Saturday, July 13, 2019

Creating "Go Packs" for Migrant Children


One of the most wonderful things that I've noticed about our Migrant Children's Book Drive is how many people are saying thank you. Most of the packages arriving from caring people who have ordered books from our recommended titles Amazon List include a section where the sender can write a note on their gift receipt.

I read each note when I open the packages. Over and over again, I see the words "Thank you so much for letting us help." And it has really made it clear how people don't just want to give money to a worthy cause (though I have NO DOUBT that money is needed to help these families with legal fees, medical fees, etc.), but they want to give someTHING that is going to directly impact these families, specifically the children.



We have all felt helpless about the crisis along the border and the horrid camps where children are being kept in the worst conditions imaginable. It seems like there's so little we can do other than protest, call our politicians, or put pressure on the companies funding these private prisons.

So, I think that is why the book drive has been so successful.

And yet even so, people are still messaging me or leaving comments asking, "How can I do more?"

That's why I wanted to share another possibility. I've been working with Save the Children on the book drive. And yesterday, they sent me this flyer describing another way people can help.

Remember, these children and their families have already been in a detention center. They've been released and are now free and legal to move about the country to travel to their sponsor family, with whom they will stay until their court hearing in which their appeal for asylum will be heard.

Go Packs are small bags with activities, nourishment, and comfort that the children can take with them as they leave the shelter and Save the Children and travel to their sponsor families.

Maybe you can organize a kitting event with your students, club, team, youth group, or organization? I would recommend approaching a local business or nonprofit to underwrite some of the content, such as the small backpack which will hold all the supplies. For example, I found these on Oriental Trading and these on Amazon. Your local dollar store should have all the other items (except, maybe the Spanish-language book?) listed on the flyer above.

Just remember that a minimum of 25 bags will be accepted by Save the Children. If your organization can help, contact me through my blog or Facebook page and I'll put you in touch with Save the Children.

Thank you for your compassionate, helpful hearts.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How Read Conmigo Makes Their Children's Books

The other day, I stumbled upon this awesome video that shows you the creation process behind the Read Conmigo books! I was intrigued and figured that you and your children might enjoy learning how this company prints their books. (I'm reminded of when I was a young girl watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and they used to have those videos of how things were made. I loved those videos!)

I've been a fan of Read Conmigo for a long time. In fact, a few years ago, they published my book, "Linda and Reuben Learn at Home." My children's book introduces the reader to homeschooling. I patterned the children in it after my own and one of the parts reflected our own home classroom at the time.

Read Conmigo is a free service. Just sign up on their website. ALL of their books are available online in a digital format. And new books come out three times a year.

Once you do, check out this video of how they make their books!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Free Migrant Children's Book Drive Flyers for Educators, Parents



Shortly after launching the Migrant Children's Book Drive, I had an independent Spanish teacher with lots of classes throughout her area message me and ask me for some flyers to pass out to all her classes. Of course, I said yes.

Then I noticed another comment from a reader who is a Girl Scout troop leader and she wanted to use this as her troop's community service project. Wow. So I thought, well, I'll just make a flyer for that, too.

And then I started thinking about my nieces who frequently have birthday parties in which they ask their guests to donate money or products to a particular charity of their choice (one year everyone brought dog food to donate to the local animal shelter). So I though, well, I'll just make a flyer for THAT, too!

Next thing I knew, I had a handful of flyers drawn up with different wording to fit different situations.

If YOU are an educator or team or club leader who would like to use the book drive as your community service project, I think that maybe you will find these flyers helpful.

Or maybe you'd like to have your family and friends donate books for your birthday. There are flyers for you, too. :)

And OF COURSE I would be happy to customize the text for any situation. Just contact me!

And if you decide to use the book drive for your group's community service project, please let me know so that I can acknowledge and thank you properly!!

Thank you all for your support.




Monday, July 1, 2019

Using Storyboards to Boost Your Child's Reading Comprehension


Summer is an excellent time to work at home on important literacy skills. But developing and maintaining these skills doesn't have to seem like school work. There are lots of fun activities and templates you can use with your children.

Learning to read involves many different skills: letter recognition, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. It's not just about making words out of letters or sentences out of words.

Reading comprehension plays a major role in your child's literacy. Being able to read words is of no use if you don't understand what they mean or how they relate to each other in a sentence. Reading comprehension is a skill that is developed over time and has to be taught to children in addition to basic decoding skills.

This is why I love activities that help children to think about what they've read and the meaning of the story. One of my favorite tools is the storyboard. It is quite simply a visual template that your child can fill with words or drawings related to the book he or she has read.

They are extremely versatile. In the example above, we used the book ¡OlĂ©! Flamenco by George Ancona. In the center circle is the title of the book, and the surrounding spaces are filled with the elements most closely associated with the traditional Spanish dance.

Typically the center space is reserved for the main subject of your storyboard. Your child can write in the title of a book, the main character, or something else. Consider these potential topics:

- Character traits of the hero
- Character traits of the villain!
- Different settings found in the story
- Sequential events (i.e., in the Three Little Pigs, FIRST the pigs left to build their own houses. SECOND the first little pig built a house of straw, THIRD the middle pig built a house of sticks, etc.)
- Comparing and contrasting; take two characters and on the left side of the page, show what they have in common, but on the right side of the page, show what is different about them.

The absolute best part of using storyboards is that you can use them in any language! Or more than one; we used both Spanish and English in the storyboard above. You can also make them as simple (with fewer lines for younger children) or as complex (more lines for older kids) as you want.



The neatest part is that the storyboards can be used for multiple subjects including science, history, geography, and others.


Storyboards are easy to create yourself, but I made a set of them which I sell in my online TpT store.

Happy reading!

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