Quirky Christmas by William G Bentrim

Quirky Christmas is now available at an online store near you (aren’t they all) very soon but I had the honour of reading an advanced copy of this delightful tale perfect for a coming Christmas.

The characters are delightful as we meet the squirrel named Earl who goes by Quirky because of his unique appearance and many personal characteristics. Quirky is a nickname very suitable for this crazy creature who proves he’s not just quirky, he’s caring. We also meet his friends, Stubby and Art who are also kind of strange in their own ways but all equally wonderful. We also meet Reggie – the typical bully in the neighbourhood who refuses to share.

A very effective story written in a heart-warming way which teaches readers how to overcome obstacles and make friends despite first impressions.

The illustrations are drawn and simple but effective and eye-catching. Make sure Quirky Christmas is something your children unwrap soon so that you can treasure literacy, a good story and heart warming tale for years to come.

Thank you for reading,

Sarah Butland

Provide Your Family With the Write Start – Courtesy of Big Universe

We often forget that reading and writing go hand in hand. If we want to be a betterreader, we need to write more. Conversely, if we want to be a better writer, we need toread more. Parents can help children reach higher levels of literacy not only by readingwith them, but by writing with them, too. By weaving writing into the fabric of yourfamily’s daily life, you are nurturing your child’s learning and can create traditions that willlast for generations to come.

Creating a Write Start Environment

If we want to encourage a love of anything, we must immerse ourselves in it. Therefore,in order to encourage a love for writing in our families, we must immerse our families inwriting. The easiest way to do this is to provide many opportunities to write during theday and to have writing materials easily accessible. Make your house writer friendly. Setup a writing center for your children – a space to free write. Provide plenty of writingtools: pencils, pens, crayons, colored pencils and markers. Provide different types ofpaper: lined paper, plain paper, stationery, envelopes, notepads, etc. Don’t forgetconstruction paper, glue, and staplers for children to make their own books. Make thespace fun and inviting.

Make Writing Relevant

Writing is learned best when it occurs in authentic situations. So, tie writing into whatyou are doing as a family. This may be as simple as having your child write out thegrocery list for the week, write a recipe for his/her favorite meal, or to write thank younotes for gifts received. Special ways to make writing authentic: create Family VacationJournals. Take pictures to paste in the journal and write about the event. Or createFamily Activity Journals. You or your child can take pictures of day to day familyactivities. Place the photograph in the journal and then write about it. Aim to take onepicture a day. One very special and easy way to encourage writing is by encouragingyour child to begin a correspondence with a family member or other type of pen pal. Agrandparent is a perfect candidate, especially if they don’t live nearby. Writing letters oreven emails is a great way for your children to share their daily/weekly/monthly activitieswith their grandparent. And each will enjoy receiving mail from the other.

Make Writing a Family Tradition

Make writing a part of your family’s activities and it will quickly become tradition. Createa weekly family writing night. During these evenings, take turns adding to a FamilyHistory Journal. Have each family member write about something special that happenedduring the week. If you have a child who is not yet writing, have them draw a picture. Create Father/Son or Mother/Daughter dialogue journals. Use these journals to “talk”with your pre-teen or teenager about their day. They may feel more comfortable sharingevents in their lives if they don’t actually have to verbalize them. Use the dialogue journalto ask questions and seek answers, to provide encouragement, or to apologize.

However you choose to incorporate writing into the fold of your family’s fabric, I hope you create family traditions that live for generations to come. What sweet memories they willhold as your children grow up, move on, and have children of their own.

Dawn Little (aka Links to Literacy) also blogs at www.teachingwithpictureboo ks.wordpress.com where she provides educators with picture book lessons based on comprehension strategies and the Six Traits of Writing. In addition, she blogs at www.literacytoolbox.wordpr ess.com where she provides educators and parents with tips and tools to enhance the literacy lives of children. She is the founder and owner of Links to Literacy, a company dedicated to providing interactive literacy experiences for children and families. Find out more at www.linkstoliteracy.com

Courtesy of Big Universe – check out their amazing program today!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

Sammy Creates Buzz at the Zoo

What a beautiful morning to spend at the zoo. The sun was shining, the breeze took the flies away and Sending You Sammy gleams in the bright light. With everyone geared up for a run in the zoo for the great cause of building a new Tiger Exhibit for the Magnetic Hill Zoo, Sammy was on everyone’s lips.

Literacy, eating healthy and exercise all go together in Sammy’s world as they should in yours. Enjoy your day the healthy way!

Have a Child? Raise a Reader!

No matter how young or old your child is or children are, it’s important and easy to instill the skill of literacy into their repertoire. There are five simple tasks that I encourage you to merge into your every day life that will guarantee your child’s success.

The number one and most important is to read yourself. Whether it’s the daily newspaper, a good mystery or a text book – reading is contagious and will be something your children will do simply to be just like you. At young ages people learn through mimicking so why not have them mimic something that will last a lifetime? Take an hour out of your TV watching tonight, every night, and pick up something to read; out loud or to yourself reading will change your life.

A few other things in combination would be a matter of paying a regular visit to your local library. Take a bus, drive yourself, encourage your neighbours and carpool, however you need to get there please do. While there you’ll be able to get your child his/her own library card, have access to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books at no cost and then you can keep up on their events. Who knows when you’ll be able to meet your child’s favourite author or play a game that will be so fun you and your kids will want to pass it on to everyone you know.

And last, but certainly not least, start reading out loud to your child as soon as you can. Don’t dwell on the years lost but savour the days you have now when you can sit and read together.

Simple, right? Absolutely and not out of any one’s budget. So why aren’t you doing it? I am!

Others Are Part Of The Solution, Too!

Learning about the problem of the ever increasing statistics of childhood obesity was a vital part of why I started the Adventures Of Sammy children’s book series. It also had to do with the decreasing rate of literacy and the fact that all I saw was reports on both being a problem but never, or rarely, seeing something that others are doing to solve the problems. There are definitely people out there, in your community even, who are doing something and I want to make these solutions accessible to my fans.

The first, and very important, website I found talks about how the current issue of vending machines containing junk food and being everywhere. Schools, the workplace, even hospitals offer easily accessible chocolate bars, chips and pop and when people see these they tend to buy – hence there’s a market out there. But there are alternative solutions to this disaster as there are many solutions to each problem. YoNaturals Vending Machines offer healthy, organic alternatives to what the typical vending machine offers and they do so easily. Often times people do not have the exact change for something the see and want and YoNaturals has thought of these consumers and offers a cashless payment system for such circumstances. This is a much better alternative to junk food machines or no machines at all.

YoNaturals is helping to fight obesity in children and for that I applaud them. I invite everyone to start paying more attention to the solutions of childhood obesity and not the problem. If you’re a believer in the Law of Attraction you know that thinking of the negative only attracts more negative. YoNaturals is one of the companies thinking of the positive and helping your children.

I welcome all people or companies who are thinking positively of our children and who are part of the solution to send me an email and tell me all about it. Let’s protect our children from a problem that is preventable and talk about the solutions to do it.