Monday, July 13, 2015

Quote of the Day

"The man who does not read is no better
than the man who can't."
~Mark Twain

Monday, July 6, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Fill your house with stacks of books, in all
the crannies, in all the nooks."
~Dr. Seuss

Monday, June 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

"There is no substitute for books
in the life of a child."
~Mary Ellen Chase

Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Anne Frank

If Anne Frank was alive she would be 86 years old today.
Six months ago I came across a few quotes from her diary and added them to mine.
I'm still amazed at the wisdom of a thirteen year old girl,
but then she lived a life-time in those last few years,
and suffered greatly in her last seven months.
She and her older sister, Margot, died of typhus
a few weeks before the British liberated their camp.

This last quote is prophetic.
 Because of her Diary she has gone on living long after her death.
Generations will continue to learn of her and read her diary.

Anne Frank

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

7 Ways Parents can Inspire Young Writers

A busy mom of seven once asked me what she could do to encourage her son's interest in writing. Wow! What a great mom! She recognized her child's interest and is asking questions. She knows that a child's imagination knows no bounds. They are not limited to earthly experiences. They are open to any possibility. So Brooke, here's my list of 7 Ways Parents can Inspire Young Writers:

1.  Go to the Library at least once a month.
During the summer consider going every two weeks.
This encourages more reading while decreasing boredom.
It also increases vocabulary--a very necessary tool.

2. Check out some graphic novels and see if
your kids can make up one of their own.

3.  Buy a bunch of those cheap composition notebooks.
Remind them to write something everyday.
 Turn it into a game or treasure hunt, not a chore.
Look at our "Journaling" page or under our "Journaling" label for prompt ideas.

4.  Show your kids interesting pictures.
a. Ask them to describe what they see.
b. Ask them to describe what no one else can see.
c. Who lives there?
d.  What are they like?
e. What has happened in that world?

5.  Encourage your kids to draw pictures to go with their stories.
Ask them to tell you about their pictures.
FYI--This is a snowflake making machine.
6.  Make time to read and encourage their efforts.
Never brush off the opportunity to read their thoughts--it gives you a rare glance into their world.
Some kids have difficulty verbalizing their concerns. Their pictures and stories can help parents identify needs and provide opportunities for reassurance.
Encourage them to enter contests like Reflections whenever possible.
7.  Never read your child's journal without their permission.
You might not agree with this one and that's okay. There are a lot of kids with special needs and you are the parent who has to make that call. BUT, do what you can to protect their privacy.
Personally, if someone read my journal, I'd feel violated.
It's a matter of trust. Journals should be the one safe place where children are
free to express themselves without criticism.
If you do #6, most children will be eager to share their creations with you.
Trust is something that is earned and each child learns trust in their own time.

Just a side note: There are a lot of benefits to writing. Writing and drawing pictures are so therapeutic for everyone. It helps children and adults sort through some of life's trickier problems.

One of my grandchildren was making up some of the most outlandish works of fiction, I'm talking about real whoppers. With a tear in her eye, she'd relay these stories as truths, convincing many adults and friends. We finally talked her into writing these stories instead of telling them. That way she could get her ideas out of her head and onto paper. In my opinion, writing helped her grow out of that phase.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Quote of the Day

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

7 Ways to Raise a Happy Reader

I am in no way proclaiming to be an expert in child development, or an expert in reading. I am a mom and a grandmother who loves to read, and my grandchildren love to be read to. They prefer it over television--imagine that.

What are some of the things your parents did to inspire you to read?

Even if your kids are mostly grown, don't think it's too late to start some of these habits. Start from where you are right now.

Here are 7 Ways to Raise a Happy Reader:

First--Start reading to your children before they are born. This is a perfect time to develop the habit of reading bedtime stories.

Hint: I like to give board books as baby shower gifts because a lot of new parents overlook this as a need. They're busy collecting diapers and layettes, and putting up the crib.

Second--Continue reading to them as infants. It doesn't matter what you read, just read. They love to snuggle with you and they love the sound of your voice or the voice of an older sibling.

I bought new books for my far-a-way grandchildren and sent a tape of my voice reading the story to them. When they get older they can follow along in the book.

Third--Be consistent in reading bedtime stories. Every. Night. Make it a part of the nighttime ritual. This is a great time for both kids and parents to unwind from daily rigors and enjoy some quiet bonding moments (okay that's in the perfect world. There will always be times when Life gets in the way, namely sick kids and what-not).

Fourth--Be a good example. Let your kids see you enjoy reading for yourself even if it's only for a  few minutes. Every. Day. Especially the Father figure. Kids are more likely to pick up the reading habit if they see BOTH parents read.

Fifth--When your kids get old enough to show preferences, take monthly or twice-monthly trips to the library and let them pick out their own books. Teach them how to treat books. Make Library Day a certain day of the month. Be. Consistent. Make it something to look forward to like a privilege for chores well done.

Some of my favorites
During the summer, and especially for school age kids, make sure Library Day happens every two weeks. This helps with summertime boredom and keeps kids caught up on their reading skills.

Sixth--As your kids get into school they will need a consistent 20-30 minute reading time everyday, without distractions, without electronics. A nice compromise is to allow them 30 minutes reading time on your eReader, occasionally.

Seventh--Try to make reading time more of a privilege than a chore or punishment. There are so many great Middle Grade books out there that reading will become its own reward soon enough.

Now, with all of that, there will still be some kids who really struggle to read, and it is a chore. Some children have challenges staying focused. Some have challenges like dyslexia. Some have challenges with vision. Before you get frustrated, step back and evaluate the situation, talk with teachers and counselors, visit the eye doctor or pediatrician.

I say this because one of my kids had problems reading in elementary school. It turned out she just wasn't interested in what there was to read at the time. Thank goodness for Nancy Drew books. When my daughter was 10 -11 years old, I saw some at Sam's club in a five-book set. I loved these books growing up, so I took a chance and she loved them too. She wanted more. I did whatever it took to keep her reading. Then, Harry Potter came out. I wish I could give J.K. Rowling a hug for what her books did for my daughter.

Second story: One of my grandsons had difficulty to the point he'd do just about anything to keep from reading. He was taking piano lessons at the time and really didn't like that either. He struggled at school. His parents decided to get his eyes checked, thinking maybe he was getting near-sighted (runs in the family). It turned out that his acuity was okay, but he has double vision. I can't imagine anything more frustrating than trying to read a book or sheet music with double vision. With the help of specific exercises, he is able to focus better and found The Diary of a Wimpy Kid too much fun to put down.

So don't give up. Find a way to share the joy of reading with your kids.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Time and Season

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, right? Theoretically, that is true, but to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. ~Ecclesiastes 3: 1

Time management looks differently, now that I am a grandma, compared to when I was a young mom of five busy kids. I have more time to myself, but it seems to zip by so much faster.

I'm not an expert, by any stretch of the imagination, but here are a few things I've learned that might help in whatever season you find yourself.
  • Reduce and Simplify your life. De-clutter wherever possible.
  • Take stock of your daily routine--eliminate the unnecessary. It's ok to say no sometimes.
  • Do the 'have to dos' first. My mom always said, "Work first, play later."
  • Delegate whenever possible. Teach your kids to be responsible for their own chores. Make it fun. Time yourselves and see what you can get done in 10 or 15 minutes, then reward well, not in food, but with a privilege, or a fun field trip together.
  • Combine trips--saves time and gas.
  • Utilize small snippets of time when you have to wait (carpools, doctors offices, etc).
    • Always keep pencil and paper handy to collect quirky characters, bits of dialogue, different speech patterns, and sensory details.
    • Use spare time to sort out plot details, ask the 'what if', 'why', and 'what next' questions.
    • If you have a smartphone check your emails or update your blog.
  • Learn ways to save on meal preparation.
    • I love my crockpot for this very reason. I can set it, forget it, and continue working.
    • Make ahead freezer meals. A one day time investment can yield a month's worth of dinners. All you have to do is thaw and cook or throw it in your crockpot.