June 12, 2014

Preventing the Summer Slide

The "Summer Slide" has become a familiar term to those who work in education as well as parents. What is the Summer Slide? Essentially, it's the academic loss that children  experience over the summer holidays. I've often been asked by parents at the library how to prevent their children from experiencing the feared "Summer Slide"

My advice is simple- "Kids who read succeed!"  

But how do you incorporate reading into a daily activity in the summer without it seeming like school? I've had this dream of creating a book club for my son and his friends. With visions of them reading a book each week and then meeting to discuss our thoughts and feelings over a pitcher of lemonade and cookies. When I proposed this to my son, the horrified look on his face said it all. He also reminded me that Greg Heffley's mom from Diary of a Wimpy Kid also tried to create a book club for Greg and his friends.(This is just going to prove his point that I am very much like Susan Heffley)

Summer Reading
Summer Reading
maybe not Little Women...

It would be wonderful to walk past your childs bedroom and see them curled up with a book each night. Or even see them turn off the TV and curl up on the couch. Truth is, this doesn't always happen. Reading incentives work. Summer Reading Programs around North America are created on this premise and they are successful because of it. So, in addition to visiting a library and having your child sign up and participate in one of these fantastic programs, why not also provide a reading incentive at home. Here's my example:
Reading Incentive-Preventing the Summer Slide.

Using stickers, or stamps, have your child mark the different places he or she has read for at least 20 minutes. The only rules are that only one square can be marked each day, and the reading should be a book at their level (no board books for a 12 yearold for example)  for at least 20 minutes. Once the "bingo card" is full, have your child choose a fun family activity that you can do  together as the "reward". You can create more cards to get you through the summer holidays by coming up with ideas for new places together.

**Take it a step further and create a visual reading log. You or your child (depending on their age) can take pictures of all the places they read this summer, and the books they read while there.**

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about preventing the "Summer Slide" in the comments.

Happy Reading!!!!

(originally posted on my www.storytimewithjen.com site)

October 8, 2013

and the Winner is...

Thanks to all who entered the Super Schnoz signed giveaway! 

And the winner is.........!

Hundred Pots!

Please send me an email librarygal (at) hotmail (dot) com with your name and address and I'll forward it to the publisher who will ship you the book.

*pls respond within 48 hours or I'll need to choose another winner. 
Reminder that you need to live in US or Canada to be eligible.

September 24, 2013

Super Schnoz Blog Tour‏!


I was happy to be asked to be a part of the Super Schnoz Blog Tour! And my 12 year old Andrew was even happier to be asked to read and a review a copy of the book.

About the book:  Andy Whiffler is your average eleven-year-old boy. . . except that his nose is so big he can use it to fly and his sense of smell is a hundred thousand times stronger than any human. In the first book of this hilarious new series, Andy moves to a new school and is instantly picked on because of the size of his nose. But when his classmates discover how powerful his nose is, they decide he is more of a comic book hero than a nerd. One day Andy's school is shut down due to toxic gasses. Andy discovers that it's all a secret plot for an evil corporation called the ECU (Environmental Clean Up) to take over the world. Andy and his friends decide that this is a job for Super Schnoz, Andy's alter-ego. The rag-tag group of kids team up to take on the ECU and ensure school gets back in session (otherwise summer vacation will be ruined!)

written by Gary Urey
pictures by Ethan Long
Published by Albert Whitman and Co. September 2013

Andrew’s thoughts:
Super Schnoz and the Gates of Smell is a very well written and a really good novel. This book starts off as any super hero’s life would, in school!  Andy Whiffer (A.K.A Super Schnoz) has the biggest nose you would ever see, I mean it more than just a little unusual!!  And you know with something weird there will always be someone waiting in the wings to make fun of it. For Andy of course every day he receives torment from TJ Tedesco, Mumps or Jimmy Winkler (#leaderJimmy). Andy gets called names like Booger beak, Pickle sniffles and Schnoz berry, or Schnoz for short.
One day day Andy saves Jimmy from getting busted for bringing his hamster to school, and surprisingly Jimmy, TJ and Mumps befriend Andy. They all decide to join a comic book club along with Vivian, a dark mysterious girl that’s a really good artist. After reading tons of super hero comics Andy, TJ, Mumps, Jimmy and Vivian all decide to be a super team : Super Schnoz, The Not Right Brothers and Vivian.
Soon after the super team forms  the school gets infected by a mysterious smell that Andy can`t even recognize. Students are evacuated and find out that they might have to do school during summer to make up missed school time! Can Super Schnoz, The Not Right Brothers and Vivian stop the smell and save summer?
I thought this book was LOL funny and an entertaining read. If I could have any super power it would be “teleportation” so I could go anywhere by just thinking of it.
My two-cents:
Definitely laugh out loud funny.  A great book for kids who have enjoyed the Captain Underpants Series,  or authors like Dan Gutman. If I could have any super power it would be to have the laundry, dishes, and any cleaning done with just a wink of my eye!

Enter to Win!
The publisher is providing a signed copy of the book for one lucky reader of this blog. To enter you must be 13+. Live in Canada or the United States and leave a comment below sharing what super power you wish you had.


Don’t forget to check out the next stop on the tour: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Gary Urey Guest Post and Signed Book Giveaway

April 9, 2013

My Very Un-Fairy Take Life/ My Epic Fairy Tale Fail by Anna Staniszewski–Blog Tour

my epic fairytale fail

My Very Un-Fairy Tale Life by Anna Stanizaewski
Published by Source Books/ Jabberwocky November 2011
Source: Provided by Publisher


You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They're lies. All lies.
I've spent my life as an official adventurer. I travel across enchanted kingdoms saving magical creatures and fighting horrible beasts that most of you think are only myths and legends. I've never had a social life. My friends have all forgotten me. And let's not even talk about trying to do my homework. So -- I'm done!! I'm tired and I want to go back to being a normal girl. But then along comes "Prince Charming" asking for help, and, well, what's a tired girl like me supposed to do?

My Thoughts:
 I was hooked in the first few pages. The main character is Jenny, a believable 12 yea r old who possesses this fantastic, quirky, sarcastic voice. I was immediately reminded of the character of Evie from Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy, only a younger version for a younger audience (minus the Pink Taser, although Jenny did have a pink golf ball).   I loved the twist that fairy tale creatures are not as lovely as they seem, who’d have guessed that Unicorns were so ill-tempered . Dealing with family, school and friend issues would be enough for anyone, but Jenny is also an Adventurer, hired by the mysterious “Committee”  who must rescue Kingdoms and defeat evil.   The story was well-paced and had enough action to occupy even the most restless reader. Great middle grade read for kids who have enjoyed books like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier.

 The publisher Sourcebooks is providing one copy for a lucky resident of the United States or Canada.
Please leave a comment on this post to enter.
Winner will be chosen at random on Monday April 15th and will have 48 hours to reply once notified.