• 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!

A Call for Diverse Children’s Literature

A Call for Diverse Children’s Literature #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Please welcome teacher and author Garrett Carter who is my guest blogger today. He writes about the need for more diversity in chidren’s books.

A Call for Diverse Children’s Literature

we need diverse books

Planting the Seed Now: A Call for Diverse Children’s Literature from a Teacher and Author

Along with spring and summer flowers, numerous articles concerning the lack of diversity in children’s literature have sprung up as the year has progressed. Not a new phenomenon, there has always been a lack of cultural diversity for children to experience through reading. As the melting pot in America simmers to a boil, so does the demand for an inclusion of diversity in children’s literature. Simply put; stakeholders are asking and demanding change — now! Here, I’ll explain why I feel this is an important message in my eyes as both a teacher and author. Read more…

Online Education for Return to Work Moms

Tips for Return to Work Moms

A couple of my mom friends took a Return to Work Mom class at a nearby university to plot a return to the workforce after 8+ years at home with the kids. A strategy and a support group are key because, as it turns out, it’s not easy to return to work for moms who stayed home even if they are looking to get back into the field that they left.

return to work moms and education opportunities

My mom friend Tracey was a computer software trainer with her own business that she successfully sold before kids. Her return back to work should have been easy … but no. The training landscape had changed immensely with eLearning, distance learning, webinars and the like. It took her a good two years of networking as a full-time job to land her dream job. Her message to moms who want to return to work is not to give up. Perseverance and relentless networking are what make the difference.

 

Online Education for Return to Work Moms Read more…

19 perfect read alouds for first grade, perfect read alouds for 1st grade

19 Perfect Read Alouds for 1st Grade

I polled my three kids to jog their memory of what the read aloud books were in first grade. We had one wonderful first grade teacher twice, and PickyKidPix was even able to loop with her for second grade too!

When I think of first grade, I remember it was a time when all the kids desperately wanted to read “chapter books“, as if picture books didn’t count anymore. But often, picture books have a richer vocabulary and a more interesting story so this list includes books that teach  about compassion, entertain and mesmerize. I hope you enjoy them!

What books do you recommend as a first grade read aloud? Please share! Read more…

Mouth Guard, Head Gear and Sparring for Moms

Mouth Guard, Head Gear and Sparring for Moms

I have a small group of mom friends that I box with. Our trainer never expected us to last this long, but we just passed the 1.5 year mark in June and we are signed up for three times a week starting in September. We all have different motivations for sticking with it — fitness, weight loss, and sparring — but we all agree that it’s the ONLY exercise we’ve stuck with since having kids. It’s different because it’s a skill with endless things to learn so it never gets boring.

moms and boxing, moms and sparringRead more…

Baby Penguins Everywhere!, Picture Book of the Day, Melissa Guion

Picture Book for Parents with Kids Back in School GIVEAWAY

I’m happy that our Picture Book of the Day group is reconvening for the school year. I’m up today with my pick and it’s for all the parents out there celebrating kids going back to school!

How was your summer? Are you sad it’s over but happy that school is back in full swing? Please share!

Penguin Picture Book of the Day

Baby Penguins Everywhere! by Melissa Guion

There are lots of picture books for kids starting preschool or kindergarten, but this one is for parents whose kids are going back to school! Or at least, this is my take! A female penguin was all alone enjoying the sea and ice when a hat appeared and out jumped a LOT of baby penguins. She wasn’t lonely anymore, but every now and then, she just needed a minute to herself. This should be mandatory reading for toddlers and preschoolers! [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Read more…

goodnight ark picture book giveaway

Goodnight Ark GIVEAWAY and Kid Lit Blog Hop

I’m part of the Goodnight, Ark blog tour and I’m giving away a copy of this fun rhyming bedtime picture book. Author Laura Sassi also answers 5 short questions for me.

 

Rhyming Bedtime Picture Book

Goodnight, Ark by Laura Sassi, illustrated by Jane Chapman

In rollicking rhyme, this bedtime story will have kids howling with laughter as the animals on Noah’s ark make their way to his bed due to a scary storm. Thankfully, Noah knows how to get them all back asleep but not without a small mishap involving the skunks! [picture book, ages 1 and up] Read more…

Multicultural Soccer Picture Book GIVEAWAY

Multicultural Soccer Picture Book GIVEAWAY

PickyKidPix went to Italy this summer to play soccer with her indoor team and we were able to watch her play during the last few weeks of the World Cup. What a great time to be in Europe with soccer fans!

Because of our great love for Lionel Messi, we root for Argentina and that was a great pick this World Cup! My family is obsessed with Lionel Messi. We root for FC Barcelona, we visited Barcelona to see Camp Noa, and we went to New Jersey to watch a “friendly” Argentina vs. BrazilRead more…

kids reading

Caught in the Act … of READING!

I am loving all these great photos that readers have sent of their kids or grandkids reading this summer! Thank you so very much! If you want to contribute a photo to this series, please email pragmaticmomblog (at) gmail (dot) com. As an added incentive to keep the kiddos reading, I’ll send you a book! Thank you! Read more…

Back to School Healthy Essentials

Back to School Healthy Essentials

Grasshopper and Sensei is our oldest and she starts high school this fall! It’s freaking my husband and I out a little. High school, already??!! Our second thought is that our daughter is not a morning person and high school starts early. To get her at school on time, a stream lined morning routine is going to be essential.

Back to School Healthy Essentials

Read more…