Summer Reading and Writing: Make It A Challenge!

As the summer months come closer, kids in school are getting excited about the freedoms from school schedules! Parents across the country are looking into camps and extra curricular activities to keep their youngsters busy, but there are also fun ways to encourage their literacy learning at home!

Make your child’s reading and writing success a challenge over the summer. Encourage their success by offering points for every book/article/magazine they read and added bonus points for any writing response they do. Make sure you require them to do at least 1 to 3 writing responses a week ensuring that they are stretching their comprehension and keeping up with their spelling and writing skills. After they acquire a certain number of points (20-50) they can cash them in for rewards.

Some fun ideas for rewards are:

  1. Watch the movie version of the story your child read. Curl up together (probably with a yummy bowl of popcorn) and enjoy! Discuss the book&movie similarities/differences when it’s over.
  2. Sweet treats are always nice: ice cream, popsicles or even watermelon wedges are all fun to have on a hot day!
  3. New books! For every 10 books your child reads, they can take a trip to the book store to get another one. What a great way to encourage their reading interest!
Keep us posted on your fun family challenges, and check with your local libraries for reading challenges in your community!!

End of the Year at School: Moving Up and Moving On!

The end of the school year is near and wow how we have grown! In these last couple months,  it’s a good idea to reflect on the growth of the children. Youngsters experience a range of emotions at the end of the school year–from excitement about a long-awaited vacation to nervous anticipation about the next grade. Set the stage for a discussion about these feelings by reading aloud A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle. Explain to students that they have something in common with the crab–they are growing up. Just like the crab who outgrows one home and moves into another, students are nearing the end of this school year and will soon be ready for a new one. Give each child an opportunity to share one fond memory of this school year and one hope for the coming year. Be sure to tell about your memories and hopes, too!

There are many ways to celebrate the end of a year. Some teachers do “moving up” days or ceremonies, while others have graduations for children moving on to bigger places. Whatever you choose to do, make sure children are reassured and feel secure about this change. Involve parents and caregivers in this important process while taking time to discuss and write about the accomplishments of the year as well as the feelings about the unknown future.

Let us know how you celebrate the end of the year at your school!

Fun With Summer Reading!

It’s already time to start thinking about all the fun things you can do with literacy activities over your summer vacation! During these months there are many books to read, activities to do and literacy skills to build on. It’s a fact that many children regress with their skills over the summer months. To keep up with their literacy learning, reading and comprehension activities are key to their success! There are tons of engaging ways to keep your kids busy and learning as well as resources you can use in your own community. Here are some simple yet important things to keep in mind:

  1. READ! I know we say it always but books and stories of fact and fiction make great summer and travel companions. Both children and adults can learn from sharing their e-books, books on CD,  traditional stories  and love for reading. Bring your books with you and share them at home, on vacation, in the car, on a plane or a boat. Bring your books here and there and everywhere!
  2. Play Games: board games, memory games, made up games and comprehension games all help with literacy learning! Kids today spend a lot of time playing games on the computer, which can help with skill retention. However, games with a hands-on experience provide children of all ages the opportunity to problem solve and learn from one another!
  3. WRITE! Don’t forget to keep writing! Allow your kids to dictate, use story starters to create their own tales, and review their books to share with others. Staying in touch with writing skills is also key in maintaining their literacy learning.
Have fun organizing your summer reading and literacy activities! Keep us posted on any summer reading success!

The Toddler and the App

One of the great things about the iPhone and iPad is how easy it is to use. You can give it to a 2.5-year-old or a 100-year-old, and they can pick up the features and nuances almost immediately. The iPhone and iPad have become the go-to toy for toddlers!

At MeeGenius, we are always looking for new opportunities to make education fun and entertaining. We have recently partnered with So Smart! to publish their Baby’s First-Word Stories. These books not only read to your children but provide them with beautiful illustrations that are simple yet share with them the details of everyday tasks in their lives. In addition to MeeGenius, there are some awesome apps out there to entertain your toddler.

While we love the iPhone and iPad, we must also consider toddlers’ exposure to these devices. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of two should not be exposed to television and other screens as their brains are sensitive to color and sound. For toddlers over the age of two, it is recommended not to expose them for over 2 hours per day.

Enjoy So Smart! and let us know what apps you enjoy!

Valentine’s Day for Kids

Next Monday is Valentine’s Day.  And to get you in the spirit, here’s a round up of our favorite craft ideas for the holiday. In addition to these great ideas, you can use Valentine’s Day to inspire kids to write poems and their own stories about LOVE!

-Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day? Learn some history to enhance the Day of Love.

-Don’t want your classroom to be too luvey-duvey? We love these monster cards. Put a little bit of edge into Valentine’s Day!

– I have never heard of an “inchie,” but this project came out really well and is adorable. It is also a great way for kids to get to know each other in the classroom.

-Not in the mood to make a card, Shiny Brite has some wonderful options for creative cards on the market.

-We love cookies! Here’s a great recipe to get them at the tummy!

For more ideas, follow us on Twitter!