Friday, May 29, 2009


This has been a big week so I'm doing two postings. This one relates to new resources for families and for educators and librarians.

1) Visit my new website: for the latest links to The Literacy Ambassador®'s many appearances on internet websites devoted to reading and writing and to parent involvement. You'll also find the latest in special event presentations as well as trainings for educators and for families, useful tips for anyone reading or writing with children and much, much more! Come visit us at the Home of the Literacy Ambassador®

2) My new e Book is out! You can learn about and purchase it at

Powerful Picture Books: 180 Ideas for Promoting Content Learning gives teachers, librarians and/or families a fat list of picture books (one for each day of the school year or three for every day of the summer). With each book listing, you also get plenty of ideas on how to use the picture books to build background knowledge in an area new to students/children and to spark conversations about such important issues as the civil rights movement, music, art, biographies, etc. It has embedded links to Amazon so, if you don't have a book in your collection, you can easily order it. But the best part is that the e Book includes an interactive (bookmark) index. Click on subject area or age level and you immediately get a list of all the books that fit that criteria. Click on the book title in that index and it takes you right to the page that contains that book.

I worked hard to make this an easy-to-use tool. At least 34 of the 180 books relate to music and many more to the arts because I see that sometimes these subjects get "squeezed out" in busy school days. Feel free to share the link to this resource!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Summertime!

School is out! Time for families to transition to the summer schedule. In the midst of all this change, don't forget that reading with kids in the summer is as important, if not more so, than reading with them during the school year. Why?

In the school year, your children are gaining daily exposure to reading at school so they are practicing there as well as at home with you. When summer comes, kids can lose reading skills, if they don't keep practicing.

Never make it a chore! The secret to reading with your kids in the summer is to make it fun. Think outside the box! Read about your vacation destination or have your kids help research local "mini-vacation" spots right in your backyard. Check out new releases like John H. Ritter's The Desperado Who Saved Baseball for your 5-7th graders, Jon Scieszka's new picture books on trucks for the little ones, Judy Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied (don't be put off by the title - it's a great opportunity to talk with your young adult about truth and consequences). ALA (the American Library Association) has great suggestions for reading lists:,, and

Set up special "quiet reading spots" around your home. A bathtub full of pillows, a quilt in the backyard, a hammock in the shade and keep plenty of magazines, graphic novels, books in print and e Books, a laptop computer handy. Don't forget to stash books or other reading material in the luggage, carry-ons (if you're flying), and in the pockets on the back of the car's front seat. If the stuff to read isn't there, the kids won't even have a chance to read.

Take a break yourself and find a quick read. The power of your example will have an impact on your children. Tell each other about what you are reading. Run to your kids with the latest copy of Sports Illustrated and talk about the NBA finals. Our world is full of opportunities for everyone to read.

Visit to hear the voice of someone else who believes reading is important. Alvin Romer speaks from the heart and tells us how important reading must be in our information-dense society. Also read about Dr. Ben Carson's story at

Keep reading!