• Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College

    My book list of Top 10 Books to Teach Kids to Be More Responsible made me start to think about life skills that kids need before going off to college. That and the fact that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, will be starting high school next fall so we have only 4 years to tackle this […]

  • Today I am on the Front Page of The Boston Globe

    Today I am on the front page of The Boston Globe for the past week of posts that I wrote on my microblog, I Love Newton, about the anti-Asian racism in the local high school musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie. School play’s stereotypes bring outcry and apology. “Millie” touches nerve in Newton by Ellen Ishkanian, Globe […]

  • Get Kids Reading Strategies: 12 Surefire Ways

    I searched five years of digital photographs looking for photos of my kids reading and I only came up with the handful here. Why? It’s not easy getting kids reading, especially to love reading enough that they choose it over more exciting things like screens, playdates or sports! I started my blog after my oldest […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade

    I had the great fortune to meet The Nerdy Book Club founders at a dinner for Anne Ursu hosted by Walden Pond Press to celebrate her latest chapter book, The Real Boy. (It’s wonderful. I put it on my  Newbery 2014 Contenders list! And it just won a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdie). Colby Sharp, one of […]

  • Best Beginning Chapter Books for 2nd and 3rd Grade

    Best books for beginning readers from my library. This list is perfect for 2nd grade and 3rd grade.

  • How To: Create a Great Kids’ Book Club (Activity and Book Suggestions)

    Some ideas on how to set up a book club for your child with examples of successful book club meetings.

  • Top 10: Best Dragon Children’s Books (ages 2-16)

    The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog has a great post on dragons that preempted this post but I actually had been working on this for several weeks. There is something magical about dragons and I’m glad that some kids can keep the magic alive. I’ve gathered my favorite dragon books that range in age from picture books to young adult. What is your favorite dragon book? Please share!

  • Best Science Apps for Kids (ages 4-21)

    I am starting to buy into this idea of teaching and really connecting material through games and apps. I was sort of on board with this concept, but since playing around with The Elements (a Harry Potter version of the Periodic Table) that my brother-in-law turned me on to, I am now a believer as I saw, with my own eyes, how captivated my kids were with the Periodic Table, an otherwise dull chart.

  • Newbery Winners by Grade Appropriateness!

    Thank you to Hubpages for this information. There are additional book suggestions by grade if click here to see their post. I have added an asterisk to the books that I’ve read and loved (and two astericks for must reads!).

  • Best Picture Books That Teach Math Concepts

    Picture books can be a visual and fun way to introduce math concepts. I think it makes math less intimidating when it’s part of a story. For those kids who love math, it’s another way to eat it up!

caught in the act of reading

Caught in the Act … of READING returns!

I’m celebrating kids caught in the act of reading again this summer. As always, I will send you a children’s book for every photo you send me of your child caught reading. I hope this sparks a love of reading for kids!

You can email me at pragmaticmomblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

caught in the act of reading Read more…

helping my child get into art school

Thinking and Stressing About College for My Oldest

Now that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, is starting high school this September we have started thinking more concretely about college for her. She wants to go to art school, with Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) being a top choice.

rhode island school of design Read more…

Plimoth Plantation: Learning About the Pilgrims

Plimoth Plantation: Learning About the Pilgrims

A few years ago, we spent 4th of July in America’s Hometown, Plymouth. What a difference a few hundred years makes!

Plimoth Plantation Faceoff: English Settlers

This is Plimoth Plantation’s Pilgrim settlement. Read more…

Top 10 Mythology Books and Resources for Kids

Top 10 Mythology Books and Resources for Kids

I confess to a deep and abiding love for mythology. It started when I was a kid; I fell in love with Greek Mythology even without Percy Jackson books! I used to read Edith Hamilton’s great mythology books over and over again.

I pinned books every mythology book from around the world including the reading list from The National Mythology Exam in my Mythology for Kids Pinterest board and I’ve used this to select 10 really great books from it.

What great mythology for kids books am I missing? Did you write a post on a mythology book for kids? Let me know via email and I’ll include in my board. Thank you! Read more…

ballet four picture book giveaway

Ballerina Picture Book of the Day: 4 Book GIVEAWAY

Marilyn Singer’s charming Tallulah series reminds me of Fancy Nancy but with a ballet twist. My daughters never took to dance though I had enrolled Grasshopper and Sensei in Boston Ballet’s Preschool Ballet program when she turned four.

first ballet class at Boston Ballet

Grasshopper and Sensei’s first ballet class at the Boston Ballet. They got tutus for the photo! She is 2nd from left.

It was probably my fault. She only  had a few weeks to go before her class ended  for the summer and she said that her ballet shoes were too tight. Instead of buying a new pair, I just let her use the old pair which made her feet hurt by the end of class. Feet hurting = no dance. That was it. No more ballet for her.

PickyKidPix in tutu

I think this is the first time PickyKidPix has donned a tutu.

I tried with PickyKidPix when she was in preschool too. Being separated from me for her class was a deal breaker. I got a full refund from The Boston Ballet School after she cried the entire first class.

If you have a young ballerina — either girl or boy — this lovely picture book series might be hit at your house! It won’t be at mine so I am giving away all four books AND a pink tutu!

Read more…

Hi Lo books for boys

Writing Hi Lo Fiction and Books for Boys

Please welcome my guest blogger, Jim Westcott, an author who writes Hi Lo fiction books for boys.

 

My fifteen years as a Special Education Teacher influenced what I write and for what audience. I write these kinds of books for these two audiences:

  • Hi Interest-Low Vocabulary Books for struggling readers, especially books for boys between 8 and 12
  • High Interest Books for Boys that don’t struggle, but fall into what is known as the Reluctant category

I try my best to have a style that is fast and funny and contains some male-introspection. I should probably mention that my writing doesn’t contain much farting and burping. Read more…

get kids writing with progressive story, teacher gift idea

Get Kids Writing with a Progressive Story

My son’s third grade class came up with the best idea for a teacher gift! A progressive story! Using Google Docs, each child wrote one or two paragraphs of a story about their teacher before passing it on. You needed to read the story before you could add your own, so it was also a nice way to get kids reading their peers’ writing! Genius! Read more…

Happy Tau Day, June 28, Tau Day, 6/28/2014

Happy Tau Day Today: 6.28

Tau is approximately equal to 6.28, so that makes today, 6/28, Tau day! Happy Tau Day.

One easy way to think of Tau Day is just to eat twice as much pie today as you did on Pi Day (March 14).

tau daytau day

But … uhmm, what exactly is Tau?!

Read more…

summer reading ideas, what counts as reading

Summer Reading Ideas: What Counts as “Reading”

Please welcome my guest author today, Donna Lasinski of ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program. 

summer reading, caught in the act of reading

What is Reading?

Summer reading is a time honored tradition for adults and children alike.  But what really counts as summer reading?  With my three boys, we can often haggle over what “counts” for their daily reading time.  So, with the benefit of insights from other parents, teachers and researchers, here is what my family has decided “counts”: Read more…