Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category


Reading Across America

May 24, 2017

At my new job there are various committees… one being Read Across America Day/Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (March 2nd). About three days before this fun event the committee met. I was just an interested party, not really a committee member. (Come to think of it, I haven’t been assigned to any committees yet…)

I came up with the grand idea to “Read” across America by finding a native-born children’s author from each of the 50 states and Washington, DC. Grand is the word. Little did I know what a monumental task this would be and not something I could just bang out in a day or two.

Over the course of most of March and April I searched and searched–mainly Famous Birthdays and Wikipedia, followed by Amazon. Four states: Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Nevada had no readily available children’s authors born in their respective states. Arizona could a least claim the late great Barbara Park–author of the Junie B. Jones series–as having lived and died in Arizona.

I created and had laminated small posters with the state name, author, outline of the state (free from, and an image of the book cover either from Amazon, Wikipedia, or the author’s website. I also created a blog. I hope to review all the books either myself or by students. I also hope someone from Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Nevada will find my humble blog and let me know about their children’s book.

I also hope that authors of minorities and different genres chime in. I was a little worried it would be a list of “old, dead, white guys.” And sometimes those old, dead white guys weren’t without controversy: Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus, for example; he brought African American stories to the general public but he was white. (Ultimately, he was not included for the state of Georgia.) I did find some variety–graphic novels (El Deafo by CeCe Bell), poetry, Native American (Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story by N. Scott Momaday), biography (Rosa Parks by Eloise Greenfield), classics (Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder), and modern favorites (Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan).

Sadly, no merchant mariner books and authors were “famous” enough to pop up. Maybe that will be my next project!

I hope you enjoy this new blog!

Reading Across America Blog


Dignity Defined by a 9 year old…

June 4, 2012

So I’ve got T1 & T2 already working on their summer reading project and assessment. Activity 1 is to define a few key words and ideas. Dignity is the last word.

T2’s response: Dignity means if you are a man you do not wear a pink shirt.

(The Chief agrees wholeheartedly with the exception of Breast Cancer Awareness shirts.)


May 31st

May 31, 2012

Where has the time gone?

The Chief is home. We’re trying to make the most of the time but we’re already thinking about his shipping out date and a conference scheduled during what should be his weekends, holidays, and vacation time. Next month we are arranging to have T2 at a friend’s while T1 is at a middle school conference. What will we do with the time? Hopefully not some home improvement project but a day trip or two.

T1 is finishing her first year of middle school. She had a rough quarter and has learned some tough lessons. Group projects: everyone is responsible for the grade of the group and if you have one slacker you have to do their work too–but make sure the teacher knows! Turning in work on time saves a lot of heartache. Natural talent will not carry you through if you choose not to practice. Standardized tests are frustrating to everyone.

But she’s growing into a beautiful young woman with all the milestones and tribulations of turning 12. She has navigated 6th grade with a mix of immaturity, maturity, and grace. She’s tried new things–orchestra and acting. She’s survived 8th grade math. She chose to switch back to her very first soccer team now that it is a mixed-age league and she had her first-ever winning season, learning to improve now that she was no longer one of the stronger links. And she’s even read a book behind my back that I asked her to wait to read. (I really can’t fault her on this because I did the same in 6th grade and so did my mother.)

And I wasn’t there, hovering in the background. A mixed blessing of the PsA?

T2 … will start 5th grade in August. Our last year in elementary school. T1 always seems to be about the “firsts” but T2 is all about the “lasts.” I’m glad we did not hold her back so that she can have her moments without competing with T1’s moments finishing middle school. T2’s 5th grade year will be “lasts” for me and the relationships I made with the teachers I entrusted my girls to, for my volunteer obligations. Oh sure I’ll be there substituting but somehow I don’t think it will be the same. I am looking forward to sharing these moments with T2 and will do all I can to make them special for her.

We have a busy summer ahead of us. June is full of scouts and both T1 and the Chief have conferences to attend. The Chief will depart in early July and we have church camp. August will be here before we know it and school starts early!

I want to enjoy every day. I want to make the most of every day. That is going to have to start with relying more on God every day, changing my relationship with Him. I’m working on it, trying to listen for him in the still quiet voice. I’m trying not to resist him as I do daily.

If you want a blog post to uplift you today as it did me, check out Reasons to Hope.


Writing Workshop: The Bride Lives!

October 12, 2011

I’m answering early so I do not miss posting tomorrow. Plus, I’m really excited about this. I’m not a poet but I gave an acrostic a shot and I did a little rhyming. This ties into my Frankenstein collection. I’m holding my very first one. As an English major we had to take a Senior Literary Criticism class in order to graduate. I’m not sure if the teacher always picked Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley or not, but that was the book that year. We had to read the original and the edited version, watch Young Frankenstein and at least one other version (choices included the original and the new one (at the time) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) and The Bride starring Sting). Then we had to apply different theories and forms of literary criticism to the work and write a thesis paper. I have collected Frankenstein monsters and the bride ever since. I proudly display them at my front door every Halloween. Please do not be too critical of my poetic attempts!

The Bride Lives! (Halloween 1995)

2.)   Write a poem about a memorable Halloween costume.

The groom had a stand-in, a little nuts

Hair sprayed black and white, standing straight up

Eye liner and painted lips, skin made paler

Black nails and combat boots, no blushing for this bride

Reason to celebrate? Halloween, of course!

Iridescent bat pin on my collar, who is her tailor?

Dreams took MW Shelley on a wild ride

Everything pays homage, Senior Lit Crit is the source. 

This Week’s Prompts

1.) A list of ten things you should never ask your spouse.
2.) Write a poem about a memorable Halloween costume.
3.) Speech!! Tell about a time you had to speak or present in front of a group of people.
4.) What was the last thing your child cried about? Write a blog post about the problem in the voice of your child.
5.) A recipe that went all kinds of wrong.

Bonus Vlog Option!
Sometimes it’s hard to put yourself out there on video, but it’s a fun and different option for a post and a great way for your readers to get to know you better. The problem is many of us don’t know what to vlog about…this bonus prompt option will give you the inspiration you need to create a short video for your blog. Now to drum up the courage…

6.) Do your kids wear helmets? Why or why not? (My example here).

If you want to know more about Mama Kat and her Writing Workshop, click on that trophy over there…

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