Summer Reading Book Haul

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Some of My Favorite Books Right Now

Sew Fab Sewing and Style for Young Fashionistas:
Author: Lesley Ware

ISBN-10: 178067404X
ISBN-13: 978-1780674049

Sew Fab is a great book about sewing, style, and designing. There are guides to help you pick your own style tribe, accessorize, and also how to choose your color palette. I love this book because I am really into fashion and clothes. One day I want to be able to use a sewing machine like my mom does to create pretty dresses and skirts to wear. There are also some really cool projects in the book, my favorite one is the After School Tote.

Another thing I love about the book is the illustrations. The pictures look like they are painted with watercolors and all of the girls in the book have on really cute outfits!  The colors are bright and pretty The girl on the cover has on Chuck’s and those are my favorite shoes. I sometimes use the book when my mom lets me pick my own outfits.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fashion or wants to learn more about sewing. It has helped me out a lot!

Jem and the Holograms comics :
Author: Kelly Thompson and Sophia Campbell

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I love comic books!

I just  started reading the Jem and the Holograms comics a few weeks ago. I read all 4 comics in one day and have read My favorite part of comics are the illustrations because I want to be an author/illustrator one day. I have seen the Jem cartoon that my mom used to watch when she was a kid and I loved it!

In the comics the main character is Jerrica Benton but her secret identity is Jem. Jem has a girl band called Jem and the Holograms and they give concerts and help out kids with the Starlight Foundation. Jem has a computer named Synergy that helps her and her band transform and it is super cool! I like the Jem cartoons and comics because all of the stories have a lesson and a moral that I can learn.

I would recommend these comic books to anyone who likes music, brightly colored graphics, and comics. There are 11 books in the series plus a holiday special.

The Witches:
Author: Roald Dahl

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ISBN-10: 0590032496
ISBN-13: 978-0142410110

My teacher read this book to our class and I loved it so much, I had to read it myself. I want to read all of Roald Dahl’s books because the stories I have seen in movies were great, and I am sure the books are too!
The story is about 2 boys, the narrator and a boy named Bruno Jenkins, who meet some witches and get turned into mice. With the help of the narrators grandmother, they try to find away to turn back into boys and get back at the witches.
I like this book because it is very funny and creative. The funniest part of the book to me, was when the witches were at their meeting and The Grand High Witch told them all that they could remove their wigs, gloves, and shoes.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes funny stories.

The Jigsaw Jones Mystery Books :
Author: James Preller

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I like these stories because they are funny and there are real mysteries to be solved. I like to watch NCIS, Sherlock,  and other mystery stories with my mom, but I don’t always understand what is going on. The Jigsaw Jones books are very kid friendly and easy to understand. Another thing I like, is that I can read the books easily in one day and still remember details.

The main character is Jigsaw Jones. He loves drinking grape juice and he has a dog named Rags. The story is written like Jigsaw is an actual detective and I like that a lot. It’s not just a kid trying to solve mysteries, he actually is really good at it. The book reminds me of Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery stories.

The Summer Slide Costs Money…and Time

More than just money, summer learning loss costs time. Precious time. Not only time to the teachers, but time to the parents who oftentimes work and have other children, but most importantly it takes away from our children learning something new. This is where the old phrase, “time is money” makes the most sense.

Though it doesn’t seem like much, the $18,000 or more that the education system spends just on the summer slide equates into almost 1 year of post secondary education. That is a lot of money spent on being counter productive, right?

According to The Summer Learning Association, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains (Cooper, 1996).

2 months is a significant amount of time, especially when the school year is generally only about 10 months. That is why I think as parents we need to step up and do more to help our children, our teachers, and our school systems. because despite what some may have you to believe, it really does take a village.

Here are some helpful ways that we as parents can help to combat that learning loss and keep our children engaged:

1. Review your school district’s curriculum maps or standards for your child’s upcoming year and find fun activities online that coincide with the subject matter. In our school district there are not only curriculum maps, but learning objectives, and practice material.

2. Positively reinforce what they have already learned by reviewing this completed school years’ subject matter to show them just how much they have learned. At the end of the school year, my daughter gets  to bring home all of her assessments and journals. We go over those together so that she can see the progress that she made from the beginning to the ending of the school year.

3. Everyday have an “unplugged” time where neither you or your child(ren) is/are connected to any electronic devices. Use this time for fun math and spelling drills, reading above grade level books (with your help), free writing, drawing, painting, etc. Right now, my daughter and I are reading the Harry Potter books together and everyday, even on weekend, we do quick math fact drills to keep her sharp.

4. Before the school year is out, make a list of attainable learning goals for your child to learn by the end of summer break and STICK WITH THE PLAN! Make a big deal when goals are accomplished so that your child can get more excited and motivated to learn. So far, she is on goal for learning all of her multiplication facts. We only have 4 more weeks to go and I’m pretty confident that she will learn them all before the time is up.

5. If there is subject matter that your child struggled with throughout the regular school year, now would be a perfect time to hone in on that to see what you can do to help them to comprehend better or feel more confident about the subject.I asked my daughter what she felt she needed to work on, and I made lesson plans based around that and material for the upcoming school year.

6. If you are sending your child to camp, if at all possible, try to enroll them into programs that will challenge them to learn and to be creative. It’s never too late to research good programs, if not for now but next summer break. Most public schools and public libraries will be happy to give you information and suggestions about camps in your area. Some of the camps may also offer scholarships or tuition assistance.

7. Enlist the help of your child’s school. Ask what you can do to help your child over the summer. Your child’s teacher, counselor, or principal should be able to tell you specifically what subjects if not specific material to review to give your child a head start for the upcoming school year.

8. GO TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY!!!! Throughout the summer there are so many different programs that most libraries have to keep children learning and engaged. The most popular is typically the summer reading program. Make sure both you and your child have up to date library cards so you can take advantage of all the great reading material and also have access to the computers.

9. Find television shows/programs and movies that are entertaining and educational. If your child watches tv/movies then you have to find a way to use those media sources to your advantage. In the age of Netflix, Hulu, and many other online streaming resources it’s almost impossible not to find a couple of things that kids enjoy that is also engaging.  Some of our favorite things to watch are Beakman’s World, Magic School Bus, and Bill Nye.

10. Research and educate yourself on things your child is interested in to find the educational or brain stimulating qualities.Does it stimulate their imagination? Does it help them to become deeper thinkers? Does it challenge their comprehension?  Don’t be afraid as a parent to put restrictions, especially through the summer, on things that serve no purpose. I still am unable to find the advantage of letting my daughter watch Disney Channel.

These are just some of my methods that I use to help combat the summer slide for my child. What are some things you do? I would love to hear your suggestions and comments!

Rahni’s Book Club

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I have been saying for months that I was going to start a children’s book club, and today, I finally did. I called the library and reserved a meeting room for our first official meeting. It will be in a month and now I have to invite people and find a book.
There is no particular age range for the club, but the books will be appropriate for kids aged 7 to about 10 just because I don’t want the books that we select to be too difficult or too easy. Since Rahni is 8 and most of the kids that I am going to invite are around her age give or take a couple years, this should hopefully work out. Of course we can always make adjustments as necessary.
Upon looking for our first book selection, I came across some very interesting books that I have never seen before. It seems like these days there is no shortage of books or authors for children to choose from. While representation of ethnic diversity is lacking in characters, today I have found, despite my initial thought, that there are a good amount of books that have both female and male main characters. Admittedly, I usually do not browse for books that boys specifically would be interested in because I don’t have a son. However, when we do go to book stores and libraries, I notice a lot more books with a lot more female protagonists.
When I asked two of my trusted mommy friends about books that both boys and girls would like, they both gave me 2 really good options; one being Sweet Farts series book #1 by Raymond Bean and the other was the Rotten School series book #1 by R.L. Stine.
I never knew the R.L .made any series outside of Goosebumps, so this came as a pleasant surprise to me. The series is not scary, but is funny, and has a good amount of the gross humor that kids tend to like. The first book is titled The Big Blueberry Barf-Off, if that tells you anything. I read excerpts from the book and it seems to be about a very annoying and bratty kid that challenges another kid that is just as bratty to a pie eating contest. It seems legitimately funny and there are short chapters and great illustrations.
Before today, I ashamed to say that I have never heard of author Raymond Bean. He writes children’s humor book series Sweet Farts and School is a Nightmare. He also has a series titles Benji Franklin that I absolutely fell in love with after reading an excerpt from book #1 Benji Franklin Kid Zillionaire. Benji is a child genius and inventor. He wins an award for one of his inventions and becomes the world’s first and only zillionaire. It is a book about creativity, imagination, and also good will. This is definitely a book that goes on our “to read” list.

These are some of the books that I think would be great options, some are newer and some are classics, either way  I think they all appeal to boys and girls.

Click the links after the photos for more info!

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The Magic Shop (series) by Kate Egan
Elray Jakes (series) by Sally Warner 
Club House Mysteries (series) by Sharon Draper   
Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja (series) by Marcus Emerson
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (series) by Judy Blume
The Mouse and the Motorcycle (series) by Beverly Cleary
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Friendle by Andrew Clements
The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Stuart Little by E.B. White
George Brown Class Clown (series) by Nancy Krulik

Check It Out!

(photo from lifeofzarf.com)

This is going to be a very quick post because 1. I am on lunch break and 2. I only have 10 minutes left:)

I have been sitting here the last 20 minutes trying to find new books to show Rahni and I come across this littel gem Life of Zarf The Trouble With Weasels by Rob Harrell. What initially drew me into it wa sthe cover art for the book that is featured on Penguin’s website. I am a fan of Harrell’s other books such as Big Top and Monster on the Hill. I was totally unaware of this book, I am so glad that I clicked the link!

The book has all of the elements that we look for; great illustrations (of course because Harrell is amazing), cover art that will grab your attention, and a great plot (from what I read in the excerpt).  I love that it is a comic style/graphic novel style book with just enough prose that she doesn’t get bored or fly through it too quickly. Since she is really into the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, Big Nate, etc I think that this book will go over pretty well with her. Another thing I love is that the web page not only information on the book and author, but also it’s cahracters. To me, this really is great because it goes deeper than just what you read on the pages. It helps to expand your imagination about the characters and most importantly it promotes fandom amongst young readers. This is awesome to me as I am attempting to raise a geek:)

If you have time, definitely check it out! You can also read an excerpt here.

My Child Can Read ANYTHING…or can she??

Let me just start by saying that my daughter can virtually read ANYTHING. And by ‘read’ I mean just that. She can read long multi-syllabic words by sounding them  out phonetically and she usually gets the pronunciations correct. HOWEVER…she does not always comprehend what she is reading. And by ‘always’ I mean OFTEN. Do not get my wrong, at her grade level she comprehends just fine. She is able to grasp the meaning and if there is a lesson, she pretty much is able to figure that out as well. The problem with this is that she flies through books that are at her grade level. As any other parent that is completely blown away by this, I started feeding her more and more books. In her home library she has over 100, and that is not including what is on her Kindle apps on her Ipod and Galaxy…or my Iphone. In Kindergarten, she started reading  Junie B Jones chapter books. And just last week, she got her first Harry Potter book after her constant begging for it.

 

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Well……

As much as it prides me that my 7, soon to be 8 year old is able to pick up a dictionary and read each word with ease, it kind of worries me that 5 minutes after she reads a book she has no idea or has a hard time summarizing what happened. I felt like this was very problematic, hence her re reading Junie B Jones book 1 that she read 2 years ago. At first, I was hesitant to go back a few grade levels because I didn’t want her to get bored or to stop trying to excel at reading. I didn’t want her ultimate goal of reading “big people” books to be forgotten or abandoned. To my surprise neither of these things have happened! She still enjoys reading books like Junie B, if not more so now then when she was 5. She still flies through the book, but with the shorter chapters and larger print, it’s not as much information for her to have to process. Now when I ask her what happened, it is a lot easier for her to recall and she has a very good understanding of what happened.

Now that I think of it, she is more like me than I thought. About 3 years ago, when the first Hobbit movie was coming out, I decided to re read the book because I am ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. If there is a book to movie, it is imperative that I read the book first (this excludes books based on motion pictures). I know, I’m a snob:) Anyway, keep in mind that I have not read The Hobbit since high school. It only took me a couple days to read it…because I was reading it at work. I absolutely LOVED it! I cannot remember loving the book in high school. I don’t know if it is because I was forced to read it, or because my imagination and level of comprehension has expanded since then. Either way, the dots connected and the light bulb went off.

Seeing and understanding how this works for her now, I will continue to encourage her to read more grade level appropriate books for her level of comprehension. However, we have already made the agreement that for free reading time, she can read anything she wants. Of course, this is within reason as she is also itching to read Game of Thrones. I told her maybe in middle school. Maybe. Probably. We’ll see. 🙂