Monday, September 19, 2011

Before Five in A Row - a review

When Paul was a toddler/preschooler we read constantly. He was my only child and we would sit and read for hours. He loved books from the time he was just a few months old, and that love of books continues today. Zach and I read a good bit too, but having an active 5 year old when Zach was becoming a toddler I did not get to read to Zach near as much as I wanted to, or near as much as I read to Paul. By the time Molly came along I had an active 1st grader to teach, a VERY active 2 year old to entertain, countless doctor's appointments for Molly and just generally not enough time in the day. So, Molly was read to her by her big brother more than Mommy. I read to all three kids as much as I possibly could, but I always felt/feel the time I spend reading aloud to them was just not enough. I was determined, that this school year would be different. Molly and Zach are still little at only 4 and 6, and Paul, is by no means too old to be read to at only 9 (almost 10--which makes me so sad). When looking at our schedule I made sure to schedule time to read with each of the kids both one-on-one and as a group. Imagine how excited I was when I was given the opportunity to review the popular Before Five In A Row (BFIAR) book that is based on reading books aloud to kids.

"Before Five In A Row" is written by Jane Claire Lambert. It is designed for kids ages 2-4 years old. It is available for purchase through Rainbow Resource for $35.00.

"Before Five In A Row" is 23 mini-units using 23 different children's books. It is not a complete curriculum but more of a guide on reading aloud with your preschoolers. Each unit gives you different activities and ideas of things to do with your children as you read the book.

A sampling of the books:
Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?
The Little Rabbit
Ask Mr. Bear
The ABC Bunny
Yellow Ball
Goodnight Moon
The Carrot Seed

We have quite a library in our home of children's books but I was shocked to find that we did not own any of the books listed in BFIAR. Since I never miss an opportunity to purchase new books for the kiddos we took a trip to the bookstore and picked up the books that our bookstore carried. We were able to purchase The Runaway Bunny, Going On A Bear Hunt, A Snowy Day, and Blueberries for Sal. We were excited to get started on our new books. The first book we "rowed" was Going On A Bear Hunt. The kids LOVED this book, as did I. We actually ended up spending almost 2 weeks devouring this book.

We got the "celebratory pop-up edition, which really added to the fun!

We also rowed, Blueberries for Sal, and the Runaway Bunny. The purpose of the BFIAR book is to create lasting memories with your child. The activities are not designed to teach specific academic skills and they are not set in stone as to who you are to do them. The book is more of a list of ideas to complement each children's book. My goal in the preschool and early elementary years are just create lasting memories with my kids, and if they learn something in the meantime, then that is even better.

So, for this reason I love the idea of BFIAR. It helped me pick quality books for my kids, and gave me some great ideas to build memories with them. I am the type of person who loves to come up with "extension" activities for the kids to do with any book we read. So, this is something that comes natural to me. For those that it may not come naturally to then BFIAR is definitely a resource worth paying for. For those that naturally come up with ideas for their kids then BFIAR would at the very least give you a wonderful list of books and a jumping off point.

There is also a second portion of the book, "Parent's Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness". This is a compilation of ideas to help teach your children/preschoolers in everyday activities.

The kids loved the stories and I can't wait to pick up more of the books listed in BFIAR. The ideas in the book are not complicated, and typically just involve looking at the book more in depth and talking about various aspects of the book. If you are looking for a more in-depth or lap book type learning there are "Fold and Learns" available for each of the BFIAR books. This would be a great way to extend the learning for the advanced preschooler or to help include an older child.

You can see more reviews from the TOS Crew here.

And don't forget to check out the Five In A Row website for even more great products for preschoolers through the early teen years

Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this product for review purposes. All opinions expressed here are my own and there was no other compensation given for this review.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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