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10 Rocking Advantages of Reading Aloud (for of All Ages)

10 Rocking advantages of reading aloud (for kids of all ages)

Do you read aloud in your classroom?  If you do, chances are you know many of the benefits.  If you don’t, maybe hearing the benefits will convince you to do so.

Whenever mamas new to homeschooling write me asking how to get started, one of the first things I tell them is to read aloud with their littles every day.  Even many public school teachers do it.  Why?  It is one of the best things you can do for a child.  It is a class in and of itself, and your littles are learning much more than you think.  They are not just being entertained.  It is not just a waste of time.  And it’s not just for elementary-aged kids.

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YA Book Review and Giveaway: Cogling


Jordan Elizabeth is not only a great YA author, she is one cool lady.  In Cogling, Edna’s little brother, Harrison is stolen by Hags-replaced with a construct made of his breath, magic, and a pocketwatch: a cogling.  Edna will stop at nothing to get her real brother back.  Teaming up with an unlikely accomplice, Edna leaves the only place she has ever known and heads for the swamp where the Hags live, intent on rescuing her brother.  Along the way, she discovers conspiracies and secrets all around her.  Monsters help and hinder her.   Her greatest ally reveals that he is not what he first seemed.  Amidst all this intrigue, can Edna save her brother and, perhaps, the kingdom?

Cogling is filled with Elizabeth’s trademark kindness to animals and tolerance of others themes.  Though the creatures in this steampunk glory are fantastical (think scurrying soot demons instead of mice and foxkins who are hunted like foxes even though they wear clothes and can speak), Elizabeth leaves no doubt that cruelty and intolerance are not her cup of tea.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t heavy-handed stuff.  You pick it up from Edna’s thoughts and reactions, and you can’t help but feel the same way.  Which is a really good way to sneak in a lesson against prejudice on your littles.  Yeah yeah.

One of the things I love about Elizabeth’s books is that she never quite ends them where you expect them to end.  She always has something else to say.  The poetically cryptic chapter headings intrigued me just as much as the story did.  The lavishly built world through which Edna and Ike fight their way to truth and tolerance is never boring, and the perils our heroes face are many and varied.  Listen, this book is one harrowing adventure after another.  Edna grows from a meek, uncertain thing into a heroine with real backbone.  Ike forgives himself for a past over which he had no control anyway.  And the kingdom… Well, I’ll let you read it and find out for yourself.

I would caution that while there is no sex in the book, there are some allusions to it that you might feel are too much for your tween or early teen.  I’ll leave that up to you–every parent has her own threshold.  Regardless, Cogling is a wonderful fantasy adventure with believable characters set in a rich world that rivals any invented.  It’s an excellent read.

Because I loved it so much, and because Jordan is just cool like that, I’m offering a free e-copy to a winning reader.  Jordan has said she can provide a mobi, epub, or pdf copy directly to the winner.  So make sure you enter, and you can read this excellent novel for yourself.  You have until midnight on  Monday, February 15, to enter , and I will announce the winner during next Tuesday’s YA Book Review.  Good luck!

If you want to learn more about Jordan and her other books, you can visit her website.

Cogling Giveaway


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This post is linked to Literary Musings Monday Blog Hop

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Story Time: Guess How Much I Love You

Story Time: Guess How Much I Love You - Valentine crafts and activities to go with the picture book

Isn’t that just about the best Valentine sentiment you can think of?

Guess How Much I love you is such a sweet, lyrical book.  I imagine we’ve all read it to our littles at some point, and if you haven’t, do so immediately.  It is hard to express the unending amount of love we have for our children.  Even they can never understand the truth behind the way we would lay down in traffic for them, take a bullet for them, stand between them and anything that could hurt them.  Because of that love.  The kind that goes all the way to the moon and back.

Maybe this book can give them a sense of it.  Maybe the antics of Little Nutbrown Hare will make them giggle.  Maybe the gorgeous watercolors by Anita Jeram will give them that sense of wonder and peace only a good picture book can.  Whatever their response, they will be sure to enjoy this beautiful book.  Here are some activities for them to enjoy along with it.

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14 Fabulous Sites for Free Homeschooling

14 fabulous sites for free homeschooling

Sometimes, life hands you a blog post.  I had intended to write about something very different today, but last night a woman I like very much pm’d me on Facebook.  Her daughter is about to start homeschooling her own littles, and she wondered if I could advise them where to go to get free curriculum.  I started getting the list together for her, and I realized this list might benefit a whole lot of people, even veterans looking to spruce up their schooling plans.  So rather than pm her back and keep all this yummy goodness between us, I thought it might be a good idea to share it with you, too.  I’m cool like that.

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