fallin2reading challenge is back!  We had SO much fun last year so I’ve decided to bring it back!  Playing starts Monday, September 21st.  You can sign up for this FREE challenge HERE.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I might get in trouble for this....

Before I share what I might get in trouble for (eeek!), I wanted to let you know about some of our upcoming events:

  • THIS Saturday September 5th is our Little Free Library Back 2 School Happy Hour Event.  It will be held from 10:30-11:30 at Kate Jackson Park!  Bring a book and receive an ice pop AND a goodie bag filled with FUN back to school stuff!

  • Saturday September 19th from 10:30-11:30 is our FIRST Preschool Readers Storytime in the Park!  We are so excited to roll out our monthly story times at Kate Jackson Park next to our Little Free Library and hope you can make our very first event!  Bring a blanket or a towel and come enjoy a story in the park!

  • Our #fallin2reading challenge is back!  We had SO much fun last year so I’ve decided to bring it back!  Playing starts Monday September 21st.  You can sign up for this FREE challenge HERE.  

Ok, now for the good stuff… the stuff I may get in trouble for sharing ;)
I LOVED teaching in the classroom and had a wonderful relationship with my students & their parents.  


There were times I wished SO badly that I could tell my students parents, certain things… but didn’t dare open my mouth!
I would have loved to have been completely truthful with a few parents… but didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say without hurting their feelings.

Now that I’m no longer a classroom teacher… I’m letting the cat out of the bag!
because I know I was not the only teacher who felt this way!  

And with school starting back up, you'll probably find this information to be extremely useful!

So here you go… TEACHER CONFIDENTIAL:  The things your child's teacher WISHES they could say to your face!
I searched the internet and pulled my favorite teacher confessions for you.  ENJOY ;)

  • Potty training.  Do you actually think your child's teacher wants to wipe your 4-year-old child's butt? Part of potty training your child is teaching them to wipe their own butt. (SOURCE)

  • You do your job, I'll do mine. I have parents who are CEOs of their own companies come in and tell me how to run my classroom. I would never think to go to their office and tell them how to do their jobs. (SOURCE)

  • I'm sure your child is gifted. My three children are all gifted, too. Shall I tell you all about them? In mind-numbing detail? (SOURCE)

  • Your child may be the center of your universe.  but I have to share mine with 25 others. (SOURCE)

  • Monster kids. Although we are not supposed to say it, we completely agree that the monster who punched your child three times in the last week should be expelled. Unfortunately we don’t make those decisions. We aren’t even allowed to describe their behavior as violent. (SOURCE)

  • The truth, the whole truth… We’ll believe 50 percent of what they say about you if you believe 50 percent of what they say about us. When your kid tells us you fed him dog food and made him sleep in a kennel last night, we will be concerned but won’t take it as gospel, so we’d appreciate it if you kept your objective hat on when he complains about us. (SOURCE)

  • Academics.  If you want your child to learn something, you have to support them as well. We only have so many hours a day to teach them, and if you don't help at home, how do you think they will retain what they learn? (SOURCE)

  • Yes ma’am, that’s your baby. It might be hard to accept that your angelic well-adjusted child has been caught doing something horrible, but really, why would we make it up? It’s frustrating when we sit down with parents to tell them something unpleasant and they don’t believe us. (SOURCE)

  • If we teach small children.  don’t tell us that our jobs are “so cute” and that you wish you could glue and color all day long. (SOURCE)

  • Empty your child's backpack. Yes, it contains a lot of glue and glitter and unidentifiable objects, but your child worked hard on those projects and is proud of them. Even if you're going to toss it all in the trash as soon as you tuck him into bed (yep, I do this, too), at least pretend to be interested enough to look at it with your child. (SOURCE)  

  • Don't ask me about any other children. If I tell you that your child is doing well on something, don't ask me if Julian is doing that, too. And don't ask me if your child is the smartest in the class. I won't tell you. (SOURCE)

  • Understand other children as you do your own (okay, at least make an effort). When another child is having some behavioral problems, contain the smug disapproval. As a parent, you know that all kids go through difficult phases, and families sometimes experience stress that is out of their control. Besides, your child isn't perfect, either. No one's is. If the other kid is aggressive, have faith that I will keep your child safe, and know that I am doing everything I can to make things better.(SOURCE)

  • Busy preschoolers often wait until the last minute to go to the potty. Belts and excess buttons may look cute, but even grown-up fingers can fumble when the pressure is on (and you know how they squirm when they really need to go). Aim for easy-on, easy-off attire.(SOURCE)

  • Please, no more mugs, frames, or stuffed animals. A gift card to Starbucks or Barnes & Noble would be more than enough. (SOURCE)

  • If your child throws up after breakfast, chances are it's not a one-time event. Same goes for explosive diarrhea.  Keep them home.  (SOURCE)

  • We LOVE when you tell us how much you appreciate us. The days are long when you’re responsible for wrangling 20-something paint-smearing, diaper-soiling toddlers who can’t verbalize their love for you through anything other than sharing their bodily fluids. Don’t get me wrong—the work is fun and rewarding and some days it feels like the best job on earth (who else gets to color and make Play-doh at work?) but it is also incredibly demanding and sometimes thankless. When you go out of your way to give us kudos for the work we do, it really means the world to us, whether you realize it or not. And if you bring us snacks? Well, we just might follow you home.(SOURCE)

  • Relish these days. Your children grow up and return to visit me with their long legs, grown-up teeth, and first-grade readers tucked under their arms, and the little kid is gone forever. Don't stress about things that will pass, like when she'll learn to tie her shoes or when he'll stop sucking his thumb. Instead, revel in the innocent, fleeting happiness that is life with a preschooler.(SOURCE)

  • Love. This is all your children truly need. Be there for them and support them. They need fathers who sit and listen to the activities of their day, mothers who join in and make crafts with them and parents who take the time to read them stories and act goofy with them. They deserve to help you make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they're a priority for you and that you truly love to be with them. (SOURCE)

Happy reading,
Preschool Reading Specialist & Consultant, Owner: Preschool Readers

P.S. Don't forget to sign up for our FREE 5 day #fallin2reading challenge! Details and signup, HERE.