Fourth Grade Readers [2016-2017]

Before we can talk in depth about my curriculum choices for Sydney, it’s time to first tell you about all the good books we are reading!

The way I schedule this is pretty simple, she has 4 weeks to read 1 biography and 1 fiction. We have 8 weeks to read a read aloud fiction. She gets to pick the order, I don’t care so long as they all get read by the end of the school year.


The Phantom Tollbooth | Holes | The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Running Out of Time | The Indian in the Cupboard


Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics | Tuck Everlasting |Skinny Bones | The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane |Because of Winn-Dixie
Lunch Money | Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library | Ella Enchanted | Sara, Plain and Tall | Prince Caspian


Christopher Columbus | Sally Ride | Pablo Picasso| Eleanor Roosevelt | Abraham Lincoln
Harriet Tubman | Sacagawea | Rosa Parks | Annie Oakley | Roald Dahl


Combining All About Reading and Bob Books

AARBob copy

Bob Books hold a special place in my heart. They truly do. As a four-year-old I learned to read using these books. I thought it was super cool that there was a character named after me. Everyone whose name is Sam is short for Samantha, don’t you know?

I also taught Sydney how to read using these books. But we picked my brain along with an awesome blog called Teaching Reading with Bob Books. While this was a great success with Sydney I didn’t think it would go over well with Audrey.

Audrey doesn’t like to sit still. She likes to play games. She likes to be entertained.

She also gets frustrated very easily.

We use All About Spelling as part of our curriculum with Sydney and I love the methods and style. Shortly after we started using the spelling program they came out with a reading program, and it has lots of fun games and exercises to teach kids to read. Which is right up Audrey’s alley.

My only complaint against All About Reading so far is just that it takes until the 5th lesson for them to start reading out of a book. I loved that (almost) instant gratification children get when they read a WHOLE book by themselves for the first time. Especially since each lesson takes more than one day for Audrey to complete. As I looked through the sequence of AAR I realized pretty quickly that I could supplement Bob Books in where they fit best. So far this is just a tentative list, as it’s based on the sequence provided by AAR in their level 1 manual. But here’s the list:

Mat can be read after AAR lesson 2
Sam can be read after AAR lesson 3
Dot can be read after AAR lesson 8
Mac can be read after AAR lesson 8
Dot & Mit can be read after AAR lesson 8
Dot & the Dog can be read after AAR lesson 8
Jig & Mag can be read after AAR lesson 8
Muff & Ruff can be read after AAR lesson 10
10 Cut Ups can be read after AAR lesson 10
Peg & Ted can be read after AAR lesson 12
Lad and the Fat Cat can be read after AAR lesson 14
The Vet can be read after AAR lesson 14

As you can see the 10 books from the first set of Bob Books fit in with the first 14 lessons of All About Reading level 1. Most after lesson 8. You might want to split them up as you see fit. By lesson 15 they have read 11 short stories from the readers, so my plan is to slip the Bob Books in when there is a lull or as something to read to Daddy when he gets home. Audrey has done this with the first two Bob Books and it is so exciting to her to sit on daddy’s lap and read him a story. I will probably continue to do this with the other sets of Bob Books I own.

Have you used Bob Books to supplement All About Reading?


That Spells Audrey!

Audrey went to a birthday party and was given a goody bag with her name on it. Later that same day she asked what the tag said. Jordan asked her what letters were on the tag.

“A-U-D-R-E-Y. Hey! That how you spell Audrey! That spells Audrey!!”

She was so excited that she recognized her name but that smile got even bigger when her Daddy told her, “You read your name!” She can’t wait to start reading!

(She has since hidden the precious Audrey bag, so I didn’t get a picture of it. But you’ll have to make due with the picture of Audrey writing her name by herself.)



Preschool: The Last Day

This last week we had our final Preschool Pack. And it was on farms.

That Monday I went to JoAnn Fabric and found these cute gellies that grow. And they had a farm one!

So we grew our own farm. 😉

On the last day Sydney took Sonlight’s reading test and got bored at the 3rd grade reading level. I was shocked! And super excited/proud. Although we will still be using the 1st grade readers. While she can read the words that she was tested on, she’s still not a confident reader. I’d rather her be confident and enjoy reading than be too challenged and end up frustrated.

Speaking of proud reading moments, we told Sydney to take Hi Ho Cherrio upstairs and put it away. When she came back down stairs she asked, “What’s Ants in the Pants?” We asked her what she was talking about and she told us that on the back of the Hi Ho Cherrio box there were the words “Ants in the Pants” and she wanted to know if it was another game. Yeah, we were pretty proud of her. Jordan said he wanted to go buy her the game just for reading it. There was lots of jumping up and down and dancing around in celebration of Sydney reading something for fun.

After dinner on the very last day of school we took the girls out to Burgerville and ordered two cones and two baby cones. MUCH better price than Baskin Robins 😉

And that’s a wrap on our Preschool year! My wall is now empty, and everything will go back up when school starts. And yes, I’ve already started organizing the Kindergarten stuff.

And the next morning? Sydney asked what we were doing for school. I love that girl.


Ocean Week

This week our theme was Ocean. I half used 1+1+1=1’s Under the Sea pack and half my own pack. I’ll upload it later for your downloading pleasure. :)

Sydney is half a book away from finishing the last book in Bob Books Set 4! Whoo hoo!! So proud of that girl!

The high light for Sydney was making a beaded creation with her Daddy. She was so excited for him to come home and make a fish with her!

Jordan and I both made these growing up, however neither of has the slightest idea of how iron them. The first try didn’t work so he had to remake the thing and then try again. We know better for next time.

Jordan and I were talking about doing a more year-round friendly school. Instead of going September-June and then have 2.5 months off we’d have 2 full months off during the school year (corresponding with family vacations and new babies, or if there aren’t any whatever months we decide) and continue with our 6 weeks on 1 week off schedule. Neither of us find much joy in going places during the summer; it’s HOT and crowded!!

Of course if I do it this way, that means that Kindergarten would start in July! Eeek! Excited but nervous! So we’ll see if I change my mind or not.

Next week is the last week of preschool for Sydney! :)


Outer Space!

This week our theme was on Outer Space.

Sydney loved the words associated with space (alien, moon, star, rocket ship, etc) and enjoyed learning a little about space.

My husband teased me about telling her that Pluto is a planet. I reminded him that 1) I honestly don’t care if Pluto was re categorized as a “dwarf planet” and 2) the books we read were pre-dwarf-planet. But in our There’s No Place Like Space! book they didn’t include Pluto!

Poor Pluto. :(

We also did a few exercises in following instructions.

The first was building a rocket ship. Since the point of these following activities is following directions, and not cutting things out (which she becomes frustrated with) I cut out all the pieces. She was shown a picture of what the rocket ship is suppose to look like, and then had to build it herself.


And then the next part was called Read and Do, so there were words on the page, and she was read them and then paste the corresponding picture on it. The words were moon, earth, rocket, and star (x7.) She LOVED this activity. I didn’t get a picture though. :(

She finished off set 3 of Bob Books last week, and she flew through the first two books of set 4. She has to read the book to Jordan in order to pass it off, and she usually stalls, gets distracted and it usually takes two different days to get through the book, because will take her an hour. Daddy is too distracting, I guess 😉 But she flew right through the second book with no issues, so yey!! We are trying to build her confidence in reading right now. We’ve had to become mean parents and not nod our heads or tell her she got the word correct. We only correct when she didn’t get it and ask her to try again. And then we lay the compliments on really thick at the end of the page. And give high fives on hard words or new words. It seems to be helping!


The Letter Z

Ooops! It’s not Friday. You will all forgive me, right?

This week we finished off our Letter of the Week Curriculum!

Z was for Zebra.

Our coconut tree is complete, AND I had all the letters done before we were to put the Letter Z on it. I’m impressed with myself 😉dsc_2799-e1335718523167

We also read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for the last time. I debated putting the book in the Preschool Box and not reading it again until Audrey does preschool. After reading the book 26 times since August I’ve decided to pack it away. Besides, if the kids miss it, Sydney and I have it memorized, we can just recite it! 😉


Sydney finished off the last book in Bob Book Set 3, so we will start on Set 4 on Monday. I’m so proud of that girl!! We have started taking off some of the words on our sight word list, some of the words that were in the first few books.

And the most important lesson we learned this week? Hide the jelly beans!!


School isn’t over yet, we have another 6 weeks to go. Our first themed pack is on Space. I’m looking forward to it! :)

(Linked up at Grateful For Grace)


The Letter X

Still no baby. Le sigh.

This week we worked on The Letter X…and I forgot to do the foam letter. I guess I’ll have to work on it this weekend, along with Y & Z. You know, when I’m busy not having a baby 😉

Something amazing happened this week/last week.

Sydney has been really struggling with the sight word then. She just doesn’t seem to remember it. And when she finally does remember it, she forgets it the next day. FRUSTRATING! At her Wednesday dance class I talked to one of my friends who was a Kindergarten teacher in her pre-mommy days, and she suggested that I just drop the word, and bring it back in a week or so. So I decided to do this if she didn’t get it by last Friday.

Since she hadn’t gotten the word on Monday, we would review it daily, and if she still didn’t get it (which she didn’t) she would write it three times, “Then. T-H-E-N. Then.” in an effort to help her remember this word. This was the only way I could remember how to spell anything when I was in school.

And on Friday she got the word! I was so excited! There was dancing, signing, jelly beans. So excited!!

And then Monday came…and she told me she didn’t know the word. So I asked her to spell the word for me.


Proud Mommy moment right there. I tell you. And she’s gotten the word every time I’ve brought it out (which is every other day, she got it on Monday, but since it had been such an issue I wanted to make sure she didn’t forget it again.)

She also learned a few new rules this week. Which I expected to take a long time for her to get. Such as the i_e rule. I expected that to take forever. She she got it pretty instantly. Occasionally I’d have to remind her. She is also doing great at noticing blends, so I don’t have to ask her to look for them.

Yesterday, she was writing down all the sight words she knew how to spell. And then she wrote her name. She can spell Sydney, but she required a little bit of help on her middle and last name.


She also wrote Audrey’s name and Zachary’s name down too, what took me by surprise was that she knew how to spell Audrey’s name.


The Letter W

Well, no baby this week, so we had school!

This week we added the word blends ir, er, and word ending ies.

So after she read through the book Lolly-Pops, I decided she needed more practice before she passed it off. I didn’t want to make her keep reading the same book, because she’d end up memorizing it. So I wrote out sentences for her to practice with that had all of our new blend, endings, rules, and sight words. Some of them were taken from the book she had read, and some I made up. And some were a mixture. This worked really well!

dsc_2617 dsc_2618

(She’s thinking about a hard word, I love this candid picture. Don’t worry, as soon as I took the picture and saw the face I helped her with it, lol.)

On Monday we went through all of our sight words and I wrote out a list of the words she was struggling with, so we could review and concentrate on those this week. It worked GREAT! She wasn’t overwhelmed by the long list every day, and by Friday she didn’t have any problem with any of the words.

This week we worked on W. W was for Watermelon. She had a lot of fun with this pack! I don’t really have much to say on the Letter packs, I like them a lot, and so does Sydney but there really isn’t much to say about them that I haven’t already. But I took a picture of our foam letter W, which was for Whale. See my U is for Unicycle? Yeah, I’m pretty proud of that one…and my Snail.dsc_2621

(Linked up at Grateful for Grace)


St. Patrick’s Day (Week)

This week we did theme printables on St. Patrick’s Day. I found these AMAZING printables at Musing of Me. Unfortunately she has since taken all her printables off the web. :( Sad day.

Actually, it was incredible that I was able to get them. I found her blog over Christmas and downloaded a bunch of them. Then about three days after Christmas she took them all down. I am incredibly lucky to use these “lost” printables! (They’ve since been burned to our curriculum CD so that our other children will also get to enjoy them.)

Anyways, despite being sick, Sydney had a fun time with the pack, and enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day books that we read.

Today we had picture day, dressed in our cute green shamrock shirt. (Well, she was, I don’t have a cute shamrock shirt.)


Something new from this pack is that they have See, Trace, Do pages with words. So we talked about what the word said (sounded it out if it was a word that she was able to sound out) and then she’d trace it, saying the letters out loud, and then write it herself in the next space, again saying the letters out loud. She LOVED these!


I is for Irish magnet page! She loved how there were so many magnets needed for this page! In fact, we were actually short 1 magnet (she asked me to go buy another one, I had to tell her I wasn’t doing it, as the magnets come in packs of 10 and I’m out of puff balls to hot glue, so we’ll just have to pretend.) I love her “What are you doing?” face as I was taking this picture.dsc_2572

She wasn’t overly fond of the “Count the Leprechauns” activity. Mostly because it required her to count between 1-20. She liked the smaller numbers and would get excited for them, and make cool designs.dsc_2573

She hated the times when it was time to count past 10, and the leprechauns became a pile! haha. Towards the end she started to lose interest and not count as well, and would have to redo some of them.dsc_2576

Today, we did school later in the day, because Audrey was a stinker. So we had school during Audrey’s nap time, by which time Jordan was home from work, so he snapped this picture of Sydney and I reading on the couch. In all my 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant glory. 😉 But I like that this picture proves I exist, as a Mommy with a “fancy” camera it’s hard to find pictures of me!

What About Reading??

This week we started on Bob Books Set 3: Word Families. This is introducing new concepts such as words ending with -y, -ed, and -ies. IN THE FIRST TWO BOOKS! So we have been taking reading VERY slowly this week. She passed off the first book, and we are slowly working our way through the second. It’s taking a lot more prep work on my part, because I want to make sure that I am introducing everything as simply as possible and not confusing her (I do not know my phonics, and learned to read with word recognition, so I have a cheat sheet of phonics with me when I’m teaching her the lessons.)

So that was our week! I think I made up for the lack of pictures the last two weeks though, you’ve been given a lot of picture this week! :)