Posted in Books and Reading, Reading

Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review for Dad Is My Best Friend

Reviewed by Savannah Aldridge for Readers’ Favorite

Dad Is My Best Friend by Kerice K. Robinson and illustrated by Kavion Robinson tells the story of the beautiful relationship between a father and daughter. Our narrator Andrea is a young girl who proudly proclaims that her dad is her best friend. She then takes us on an ordinary yet fun-filled day spent with her father. Together, they race and bike outside and then come indoors for some more exercise together. We get to count how many push-ups Andrea’s dad can do with her sitting on his back. Finally, at the end of a long day, he tucks her into bed with love.

After reading this book, the first word that came to my mind was “cozy.” Kerice K. Robinson notes in the beginning that some of the scenes were inspired by her early memories with her father, and the genuine love between dad and daughter is deeply evident throughout this book. The story feels gentle, safe, warm, and cozy! Another endearing part of Dad Is My Best Friend is its beautiful artwork. Each picture is bright, detailed, focused, and truly captures the love in Angela and her father’s relationship. The vocabulary sounds like the genuine narrative of a young girl, which makes the book perfect for early readers who need a book they can go through on their own. However, I believe the best way for a kid to enjoy this book is to snuggle up with their dad. A warning to fathers who plan to read it. Your kid will want you to do push-ups while they sit on your back because it looks like fun in the book. Get ready for a father-daughter bonding workout!

Posted in Activity, Parenting

10 Fine Motor Activities for preschoolers and toddlers

What are some fine motor skills activities for preschoolers, kids, and toddlers?

What are fine motor skills? Fine motor skills are the ability to make movements (motor) using the small (fine) muscles in our hands and wrist.

Gross motor skills have to do with the larger muscle groups in the arms and legs. Think of a child being able to crawl, walk, run, jump, skip, clap, and dance.

These skills are important because they allow us to do everyday things, such as getting out of bed in the morning, eating with a fork, spoon, or chopsticks, squeezing toothpaste out of the tube, brushing our teeth, zipping our pants, tying our shoes, and writing our name.

10 Fine Motor Activities

Here is a quick list of 10 fine motor activities for young children and some products to consider using when actively teaching these skills.

red paint
playing with clay
  1. Coloring – great for building hand muscles and getting use to holding a pencil. Toddler Large Picture Vehicle Coloring Book
  2. Painting – use washable, non-toxic paint. Have a child finger-paint, paint with a paint brush, and/or Q-tip to make a wonderful picture.
  3. Cutting with Scissors – try cutting straight lines and curved ones too. Halloween Scissor Skills Puzzle Workbook
  4. Use Dot Markers to improve hand eye coordination. Buy dot markers on amazon. Buy dot marker workbooks on amazon.
  5. Put-in task or shape sorting – putting objects or toys into holes build muscle strength and hand-eye coordination. (You can purchase fine motor put-in task toys via amazon affiliate linked. Shape Sorting ToyStaking and Sorting ToyFine Motor Hedgehog )
  6. Opening and closing locks/latches.
  7. Do puzzles. They are great for improving fine motor skills. Knob puzzles for younger children babies to pre-toddlers, and jigsaw puzzles for toddlers and older. Check out these cool puzzles!
  8. Getting dressed with belts, buttons, zippers, and snaps. Items to help build this skill: Busy Board with zippers and buttonsLearning to dress – interactive bookHousables Toddler Busy Board
  9. Bath time play with toys. Filling water into small buckets and pouring it out.
  10. Stacking and building with blocks. Legos100 building blocks.

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Posted in Books and Reading, holiday, phonics, Reading

Press Release “I is for Imani: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book”

I is for Imani

Unabashed Kids Media is happy to announce the release of “I is for Imani!: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book” written by Kerice Robinson. Learn about the celebration of Kwanzaa with this brightly colored holiday letter book. Children will go through each letter in the alphabet and learn how it relates to the principles of Kwanzaa.

“I is for Imani” teaches kids about Kwanzaa in a fun and easy to digest way. Simple ABCs of Kwanzaa book. The book has a word for every letter in the alphabet and relates the words to Kwanzaa. The book also gives a simple and kid-friendly definition of each word. Purchase on Amazon or Google Play.

Take a Peek Inside: “I is for Imani!”

I is for Imani: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book
Take a peek inside “I is for Imani”

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Posted in Books and Reading

31 October Picture Books: A List of Books to Read for Children Ages 3 to 8

Children should read everyday. It doesn’t matter if it is the same book over and over again or a different book everyday. Unabashed Kids has created a list of 31 picture books to read in the month of October. The books on this list can be read by children of all ages but may do a better job keeping the interest of children ages 3 to 8.

Unabashed Kids is an affiliate for Amazon and other online retailers. That means that if you use the links found on Unabashed Kids blog to make a purchase, we receive a small percentage of the purchase price. It never changes the price you pay and we select every item mentioned on the site!

Comment below, tell us what books you read with children during the month of October.

Posted in Books and Reading

10 Bug and Insect Books for Little Kids

The classic bug theme in primary school or preschool. I can recall when my second grade class kept caterpillars in our classroom and released them on the playground when they turned to butterflies. There are so many ways to teach children about bugs and insects, but a great book should always be the start. Below is a list of 10 bug and insect books from elementary and preschool children.

I'm Trying to Love Spiders

I’m Trying to Love Spiders

A book that teaches children the not so frightening things about spiders.

Bugs: A Stunning Pop-up Look at Insects, Spiders, and Other Creepy-Crawlies by George McGavin

Larger-than-life bugs spring from the pages of this book. Children will love looking through the pages.

Bugs book
A very quiet cricket

The Very Quiet Cricket Board Book by Eric Carle

A newborn cricket meets other insects as they greet him, he tries to respond but does not yet know how to chirp.

Willbee the Bumblebee by Craig Smith

A rhyming book about a bumblebee.

willbee the bumblebee book
little yellow bee

Little Yellow Bee Board Book by Ginger Swift

A little bee introduces the reader to the animals and plants in the garden.

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle

Eric Carle is an extraordinary children’s author. See our list of the best Eric Carle Books. Books like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle make the list.

the grouchy ladybug
on beyond bugs

On Beyond Bugs: All about Insects (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Tish Rabe


There’s a Bug on My Book! by John Himmelman

An interactive book that teaches cool facts about bugs and insects.

there's a bug on my book
the backyard bug

The Backyard Bug Book for Kids: Storybook, Insect Facts, and Activities by Lauren Davidson


A Butterfly Is Patient by Dianna Aston

a butterfly is patient

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Posted in Reading

Step 6: Learn to read a full sentence


Sight Words and Sentence Building

Sight words are a collection of commonly used words that a child can learn to recognize by sight without decoding. A large amount of text is made up of 100 commonly used words. Most of these 100 words are small and easy to read (the, or, it, is, a, I, and, are, on). Some sight words are not easy to sound out by following the phonemic rules taught to early readers (from, what, there). This is why educators teach these words by sight. Memorizing sight words help children begin to read more fluently. There are 2 prominent lists of high-frequency words Dolch list and Fry list. Both lists include the same words but words on the list differ when it comes to frequency ranking. Using the top 100 words from either of these lists is sufficient for teaching sight words to early readers.

I was able to get my pre-kindergarten class to learn sight words by teaching them 1 word a day. During circle time, we would review about 10 to 15 words with flashcards but, 1 special sight word would be our word of the day. I would tape this word to my shirt and during snack, recess, and center time I asked the children to tell me what word I had on my shirt. This forced them to pay attention to our special word and learn it by sight.

After 80% of my class new 10 or more sight words, I began to have them read full sentences. This was introduced during circle time. I prepared about a dozen sentence strips that included phrases, questions, and statements. All words on the sentence strips were either 3 letter (CVC) words, student names, and sight words. I did not use any unfamiliar names on the sentence strips, as new names may be hard to read. My class constantly saw their names on cubbies, tables, cots, snacks, and other labels; they were familiar with the names of the children in the class. During circle time, I had the class read the sentences out load to me. I would add new sentences as they mastered new sight words, CVCe words, and other phonics sounds.

Sight Word Teaching Resources
Sight Word Worksheets
120 High-Frequency Word Flashcards. With a bonus of 13 worksheets which include word searches and spelling worksheets.
Sentence Building Worksheets – Coming Soon

Building Reading Skills is a Continuous Process: Read! Read! Read!

Read to children, even if they are now able to read to themselves. Have a child read to you if they enjoy reading. Below are several Unabashed Kid list of awesome books to introduce to children.

Posted in Reading

5th Step to Reading: Tricky and Long Vowel Sounds

Tricky and Long Vowel Sounds

This is the time to review the alphabet as vowels and consonants. Read our blog post about books that teach vowel sounds.

CVCe words are a part of the tricky vowel blends, I suggest introducing them after mastery of CVC words. Review Word Family worksheets and activities to practice long vowel sounds. 

  • Bossy r sounds include words with ar, ir, er, ur (car, shirt, her, hurt). 
  • Long a sounds include ai, ay, a_e (train, play, make).
  • Long e sounds happen when these letter combinations are found at the end of a word: ee, ea, e_e, y (see, read, here, happy).
  • Long i sounds happen when these letters are found at the end of a word: ie, i_e, igh, y (pie, like, night, my).
  • Long o sounds include oa, ow, o_e (goat, snow, home).
  • Long u sounds include ue, u_e, ew (cue, fuse, few).
  • Short o sounds happen when these letters are found in the middle of a word: aw, au, al (saw, caught, walk)

Rules to making long vowel sounds

  1. Vowels at the end of a syllable make the long sound. (ba/by, he/ro, mu/sic)
  2. Vowel teams can make the long sound. (beat, meat, seed, they, tie, dew)
  3. Silent e makes the previous vowel long. (like, make, tone)
  4. i and o make their long sound when they come before two consonants. (mind, bold, right)
Posted in Reading

4th Step to Reading: CVC Words and Word Families


How to Teach Rhyming Words, Word Families and CVC Words

The word phonogram comes from Greek and is translated as the “written symbol for a sound.” Phonograms are the building block to almost all English words, the vast majority of words follow the regular phonogram sounds. You can introduce children to the majority of words that don’t follow regular phonogram sounds, by teaching sight words. 

CVC stands for Consonant/Vowel/Consonant. These words will be super easy for kids to read once they have learned their letter sounds. You can even get a child who knows their CVC words to begin reading books. Check out the Unabashed List of Easy to Read Children’s books. Teach a child that the letters A, E, I, O, and U are vowels. Teach the short and long sounds of these letters. Children will learn to distinguish the long and short sounds with CVC and CVCe words in the next step of reading. CVC stands for Consonant/Vowel/Consonant and CVCe words are words where the letter ‘e’ at the end make the vowel in the middle make a long sound (say its name).The FREE CVC to CVCe packet aids in teaching children the long vowel sounds.

CVC Word Family Game

Pre-K students playing word family game

You can make your own cards (like I did in the image above), or print out our word family flash-cards. This game is easy to play, fun, and engaging for students. I had the children in my classroom work in groups of 2. One student will read the word outload and the other would match the words to the correct word family.

This game is fun for students who love to rhyme. It is also helpful to pair a stronger reading student with a less advanced reading students. They learn to work as a team and often children explain things to each other in a way that adults cannot. The less advanced reading student learns from the strong reader.


Word Family Truffula Trees – Inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

After reading the Lorax, the Pre-Kindergarten class created their own truffula trees. We turned our art project into a fun word family game.

Dr. Seuss Word Family Trufulla Tree

Use these flashcards and worksheets to assist you while teaching reading lessons. Don’t forget to make it FUN!


word families
Purchase these Word Family Flash Cards to build reading confidence. Includes over 400 easy to learn words. CVC, CVCe, flashcards.
ap word family

Consonant Vowel Consonant (CVC) Words + Intro to CVCe

CVC to CVCe word writing worksheet
CVC to CVCe comparison

50 page word building worksheet packet – coming soon


Posted in Reading

3rd Step to Reading: Blending Letter Sounds

Teach Children How to Identify the First, Middle, and Last Sounds in 3 Letter Words.

Blending may be the hardest step, but once we get over this hill, it will be much easier for children to learn how to read words. This is the step where you should introduce vowels and consonants, don’t worry too much if children don’t pick up on those 2 words (vowel/consonant matchups). This step will be repeated once a child has developed their reading skills a little more. 

In the worksheets below children will be asked to identify the first sound in a word, the middle sound, and the last sound. These are great word decoding exercises and build confidence before students are asked to read CVC or CVCe words. We offer free interactive phonics videos at

For more phonics worksheets purchase a workbook from the Unabashed Kids Welcome to Elementary School series. Welcome to Elementary School series focuses on Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade level work. The books are split by grade and subject (math, phonics, science, and finance). These books include up to 200 pages of comprehensive worksheets.

Beginning Sound Worksheets

Beginning Sound worksheets
Purchase this 10 page worksheet pack from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Welcome to Kindergarten! 180 Page Workbook

Welcome to Kindergarten Workbook

Ending Sound Worksheets

Posted in Books and Reading

Start The School Year Off Right, With These Books!

Is your little one nervous about going to school for the first time? OR Are you a teacher looking for a book to help introduce a positive classroom dynamic? Starting fresh in a new environment, meeting a teacher and new classmates can seem overwhelming to children. This list of books will help students feel more comfortable about the new school year. Scroll down and choose a book to help start the school year off right.

List of books to read on the first day of school (Elementary / Primary School)

The Night Before First Grade! Written by Natasha Wing – Available on Amazon

It is the night before the first grade! Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale will help children through their back-to-school jitters.

The night before first grade book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.
"A Letter From Your Teacher" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.

A Letter From Your Teacher- on the first day of school. Written by Shannon Olsen – Available on Amazon

This heartwarming picture book helps teachers welcome their students on the first day of school. Through a letter written from the teacher’s point of view, students are given the message that their new teacher is someone they will get to form a special bond with.

Our Classroom is a Family by Shannon Olsen – Available on Amazon

“Family isn’t always your relatives. It’s the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.”

Teachers build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe. Reading “Our class is a family” on the first day of school, sets the ton for the inclusiveness that will be carried out throughout the school year.

"Our Class is a Family" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.
"Unique Start from 6 Feet Apart" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.

A Unique Start from 6 Feet Apart by Emily Oquendo – Available on Amazon

Students returning to school in fall 2021, will experience a school year different than any precious years. These students will wear mask, social distance, and be taught plenty of hygiene methods to prevent virus spreading in schools.

If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff – Available on Amazon

“If you take a mouse to school, he’ll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he’ll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he’ll need a notebook and some pencils. He’ll probably want to share your backpack, too.”

"If you take a mouse to school" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.
"The Day You Begin" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.

The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson – Available on Amazon

This book is perfect for upper primary school students, grades 3 to 5. There will always be a new kid in school, no matter what grade level. This story will help students understand that we are all different, but it is ok to embrace our differences.

“There will be a times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.”

“There will be many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.”

Ellie the Elephant Makes New Friends at School by Agnes Green – Available on Amazon

“I woke up this morning, as happy as could be, excited for the day ahead, dressing hurriedly, I raced downstairs and kissed my mom, on my first day of school.”

"Ellie the Elephant Makes New Friends at school" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.
"I got the School Spirit" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.

I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison – Available on Amazon

A celebration of the first day of school. This beautifully illustrated book will get students ready to learn all school year.

Are there any “back to school” books left off this list? Use the comment section to share some of your favorite back to school books for elementary kids.

The best homeschool workbook for kindergarten and first grade.