Keep Them Learning All Summer Long (1 of 3)

By on July 16th, 2014

libraryEnrichment Activities for Families

In this three-part FLVS Virtual Voice blog series, I will share enriching activities to keep students learning all summer long.

As our children enjoy the long days of summer vacation, parents all over the country have been hyperventilating as they fill 10 weeks of play dates, summer camps, pool parties, and weekend family adventures.  It’s enough to make even the most seasoned parent’s eyes glaze over.  As an educator I encourage parents to add one more activity to their summer calendar: enrichment.

Now wait!

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Listened to Any Good Books Lately?

By on June 24th, 2014

audiobooks coverDid you know that June is National Audio Book Month? Really!

Do you know what a cassette tape is? Well, ever since the cassette tape was the latest high-tech audio medium, I have been a huge fan of the audiobook. Recorded books helped me pass the hours on long car trips, enjoy beach days, and cram for final exams on complex literary tomes. Today, I recommend audiobooks quite often to parents who have reluctant or challenged readers. I speak highly about the MP3 books available through the local libraries when it comes to getting children excited about reading and supporting their academic growth. Continue reading

Celebrating Fathers Who Read Aloud

By on June 15th, 2014

father reading coverMy husband is truly one of the best fathers I know.

He took note from his father who lived life to the fullest and was sure to teach him the importance of embracing fatherhood.

One of my favorite memories of my husband, Fred, being a great father was simply reading bedtime stories to our girls. I would have read to them myself, but I was in charge of bath time and that takes substantial recovery time as some of you may know.

Each and every night of the week he made books magical when they were small by creating voices and suspense when reading aloud. I can remember the girls piled on our bed with my husband having a girl cuddled on each side. Continue reading

Summer Reading: Sunshine State Young Reader Awards

By on May 16th, 2014

SSYRA blog coverI don’t know about you, but I look forward to May each and every year!  Why, you ask?

Picture this: children standing outside the public library’s automatic sliding doors during the month of May. Sweat beading down their young faces as they grip in their hands the list of all lists, the Sunshine State Young Reader Awards (SSYRA) book list for 2014! Will my book be on the shelf?

The Sunshine State books are coveted and hoarded by children all over the state of Florida each year. These titles literally fly off the shelves of stores and public libraries. Libraries have wait lists 50 students long waiting for the popular titles to come available. stocks up on these books and Barnes & Noble piles these books 10 deep on tables with the title “Sunshine State Award Books” each summer knowing families are looking specifically for these hot titles! Continue reading

Are You My Mother?

By on May 10th, 2014

mothers day coverOn a sunny Friday morning in May 2008, my daughter and I walked into her preschool classroom. The first thing the children had to do was answer a “Question of the day.” It was Mother’s Day week and the question on the large sheet of white butcher paper was, “Do you look like your mother?”

When a child is born it naturally “imprints” or bonds with the mother. However, what happens when the child is adopted or if the parent is absent?

Relationships that develop between a parent and child are written about extensively in scientific journals, monthly magazines, and even in blogs! I like to keep things simple, however, so I direct families to beautifully-written children’s picture books that convey, through a well-crafted story, the importance of parent/child bonds regardless of how that family came to be. Continue reading

Cows, Hens, and Ducks…OH MY!

By on April 7th, 2014

children's booksThe Importance of Children’s Picture Books in KindergartenGrade 12

“Once upon a time…”

I always get chills when I read these first few words contained in many children’s books. The words bring me back to a simpler time when reading was filled with colorful illustrations, playful words, and the promise of happily ever after. Continue reading

How Are You Celebrating Read Across America Day?

By on March 3rd, 2014

suess_cover“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” – Dr. Seuss

Did you know that this year marks the 17th anniversary of the National Education Association’s annual Read Across America Day event? This event was created to promote excitement about literacy in schools across the country and dedicated on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, March 2nd.

As we know, research has proven that students who are motivated to read do better in school.

So, get ready to grab your red and white striped hat and read along with the Cat in the Hat for the 17th annual Read Across America Day! Continue reading

Ode to the Unabridged Dictionary in a Digital World

By on February 13th, 2014

dictionary_coverDo you remember what it was like before we had computers? No?

Well, I do. It was tough, real tough…especially if you needed to spell a word.

I remember from a young age asking my parents how to spell a word and they would tell me to prepare to write. I would grab my fancy yellow pencil and lean into my paper awaiting their wisdom. They always spelled the same exact word no matter what. Really! They would spell the same exact word for years and years. I would ask them how to spell government, and they would be all smiles as they carefully spelled out the word d-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-y. It was the same every time and became a silly game growing up. I knew very well they would never spell a word for my older brother or me if we could grab our unabridged Webster’s dictionary and learn how to spell the word on our own. To this day, when my daughters ask me how to spell a word I will always spell “dictionary.” Continue reading

Can Five-Year-Olds Learn Virtually?

By on August 8th, 2013

Did you know that there are seven times more words in today’s English language than in Shakespeare’s day? Students in the 21st century will have jobs that have not been created yet, for problems that haven’t been realized. Our world is changing! Education is changing too! Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is now teaching Kindergarten and First Grade in a way that we could not imagine 16 years ago. Can 5-year-olds learn virtually? YES! Continue reading

Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!

By on January 14th, 2013

Celebrate Literacy Week 2013

The fifth annual statewide literacy event takes place January 14–18, 2013!  The Florida Department of Education hosts this amazing week of activities, including participation from students, educators, authors, artists, and community leaders. On Monday, January 14, First Lady Ann Scott, Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, and author Susan Snyder will participate with the students from the Villages Charter School to kick-off Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!   Schools throughout the state will begin the Million Minute Marathon to achieve the collaborative goal of reading for 30 Million Minutes! There will be activities held daily to encourage literacy, including a Voluntary Prekindergarten simultaneous reading of Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord.

In addition to the state-level activities, school districts are also hosting local literacy events. Florida Virtual School is honored to host many unique interactive virtual events in conjunction with the Florida Department of Education. Continue reading