Friday, February 24, 2012

Wee Are Readers Photo Parade

In honor of the upcoming National Education Association's Read Across America Day, it's time to celebrate literacy with the Wee Are Readers Photo Parade. A special thanks to all these adorable wee readers and a standing ovation to our book-loving contest participants who share the gift of literacy by reading to children.

Now, let the parade commence!

Entry 1: Linda C.'s grandson

Entry 2: Kristen J. and daughter

Entry 3: Mickie W. and daughter

Entry 4: Kristin H.'s children

Entry 5: Sandra M.'s son

Entry 6: Kristin J.'s daughter

Entry 7: Poppy-Pops and great-granddaughter

Entry 8: Ally B.'s daughters

Entry 9: Kristin H.'s children

Entry 10: Kimberley G.'s children

Entry 11: Kristin H.'s son

Entry 12: Mae M.'s niece and son

Entry 13: Margie M.'s son

Entry 14: Ally B.'s daughters

Entry 15: Holly K.'s daughter

Entry 16: Tia M.'s son

Entry 17: Abby B. and niece

Entry 18: Ally B.'s daughters

Entry 19: Kathy T.'s grandson

Entry 20: Andrew B. and daughter

Entry 21: Ally B.'s daughter

Entry 22: Angie F.'s son

Entry 23: Kaye W.'s grandson

Entry 24: Monicka E.'s sons

Entry 25: Abby B.'s daughter

Entry 26: John C.'s grandchildren

Entry 27: Kathy T.'s grandson

Entry 28: Kathy T.'s grandson

Entry 29: Kathy T.'s grandson

Entry 30: Heather H.'s daughters

Entry 31: Paul B.'s daughter

Entry 32: Shelley C.'s daughter

Aren't those the sweetest readers you have ever seen? I'm glad blog subscribers are deciding the outcome of this contest instead of me. I couldn't possibly select a single winner on my own!


Who is eligible to vote? Anyone who has subscribed to my blog.

How do I become a blog subscriber? Scroll up to enter your email address in the appropriate white field on the right of your screen. Click "Subscribe." Then, check your email inbox to click confirmation of your subscription request. Now, you may vote for your favorite wee reader!

How do I cast my vote? Email the entry number that appears beneath the photo of your choice by clicking here. For your vote to be valid, your email address must match the email address you used to subscribe to my blog. Please type "My Vote" in the subject line. Limit one vote per person. The photo with the most qualifying votes by midnight (CST) on Thursday, March 1, 2012, wins.

May I vote for my own entry? Absolutely! Please encourage friends and loved ones to become blog subscribers so they may vote, too.

When will we know who wins? Check my blog on Read Across America Day, Friday, March 2, 2012, to see the winner. The person who submitted that entry will receive a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card (winner's choice).

What is an excellent way to share the gift of literacy? Read to a child.

Best wishes to all contestants. Voting may begin!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Touchscreens and Story Time

My grandma's lap. A squeaky rocker. A stack of Little Golden books. Precious hours spent turning pages, snuggling, giggling. Those are my earliest memories of reading.

Fast forward a few decades. (Okay, maybe four. And a half. Oh, please don't make me confess my age!) Now my husband and I are the grandparents providing laps for story time. Like my grandma did with me, we snuggle with our grandkids, giggle, and make memories galore. We choose from stacks of treasured children's books, but like many other areas of our lives, a new element has joined the scene: technology.

Thanks to touchscreens, my grandchildren can interact with stories in a whole new way. Take the iPad version of the children's classic Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, for example. Trilogy Studios designed this app with three modes to choose from. Want to read it like a traditional book? Choose the Read Alone mode. Prefer an audio version? Choose Read to Me.

Our grandson enjoying the Harold and the Purple Crayon iPad app

But if you want to experience the latest in children's book technology, select Touch Tale mode. It allows readers to help the character Harold draw the story’s pictures as the tale progresses. Don't want to drag out messy art supplies? No problem. A fingertip against the screen will do.

Will such interaction help children become better readers? I have no idea. Will it encourage them to love books in adulthood? Only time will tell. But whether kids become life-long readers as a result of apps like this or not, I know two things:

1. Traditional books will always be part of story time in our home.

2. The interactive feature of the iPad app keeps my grandkids engaged for extended periods of time, which brings more snuggles, more giggles, and more time for making memories. I can't complain about that.

Have you included technology in story time with your children or grandchildren? Will interactive book apps make traditional books more or less appealing to kids? Sound off below, my friends. I'd love to know what you think!

And don't forget, my Wee Are Readers Photo Parade is coming next week. You still have time to send in pics for your chance to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner's choice). See contest details here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

More than Paper and Ink

Photography fun with Sophia, my newest granddaughter

These are a few of my favorite things:

Snuggly wee ones. Books. Comfy chairs--squeaky old rockers will do. Soft blankets. Pudgy little fingers pointing at pictures, turning pages, clapping at happy endings. Tiny voices full of questions, gasps, and giggles. Wide-eyed wonder. Taking adventures to distant times and places without leaving the room.

And the blessing of watching children grow into adults who love snuggly wee ones, books, comfy chairs, soft blankets . . . .

I recently experienced that blessing when I browsed my newborn granddaughter's small library, one her parents made sure to have waiting in her nursery before her birth. Tiny volumes filled with paper and ink and so much more. Stories that will teach her about kindness, sharing, and planting kisses. Tales that will leave her marveling at God's creation. Characters waiting to become her loyal friends--friends she can introduce to her children and grandchildren someday.

The National Education Association's annual Read Across America Day is less than a month away. Help "build a nation of readers." Read to a child today. And tomorrow. And the day after that.

Which children's book will you grab first? I'm always searching for new stories to treasure with my grandchildren, so I'd love to know. I'll be looking for your answer in the comment section below.

Next time you share a book with a child, don't forget to grab a camera, snap a picture, and enter my Wee Are Readers Photo Contest. Details here.

Remember, the children we read to now will grow up and read to the children of the future. Your love for reading can impact generations. Share the gift!