How to use books in school programs

July 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Posted in about life, Community groups, Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Mystery books, Parent Teacher Groups | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Our goal is to develop programs that are fun for the kids that is provides an educational experience. This has not been an easy task and I will keep you informed as we move forward.

We tested our initial program with 60 kids from 4th to 6th grades. The program worked well for the 5th and 6th graders, but we found we needed to revamp the program for the 4th graders.

 The presentation encourages kids to write their own Undercover Kid story. We figure we can do it for classes up to 30 kids. After that we have to change our strategy.

Here’s how it works: The teachers are provided with a copy of the book together with a suggested list of pages to read before the author and our staff visit. They also receive a program guide to use after our presentation.

 We introduce the program by getting the kids to talk about their travels and then about the lead characters, Katie, Jake and Cooper.  We play a word game where kids get into groups and are given 5 Adventure Cards with words they must use to create their own their own Undercover Kids Adventure story. They get two more series of Adventure Cards to use to complete their story. And then kids get a chance to read their completed adventure.  

Then Gloria Smith Zawaski, our author, tells the kids how she developed the series and the kids get a chance to ask her questions. The kids are encouraged to post their stories online.

What do you think works best for kids, whether its in the classroom or as part of a community group?

Creating effective program for kids in the classroom

July 21, 2009 at 12:33 am | Posted in Community groups, Education, Educators, Kids and reading, Parents | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

Right now we are creating and testing school presentations. Our goal is to develop programs for 4 through 6th graders that introduce The Undercover Kids’ Holland Adventure and use their knowledge of the book to create their own stories.  We want to encourage kids to read as well as to write.

I mentioned in my previous blog that we went to the Bishop Dunn Memorial School to test out our initial school presentations.

We visited three classes with kids from 4th to 6th grades. The author, Gloria Smith Zawaski, came to the first class with us. We introduced the characters and the book. Then we played word games where we handed out cards with 5 words in a group. The kids were asked to use the assigned words as a basis for their own Undercover Kids adventure. Once one kid read his story, it encouraged others to get up and read as well.  In their reviews, they said they liked the program.

They really enjoyed talking to the author. I was fascinated with their questions: Is Katie based on you? If you found a hole with a cover on it, like the Undercover Kids did, would you go down the hole? Those were two questions I hadn’t heard before.

But one thing we realized is that the program we designed worked great with 5th and 6tth graders. They didn’t need much coaching to develop story ideas, but the 4th graders require a more structured approach.  So for us it is back to the drawing board.

We are looking for new approaches for classroom presentations. What can you suggest?

By the way, if you would like us to come to your school send me an email at

Visiting Kids in Summer School

July 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Posted in Book reviews, Education, Kids and reading, Mystery books | 1 Comment
Tags: , ,

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.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.