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Celebrate Literacy in September by getting a Broward County Library Card & more

libraryIn recognition of September as Library Cards Sign Up Month, the Read SmART program will reward students who have a Broward County Library card with:

  • FREE admission to the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, from September 8-30 and at special storytelling events on December 8, 2007 and February 9, 2008.
  • Also, pick up a Borders’ Read SmART coupon at a Broward County Library or the Museum of Art in September, and redeem it during Library Benefit Days, October 18 & 19, 2007, for a 10% discount at participating Borders stores. (Borders will donate a matching sum to the Broward Public Library Foundation.)

Florida State Parks are also joining in to celebrate literacy in September by offering:

  • Free admission to state parks in September
    • with library card
    • with library book
    • with donation of new or gently used family appropriate book
  • Educator/Learner Benefits
    • Free educational programs
    • Free admission for school groups
    • Free admission for reading groups and book clubs
    • Access to natural, cultural, and historical resources in state parks

Your library card is your ticket to a world of FREE information and entertainment.

1 comment September 16th, 2007

Two great ways to teach your child how to read

My daughter will be entering Kindergarten this fall. It’s amazing what she already knows. Of course, my husband and I took a few measures to get her off to an academically strong start. We sent our daughter to preschool, where she learned colors, shapes, writing in caps and lower case, counting, addition, subtraction, the sound letters make, and how those sounds come together.

The progress was amazing and I wanted to reinforce it at home. Therefore, I asked my daughter’s teacher what books she would recommend at this stage. Her response was simply “the Bob books.” The Bob Books are written by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John R. Maslen. The books come in 5 sets:

  1. Bob Books First! Beginning Readers
  2. Bob Books Fun! Advancing Beginners
  3. Bob Books Kids! Word Families
  4. Bob Books Pals! Compound Words
  5. Bob Books Wow! Long Vowels

Each set contains between 8 and 12 books with instructions for parents included. I found these books to be a wonderful introduction to reading. For more reviews and information on these books, go to

Another wonderful resource, which I discovered from another teacher, is This learn-to-read website is offered free as a public service. Primarily designed for first grade, is also useful for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and second grade. Starfall is perfect for home schooling. Here are the four major categories for learning how to read.

  1. Starfall Learn to ReadABC’s Let’s get ready to read
    Introduction to Letter Sounds
  2. Learn to Read Zac the Rat and other tales
    Early Beginning Reader
  3. It’s Fun to Read
    Intermediate Beginning Reader
  4. I’m Reading
    Beginning Reader to Advanced

Starfall also has a download center with lots of free stuff. This site is definitely worth checking out.

I hope you find these resources as helpful and enjoyable as I did.

5 comments August 12th, 2007

Meet Bestselling Author Brad Meltzer

Brad Meltzer is a South Florida-based New Yok Times bestselling author. His works include The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, and his newest novel, The Book of Fate. He’s also the writer of the Justice League and the co-creator of the TV show, Jack & Bobby.

As part of the “Read Together, Florida” literacy campaign, Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s Family Literacy Initiative and the Volunteer Florida Foundation have decided to feature Brad’s book, The Zero Game.

Here is the event information.

  • Event Name: An Afternoon with Bestselling Author Brad Meltzer!
  • When: Sunday, October 22nd at 2 p.m.
  • Where: Broward County Main Library
    100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale
  • Registration: Call 954-357-7401
  • Books will be available for sale and signing.

Go to Read Together, Florida for the following:

  • To read about The Zero Game
  • To register for the grand prize drawing, a trip to Washington DC with author Brad Meltzer
  • To read the discussion points of The Zero Game
  • To play The Zero Game!
  • To learn about the essay contest to win scholarships (for High Schools)

If you decide to attend, I hope you enjoy your afternoon.

Add comment October 6th, 2006

Ways to get involved at your child’s school

As the new school year begins, so does the opportunity to help your child’s school. Sometimes we may feel that getting involved requires a lot of our time. Last year I learned otherwise. The school’s volunteer coordinator made it very clear that any help, even one hour would be greatly appreciated. With this understanding, I went ahead and signed up to be a volunteer. The experience was very fulfilling and I look forward to doing it again.

Ways to volunteer at school

  • Take photos for the yearbook.
    Time commitment: as little as 15 minutes a year or as much as 8 hours, broken up over the school year.
  • Stuff envelopes.
    Time commitment: anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
    (This is good for a parent who is not available during school hours.)
  • Make or buy something for the Bake Sale.
    Time commitment: 5 minutes if you buy something or the length of your bake/prep time.
  • Help at the school’s Car Wash.
    Time commitment: one morning or afternoon.
  • Work the drop-off or pick-up lane at school.
    Time commitment: from one hour a year up to whatever your schedule allows.
  • Work the Scholastic Book Fair.
    Time commitment: one hour or any increment up to 15 hours over the course of the book fair week.
  • Offer to help with the school’s website or newsletter.
    Time commitment: depends on the site/newsletter, it could be an hour a week or a couple hours a month.
    (This is good for a parent who is not available during school hours.)
  • Help set up the Teacher Appreciation breakfast/event.
    Time commitment: a few hours.
  • Be your child’s classroom parent.
    Time commitment: an hour every couple weeks.
    (This is good for a parent with a flexible schedule.)
  • Join the yearbook committee.
    Time commitment: an hour a week.
  • Become a board member of the PTO/PTA.
    Time commitment: depending on the position, anywhere from an hour a week up to whatever your schedule allows.

If none of these ideas work for you, consider helping in the following ways (provided your school participates in these programs).

  • Collect Box Tops for Education.
  • Sign up for and use your Target card and Target will donate money to your child’s school.
  • Donate empty ink cartridges.
  • Get as many people as possible to purchase from the fundraiser catalog.
  • Buy school raffle tickets.
  • Buy items from the Bake Sale.
  • Get your cars washed at the school Car Wash.
  • Buy something at the school auction.

Good luck with the new school year and have fun getting involved.

Add comment September 22nd, 2006

A list of my son’s favorite books

Over the last year, my son has read a lot of books (almost one a day). I’m so proud of him, can you tell? Anyway…
Here is a list of his favorites, broken down by category.

For the early reading days, I found the Scholastic Reading Program box sets very helpful. These are the book sets my son liked, because of the familiar characters.

  1. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
  2. Dora the Explorer
  3. Spongebob Squarepants

Once my son became more comfortable with reading, he started on the young reader books. This is a small list of his favorite books.

  1. “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  2. “My Senator and Me: A Dog’s Eye View of Washington, D.C.” by Edward Kennedy
  3. “The Adventures of Taxi Dog” by Debra Barracca and Sal Barracca
  4. “Is Your Mama a Llama?” by Deborah Guarino
  5. “Martha Blah Blah” by Susan Meddaugh
  6. “You Can’t Eat Your Chicken Pox, Amber Brown” by Paula Danziger
  7. “Sammy the Seal” by Syd Hoff
  8. “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst
  9. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
  10. “Dectective Dinosaur Lost and Found” by James Skofield

Now, my son (he’s in first grade) is enjoying certain authors and character based books. Here are some examples.

  1. Dr. Seuss
  2. P.D. Eastman
  3. The Curious George Library by Margaret & H.A. Rey
  4. The Amelia Bedelia Series by Peggy Parish and Herman Parish
  5. The Henry and Mudge Series by Cynthia Rylant

If you are looking for more recommendations, here are a couple of helpful resources. has a Kid’s Catalog with a Best Stories Section. It is broken down by these catagories and sub-categories.

  • Awards – Young Reader’s Choice, National Book Award, and 31 other sub-categories
  • Picture Books – Stories for Boys, Stories for Girls, and 34 other sub-categories
  • Beginning Readers – Starting to Read, Reading More, and True Stories
  • Chapter Books – Stories for Boys, Stories for Girls, and 21 other sub-categories
  • Young Adult (Jr. High level) – Biographies, Mysteries, and 22 other sub-categories

Barnes & has a Children’s Books Section with a Book Browser button that offers 5 categories. (Each category level allows you to narrow down your results by choosing from various selections.) The categories are as follows:

Good Luck and Good Reading!

1 comment September 19th, 2006