Archives for September 2015

Apple Picking Time

Author:  Michele Benoit Slawson
Illustrator:  Deborah Kogan Ray


Sometime after the summer is spent but before the jack-o’-lanterns are lit, it’s apple picking time.

Most of the town are apple pickers and know they have only three weeks to get the fruit off the trees before it spoils.  Anna’s Grandpa, Grandma, Papa, and Mama are some of the pickers who have met outside of town in their cars and pickups even while the moon is still high in the sky.  All the families follow the narrow dirt roads, not stopping until they see the posted sign, “PICKERS WANTED,”  at the entrance to the apple orchard.

With canvas bags fastened around their backs, the pickers climb ladders, leaning into it for balance, leaving both hands free for picking.   This year Anna feels she has grown enough to fill her own bag, and earn a punch on her ticket from the foreman at the end of the day.   Every few minutes someone yells “Full!” and Anna knows a half-moon is being punched on a ticket for a picker.  By noon, Papa has three and Mama has two.  Anna has none.

Sharing lunch with her family on a quilt under the trees is a welcome break.  Papa fiddles with the radio and dances with Mama under the branches before the work whistle blows.  Filled with determination, Anna is back up her ladder. Twist! Snap! Twist! Snap!

Can Anna do it? Will she be able to fill her canvas bag by the end of the picking day? Will she earn a half-moon punch on her ticket? There is something truly wonderful about a child working hard, and being proud of themselves for what they have achieved through their own determination.

Mary Byrne Kline


Apples and Bananas

We chose an oldie but goodie for this month’s apple theme.    Here is Raffe’s fun song/poem that celebrates two fruit and five long vowel sounds.   It’s a fun and silly song to enjoy with your children…a great song to sing in the car!  If you are in your 30’s, you probably sang Apples and Bananas while growing up.  Now it’s time to teach it to your children.







I like to eat, eat, eat
apples and bananas
I like to eat, eat, eat
apples and bananas

I like to ate, ate, ate
apples and bananas
(say with the long A sound)
I like to ate, ate, ate
apples and bananas

I like to eat, eat, eat
epples and benenes
(say with long E sound)
I like to eat, eat, eat
epples and benenes

I like to ite, ite, ite
ipples and bininis
(Long I sound)

I like to oat, oat, oat
opples and bononos
(Long O sound)

I like to ute, ute, ute
upples and bununus
(Long U sound) 

I like to eat, eat, eat
apples and bananas.



Raffe – remember him?

Teaching Sight Words using the 8 Multiple Intelligences

The Reading Tree Series


Teaching Sight Words
using the 8 Multiple Intelligences

FB pic septAs explained in August’s blog post, sight words are crucial for learning how to read. They are words that are used over and over again and are difficult or impossible to sound out, therefore must be memorized as a whole word to gain reading fluency. From Early Readers to The Wall Street Journal, sight words make up 60-85% of reading material. By identifying and using the appropriate “multiple intelligences” to teach your child sight words, you can specifically stimulate their brain to learn and remember these ever-so important words for life! So what are “multiple intelligences”?

Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University identified 8 different ways people learn and retain information, and named them “Multiple Intelligences”. By identifying the particular multiple intelligence(s) through which your child learns best, you can specifically help them build a strong sight-word reading foundation! The chart below explains Dr. Gardner’s 8 different learning approaches.

MI sept blog

*chart from:

Outlined below are brain-stimulating Multiple Intelligence(s) activities that you can use to teach sight words:


  1. Using a musical instrument, make 1 noise for each letter that makes up the sight word (have = beat a drum 4 times, 1 for each letter)
  2. Use a well-known tune and spell out the sight word (“Old McDonald had a sight word- m-y with an m-y here and an m-y there, here is MY there is MY everywhere is MY MY! Old McDonald had a sight word- MY MY MY MY MY!”)- change the sight word as you learn them!


  1. Puzzles! Using fun colored paper or post its, cut out letters in the sight word and have your child order the letters to spell out the sight word correctly
  2. Play ‘Dice’-Of-Fortune! Using square pieces of paper, write 1 letter per paper. Have your child roll the dice and say a letter. If he gets a letter correct, give him ‘tokens’ or Legos for the number he rolled. (if he rolled a 2, give him 2 tokens/Legos) Have your child try to figure out what the sight word is! When he guesses the sight word have him count the tokens or build something using the Legos he got! PLAY AGAIN with a new sight word!


  • Looking into a mirror, have your child read the sight words out loud. Have them say the sight word using different voices – happy, sad, excited, mad, shocked, and scared!
  • Create a ‘sight word book’! Pick 1 sight word and have your child use it in a sentence. Then, illustrate that sentence! (if developmentally-appropriate, have your child write or type the sentence)


  1. Play FREEZE using a song! Put a song on and have your child dance when the music is playing, but when the music STOPS have them freeze and say or spell out the sight word they are learning (advanced: when the music stops – use the sight word in a sentence!)
  2. Play Hopscotch! Instead of writing numbers in each square, write sight words! Have your child spell and say the sight word they land on.
  3. Using sight word flashcards, hold up 1 sight word at a time. When your child sees the sight word they are working on, have them do a jumping jack or jump up and down and say the sight word.


  1. Build each letter of a sight word using Legos or Unifix Cubes. If the letters are difficult to form, write the sight word on a piece of paper and have them lay the pieces on top of the letters. (advanced– do not pre-write the sight word and have them just build each letter themselves)
  2. Use play-dough and form each letter of the sight word. Make one BIG play-dough sight word and one SMALL play-dough sight word.


  1. Use stuffed animals, action figures, or dolls and have your child read the sight word to each toy. Have your child ‘be the teacher’ and teach the toy how to spell and read the sight words.
  2. Let your child invite a FRIEND over to play a sight-word matching game!
  3. Send sight word mail! Pick 2 or 3 friends or family members and mail them sight word flashcards/drawings. (have your child paint or stamp out the sight words using colors instead of just pencil and paper)


  1. Write out each letter of a sight word saying a little ‘story’ about each letter. (can= c– a cat is chasing his tail and stops… a– this is a ball and a stick so it won’t roll away… n– this is a short man taking one big step)
  2. Use pictures! Show your child a cut-out picture from magazines, photos, or clip art. Make up a sentence using the sight word and visual.
  3. Open up a book and use a magnifying glass to ‘find’ the sight word they are learning in the book. Count how many they find!
  4. Play a dinner table sight word-listening game! If anyone at the table uses the sight word(s) the child is learning that week when they speak, have that person clap their hands.


  1. On a not-so-windy day, hide side word cards around your back yard for your child to find.
  2. Have your child collect leaves or sticks from outside. Use those nature pieces to spell out the sight word(s) you are working on.
  3. In your backyard, use birdseed to spell out the sight word on a piece of paper. Leave the piece of paper outside with the birdseed on it for the birds to come eat! (Want it to stick? try spreading the birdseed with peanut butter!)

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is ‘youer’ than you.” Dr. Seuss says it best once again! Every child learns in different ways and certain approaches help their brain understand and remember things better than others. If you are unsure what Multiple Intelligence(s) applies to your child, click the following link to help give you a little insight:

So tell me… how does your child learn best?!

MM LOGO color

*Also- look for more information about my Sight Word ‘Mush Mush Readers’ coming this fall! They teach 1 sight word per book, have great visuals to build vocabulary, and help build your child’s early reading confidence! 

Joanna Merideth <><

Don’t miss Joanna’s other Reading Tree posts:

12 Terrific Read-Aloud Tips

The Significance of Sight Words in Early Reading Skills

Masterpiece Conversations: René Magritte

The Son of Man by René Magritte


Apples are everywhere in art. Paintings of harvesters in fields frequently have bushels of them. A still life fruit basket may look less appealing without one. Adam and Eve wouldn’t be complete without a tempting and delicious looking apple.

Often art teachers use apples to teach how to use colors and shades to make objects look like they have form. It’s safe to say that next to people, landscapes and seascapes, apples may be one of arts most favorite subjects. Since we are talking about apples in art, I must bring up one of the most famous paintings of an apple ever, The Son of Man.

It is a painting by the Belgian artist René Magritte, and in it you see a man wearing a suit and a bowler hat. There is one part of this painting that makes it stand out as a completely unique piece of work… Where is the man’s face? It’s there, but it’s hiding behind a floating green apple. Why? Why did the artist paint a floating granny smith in front of the man’s face? Mr. René Magritte believed that knowing something is there and not being able to see it adds to its allure, its excitement.

Have you ever gone on a family trip to the beach? You know you’re getting close but you just can’t see the water yet. How excited does that make you feel? René Magritte thought people would be curious what the man’s face looks like and this would add to the excitement of the painting. What do you think? Do you want to know what the man looks like? Can you see his eyes sneaking a peek from behind the apple leaves? Why do you think he used an apple? What fruit would you use in a painting of you?

For additional activities and resources be sure to check out our TPT store!

Click HERE

Ponder It!


Kevin Bartle