By Karen Williams By nature, children are learners and discoverers. But there are some crucial skills—like letter shapes, names, and sounds—that parents should teach rather than wait for kids to sort out on their own. And the more fun and light-hearted the approach, the better. Try this neighborhood scavenger hunt activity to engage kids and have family fun outdoors. Getting outside, moving around, and boosting letter engagement is a win-win-win. Benefits include: Affordability. You . . .
By Kelsey Nickerson Bookends are among our favorite DIY book crafts. Not only are they a must-have for any book-loving household—they’re also an awesome secret weapon for getting kids to read. Just bookend a selection of tempting titles on a table or anywhere kids will come across them, then let their curiosity do the rest. We also love bookends for breaking up a book collection into reading levels and subject areas, like fiction genres or nonfiction topics. And when your library . . .
By Kelsey Nickerson Looking for a way to beautify a room and highlight reading at the same time? This DIY book craft, inspired by A Fresh Squeezed Life, creates a lovely painted book stack. It can bookend your favorite titles on a shelf or hold its own as a table accent. Either way, it makes a unique addition to a child’s room, living room, or office. Affordable and fun, this is the perfect way to upcycle obsolete or outdated books (old textbooks, anyone?) and display an . . .
By Kelsey Nickerson Every book deserves a bookmark. And creating your own signature design is a fun and easy DIY book craft that doesn’t require tons of materials or cleanup! Just like children often eat more vegetables when they help prepare a meal, kids can feel more invested in books when they personalize them with special bookmarks all their own. Try this quick craft project, inspired by Somewhat Simple, to engage your kids with the titles on their bookshelves. A custom bookmark with a . . .
By Kelsey Nickerson Filling your home with books, whether bought or borrowed, is a great way to show kids that you value family reading. And while the stories and illustrations between the covers matter most, attractively displaying the books can build excitement. I recreated the DIY Honey Bear Bookends from Pretty Providence and think they’re the perfect eye candy to bring kids’ attention to the sweet titles on your shelves. Materials Two Honey BearsGold Spray PaintSand or pebbles to . . .
I was late to embrace ebooks for kids. Convinced of the superiority of print books for young children, I joined multiple kids’ book-subscription programs and regularly stocked up on physical books at school book fairs, our local independent bookstore and public libraries to make it easy for my daughter to read more and more. But the inflow of books dwindled during my daughter’s second-grade year, with the coronavirus pandemic and the stay-at-home orders that followed. Our local library . . .
Stay-at-home orders resulting from the new coronavirus have got many of us holed up inside 24/7 with kids and partners. All that togetherness can mean lots of quality time, if we make it that way. Luckily, books can be heroes every family needs to experience wonder, connection, and enjoyment during long days spent indoors. Engaging texts keep independent readers happily occupied and create valuable time for parents to work, relax, or tackle household chores. Reading to yourself, reading . . .
Can you spell sesquipedalian? Well, the children featured in anthropologist Shalini Shankar’s Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success can. The elite competitors in the Scripps National Spelling Bee are largely of South Asian descent and, though born after 1996, exhibit intensity, skill, and poise rare in people twice their age. On stage, they spell obscure words with ease, backed by supportive parents and thousands of hours of practice. And these feats . . .
Every week, my daughter brings home a list of spelling words, along with a note on the spelling pattern the words exemplify. For example, a recent word list focused on examples of the short o sound spelled with an a following w or qu, e.g. squad, wash, and want. I appreciate that the words are organized around a single, specific spelling concept, so that any time spent on them reinforces a lesson she’s received. (Unlike thematic lists organized by holidays, seasons, or other topics that give . . .
In Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success, anthropologist Shalini Shankar offers readers a nuanced and scholarly account of a subset of immigrant parents today. Like Amy Chua’s tiger moms, the South Asian Americans Shankar examines—parents of kids who participate in the National Spelling Bee—value education above all. These so-called “bee parents” are just more likely to spend time supporting and advocating for their kids than doling out harsh criticism. . . .