Tools To Help


You are responsible for your child’s education, but you’re not alone. There are many tools at your disposal.

Let’s start with ROUTINE. If you haven’t already set up a routine, now’s the time to start. Kids need to play, be involved in clubs or sports and need time to rest, but they also need to complete homework.  My daughter-in-law, Tricia, has the kids complete their school work when they get home taking a few minutes to first grab a snack. Last week, friend and author, Sandy Carlson mentioned that she developed reading time just before bed.

TIME is often frittered away. Time is a tool that added to routine will work for you.

BOOKS that teach us, as parents, how to work with our children are a great tool. Reference books such as a dictionary, grammar books, a thesaurus, and countless others within reach in the home are priceless. They are expensive but well worth the investment.

OTHERS can be of assistance. Often the parent and child find working together difficult. Why not involve a friend, grandparent or tutor? Many schools have a tutorial program in place.

ATTITUDE – If you’re unhappy with your child’s teacher make sure your attitude doesn’t show. If you don’t respect your child’s teacher or school neither will your child.

CULTURE trips for fun show your child you feel learning is important. Go to an ethnic restaurant, art exhibit or museum. Don’t hurry through…stop and read about the artist or museum piece.

FOCUS on what’s most important in life. Do the dishes later.

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Your Responsibilty

Responsibility Concept

My first job out of high school was in the library at the local elementary school. One of my duties included working with students who had a difficult time reading. To me, this made no sense. I had no college, no professional training and no wisdom/life experience. I did enjoy working with the children. They liked that I read with expression and listened to them read.

Many years later I sent my children off to school. I have a son with dyslexia. He wasn’t learning. The system hadn’t changed much; they were sending him to study with someone like me that had little to no training. I was not happy. They continually stressed that I should work with my child after school.

They had him all day and when he got home he wanted to shed the built up stress. The last thing he wanted to do was sit down and struggle with reading. It all seemed so unfair.

I never tried to understand that teachers have around thirty students and cannot let a handful hold back the entire class. It took years to realize my child’s education was my responsibility. The school is just a tool.

Next week we’ll talk about tools, but now I’d like to hear what you have to say.

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The ability to maintain focus on reading is essential to comprehension. So how do you teach/convey focus?

My suggestion is to start with a short period of reading time and verbal reflection. Increase the amount of reading time as comprehension develops.

Recently a young lad reading my book was asked what he liked best. He replied, “I liked the dog.”

There is no dog in the book. There is a cat-like ball of light that acts like a pet.

I’ve come to the realization that many of our youth scan the words which often gives them an unclear picture of the story or articles’ meaning.

There are other ways to increase focus. Here is a listing of a few toys that help. Paddle balls – Bop It – Cosmic Catch – Pick Up Sticks – and Jacks. All of these games strengthen hand eye coordination. Eye and mind focus are vital for handwriting and reading. For the young ones you could roll a ball back and forth between you and the child or have him toss the ball into the air and catch it.

We live in a world of short attention spans where our needs are met in an instant. The battle for focus is worth fighting.

What are your experiences?

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Get The Key – It’s Free

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September is Library Card Sign-Up Month. It will take a few minutes to sign-up and get your key to world upon worlds you’ve never dreamed of.

The card is the key to not only borrowing books, but to use the computers, search electronic databases, watch movies or peruse the magazine rack. It’s also your ticket to programs, enrollment in classes, join a group, visit exhibitions and much more.

You will need to bring a current ID with photo along with one other form of identification, such as Voter’s Registration card, personal check, or recent utility billing. Children need a parent’s signature. Some libraries offer online registration.

Unlock the door to travel a new path, learn a new way, explore a foreign country, or see through another’s eyes. It’s September – go get the key.

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End Of School Party

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We celebrated the end of the summer correspondence course and let me tell you…we had fun!

Each participant could attend if they completed each assignment of the eight week course. You can’t see it, but the prizes are all labeled with a dollar amount. As the kids arrived, they were given $5.00 Monopoly money. My daughter-in-law, Tricia, picked one name at a time. The chosen person had to make the choice of purchasing one prize right away or to wait until after the question and answer segment where they could possibly garner more money.

Only Landon, the youngest, chose to buy right away. He knew he’d already earned over $20.00 of extra credit by doing additional and harder math pages throughout the summer.

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Funny story about Landon – When I sent out the first assignment he promptly sent it back with a note. “I’m not doing this.” Then he found out he wouldn’t be able to attend the party at the end. Landon ended up with two awards, one of which was for the most 100% papers.

The games and lessons all revolved around learning. Times tables in which all were quizzed along with algebraic expression for the older ones. Sophia, Victoria, Savannah and Kayleigh worked at photography this summer and showed their work. Savannah gave a calligraphy lesson and Kayleigh did a step by step of how to draw a monkey.  Victoria and Savannah treated us to reading with expression. Tori read The Spider and The Fly a beloved poem by Mary Howitt, then Savannah read a poem she composed last winter. Logan and Colton shared a video about dissection and gave details about internal organs.

After all the money was earned, one name at a time was drawn and that person could buy one prize. All went home with several prizes each. It was a great party!

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Australia Celebrating


Australia is celebrating National Literacy and Numeracy Week – August 25 – 31. It’s wonderful to showcase literacy, but as we all know it’s a day by day, book by book procedure throughout the year that brings true results.

A week long celebration is key, I must admit, in bringing to the forefront new ideas and excitement to teachers and students alike. So let’s celebrate with our Australian friends this week and look forward to International Literacy Day, Monday, September 8.

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Word Games And Flyswatters

iStock_000039920584SmallAdventures In Literacy Land is a site where several reading guru’s share teaching ideas. I get their posts and so can you. Sign up today…you’ll love those girls!

A few weeks ago Carla Fedeles, a Reading Specialist from Lynchburg, Virginia, wrote an article about Concept of Word, which describes how children learn to begin reading. Here’s one of the fun ideas she came up with.  First, teach the students a poem then write out each line of the poem on a strip of construction paper.

Let the children point to the spoken word with a light saber, magic wand, or flyswatter. Oh, about the flyswatter, new would be best and Carla tells us that it is great for underlining or blocking out a word. You can also cut the strips into individual words and use as flash cards or rearrange to create new sentences.

After the child is comfortable with the words write out the poem as a whole and practice reading. If you have older children you might use the lyrics of their favorite song instead of a poem.

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The End Of The Summer Correspondence Course

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UPDATE – As most of you know I’ve been sending a math page and one chapter of my book in progress each week to some of my grandkids and their friends. They have not only kept up with their work, but are asking for extra credit assignments.

A couple of the girls asked if photography or calligraphy would count, while others are working on a harder level of math. They all know they’ll be asked the definition of the more difficult words in the story and quizzed on times tables, algebraic expression and story plot.

The party is set for the end of this month. The picture above shows some of the prizes. A small investment into the future.  I’m so proud of Savannah, Tori, Logan, Landon, Colton, Kayleigh and Sophia.

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Three Fun Ideas

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Savannah is happily getting everything ready to make some new concoction. She is usually accompanied by her cousin, Victoria. They have learned the importance of carefully reading the recipe. The first realization came when sugar was left out of sugar cookies. Another episode involved ¼ teaspoon of salt which became ¼ cup of salt.    

*Add math equations by having your baker double or triple the recipe.


My grandkids and a couple of their friends opened their own restaurant out of my kitchen and invited all the parents. They made a menu, decorated the house and worked on the dinner and serving. The important part is that reading, writing, and math were all components.


GAME IDEA to introduce or become familiar with the Dewey Decimal System at the library.

  • Print out a chart of the non-fiction section.

 000 – General works, Computer science and Information

100 – Philosophy and psychology

200 – Religion

300 – Social sciences

400 – Language

500 – Pure Science

600 – Technology

700 – Arts & recreation

800 – Literature

900 – History & geography


  • Participant must find one book that is of interest to them from each section and make note of it.
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The Library

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The Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library is probably not so different than your  library. The boys in the above picture are involved in the Maker Camp, a free world-wide Google program bent on expanding areas of interest and learning. July 7 – August 15, 2014

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They’re making circuit boards.

2014-07-21 10.06.34Preschool toddlers at story time.

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Every week offers new opportunities to get your child excited about learning. Thursday, July 24 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. is a spectacular carnival bringing an end to the Summer Reading Program. The library also offers free State Park passes. What are you waiting for? Grab the kids and take a drive to the library.

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