October Highlights Hidden Picture & More

Not much time left now to find all the hidden pictures at HIGHLIGHTS spooktacular online site. Scurry over and see if you can do it.

Or if you’d like to do some thrilling reading in the Halloween theme, go to my website where you’ll find FRIGHTFUL READS.

Always popular this time of year is MAKE A SPIDER craft. I know I’d much rather make them than find them unexpectedly. The ones you make are soft and fuzzy. You can make them in a variety of colors and sizes–just right to frighten a friend, or not.

Your friends would certainly enjoy SPIDER SNACKS. They are a treat to make and yummy to eat.

And last but not least, a Halloween joke for you:

What kind of pants do ghosts like?


More on Helping Kids Become Readers and Writers

Sorry I don’t have photos yet to share of my school visit at Point Elementary last Friday, but the Mehlville School District has posted a press release of the event with a photo. Click on the link to read all about it.

I’m nearly finished reading all the great stories the Point students wrote and shared with me. They showed what great imaginations they have–so much creativity! And lots of the stories have great humor as well.

Today I read a second grade writer’s story. All the main writing points I’d shared with the students on Friday, she’d woven into her brief story.

She had a story arc: beginning, middle, and end.
Her dog character had a problem and found a way to solve it.
With dialog and some descriptive words, she quickly revealed her characters to the reader.
It was clever. It was fun. It was truly amazing!

Students usually need little encouragement to create their own stories. The earlier they begin to put their own ideas into words the better. They will become more accomplished in both their reading and writing. They’ll master spelling, grammar, and punctuation more easily. And they’ll have so much fun bringing their imagination to life to share with others.

Below is a list of websites with information/opportunities for encouraging children writers.

Guardian Angel Publishing Contest for School Children

Poetry for Kids

Giggle Poetry for Kids

Graphic Organizers

Publishing Students’ Work

Young Authors and Artists Group

Writing By Children (ALA)

List of Children’s Authors & Illustrators Websites (ALA)

Favorite Children’s Stories (ALA)

Children’s Authors Who Teach Children How to Write (Blog)
http://www.teachingauthors.com/search/label/Writing Workout


I don’t know about where you live, but here it has been an especially gray, rainy, chilly fall. I guess our ghoulish weather is fitting preparation for Halloween next week. Plus, it’s certainly perfect weather for snuggling up with a good book.

Have you been reading any spook-tacular books lately? If not, here’s a few suggestions from my website under FRIGHTFUL READS.
There is also a HALLOWEEN CROSSWORD puzzle to try.
Or for those looking for an activity, see if you can MAKE A SPIDER or a SPIDER SNACK.
So no matter the weather between today and Halloween, you’ll have plenty of fun stuff to do. Enjoy!

Find the Perfect Book Match for Your Summer Reading

I’m so excited to tell you about this great opportunity–just a click away. How many times during the summer when your mom or dad suggests you do some reading, you say, “But I don’t have any good books.”???

When you follow this link to Lexile’s Find a Book, you’ll be able to enter your grade and what type of books interest you. Presto! Find a Book will zap out a list of titles for you to check out faster than you can slurp down an ice cream cone on a 90-degree summer day.
Pick out a few titles which sound too good to miss. Go online to your local library. See if they have the books. Put holds on them and plan a trip to the library. In no time at all, you can be relaxing with the best of summer reads.
Not so much into reading…no worries. You can indicate what your reading level is when you enter your info into the Find a Book database. A long list of just-right books–for your interests and  correct reading level–will magically appear.
Yeah, but why bother reading during the summer. It’s vacation from school time.
So true, but a professor of education at Harvard University, James Kim, did a study. He found that students who don’t read over the summer can fall behind in their reading levels by as much as two months. That means you’ll have lost ground during the summer. You’ll start next school year just trying to catch up to where you left off the year before. That doesn’t sound like fun.
But, according to the professor, if you read at least 8 interesting books at your reading level during the summer, you won’t fall behind. In fact, you’ll probably increase your reading level.
Awesome! Wouldn’t that be a cool surprise for your new teacher as well as your parents.
Public libraries usually have great summer reading programs. You may be able to earn prizes reading this summer and beat the summer slide–loosing ground on your reading skills. 
So this summer, do your sliding into home plate–not down hill on your reading.
Libraries are truly COOL places to hang out in this summer. Check one out.
Let me know how you do with your reading and what’s the best book you read this summer. 

Summer Reading, Websites, and Recipes for Kids

Holly and I took a field trip to the dog park today. There we met Joey and his mom and their beautiful and friendly Irish Setter, Flash. After Holly showed Joey all the cool tricks she can do, we humans eventually got around to the really fun stuff–talking about books.

Joey was on the lookout for some good summer reading. I offered him a couple of favorites:
The Gollywhopper Games received the 2008 Midwest Choice Book Awards Honor for Children’s Literature. And the book is also up for possible readers’ choice awards in both Alaska and Texas.
The Graveyard Book won this year’s Newbery Award as well as honor book in the recently announced Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. Follow the link for the other selections.
Of course, a library is a great place to visit this summer for expert advice on good books. Plus, they usually have special programs designed for kids of all ages. 
Some other fun things to do this summer can be found online. Visit the AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION’s list of great websites for kids. I’ve mentioned a few of the websites before, like
ReadKiddoRead and Giggle Poetry. But there are lots more suggestions for summer adventures from math to art to science to film making.
Joey also shared with me that he enjoys cooking. Yum! Yum! Don’t forget that I have some tasty recipes on my website. Dirty Worms seems like an appropriate dish for summer fare. For more recipes, click on this link. There you’ll also find games, crafts, puzzles, and more reading adventures.


Nancy I. Sanders has a lovely weekly blog with inspiration for writers (or anyone.) Her blog combines a prayer and a photograph. It’s a wonderful way to take a time out from a hectic week for a bit of contemplation.  

Oprah now provides a reading list for children. The list breaks down the suggested book titles into age groups to help make selection even easier. This is a perfect plan to use when your child says, “but there is nothing good to read.” Now you have some ready suggestions at hand. 
And don’t forget online magazines for children as well–like Stories for Children Magazine and Launch Pad and My Light Magazine.
Stanley Bookman (above) by artist, Kevin Collier, says, “Happy Reading!”