Phonemic Awareness – With Fun Games to Play

phonemic awareness I’m guest posting today over at Sarah Forrest’s Easy Read System Blog. Summer is a time when many families are traveling – why not build this important skill with fun games that help pass the time.

I hope you will hop over and read it:

Please stop by again on Friday for a super picture book review and activity.

2012 Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge Comment Page for February

English: Children working on the phonogram mov...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard to believe that January is already behind us.

Thanks to everyone who participated last month and left comments and told us about the books they were reading with their children.

I’ve got to get ready for two school programs…in the morning, I’ll be at Freedom Elementary, reading Oliver Button is a Sissy.  What a great story that encourages kids to be true to themselves!

In the afternoon, I’ll be at Buena Vista Montessori, reading one of my very own picture book stories, The Balloon Man.  Life sometimes puts obstacles in our way and we need to be prepared with creative solutions…this is a story that helps children think outside the box.

I’ll be using to pick the winner of the picture book…to be announced in the Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

Anyone who wants to join in the Reading Challenge for February, please use this post leave your commnets and books read.

Following in the Footsteps of Steve Jobs

Have you seen the February issue of Parenting Magazine?

Splashed on the cover is a picture of a young boy, with glasses, and a thoughtful yet mischievous expression on his face.  I guess you might say he is the “stereotype” of an “intelligent” child.  The lead article in this issue is entitled, “Raise the Next Steve Jobs…or at least a really, really bright kid”.  (Click on the link and it will take you to the entire article on 

Parenting’s senior editor, Christina Vercelletto, did a masterful job of pulling together the opinions of experts along with a mountain of research and contributions from colleagues Lois Barrett, Stephanie Eckelkamp, Beth Weinhouse and Stephanie Wood, as she focused on revealing “what makes a child grow into a brilliant adult”.

The feature recounts how Steve Jobs dropped out of college, but went on to change the world with his Apple computer.  The article examines topics like “genius defined”, “the lowdown on testing” and “the power of a parent”.

I was honored to be a contributor to that article.  Asked what I thought about the validity of IQ and standardized tests and whether they should be used to determine a child’s potential for success in school and later in life, I responded that I believe there are many factors that can affect the score of these tests.  “What if the child didn’t get a good night’s sleep or is getting over a cold?  Maybe the room is too hot or the kid next to him is fidgeting and distracting him.” 

The Parenting Magazine article emphasizes several things that parents can do to encourage school success and greater enthusiasm for learning.  These echo the suggestions that are found in my Show Me How book, where I provide activities and concrete examples for parents of young children.

1.      TALK, TALK, TALK…about anything and everything.  Engage your child in conversation at the breakfast table, while shopping, in the car, on a walk.  Ask open-ended questions like the one given as an example in the article, “What would happen if we stopped for ice cream on the way to the beach?” And don’t talk down or baby-talk to your children…your children will learn whatever you teach them.

2.      READ, READ, READ…anything and everything.  Picture books, comic books, travel guides, atlases, cookbooks…children have more of a chance to succeed in school when they have access to books and someone who reads to them. 

3.      PRAISE RESULTS…mastering tasks and skills motivates children to seek new challenges.  Chapter One in my book, I Can Do It Myself, encourages parents to allow children to try to do things on their own, even if they fail in the beginning.  Give praise for problem-solving and good effort as opposed to blanket praise.  True self-esteem is built on a basis of self-worth.  We feel good about ourselves when we accomplish our goals.   We all need a cheering committee…and parents are a child’s most important fans!

4.      CELEBRATE CURIOSITY…very young children are almost always curious.  But something often happens as they get a little older…they stop asking questions and begin to operate within the confines of what is considered the “norm”.  Parents need to encourage their children by sharing their passions…art, music, sports, carpentry.  And they also need to observe what special talents or strengths their children have and show an interest in those…even if it is watching an anthill or making intricate mud-pies.

5.      SEIZE TEACHABLE MOMENTS…encourage observation of detail and build vocabulary, math and money skills while shopping, driving or doing just about anything with your child.  Parents can engage young children in conversation about the shapes and colors of fruits and vegetables….and older children can discuss where the foods come from and how they are grown.  And that advice brings us back to number 1: TALK, TALK, and TALK.

I don’t know if you want your child to be the next Steve Jobs.  But I do know that every parent wants their child to have a positive self-image and thrive and be happy and succeed in life and in school.  Look back over the five points above…they are simple steps you can take that have big results: Talk with your children; read with your children (join my reading challenge…you might be the lucky winner of a picture book for your child); praise your children; celebrate your children’s curiosity and seize teachable moments.

Project 365 and the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge

Last year, bloggers on WordPress were given a challenge to write a post every day…it was called Post-a-day-2011.

This year, another daily post challenge has been issued by WordPress…Project 365.  Why not Project 366 since 2012 is a Leap Year with 366 days?  However, I guess if bloggers are able to write 365 posts in 2012, I’m sure they will consider themselves an unqualified success…I know I would.

I took part in the 2011 Post-a-day challenge and started out 2011 writing posts every day…this lasted about three months.  After that I tried to post at least twice a week…sometimes I succeeded, but other times I didn’t.  I take my hat off (or would if I wore one) to those bloggers who completed the task and made it to the end of the year, still posting every day.

For 2012, I am throwing my hat into the ring (even though, as I’ve already stated, I’m not wearing one) and will try to provide a post of value for every day.

In addition, I’m also issuing a challenge to every parent of young children.  Make 2012 a year of engagement with your child!  Read with your child every day!  Be positive and consistent!  Get back to the basics and spend time with your child doing fun-filled educational self-esteem building activities, like arts and crafts or simple cooking experiences.  Keep a journal of the picture books you read and the activities you do.  Share them here with us.

At the end of each month, there will be a prize of a picture book awarded to one family.  During the year, any parent who is participating in the challenge and wishes to buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking will receive an additional $5 off my website price.  I’ll set up a special PayPal button to reflect that discount.  This award-winning book is a unique resource for parents and teachers…it pinpoints 100 picture books every young child should hear and then provides a story summary, parenting tip, simple craft project and easy cooking activity for each of the recommended titles. 


Why should parents use Show Me How?  The author of the Angelina Ballerina series says, “Parents will find inspiration in this delightful guide to reading and planning activities with young children.”   And the creator of the Clifford the Big Red Dog series adds, “Show Me How is a wonderful resource for parents who care for their children and hope to better their reading and learning experiences.”

Parents…make this a fun-filled self-esteem building year for your child!

Join the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge!

A small investment of your time will bring a great reward for your child!

The Show Me How program requires no batteries!

The activities are powered by your child’s imagination!

Holiday Confessions of a Grateful Blogger


I love to write.

I love to talk.

Ergo, I love to blog!

My blogging journey began a little over a year ago when my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, was published.

The blog began as an extension of the book so that I could connect with parents:

  • To share my passion for picture books and the messages they contain.
  • To provide information about using positive parental participation to build self-esteem and strengthen the parent-child connection.
  •  To offer crafting and cooking activities along with picture book summaries and reviews to help parents develop better literacy skills in young children.

Accomplishing the above goals are very important to me, but I must confess that my blogging journey has been an educational, enjoyable and uplifting experience for me as well.

I’ve connected with over a thousand wonderful people…through blogging and Twitter and Facebook.  The only downside…with all of the amazing posts, stories and articles available to read and comment on, I barely have time to write my own blog and work on my next book project!

Here are the guest author posts and reviews I did of several new and exciting children’s books.

Rebecca Dunning: Real Life Princess

Olena Burda-Lasen: The Vitamin Band

Donalisa Helsley: The Day No One Played Together: A Story About Compromise

Martha Rodriguez: A Reel Cool Summer

Anthony Majewski: Read With Max

Here are just a few of the blogs I follow that inspire, educate and entertain.

Mirth and Motivation

Spirit Lights the Way

Piglet in Portugal

Stacey S. Jensen: Writing My Way Through Life

Plate Spinning 101

Because I’m the Mommy

The Mom Writes

Here are some of the sites I post on.

voiceBoks: The Voice of Motherhood

Social Moms

Bloggy Moms

Mom Bloggers Club

She Writes


Pikes Peak Parent



Here are a bunch of the 5-star reviews and recommendations of Show Me How that were done this year.

Home Grown Families: A Natural Living Blog

My Little Me

Virtuous Foundations

Dallas Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)

Chic Galleria Magazine

A Reel Cool Summer

The Children’s Book Review

Makobi Scribe

The Mom Writes

Jamie’s Precious Peas

The Mama Loves Her Bargains

Kidlutions Preferred Product Awards

Book Dads


Frugal Military Wife

I’m so very grateful to all of the bloggers and tweeters I’ve connected with this past year.  I confess, though, that with blogging, book writing, working, and taking care of home and hearth, I am constantly juggling the need for sleep with the desire to do everything else.  So, when the other day, my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I replied that I had EVERYTHING and needed NOTHING, I must confess that I wasn’t being totally honest.

If someone invents a time machine that can enable me to fit thirty-six hours of activity into a twenty-four hour day…please contact me immediately at!

Happy Holidays to all who have read my posts, followed me on Twitter, recommended and/or bought my book and supported and encouraged me on this amazing journey during 2011.

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday: FREDERICK

Striped Field Mouse

Image by Sergey Yeliseev via Flickr

One of my favorite children’s picture book authors and illustrators is Leo Lionni.

His stories get to the heart of the challenges and concerns that young children face and his bold yet simple illustrations bring his characters to life.

FREDERICK is one of the four books that are part of the SHOW ME HOW Story-time Program at the local schools here in Colorado Springs.  Each time I’ve read the story, the kindergarten and Pre-K children are eager to listen and then discuss the events in the book and relate them to their own lives. 


Written and illustrated by Leo Lionni

During the fall, a mouse family scurries around to collect seeds and nuts for the winter.  One mouse, however, does not seem to be doing anything except daydreaming.  Frederick explains that he is collecting sunshine, colors and words…but his family believe he is just trying to avoid the hard work.  When winter comes and the long cold days and nights seem endless, Frederick entertains his family and lifts their spirits by reciting the poetry he composed while the other mice were collecting seeds and nuts.

Each one of us has special gifts and, as parents, we need to recognize and encourage our children’s strengths and talents.  Sometimes this is very difficult, especially if your child does not enjoy doing what the rest of the family likes to do.

For example, most of the members of a family might love participating in all kinds of sporting activities, but one child in the family does not, preferring to draw or play a musical instrument.  In a situation like this, it is even more essential for the parents to provide opportunities for that child to develop his own gifts and pursue his particular interests.

Just 15 minutes a day, reading a picture book story, will help build YOUR child’s self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a life-long parent-child bond.  If you are looking for a resource that will make choosing a picture book a snap, please visit my website where you can purchase a copy of SHOW ME HOW!  The book has just received the KIDLUTIONS PREFERRED PRODUCT AWARD: and, as you can imagine, I am thrilled!

I’ll be at the Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument, CO on Sunday, April 10th from 2-3:30 and I hope everyone local to that area will stop in to say hello!  There will be a Book Fair and book signing which benefits the Tri-Lakes Community Preschool Tuition Assistance Program and if you need any details, you can go to  Come on over and spend a lovely afternoon in Monument and support early childhood education!

Another reminder…Tuesday, April 12th, my blog will be hosting the book blog tour of Max, the Dog.  You can visit for information about where Max has already been and where he will be going for the next few weeks.  There are prizes to be won for those who follow the tour so please check it out.    

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday: World Read-Aloud Day Special

A bookcase filled with books.

Image via Wikipedia

Today is World Read-Aloud Day!

Please, please, read to your child!

If you don’t have any children of your own, please read to someone else’s children!

If there are no young children around, please read aloud to an older child!  There is no age limit on enjoying being read to.   As our children were growing up, we had family read-aloud nights…I remember when we were reading the “Narnia” series…sometimes my husband or I would read the chapter to our three children and sometimes our oldest son (about 11 or 12 at the time) would read to all of us.

You can even read out loud to yourself!

Do you have unused or unwanted books lying around?  Why not find a worthy organization and donate them…there are many people around the world who would love to have books, but can’t afford them.

The story suggestion for today is a classic from 1932, ANGUS LOST, by Marjorie Flack.  It’s a lovely picture book to read aloud…charming illustrations help your child follow the adventures of the little dog who has more adventures than he had planned on.


Written and illustrated by Marjorie Flack

Angus, a little terrier, is bored with his home and yard and decides to see what the world is like.  After several scary adventures, Angus wants very much to go home, but he cannot find his way.  He spends the night hiding in a cave, trembling in fear the entire time.  In the morning, he hears the familiar sound of the milkman’s horse and wagon and he eagerly follows them from house to house, as the milkman makes his deliveries.  Finally, Angus recognizes his very own yard and is relieved to be home at last.

Many young children worry about getting lost or separated from those they love and, although we want to encourage curiosity and independence in our children, we are responsible for keeping them safe from harm.  This story is a wonderful opportunity to talk about a plan of action in case you are separated while shopping. 

One of the best things about reading aloud is that it opens the window for discussion about many issues that may worry your child. 

For a wonderful collection of summaries of 100 picture books every young child should hear, please visit my website.  SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING is now on sale for half-price PLUS FREE shipping!

In honor of World Read-Aloud Day, we’ve extended the sale price for one more month!  And we’ve added a BONUS!  One lucky person will also get a CRAFTY EASTER BASKET for their preschooler, filled with essential items for the craft projects…safety scissors, non-toxic glue, construction paper and MUCH MORE!   If you purchase a book, you will be automatically entered…if you are not ready to buy a copy, you can enter, no purchase necessary, by filling out the contact form on my website and telling me how you would use the craft supplies with your child.  If the response is good, I’m thinking of putting together a prize package that includes child-sized kitchen implements.

Please stop by tomorrow for Healthy Habit Thursday.