Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Good Reading List for Boys---(Finally!)

Recently, there has been a significant amount of media coverage about how to encourage boys to read more. Some of the concern seems to be centered around the prevalence of video game playing and TV watching. Another issue is the perception that there is a lack of interesting and appealing literature available for boys.

First of all, as a parent of four sons, I have personally witnessed this "slide" in time spent reading as video game play has increased. At times, my husband and I found it necessary to limit the game play in favor of specific time periods of more "sustained" reading for the boys, especially during the summer. It did help that they participated in the local library's summer reading clubs and various community merchants' reading programs throughout the years. It was challenging at times, but I believe we reached a good compromise and balance that benefited our sons.

Secondly, as we approach the mid-summer, I thought this might be a good time to mention a couple of resources that could provide parents with information about good books for boys and how to encourage them to enjoy more reading. Here are several websites that could provide some assistance: Transforming boys into life-long readers and lovers of books is this website's mission. Offers a list of books recommended by the webmaster, children's author Jon Sczieska, and others suggested by visitors to the website. Author and blog writer Max Elliot Anderson was once a struggling/reluctant reader himself but is now a writer of adventures & mysteries for readers 8 - 13. His blog, Books for Boys, is #1 on Google today. Based on author Jon Scieszka’s own experience as well as input from “Guys Read voters,” the program’s website recommends books that boys say they like. Also discusses important topics such as the the very real literacy gap between boys and girls. Book list for high school boys (Gr. 9-12) Alan Sitomer's website. He shares a passion for literacy as it relates to adolescents/boys. Deliciously "wicked" books for boys learning to read---Its mission is get young boys reading! Created and written by Angela Bueti of WOW books 4 boys

In addition, I would like to provide this Parent's Choice book list for the boys in your life. Hopefully, you will find it helpful in encouraging your young men to read more good books this summer---and beyond!

Boys' Book List

Here is the list compiled by Parents' Choice Magazine:


Tony Abbott
Realism & Survival
Abbott’s series feature fun and adventure.

Danger Guys and the Golden Lizard (Danger Guys Stories)
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 0064420116, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (Secrets of Droon Series)
Little Apple, ISBN: 0590108395, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Avi writes good solid stories: Poppy is a deer mouse and her tales revolve around other animals in the meadow, while McKinley in The Good Dog is a sled dog torn between his human family and the wild world of Lupin, who is out to replenish his wolf pack.

The Good Dog
Atheneum, ISBN: 0689838247, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Poppy (Series)
Camelot, ISBN: 0380727692, Ages 9 & Up

Michael Chabon
Summerland is a treat where a “less than mediocre Little League player “ is recruited by a mystical 100 year old scout and accepts a mission to overthrow the evil, shape-changing overlord, Coyote. Shades of Narnia and the Hobbit say some. A challenge for older readers.

Hyperion Press, ISBN: 0786816155, Ages 9 & Up

Eoin Colfer
Science Fiction
Colfer’s Artemis books are extremely popular and creative! “When a twelve-year old genius tries to demand a ransom, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.”

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl Series)
Hyperion Press, ISBN: 0786817070, Ages 10 & up

Mark Crilley
Science Fiction
Crilley’s Earthling hero, fourth-grader Akiko, joins an intergalactic cast of characters in a mission to rescue Prince Froptoppit of the Planet Smoo.

Akiko on the Planet Smoo (Akiki Series)
Delacorte Press, ISBN: 0385327242, Ages 10 & up

Franklin Dixon
Oldies, but still goodies.

Hardy Boys Starter Set
Platt & Munk, ISBN: 0448416719, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Edward Eager
Time Travel
Knight’s castle by Eager follows four cousins who find themselves back in the times of Robin Hood and Ivanhoe!

Knight’s Castle
Harcourt, ISBN: 015202073X, Ages 7 - 9 yrs.

Cornelia Funke
Fantasy and Survival
The Thief Lord by Funke is the newest book on this list: an exciting story about 2 brothers who run away to Venice, Italy, their aunt who hires a detective to track them down, and the mysterious thief lord who takes them under his wing.

The Thief Lord
Scholastic, ISBN: 0439404371, Ages 10 & up

Dan Greenburg

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot (Zack Files Series)
Grosset & Dunlap, ISBN: 0448420414, Ages 7 - 9 yrs.

Jackie French Koller

Dragonling (Dragonling Series)
Aladdin Library, ISBN: 074341019X, Ages 7 - 9 yrs.

Gary Paulsen
Realism and Survival
In Hatchet, a boy is the lone survivor of a plane crash and is stranded in the wilderness with only a hatchet. This gripping tale is by Paulsen, who has written many wonderful stories including Mr. Tucket and Dogsong.

Mr. Tucket
Yearling Books, ISBN: 0440411335, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Simon Pulse, ISBN: 0689827008, Ages 10 & up

Simon Pulse, ISBN: 0689826990, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Emily Rodda
High Fantasy

The Forests of Silence
Apple, ISBN: 0439253233, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Deltora Book of Monsters (Deltora Quest)
Scholastic, ISBN: 0439390842, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Louis Sachar
Holes was a recent movie written by the talented Sachar; think “curse, desert correctional camp treasure and friends”. This is very different from the humorous tales that occur on the thirteenth floor of Wayside School, which was accidentally built sideways with a classroom on each floor.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School (A Series)
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 0380731487, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Yearling Books, ISBN: 0440414806, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Jon Scieszka
Time Travel

See you later, Gladiator (Time Warp Trio Series)
Puffin, ISBN: 0142300691, Ages 9-12 yrs

Sam Samurai (Time Warp Trio Series)
Viking Childrens Books,ISBN: 0670899151, Ages 8 & Up

A variety for all tastes. Try to pinpoint some of your child’s interests; then browse the non-fiction shelves. It can be awesome! A strong alternate way to present non-fiction might be to use a narrative form, or group by topics i.e., true tales, poetry, biographies, and special interests.

Nathaniel Philbrick

The Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex
Putnam Pub Group Juv, ISBN: 039923795X, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Brian Colburn

Triumph on Everest: A Photobiography of Sir Edmund Hillary (Biography)
National Geographic, ISBN: 0792279328, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Mark Stewart

One Wild Ride: The Life of Skateboard Superstar Tony Hawk (Biography)
21st Century Books, ISBN: 0761326669, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Gary Paulsen

Puppies, Dogs and Blue Northers: Reflections on the Author’s Life with His Sled Dogs (Biography)
Yearling Books, ISBN: 0440418755, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Tomi De Paola
The author, creator of Strega Nona, grandmother witch, looks back on his childhood.

Twenty-Six Fairmont Avenue
Puffin, ISBN: 0698118642, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Here We All Are
Puffin, ISBN: 0698119096, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

What a Year (Biography)
Puffin, ISBN: 014250158, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Walter Wick

I Spy Gold Challenger: A Book of Picture Riddles
Cartwheel Books, ISBN: 0590042963, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Seymour Simon

Harpercollins Juvenile Books, ISBN: 0064460959,
Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Big Cats
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 006446119X, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Danger! Volcanoes
SeaStar Books, ISBN: 1587171813, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Muscles: Our Muscular Skeleton
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 0688177204, Ages 7 & Up

Animals Nobody Loves
SeaStar Books, ISBN: 1587171554, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Richard Platt

Eyewitness: Pirate
DK Publishing, ISBN: 0789466082, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Eyewitness: Spy
DK Publishing, ISBN: 0789466163, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Jack Prelutsky

Monday’s Troll
Greenwillow, ISBN: 0688096441, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

A Pizza the Size of the Sun
Greenwillow, ISBN: 0688132359, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Douglas Florian

Puffin, ISBN: 0141309903, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Beast Feast
Voyager Books, ISBN: 0152017372, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Eyewitness Books
Eyewitness Books stand out in the non-fiction collection. They are bountiful and beautiful, including wonderful photographs along with information. Browsing these gems is a treat. Examples: Sharks, Whales and Dolphins, Islam or Money. The Eyewitness Juniors, which are mostly in paperback, are perfect for lower elementary grades i.e, Amazing bikes, Amazing crocodiles and lizards.

For more great books for boys, look for Kathleen Odean’s Great Books for Boys: More than 600 books for Boys 2-14.

SPECIAL NOTE: Don't worry---next week, there will be equal coverage for girls' books and encouraging their reading! Please check back with this blog!

For more information: For ADHD focusing tools that work! For ADHD info and support

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Helping Your Child or Teen with AD/HD

In 2005, mental health experts determined that approximately 3.5 million school-aged children in the U.S. had been diagnosed with some form of attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD, now often represented by “AD/HD”). It is estimated that this number has grown exponentially each year since that determination was made.

All too often, the first thing considered when trying to manage attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders (AD/HD) is the “M” word---medication. Yes, sometimes medications are indicated for a particular child or adult. However, in many cases, it is often a good idea to first try non-invasive and/or more natural approaches to help manage the symptoms of AD/HD.

There are quite a few websites available to help with information and resources for various approaches. I have assembled here a few of these resources (almost all FREE) that might offer some assistance in dealing with everyday tasks, school, home life, relationships and other things. I hope you find them helpful for your child, teen, or you. Summer Activities for ADHD Kids, Preteens Combine FUN and structure to give AD/HD children the best summer ever! Important information about WHY your child may be struggling with reading Let these apps, available for the iPod Touch, the iPhone, and the iPad, make short work of your, or your child's, to-do list. FREE strategies and tips to help with attention issues at school or when doing homework at home. Also, check out the “background color changer” feature on this website. Eliminating the white background on a page of text can help a struggling reader with AD/HD. FREE printable resources for ADHD/ADD; Downloadable (Adobe PDF) handouts about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) symptoms, medication, treatment, school, help, info, parenting, teen driving, and organization resources and advice for adults and parents of children AD/HD, etc. National organization with information and support for children and adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) (Sponsored by Shire US, Inc.) ADHD Support, Help for AD/HD ADD Consults, This is the place to find ADHD Professionals, Resources, Consulting Services, and Products National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD Help for Families of Children with AD/HD -Samuel R. Caron, Ph.D.

For more information:

For more information: For ADHD focusing tools that work! For ADHD info and support

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gifted? Special Needs? Both? --- How to Help Your Child

Do you have one child who struggles to learn while your other child learns almost any concept as if it were “a piece of cake”? Perhaps you have a student who is very bright but at the same time is challenged with some aspect(s) of learning. What can a parent or teacher do?

Although my students know me as “Mrs. Brennan”, many adults often call me “The Link Lady”. Yes, many parents and teachers email or phone me requesting resources to help their children and students learn with more success. Many of these children/students have special needs and are challenged with physical and/or developmental differences. Others are frustrated and struggle for a different reason--- because learning is not challenging enough for them!

I keep current lists of FREE resource links to share with parents and teachers. Here are just a few of these helpful resources for children at either--- or BOTH--- ends of the educational spectrum. If you need more resources, just email me, and I will be happy to provide more of them for you.

Gifted Resources Various activities for gifted and enrichment purposes Various math problems and instruction (free website)---If this link is not immediately accessible, please copy and paste it into your browser.) Provides interesting links for parents and teachers of gifted

Special Needs Resources Free reading lessons & educational activities for K-5 Learn to Read: Free Phonics games, worksheets and flashcards A collection of resources on various aspects of learning disabilities with comments from community members.

Combined Gifted and Special Needs Resources (For teachers but contains links helpful to parents regarding “gifted with learning disabilities” information) Resources for Gifted Children with Special Needs (ADD/ADHD, Learning Disabilities (LD), Asperger’s Syndrome, etc.)

For more information:

For more information: For ADHD focusing tools that work! For ADHD info and support

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Marvelous Math Morsels for Young Mathematicians

Do you have a child or teen who prefers to work with numbers rather than read stories? Is your child self-motivated to learn math above her grade level? Would you like a ready list of FREE yet excellent math links at the ready for the next rainy day?

Well, here is just the list for you. You will find almost any grade/math level needed, too. Several will allow your child to work independently from his current grade level in math to any level he chooses (even through college calculus!)

If you need help encouraging your child to brush up on her math skills over the summer, you might suggest links #6 or #8 below here. You will see her
become excited about math in no time because these links will provide some great online math games to enjoy!

So, try a few of these links and please let us know which one(s) work best with your child(ren) and why. We would love to hear from you!

1. 2,000+ FREE Math Videos – Every Topic in Algebra through Calculus! Excellent site.

2. A “bountiful” offering of math resources is listed here by grade level.

3. Please visit this site for explanations and examples covering decimals, percents, integers, probability, and much more. (Very good for 6th-8th grade math)

4. Free sample math worksheet downloads (for Grades 1-9)

5. Here there are many math help resources available, including math lessons, math games, and a math help message board.

6. Link to many MATH GAMES for ALL grade levels---Great site for practice AND fun!

7. This is another great website for those times when a student needs help with solving algebra problems.

8. Various math games for K through Middle School. Includes interactive as well as printable math games.

9. Use this free, web-based countdown timer to time math worksheets, quizzes, tests, projects, games, or other classroom activities. 100% JavaScript... Nothing to download, no software installation. This timer is perfect for math practice, writing assignments or any other school work activity that has a time limit. Enjoy!

10. Try these math PowerPoint presentations all ready to go for middle school students!

11. Choose the appropriate level from the left sidebar. Then begin to answer the math problems presented at that level. You will receive immediate feedback about your answers. Investigate the "1-2-3-4 Step" feature where you can find explanations, examples, etc. for the math problems presented. How many problems will you answer correctly?

12. Math tutorial videos and practice on any level---FREE! (YouTube videos)---Also, many other tutorials for various content areas (over 2,100 lessons online)

13. An article by Anupma Sethi that includes a GREAT list of interesting, educational math activities and resources for kids to do themselves!

For more information: For ADHD focusing tools that work! For ADHD info and support

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