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.

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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!

    Katie, Jake and Cooper Love Photoshoots

    April 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Education, Mystery books | Leave a comment
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    Come on out to the Poughkeepsie Galleria this Sunday for Hudson Valley Parent’s Annual Cover Kid Event. There is going to be a free concert, games, crafts and best of all Katie, Jake and Cooper will be stop by to visit! If you want to meet them or learn more about the Undercover Kids book series stop by and visit us. Gloria may even be there to sign books. Hope to see you there, the event starts at 11am and ends at 3pm.

    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!

    How a book is born: Author signings

    March 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Posted in about life, Mystery books, Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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    Authors always wonder if they should participate in book signings as a route to increased sales. I am not sold on the idea.

    The other night my husband and I were in Barnes & Noble. A good cup of coffee and a good book for an hour of relaxation. (If a B & N manager is reading this blog, I do buy books…my credit card will attest to that.) At their entrance was a local author displaying her works and ready to sign her book. She is not a new author, by any means, but no one entering the store stopped at her table. It is true that the traffic was light that night, but that was an expensive night out for this author.

    Gloria Smith Zawaski, the author of The Trunk in the Attic, loves meeting kids. But I feel that a book signing event for an author who is not well-known just doesn’t work.

    Who would you wait in line for…Jeff Kenny, the author of the Whimpy Kids series or Gloria Smith Zawaski, the author of The Undercover Kids book series? Kenny wins hands down!

    Last night I met the manager of our local B & N bookstore at a PTA event. She heard of our book through one of her employees. And she knew that we were not on the B & N online book site. But she said they do author signings for local authors, even if the store does not carry the book. My first questions was, ‘who would show up?’ Her response, “People show up for children’s author signings.” “I figure young children but the eight to eleven year old crowd?” I asked. We are going to meet next week to discuss the process, and then I’ll decide how best to proceed.

    I will say that when Gloria participated in events, the kids who bought her books really enjoyed meeting her.  But in general, I don’t think book signings for unknown authors are the way to go.

    In my opinion, you have to really work at promoting the author and promoting the book before you begin the book signing route.

    Favorite Snow Day Book?

    February 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Posted in about life, Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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    With winter still hanging around I recently started thinking about my favorite winter activity: reading. Do you have a favorite book that you like to read on the snow day? I like to read a good scary story even though Halloween is long gone. With the snow falling outside, everything is grey and dark and it’s nice to cuddle up with a good read. I always make some hot chocolate too. What about you? What do you like to read? Leave a comment and tell us and don’t forget to keep reading!

    The Undercover Kids Trivia Quiz!

    February 5, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Posted in crafts, Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents, Writing | Leave a comment
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    We know what you are thinking a quiz does not sound like fun, especially on a Friday, but quizzes can be fun! You learn new information, you can test your friends and turn into a game. Test yourself, how fast can you answer the questions, what about your friends, how fast can they go? Try turning the quiz into a race, the one who answers the most questions correctly and the fastest wins a prize. (I vote you make a batch of brownies before you play the quiz game and when you are done playing hand a brownie out to everyone, so everyone wins!)

    Try making your own Undercover Kids quiz about the book and hand it out to your friends. Don’t forget to tell your teacher about our downloadable teacher’s guide, where they can download even more fun activities!

    Post Card Fun!

    January 28, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents, Writing | Leave a comment
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    A great activity that incorporates a sense of travel is creating your own postcards. A postcard is used to carry a message, usually with a picture or a photograph on one side, that can be sent through the mail without an envelope. Just like sending a letter is an old-fashioned, so is sending a postcard. It can be a great way to keep in touch with friends or even as an art project! Get some construction paper, a ruler, colored pencils, crayons, and scissors. Cut out a rectangle out of your construction paper that is approximately 4×6 inches/10 by 15 cm, place divisions on the back of the card into message and address sections and the front is yours to decorate however you would like. You can draw on the front, place pictures of your family, or make a collage! Mail your creative postcards to a friend, a family member or another Undercover Kid. Write them a secret message or a simple hello, the choice is yours. Enjoy!

    Use your imagination to create your own an Undercover Kid Play

    January 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Publishing your story, Puppets, Writing | Leave a comment
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    Did you like to act? When I was younger, I loved to act out plays and create my own  characters in those plays. Once we created the Undercover Kid’s puppet show and started taking it around to schools, I started to notice what a great play this book would make. There’s adventure, comedy and suspense all these things make for an exciting play. (It would be really funny to see Cooper running around on stage). What if the Undercover Kids ended up on Broadway? I’m getting ahead of myself. But I could definitely see the Undercover Kids on Stage.

    Do you think that you could write your own play involving the Undercover Kids? What would happen? Where would they go? Would you be in the play too? Write your own play (it could even be a page), then act it out for your friends and family. Post it on YouTube with your parent’s permission and maybe you will become an internet star!

    Make Story Writing a Family Event

    January 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Posted in crafts, Education, Grandparents, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parents, Writing | Leave a comment
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    Encourage time together with a homemade storybook! This is something that Jake and Katie would love to do with their parents or their Aunt Jean!

    Check out this craft from the great book “101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make” by Stephanie Mueller and Ann Wheeler.

    Materials:

    three-hole punch                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           white copier paper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       three-ring binder                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      markers or crayons                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       black permanent marker

    Before beginning the activity: Use the three-hole punch to make holes along the sides of the white paper.

    What to Do:

    1. Think of a story and draw pictures to make a book using the white paper with the holes in the sides.                                                                       2. Dictate a statement or story about the pictures that were drawn. Write these along the top of the pictures that were drawn using the permanent black marker.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Place the pages into the three-ring binder, along with 10 (or more) blank pages.                                                                                                               4. Decorate a white piece of paper without holes using the markers. Write “Family Story Notebook.” Many binders have a clear cover pocket in which the cover page can be inserted. If this is not the case, use clear contact paper to adhere this cover page to the front of the notebook (with adult help, as needed).                                                                                                                                                                                                       5. Once you complete one story, keep going until your binder is full. You will have a complete collection of family stories!

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