Having Trouble Understanding Your Child’s Accelerated Reading Program?

Lately, I’ve been working in collaboration with my Aunt, who is a librarian for both a Christian School & a Community Library. Yes, she’s a busy lady! Being that we’re off school until September, I volunteered to help her with her mountainous tasks for back-to-school. This work sparked a conversation about how confusing the Accelerated Reading Program can be.

How are books rated? How many do they have to read? The questions are endless. It seems that no one gives a straight up answer to how exactly it works. I’ll try to explain the best I can.

Obviously, the first thing to know is that it requires reading! Ha, just kidding, you knew that.
The Accelerated Reader program is all about reading comprehension. A student picks book that strikes their fancy and is on their reading level. Each book, based on its length and the reading level, is scored in points. Obviously, the more challenging a book is, the more points it’s awarded.

This is all done via computer. The student(s) will take a comprehension based quiz to determine how well they ‘got it’. The kiddos get a percentage of points by getting questions right. If they’re getting them wrong, they didn’t comprehend the selection. With me so far?

What if my kid thinks reading is a form of torture? I’d recommend using an Accelerated Reading book finder. Yes, it’s a real thing. You can use Google to locate one of those. Type in what your kid is into and find a book he or she might actually read. Example, if you have a sports fan, try Sports Fiction or see if LeBron James has an autobiography.

Why do you have to do this? The answer is to help the adminstrators in you child’s life to see how well they read independently. Plus, it sparks a love of reading. They read at their own pace. However, if your students are like mine, they’re professional procrastinators. Reading is essential to a successful life. Good readers get good jobs and make good money so they don’t end up living in your basement until they’re 60! Real talk.

Your self and your school’s librarian will get these quiz results and be able to see how your child is doing. Moving on, for example, let’s say a book has a rating of 4.5 That simply means a child reading it is on the level of the fourth grade in the 5th month of school. Easy, right? Whether or not this 4.5 rated book is an appropriate choice can be assessed by speaking with your friendly neighborhood librarian.

Quizzes for the books are divided this way: LG (Lower Grades, K–3),MG (Middle Grades, 4–8),MG+ (Middle Grades Plus, 6 and up),UG (Upper Grades, 9–12). Every school may be different, but a successful score is 80% or more.

My child is a super reader, how can he/she read harder books? If your student has consistently aced the quizzes, his/her level will be slightly raised as they progress. Talk to your school folks. They will be a great resource for how well your kiddos are doing. It is NOT an intelligence test. It is a helpful tool. Think of it like a work evaluation. Your boss gives you one, you and the boss determine your strengths & weaknesses.

Anything not covered here can be answered where the books are- with your librarian. Have a fab school year!

Lit’s in the Cards!

I’m pleased to bring you a great, homeschool activity from education.com. Many thanks to them for providing this resource for us!
Here’s a game to help ensure that your teenager hits the important aspects of analyzing a piece of literature. Use this game to prepare for a literature quiz, and a good grade is in the cards!

What You Need:
A standard deck of cards, with jokers, face cards, and numbers 4-9 removed
An index card and pen
A copy of the assigned literature

What You Do:
Before the game, read the assigned literature.
Shuffle the cards well and place in a pile face down.
Write the following on an index card:Hearts: characters or setting
Spades: plot (exposition, complications, climax, resolution)
Clubs: theme
Diamonds: literary techniques*
Turn over the top card, and check the suit and the number of the selected card.
Check the key written on the index card to determine which element of literature applies to the selected card. For example, for a card with hearts, the player will have to think about the characters or setting of the piece of literature.
The number on the card determines how many statements to make about that element of literature. If a player chooses the three of spades, for example, he needs to name three plot points from the literature.(Note: He may look back at the literature for ideas, if necessary.)
If the selected card is an ace, it’s a free pass. The player collects the card and leaves it in front of him, face up. When all four aces have been collected, the review is over!

Find more by visiting http://www.education.com/resources/ela/reading/!

STEAM AHEAD! DIY FOR KIDS: Sumita Mukherjee Book Blitz

steam-ahead-diy-for-kids-cover-final-smallSTEAM AHEAD! DIY FOR KIDS
By Sumita Mukherjee
Genre: Educational Projects for Kids

STEAM AHEAD! DIY FOR KIDS is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step instruction book for parents and children. It introduces kids between the ages of four and ten to the magic of electronics, game and toy designing, printing, understanding basic scientific principles and most importantly, they’ll have a blast making them. Inside this book you will find projects on LED cards, dance pads, handmade soaps, bubble blowers, Play-Doh circuits, cloud lanterns, scribbling bots and more!

Created by NASA STEM certified leader, Sumita Mukherjee, this book is jam packed with projects that will engage any bored child. The hands-on projects are broken into areas of practical implementation: Party, Build, Toys and Art. They have also been sorted according to levels of difficultly and STEAM relevance. Adding one or two experiments per week can get your child excited about science, inventions, science fair projects and overall classroom performance.

There is also a BONUS material list for STEAM DIY KIDS, to make it easier for parents to plan and prepare in advance.

What’s particularly exciting is that STEAM AHEAD! DIY FOR KIDS is available for only $1.99 through December. Perfect for keeping children busy during the holiday season. And that’s not all! For those who purchase the book this week, a freebie downloadable brain doodle book is also available by entering your purchase information at http://wizkids.club/freegift. Don’t miss out. Visit Amazon today to grab this special deal! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRIRG69

About the Author

Sumita Mukherjee is a NASA STEM certified leader and children’s book author. She has been fortunate enough to travel around the globe, explore many countries and meet different people. Mysteries and adventures have been captured from there in the form of Keiko and Kenzo’s travel adventure series. These books are to inspire young readers to know and appreciate various countries, develop a love for discovery and learn about the world around them. Her series of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) books encourages kids to invent and explore, to empower themselves and see themselves as world leaders and problem solvers. Her books celebrate diversity, spark curiosity and capture children’s imaginations! Sumita currently lives in Toronto with her family.

Her website, WizKids.Club was created with a vision to raise the next generation of creative leaders. WizKids.Club offers highly engaging kids activities, educational books, experiments, hands-on projects, DIYs, travel stories and engineering books perfect for children 4-12 years to spark creativity and scientific learning.


On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRIRG69

The author is giving one lucky reader a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

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S.T.E.M. in Action With Stomp Rocket

S.T.E.M. or Science, Technology, Engineering & Math, is an integral part of most curriculums. If your family homeschools & you’re looking for an interactive way to teach S.T.E.M., consider ‘Stomp Rocket’.

What I like most about the rocket is that it’s kid-powered. They step on the ‘launchpad’ causing the rocket to fly. I’ll say they go a bit further than I thought they would! In fact, Buster ended up fetching the rockets for us. Needless to say, this is a good activity to tire out the younger ones (& parents). While I highly recommend using them outside, if you have a sizeable playroom or basement, you can probably use them there too. Unless you have a ceiling fan or low hanging lights.

Launching the rocket demonstrates trajectory, force & gravity. Science in a book is great; science in action is better. There’s a reason scientists like Bill Nye are popular. Plus, it can turn into a full-blown phys ed class. All that running, especially if your dog won’t fetch like Buster did, is great cardio.

Being that each rocket comes equipped with an LED light, students can utilize it outside when their day is done. LED lights are environmentally friendly. I learned via Stomp Rocket that LED lights are more efficient than either fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. For older students, the LED lights can become a lesson on light and the launchpad can be a lesson on air-power. Believe me, I have an 8th grader who had a blast shooting the rockets. I did too. It was definitely a fun way to talk science.

Assembly was super easy. Actually, our 13-year-old put it together without the directions. My only concern for little ones & animals is the bolt that attaches the hose to the stand. If you don’t think your kiddos are old enough, save a hassle & put it together yourself. The bolt could scrape their hands if you aren’t careful.
img_0270The rockets themselves will cause no harm. They’re soft like a Nerf dart and even when they’re descending, they won’t cause any pain. I can say this because we both got caught on the receiving end of the rocket. Do be careful if your dog is a chewer. If we hadn’t got them immediately back from Buster, he’d have eaten them for sure!
The lights really add something special. Maybe it’s the kid in all of us who just likes things that light up. Regardless, it looks really cool in the evening when they fly through the air. With the Ultra LED Stomp Rocket Kit, there are 4 rockets included so if you do it fast enough you can have a light show of sorts!
img_0284 I’m not sure about the life of the Launchpad. It seems to lose some strength if stomping becomes overzealous. We definitely put a dent in ours & we really weren’t abusing it. I’d recommend not letting the kids get too rough with it or you may need a new one.
You can purchase Stomp Rocket at your local Dick’s Sporting Goods Store or visit http://www.stomprocket.com to see the wonderful awards Stomp Rocket has earned and find out full product line info.
*Pics belong to Stomp Rockets & DMO3, respectively. We received the aforementioned product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Great New Resource for Learning About the American Presidents


Memorizing the American Presidents can be a daunting task. When I taught them to our youngest, the best resource I’d had been a deck of flash cards. Using pneumonic devices for each one, we were able to get through them in a matter of weeks. I wish I’d have had a copy of the ‘American Presidents Activity Book’!

Author Joe Rhatigan has developed an incredible resource for all parents, whether or not you’re a homeschooler. A softbound, interactive book, ‘American Presidents’ uses games, puzzles, & other fun methods to introduce students to all the presidents. It is complete through President Obama & even gives kids a chance to guess who’s next.

I’ll be honest: even my husband & I had a blast looking through (and playing) the different challenges. My favorite was the section on Presidential Pets. I had no idea that some of those animals were kept by First Families! It adds a more human aspect to various names students hear during their academic careers. They’ll also become more familiar with less ‘famous’ Presidents who are often left out of political talks.

Visual learners will get a kick out of drawing the White House and on dollar bills. Fans of facts & statistics will love sharing new trivia info at the dinner table. Parents, don’t feel left out. Read it too! I’ll admit I learned quite a bit.

If you have a student who cringes every time History class rolls around or is having difficulty remembering our Commanders-in-Chief, this will be a perfect resource for you both. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s offered for a very affordable $7.95.

It’s available from its publisher: https://www.quartoknows.com/.


*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine. Pic belongs to Quarto Knows.

Creative New Way To Teach Kids To Sew

Author Suzy Ultman has released a creative new book dedicated to teaching children simple sewing techniques. I remember many fun sewing projects that my mother, sister & I completed when I was growing up. Embroidery has become a lost art. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s one of the things that falls to the wayside unless it’s introduced, specifically, through caregivers.
But, the joys & benefits of sewing are often overlooked. Dexterity & patience are both strengthened with even the simplest project. Anyone who’s ever picked up a needle & thread knows it’s easier said than done. Those finished projects are visual memories that recipients or the maker themselves will keep for generations. I have the embroidered birth announcement that my mother created when I was born along with 4 framed needlepoint designs of the seasons that my mother-in-law crafted. These are cherished keepsakes.
If sewing is something you’d like to introduce in a home economics format in your homeschooling or just as a weekend activity, Suzy Ultman’s book is for you. Featuring 36 pages plus instructions, it contains 16 projects. Each page is made of punch-out cards. Simply push the cards out of the page to begin.
She’s included some pointers for needle threading and individual stitches, too. Don’t worry about complicated techniques. Even if you, yourself, haven’t ever sewn a thing, these introductory stitches are a breeze. You won’t need a basket full of extra materials either. Just have a yarn needle & some yarn/embroidery thread handy. That’s a big plus in my opinions. We have all purchased a craft book or science project book only to find out we needed a TON of items that we don’t have. Every project is open to imagination in regards to color combos & stitches.
I thought the cards for the ornaments where the best. What parent doesn’t love a hand-made ornament? The punch-outs for the greeting cards are thoughtful, too. Any of the projects would make a great art class project.

Look for it at your favorite retailer. Find it via the publisher also: https://www.quartoknows.com/.
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Streamlined Beauty For Back-To-School

image002Stick a fork in Summer- it’s almost done! Are your kids (and you!) ready for school?
Whether your kiddos go to a brick-and-mortar school or not, a streamlined routine is essential. If mornings are cluttered, it sets a tone for the whole day. Throughout the years, with a lot of trial & error, we’ve learned that cutting steps out in the mornings helps keep us on schedule.
Preparation is key. Everything from making meals ahead of time to laying out clothes for the next day shaves valuable time off of the day. This allows more time for learning and less stress for kids. One spectacular way to keep it simple is in their beauty routine.
image003Rushing young ladies with their make-up and fashion fixes never works. Neither does nagging dawdling boys (I can speak from experience here!). But, by providing ‘tools’ to speed them up in their bathroom prep, takes the weight off for everyone.
Personally, I adore multi-tasking products. After all, parents INVENTED multi-tasking, right? Pert 2-in-1 is a perfect example. Combining conditioning & shampooing in one literally skips a whole step. We especially appreciate products like this considering we use well water. Less time in the shower conserves water! Pert’s bottle is rightly green- they help the environment, too!
Now, we all know that it doesn’t matter how many tricks a product claims to do if it doesn’t work well. Pert is a brand we’ve all heard of and known of for years. But, what you may not have known is that it’s Classic Clean 2-in-1 formula does a tremendous job in additional to doing double duty. It’s scent is fresh & not too feminine to eliminate your menfolk.
If you’re looking to put together a care package for your college kids or those bound for the military, you can save space in the box with Pert. You can purchase it just about anywhere from grocery to drug stores for $3.39 [13.5oz], $5.49 [25.4oz].

Infusium23 Moisture Replenisher Collection (available at Target) shares the multi-tasking theme with Pert. They provide choices in shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioners. Leave-ins are great for rushed mornings & after-gym class showering. Because you don’t rinse, again, you’re saving water and shower time. I’ve used Infusium plenty of times over the years, enough to vouch for the softness and healthy-looking hair it provides. If your teens are attached to their regular shampoo or simply need extra conditioning help, this is the product for them.

Whether it’s your students’ first year or very last, every minute counts. Give them the necessary equipment to succeed & keep their day streamlined. It’ll be a skill they take with them well into adulthood.
*All pics belong to Creative Media Marketing. I received the aforementioned products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.