Tips & Tricks

There are many different ways to sharpen literacy skills in children. From time to time we publish different ideas to help children grown and develop their reading skills.

Author Spotlight-Nikki Grimes

In honor of Women's History Month, we spoke with Nikki Grimes, author of Kamala Harris: Rooted in JusticeHere is what she had to say about her book:

I admire a woman who can speak truth to power, especially a Black woman, so when asked to write a children's biography of Kamala Harris, I already knew who she was,  and had helped vote her into the Senate. But I first woke to the full beauty and power of Senator Harris in September 2018, during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings.  

Author Spotlight-Jennifer Gennari

We spoke with Jennifer Gennari about her book Muffled:

When I was a child, a blizzard stopped all traffic in Boston. I will never forget the quiet. The snow was so deep it was days before cars roared on the roads again. I saved that memory in a story seed folder.

Years later, I wondered, what if silence wasn’t just nice but necessary? For some people, quiet is something they need to recharge, to be able to participate in our noisy world. I began to imagine Amelia, the main character who is sensitive to sound in Muffled.

Author Spotlight: Kate Messner

We talked to author Kate Messner about her book The Next President-The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents.

One day a few years ago, I was taking a break from my writing and looking up random years on Wikipedia. (This might sound like procrastinating or wasting time, but I swear it’s not – it helps me brainstorm ideas for books!) As I was browsing through entries for 1970, I found this note:  

November: Ronald Reagan is reelected governor of California; Jimmy Carter is elected governor of Georgia.

Grief and Loss

Grief and loss are complex emotions that can be hard to understand. Right now you could be grieving a pet, a person or a routine you used to have. Here are three books we recommend to help talk to your kids about grief and loss.

We also recommend downloading the First Book Trauma Toolkit. It is an excellent resource for working with students.


Digital Tools for Reading at Home


Digital Tools for Reading at Home

Looking for new ways to get your kids engaged with reading at home? Try these websites and apps to discover great new books, learn essential reading skills or find fun new ways to supplement their reading routine!

Free Reading Resources

We know that things are changing rapidly right now and many of you may be staying home. We have gathered together some popular, free resources for anyone to use. Send them to parents, share them with friends and please take advantage of all we have to offer.

Author Spotlight-Brooke Smith

We talked to Brooke Smith about her inspriation for The Keeper of Wild Words. Here is what she told us:


Several years ago, I learned that the Oxford Junior Dictionary had decided to remove over 100 natural words from its pages—common words, like apricot, lavender, porcupine. The editors no longer felt they had relevance for today’s children.

Author Spotlight-Teresa Robeson

We spoke with Teresa Robeson about her book Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom:


When I first came across C.S. Wu, possibly in a Physics Today magazine, I felt like I had found a kindred spirit: we shared a love of physics, a Chinese-American immigrant background, and parents who valued learning above all. Unfortunately, we also shared experiences of racial and gender discrimination and of being overlooked. 

Author Spotlight-Angela Joy

Author Angela Joy shared her thoughts on creating her phenomenal book, Black is a Rainbow Color:


When my children were small, my daughter looked at me with an air of pre-school superiority and asked, “Mama, why do you keep calling us Black when really we’re brown?”  It was an innocent question, but it confused me.  How could I put into words what I’d learned by osmosis?  It took time and reflection but the result is this book, Black Is a Rainbow Color.  

Author Spotlight-Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks

We talked to Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks about their book, Wild Things. Here is what they had to say about getting outside:


Wild Things is an outdoor activity book with a difference, packed with adventures to discover nature through imaginary play, exploration, storytelling and a sprinkling of magic. 

Myth Busters

This week we are busting myths about the BOOK IT! program and answering frequently asked questions about our new digital option, our traditional paper materials and our homeschool program.

Read all about how we are improving BOOK IT!, growing our program and keeping it Simple, Flexible, Fun and, as always Free to our participants!


Thank You!

Students can complete these two printables, one for teachers and one for parents, to say thank you for a great school year!

Financial Literacy

Financial literacy starts in preschool with counting, and then the introduction of basic financial concepts. Many books explore how to earn money and what to do with that money, and some illustrate what it’s like when there is not enough money. The recommended books below are perfect to start conversations about compassion and help students understand different financial perspectives. As kids get older, they will try to figure out how to earn their own money and these fiction selections feature some fun ideas.

The Importance of Daily Reading

You've been told over and over that reading with your kids 20 minutes a day is good for them; but why? Let's get down to the science of your nightly reading routine.

Family time

    Reading is a great way to spend quality time with your children. From nightly bedtime stories to trips to the library, your children will look forward to spending this one on one time with you every day.

Practice makes perfect

Growth Mindset

There are many things your student can't do yet, but it's important they learn that yet is only temporary. Print out this tree and its leaves. Have your students write their goals on the leaves and add them to the tree to show all of the possibilities they have.

Storytelling Podcasts

Listening to stories is an important part of literacy. It can improve vocabulary, pronunciation and fluency. Kids can also learn the structure of stories through listening so they can begin to create their own. Podcasts are a free and easy way to get your students listening to more stories. They are great for car rides, bedtime and lazy weekend mornings. Try out a few of our favorites!


Story Pirates Podcast

6 Tips to Get Back to School Stress Free

Enjoy these last few days of summer before your classroom is full of excited new faces.

Book and coffee

Read a book that is NOT related to teaching, a book just for pleasure. It’s a great way to get away and not have to leave your favorite comfy spot.

Movie Magic


In the lead up to the holidays, it can seem like every channel has a collection of TV shows, movies and classic claymation specials to watch. Did you know that many of those Christmas classics have amazing book companions? Why not take an evening and read them with the family before diving into the screen? Here is a list of well-known shows and their literary inspiration. See you at the library!


A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz