Project BFG

Given the chance we like to incorporate a bit o schoolwork into any given dote day. Some times tables, a bit of reading, a little experiment…

When handed a week of dote time we dream big. BFG big.IMG_4487

Camp Dote had a schedule to keep.  One novel, one week. Each chapter to be summarized and compiled so that by the end of our week we could have our very own version of the BFG to show off to parents and aunties.

Lil D barely flinched as I described how I saw the project going. 5 chapters a day, 5 index cards to fill. At the end of the week if we had achieved our goal we would go to the cinema to watch the movie.

To set Lil D up for success we came to an agreement. A couple of chapters after breakfast, another with lunch and a couple in the afternoon – as long as they were sandwiched between other makes, bakes and park time. Challenge accepted!


And didn’t she do well.  Listening to her observations during the movie was a delight.  “Oh! I expected Sophie to have long hair”, “I thought Sophie wore glasses”, “I didn’t expect her to be that mean”. She really took it in. Especially the whizzpopping (^-^)

She now basks in the glow of our pride and praise and the knowledge that no other P.4 would be reading a whole book like this in a week. How whoopsey-splunkers!


Begone, reluctant reader (oh, not you)

In an all fronts attack, books have been purchased.

No child left behind.  Read, you must!

With suggestions from the Book Trust,The Guardian Children’s book site and our very own librarian auntie we’ve come up with a book list to try and catch our dote’s imagination and inspire her confidence.

Rainbow Magic FairiesFirst up, Rainbow Magic Pop star Fairies.  Part of a huge collection of Rainbow Magic Fairies by Daisy Meadows. Lil D was delighted with our in-house fairy and music is her thing, so Pop stars+Fairies=Success?

Initial excitement waned a little when we suggested she should read the books to us.  Chapter book fear remains intact so whilst we concentrate on song lyrics, more books are being added to baskets.

Horrid Henry

Next comes Horrid Henry, a Pound Shop find that seems very gentle.  But will it be girly enough? I’ll send it to D-Daddy for appraisal. A little more post won’t hurt.

Reading with Phonics

And now my favourites have arrived. Lil D can be a little sketchy on her phonics. New words can flummox her and she doesn’t know where to start but with these fabulous fairy tales key sounds are practiced and reinforced with rhyming words. Plus they are Cuuuute.

One in particular will also be good for our upcoming trip to Copenhagen. (^_^)


Summer of reading

It’s been a busy week at Dote Central.  All the dotes have finished school for the summer – and so have I (^-^)  Lil GN and Lil C are off on their holidays and Lil D is spending her first few days of summer at nanny’s.

This summer for Lil D is a summer of reading. In amongst the fun, the play and the dancing we’re crowbarring in 10 minute segments of reading and word recognition to build her confidence and interest in reading.  Lucky you, Lil D!

These first few days I’ve been spending some time listening to her read and watching how she learns.  She’s like me – she works best when stationery is involved.  Surrounded by highlighters, scissors and checklists, being active made it fun for her.  She learns through watching and trying, so in terms of reading, activities like cutting up words, highlighting the easy from the more challenging and learning from listening and repeating are really good for her.

Rewards have been very successful too. A scratchcard points card counted down the 10 minutes of reading she racked up each day with the agreed upon goal of an ice cream sundae (on Friday) as motivation. Reading the same books to me, nanny and then papa gave her routine, confidence and reinforcement where chapter books seemed to overwhelm her.

Then genius struck.  The dote loves music.  She’s  called Lil Dancer for a reason.  Reading the lyrics of songs she likes is our newest way of squeezing in a bit more reading practice and checking off another 10 minute goal.  So far we’ve read, practiced and performed Katy Perry’s Firework and the Abba classic Mamma Mia to rapturous applause.  We read through the words together first, listen to the song then try to sing along with our words.  She loves learning together rather than all the focus being on her.  And it works.  She’s worked hard at it and for much longer than the 10 minutes she needs to count towards her reward.  She took so much pleasure in reaching her goal and making her sundae as indulgent as she could.  Our summer of reading looks promising.

And to build on what we’ve started I’ve made up a few reading packs to be sent to her house this week.  Not only can I give her the joy of mail but each pack has a sound for the day to practice, a song to read and a postcard explaining what she needs to do.  I’ll mix it up a bit with word sorting activities and other games.  Hopefully a phone call a day can keep her on track and that by the end of the summer chapter books won’t hold so much fear.

Practice makes perfect, after all.