Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Celebrate Reading at the Orange County Children's Book Festival September 28th

Barry Ackerman began the Orange County Children's Book Festival with a vision of encouraging literacy and a love of reading in children. During its first year in 2004, 5,000 people attended the festival. Fast forward to 2013 and over 39,000 people are in attendance with even more expected this fall.

As the only children's book festival in all of California, the festival has worked tirelessly to promote literacy in children as well as support children's book authors and book sellers. Their mission is to have a first-class family event that hosts a variety of children's book authors, publishers, and more. This year the event will take place on September 28th and more than 150 authors and illustrators are expected as well as other exhibitors such as Disney Radio and PBS.

There is something for kids of all ages to love at the Orange County Book Festival. A wide variety of the newest selections of books are available for purchase and kids can get their favorites signed by the author. Little kids and their parents can even jump on the trackless train and get driven all around the festival.

Although the purpose of the festival is to celebrate books and reading, there are a whole host of other activities. Kids can get their face painted, get a crazy hairdo, visit the petting area, draw, listen to an author read their book on stage, or watch the various musicians and dancers. This festival has something for everyone to love, so even your most reluctant readers can find something they'll enjoy.

The people behind the OC Book Festival say it is their dream that "every child will be asking over and over 'is it time for the book festival yet?'" 

We truly believe this year is going to be the best one yet and encourage everyone to bring their families to show them the gift of reading and why Barry Ackerman calls it the "secret to a happy and successful life."

The OC Book Festival takes place Sunday September 28th, 2014 from 9:30 AM- 4:30 PM

For more information visit the Orange County Book Festival website

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bill Gates Does the Ice Bucket Challenge With Style We Could Only Expect from Bill Gates

What began as a simple goal to raise awareness towards amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known by its abbreviation A.L.S or Lou Gehrig's Disease, has turned into more than the creators of the challenge could have probably ever imagined. The "Ice Bucket Challenge" was originally thought up in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease and donations towards its research. but thanks to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it quickly became a world-wide sensation, with everyone from your coworker to A-List celebrities participating. Last year, less than a quarter of this year's donations were raised, showing the true effectiveness of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Within the last few months, over one hundred million dollars has been collected by generous participants.

As the number of participants has increased, the number of people trying to mix it up has increased as well. Countless celebrities have posted videos of them participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge, many of them trying to get creative with it in the process. For example, Matt Damon, who is known for his efforts in easing sanitation problems, used toilet water for his challenge.

So when Bill Gates accepted the challenge, it was no surprise that he would do it with such style. One would expect no less from Gates as he demonstrates his skills by designing and building his own contraption to dump the ice water on himself. The whole challenge was very- well, Bill Gates of him. And I must say, it was pretty awesome. 

Click below to watch Bill Gates' Ice Bucket Challenge:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Watch this Amazing Video of a Baby Hearing his Mother's Voice for the First Time After Getting Hearing Aids

"The miracle of life meets the miracle of hearing"
-Melissa Locker

The emotional moment where a baby hears his mother and father's voices for the very first time was captured on camera and has now gone viral.

Watch as 7-week-old Lachlan experiences sound for the first time after being born severally deaf in both ears. Initially, he fusses and does not like the sensation of having a device shoved into his ear canal but his crying immediately stops when he hears the soothing sounds of his parents. Although he cannot describe the sensation with words, the huge smile that spreads across his face speaks for itself. 

Click below to watch the touching video:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Adam Levine Shows Off His Impression Skills on "The Tonight Show"

The host of "The Tonight Show", Jimmy Fallon is known for his creative games and vocal impressions. He has continued to amuse audiences with his seemingly endless spot-on impersonations of singers ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Young. But after having Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine on the show and challenging him to the "Wheel of Musical Impressions" it seems Fallon may of finally met his match.

Watch the clip of hilarious vocal impressions by Jimmy Fallon and guest star Adam Levine, and try not to let your jaw hit the floor when Adam shows off his singing talents (and looks...)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Adorable Boy Sends Hilarious Message to Teachers in This Video

I cannot think of a cuter or funnier way to send a positive message about school and learning to teachers and students then through this video. 

The impossibly adorable boy lights up the screen with his funny but wise words about going back to school and how to make this year count. If everyone watched this incredibly insightful pep talk before going to school, learning would have a whole new meaning. 

Click below to watch the video: 

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Five Back to School Essentials for a Stress-Free Transition

After a busy but carefree summer the transition back to school can stir up some anxiety in your child. It is well-known by many parents that after being settled in a routine for a long period of time, changing to a new routine can be chaos. With some help from mother and author Chynna Laird, I have put together a list of strategies to help the whole family ease into the back to school routine as stress-free as possible. 

1. Talk about it
A few weeks in advance, start to have a few discussions about the summer coming to a close and starting a new year at school. Start with a short, vague discussion to get it on their radar but as it gets closer to their first day of school have a more detailed discussion. Minimize anxiety by minimizing any surprises.

2. Make a calendar
Your child can keep track of how many days left till school if it is clearly marked on a calendar. Put it in an area that everyone sees everyday, like the kitchen. This will help him or her feel some control over getting prepared and be able to visualize a timeline. Make it fun by having a countdown so your child can feel excited about starting a new year of school!

3. Slowly ease back into the school-year routine
Going from the summer routine one night into the full blow school year routine the next is too confusing and stressful for kids, inviting high levels of anxiety and meltdowns. A few weeks in advance, start to slowly take away the summer freedoms and apply some school year routine restrictions. For example, start to reduce their bedtime a little each week in the leading weeks up to their first day and if you have late sleepers, start to wake them up a little earlier so the first day isn’t a shock to their system. 

4. Make back to school shopping a family affair
Kids are always excited about getting new stuff, even if its a backpack and folders. Making back to school shopping a family outing will give the kids something to look forward to and can potentially be a fun family activity- even for you, (okay I said potentially)! So have everyone grab their lists and head to the nearest Staples at least a week before the first day of school, if not more. 

5. Do NOT save anything for the last minute
Referencing the last sentence in #4: head to the nearest Staples at least a week before the first day of school. This applies to all back to school anything. Make sure to plan well and stay organized because back to school time is hectic. Double check they have all their clothes, supplies, bus schedules, teachers, and whatever else they may need with plenty of time for last minute changes. 

Back to school time can be stressful for both you and the kids, but you can minimize anxiety and make it a more enjoyable experience for all parties involved by planning, organizing, talking, and managing your time well. If you do all those things, back to school can be a fun and exciting experience for the kids. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

How to Encourage Your Reluctant Reader

A lot of children love to read or be read to, but definitely not all. And it has been shown that shoving a book in your child’s hands or making them go to bed unless they read aren’t effective strategies to ingrain a love of books into your child’s head. So if you have a reluctant reader on your hands how can you encourage them to read or ignite that passion within them? Is it even possible to make someone like reading if they don’t already? 

I love reading so much that it’s my personal belief if someone doesn’t like reading it means they just haven’t found the right book for them yet- I could be wrong, but that’s just me. But studies have shown that reading is a critical part of children’s development and it is also something they are going to have to do all throughout their entire school career, so it is important for even our reluctant readers to read. So how can you encourage them without forcing them? 

Elementary school teacher and author Steve Reifman has tried to answer that question by creating a list specially designed for parents with reluctant readers on how to encourage them to read and try and ignite a love of books within them. His seven strategies for encouraging kids to read are listed below:

1. Begin with children’s passions. 
They will be more excited about reading if it involves their interests. So allow your child to pick out books and magazines on their own of subjects they are interested in. Kids are more motivated to do things when they feel they have a choice in the matter, so allowing them to pick their own books out makes them feel less reluctant and more excited to read.

2. Make reading a social experience. 
Children who don’t enjoy reading by themselves will be more likely to enjoy reading with others. Whether it is with you, their siblings, or their friends, your child will most likely be more enthusiastic about reading if other people are involved. 

3. Read aloud to your children
Most parents read to their children when they are quite young but stop once they know how to read by themselves. Even if your child is able to read on their own, it is important to continue to read with them throughout their elementary years. It makes reading more enjoyable, improves listening, and strengthens their imagination and attention span. Plus it serves as a bonding experience between you and your child. 

4. Take advantage of technology.
If your child doesn’t find books very interesting, they might if instead of on paper it was on a tablet. To children technology seems cooler, so capitalize on that by letting them borrow your kindle or iPad to read.

5. Be their role model. 
Your reluctant reader will definitely notice if you are always telling them to read but you yourself never do. By demonstrating a love of reading and having plenty of books your child will begin to value reading more themselves. 

6. Make sure they are reading books geared towards their age and reading level. Presenting a child with a book that is too easy will bore them but giving them a book that surpasses their reading level will frustrate and steer them even further away from other books. When encouraging your child to read, make sure you select books that will challenge them but aren’t way too difficult. 

7. Camouflage reading. 
Parents can start to increase the amount of time their child reads by disguising it beneath seemingly unrelated activities, like reading a menu or the directions to a board game. Sitting down and having them read a book isn’t the only way to begin to get them interested in reading. Get creative!