Reading aloud

Bubble Burst: The Truth About Vanity Cakes

Our little journey last summer brought many of the experiences of the Ingalls family to life for us. From sweeping out a dugout to making a corncob doll, we felt like we had walked in Laura’s shoes. But we hadn’t eaten at her table. While Breece and Avery enjoyed a stick of old fashioned candy at nearly every stop, there was very little authentic pioneer flavor to our food experiences along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Highway.

Never Too Young

September is National Library Card Sign-Up month – rightly so. Schools are open, but the library card sign-up campaign should be a reminder for parents and caregivers of babies and toddlers that it’s never to early for children to visit libraries. Their adults can get books, ideas and maybe gain an idea or two to share with babies and toddlers.

11 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Read

Parents often ask how they can help their children learn to read; and it’s no wonder that they’re interested in this essential skill. Reading plays an important role in later school success. One study even demonstrates that how well 7-year-olds read predicts their income 35 years later!

Here are 11 practical recommendations for helping preschoolers and school-age students learn to read.

Catching Stars

In Carol’s final blog posting for the summer, the family embarks on another Start with a Book summer science exploration: The Night Sky. Unbeknownst to them, their exploration continues on in paradise, and wraps up at home in their own front yard.

Audiobooks Recorded by Screen Actors Guild Volunteers Widen Accessible Book Choices

Teachers who like using Storyline Online, the free literacy website where voice artists/actors from the Screen Actors Guild read children's books, will also enjoy Learning Ally audiobooks that also are read by professionals. Through a volunteer program, the "Acted Community" has about 130 voice artists and professional actors who bring their talents to Learning Ally's accessible book space. 


There are many things to celebrate in August. Lots of parents celebrate schools soon opening. Commuters appreciate less crowded roads. There’s still time for a summer getaway.

And of course, the second week of August has been dubbed National Smile Week!

We're Going on Five Planes!

Carol and her kids explore the topic of flight with a visit to the National Air and Space Museum. Their ongoing exploration of flight continues during their summer travels as they learn about Amelia Earhart, go on five planes, and make their own paper airplanes.

Showing to tell

A graphic novel takes me much longer to read carefully than a text-only book does. Why? I think the pictures slow me down. I need to examine them carefully in order to make meaning from them, what they’re saying, how they interact with the words (if any).

The artist is telling a story. And how that story is told is intriguing.

It’s a Tomato Warning!

Carol and her family share their gardening adventures. They learn the virtue of patience when it comes to gardening with some help from a book called And Then It’s Spring, and experience the satisfaction of growing their own fruits and vegetables from seed.

The other day, Addie asked me, “Mommy, why was there a tomato warning?”

“A tomato warning?” I repeated, confused.

“Yes, a tomato warning. It happened during the thunderstorm.”

Madam President

Addie explores the idea of becoming President. With a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, and a candid “what if I were President” interview with her mom, we get to see the world through the eyes of a five and half year old.

About a month ago, Addie came home from school, and said to me, “Mom, you can become President.”

“OK, why is that?”

“Because you have to be 35 to be President. And you’re 35!” (In all honesty, I’m 35+2, but why ruin a perfectly good moment by pointing out a harmless error).


"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." — Lemony Snicket