Story Starters

May 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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Throughout the past year we have written a lot of blogs on how to  encourage writing in children and we have found excellent resources from teachers and educational blogs. Well, we found another one! Here is a great idea for a child who has a hard time beginning a story. (Introductions are always my hardest part to start too.) These story starter activities are more like games, so they are fun as well as education! If you try any of them, please let us know how it went!

Dressing up for storytime

May 14, 2010 at 11:59 am | Posted in Community groups, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents | Leave a comment
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One of the great things about books is how they open up entirely news worlds and how you can often find traits you can relate to in certain characters. It’s especially fun if you pretend you are one of those characters. Think about it. While reading Twilight who didn’t imagine that they were Bella in love with the mysterious Edward. Or in The Undercover Kids who wouldn’t want to be Katie or Jake traveling to another country whenever they wanted.

There are certain community events that encourage this type of imaginative play. Tomorrow, May 15th, there will be a “Fancy Nancy Fashion Show and Storytelling” event at the Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick. Put on your favorite outfit and visit the library for a dressy show. Hear a story, make a craft, and enjoy a snack. For ages 3-6. Starts at 1:30pm. Keep on the lookout for more events like this. Even if you don’t find any other dress up events locally, try to make a storytime/dress up night of your own at home. It really helps bring books to life.

New writing games to share

April 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents, Writing | Leave a comment
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I hope that those out there who read this blog, have learned about some great activities that you can use in and outside the classroom. Reading and writing is fun and all you have to do is make a game out it! Here are some more ideas that may inspire your children to read and write:

  • Before beginning a creative writing activity, sitthe children down in a circle and start a story with a fun, silly sentence. Each child in the circle needs to continue the story with one more sentence. You could appoint one child to record the story. After creating this silly, group story, the children will be ready for creative writing.
  • Make three boxes with ideas plot elements. One box should have story starters, another box should have ideas for the middle and the third box should have endings. Ask the children to pick one slip from each box and write a story linking the ideas together. Children will love the random elements of this activity.
  • Enjoy and keep reading for more ideas and activities!

    Kindle in the classroom?

    March 24, 2010 at 10:22 am | Posted in Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parent Teacher Groups, Parents | Leave a comment
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    Electronic books (eBooks) are becoming more affordable and with devices like the Kindle, Nook, and now the iPad, ebooks are also becoming more practical (as well as environmentally friendly as they save paper.) This trend is predicted to move full-scale into the college scene within the next 2-3 years. Do you see eBooks coming into elementary schools, jr. high’s or high schools too? When I was younger I loved nothing more than cuddling up on a rainy day with a new book and flip through the changes. And, what does this mean for libraries? Will you rent a computer chip instead of an actual book? I see both pluses and minuses to using eBooks, I don’t know what side I’m on yet. If you are a teacher, would you use eBooks in your classroom? What about if you just want to try an eBook for fun, would you get rid of all your books? As you can see, I am torn on the subject!

    Word Art: How to Combine pictures and illustrations!

    January 21, 2010 at 11:17 am | Posted in crafts, Education, Kids and reading, Writing | 2 Comments
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    Here’s a fun activity that allows you to write and draw at the same time! In this activity, instead of coloring in shapes or shading them, students will print and repeat words related to the picture to fill in the area.

    Grades: 3-8

    Materials: Paper and coloring materials


    Draw a picture (outline only) of a cartoon character (Like one of the undercover kids!), still life scene, person or any idea the child has. Fill in the open area with printed words related to the object or letters of the alphabet. For example, if you draw an outline of an apple you can fill in the picture with the words: seeds, red, the letter “a”, etc.

    Be sure to print in medium to large letters/words inside the outlines, or the project will take too long. Before you know it you will have a creative art project with both words and illustrations! Very cool!

    Can you tell a story in six words?

    January 8, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Writing | Leave a comment
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    The group here at excitingread publishing group is always looking for fun writing activities for kids to enjoy. One activity you can try is telling a story in only six words! I tried this activity myself by choosing a topic to write about then timing myself to see how many six word stories I could do in ten minutes. Let me tell you this was quite a challenge! This is a great way to practice your descriptive language and writing skills. Check out this website to learn more! On the website you can view a book of memoirs (when a writer writes about his or her own life), that was put together by third grade students. 

    Here are some examples:

    “Five continents down, two to go.”

    “Age 11: became a middle child.”

    “Fourteen years old, story still untold.”

    “Looking to know everything about everything.”

    Those are just a few of the creative entries. I’m sure there are more stories to be told. What’s yours?

    Reflecting on the Past Year- An Undercover Kid Activity

    December 18, 2009 at 11:51 am | Posted in Grandparents, Mystery books, Parents | Leave a comment
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    As you may know, The Undercover Kids love to travel. What about you? Do you have the travel bug? Does your family? Well, even if your family just loves to travel to the store or maybe to more exotic places, we have a fun activity for you to do together to reflect on the past year.  This activity is a great way to think about any trips you went on during the year or even dream about where you would like to travel to in the future.

    Take some pictures of your family from the past year to make a scrapbook page. It’s an easy and fun way to remember the great memories you made in the past year and a way to reflect on the upcoming New Year.  You can also leave a space on the bottom of the page to  journal about what you and your children (or grandchildren, or nieces, nephews, etc.) have done this year so far. You can place the pages you make into clear page protectors and put them into a 3-ring binder for an easy homemade scrapbook. All you need is some simple art supplies to make a creative and interesting photo scrapbook. You can even decorate the pages with cutouts of Katie, Jake or Cooper taken from our website. Bake some cookies, drink some hot chocolate and most importantly have fun! Thanks for reading and stay in touch for more fun crafts and activities.

    The Undercover Kids’ Adventure Series Author Speaks to Students

    September 30, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Community groups, Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parent Teacher Groups, Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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    “You were once four years old?” the young girl asked with wide eyes. She could not believe that the picture of the young girl that was up on the PowerPoint screen was the same grownup woman standing in front of her.  The grownup was the writer, Gloria Smith Zawaski the author of The Trunk in the Attic. She was speaking to a group of 150 students at the Emma Chase Elementary School in Wurtsboro, NY. Her presentation was sponsored by the school’s PTO.

    Gloria was at the school speaking to the students about how an idea becomes a book. The presentation consisted of Gloria describing why she wanted to become an author, what goes into publishing a book (who is involved, the roles they play, etc.) and how the children can stimulate their own imagination through writing. Overall, the children were highly engaged and enthusiastic about interacting with a real life author and many of them seemed to want to become budding authors themselves. Kelly Creighton, from the school’s PTO, coordinated the event. Hear Kelly speak about the importance of children learning to read and write their own stories here!

    Gloria encouraged the students to write their own stories and offered four suggestions:

    1. Start with what “if ideas”…What you could did to China? What if you met an alien on your way home?
    2. Get someone else to read it and see if they understand it.
    3. Ask someone to proof for spelling and punctuation
    4. And post them on The Undercover Kids’ website for others to read.

    The kids really enjoyed having Gloria sign the books they had purchased. Every student in the audience was given an Undercover Kids purple band which is meant to encourage creativity. One student asked, “Can I go to Africa with this band?”

    Gloria meets her fans at Emma Chase Elementary!

    Gloria meets her fans at Emma Chase Elementary!

    Visiting Kids in Summer School

    July 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Posted in Book reviews, Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books | 1 Comment
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    We are exited to visit Bishop Dun Memorial School’s summer program next week. We have created fun and games for kids where they will write their own Undercover Kids story.

    Visit us next week and see what the kids have produced.

    If your kids love to write have some fun this summer and visit And post your children’s piece.

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