How to Turn Your Turkey Project Into a Triumph

turkey project

If you have a young child, there is a Turkey Project in your future. My first-grade daughter came home with the assignment. Take the black-and-white printed turkey picture and decorate it however you want. Use your imagination. Make it a family project. We had five days to get the project done, … [Read more...]

Best Books for 5-Year-Olds


Your child is starting on the journey toward reading independently, but this is a more important time than ever to keep reading books out loud to him. Here’s why: Kids this age still enjoy beautiful picture books, but they can also focus on and enjoy chapter books. Their listening … [Read more...]

Iowa Brothers Star on the Field and In the Classroom

When you give your child the Hooked on Phonics advantage, there's no telling what that spark of confidence and academic head start will mean to his future. Just look at what happened to Nate and Jeremy Snead of Pella, Iowa. When their father started using Hooked on Phonics with his two boys, … [Read more...]

Lemonade Stand Economics

Lemonade for Sale

Most people think the recipe for lemonade is water, sugar and lemons. In my house, it's kids, boredom, and 100+ degree summer heat. This past weekend, with record temperatures outside and rampant boredom inside, my kids decided to test their entrepreneurial muscles with an old fashioned … [Read more...]

The Power of Books in the Home

Sisters reading at home

Can simply having more books in the house predict your child's academic future? Does the actual number of books make a difference? An interesting study of households around the world provides some insight—and showcases the power of books, and why strong reading skills can be a jump-start to academic … [Read more...]

Summer Reading

As many of you know, I am the youngest of nine children, and that ranking comes with many, many nieces and nephews. Last year around this time, my oldest nephew graduated from high school and left for the Air Force Academy, while one of my nieces graduated from kindergarten. This year it's another … [Read more...]

Children’s Books I Love, Father’s Day Edition

Bark George

In belated honor of Father's Day, it's time to share my favorite children's books, otherwise known as "Books Kids Love, and Ones This Dad Loves to Read to Them." How does a book make it on this super exclusive list? It's simple. First, it has to be something my kids love. Both of my kids have … [Read more...]

Back to School Writing Games

St Jerome

OK, school has started - time to get your kids in bed earlier and to pack those bag lunches. Soon enough, the inevitable moment will arrive when your child presents you with a homework assignment that asks him or her to write a story. If your child draws a blank, here are some games you might try to … [Read more...]

Old Books, New Readers

I wrote a previous post about the difficulty many parents have in clearing out their children's bookshelves. Books seem to pile up. We stack them in double rows, on the floor, on radiators  anywhere to keep some sense of order in the house. Previously, I suggested throwing book swap parties or … [Read more...]

Trip Down Memory Lane

african american boy 05

Before the kids run off to school, it's time to answer the age-old question, "What did you do on your summer vacation?" The answer can be the catalyst for a nice memento that doubles as a writing activity to get your young one primed for school. Here are a couple ideas to get you … [Read more...]

End of Summer Reading List

I've always enjoyed seeing reading lists. But while I browse through other folks recommendations, there's part of me that's editing as I go, thinking everything from, "Great choice, love it!" to "What? Are they insane?" So now that I've been given a forum in which to spout my views, I couldn't … [Read more...]

Sneaking in Reading: Menus


Just because your kids are away from school for the summer doesn't mean that they should give up reading practice. When we were developing the new Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read, we thought a lot about sneaking in reading in unexpected places. Say you're out at a restaurant with your family. You … [Read more...]

More Letters, Letters, Everywhere!


We've talked a bit about finding letters outside the home, but how about inside the home? I was thinking about this the other day when I bought my preschooler her first box of Alpha-Bits cereal. I thought she'd have fun eating letters for breakfast (now with whole grain!). I’m sure many of you … [Read more...]

Great Books to Read Aloud


Looking for some good books to read aloud to your child? Here are a few to get you started. Miss Spider's Tea Party, by David Kirk. Whenever my daughter lets me choose bedtime books, I reach for this lovely book. The art is gorgeous, and the verse flows off the tongue with rhymes like: Her … [Read more...]