Summer Olympics Here We Come!

The opening of the Summer Games in Rio are only a few days away.  I am one of those people who normally ignore sporting events and televised games during the regular season.  But there is something about the Olympics that keeps me riveted to the screen.  I think it has to do with the premise of peaceful International competition.  So many countries coming together to share their best athletes with the world.

Sure there is controversy, and rivalry.  But the “bloated egos” of professional sports is absent as athletes work as a team to support, encourage and cheer each other on.  It’s inspiring.

Sunday, 7-24-16 is PARENTS DAY. Why not make this day all about the family and enjoy some Olympic competitions of your own?  Got a pool?  Try some water polo or synchronized swimming.  Practice backstrokes or have raft races.  Who can get the wettest in a splashing contest?  Young children can enjoy water fun as well: Set up the sprinkler.  Or fill up buckets of water and have toddlers “paint” the driveway to their hearts content.  What is more fun than a water balloon throwing competition?

There are lots of ways to enjoy water-free Olympic events as well.  Sack races, three-legged races, wheelbarrow races, crab walk races and log rolling (using your body as the log) are guaranteed to bring on smiles and get everyone moving.  You can also set up games and events using balls, ropes, or other props.

Let you imagination go and enjoy exercising as a family by trying some “Backyard Olympics”.  For more fun ideas visit: http://www.familycircle.com/summervideo

What are some of your favorite outdoor family activities?

Mrs. P’s “Be A Famous Writer Contest” for Kids.

Pets is the theme of the 7th annual   MrsP.com    Be-a-Famous Writer Contest. The contest is for K-4 classrooms and the winning classroom is filled with books in every format from the generous sponsors of the contest.

• ENTRY DATES: SEPTEMBER 1, 2015.
• Contest Closes: November 15, 2015
• Winners Announced January 15, 2016
• For classrooms K – 4th grade
Mrs. P invites classrooms to write a story on the topic of PETS no less than 250 words and not to exceed 1,000 words. It may be fiction or non-fiction. Any classroom from Kindergarten through 4th grade may enter. Just one story per classroom! It can be a collaborative story, or teachers can have their class vote on which child’s story to enter. While the contest is for classrooms only, parents can participate by telling their child’s teacher about it.  Find all the details at my contest website. http://contest.mrsp.com/

Making Reading an Everyday Habit by Suzy Leopold

Suzy Leopold is back to discuss an important topic near and dear to my own heart: The power and importance of reading to children.  Here’s Suzy:

Many of you agree that reading every day is important. Sharing the love of reading is my passion. Sharing the value of reading and encouraging kids to read for pleasure every day provides many benefits.

The first step is to begin with a daily reading routine with young children. There are many benefits of reading board books, cloth books and picture books to babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Listening to the rhythm and sounds of language, links the words to meaning for babies by age one. Reading during snuggle time helps babies to grow and develop a healthy brain. The closeness of being with your young children as they drift off to sleep is priceless. Your child will ask you to read a favorite picture book numerous times; just go with it.

Suzy reading to her grandchildren.

Suzy reading to her grandchildren.

Many parents believe kids no longer need to be read to once they learn how to read on their own. Some parents question the idea to read outside of school. Aren’t my kids reading at school? Yes, reading takes place in the classroom.

But, research indicates that kids who read 20 minutes a day at home read 1,800,000 words per year and score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests.

By listening to picture books and chapter books that are read aloud, emergent and developing readers, ages 4 – 6, hear new vocabulary and listen to the pronunciation of new words. Additionally, they gain listening and speaking skills, and improved cognitive development.         IMG_2431

Over time, older readers, ages 7 – 12, will insist on reading independently. Encourage this choice. Additionally, take the time to read aloud to this age group. Consider the genre of nonfiction, that includes informational type texts to read together. A parent can read one chapter aloud and the child can read the next chapter, taking turns. Suggest graphic novels that are silly to serious.

Think about books that you read and enjoyed as a kid. Recommend some favorite classics to your children. Books are called classic because they stand the test of time and continue to engage readers generation after generation.         IMG_2432

Encourage kids to read across all genres of fiction and nonfiction. Kids go through phases of genres they’re passionate about, from girl detective stories to historical fiction to sports biographies. Some kids are curious about animals, castles, or pirates. Encourage the love of reading.

How can a daily routine of reading fit into a family’s already busy schedule, you ask? With the hustle, bustle of daily lives that includes numerous routines and activities at home, in school and work, finding time for what is important can be a challenge. On a daily basis there are family meals and chores, evening homework and after school activities along with so much more. Some days the clock seems to be in a fast forward motion.

IMG_2428There are never enough hours in the day to do what one wants to do and needs to do.

Think about what is important to you and your family. Think about priorities. Establish a routine. Daily reading for children is an investment in future success. There is no acceptable excuse to not make room for reading.

Fitting reading into your family’s routine and lifestyle is a choice. Encourage reading time for independent reading or reading aloud. Set aside time for reading. Read to kids at bedtime or find a few moments to read in the morning at the breakfast table. Perhaps your family prefers afternoon reading time that includes an after school snack. Turn off the TV, phones and the computer that may distract from the pleasure of reading.

While running errands, talk to your children and ask them questions about letters and words seen in environmental print. Include words from road signs and places of business. Take books along while waiting at the doctor’s office, driving through a car wash or standing in a long check out line at the grocery store. Use these few minutes to encourage reading.

Kids need to know there is something worthwhile about books and remember the special times spent reading together with a parent or a grandparent. They will remember the books, too. Parents can influence their kids’ appreciation for books by sharing their love of literature and modeling their love for books. Your kids need to see you reading for pleasure. Keep kids engaged and encourage them to become lifelong readers. Together, take the time to devour book after book. Both you and your kids should always have a book to read.

hand sewn bookmarkSuzy will be happy to give-away one of her lovely hand-sewn bookmarks to one lucky reader of this blog. Just leave a comment if you are interested and I will pull names from the writer’s hat. Contest ends April 10.

Follow Suzy and her writer friends on their group blog: http://groggorg.blogspot.com/p/meet-grog-authors.html
Word Press: http://sleopoldblog.wordpress.com
Twitter: SuzyK5     Facebook: suzy.leopold

Writing Contest for Children.

Looking for a fun way to encourage your kids to write? Andrea Bergstein of Scribblitt, Rachel Jonas Gilman of Yoobi, and Rachael Voorhees of The Molina Foundation have an idea for you. Read on.

Encouraging Kids to Write for a Good Cause

PRESS RELEASE Yoobi and Scribblitt Team Up to Encourage Young Kids to Write For A Good Cause Charlotte, Vermont and Long Beach, California, January 12, 2015
Yoobi is a school supply brand that uses engaging designs and vibrant colors to spark creativity and make learning fun, while also solving a very big problem. For every Yoobi item purchased, Yoobi contributes a Yoobi item to a classroom in need, right here in the U.S.
http://www.Scribblitt.com   is a platform where kids can use unique writing and illustration tools to help them write and professionally publish their own store quality, hardcover books. For every book published on Scribblitt, a new children’s book is donated to a child in need through The Molina Foundation. “Teaming up with Yoobi has allowed us to share our passion to get kids writing and to give back each time the purchase of one of our products is made,” says Andrea Bergstein, founder of Scribblitt.com.
“It’s an honor to partner with companies, like Scribblitt and Yoobi, who are invested in making our communities a better place,” says Dr. Martha Molina Bernadett, founder and CEO of The Molina Foundation. “As a family doctor, I often encourage parents to share stories with children to help brain development and build literacy skills. It’s even more exciting when our children can share stories of altruism and generosity with their parents and families.”
To participate in this Scribblitt / Yoobi writing contest, simply register for a free account at   scribblitt.com.    Create your own unique story about Yoobi the Toucan ‘giving back’ and submit it online for a chance to win Yoobi school supplies and Scribblitt “Make Your Own Books” for YOU AND YOUR CLASSROOM! The contest closes February 20, 2015.
Scribblitt and Yoobi will also be donating Yoobi school supplies and Scribblitt “Make Your Own Books” to a classroom in need through the Molina Foundation.
As an extension of the partnership, teachers can tie together lessons in writing, book development and editing with an important message about philanthropy. To enable educators to leverage the Scribblitt.com platform in their classrooms,

visit:   http://www.scribblitt.com/teacherprojects  or write to:  contact@scribblitt.com.

Where’s The Book?: Find it and Win!

It’s been six weeks since the launch of my MG historical book WHEELS OF CHANGE.  WoCCover01Many wonderful friends and acquaintances have asked me how things are going and where the book can be found. I suppose things are going well…how does a writer really know?  As far as where the book can be found…I have no clue.  Except for the Barnes&Noble bookstore at ROWAN UNIVERSITY where the launch took place, I have yet to spot it in local libraries or stores. Which brings me to this:

For the MONTH OF NOVEMBER, I am hosting a challenge to all my viewers and supporters out there. If you send me a photo and brief description of where you spot the book, I’ll send you one of my handmade cosmetic/toiletry bags as a thank you. I’ll give away SIX…one for each week the book has been out in the world.  (They make great gifts if you don’t need one yourself).    It’s been said that it “Takes a village” to bring a book out into the world.  As an author of children’s books, it’s been one of my dreams to have my book in libraries.  If it’s in YOUR “VILLAGE” LOCAL LIBRARY, please let me know!  

bags

So, WHERE IN THE WORLD IS WHEELS OF CHANGE?     I can’t wait to find out!

Calling All Teen Writers!

The third annual One Teen Story Teen Author Contest opens today! Please tell the teen writers in your life that we are excited to read their work.

For the contest, we are seeking unpublished fiction written by teens (age 14-19). The winning story will be published in the May 2015 issue of One Teen Story. Honorable mentions will be chosen in three age categories: 14-15, 16-17, and 18-19-year-olds.

This year’s judge will be Tara Altebrando, author of OTS issue #12, “Soundproof Your Life,” as well as several young adult novels, including The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life, Dreamland Social Club, and Roomies (coauthored with Sara Zarr). Her newest book is the middle-grade novel The Battle of Darcy Lane.

To kick off the contest, we’re offering a special subscription rate. Get or give a year-long subscription of One Teen Story for just $15. Use promo code CONTEST to get this fantastic rate, and you’ll get this year’s contest winner, “Helen” by Claire Spaulding, as a bonus.

The deadline for the contest, and for this offer, is June 30, 2014. Visit our contest page for complete details.

Good luck!

Patrick Ryan
Editor

One Teen Story
232 3rd St. #A108
Brooklyn, NY 11215
www.oneteenstory.com

 

Calling Young Writers Grades 1-8.

The Society of Young Inklings, a non-profit with a mission of empowering young writers, publishes an annual anthology of the stories and poems of talented young writers–this year we are holding a contest to see whose pieces will be included. We are looking for fresh new voices to publish in our anthology.

Young writers in grades 1-8 with stories or poems are encouraged to enter the contest. Submissions must be in final draft and students must commit to completing an editing process if their piece is chosen. For more information on the contest please check HERE.

We’re looking for bloggers who might want to do a guest post about the contest to help us reach students who may not otherwise know about the opportunity. We also have an email specifically for educators in case anyone wants that to pass on to a teacher/librarian. If you’d like that email to forward on, email me directly, and I’m happy to forward it to you.

Here are some Q and A’s about the contest.

Q: Who is the Inklings Book Contest for?

A: All young writers who are ready to take their writing to the next level. Writing is just one part of the creative process. Just as it’s important for actors, musicians and dancers to perform, it’s important for writers to have their stories read and enjoyed. We learn new things about ourselves as writers when we prepare our work for readers, and also when we hear feedback about our published pieces. All writers, regardless of their age, need access to that kind of essential feedback. Plus, it’s inspiring to hear that a reader loved our story, and it makes all the hard work worthwhile. Positive feedback sends writers back to their writing desks to create again.

Q: How will I know if my story is ready to submit?

A: One excellent way to prepare a story for submission is to read it out loud to a friend or a group of friends. Ask for feedback about what’s working and what questions your friends may have. Aside from being a huge confidence booster, you’ll also find out what additions or changes may help your story be more clear and more engaging. Notice where people laugh, in particular, and see if you can magnify that effect. Humor often comes in threes. If you have one funny moment that’s working well, you can build on it by repeating the moment with a small change. On the Young Inklings website, you’ll also find a checklist to help you check the fine details of your story just before sending it in.

Q: Why do you ask all of the writers to revise for the Inklings Book?

A: When professional writers send their work into a publisher, they have the opportunity to work with an editor who helps them refine their work. At some point in the writing process, writers need an outside eye. This person helps us read the story from a new perspective: the perspective of someone who doesn’t have all of our personal memories, experiences and passions. We learn what we might need to add or change to help a reader experience the story fully. Some writers are worried about revising with someone else, because they feel their story shouldn’t be influenced by anyone but themselves. All artists are influenced by many factors, though. Our writing is influenced by the books we read, the experiences we have, the voices in our communities, and many other sources. When an editor provides us with outside perspective, this is just another way to make our writing even more spectacular.

Q: Is it a real, published book?

A: Yep! We’re thrilled because the Inklings Book is not going to only be available online, but also in the fabulous independent store, Hicklebees. Young writers and their mentors will all be contributing authors for the book, so the final product will be a collaboration of many creative minds.
******************
Naomi Kinsman

Executive Director
Society of Young Inklings

www.younginklings.org

Thanks for helping me spread the word to deserving young writers!