As the weather gets nicer and it seems to get dark later, all my son wants to do is play. It’s hard to keep him motivated, especially for his least favorite topic- writing. I found the solution in the unexpectedly fun and effective jewel of a book Unjournaling, by Dawn DiPrince and Cheryl Miller Thurston.   This book turns writing exercises from humdrum to

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Poetry Slam

My son listens to music incessantly.  Rap music, mostly.  He mentioned the other day he thought some of the lyrics seems like they were about the musician’s life.  We looked it up and it appears this particular artist’s music is autobiographical, so my son was right.  This conversation about rapping led to a discussion about poetry, in particular what metaphor, assonance, consonance etc are.

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Word Walls

In our home, any space is up for grabs to further our learning goals. For a year now, I have maintained a word wall for my son. A word wall is an organized collection of words prominently displayed in the learning space. Its an interactive tool for inspiring reading and spelling learning. Word walls can help a child to recognize and spell words, recognize

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Everyone Has a Story

This week as I was shopping at the grocery store, I stopped for a few minutes to talk with the lady giving out samples of chocolate milk. Though the course of our conversation, I learned that she grew up as a tomboy, was a cheerleader in high school, had a brother who was once an Olympic hopeful, had been married to a pro-football player,

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Novel-Writing for Kids and Teens

For many writers, the month of November is synonymous with NaNoWriMo, a shortened form of National Novel Writing Month. Would-be authors ages 13 and older can go to to sign on to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. But NaNoWriMo isn’t only for adults and teens; younger writers can also accept the challenge. The NaNoWriMo’s Young Writer’s Program ( is designed

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As I’ve been working on teaching my six-year-old to read, we’ve had to try a number of different programs to find one that’s a good fit for him. I think we’ve finally found that program in Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld. Consisting of just one book, this primer is designed for teaching beginners of all ages in both a one-on-one setting as well as

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