Category Archives: literature

Free Poetry Month Resources!

Graphic of Jack Prelutsky from Scholastic's Page!

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It is and as always there is a wealth of free resources out there to teach your kids about poetry! And I mean kids of all ages!!!!

Scholastic has a ton of activities for kids k-12. There are workshops, printables and prompts but it all starts with a reading from Jack Prelutsky!

The Shel Silverstein site has a ton of resources from mini units to single printable pages. They have simple printables under kids and a ton more (including this and last year’s poetry month packs) under educators. 1 warning about the site, it pops up with music and you have to click through a few pages to get to anything. has a variety of units available. They were all created by secondary teachers. It also has poems to teach with some of them even being read to you!

Do you like poetry? I loved Shel Silverstein growing up and gotten his books from the library for my kids. But honestly, other than to answer trivia questions, I don’t know much about poetry. So I look forward to learning about this with my kids! Go get your literature arts on and teach your kids to enjoy poetry!

By the way, make sure you check back because later in the month I will be reviewing some poetry apps too!


I have talked to a few of my friends about reading books about math with my kids in the preschool, kindergarten and the early elementary years. I really like Stuart J Murphy’sMathStart series. They have them coded by level so you can slowly work yourself into more difficult material. You can start just working with basic number concepts and then do groupong, money, probability or more! These books are great because they are colorful and entertaining. It is just a great book that happens to teach math! Is there anything more you could ask for a book than both reading and math?

Keeping Parents and Kids Happy!

ArcadeI recently received a copy of JumpStart 3D Virtual World 1st and 2nd grade to review. My kids and I love it! For those of you that aren’t familiar with JumpStart, it is educational software. It has always been fun but wasn’t as always something kids would choose over video games. With the incarnation of the 3D Virtual World they have found the secret to kids hearts.

The kids start out creating their own characters, or jumpees, by picking out forms and then they personalize them by choosing all the characteristics. My oldest is excited that he can be a robot and NerdPie got to pick all her girlie things;). Then they cruise through the world that the conquering and earning jewels by completing academic missions. These are are in all different areas from sentance formations, charts, logical thinking, patterns, and lots more. There is also an entire online world! But that is another review;).
Then comes the parts for parents. First off I can register up to 3 kids, I love that. JumpStart will track each one separately. Then JumpStart sends me a progress report. They tell me what areas the kids have worked on and if they have completed it or if it is in progress. It is great because I can see areas the kids have mastery in and the areas they might be struggling in.
The kids seem to love this and I like that they are learning during their computer time without just doing drills. This would make an awesome gift the kid in your life if they are very familiar with computers or even just learning because it is so intuitive. So run out and buy a copy! Then let me know what you think about it!

Five in a Row: Review

I recently received Five in a Row: Volume 3 to review. I have been hearing how great this program is for years but me and my hard earned dollar are hard parted;).

For those of you who don’t know, I have kids 7-1 and love trying to find things that we can all learn from together. This is one of those things. It is designed for ages 4-8 and is a step by step guide into a well rounded education based on real books. The theory is that you read 1 simple book a week and go through the accompanying material but you could take longer if you want. It is very flexible and really does a great job of touching on various areas (such as math, geography, etc). It fits well into that reading time every day. Then we just discuss all the subject material through the next couple of days. You can tune it to whatever level your kids are at. For example, each unit is based on a book and has a vocabulary list. This list is well beyond my 3 year old preschooler but is great for my kindergartner and my 2nd grader. So I can just dump those words into a make your own crossword website. It also touches on geography, social studies, math, and science that you can tune to each child in your family. We wouldn’t use it for a complete curriculum for our older kids but it is great enrichment for them. I think it is more than enough for any preschooler. So go check out Five on a Row and let me know what you think!

Review: Rime to Read

I recently received the opportunity to review the Rime to Read program that is made up of 20 online books. It is designed for either early readers or students who are a bit remedial. I used the books with my 5 year old non-reader and my 3 year old preschooler.

These books are purchased online and then placed in your account. You can then read them online and take advantage of the fact you can click on words to hear the sounds on the repeating words (or rimes or word families). Or you can choose to print them out. My issue in that aspect if the fact you can only print them once. With 4 kids, I can say that 1 copy isn’t quite enough if I want them to be able to drag them around and read them. But since they are ran on just a click of the mouse, the kids can go through them with out you. That is always very helpful!

Now what about the books themselves? They are pretty good. They are organized by word families and one of the great things is it forms pattern. The down part is that they aren’t really in full sentences. So my 5 year old is a bit puzzled to make sense out of the books themselves. The 3 year old doesn’t have that problem. But overall I do think they are very helpful in teaching reading.

Then comes the hammer. At $45 you really have to evaluate how much you will use them. But I also have to disclose I am a huge cheapskate. I absolutely love the Bob Books and won’t buy them (I use the library;). That said I am not a great judge if you are getting a dollar to good value but I do like the system.

You can sign up to get a free book as a sample so go check it out and let me know what you think!

The Missing Link: Found

I recently read a novel called The Missing Link: Found by Christina and Felice Gerwitz. One of the things I liked about this book before I even opened it was the fact that it was written by a homeschooled teenager with the help of her mom. I also like the fact it is about creationism and features a homeschool family. But now onto a review of the actual book;).

The book is a very easy read that is aimed at preteens and teens but I am thinking that my 7 year old will enjoy it. It is a fast paced action mystery that deals with evolution issues. I found the plot to move quickly and it really draws you in. It is a book that is a fun read that is great for kids who love to read or ones that find it a struggle. I love the fact that it give a great amount of factual knowledge that can even be a jumping off point for research or a unit (There are even study guides that go with the series). I also like the fact that there are 2 other books so far in the series.

The only down side is that there are some editing errors but I have been told it is going to be re-edited. Overall I really recommend this for the pre-teen or teen in your life either as a gift or just because!

Math Literature

Recently I discovered a few math story books that the kids loved. The first was Fraction Action. It dealt with simple fractions in real life situations. It dealt with groups and life. Then we read Subtraction Action. This was a great book that dealt with simple subtractions, chain subtraction (10-5-3) and borrowing. The stories and illustrations are quite entertaining and engaging. There are more books by this author that I will be checking out soon. These are books we can read again and I will be using for ever kid!

Making Grammar Fun!

So I was putting around the library one day just looking for some good books to read to the kids, not looking for any specific subject but melding learning and fun. Man did I find a jackpot! I found the Magic of Language books. These are books that look at one aspect of grammar and expolres it fully. So far we have read Nouns, Interjections, Verbs, Pronouns, and Punctuation. They are colorful, entertaining and very interactive. They ask questions and have answers in the back in case your kids are reading them alone. I will be checking out the rest of the series as soon as we get a chance!

The Princess and the Pea

The NerdPie picked up The Princess and the Pea when we were at the library last week and I internally rolled my eyes. We have all read this story before and I was reticent to read it yet again. But this was a delight to read. The kids and I both loved it. The vocabulary was great because it enabled the kids to develop theirs a bit further and the illustrations were fabulous. I highly recommend this to anyone!

Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective

NerdDad and I both loved the Encyclopedia Brown series when we were kids and so we decided to check out Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective (Encyclopedia Brown) for NerdBug. He absolutely loved it. This book was a entertaining and wonderful as we remembered. The part I loved seeing in my son was his logic development. NerdBug could start at the beginning of a case and would slowly start trying to figure them out. While he hasn’t quite gotten to the point of solving any cases before Encyclopedia Brown it is adorable to watch him try. We will be checking out more of these for this and all of our kids!