• 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!

Butlins, Bognor Regis seaside resort

Seaside Resorts in UK Are Very Tempting!

My husband just got back from a trip to the U.K. It was golfing trip with buddies to celebrate his friend’s 60th birthday. When he got back, I asked him if we should go as a family. I had spent time in London and Cambridge, before kids, and I wanted take the kids on more international trips. Bonus points for England, too, since we wouldn’t have the language barrier.

From Boston, where we live in a suburb, it’s the exact same flying time (actually a half hour less) and approximate flight costs to go to California where our relatives are as to go to England. That’s tempting.

My biggest concern is what will the kids do all day? They are ages 8, 11 and 13 and finding activities that they all agree upon is practically impossible. I was thrilled to learn about Butlins because here is a change to get out and about with the family this summer at English seaside resorts!

They have three locations, all beach front: Bogner Regis, Minehead and Skegness. These seaside resorts in UK (United Kingdom) all look amazing for kids and adults! Read more…

diversity picture books for children, picture books with diversity, diversity and picture books,

Diversity Picture Books for Children GIVEAWAY

The lack of diversity in children’s literature is a problem that affects all children, especially children from low-income families, who rarely see themselves, their families or their communities in the stories they read. First Book

diversity in children's books

The lack of diversity in children’s books is alarming and I am pledging to promote more multicultural books for kids. So today for Picture Book of the Day, I am giving away three diversity picture books for children to three winners! Read more…

science book list for kids

Great Science Books for Kids

Please welcome Erica from What Do We Do All Day?, a blog that always inspires me. There’s a big push now for non-fiction in the Common Core Curriculum and I am afraid that if we, as parents, don’t introduce non-fiction books to our kids that enchant them, they could be turned off by the onslaught of “boring” non-fiction they will be forced to read at school.

Non-fiction, however, when matched up to a child’s interest can be a great motivator in getting them to read. Erica offers up great science books for kids! I hope you find some ideas here for your child’s summer reading list.

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Do your kids love science and learning about facts? Science picture books are a lovely way for kids to explore their favorite subjects and to discover something new.

At What Do We Do All Day? I share a book list (almost) every Monday, and even though my older son loves non-fiction books, I have made very few lists featuring fact-based books. That is probably a reflection of my own interests, so I am extra excited to be able to share with Pragmatic Mom’s followers this list of science picture books my boys have really enjoyed!

This book list is a hodgepodge and mishmash of all different science topics, so I hope you will find something that is a good fit for your child’s interests. If you have any favorite science picture books, please leave a comment here on this post. We love to get recommendations!


A Seed Is Sleepy. Author/illustrator team Dianna Hutts Aston and Slyvia Long have created a series of gorgeous books about natural wonders which turn kids’ attentions to the beauty of the small miracles of nature. Also discover: A Rock Is Lively,An Egg Is Quiet and A Butterfly Is Patient.


All the Water in the World. Poetry in motion, just like rushing, trickling, dripping water, this book about the cycle of water will fascinate your kids. Lots of facts about where water comes from, where it goes and why we need it are eloquently communicated through gorgeous watercolors and poetry.

Read more…

entering 2nd grade summer reading list, rising 1st grade summer reading list, 2nd grade book list, 1st grade book list

Rising First Grade Summer Reading List

Do you have a child going into 2nd grade? Try using this great summer reading list created by the Newton Public School Library Teachers & the Newton Free Children’s Librarians because my list is likely on your library shelves. The list includes the best newly published books across all genres including picture books, easy readers, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels. I hope this helps to keep your kids reading!

What are you reading with your child this summer? Please share!

Other Lists:

Rising Kindergarten Summer Reading List

Rising Second Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Third Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fourth Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fifth Grade Summer Reading List

Rising First Grade Summer Reading List

The Other Side of Town by Jon Agee A taxi cab driver in New York City gets very confused when he picks up a guy in a goofy suit. Aston, Dianne Hutts. A Rock is Lively
Introduces readers to rocks and minerals, describing how they are created, what they can be used for, and their different forms and types.

Read more…

rising 2nd grade summer reading list, rising second grade summer reading list, 3rd grade book list, 3rd grade reading list

Rising 2nd Grade Summer Reading List

Use this great Summer Reading 2013 book list which is a collaboration of the Newton Public School Library Teachers & the Newton Free Children’s Librarians to find books for your kids this summer. Why use my list? Because these books will (hopefully) be on your shelves. They won’t be at my library shelves so I’ll be either going to a library one town over or using your library’s list!

I learned this trick a few years ago when I was frustrated trying to find great picture books and Every Single Book on the list was not there! I also offer you my daughter, PickyKidPix’s, very popular post on the chapter books she read as a 3rd grader. Her post outranks me on Google which is a source of endless checking and amusement for her.

What are your reading with your kids? Any favorites from this list? Please share!

The rest of the lists are here:

Rising Kindergarten Summer Reading List

Rising First Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Third Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fourth Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fifth Grade Summer Reading List

 

Rising 2nd Grade Summer Reading List

The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder by Tony Abbott

Long-time friends and fellow sleuths Jeff Bunter, Brian Rooney, Mara Lubin, and Kelly Smitts, collectively known as the Goofballs, investigate the disappearance of Thunder the pony in their town of Badger Point.

Read more…

BoomWriter Storytellers camp

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Virtual Writing Camp GIVEAWAY

I’m excited to learn about The BoomWriter Storytellers Camp which provides aspiring middle school-aged writers the chance to be published. Bestselling author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, will help get kids started!

Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid camp for kids

I’ll be giving away one scholarship to camp! See my rafflecopter at the bottom.

Everything You Wanted to Know about The BoomWriter Storytellers Camp

  • WHO? Aspiring writers entering grades 6-8
  • WHAT? A one-week online writing camp consisting of instruction, writing, feedback, and peer review
  • WHEN? July and August 2013
  • WHERE? Online at www.BoomWriter.com
  • WHY? Awesome opportunity for campers to write and be published!

Each morning (anytime between 7:00 am – 11:00 am EST), campers will view an online writing lesson and then read, write, and submit their entry. All submissions will be reviewed by BoomWriter instructors.

Later in the day (anytime between 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST), campers will read the submissions of some of the other participants and be able to vote for the pieces they like the best. Campers will be notified of the winning submission the following morning prior to that day’s lesson.The process will continue throughout the week until the story is completed and a book is published! Read more…

storybird

Kids Create Stories from Pictures with Storybird

Please welcome my guest blogger, elementary school teacher AND children’s book author, Susan Stephenson of The Book Chook. I’ve been enjoying her blog for a while now and I’m really excited to have her explain a great website  where kids can create stories from pictures. I’m hoping this will get my kids excited to write this summer!

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Are you looking for ways to arrest the summer slide? Are you interested in encouraging your children to write stories? I’d like to suggest you check out Storybird.

What is Storybird?

Storybird is a fantastic website that encourages us to use artwork created by Storybird’s real-life illustrators in the stories (or storybirds) we write. It’s free to register and use, with options to buy print books or upgrade for special features. All stories and comments are pre-moderated, and completed storybirds can be shared. Read more…

picture book video by kids, MIss Nelson is Missing video by Kindergarten class, Miss Nelson is Missing video by Kindergarteners

Kindergarteners Make Miss Nelson is Missing Video

Kudos to Mr. Avina, a teacher at LAUSD’s Olympic Primary Center, and his class for the hard work put into making this video. It’s an adorable picture book video by kids acting out Miss Nelson is Missing.

3rd grade summer reading list, 4th grade reading list, 4th grade summer reading list

Rising 3rd Grade Summer Reading List

This great summer reading list for Going Into 4th Grade is from my library. It’s a collaboration between the Newton Public School Library Teachers & the Newton Free Children’s Librarians. PickyKidPix also has a great list of chapter books she read at this same age, when she was assigned five books to read during the summer before going into 4th grade.

Other lists here:

Rising Kindergarten Summer Reading List

Rising First Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Second Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fourth Grade Summer Reading List

Rising Fifth Grade Summer Reading List

 

Going Into 4th Grade Summer Reading List

Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer
A boy, a dog, and an old man are lonely before the boy plans a rally, the dog looks for a boy, and all the townspeople run to the old man’s aid when lightning strikes his home and something miraculous happens.

Read more…