Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Born between 1935-1955


An excellent reminder of a HUGE generation gap

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The One Flaw in Women

The One Flaw in Women

Follow this link for an inspirational message, then leave a comment telling what about this video touched you the most.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Nearly half the world – over three billion people – live on less than $2.50 a day.

According to UNICEF, 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty – that’s 18 children dying every minute, a child every three seconds.

About 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world: 640 million are without adequate shelter, 400 million do not have access to safe water, 270 million do not have access to health services.

About 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized.

About 1.6 billion people – a quarter of humanity – live without electricity.

Over nine million people, of which five million are children, die worldwide each year because of hunger and malnutrition.

Over 11 million children die each year from preventable causes like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.

About 20% of the population in the developed nations consume 86% of the world’s goods.

poorest 40% of the world’s population accounts for 5% of the global income. The richest 20% accounts for 75% of world income.

Around 27-28% of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Violence and Toys

Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment

TRUCE 2004-2005 Toy Action Guide
P lay is essential to children’s healthy development and learning. Children use play to actively construct knowledge, meet social/emotional needs, and acquire life skills. The content of their play comes from their own experiences. Changes in today’s childhood are undermining play. Because of the pervasive influence of the electronic media — such as TV, movies, videos, DVDs, computers — children spend more time sitting in front of a screen and less time playing creatively with each other.
Toys, the tools of children’s play, influence that play. Toys of value enhance children’s natural ability to engage in imaginative, meaningful play by allowing them to try out their own ideas and solve their own problems. Many of today’s toys are highly structured and often linked to popular media images and programs. These toys channel children into imitative play, robbing them of opportunities to use their own imaginations, creativity, and problem solving skills.
Parents are constantly faced with decisions about what toys to buy and what toys to avoid. High-powered marketing and the influence of popular culture interfere with thoughtful decision-making at the toy store.
This guide is intended to help adults promote children’s creative and constructive play by making informed choices about toys, and by working with others at home, school, and in the community to promote positive play and toys.

Violent events such as the war in Iraq and the post-war conflict, acts of terrorism, crime,* and natural disasters affect everyone. Children receive different information about these events. Some children are included in discussions, some overhear adults’ or other children’s talk, some hear or see it on the news. Many young children may be confused or frightened and try to work out their feelings and understanding in play. Adults can observe and guide the play by responding to what children say with simple, accurate information and keeping the play within safe physical and emotional boundaries. Remember: each time a child sees a replay of an event on television, it is a new event in their minds. Imagine how many buildings fell in children's minds when the Twin Towers fell in 2001.

For more information contact TRUCE: www.truceteachers.org
PO Box 441261, West Somerville, MA 02144 e-mail: truceteachers@aol.com

* Experiences such as the recent criminal behavior in Newtown CT 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Explore the Mysteries of Heaven

Bostrom, Kathleen Long. Elena Kucharik, illustrator. What about Heaven? (Little Blessings Series) Tyndale House Publishers.

Hardcover. 2/26/2000. 80 pages. List price $9.99. ISBN-10: 0842373535. ISBN-13: 978-084237531.

Paperback. 9/28/2012. 32 pages. List price $3.99. ISBN-10:1414375107. ISBN-13: 1414375106.

EBook. 11/1/2012. List price $3.99. ASIN B007V69BD8.

Stars: 5 - Outstanding       FYC- for Families with Young Children

What about Heaven tackles many of the questions children ask. Where is heaven? How will I find it? Who else will be there? Will everyone know who I am? What will I eat? What will I wear? What will I do? Is there room for animals? Will I get sick?

Bostrom acknowledges the questions are all acceptable ones and while there are some we will not understand the answers to until Jesus returns, the Bible has answers for the rest. Each answer she gives, she backs up with scripture references placed at the top of each page in small print. These references will help parents with follow-on questions and references for family devotions.

Kucharik’s illustrations support the content on each span of two pages. The pictures of multicultural children appeal to young children. They will appreciate the illustrations from other titles in the Little Blessings series. Some illustrations are repeated from other titles such as God Loves You! also written by Bostrom, and The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers written by Crystal Bowman.

This repetition of form assists children in making text to text connections (relating this book to others they have read), an critical reading skill.  The rhyming couplets, the font size, and the large amount of white space on each page makes this a good, you-read-to-me book for three through five year old children. First and second graders will enjoy the book as an I-read-to-you book.

What about Heaven? Is not only a beautiful book for young children and their parents, but will make an excellent addition to church and public libraries. It will also find a suitable place in early childhood classrooms and Sunday School rooms. What about Heaven? was nominated for the People’s Choice Award.

Dr. Bostrom is an accomplished author of numerous books for children and books for adults. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) with degrees from Princeton and McCormick Theological Seminaries. Elena Kucharik’s not only creates colorful and captivating illustrations for the Little Blessings line, but was the lead artist and developer for Care Bears. She also designs and illustrates for major corporations and publishers.

I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network for my unbiased review.

Other books in the Little Blessings series include: Are Angels Real? – Blessings Come in Shapes – God Created Me! – Is God Always with Me? – The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers – The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 – Questions from Little Hearts – Thank You, God! – What Is Prayer? – What Is the Bible? – Who Is Jesus? – Why Is There a Cross?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Family Literacy

The Importance of Family Literacy

Family Literacy programs are designed to improve the language and literacy skills of both parents and children. The majority are designed for parents with preschool or early school-age children and aimed at improving children's school readiness and success, while simultaneously supporting the language/literacy development of parents.  Most federal programs, such as Even Start, have adopted a specific definition for family literacy that addresses four program components.  Most federally funded programs must include all four components:

1.    Early Childhood Education programs for children that are age- appropriate and help prepare children for success in school and life.

2. Adult Education, specifically, parent literacy training that leads to economic self-sufficiency.

3.  Parenting Education, training that helps parents become teachers of
their children and full partners in educational systems.

4.  Parent and Child Together (PACT) programming that enhances the
interaction of parents and their children around language and literacy. 

Need for Literacy and Language Programs well documented.  

  • 1991 - in the Carnegie Foundation report, Ready to Learn:  A mandate for the nation, teachers reported that 35% of kindergarten children were not ready for school.  The area in which children were reported to be most lacking was in literacy and language skills ( Boyer, 1991).

  • 1998 - the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported that 39% of fourth-grade students scored below the basic reading level nationwide. 

  • Children for whom English is a second language are of particular concern  because  their numbers are increasing and they often have difficulty in school (Rossi & Stringfield, 1995).

  • Studies show that children who start Kindergarten without basic language and literacy skills have difficulty learning to read, and they continue to experience reading problems throughout school (Snow, et al, 1998).

  • Research on brain development helps explain why early home and child care experiences are critical to language development. 

  • By the time babies are a year and a half old, the bottom 10% will understand around 90 different words while the top 10% will understand  more than 300 words.

  • Research indicates that children who have books and other reading materials at home, as well as writing materials, do better than children who have none.

  • Children who see their parents reading and writing do better than children who do not see such models.

  • Children who have many opportunities to talk and listen, practice eye-hand coordination activities that will help develop the foundation skills for writing, and "read" books," gain invaluable experience with language.

  • Working with parents to enrich home environments, through family or intergenerational literacy programs, increases the chance that preschoolers will succeed once they reach school (Bus, van Ijzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995; Edwards, 1995; Edwards, Pleasants, & Franklin, 1999; Jordan, Snow, & Porche, 2000;  Neuman ,1996; Whitehurst, et al., 1988.

The foundation for literacy skills is set during the preschool years, and it is during this time that young children develop the skills that will help them be successful (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990).  Whereas it was once thought that children learned to speak and listen during their early years and later learned to read and write at school age, we now know that they develop literacy related abilities simultaneously from infancy.  Emergent literacy is the term used to describe young children's developing literacy skills before formal schooling and encompasses the constellation of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills young children acquire (Teale & Sulzby, 1989). 

There is increasing interest in teaching parents how to help children build essential literacy skills (Nickse, 1989).  Research has shown that parents can create supportive home literacy environments, express positive attitudes about literacy, and share literacy activities such as joint book reading (Arnold, Lonigan, Whitehurst & Epstein, 1994; DeBaryshe & Binder, 1994; Payne, Whitehurst, & Angell, 1994). 

Reading aloud with children is probably the single most important activity for building early literacy skills and understanding in preschool age children (Wells, 1985; Bus & van Ijzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995; Bus et al.; 1997; Whitehurst et al., 1994)


·       children feel emotionally secure

·       are active participants in reading

·       parents and caregivers engage the child  -  for example,  asking children to predict what will happen next

·       naming and talking about the pictures

·       rereading the story many times

·       helping children link what is in the book with what is in their own lives

·       giving the child many age-appropriate opportunities to build on book reading  with activities that encourage an understanding of  "reading," "writing," listening and speaking.

In addition to reading aloud, parents also can:

·       improve the quality and quality of verbal interaction with their children

·       show interest, valuing, and encouragement of reading and language

·       provide access to a wide range of reading, writing, and drawing materials

·       show their own interest in literature and modeling of reading and writing in the home

·       provide opportunities for literacy experiences within routine family interactions and activities.


Bialystok, E., & Herman, J.  (1999).  Does bilingualism matter for early literacy?  Bilingualism:  Language and cognition, 2(1), 35-44.

Boyer, E. L.  (1991).  Ready to learn:  A mandate from the nation.  Princeton, NJ:  The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Bus, A., Belsky, J., van Ljzendoorn, & Crnic, K.  (1997).  Attachment and book-reading patterns:  A study of mothers, fathers, and their toddlers.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12, 81-98.

Bus,  A.G., van Ijzendorn, M.H., & Pellegrini, A.D.  (1995).  Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read:  A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy, Review of Educational Research, 65(1), 1-21.

Edwards, P.A. (1995).  Empowering low-income mothers and fathers to share books with young children.  The Reading Teacher, 48, 558-564. 

Edwards, P.A., Pleasants, H.M.,  & Franklin, S.H. (1999).  A path to follow:  Learning to listen to parents.  Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann.

Jordan, G.E., Snow, C. E., & Porche, M.V.  (2000).  Project EASE:  The effect of a family literacy project on kindergarten students’ early literacy skills.  Reading Research Quarterly, 35(4), 524-546.

Learning to read and write:  Developmentally appropriate practices for young children (1998).  Young Children, 30-23.

Neuman, Susan B. (1996).  Children engaged in storybook reading:  The influence of access to print resources, opportunity, and parental interaction.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 11, 495-513.

Perez, B. (1998).  Language, literacy, and biliteracy.  In B. Perez (Ed.) Sociocultural Contexts of Language and Literacy,  (pp. 21-48).  Mahwah, NJ:  Erlbaum.

Rossi, R.J. & Stringfield, S.C.  (1995).  What we must do for students placed at risk, Phi Delta Kappan, 77, 73-76.

Snow, Catherine E., Burns, M. Susan, & Griffin, Peg,  (1998). Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children.  National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, National Acad. Press.

Wells,  G. (1985).  Preschool literacy-related activities and success in school.  In D.R. Olson, N. Torrence, & A. Hildyard (Eds.), Literacy, language and learning:  The nature and consequences of reading and writing  (pp. 229-255).  Cambridge, England:  Cambridge University Press.

Whitehurst, G. J., Galco, F.L., Lonigan, C.J., Fischel, J.E., DeBarshe, B.D., Valdex-Menchaca, M.C. & Caulfield, M.  (1988).  Accelerating language development through picture book reading, Developmental Psychology, 24, 552-559.

General Reading

Bridges to Literacy:  Children, Families, and Schools.  David K. Dickson (Ed.).  Cambridge, MA:  Blackwell Press, 1994.

Family Literacy:  Connections in Schools and Communities.  Lesley Mandel Morrow (Ed.).  Washington, DC:  International Reading Association, 1995.

The Role of Family Literacy Environments in Promoting Young Children's Emerging Literacy Skills.  Pia Rebello Britto & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn (Eds.).  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 2001.

Literacy Development in the Early Years:  Helping Children Read and Write.  Lesley Mandel Morrow.  Boston, MA:  Allyn & Bacon, 2001.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Cost of Kids

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with approximately $300,000 (pre-tax dollars) for a middle income family (U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2011 Annual Report "Expenditures on Children by Families." (PDF) as analyzed by The Wall Street Journal 6/14/2012). Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition. But $300,000 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into $17,647 a year, $1,471 a month, or $368 a week. That's a mere $53 a day! Just over $2.19 an hour (even while they are sleeping).  

Parents who send their children to college can add a significant sum to the total. The report notes estimate by the College Board that in 2011-2012, annual average tuition and fees were $28,500 at 4-year private (non-profit) colleges, while annual room and board was $10,089.  

Still, you might think the best financial advice says don't have children if you want to be "rich." It is just the opposite. 

What do you get for your $300,000? 

·       Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
·       Glimpses of God every day.
·       Giggles under the covers every night.
·       More love than your heart can hold.
·       Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
·       Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
·       A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.
·       A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and skipping down     the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
·       Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $300,000, you never have to grow up.

·       You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus.
·       You have an excuse to keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars.
·       You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For $300,000, there is no greater bang for your buck.

·       You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.
·       You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel.
·       You get to be immortal.
·       You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren or even great-grandchildren.
·       You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.
·       In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God.
·       You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.


Check out They Stood ALONE!: 25 Men and Women Who Made A Difference