• What Do Muslims Really Want Anyway?! 17 Books on Muslim World for Kids

    Please welcome my guest poster today, author Elsa Marston who is my resident Middle Eastern Children’s literature go to! She has a list of recommended books for kids and teens at the bottom of the post. ———— Lately we’ve been reading about terrorist actions by Muslims in Europe and other places, events that have again […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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.

  • 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!).

  • Top 10: Best Beginning Chapter Book Series (ages 6-9)

    Dragons and aliens and dinosaurs, oh my! And for girls, there are interesting slightly mischieveous girls to meet as well as cousins who are really sweet. Short chapter book series can often have repetitive plot lines about nothing or language that is neither rich nor interesting. There is something special about each of these book series for the child AND the adult reading along.

  • Top 50: Best Multicultural Children’s Books

    Every summer I stress out about what books to get for my kids that they will like but are also exposing them — as only books can do — to the wide world all around them both past, present and future. This summer, we are going to take a trip around the world by reading these multi-cultural books. What is great about this list is that it covers all the ages of my kids: from preschool through elementary school. I will be sneaky and check out these books for them and leave them strewn about the house for them to examine when they are bored. I will keep you posted on what books my kids actually liked because that is a whole ‘nother list! See you at the library!

Finding More Great Graphic Novels for Kids GIVEAWAY

Finding More Great Graphic Novels for Kids GIVEAWAY

Graphic novels are my secret weapon for reluctant readers, both boys and girls, but they are also the slippery slope for newly independent readers to develop a love of reading. I became a huge fan of graphic novels when my son learned to read in first grade. Not only did graphic novels get him asking to go to the library in search of books, but it also helped him with reading comprehension. YES, graphic novels support reading comprehension strategy development in children!

It’s the magic of pictures and words. Words + Pictures = A Game Changer for Reading Comprehension. Not only do kids love graphic novels and notebook novels and will eagerly devour them, but having to figure out the story from the words and the images helps kids develop critical reading comprehension strategies that they will need to employ for school, for life and certainly, for Common Core standardized testing. This kind of reading comprehension strategies transfers to chapter books, non-fiction and all other genres.

To celebrate the educational value + sheer pleasure of graphic novels/notebook novels = reading nirvana, I have a book list below to help you find more graphic novels for your kids based on other books that you might know.

 

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Happy 50th to the Love of My Life

Happy 50th to the Love of My Life

Some of my readers noticed that my husband is rarely shown on my blog or social media. In fact, it was years before he first appeared on my Instagram. That’s because he doesn’t like to be in any photos. Today’s his 50th birthday and I’m out-of-town at my college roommate’s 50th birthday (he said it was fine with him).

Tai LeeRead more…

Gorilla Tough: Boxing, Books and a Tablet

Gorilla Tough: Boxing, Books, and a Tablet

What do you associate with a gorilla? For me, it’s my boxing gym. I once took a boxing class with Nate, the other co-founder of Nonantum Boxing Club. When I saw my trainer — his cousin — I asked, “For a big guy, isn’t Nate surprisingly light on his feet?” Because if you saw Nate hopping over low hurdles in a delicate way like a gazelle, it’s a little incongruent with his beefy frame. My trainer replied, “Nate is a gorilla.”

Nonantum Boxing Club, Newton MA

Nate is on the left. My trainer is on the right. Read more…

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

I started a new class that combines yoga and boxing. You might think this is a weird combination but they are more alike that you’d think:

  • Both yoga and boxing focus on the breath. When you are in the ring, it’s essential to be cognizant of your breath. Some boxers even breath out with a weird sound to remind themselves to breath because no breath = no energy.

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

  • Both boxing and yoga build a strong core. Side plank, chair pose, plank, vinyasa are all poses that I regularly do in boxing. Weird, isn’t it? But these poses also are essential to strengthening your core and you need strong abs to absorb punches. I got hit in the core once and it knocked the wind out of me, but because of endless planks and sit-ups, I was able to continue.

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

  • Both boxing and yoga use body weight to build strength. On very rare occasions, I will warm up with 2 pound hand weights if I can find the lone pink pair in the bin; otherwise I struggle with 3 pound weights, but most of the time I train in boxing just with my body weight. This results in long, lean muscles. And yoga with boxing means supple strength and less injury.

Exercise Motivation to YogaBox

I’ve been marketing YogaBox™ to an email group weekly and I typically send out two memes as part of my email campaign just to make it more interesting. I find the memes on Instagram and pull two that speak to me each week. Some weeks the message is motivational. Some weeks when I am tired, I just want something funny.

Here’s my collection from the past year. I hope they amuse you!

Will-Smithtry-something-new-300x300 Read more…

Zoology Books and Activities for Kids

Zoology Books and Activities for Kids & Kid Lit Blog Hop

Zoology for Kids books and activities

Now that summer is here and it’s easier to get the kids outdoors, I wanted to share some great non-fiction books to introduce kids to Zoology. Zoology is the study of animals making it perfect for kids who naturally gravitate to animals, pet stores, and zoos. They are the ones who want to rescue any animal they find. Zoology is one of many career paths for kids who love animals and being outdoors! Others mentioned in Zoology for Kids include:

zookeeper: A zookeeper is a person who manages zoo animals that are kept in captivity for conservation or to be displayed to the public, and are usually responsible for the feeding and daily care of the animals.

aquarist: An aquarist is responsible for the care of fish and marine mammals kept in captivity.

veterinarian: a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating disease, disorder, and injury in non-human animals.

wildlife researcher: zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems. They study the physical characteristics of animals, animal behaviors, and the impacts humans have on wildlife and natural habitats.

ecology professor: teaches and conducts research on the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.

conservation careers: saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks.

zoologist: A zoologist is someone who studies the behaviour, origins, genetics, diseases and life progression of animals and wildlife. There are a variety of different ways that a zoologist can specialize and there are many diverse jobs in this field.

Zoology Books and Activities for Kids

I am probably having way too much fun on Flipagram making small videos set to music off my iPhone which can be posted on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or even texted or emailed to friends and family. I’m trying to showcase books that I’m posting on such as these on Zoology.
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The Challenges of Naming Your Dog

The Challenges of Naming Your Dog

Thank you IAMS for sponsoring this post. Watch ‘Duck’ by IAMS and celebrate the meaningful connection between you and your pet.

My husband and I promised our kids that they could get a dog when our youngest turned five. It was our way to stall until all three could take some responsibility. We tried for one year to adopt a puppy from a shelter. We visited Angell Memorial three times but there were very few puppies and most were for adults only. We went to Buddy Dog but the employee there was quite firm that a Jack Russell terrier mix puppy was too high energy for a family with three small kids. Thank goodness; she was right!

Wally our family dog

We dog sat too, to practice. The first dog we sat shed mightily and could not tolerate high-pitched noises. That breed was out; we had two kids learning to play the flute. The second dog we sat I worried was too large for our small house. We fell in love with him despite his size and did the next best thing to keeping him; we bought his relative from the same breeder.

Wally the golden retriever Read more…

Teaching Kids Rich Vocabulary using the Thesaurus

Rich Vocabulary Part 2: Using the Thesaurus

To appreciate the stuffy Thesaurus, it might help kids to read about the man behind the tome. His story is beautifully told in the non-fiction picture book, The Right Word.

synonym: a word that means the same thing, or almost the same thing, as another word

How to Find the Right Word

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Byrant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet Read more…

How to Pick the Perfect URL for Your Blog

How to Pick the Perfect URL for Your Blog

Tracking Pixel

How do you pick the perfect domain name for your blog or business? When I started a company back in 1986 out of my dorm room with two friends, it was easy. We just picked a name that described the business, Laser Designs which did laser printing and desk top publishing.

MacTemps

When we added temporary staffing using the Macintosh computer, we didn’t have to work too hard to come up with MacTemps.  But then we outgrew the name. We no longer just staffed on the Macintosh or placed temps.

So … we hired a branding company to come up with our new “empty vessel” name. They came up with Aquent, the roots of which means Not a Follower.

Aquent and Vitamin T Read more…

Minecraft with Java Online Class for Kids

Minecraft with Java Online Class for Kids

My 10-year-old son’s favorite camp is a Minecraft one which he does with his friends for the past two years. They are all serious gamers and the moms are happy with a week of really expensive computer camp because we think it will get them programming their own games. I’ve been working to take his interest in gaming into other areas like reading and science and this summer, my secret goal for him is to program on his own in Python which is a better language for gaming I’m told, and easier to use than Java.

Minecraft with Java Online Class for Kids

My son learned Scratch in third grade, and moved on the Java in fourth grade learning programming basics like boolean logic and If-then and if-else statements. He took Minecraft making Mods for the past two years at camp and this year, he will take Minecraft with Java. I’m not exactly sure what this entails but I think it involves a Minecraft server. Read more…