Saturday, January 30, 2010

Drop #4: The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing

Hello! I'm still here. Yesterday afternoon (Friday) my oldest son and I did a book drop. When I pick him up from school (which is usually only once a week or so, otherwise my husband picks him up) we sometimes stop at a fabulous cookie shop on the way home. It's been weeks since we went there and luckily I had a book pack in the van. So.............we smuggled the pack into the store in my purse and left it right outside the doors to the bathrooms. The bathrooms are around a corner from where the customers pick out their cookies so we were able to leave it there without anyone seeing us. I snapped a quick photo before my camera battery died. Hopefully someone will love finding this book and doing the fun valentine counting activity. CLICK HERE to read the full post about the book pack for this title.

NOTE: I felt comfortable leaving this book pack inside a store since clearly a cookie shop wouldn't sell anything similar to what is contained in the pack. I am still hoping that one of these days the recipient of a book pack will leave me a comment. I am dying to know whether or not my packs are finding happy homes. But I also love the "no strings attached" model of giving.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm still here!

Sorry for having gone AWOL for the past week or so. I am still here, still dedicated to this project. I am hoping to have a few changes in place by the end of the week to make the blog even better, so please stop back. I'm also planning to work on a bunch more book pack ideas to post soon. So..........stay tuned and keep spreading the word. (And let me know when you've made a book drop so I can add it to our total count.) THANKS so much for your support!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing

As I put away all our Christmas books I quickly looked through our much smaller selection of Valentine's books. I was excited to find two copies of this book. That meant that I could set one aside for gifting. I love the rhyming text and fun illustrations in this book. To go with this book I printed off some of the Conversation Heart Counting Cards from Making Learning Fun. I also added some tiny little heart clothespins that I've had in my scrapbooking stash for YEARS and have never used. I think whoever finds this pack will love using them to mark the number of hearts on each card.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood

I have kind of a funny story about how I acquired this particular book. I had gone to our local community storehouse (a thrift store, but not my FAVORITE thrift store that I always talk about) to look for some books to use for Random Acts of Reading. This one caught my eye because I was familiar with it and knew I could find a cute activity to pair with it. Then I realized that it WAS one of my books, one that I had apparently donated to the storehouse in my big spring-cleaning attempt last March. The way I knew it was my book is because it had a blue sticker on the spine. A couple of summers ago I color-coded pretty much every childrens' book in my house to try to organize better. And sure enough, I paid 25 cents for a book I had donated to the storehouse for free. Isn't that a funny coincidence? (If you are interested you can read all about my book organization project here. My books are still to this day pretty well-organized with this system.)

Below is a description of the book pack I developed for my reclaimed book. :-)

This is a fun little rhyming story that all children will love. The perfect activity for a fish counting book is fish counting cards. I found the perfect ones at Making Learning Fun. One thing I particularly like about these cards is that instead of counting the total number of fish you have to count the number of a certain color of fish. This is a good variation from some of the other counting cards I've put into book packs. I printed these off and included some tiny little clothespins from my scrapbook stash. The clothespins will be used to mark the correct number.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

I know I have written this about other books, but this is a MUST-READ. I have been reading this to children for over 20 years as a teacher and children of all ages love it (adults too!). I have several copies of this book so I had to whip out a book pack to gift one away for this project.

There is a great website that I came across that is all about Esphyr Slobodkina, the author of Caps for Sale. There are several printable activity pages. For this book pack I printed off the How Many Caps? page as well as a monkey maze page. The cards are laminated and I will include a dry-erase pen in the bag so children can do the activity over and over. On a sidenote: When I was getting the picture and link from Amazon I saw that Esphyr Slobodkina has also written a book called Circus Caps for Sale. Did anyone else know that? I had never heard of that title before but now I want to track down a copy. I'm sure it will be as awesome as the original. If you've heard of that one, I'd love to hear how you like it.

This photo shows the maze and counting caps cards along with the book itself.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Drop #3: Goodnight Moon (and an interview---YIPPEE!)

Tonight both my boys had swimming lessons at our local YMCA. Afterwards I did a book drop in the family locker #14. I had planned this ahead and taken the book pack and my camera with me. Luckily no one saw me (except my husband). I hope someone finds it soon. It's killing me that I haven't heard what happened to my first two drops. This book pack was for the book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Sorry for the bad photo. My camera battery was just about to die so I didn't get a better one. Plus I was trying to be surreptitious. :-)

In other news...........Shannon from Letters, Numbers and Books Oh My! asked to interview me about Random Acts of Reading for her blog. She posted the interview today. I was so thrilled to do this since it's my first blog interview!! You can head over and read it RIGHT HERE.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Here is a book pack I've prepared for the classic book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I am hoping to be able to drop this soon because it is PERFECT reading for the type of wintry weather we've been having here in the Midwest.

This is a total classic must-read book for everyone. Seriously. What a great story. In the bag with this book I included some story sequencing cards printed from Homeschoolshare. Click here for lots more great resources for this book from Homeschoolshare.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I need your help!

Hello, everyone! I am humbly asking for your help to get the word out about Random Acts of Reading. Within the first week of launching the blog I heard from many people who loved the idea of this project and wanted to help in some way. Over the next week or so I am going to do some behind-the-scenes work to spread the word via emails. However, I would love it if any or all of you would share about the project on your own blogs. In the very near future I hope to have a blog button available for you to post on your own blog. Until then, I would be so grateful if you could link to the blog to send more people this way. I really believe we can collectively give 2,010 books in 2010 if we work together. I am also going to start a list on the sidebar of the blog with bloggers who are willing to pledge to give books through this project. If you would like to pledge, leave me a comment here or email me to let me know how many books you THINK you could give this year. Don't worry.........I won't hunt you down in December if you haven't given as many as you thought! When you do give a book, just send me a quick email telling me how many and (if you want) the titles and I'll include your books in the "official" count. For more information about how to participate, read THIS POST. Are you with me??
I can't wait to hear from you!!

PS: If you would like to participate and don't have a blog, please comment or email me and I'll add you to the sidebar list as well!! I'll just list you by your first name and/or nickname or by whatever name you'd like!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown

This book, written by Margaret Wise Brown (author of Goodnight Moon), is a rhythmic tale which juxtaposes the journeys of a real train and a toy train. It's very fun to read out loud.

This book would be wonderful for a little train-loving child to find. I can only hope that happens. However, the text of this book has lots of rhythm and repetition which would make it a fun read for anyone. In the bag with this book I have included a circus train counting activity from Homeschoolshare. Click here for lots more train resources from Homeschoolshare.

Below you can see the book with a few of the circus train counting cards from Homeschoolshare. The train cars from the link have numerals and sets for 1-10 although my photo only shows 1-3.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Read on to find out how I put together a book pack for one of my very favorite books of all time. We had an extra copy of this on our bookshelves which is now prepared to be gifted to another family. I hope they will love it as much as I do!!

Blueberries for Sal is one of my absolute favorite books ever. I have vivid memories of my parents reading this book to me when I was little and I have read it to my boys many times. When I started this project I was thrilled to find an extra copy on my son's bookshelf. So this copy quickly became available for randomly gifting to the world. In the bag with the book I have placed a blueberry counting activity from Homeschoolshare. If you are interested in more Homeschoolshare activities to go with this book, click here. And here are some more great activity ideas from Wondersome Storytime.
Below you can see the blueberry math mat, number cards and blueberry cards from Homeschoolshare. What fun!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg

This post describes a book pack I have put together for The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg.

Steven Kellogg is a prolific author and illustrator of quality children's literature. Whoever finds this book will be very blessed. Included in the bag with the book is a mitten matching activity from PreKinders. There are some great ideas to go with this book on the fantastic blog, Wondersome Storytime. Be sure to check it out. Making Learning Fun also has some great snow and snowman activities.

Here is a close-up of the mitten matching cards.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

I have decided to post book packs and book drops separately. I am never sure how often I'm going to make a book drop and that way I can share with you the books I'm preparing before I actually drop them. A few readers have asked if I will include links to download the activities for each book. And the answer is......YES! All my posts about book packs will have links embedded within them that should take you right to the place on the internet where you can download and print the activity for yourself. My previous two posts about book packs included those links. They are highlighted in a different color. Just click on the highlighted text and you will be redirected to the link. Let me know right away if you have problems with any of the links and I'll try to correct it. Also embedded in the text are links to Amazon in case you would like purchasing information about the book.

This book, published in 1947, has provided warm childhood memories for generations of readers. I have great memories of reading the board book version to my youngest son when he was a baby. For an activity to go with this book I printed off these Goodnight Moon cards from Homeschoolshare. The activity from Homeschoolshare is intended to be a sorting activity where the child would sort the pictures of things from the book and pictures of things that aren't in the book. What I did is take out the pictures that aren't in the book and I just included the pictures FROM the book in the baggie. I also cut a moon (2 identical pieces) out of yellow cardstock and stapled it together leaving the curved side open. On the baggie label I suggested that parents have their child place the pictures into the moon, telling them "Goodnight", in the same sequence as they are presented in the story. Below you can see the moon and bag of pictures.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2,010 in 2010

I have been really excited about the great response this idea has generated so far........and it's only been online for 4 days! That got me thinking about how more people could become involved since many of you have indicated that you'd like to join the project. So...........I've decided to put forth a challenge. Could we (collectively) gift 2,010 books into the world in 2010?? I think we can!! I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew by launching this challenge since that means I will be coordinating it. Here is how I think it can be accomplished and I'd love your feedback.

First, I completely acknowledge that any and all readers of this blog can decide to go forth and drop off book packs on their own. AND...........I completely support this. I think it's wonderful. And if you choose to do that and not have any direct involvement over here, that's great!!

Second, if you would like to be involved in a total book drop count through this blog, please email me at the link on the sidebar. Let me know how many book drops you've done and I'll keep a running tally. They don't have to be titles that I've highlighted on the blog. If I have highlighted it on the blog, I'll keep track of the total number of books donated by title by putting that number in parentheses next to the book title. Make sense?

Third, if you are participating in the challenge via this blog I would really appreciate having you download and print the labels I've designed and attach those to your book packs. That way people who discover the packs can view the site and see that they are part of a bigger project. Of course you may also include any other information in your book pack that you choose to add. On the sidebar I've added a place where you can download the labels via my Typepad blog since I haven't figured out an easy way to do that through Blogger.

Finally...........thanks so much for your support and interest. It will be fun to see where this leads!

Drop #2: The Hat by Jan Brett

Today after I was done teaching preschool my little boy and I went to the grocery store in our town. On the way out I dropped off a book pack on the bench in front. The bench is protected by an overhang so hopefully it will be protected until it is found. I was rethinking the whole "drop" idea and truly I do think it's probably better to drop the books outside. I was wondering if my other book pack had been found at the discount store and thought about going there to check. Then I thought if I went there I might move it to a more prominent spot. But then I was thinking how weird it would feel to pick it up and move it even though I'm the one that left it there. And that made me think that people who see it, especially in a store, might feel the same way. Even though it's not an item of merchandise, it would feel a little like shop-lifting. So.........I dropped the pack on a bench and scurried to my van. I took the photo out the window of my van. There are lots of people going in and out of the grocery store all day so I didn't want to plunk down the pack then stand there and take a photo of it. You can barely see the pack in the photo. It is lying flat on top of the bench. When I was coming out of the store one of my preschool students and his mom were going in. I thought it would be so cool if he is the one who finds it on the way out. So I'll let you know if that's what happens. His mom would probably get online to check out the website on the label and then she would figure out who left the book.

I bought a paperback copy of this book at our local county storehouse for 25 cents. It was in great condition.

Jan Brett's books are so fabulous and The Hat is no exception. She is such a gifted illustrator and author and makes so many great resources available on her website. In the bag with the book I included some animal puppets that I printed from Jan Brett's website. Before the book drop I read the story to my boys and they acted it out with the puppets. That's one great benefit of doing this........I'm reading and doing activities with my own two boys even more. I LOVE Jan Brett's books and own most of them. You can find some more activity ideas for this book over at Wondersome Storytime.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Drop #1: Corduroy by Don Freeman

Saturday evening the boys and I made our first book drop! We left the book pack in a local discount store on a rack with the crossword puzzle books. I am curious about how people will respond to this when they find it. When I was looking at The Toy Society's blog today I noticed that all their drops are outdoors. Here in the midwest right now we have about 2 feet of snow on the ground and the temperature is hovering right above 0 degrees right now. So we dropped it in a store. Perhaps the store employees will confiscate it, but my hope is that they will then take it home to share with their own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. We'll have to wait and see. Below you can see the photo I snapped of our dropped book pack.

If you have found this book pack, please leave a comment so I know how you found it, what you thought, who you shared it with, etc. If you've never left a comment on a blog before, just scroll down and click on Post a Comment. Then follow the directions. You can leave a comment anonymously.
Some people have asked about whether I will make it possible for others to participate in this project. The answer is.......YES! I am trying to figure out a little more about how to facilitate that right now. However, this post contains a link to the activity I included with my copy of Corduroy. If you do a drop on your own, for now you could leave me a comment on this post telling about it with a link to your own blog if you have one. As the project grows the process for this will most likely be adapted. I'm also working on a way to make the labels I'm using for the book packs available for download so we can have consistency for those who wish to participate.

Corduroy by Don Freeman is a classic children's book that celebrated its 40th birthday in 2008. That means this book is just a little bit older than me. Ha! Hopefully it will be treasured by whoever finds it. I have printed off a button patterning activity from Homeschoolshare to go with this book.

Before we made the drop today I read the book to my 4 year old and he did the button patterning activity two times. When I told him we would then leave it for another little boy or girl to find he was excited. He suggested that we not leave it in the middle of the road because a car would squish it. I assured him that we wouldn't leave it in the road. :0)

Until next time.............keep reading!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Assembling the book packs

I thought I would write a post about how I assemble the book packs to prepare them for "drop off." First of all, the books I am using are books that we have duplicates of or books that I've picked up at thrift stores or garage sales. I am not financially blessed enough to be able to go out and purchase brand new books for this project. With that said, I am going to be picky about the condition of the books. They must be in VERY good used condition, preferably without any marks or writing. I am also going to be pretty particular about what books I drop. I plan to only drop off books that I consider to be quality children's literature.

The books will be packaged in plastic Ziploc bags. For the larger books I will use 2-gallon bags, but many will fit into gallon-sized bags. Each bag will be labled as shown below with a "Take me home!" sticker and a sticker that briefly explains the project. I am covering the stickers with clear packing tape to be sure they will still be readable even after being dropped off. If an activity is included in the book pack, the materials or pieces will be contained in a separate Ziploc bag which will have a sticker label providing the directions for the activity.

This photo shows a book pack and activity bag.

Here is a close-up of the stickers on the outside bag.

Here is a close-up of the sticker on the activity bag. I am just printing these out on large (2X4") Avery shipping labels. Same for the "Take me home!" and description labels shown above.

Here is a photo of the activity for this particular book.

And this final photo shows everything neatly packaged in the bag and ready to be dropped.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Random Acts of Reading--The Beginning

Hello! Welcome to Our Random Acts of Reading. I've written this post to explain how this new blog evolved. If you've followed my personal blog, A Day of Wonders, for a while you may know that for the past two years I've planned special activities to do with my two boys during the season of Advent each December. On Christmas Day this year my wheels were already turning, thinking about what I wanted to do with the boys for Advent in 2010. Almost immediately I decided that I wanted "blessing others" to be the focus of our activities next Christmas. There are so many things we can do that would fall under the umbrella of being a blessing to others. One thing that I thought about right away was taking part in The Toy Society project. Doing a "toy drop" has been on my to-do list for quite a while but I have yet to make a toy. During Advent 2009 the boys and I read Christmas books and made ornaments to go with them. I am a big fan of planning activities that correlate with the books I read to my children. Once my wheels started turning, it didn't take long before I came up with the idea of anonymously leaving children's books with corresponding activities in public locations for people to discover. And that, my friends, is how Our Random Acts of Reading was "born." Within a few days I had fleshed out the idea and designed the new blog, the one you are reading right now. It is my hope that this project can grow from its humble beginnings into something much bigger with many people participating, similar to how the Toy Society project has blossomed. For now I plan to use this blog to document my own "book drops". I would love to hear feedback from anyone and everyone about this idea. Expect a post VERY soon detailing my first official book drop. Until next time............keep reading!