Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In the spirit of blogging, I'm posting an article I wrote for our school's newsletter

The Best Way to Become a Better Reader is to (you guessed it) READ!

Do you feel like it’s a battle to get your reluctant reader to sit down and read a book for twenty minutes nightly? Chances are, he or she is not reading because he or she hasn’t found a book that they LIKE to read. I’m sure you have heard from teachers in the past that the best way to get better at reading is, by, well, reading. Here are a few other tips to help your child enjoy reading at home.

1. Choose books that children enjoy. Have conversations about your child’s interests on the way home or during any downtime. Make trips to the library on the weekend and pursue those interests. Books don’t have to be a certain level to be enjoyed. If a book is too hard, practice reading by alternating reading lines and help guide your child to the right word.

2. Make reading comfortable. Make sure there is a comfortable spot at home away from distractions like TV or video game systems. Fill this spot with pillows and a bookshelf.

3. Make reading a priority. Just like homework, there should happen nightly at an assigned time, preferably before television and/or before bedtime.

4. Wind down with a book. Story time is my favorite way to end the day, and a perfect way to say goodnight to your child.

5. Understand the Importance of Reading. Have conversations with your child that include reasons why you read today. You can start with simple things like “I read the newspaper” or “I wanted to see how to get home from work faster” and lead up to more complicated things. Share the titles you are reading for fun. Children are great mimes. If they see that reading is important to you, they will follow.

Having trouble choosing that first good book? Here a few great children’s books grades K-2. For a complete list of recommendations, go to and find “parent and afterschool resources.” Then find “Help a child choose a Book.” The complete list is found here.

1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
2. The Mitten by Jan Brett
3. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch
4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
5. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why I love music, and yes, I know posting song lyrics is a bit of a blog-post copout

But today is just one of those days that I need this kind of positive thinking reminder. I *heart* this woman, and I *heart* this song.

Am I faithful, am I strong, am I good enough to belong
In your reverie a perfect girl
Your vision of romance is cruel and all along I played the fool
All your expectations bury me

Don't worry you will find the answer if you let it go
Give yourself some time to falter
But don't forgo know that you're loved no matter what
And everything will come around in time

I own my insecurities I try to own my destiny
That I can make or break it if I choose
But you take my words and twist them 'round
Til I'm the one who brings you down
Me me feel like I'm the one to blame for all of this...

Don't worry you will find the answer if you let it go
Give yourself some time to falter
But don't forgo know that you're loved no matter what
And everything will come around in time

You need everybody with you on your side
Know that I am here for you but I hope in time
You'll find yourself alright alone
You'll find yourself with open arms
You'll find yourself you'll find yourself in time

The riot in my heart decides to keep me open and alive
I have to take myself away from you
'Cause I can't compete I can't deny there's nothing that I didn't try
How did I go wrong in loving you

Don't worry you will find the answer if you let it go
Give yourself some time to falter
But don't forgo know that you're loved no matter what
And everything will come around in time

Monday, February 8, 2010

If you read this blog regularly... know by now that I am a very big fan of the blog PostSecret.

Very simple concept. People, much like me and you, too afraid to share their true feelings in public, will write it down in an artful way on the back of a postcard and very often in a uniquely artistic manner. Very clever. It is most often the highlight of my week, quite honestly.

Especially this week. Secrets were late being posted this week (they are usually up by Sunday midnight by were delayed due to the storm on the East coast) and I almost panicked when I saw they hadn't been posted by noon today. When I got back from my card-making event and (reluctantly) watching the Stupid Bowl, I was very excited to see a host of great secrets posted.

The first one is the one I identify most with tonight (and this winter).

I also love that not only does the site contain this secret today, which I could have written and the girl in the photo could have easily been me, but at the very end of the secrets this week, this secret popped up, almost as a conclusion to the first one. Very clever again, and I could have written this one too.

There is hope for all of us misplaced southerners! Hang in there. What do you do when you are feeling down about the weather?

Monday, February 1, 2010

In the spirit of giving things....

...I was reading one of my other favorite blogs on the interwebs and came across this.

I thought this would be fun to try too...and Laurie Halse Anderson in amazing. You should all read SPEAK now.

I double-dog dare you

* Feb. 1st, 2010 at 7:14 AM

Let's see how short I can make this post....

I double-dog dare you to step away from the Internet for the month of February.

Don't blog.

Don't read blogs.

Loose track of the shenanigans of celebrities and politicians.

Do not update your status, your mood. Let your Farmville fall apart and your Cafe close.

Why do I suggest this?

Because so many of you are struggling to find time to write, or paint, or read, or do the other creative things that make you happy.

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Consider this NoNoBlog-o (thanks for that title, Harold). Blog-Free February. BFF.

Does going cold turkey sound impossible? Then try this: for every 20 minutes you write each day, you can spend 1 minute reading or writing blogs. ONE MINUTE. (That ratio was suggested by several editors I consulted, btw.)

If you are strong, you can use the Internet for research and critical email. But nothing else.

I can't go cold turkey. But I am going to cut back on blogging and social networking dramatically, and try to keep all entries (except for this one) shorter than 140 characters.)

We'll meet back here on March 1st to compare notes about how productive we were.

Go! Shoo! Scribble!

PS - I think you can do this. Really.

If I can't do this...I have a serious problem. I'll see you all in March.

I was unaware Austraila had such a problem with the stuff...

Reading one of my favorite blogs on the Interwebs, I came across this article tonight.

Australia’s “FebFast” – No Drinking For The Month

by Caren on February 1, 2010

glass with red slashAustralia has a drinking problem, reports an article in the The Sydney Morning Herald. And the Australian government is quite worried about alcohol consumption among its young people, and cites shocking statistics revealing that in an average week, four people under 25 die due to alcohol-related injuries.

In an effort to raise awareness and curb the drinking tide, a number of no-booze campaigns and fund-raisers–FebFast, Dry July and Ocsober–have surfaced in recent years.

Tomorrow begins the third annual FebFast, a charity challenge inviting participants to “give up the grog” for the next 28 days. Through their national education, awareness and fundraising campaign, FebFast organizers are aiming to lessen the impact of alcohol and drugs by inviting people to kick their drinking habit during February, simultaneously raising money to support youth alcohol and other drug services.australia

Over the last two years, FebFast has inspired more than 3,500 people to take up the month-long challenge. And collectively, they have raised more than $700,000 to support their cause.

 The money raised from the last two campaigns has been shared by 13 organizations around Australia. 

Proceeds from the 2010 registration and fundraising efforts will be shared amongst the Australian Drug Foundation (that operates nationally), YSAS (the Youth Substance Abuse Service) in Victoria, The Ted Noffs Foundation in NSW and the ACT, Mater Hospital’s Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Service in Queensland and FebFast’s grants program for smaller grass-roots organizations.

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Do you think you could do such a thing? Wouldn't it be fun to try?