Making Snow People with Lois Ehlert’s SnowBalls A lesson for teachers, parents and homeschoolers becomes a celebration of creativity, writing and snow

snowballs lesson writing workshop art project mentor text

With so many mixed messages in the media, kids need to know who they are. So we reach for every opportunity to learn from our children. We ask questions. We talk about our days. We give examples and act as role models. But, sometimes, we can learn more by watching them. Upon enjoying Lois Ehlert’s Snowballs with my kindergartner and preschooler for the umpteenth time, we needed a change. The kids loved pointing out the many materials used to decorate each snowman in the short story. After … [Read more...]

Why You Should Start Reading Harry Potter with Your First Grader Today

harry potter -- is your child old enough to start the series

Hey Julie – Question – when do you think it’s OK to start reading Harry Potter?  Somehow I never read the series myself and I was thinking of making my mom read it first to see if it was OK for my son, who is 7 and in first grade.  He would love all the themes – the magic, the wizards, etc. but some have said it’s a bit too scary.  I haven’t even seen the movies yet so I am at a loss.  He is ‘average’ on the scare-o-meter, but we are a pretty ‘innocent’ house in that he hasn’t seen a lot of … [Read more...]

A Stack of Books Your Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Grader Will Love

Julieverse Reads: A selection of books perfect for kids ages 10-13

I walked into Middle's room a few days ago to find a stack of books on his nightstand, wobbling and tobbling as it was getting a bit too high. "What's this about?" I asked. "Are you reading all of them?" "I like to have choices!" he responded with a smile. A few nights before, we'd raided Big's bookshelves, looking for books that did one of two things: offered adventure or feeling. Middle's growing pile of books shows a fair representation of some classics novels mixed in with modern … [Read more...]

Here are the four most important questions to ask about reading success (just in time for conferences)

the 4 stages of succcessful reading

Reading is much more than reciting words that one sees on paper. Even before a reader achieves phonemic awareness and phonics, he’s learning to comprehend, understand, internalize and make connections. These are the essential stages necessary to teach kids to read, and to reach success in reading. How can parents help? By reading with children and encouraging reading and discussion time. And by recognizing the most four most important reading questions to ask themselves and their child's … [Read more...]

Julieverse Reads: Fall and Winter Book List Giving You Permission to Cuddle Up Under a Cozy Blanket by the Fire

A list of books to get lost in during the cold, winter months

I hit rock bottom this summer in my reading. I had so much trouble finding books I loved that I resorted to either hating books and forcing myself to keep reading or quitting and - gulp - playing Frozen Free Fall. I know. It got really bad, didn't it? This Fall, and into Winter, I'm getting back to what I love -- books that force me into other cultures and books that help me to envision my life within their pages. This is a smaller list, so I have the best of intentions to read, and, fingers … [Read more...]

Julieverse Reads: 5 Gripping Reads About How People React to a Crisis from best-selling novelist Catherine McKenzie

Characters in Crisis gripping novels about characters in dangerous situations

Bestselling author Catherine McKenzie debuts her new book, Smoke, later this month (which is currently available for pre-order and linked below.) I've always felt books about crisis and how a character responds to a disaster sets up for a gripping and compelling story, and usually makes for an excellent book discussion. This week, Catherine's submission to the Julieverse Reads series introduces 5 books featuring protagonists under incredible tension. [Post includes affiliate links. Thank … [Read more...]

5 Non-Fiction Books That Will Inspire You Today

Julieverse Reads A list of non-fiction books that will inspire readers

We're taking a break from fiction this week for Julieverse Reads. This post, curated by publicist and La Jolla Writer's Conference director, Jared Kuritz, highlights non fiction books that will fill you with inspiration.  The Power of Legacy We hear and read all the time about the selfless things certain individuals do for others. From Make-A-Wish to Wounded Warriors to Animal Rescue and so many more—all of these wonderful organizations were the vision of one individual. But do you ever … [Read more...]

Is Reading a Low Priority? 9 Ways to Encourage Reading In Your Home

9 easy ways to help your family learn to love to read, no matter their ages

"I assign 30 minutes of reading each night," said my 6th grader's reading teacher at Back to School Night. Then, he shrugged and finished his sentence. "But we all know that reading is the lowest priority for the kids and they aren't doing it." Say what?! Nope. My husband and I weren't happy with that at all. Reading is what comes first in our family, and there's a good reason for it: we've always embraced and encouraged reading, and a reading teacher who isn't going to do that is a genuine … [Read more...]

Independent Reading: Using the Goldilocks Method to Determine If Your Child Is Reading an Appropriate Book

Independent Reading Can she actually read and understand that book!

There is never an age that is too young to encourage independent reading. Even the youngest child benefits from “quiet reading time” where they can page through books, look at the pictures, and create a story in their heads—or recall stories they’ve heard before. But as a child gets older, parents need to insure that their child is reading books that are on the child’s reading level—books that are appropriate both in comprehension and in word awareness.   While there are many … [Read more...]

Julieverse Reads: Exploring Culture in Modern Literature

modern novels that introduce readers to societies different from our own. In learning how others think, live and believe, we enrich our understanding of others. Another great list of book club books at Julieverse

When I first created the Julieverse Reads series, offering an opportunity for readers and authors to share their favorite books, I was hopeful I'd have a very special author guest post, Janie Lam Meyers. I consider myself very fortunate to have so much in common with my mom. To start, we both share a love for reading and writing. This week's Julieverse Reads guest post highlights books that focus on cultures other than our own. Mom and I both enjoy reading cultural books -- ironically, I have … [Read more...]