May 192017
 

Kid in Library

With summer looming very close in front of us, one of the items on my non-gardening to-do list involves signing up for various summer reading programs.  This is also a great reminder to keep participating in other reading programs that are not season oriented.

One of my highest goals for our kids, to love reading.

Participation in summer reading challenges is one of the ways we use to hopefully create kids who turn into young adults who love to read. My thinking is that if they can read, they can learn anything.  They can also travel to places otherwise unavailable to them.

In addition to your local library’s reading program, here are a few more you can check out.  (Pun intended.)

Meatheads Burgers currently offers the Voracious Readers reading program during all seasons.  There is no guarantee that this program will continue, so make use of it while it is here.  The kids love being able to order their own burgers and ‘pay’ for them with the certificate they earned by reading books.

 

book cover 2

From the website:

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:

1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español).

2. Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why.Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017. Find a Store

3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.

My kids are excited about being able to choose from the books and have already selected the ones they want to work towards.  I love the fact that they are excited to be reading.

 

Download Now!

Books-a-million’s 2017 Summer Reading Program runs now through August 16th.  As the image above shows, read 4 books from their Reading Challenge secelction, fill out the form and return to receive a free Maze Runner series water bottle.  Click here to find a store near you.

There are book selection for both kids and teens.  The Kids’ selections online are not easy readers, so you may have to help your young reader choose something appropriate (or maybe read aloud to them).


Half Price Books’ summer reading program for kids 14 (or 8th grade) and under is for June and July.

Once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed log to earn HPB Bookworm Bucks.   By August 31, cash in your HPB Bookworm Bucks in store for books, music, movies & games.- Half Price Books bookmark

While 300 minutes may seem like a large amount, it works out to just 10 minutes a day for 30 days.

If you need ideas for young ones, they have put together a list of Alphabet books as well as books for even younger ones. You are encouraged to read aloud to your kids if needed.

LifeWay R.E.A.D. - Summer Reading Program 2017

Join us on our 2017 Summer Reading Quest with Bibleman, June 1 to Aug. 31. We want to help you and your family promote the love of reading in your home as well as encouraging the love of God’s Word through reading His Scripture. This program is geared toward grades 1 through 6, but all are welcome to join in the adventure.

Read six books over the course of the summer and memorize six Scripture verses. Then, turn in a completed summer reading journal at your local LifeWay store to earn a free book and a new free Bible.

Join them in-store for a Kickoff Party May 26-27 to receive your FREE Summer Reading Program Journal, Bookmark and Pencil. At that time you will also be able to purchase books from the recommended reading list at 40% off!

Turn in your reading journals by August 31, 2017

Read 10

For every 10 books you read, we’ll give you one free*. What’s the catch? You just have to write a short report telling us: 1. Your name and age 2. The title and author of the book 3. Why you liked or disliked the book You can even include drawings. When you’ve finished your 10 book reports, bring them to your favorite Bookmans and we’ll reward you with a free book for all that hard work.  – Bookman’s Programs Page

Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange has locations in Arizona.  While many of you may not live or visit these areas, it is a great example of finding a reading program at a location you may not have thought to look.  We visited a Bookman’s a few years ago, while in the Tuscon area on vacation, and loved it.  The initial reason for going was to attend their story time, as we were looking for things to do with 4 little boys  under 4 (we had nephews along with us).  While the kids were listening to the story, I got to indulge myself (my husband was with the kids) and look through a large selection of used books.  We came away with several classics for a very reasonable price.  I probably would have bought more, but we were flying home, so space was limited.

There is also a Kid’s Club, which offers enrolled kids a discount on books, as well as sending them a gift certificate on their birthday.

*The free book come in the form of a $10 certificate to be used in the store. I could not find the information online, but a call to one of their stores confirmed they are still doing this program

mcalendars

Chuck E. Cheese is a restaurant I did not grow up living near.  However, there was a time or two that we went for a party and I always had fun going.  With George and Jack being on the young side, and easily overwhelmed, we have not gone before.

I was surprised to find that they offer a very diverse reward program.  Fill out one of the calendars, bring it in, and earn 10 free tokens.  Their calendars are one that will help you form good habits in your kids and include the following calendars: reading, picking up your room, doing homework first, no picking your nose, daily chores, and more.  In all, they have 15 different calendars to choose from.  Additionally they have other awards you can earn and redeem for 10 free tokens.

A food purchase may be required to receive your tokens.

“Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.” – Book Adventure website

We have yet to participate in Book Adventure, as our kids have been too young previously.  Their prizes page does include some unique items that the kids can earn points toward.  Teachers can also set prizes for their classes.

summer-reading-challenge

“The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes, all in an effort to set a new reading world record for summer 2015!” – Scholastic Reading Challenge

Scholastic’s 2017 Summer Reading Challenge begins May 8 and ends September 8.

“During the summer months, DoD-MWR Libraries around the world will host a range of free activities for children, teens, and adults that encourage and support a love of reading. Participants also can earn incentives by reaching their reading goals.”

If you do not live near a base or libray on base, there is also a Virtual Summer Reading Program available.

 

Keep an eye out for the following programs this summer:

Kids can earn $10 with our Summer Reading Program.

TD Bank had a summer reading program in 2016, which rewarded readers with money in their bank accounts for reading so many books.  They have not said yet whether they will do it again in 2017.

 

 

May 022017
 

broken concrete in driveway

Has it really been 3 years since I put these thoughts out there?  Wow! 
It is interesting to reread the insecurity we felt in taking this step, even though we felt it was the right one to take.  I am so glad we did and have no regrets.  He is responding so well to this learning environment.  While it was not a solution to all his struggles, and there are new ones as there are with any journey one travels to become a more mature person, it had defiantly helped.

Every time something new goes on here with the construction, I feel bad that Jack is not here to see it.  George too, but Jack is more into construction stuff than George.

That is no longer going to be an issue, as come Monday, Jack will not be going to the public school for Kindergarten.  We have decided to try homeschooling him for various reasons, part of it being the hope that with one-on-one attention and more time with Mommy and Daddy we can address some issues related to his past.

After talking with someone who has more experience in the area of early childhood trauma, and asking if homeschooling was a completely unadvised option or if it could be a possibility, I was advised to be careful of homeschooling as “the emotional attachment right now between you and him is more important than his education.”  They meant that we should not let being his ‘teacher’ come before being his ‘Mom’, that the stress of teaching should not get in the way of strengthening our attachment.

That evening I repeated to my husband what I was told, reminded him of how much better Jack was last Spring when it was me and him, and that we still had the stuff we used when we supplemented George and Jack’s schooling over the summer.  We were pretty sure what we were going to do, but he said he really would like to ask someone else’s opinion or get some been-there-done-that advice.

book I am

All the homeschoolers I know near us have ‘typical’ kids, none with beginnings like our kids.  So I turned to a group of foster parents I know and asked their advice.  Everything I heard back was encouraging, especially on the part of getting the attachment and security down before focusing too much on academics.

One mom even said what were were thinking, “If that is what is needed during this season, then do it.  Life may change and the next season may not need him to be home for school.”

That night we decided to take him out of school, where he was just not ready to be, and keep him home.  At some point we may change our minds again, but we feel this is the place we need to be at right now.

This is the main thought my husband finally came to, and one I have been feeling for a while but was unable to put into words – if kids are not emotionally in the right place (or if they are continuing to experience triggers), learning will not happen to the best of their abilities; you will be fighting the current to get ahead.

book I am a

This interview, done during the Attachment & Trauma Network’s Educating Traumatized Children Summit 2014 between Anna Paravano, MS, ATN Education Director and Christine Moers, Therapeutic Parenting Coach,  says very much how we are feeling right now:

“… one of the things that I tried to help parents grasp that it took me a while to get and really absorb it was that children with a history of traumatic events, abuse, neglect, neurological struggles, mental health issues – there are some gaps, in particularly kids who have experienced early childhood trauma. There are gaps in their development. They either miss stages because of what was going on, or the things that did happen. They’ve got skills that are underdeveloped that a lot of other kids got. Those first couple of years of life and they need that first, period. And being therapeutic with them and creating a safe space for them to heal, we are re‐parenting them through those gaps…. And if I can help my kids get through and start to parent through those gaps and create this space over and over and over again, the academics are going to come.”

Also:

“In addition, many of these children have difficult times allowing themselves to trust and attach with their parent or care‐giver and end up needing more time, not less, with these key individuals to help them grow and heal. For these reasons and more, home schooling can provide the answer parents and care‐givers need for the educational piece for of the child’s life puzzle.”

But what about learning, it has to happen right?

“My goal as a teacher is to teach my children how to find information and I keep that as… And if they can grasp that, and we can connect and attach and practice love, they can always find their way through life and they always know who to call, “Mom, I think I would like to do this and I’m not sure where to start,” “Well hold on, let’s look up some resources.””
“And again because we should always be learning – adults can always learn, it’s always there and it has helped me to breathe and remember what is most important for my children now. And I encourage all parents regardless of their schooling situations to remember that too.”

IMG_20140907_164139230

So what about George?  He seems to be doing fine in public school.  It provides the structure and social setting he needs.  A large part of this is due to how we have his day set up there.  Advocating for your child’s educational needs happens no matter the setting of said education.

Talking about different needs in different season, George’s education from year to year has never looked the same.  We started with him in Early Childhood (preschool) in the morning, followed by Head Start (preschool) in the afternoons.  It was a long day, but he was immersed in structure and enrichment.  There was also consistency and encouragement.  All things he needed during a time of emotional upheaval.

As the year came to an end, we realized the following year would not need as much out-of-home support, so we pared down to just Early Childhood (preschool) and I got to spend more one-on-one time with him.  (Jack was in preschool at this point.)

Then Kindergarten was getting ready to happen.  We worked with his EC teachers to set up a routine that we hoped would enable him to succeed, or at least not get left behind.  This involved having him attend Kindergarten for half the day, then return to the EC classroom for the other half.  He would get the extra support in Kindergarten, but in a smaller setting with fewer distractions and at a slower pace.  Thankfully several other friends of his did the same thing, so he never realized it may not have been the ‘normal’ way.

At the end of the Kindergarten year, there were still weak places in his learning.  He had struggled and pretty much given up on the reading front.  Over the summer we continued working on reading, but in a different fashion and not sitting and reading.  He played games and had fun with words and letters.  I am not sure if it clicked finally, or if it was the relaxed atmosphere, but he ended the summer about where he should have been at the beginning of it.  Math, however, took a bit more time and desperation on my part before we figured it out for him.

If you remember, George also deals with apraxia, which affects his speech, and is now almost unnoticeable to those outside the family.  It also seems to affect his learning style and the ability to retain information.  After 2 years of Early Childhood and 1 year of Kindergarten/EC, we think we are starting to figure out the pattern and his style.  This has helped a lot in 1st grade, though he still has to work harder and some things are just downright struggles.

We can also pretty much predict the causes of the few minor behavioral issues he may present.  This helps in avoiding those issues and making his day easier.  Thankfully, George has two things going for him that aide a lot in his success.  1. God made him a talker.  Even when he could not get his words out or think of the right one, he was determined to make you understand.  And before he even ‘found’ his words, he would jabber and jabber as if you could completely understand him.  2. He is a friendly kid, ready with a smile and to be your friend.

Again, do what works for the season you are in.

Okay, so back to homeschooling.  I told George that he could also join in on some of the extras, like learning about the stars (nature study/science) and learning new songs, but that all the other stuff he was already learning at school so he did not need me to reteach him.  He was thrilled with this arrangement and excited for the change.  In reality, with his homework and how we do it, he already gets a lot of extra support from here at home and I did not want to make it more official than it already is.

Sandbox

Here are a few more things I found while looking online:

RESPONDING TO CHILDHOOD TRAUMA: THE PROMISE AND PRACTICE OF TRAUMA INFORMED CARE

“Children are not “little adults,” and it becomes clear, once the process of development is understood, that they are more vulnerable than adults to trauma – whether such trauma occurs in the community or, unfortunately, even in the name of “treatment.”
“Trauma informed care also involves seeking to understand the connection between presenting symptoms and behaviors and the individual’s past trauma history. “

How To Thrive As An Adult After Childhood Trauma – K Expert on Kirsty TV

Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope With Trauma – “The purpose of this guide is to support adoptive and foster families by strengthening the abilities of pediatricians to: 1) identify traumatized children, 2) educate families about toxic stress and the possible biological, behavioral, and social manifestations of early childhood trauma, and 3) empower families to respond to their child’s behavior in a manner that acknowledges past trauma but promotes the learning of new, more adaptive reactions to stress.”

This PDF was relatively short but did have a few good, basic tables showing how certain stresses may manifest themselves in behavior and academic related ways.  There were a few behaviors that I saw which I had never associated with stress, I thought they were just bad habits.  So, while this pamphlet may not have been a thorough study on trauma and children, it was a quick look and a good first place to start for someone who is beginning their process or for pediatricians to begin talking with their patient.

Linked up at:

   

Prudent Living on the Homefront
Dec 282016
 

This post contains affiliate links.

reading book dress-up costume

When the kids were younger, we knew they were behind in various academic and developmental areas.  Whether this was due to the environments they were in during their early years, or due to the trauma of removal and foster care, there were gaps and delays in their learning.

As toddlers and young children, our kids were extremely needy. Previously I had envisioned me teaching the kids as toddlers, sharing discoveries and books, working together in everything we did.  And while that did happen, it was not exactly as I had seen in my visions.

While my prior education was not in education of any sort, I sought out resources and books.  A lot of reading and many trials later, we were beginning to find things which worked.  I also soon came to realize this was not something I could do on my own.

Almost 6 years later, I may not have a degree in Early Childhood Education, but I have picked up a few pointers along the way.  I have also come to realize I am the best expert on my kids.  While we have leaned on the local public schools for aide in helping George learn, in the end I am the one who knows him best.  This fact has helped me be confident in seeking out resources to fit his needs and learning styles.

Reading has been a struggle with both of our kids, though for different reasons.  One child struggles with turning the sounds into words, the words into a sentence, and the sentence into a thought he understands.  The other child struggles with reading being ‘boring’ and having to sit still long enough to actually let learning happen.

Thankfully, the resource we found for the first child works well for the second, and is a great resource for any parent regardless of learning issues.  Even better, until January 20th, you can receive a FREE 4-week Trial.

Reading Eggs has given George the confidence to keep going, even when it was hard for him to put together sounds.  It is fun and there is no one to tell him he is doing it wrong. If he needs to go back and review, it is as easy as clicking back on an earlier task or ‘egg’.

Jack enjoys it as it does not seem like school work.  It is up-beat, short lessons, and keeps his attention.  He also enjoys the extra games he ‘gets to play’ once he finished his lesson. (This is my rule, not the program’s.)

We have also continued with Math Seeds, to subsidize Jack’s math work.  While I still need to monitor his online work (he has formed some bad habits to get through faster, which the program does not pick up on) this has been a great ‘privilege’ for days when he can finishes his work, or on days when he can not accept teaching from me.

George benefits from Math Seeds over the summer and on school vacations, to help provide the continuous review he needs in order to help his brain grasp concepts.

There are many aspects to Reading Eggs, including spelling, ebooks, and the Story Factory, where you can create your own book.  This variety has helped keep it fresh and exciting for the kids.

Whether you are looking for something to add to your school day, give the kids to work on during winter days, or as an added fun activity to aide in learning Reading Eggs might be just be what you were wanting.  With a FREE 4-Week Trial, now is the perfect time to explore the program.

Here’s what your child can enjoy:
Reading Eggs
Spelling
96 carefully graded spelling lessons that develop essential spelling skills in a progressive sequence.
Reading Eggs
Story Factory
A step-by-step guide to writing a story which can be entered into a weekly competition.
Reading Eggs
Reading Eggspress Library
More than 2000 real books converted to interactive e-books for young readers, many with read-to-me audio options.
Reading Eggs
Mathseeds
160 highly engaging math lessons specifically designed for kids aged 3–8. Your child can earn golden acorns and collect their own pets!

Click here to see what others are saying about Reading Eggs!

Reading Eggs, Reading Eggspress, Mathseeds

 

Jan 092016
 


Children at work cutting with scissorsWhat’s Going On Inside The Brain Of A Curious Child – Ah ha!  This is so Jack. 1,001 questions every day. I have learned to ignore some, as they are him thinking out loud, and answer others.  So many questions, it is often hard to stay on track.  He tends toward ADHD or autistic type behaviors (cumpulsion at times, trouble transitioning always), so that does not help with all the questions either.  He sure impressed our HVAC person with his knowledge (and questions) yesterday.  Perhaps there is something to curiosity and retaining knowledge.  I will have to keep that in mind when looking to teach some of the ‘boring’ subjects.

Rich Children And Poor Ones Are Raised Very Differently  – interesting read. The findings were not quite what I thought they would be.  I expected more of the “preschool is great, screen time is bad, spend time with your kids” rhetoric. Instead, they actually looked at the differences, both a young kids and as adults. Seems we all love our kids and want what is best for them, even if we try to achieve it in different ways.

We very much used to, and still at times do, parent out of fear – not that they will be shot, but that they will grow up lacking skills to learn; that they will be so far behind academically and skill wise that they will give up, that there would be no striving to gain knowledge.

From almost the first day they lived with us it was Enrichment 101 at our house, or so it felt. They were both about a year behind on many skills, this at a point where 1 year was a significant portion if their lived, so we focused on those needing the most work. We didn’t know how long they would be with us, so we made the most of the assumed limited time.

A few years later it was actually hard to realize that they had caught up in some areas, others were almost there, and the ones that were not would get there with maturity and time. Yes, consistent work still needed to be done, but we did not need to fear anymore. Now the goal is to relax some, but still provide tool to encourage learning.

This past month our home school routine has been more relaxed as I was focusing more time on the house. The result? Jack began understanding some math concepts he had been struggling with before.  It was like they needed to simmer for a time before becoming ingrained.

In public school, George finally latched on to the idea of adding. He went from not understanding at all over the summer and having nothing memorized, to now being able to subtract. There are other areas of struggle, especially where memorization is involved, but that is something with which he will always struggle. I am growing to acceptance of that reality. We still work hard to get him to fix these things in his memory, while knowing that Time has its place, too.

IMG_20160108_095034309

Dear Moms, Jesus Wants You To Chill Out – A great reminder that we do not need to be Martha (as in Mary and Martha) about everything.  It is a great reminder and encouragement, as I often ‘fail’ to achieve the do-everything-perfect-mom which I have set for myself.  I have relaxed more, both in parenting and homemaking, but have a ways to go.

Here Are 7 Sky Watching Events In 2016 You Don’t Want To Miss – late Autumn through early Spring is my preferred sky watching time. Yes, it may be cold outside, but you do not have to be up late waiting for the sun to set.  Not only does it allow me to get some sleep, it also increases the likelihood that I say “Yes” to letting the kids observe the event.

 

Dec 152015
 

I have come to love having an audio book for the kids to listen to at breakfasts, lunches, and in the car.  I try to find something they will enjoy that is also of good quality.  This may not always be achieved, and we have been known to stop listening to certain audio books after not really liking them.

While this activity can fall under schooling, I prefer it to be more simply a love of reading.  With a children who are learning or struggling with reading, audio books not only saves a Mama’s voice, but also helps bring the story alive in their minds.

All the audio books found at LibriVox are books from the public domain and are recorded by volunteers.

book-cover-large

From Librivox: Daddy Takes Us Skating by Howard R. GARIS (1873 – 1962) Hal and Mabel’s Daddy knows everything – how a thermometer works, what makes a car go, why we get warm when we run. It’s a cold and icy evening after school and Daddy has a secret but what is it? And what is in the mysterious packages he has for the children? The “Daddy” stories were originally published as part of the ‘bedtime stories’ of the Newark News. – Summary by Lynne Thompson

book-cover-large

From Librivox: Miss Ashton’s New Pupil by Sarah Stuart ROBBINS (1817 – 1910) – Marion Park, the daughter of missionaries, is sent to Miss Ashton’s boarding school. There she meets with many young girls and together they learn not just lessons in German, Logic, Arithmetic, Latin and Rhetoric, but also life lessons of study habits, lady like manners, self control, thoughtfulness of others, truthfulness, and many other character traits. Join these girls of Montrose Academy as they plunge into the adventures of a secret society, fall into a scrape with the boys of Atherton Academy, and plan many Holiday festivities. (Summary by Abigail Rasmussen)

Story of The World, Vol. 1 – I added the audio version of this book when I realized my voice was having trouble keeping up with all the read aloud and talking I was doing.  Thanks to Ebay, I was able to get a used copy at a reasonable price.

I like have the audio version/ the kids do not care either way.

 

May 052015
 

Kid in Library

With summer looming very close in front of us, one of the items on my non-gardening to-do list involves signing up for various summer reading programs.  This is also a great reminder to keep participating in other reading programs that are not season oriented.

Participation in summer reading challenges is one of the ways we use to hopefully create kids who tern into young adults who love to read.  This is one of my highest goals for our kids, to love reading.  My thinking is that if they can read, they can learn anything.  They can also travel to places otherwise unavailable to them.

In addition to your local library’s reading program, here are a few more you can check out.  (Pun intended.)

Voracious reading rewards

Meatheads Burgers currently offers the Voracious Readers reading program during all seasons.  There is no guarantee that this program will continue, so make use of it while it is here.  The kids love being able to order their own burgers and ‘pay’ for them with the certificate they earned by reading books.

Reading rewards calendar

Chuck E. Cheese is a restaurant I did not grow up living near.  However, there was a time or two that we went for a party and I always had fun going.  With George and Jack being on the young side, and easily overwhelmed, we have not gone before.  I was surprised to find that they offer a very diverse reward program.  Fill out one of the calendars, bring it in, and earn 10 free tokens.  Their calendars are one that will help you form good habits in your kids and include the following calendars: reading, picking up your room, doing homework first, no picking your nose, daily chores, and more.  In all, they have 15 different calendars to choose from.  Additionally they have other awards you can earn and redeem for 10 free tokens.

Read 10

“For every 10 books you read, we’ll give you one free. What’s the catch? You just have to write a short report telling us: 1. Your name and age 2. The title and author of the book 3. Why you liked or disliked the book You can even include drawings. When you’ve finished your 10 book reports, bring them to your favorite Bookmans and we’ll reward you with a free book for all that hard work.” – Bookman’s Programs Page
 

Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange has locations in Arizona.  While many of you may not live or visit these areas, it is a great example of finding a reading program at a location you may not have thought to look.  We visited a Bookman’s a few years ago, while in the Tuscon area, and loved it.  The initial reason for going was to attend their story time, as we were looking for things to do with 4 little boys  under 4 (we had nephews along with us).  While the kids were listening to the story, I got to indulge myself (my husband was with the kids) and look through a large selection of used books.  We came away with several classics for a very reasonable price.  I probably would have bought more, but we were flying home, so space was limited.

There is also a Kid’s Club, which offers enrolled kids a discount on books, as well as sending them a gift certificate on their birthday.

From the fine print on their Reading Journal – “Summer Reading Program Offer entitles Customer to one (1) complimentary book listed in the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal upon return of a completed Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal to a Barnes & Noble store. This Offer is only valid at participating Barnes & Noble retail stores and may be redeemed once per customer from May 19, 2015, through September 7, 2015, at close of business, while supplies last. In order to take advantage of this Offer, Customer must return a completed Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 19, 2015, and September 7, 2015, at close of business.”

My kids are excited about being able to choose from the books and have already selected the ones they want to work towards.  I love the fact that they are excited to be reading.

*affiliate links

 

“Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.” – Book Adventure website

We have yet to participate in Book Adventure, as our kids have been too young previously.  Their prizes page does include some unique items that the kids can earn points toward.  Teachers can also set prizes for their classes.

summer-reading-challenge

“The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes, all in an effort to set a new reading world record for summer 2015!” – Scholastic Reading Challenge

Scholastic’s 2015 Summer Reading Challenge begins May 4 and ends September 4.

Books-a-million’s 2015 Summer Reading Program runs now through August 16th.  As the image above shows, read 6 books, fill out the form and return to receive a free Theodore Boone Pencil Case and Pencil.  Click here to find a store near you.

Half Price Books’ summer reading program for kids 14 and under is for June and July.

“Once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed reading log to earn your $5 HPB Bookworm Bucks reading reward for the month …. HPB Bookworm Bucks coupon valid through August 27, 2014 only.” – Half Price Books

While 300 minutes may seem like a large amount, it works out to just 10 minutes a day for 30 days.

Pizza Hut’s Book It! Summer Reading Challenge kicks off June 22, 2015.  Details are forthcoming so check out their website as time approaches.

 

Besides your local library, are there any other reading programs/challenges that you would like to share with others?  Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Feb 282015
 

It was a bright snowy morning.  Anticipation was in the air as new snow was expected by nightfall.

Upon waking up and realizing Mom and Dad were still asleep, we skipped our morning routines (who needs diffrent clothes, we were already fully covered) and went straight to PLAYING.  So many things to get done, so little time.

Without delay, we followed the track the Rescuebots had left in the snow overnight.  Yes, it may have meant disobeying by going out onto the porch and leaving the door open a bit when we came in …but we didn’t go IN the snow.  It was cold and we were thinking ahead.  Mom would have been proud, though, I even had on underwear. And pants.  🙂 You’re welcome, Mom.

After following the tracks around the house, by looking out windows, we could contain our excitement no longer.  We HAD to share it with Mom.

No,worries, she wasn’t sleeping – she opened an eye when we opened the door. That meant she was wide awake and ready for a volume of speech usually reserved for coaches yelling at their players. Hey,this was exciting stuff!

After telling our story we left to set traps to catch any Transformers, least they should reappear.

snow on red cedar trees

Years later, Mom finally had crepes ready for breakfast. Not sure what took so long, she only had to stop every 5 minutes to tell us be quiet, stop an argument, separate us, send one to our room, return said kid to room, remind me not to hit the walls,remind me not to run, … yeah, not sure what took so long. Really, if she wasn’t so worried about teaching us how to not break our stuff, or her’s, things would go a lot faster around here. I wonder if she knows that?

Dad ate breakfast really fast. How does he do that?  It couldn’t have anything to do with him actually eating, since that is so boring. Not only can you cut your crepes, but they are also rolled! How great is that?! Of course I have to unroll and reroll each piece.  Who cares how sticky my hands get. It is all part of the experience.

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Mom dashed my dreams, yet again, by telling me that you can not get things off a t.v. and you can not get into a cartoon.  She went as far as making a short ‘movie’ of her coffee cup turning in a circle. Do you know how she did it? By taking a series of pictures, then scrolling through them quickly.  I smiled and pretended to understand.

Next she made a thing called a flip book. She made dots on a page.  Not really exciting. Then, she flipped quickly through the pages AND THE DOT MOVED! Ah, now I get it!

As that was so 30 seconds ago, I got bored and went off to play.  For some reason Mom got aggravated and sounded like she had other plans for the day.  In case she didn’t understand what we were doing, I clarified, “I don’t have time to brush teeth/get dressed/take dishes to the kitchen. I. Am. Playing.” By her reaction, I don’t think she still fully understood. By the look on her face though, I figured I should obey.

While I was going to obey, I first needed to run away from her when she went to give me my toothbrush, do a headstand on the couch, do a circuit through all the rooms, and then back to the couch.

For some reason Mom had decided to leave without me. Can you believe how unfair she was being? Didn’t she understand that I was on my way to obeying?

At least she put on The Brinkman Adventures when we got into the car. If I had to put up doing what she wanted, at least I could be listening to something fun. Right?

Hey, look, we are in Big Town! “Mom, can we go to the library? I want to go the library.” I wonder why she didn’t answer me?

Look, we pulled into the library. Glad she listened to MY plans.

However, she wouldn’t let me go straight to the computers.  I humored her by paying attention, sort of, in the art thing she wanted us to do.  I tried to slip out, but she kept making me stay by her. Maybe if I try again … maybe now …

“Stand up quietly,” she whispered finally, “and go to the desk out there.”

While we signed up for computers she disappeared. I wonder where she went? Oh well, she is here somewhere. I have places to go and things to find.

(And this is where Mom disappeared to while boys were otherwise occupied. Lovely books. So many places to go and things to find.)

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Feb 252015
 

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This morning I was working on homework with George in the kitchen.  We made it through his assigned reading book, his spelling words (done today while he jumped on the trampoline), and his speech practice (/th/ sounds).  Vocab was saved to review while we ate.

The teacher had marked that he should practice math, but had sent nothing specific home.  Yesterday she mentioned that he was having trouble switching between addition and subtraction.

With his other homework finished it was time to eat and his cereal was waiting for him on the counter.  Perfect. To get to his cereal, he had to take the number of steps toward the counter that I told him.

We have done this game in a variety of ways, sometimes counting forwards/backwards (face appropriate way), adding/subtracting, skip counting, etc.  Today it went like this:

Take 2 steps forward.

Take 1 step backwards.

Take 3 steps forward.

Take 2 steps backwards.

Add 4 steps.

Subtract 1 step.

Add 3 steps.

Subtract 2 steps …..

George was catching on, his steps backwards got smaller as his steps forward got larger.  🙂 The last instruction of “Take 1 step forward” resulted in 3 steps forward with a smile on his face. Silly Goose.

 

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Feb 152015
 

Read Across American book bag

Read Across American Day is March 2, 2015.  Check out the NEA website to find events in your area.

Here is a short article from the NEA’s website which helps demonstrate why it is so important:

Facts about Children’s Literacy – Children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school.

On a more personal note, in our house, the theory is, “As long as you know how to read, you will be okay.”  What we mean is, we are not going to stress about the kids not having certain academic details stored in their minds or knowing how to do addition 4 different way by the time they end 1st grade.  If they can read, and like it, they will always be able to find the information they need.  This does not mean we are going to slack and not teach them, just that we are not going to overly stress out about it.

My husband, in his job, often has to look up and learn information about processes which he may not be fully familiar.  He is still great at his job because he knows where to find the information he needs, and has the other knowledge to apply that information to solve problems or make something run smoother.  If at his age he is still learning, how much more so for our kids.  By encouraging them to love reading, we are giving them a skill they can use for life.