Teach Your Monster to Read

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I just wanted to share this website because my daughter really enjoys it. I know she is 8, and she doesn’t really need this website (she reads pretty well), but we stumbled across it about two months ago and she likes getting on here almost everyday.

I can hear her laughing and squealing as the game plays out. I would say it’s probably best for ages 8 and under.

Check it out Teach Your Monster to Read

Reading Log Printable

Here are the reading logs my kids use to keep track of all the books they read. After 20 books, they get to go out for ice cream

Click to print off for FREE or PIN to Print off Later!

Reading Log BLUE              Reading Log RED

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Learning with The Magic Tree House Series

We started this series a year ago. Our library has all The Magic Tree House books on both audio or paperback, we chose audio, so we can listen to them in the car as a family.

I can’t say enough about the books!  They are great, my kids LOVE them all! Mary Pope Osborne has done a wonderful job taking kids back to great points of history and creating an interesting story. I myself have even learned a few things 🙂

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Each book is set in a different time period, that Jack and Annie must travel to and complete missions. They discover a magic tree house in the woods in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, and use the books to travel back and forth. Journey with them to far away lands: get lost in the Amazon, help a baby Panda, sail on a Pirate ship, walk on the Moon, fly with Da’Vinci, or find out how Mona Lisa got her famous smile! With over 50 books in the series, there is something for everyone!

We are on book #40 now.


Once you start reading the books, head over to The Magic Tree House website. Here you can go on missions and answer questions, afterwards you receive a souvenir for your own virtual tree house you can decorate.  You can also answer 3 questions about each book and earn a stamp in your Passport.  

My kids go to the website once a week and catch up on their newest books that they have finished. They love it!

This series is great for non-readers or readers. You are learning and enjoying a great adventure at the same time.

I highly encourage anyone that has not picked up these books to do so, your kids will thank you.

Enjoying Explode the Code

Since we started homeschooling over a year ago, we have been using these amazing books.  I read about Explode the Code online, and thought it seemed like a good way to go.   And I was right.

The books are easy to understand and are laid out nicely. They all follow the same basic pattern, so once you finish one and go to the next, it’s easy because you already know what to do, the content is just a little more challenging.

Turner started out with Book 1 and is now using Book 3, at the beginning of his 2nd grade year (he technically should be on Book 4, but there was a 2-3 month span last year where we didn’t use them… oh well).

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Lilly started out with Beyond the Code Books A, B, and C in Kindergarten. She really liked them. She is now on Book 1 1/2.

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Yes, I have had my kids use the 1/2 books as well. I have mentioned before we like to work for mastery in subjects before advancing, so I wanted to be sure they were where they needed to be. However, Turner is such a better reader, and we may just go straight to 4 this time around.

We use these books 4 days of the week and they do 2-4 pages each time.  They like to listen to classical music while working on them. It’s takes about 15 minutes for this, so it’s quick and fun.

*They do offer an online version, however, I wanted my kids to have that extra handwriting practice and less screen time, so we opt for the workbooks.  I also order mine off Amazon with Prime Shipping, but I see deals on them all the time through Homeschool sites.

Would LOVE to hear your thoughts on Explode the Code:  how they did or didn’t work for you.

*There is a short video of my son using Book 3 on our Facebook page.

LOVE these books for beginning readers

My son and daughter both use these for beginning reader books. Mainly in Kindergarten, however, I still am having Lilly read to me (and she likes to read to her dolls) from these books most days. They use a ton of sight words and its just great for her to have confidence in reading her own book without me.

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If you have a Kinder,  I highly encourage you to check out your local library for books by Margaret Hillert, there are over 20, I’m not sure on an exact number.

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Book list for 1st and 2nd graders

Here is my hopeful list of books we will get through during this school year, 2014-2015.  Our kids will be in 2nd and 1st grade this year.  We use the library as our #1 source, only purchasing books if they do not have them.

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I would love to here your comments on the books on your list, a suggestion to add to mine, or your thoughts of any of the books below.

Finish up Burgess Bird Book by Thornton Burgess –FREE online

Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan –possibly the other books in the series also

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks, along with the other 2 books in the series

Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Other AudioBooks on our list to get through

The rest of The Magic Tree House series, we are on book #39 now

King of the Golden River by John Ruskin, FREE audio online

Parables from Nature by Alfred Gatty

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

50 Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin

The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, 13 books

Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

Stink series by Megan McDonald

Books to be read for bedtime

Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand, the movie Nanny McPhee was based off this book  (Lilly)

Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet by Tony Abbott, series of about 10 books I believe  (Turner)

The Sister’s Grimm series by Michael Buckley, 9 books in the series  (Lilly)

Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows, 9 books in the series  (Lilly)

*Yes, we will be busy this year reading some great literature and some just for fun!  I will give an update of what we thought on the book after completing it. Of course, we will be reading other stories, but this list is of the ‘major titles’ we will read together.


A small book list…

Here are a few stories we read (in no particular order) and would recommend. The kids were 6 (K) and 7 (1st).  If there is a movie made after the book, we always watch that and compare the two.  The kids have always agreed that the book is so much better (so far).

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor — 1992 Newberry Medal Award, 1994 Mark Twain Award   


The kids really loved this book, and we were finished in about 8 days.  They would ask me to read more and more.  Turner is really into anything dog.  They watched the 1st and 2nd movie.

Titanic Crossing by Barbara Williams — 1998 Mark Twain Award

My son really wanted to learn more about the Titanic, so we checked out a ton of non-fiction reading material, along with this fiction story. We didn’t enjoy the story that much, it’s okay, it just seemed a tad corny in places. Not sure if I would recommend.


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White —  Newberry Honor

Another classic that is on most everyone’s list.  At this young age they really take to this story, and my kids enjoyed watching the movie afterwards (again and again).


A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman

Short read, but very cute and wonderful illustrations. Perfect for young kids and beginning readers.


Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan

Great book, and a good way to talk about how the movies just mess it up sometimes 🙂  The movie was so far from the book, other than character names and the title it was completely different and a big let down (to both the kids and myself).  The book is very well written though.


Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

We have listened to books 1-37 so far, all on audiobooks checked out at our local library over the last year.  When we are in the car an audiobook is generally playing.  Both of my kids LOVE this series and they really learn a lot at the same time.  They also have an account online the main website and they can take a 3 question quiz afterwards and earn a badge.


Stewart Little by E.B. White

Another wonderful story by E.B. White that younger children will really enjoy.  We listened to this on audiobook.


Geronimo Stilton by Geronimo Stilton

An interesting series that takes you on many adventures through the eyes of a mouse.  We have listened to books 1-6 so far, our library doesn’t carry the rest of the series, I think I may recommend they get them though…. they are that good!


Ghost Detectors series by Dotti Enderle

Jason has been reading this series to Turner before bed.  Turner really enjoys it, although he could probably read these himself, we like to read to both kids before bed. They are on book #5.

Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald

This is the series I have been reading to Lilly before bed.  They are educational, as well as funny.  I enjoy them as much as Lilly.  We are on book #12.