Five Tips on How to Read Successfully to Your Child


Child Reading

I have always loved to read, ever since I was little. Sadly, I don’t have as much free time as I’d like to read. I have so many books collecting dust on my bookcase just waiting for me to have a chance to read them.

I tried to pass along my love for book and reading to my kids.

Here are some interesting facts I didn’t know.

  • More than half the children in the country will not hear a bedtime story tonight
  • Some children begin kindergarten having been read to as few as 25 hours
  • By age four, low-income children have heard an average 32 million fewer words than their peers
  • If a child is not reading at grade level by the end of the first grade, then there is an 88% probability the child will not be reading at grade level by the end of the fourth grade

“Reading has the enduring power to shape and develop minds, both in the home and classroom,” says best-selling author (Teach Like a Champion and Reading Reconsidered) and educator Doug Lemov. “The urgency to make the teaching of reading as effective and enjoying as possible should always be reinforced at home. The goal must be to show every child the power that comes from the world reading can bring to light.”

It is possible to achieve this. Mr. Lemov has provided five wonderful tips on how to read successfully to your child. These tips are great to use year round, especially now that school is coming to an end. The summer months are a great time to catch up on reading and dive (no pun intended) into a few great books with your child.


Get Comfortable.

Stories have been told and read for me immemorial because they are pleasurable and because sharing them draws people together. This is not necessarily obvious to children. At home, it’s good to mix reading with warmth and affection. I try to express that in the way I sit. We tuck in on the couch or in a comfy chair. I try to snuggle with my little one, and even with my older ones, ages 13 and 11. Or we lie on the living room floor, all of us, while I read aloud. Even if your child is behind in reading and there’s pressure to make progress, try to make reading time feel comfortable and caring.

Read Slowly.

I like to stop for a couple of seconds about every half page or so when I‘m reading, especially to my youngest. The words and the story are more complex than she is used to. I want to give her me to absorb it. Sometimes I stop and look at her and smile when we’re reading. Sometimes she doesn’t say anything to me when I smile, and that’s fine. Sometimes she smiles back. And sometimes she makes a little comment. “Mrs. Frisby is afraid, I think,” she’ll say. I don’t have to do much to show her she’s doing well when she does that. Sometimes I’ll just nod and smile or kiss the top of her head. And then I keep reading. I read slowly too. Nice and steady to let the words sink in. There’s no rush.

Give them a few words too. 

My kids loves it when I say, “And the next chapter is called…” and they get to read the title of the chapter to me. Look for little moments when your child can help you read a more advanced book and see that it’s within his or her range someday. Even if it’s just reading the word ‘I’ or ‘and,’ it helps. “See, you’re on your way!” is a powerful message.

Express Yourself (as much as you can).

The power of reading aloud for kids is in developing their ear for language, for what words sound like and how sentences work. Capturing that is key and it’s simpler than it might sound. You don’t have to act out the roles and make it theater, you just have to capture the sound of language and the cadence of words—which ones run together, which ones get a bit of emphasis.

Don’t Freak Out.

Ok maybe you’re great at reading aloud. But maybe you’re not. Maybe you fear it. Is it ok if you’re not confident in your own reading? Yes. But more important than telling you it’s okay I want to suggest a way to make you feel more confident and therefore more likely to read to your kids: preview the section you are going to read. The night before you read to your child, take the book to bed and read the part you’ll read the next night. If you’ve read it through beforehand, you’ll remember even if you don’t realize it. Please know that I do this all the time, even though I am a former English teacher and principal. I like to know where the book is going and to be ready for tough spots or content that’s challenging. It just makes me feel confident to know where things are going. If you’re nervous about reading, it will help you as well. As will starting simply. I know—I said read challenging books. But you can always build up to them. Reading to your child is a marathon not a sprint so it’s fine if you need some me to build your own comfort and skill. Just please don’t let that fear stand between your child and what will help them most.

Reading together

About the author:

Doug Lemov (with co-authors Colleen Driggs and Erica Woolway) is the author of Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy. For more information, please visit, www.teachlikeachampion.com and connect with Doug on Twitter, @douglemov.

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Why strict parenting is bad for your kids?



What kind of a parent you are? A soft one? Or hard? Or a mix of both? No matter in which category you belong to, one thing is sure that, being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It comes with the great responsibility of raising a kid, instilling good virtues and taking care of him or her physical and emotional growth.

In between all this, a parent has to discipline the kid and make him/her understand the virtues of good behavior. After all, every parent wants a well-behaved and obedient kid. In a sense, you do all this by adopting a parenting style – some take to soft parenting while some resort to strict parenting and harsh discipline. So, is strict parenting justified or beneficial?

No, this may make the kid polite and obedient but only temporarily. This kind of parenting style gives advantages but only of instant type. There are many theories that caution parents against authoritative parenting as it does some serious harms to the psyche of the kids. In a way, strict parenting is something you must not resort for many reasons.

Let’s look why strict parenting is not justified:

  • Kids raised through strict parenting develop low self-esteem and inferiority complex. Such kids live with a conception that their opinion does not matter at all.
  • Such kids develop low self-worth as their entire purpose remain focused around showing good behavior only as this is the only route for them to be feel accepted.
  • Kids raise through authoritative parenting styles often lack trust in people and for them, affections shown by others never appear anything more than a hidden motive.
  • Such kids gradually lose the will to go with gut feeling or intuition as they have been controlled to become passive.
  • Such kids have fear of new experimentation or lack enthusiasm for trying out something new, as from the childhood, they have been told to not go out of the box of always live within a box.
  • Such kids come with a preconceived notions of the world around and have biased about the ways of the world, which somewhat limits their thought process.
  • They grow up suppressing feelings, which over time, give them an emotionally detached façade.
  • Their experience makes them averse to positive feelings or affections and they never take such emotions seriously.
  • For having gone through punishment strategy, they develop shame and self-guilt and view people from the lens of good or bad only.
  • Such kids develop an attraction towards power and in this, they get the recipe or develop the habit of lording over others.
  • Kids who are raised this way are more likely to bully others into submission than the rest.
  • Strict parenting leaves behind a hierarchical behavior pattern where kids deem it necessary to present oneself as inferior to authorities.

In a nutshell, we can see how adopting strict parenting is a sure-shot recipe of disaster. It may bring some short-term rewards but its impact lasts long and in some cases, can haunt one to the grave. So, it’s important to understand your kid and their requirements and handle them with great care.


About the author:

Ian Alam is a blogger & writer from UK who specializes in writing about health & Fitness topics. He works with Jump In, which is counted among one of the Best  Trampoline Park London, UK. 

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Spring Has Sprung! Celebrate With An “Explore The Outdoors” Giveaway (ends 4/26/16)


Bee on Flower

The calendar tells me that it SHOULD be spring time (the official start of spring is March 20th), but the weather outside tells me otherwise. When is it going to warm up? We have blue skies, but frigid temperatures.

After a long, cold winter, we look forward to the spring. Personally I love to see the return of the Robins, tulips, green grass and blue skies. It makes me want to get outside and soak in each and every moment of it because the bitter weather will be back before you know it.

As a mom, I always did my best to encourage my kids to explore the outdoors. I grew up in upstate New York. We had woods in our backyard. Me and my cousins were always exploring the woods, creating forts, digging for dinosaurs (in our case it was cow bones from an old farm) and going on adventures.

I consider my kids “city children.” They can’t appreciate the great outdoors. They don’t even like to get dirty! And I won’t get started on bugs. They are afraid of bugs – even at their ages. They freak out when they see a Ladybug. Sigh…

When they were younger I would take them to local parks to enjoy and explore the great outdoors. I tried to get them to do the things I did growing up and having fun far from television and electronics.

I love to encourage children to go outside and explore and enjoy the real world. I think all children should be afforded those opportunities.

National Geographic Children’s Books recently debuted three new books that are perfect for inspiring youngsters to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.

Get Outside Creativity Book (National Geographic Kids) P

Get Outside Creativity Book (ages 6-9, $12.99) – This big, bright spiral-bound activity book encourages kids to get outside and play! It’s chock full of stencils, stickers, pull-outs, games, trivia, puzzles, and cutouts that encourage exploration and learning in the great outdoors. It’s the perfect gift for any parent wanting to foster creativity and imagination, while encouraging kids to unplug, get off the couch, and get to know the world around them. The format engages readers with a combination of fun and whimsical design and National Geographic’s world-famous photography.

I LOVE this book! I work with young children (grades 1st – 6th) and I have found many great thing I can share with them. This is more than just a book to get children to go outside – it’s an all around activity book.

The stencils are awesome. They can be enjoyed year round.

The stickers are fun too because you can use them in a variety of backgrounds/scenes found in the book.

This would be the perfect book to take with you when traveling. It would keep your child/grandchild busy for hours.

Even as an adult I found this book to be interesting and fun.

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide Birds

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Birds (ages 8-12, $12.99) – Photo-filled and fact-packed, this one of a kind bird guide will make kids Stop! Look! and Listen! to find the feathered friends right in their own backyards. From ducks to hawks, sparrows to sandpipers, kids will learn how, where, and when to spot birds all over the United States. With tons of info and interactivity prompts, it’s the perfect companion for backyard or field trip, camping or vacation. Durable and portable, it’s just right for pocket or backpack.

This book is made for children ages 8-12, but to be honest with you “I” learned a lot from this book too.

The book is filled with beautiful photography that you would expect from a National Geographic book.

This book provides you with a lot of information about the various types of birds, including mapping out where you can find each type of bird in the U.S. and detailed illustrations to help you with identifying each species.

I often find myself looking at birds and wondering what type of bird it is. Some I know just from looking at them (Bluebird, Cardinal, Crow, Pigeon, Robin, Chickadee…) but others are not as easy to identify. One such bird tends to go after people in our condo complex (assuming they are near the next). It’s too fast for me to get a good look at it in order to identify it properly. I think it’s a member of the Thrush family, but I’m not 100% sure yet.

This is an easy to read and understand guide that both children and adults can enjoy.

Look & Learn Caterpillar to Butterfly

Look & Learn: Caterpillar to Butterfly (board book, $6.99) – A durable board book that is made for tiny hands and curious minds!  Preschoolers and their parents follows a monarch as it develops from a cute caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly in simple, age-appropriate language.

I love butterflies. I hope to get a butterfly tattoo one day (Monarch butterfly).

This is a beautiful book that introduces children to the life cycle of a butterfly. The book is filled with beautiful, up close photography that is labeled making it easy for young children to know what they are looking at.

This book is easy to read. I would think an elementary aged child should be able to read this with no problem.

All of these books encourage children to get outdoors and explore the wondrous world around them. Not only can these books be enjoyed now, but they can be enjoyed and used all summer long too.

Look for these and other National Geographic Children’s Books where ever books are sold.

To learn more about these and other National Geographic Children’s Books visit NGChildrensBooks.org as well as the National Geographic online store.

You can also check them out on social media – Facebook and Twitter.

National Geographic Children's Prize Package

National Geographic Children’s Books would like to give a lucky winner all three books as well as an awesome pair of binoculars. The National Geographic binoculars are water resistant, rubber armored and perfect for wildlife watching, birding and exploration. They have a retail value of $63.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on April 26, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will need to reply within three days or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me which book you are most interested in?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received the same prize package to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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7 Ways Kids Learn By Cooking


Kids Cooking

When it comes to discovery and adventure at home, one room stands apart as an enticing and delicious wonderland where your child can contribute and feel grown up.

“Most children love to help in the kitchen, and can start as early as age two,” notes Nicole Spain, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at La Petite Academy. “It’s a terrific way to encourage healthy eating habits while you bond with your child and create lasting memories.”

If the prospect of messy meal-making gives you pause, consider that cooking with you is among the best ways for your children to develop skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

Here are just a few ways that your budding master chef is learning by helping you cook:

MAKING HEALTHY CHOICES: “Getting children involved with meal preparation creates a better understanding of healthy ingredients and nutrition,” notes Spain. Cooking together may also help win over a cautious eater. It may take as many as 10-15 failed attempts before a child is willing to try a new food on his own. But as Spain points out, “children are more likely to experiment with and taste food they have helped prepare – even if it’s something they may not otherwise want to try.”

Tip: Choose fresh and healthy ingredients together at the market to involve your child in meal planning and make trying new foods even more tempting.

LET’S EXPERIMENT: The kitchen is a wonderful science lab for children. By helping to prepare meals, kids learn to observe, measure, analyze, and make predictions. Cooking brings abstract concepts such as the role of temperature and properties of matter vividly to life as ingredients transform when broccoli steams, butter melts, and batters rise and bake. It also builds your child’s comprehension and reasoning skills.

Tip: Kitchen equipment is way cool! Having kids set the timer and control the blast of the blender will go over big.

Mother And Children Prepare A meal,mealtime Together

HANDS-ON FUN: Whether they wash vegetables, pour, peel, chop, squeeze, mix or knead – there are many kid-appropriate, important jobs for little hands to do. Along the way, your child will build small muscle control, sharpen fine motor skills and develop hand/eye coordination. Be sure to point out all of the safety precautions you’re following as you cook together. Kids as young as 3 can begin learning knife skills using a child-safe knife.

Tip: Give your child a dedicated space at the counter to emphasize her contribution and keep the mess contained.

GET CREATIVE: As an art form that involves all of the senses, cooking inspires kids’ curiosity, thinking and problem-solving capabilities. While creating his culinary masterpiece, your child is exploring sweet, salty and sour flavors, discovering a world of colors, textures, and aromas and creating a symphony of sound. Cooking also helps introduce your child to new cultures and traditions.

Tip: Children often like to taste every ingredient as it’s being added. Be sure to explain that certain foods shouldn’t be eaten raw.

Young Boy Preparing Food With Flour on His Nose

IT ADDS UP: Cooking provides natural opportunities for your child to learn and apply math skills. As you follow a recipe together, your child is measuring water, counting eggs, learning about one-to-one correspondence and getting introduced to simple fractions.

Tip: Point out that the same amount may look different when you change containers. Have your child prove that out by pouring ingredients into cups or bowls of different sizes.

A LANGUAGE OF ITS OWN: Working side by side with you in the kitchen helps your child develop communication skills and builds a foundation for early literacy. As you read a recipe aloud together, your child is learning to follow words from left to right and top to bottom, as well as distinguishing letters from numbers. Cooking is ripe with opportunities for kids to describe what they see and taste, and to learn new terminology as they blend, shred and slice.

Tip: Use illustrated cookbooks and recipe cards to help your child match pictures to words, and encourage questions along the way.

I MADE THIS! Helping out in the kitchen contributes to kids’ emotional development and self-assurance as they build confidence in their abilities. It also encourages independence as children learn to take responsibility while following directions and solving problems.

Tip: Allow for extra time in the meal-making process. Provide guidance and support on specific tasks – if possible, resisting the temptation to step in and take over.


About La Petite Academy

La Petite Academy is a leader in early childhood education, with more than 450 schools in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Headquartered in Novi, Mich., it is part of the Learning Care Group portfolio of schools offering early education and child care services to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. La Petite Academy provides engaging learning experiences through active exploration and discovery. Its proprietary School Readiness Pathway supports the development of the academic and social skills needed for a smooth transition to elementary school. For more information, please call (844) 248-9601 or visit www.lapetite.com

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Siblings… and what to watch on television



Me and my “sister” (biological aunt)

Whenever someone asks me if I am an only child, the youngest or the oldest I have to answer “yes” to all three of them. Confusing, isn’t it?

I am my father’s only biological child. I was raised by my paternal grandparents. My biological aunt and uncle were my sister and brother. That would make me the youngest. It wasn’t until a month or so ago that I found my maternal aunt who told me I have FOUR younger brothers. That makes me the oldest of my half-brothers, even though I have never met them and chances are I never will (one passed away at birth).

What is it about siblings where they have to quibble over the silliest things.

I have a son and daughter. They are two and a half years apart in age. They get along better now that they are teenagers (16 1/2 and almost 19), but they still fight over the silliest things.

Siblings 1

When they were younger (even as far as a year or two ago) they would fight over what to watch on television. It’s not that my son watches much t.v. (he honestly doesn’t), but he does like to watch CNN, MSNBC and The Weather Channel (odd choices for a teen boy, but he likes what he likes). My daughter on the other hand loves to watch t.v. and she is totally into hows like One Tree Hill, the O.C and Degrassi. She’s watched the seasons over and over again on Netflix. They are not my son’s “cup of tea,” but he tend to give into her (they share one of the t.v.’s) so the poor boy probably knows every episode by heart. LOL!

Even when it comes to Family Movie Night it can be a struggle because my kids are into totally different things. I tend to pick the movie so as not to have to deal with their squabbling at on another.

Siblings 2

Did you know that April 10, 2016 is National Sibling Day?

Netflix wants siblings everywhere, no matter what their television preferences are, to get along and find shows they can enjoy – dare I say – together.

This month, Netflix has created two different playlists that siblings can choose from in hopes that they enjoy watching the programs together.

One of the playlists is “Tale of Two Distant Ages” and the other is “Sugar and Spice.”

Both lists have a nice variety of programs and movies. Some I know are favorites of my children, others they haven’t seen yet but I think they might enjoy.

Netflix Siblings Day

Both playlists are geared more towards children and younger teens, but I know my kids both enjoy movies and shows such as Daddy Day Care, The Croods, Cupcake Wars and Fuller House.

To make it even easier to find quality entertainment sibling of all ages can enjoy (parents too!), Netflix also included two other lists – “Meet in the Middle” and “Much Watch TV.”

Out of all four lists, the one that would best suit my kids is “Must Watch TV.” My daughter already watches some of the shows on the list (Parks and Recreation and New Girl).

If your kids still need help deciding what to watch, Netflix has created a special “Fortune Teller” to make things a little easier. Fortune Tellers go by other names too like “Cootie Catcher.” I make these ALL THE TIME for the kids I work with. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t make at least one of them.

Netflix Fortune Teller

You can find the directions to make Netflix’s Fortune Teller HERE.

I might just have to use this the next time we are trying to decide what to watch for Family Movie Night. I might even use it to decide what to have for dinner and/or what to do on the weekends. LOL!

When it comes to deciding what to watch on television, how did you and your sibling/siblings decide? If you have children, how do they decide what to watch?

I always love to hear from readers. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

If you would like to learn more about Netflix simply visit Netflix.com. You can also check them out on social media.



*I have partnered with Netflix to bring you this information. I have received free service and promotional products in exchange for my participation. There is no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Celebrate Poetry Month this April with HarperCollins Children’s Books


Child reading

This month is National Poetry Month. The first National Poetry Month was created by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration around the world. Special events are hosted each year in schools and libraries as well as with publishers and booksellers.

This special month is meant to celebrate poetry’s vital place in our culture.

If you would like to celebrate National Poetry Month with your child, grandchild or classroom, here are some book suggestions you might want to consider. Look for these books where ever books are sold.


Honey, I Love written by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Honey, I Love written by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

9780060091255– $6.99 – Ages 4 to 8 

To one young narrator, it’s the simple things that mean the most like sharing laughter with a friend, taking family rides in the country, and kissing her mama’s arm. This paperback edition of the classic poem by Eloise Greenfield with illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist is sure to delight a new generation of readers.

In the Land of Words written by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

In the Land of Words written by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

9780064436922– $6.99 – Ages 4 to 8 

A poetry collection of twenty-one new and old treasures illustrated with sewn fabric collages, by the Coretta Scott King Award-winning collaborators, Eloise Greenfield and Jan Spivey Gilchrist. This tribute to the written word invites readers to look within themselves and discover what inspires them.

My Chinatown written & illustrated by Kam Mak

My Chinatown written & illustrated by Kam Mak

9780064437325– $6.99 – Ages 4 to 8 

Through spare poetry and gloriously rich and detailed artwork, Kam Mak makes Chinatown come vividly alive. Through the viewpoints of the cobbler on the street and favorite foods like pickled kumquats and curried squid, Kam reveals the many stunning viewpoints about this amazing culture. Kam shares a year of life in this small city within a city, and a young boy trying to grow up American, but never forgetting his rich Chinese heritage.

This is the Earth written by Diane Z. Shore, illustrated by Wendell Minor

This is the Earth written by Diane Z. Shore, illustrated by Wendell Minor

9780060555269– $17.99 – Ages 4 to 8 

In their signature spare, rhyming verse, the authors deliver a non-fiction picture book that powerfully describes a timely topic being discussed around the world every day. This is the Earth takes readers on a journey through hundreds of years as it explores how humans have affected the environment and shows the ways in which we can all care for the planet.


The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piper written by Annabelle Fisher, illustrated by Natalie Andrewson

The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piper written by Annabelle Fisher, illustrated by Natalie Andrewson

9780062393777 – $16.99 – Ages 8 to 12 – On Sale 5/3/2016

Pixie Piper knows she’s different from other girls. She’s a descendant of the great poet, Mother Goose, and Pixie knows that someday the Goose Ladies will take her away and train her to be just like them. There’s just one problem—Pixie doesn’t want to be a Goose Lady. She just wants to be a normal fifth grader, one who doesn’t make up rhymes and is cool enough to hang out with Sage Green and her new golden retriever.

Young Adult

Ask Me How I Got Here written by Christine Heppermann

Ask Me How I Got Here written by Christine Heppermann

9780062387950 – $17.99 – Ages 14 & Up – On Sale 5/3/2016

Addie’s future is laid out in front of her—become the best runner in the state and go to college on a cross-country scholarship like her older brother. But one moment, one decision, changes everything. Addie finds herself pregnant and faced with an impossible choice—sacrifice her bright future and become a point of shame at her all-girls Catholic school, or end the pregnancy before anyone outside her family knows.

For more information about these books visit www.HarperCollins.com/Childrens.

Are you a fan of poetry? Do you or your place of work celebrate National Poetry Month?

HC Logo


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. 

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