Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Year's in Japan

Omikikuchi, a bamboo filament sake-bottle top
Japan has many customs and traditions in order to prepare for the festivities that take place on New Year's Day. They originated from the belief that a house prepared through purification and placing ornaments at its main entrance would provide a welcoming environment for visitors and good luck for the New Year. Among these preparations include include susuharai, cleaning soot from timbers under the roof, and placing shimenawa, sacred straw rope traditionally hung at the entrance of Shinto shrines, at the entrance of the home.

Another place to see these beautiful ornaments besides at people's homes is the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo. Each year the museum hosts a New Works craft competition that receives submissions of decorations including pottery, ceramics, woven textiles, and bamboo crafts from all over Japan.

The New Works craft competition dates back to 1936, the year the museum was opened by Soetsu Yanagi.

A traditional New Year's decoration, that was also the winner of last year's competition, is the shimenawa. The rope that is the basis for shimenawa dates back to ancient times when it was believed to ward off evil spirits and hold divine powers. It was thought of to be a symbol of the boundary between the everyday world and the sacred world.

Another type of New Year's ornament found at the museum is the omikikuchi, a bamboo filament sake-bottle top. They were used to decorate the top of sake bottles, which were offered to the gods.

Many people come from all over the world to admire and collect these rare items and this year's exhibition promises to be just as breath-taking as previous years.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Cultures of Christmas

Commercially, Japan's take on the Christmas season is quite similar to that of the United States, from the cheerful holiday music to the beautiful decorations. However, certain traditions do differ. For example, to most families a traditional Christmas dinner usually means fried chicken with strawberry shortcake for dessert, which is eaten on December 24th.

The tradition of fried chicken originated in the 1970s when KFC launched a Christmas advertising campaign that became very successful. Fried chicken was unique enough to successfully embrace Western pop culture and was more familiar to Japanese than turkey. In most of Japan, the winter holidays do not start until December 26th, so many of the children have school on Christmas Day.

Many foreign parents in Japan have been challenged with the task of balancing Christmas traditions with their own childhood while honoring the different take that Japan has on the season. It is difficult to compete with otoshidama, New Year's money from relatives, that your children's peers receive when your relatives from other countries do not share such a tradition. It can also be difficult to explain to your child why he or she got seven or eight presents when his or her peer received only one present from santa, which is what is traditional in Japan.

The best solutions for these traditional differences is simply to learn to be flexible and embrace new traditions. Often times, the seemingly silliest things can turn into a family favorite, such as a Christmas karaoke session or watching a favorite Christmas movie as a family. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The 63rd Annual Exhibition of Shosoin Treasures attracts Global Audience Oct 20-Nov 14

The 63rd Annual Exhibition of Shosoin Treasures will be open at the Nara National Museum through November 14th for the general public at the price of 1,000 Yen. Each year the Shosion show's average visitor numbers top that of any other Japanese exhibition.  If compared to other exhibitions around the world, it would most likely beat them too. 

The show consists of breath taking treasures dating back to 756 C.E. when Empress Komoyo donated them to Todaiji Temple. This temple, located in Nara, is famous for its massive statue of Buddha. The treasures stayed within this temple for over a millennium, remaining unscathed despite the many earthquakes, gruesome wars, and aging from time itself. Emperor Shomu, the husband of the Empress Komoyo, spent much time collecting the many treasures until his death. Grief stricken by her loss, the Empress sent the treasures away, so they would not trigger the memories of their once happy times together. 

The treasures still remain alive and cherished by many, especially during the time of October 20th to November 14th when they are open so everyone can appreciate their beauty. 

Please appreciate more information about their famous love story and event here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Arts Are Ready to Explode in China

A survey of 70,000 prospective students in 201 countries, conducted by the British Council, revealed that media studies and creative arts are becoming more and more popular among overseas students

These findings were most common in China. So what is driving this new trend? Students are being influenced by the huge changes in the People's Republic with the explosion of popular culture and frequent discoveries of new pop stars and artists. 

Despite the growing trend, Chinese people find it challenging to study media in their own country due to the lack of development of this subject in higher education. Chinese students are turning to Britain and the US because universities provide such programs. 

For the UK especially this is an important trend. British fashion, music, and film are also factors which spark the interest of the young Chinese population; young wealthy Chinese students are among the most fashionable. They dress with flair and love the nightlife. 

Career opportunities also play a role in the decision to receive a British or American university education. The internet is key in the inspiration, research, and final decision of where to pursue a higher education for young people.  According to Pat Killingley, the British Council's director of higher education, the internet is the number one source of information for young people, particularly China. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Chinese invented the Kite, becomes Popular around the World

Like many Chinese inventions, using kites became popular in other countries, where kite flying took on unique traditions and uses specific to the country.

For example, the kite's popularity spread to India years where it evolved into the fighter kite, also known as patang. Kite fighting is where participants try to snag or cut down other kites. Fighter kites are usually small, flat, flattened diamond shaped kites made of paper and bamboo. Its uses range from competitions and contests to spiritual and religious ceremonies. It is also used for military and scientific purposes. In India kites are flown at the Makar Sankranti Festival
(celebrated mid january), Republic Day, Independence Day, and Raksha Bandhan. 

ONCEKids celebrates Asian cultures and publishes Fujimini Island which is family-friendly book series teaching Asian culture.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fly a Kite with your Kids this Summer

How do you spend you family time during the summer?  Outside enjoying the weather? Have you built or flown a kite with your friends and family before? My kids and I love kites and the feeling of joy we have when we are running behind them watching them dip and fly in the sky. We went out and flew some kites over the holiday and felt inspired to research and understand kite flying.

Did you know the kite influenced the creation of the airplane? Wow! Kites are just as popular today as they were when our ancestors created them. Weifang, Shandong, China is home to the largest kite museum in the world. Weifang 
also hosts an annual international kite festival on the large salt flats south of the city. Weifang is very famous for its dragon kites today. China is not the only country celebrating with kites anymore as it has become a beloved tradition in many countries!

To learn more about family friendly activities visit the ONCEKids website

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 4th Fireworks - Begins with the Chinese

One of the first things you think about when thinking of the 4th of July is fireworks. Fireworks have been a longstanding tradition used to celebrate the independence of our country, but they have their importance in other countries as well. Did you know the chinese were actually some of the first to produce and use fireworks? In the Han Dynasty (206-220 BC) it is said that bamboo would be roasted to produce a loud sound used to scare away ghosts and other evils. In the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-581 AD) these sounds were also used to pray for happiness and prosperity. At the end of the Northern Song Dynasty the first paper tube crackers, filled with gun powder, were created. 

The export of fireworks began with Paozhuang, a private trading company, in the mid 1800s. Today, there are five bases of firework production existing in China: Liuyan, Beihai, Pingxaing, Jianghu, and Donguan. There are few countries throughout the world that do not import chinese fireworks. Like their ancestors, people in China today set off fireworks to express happiness and peace. Fireworks play a significant role in festivals and holidays such as Chinese Lunar New Year and China National Day. They are also used for other occasions such as weddings and birthdays. 
So next time you think of fireworks, think of China and the traditions fireworks have deeply rooted 
within chinese culture! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

How Does the World Celebrate on July 4?

Everyone's heard of the 4th of July! The food, the fireworks, the family! Have you ever thought that maybe July is a month of celebration for other countries too? 

The Singapore Food Festival is an annual event that takes place from the end of June to the end of July. Beginning in 1994, it is organized by the Singapore Tourism Board. 

The Singapore Food Festival consists of weekly events including themed celebrations, culinary workshops, and competitions. It has been established as a key attraction within Singapore's calendar of events. 

The food is inspired by Asian culture and heritage and focuses heavily on the use of spices. An example of a spice commonly found on the Singapore Food Festival is chili. Due to its pungent flavor chili has spread rapidly throughout Asia and has become a necessary addition to certain asian cuisines. 

Take the world famous Singapore Chili Crab for example! Yum! Fresh ginger is also an essential ingredient in most forms of chinese, indian, and southeast asian dishes. It is often used to counterbalance the "fishy" flavors and smells of certain asian foods. An example of a famous dish using the popular spice is Hainanese Chicken Rice! 

Can you imagine how much white rice is consumed during this festival since most asian dishes contain a rice for all three meals?

Learn more about dishes like Singapore Chili Crab, Hainanese Chicken Rice and other delicious Asian cuisines by visiting the Singapore Tourism

Saturday, May 21, 2011

ONCEKids to attend Book Expo, Author Wacker to Sign

ONCEKids will be presenting their acclaimed Fujimini Adventure Series at BookExpo America on May 24 with author Eileen Wacker in attendance and signing books at the Moms Choice Awards booth.

BookExpo America is one of the nation's and the world's premiere book conferences.  Authors, publishing companies and book enthusiasts from around the world attend to learn more about what's currently happening in the publishing world and to hear what the experts plan for next year.

ONCEKids will be there celebrating their recent Mom's Choice Award honor and featuring their currently released books from the Fujimini Adventure Series.  The series includes: "Green Hamster and the Quest for Fun", "Red Penguin and the Missing Sushi" and "Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue".

On May 23 2011 at 11:30am, author Eileen Wacker will be at the Mom's Choice Awards exhibitor booth for a book signing with her fans.  Readers can talk about the current books and hear about the future stories of Fujimini Adventure Series.

Eileen Wacker will be available to sign their books and take pictures.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fujimini Bunny gets the Jump on Easter Bunny [CONTEST]

ONCEKids, creators of the critically-acclaimed children's books Fujimini Adventure Series, celebrates the Year of the Rabbit with a Bunny inspired family friendly contest.
Fujimini Island character The Taekwondo Bunny wants to reward her friends with books, i-books and game apps.   To enter the contest is easy, just simply "Fan" ONCEKids on Facebook.  The prizes are great fun for the whole family delivering colorful imagery, encouraging peaceful, global messages and modern education.  Winners will be announced next week, just as you're Easter egg hunting.
It is the Year of the Rabbit so come celebrate with The Taekwondo Bunny! And, it is no coincidence there is another POWER bunny coming onto the scene in just a few short days. Yes, that's right, the Easter Bunny is her friend BUT she will quietly compete to be the top bunny.
ONCEKids encourages your family to enjoy technology so our ibooks and game plays great on an iPad.  However you can still travel to Fujimini Island and have fun with the animals even without a computer, by reading the print books.
The Year of the Rabbit is a year of peace and tranquility. Last year's Tiger sure was a roller coaster and the Rabbit is out to mend fences and bring harmony. She thinks, in a peaceful year, people should pursue education and travel. So why not travel in your mind through some Asian inspired adventure tales. She wants you to tap into your inner self and spend time reading with your family. She is very picky about good taste and refinement so she made sure the mischievous "Green Hamster" earned a five star review.
So jump into the contest and decide which reading experience you want to take!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Help Save Japan, Fashionably

There has been a huge outpouring of support for Japan as it weathers the aftershocks and aftereffects of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunamiSocial media has been no slouch with countless campaigns aimed at donating money, supplies or lending support in any way possible.

Threadless, the online clothing vendor jumped into the effort by running a short, crowdsourced contest to come up with a T-shirt design that could be sold to help Japan. The winner, based on the theme “sunrise,” is available for $20. All of the net proceeds from the sale will be donated to the American Red Cross‘ Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund. The shirt is part of Threadless Causes, an initiative to help non-profits and causes through its sales

Threadless rebuild Japan:

Threadless causes:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Fools History and Help

April Fool's Day will be here shortly and there are many silly pranks to be done, some family friendly ideas are found here at Fujimini Island . But for parents and teachers hoping to teach a bit about the holiday, here's some help:

The first recorded April Fools' Day prank was pulled in 1627 by a madcap Irishman named Edmund O'Neely. The founding prankster's brother, Timothy, had been down on his luck, so O'Neely decided to cheer him up with some old-fashioned springtime shenanigans.

He coaxed Timothy to go on a carriage ride in the countryside and asked his brother if he wouldn't mind driving since Edmund's sore wrist was acting up. Timmy grabbed the reins, urged the horses to giddy up and was promptly catapulted off his seat because wily Edmund had unhitched the horses from the buggy.

Delighted, Edmund shouted out, "Cheerio, April fool!" Once Timothy recovered from his stunning fall, both men belly-laughed until their sides ached and told the tale thereafter at all family gatherings.

Helping Your Kids Take the Joke

Try to remember that most jokes are good-natured attempts at being funny. Sometimes, we take the cheapest route to funny, and usually that takes the form of taking a shot at someone. If the shot's aimed at you, try to remember that person is just trying to be funny - it's probably about him more than about you.

Jokes are about just trying to have fun. Instead of getting mad about it, you can even laugh along and join in, and even add your own joke about that person, or even continue the joke on yourself (you look like an excellent sport, and as a bonus, others think you are very confident when you do so). But only do it for fun, not as a form of revenge on the instigator.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Parents want Safe Apps for Their Kids

Around the world kids are playing either on their own or on their parents' mobile devices.  Children of all ages use smartphones, iPods and iPads to play such games as "Angry Birds" and "Zombie Farm."   But parents are worried about the content.  How do we know what's safe for our children to be reading and playing?

There are thousands of parent-screened videos and games organized in kid-friendly age-appropriate playlists.  It's a great idea to sit down with your child and help them browse and find fun games to play together or games they can play alone later with your permission.  The iTunes app store best seller Weet Woo offers the following advice as a resource for us:

For children aged 3 to 5, parents should find nursery rhymes, phonics, spelling, and fairy tales.
For older children aged 6 to 8, there are fun educational videos such as the Science Kid, touring China, or seeing Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo
And for kids ages 9 and up, shows such as Bill Nye the Science Guy, learn about Thomas Edison, or go back in time with Dinosaurs!

ONCEKids' iPad app is a fun game for younger children called  Fuji Scene   The children's game has the user select one of six backgrounds to create a customized scene. The scenes will contain characters which can be dragged and dropped into the creation. The animal characters are colored pandas, bunnies, penguins, hamsters, and other sea animals. The user can then add favorite foods and toys and props to the scene. All the items are Asian inspired. The user can than use dialogue boxes to give the characters some text. The creation can have a banner heading and be e-mail, sent to photos or sent to the ONCEKids site to be highlighted in a gallery. The user can restart at any point.

If you'd like to read more about Fuji Scene, click here.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Helping Your Child Understand the Japanese Tsunami and Earthquake

Most kids are inquisitive.  With the Japanese tsunami news coverage all over television, your kids may be asking you what a tsunami is.  So here are some helpful hints of what to say:

Eileen Wacker, CEO of ONCEKids, has been affected by the recent tsunami and earthquake in Japan.  As both a parent and a professional who has spent significant time in Asia, the events have created a very personal reaction. She reflects on the horrific situation and courageous efforts currently underway, "I am very saddened by the continued struggle of the Japanese people to overcome the obstacles created by the earthquake and its aftermath. Footage of the tsunami was difficult to watch. I saw a video clip of a couple in their early 80s. They were finishing cleaning up what was left of their home so they could go and help their neighbors and others. We will give to the Red Cross to make sure people have minimum needs met. We're rooting for you Japan!"
Flag of the Red Cross.
A tsunami (pronounced soo-nahm-ee) is a series of huge waves that happen after an undersea disturbance, such as an earthquake or volcano eruption. (Tsunami is from the Japanese word for harbor wave.) The waves travel in all directions from the area of disturbance, much like the ripples that happen after throwing a rock. The waves may travel in the open sea as fast as 450 miles per hour. As the big waves approach shallow waters along the coast they grow to a great height and smash into the shore. They can be as high as 100 feet. They can cause a lot of destruction on the shore. They are sometimes mistakenly called “tidal waves,” but tsunami have nothing to do with the tides.

For elementary school-age children (ages five to 10), parents should start with the basics by explaining that two natural disasters struck Japan.

Connect cause to effect
After understanding the disasters your child might just question them. Kids this age have a hard time connecting cause and effect. So, the next step is to explain the results of a quake and tsunami, such as what can happen to people when buildings and houses collapse, or when a massive wall of water sweeps away homes, cars and ships.

Personalize the information
Once your child grasps the big picture, parents need to personalize the information by explaining how the quake and tsunami affected people's lives. Parents can say something like, "When the earthquake and tsunami happened, homes, schools and buildings fell down and were washed away. Lots of people died -- including people's moms, dads, brothers and sisters." School-age kids will personalize this information and relate it to their own life. 

Provide reassurance
Now that your child grasps the basics, your role is to provide reassurance that he/she is safe and does not have to worry about an earthquake or tsunami occurring at home.  Explain that we have safe buildings, our country is well-prepared in case of emergencies, and talk about the availability of fresh water and food.

Also remind your child that mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, etc. love him/her and are here to keep him/her safe. If your child expresses concern about the kids in Japan, explain that there are nice adults who have gathered from all over the world to help. 

Be honest without saying too much
It's easy to get carried away and say more than a school-age child needs to know.  Parents should be open to questions without providing too much information that could become scary or overwhelming. Avoid watching news coverage or surfing the Internet with potentially graphic images while children are present. "Wait until after bedtime to turn on CNN.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day as a Family

Saint Patrick’s Day is a chance for the world to celebrate Irish culture and heritage. Whether you're Irish or not, Saint Patrick’s Day is a wonderful excuse to make some crafts, cook up an Irish recipe with your parents, or learn Irish history.

So take some time this week and plan a fun activity to involve your entire family.  Below are some of our favorite ideas.  

Patrick’s Day? The color green, of course! Green shamrocks, green punch, green sprinkles on cookies, green everything! This color game will not only reinforce your child’s recognition of things that are green, but also gives her reading and listening skills a work out.

What You Need:
  • Green construction paper
  • Heart shaped craft punch
  • Glue
  • Jumbo index or flash cards, approximately 4” x 6"
  • Black marker
What to Do:
  1. Use the heart punch to make 80 hearts from the green construction paper. You will make 20 cards, each with a shamrock that is comprised of four hearts.
  2. On 20 of the green hearts, write the name of an object that is widely known as green, such as grass, pickle, or tree.
  3. On 60 of the green hearts, write the name of an object that is not typically green, such as cloud, mailbox, or dog.
  4. Each card will have four hearts on it; one with a green object written on it and three with non-green objects on it. Glue all of the hearts onto the index cards in a shamrock shape.
  5. Challenge your child to see if she can identify the color of each object, just by seeing and hearing the word.
  6. Point to the number at the top of each card and explain that there are either one, two, or three out of the four objects that are green and that she is to guess which ones they are. Rotate the card in a circular pattern as you read each word out loud, to make it easier for your child to read them.
  7. If she can’t remember all four objects, make sure to repeat them for her before she ventures a guess.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

How To Help Victims of the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

ONCEKids and CEO Eileen Wacker have spent years in Asia learning, appreciating and loving the people, culture and rich history of the land.  We wish to extend our thoughts and prayers to friends, family and loved ones involved in today's horrific earthquake and tsunami.
What can you do to help the people of Japan whose country has been devastated by a tsunami resulting from one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded? 
President Obama this morning released a statement sending his "deepest condolences" and promising support to the stricken country. "The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial," the president said.
Many organizations and funds have mobilized to provide relief to those affected by the disaster:
The Red Cross has already launched efforts in Japan. Visit or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.
International Medical Corps is responding to the health needs of the disaster's victims.  To donate or learn about other ways you can contribute to their medical response, visit Also, text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to give $10.
The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was launched at to garner funds for relief organizations helping victims and has already raised thousands, particularly from concerned Twitter users around the world

For any who have loved ones abroad, Google has stepped up to help. Along with a tsunami alert posted on their front page, they've launched the Person Finder to help connect people that may have been displaced due to the disaster. Google has also launched a crisis response page filled with local resources and emergency information.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Mr. Rogers has helped generations of families

Many parents have a vulnerability with their children.  They want to be the best parents they can, yet they’re not always sure how.
An answer for many generations was solved when they grew up with the TV program Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. But it almost ended.
In 1969 Fred Rogers, host of the longtime children's television landmark Mister Rogers' Neighborhood appeared in Washington, D.C. before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications to express his disagreement with a proposal by President Richard Nixon to cut federal funding for public broadcasting from $20 million to $10 million.
Mr. Rogers outlined his submitted testimony, stating that "one of the first things . . . a child learns in a healthy family is trust, and I trust . . . that you will read this. It's very important to me."  The subcommittee did, and the funding was restore.

More than forty years later, Fred Rogers’ compelling words about the power of television to help children grow up, dealing sensibly and humanely with others even when they are feeling angry, still resonate in living rooms, school rooms, and neighborhoods nationwide.
Fujimini Adventure Series books, games and apps are available for supporting your child’s education.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a Family

Valentine's Day is celebrated in Asia, specifically Japan and Korea, just as it is in the United States and throughout many areas of the world as a day on which people give presents, candy, chocolate or flowers to people they like as a sign of affection, romance and love. 

However, families can celebrate together.   For a fun Valentine's Day activity, the kids could be asked to prepare a meal for their parents. Ideally this would be breakfast in bed. This can be the start of an annual event on Valentine's Day and become a fun tradition.
Another fun family game for Valentine's Day is a kind of family trivia. Parents prepare a trivia game that consists of a series of cards with a bit of family trivia on each card. One family member draws a card and tries to answer the given question correctly. If correct, the family member gets a point. The one with the most points will get a prize or some extra chocolate sauce on their dessert. Questions might be like:
  • Who suffered a broken arm at the age of 9?
  • Which of us measured the length of tooth paste at the age of 4?
  • Which one of us slipped into mom and dad's room every night until the age of 6
Last, but not least, a fun family activity for Valentine's Day is to create cards for other people. The kids can handprint cards for their grandparents or for their friends. Handmade cards are much more meaningful than the ones you will buy in a shop. And additionally kids get a lot of experience of literally putting their hearts into crafting the cards for beloved ones.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Encouraging Your Child to Develop Thinking Skills

An advanced, critical thinker is willing to challenge others ideas as well as their own. As parents, we often mistake childhood as a time to follow orders, directions or guidance but the key to thinking, intelligence and educational success for your child may be in questioning what they know, what you know and what they read. You should encourage your child to challenge knowledge and entertain the possibility of being wrong. They need to be comfortable scrutinizing their own thoughts. The search for the truth (the positive side of challenging) is one that can be developed at a young age. The best way to encourage challenges to thinking is by reading to your child and asking them to make predictions about the text. As you read more of the story have your child correct their predictions. This is a gentle way of getting your child to recognize the mistakes in their thinking. It also encourages them to correct their mistakes. Reading helps children challenge what they know. You should also encourage questions as you read to your child. This activates their critical thinking skills. Challenging doesn’t have to be adversarial. It can be understated, cerebral and rewarding for your child and for you.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How to Help Your Child Understand

How do you know when a child understands something? How can you help a chld understand something? The answer to both questions is ‘talk’. Talking to your child checks and deepens their understanding of topics. Do you often read to your child? The next time you read a book to your child ask them questions about what you read. Engage in dialogue with them. The plot of the book is gate to the beauty and complexity of their minds. Talking to your child engages their critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is about learning how to question, when to question and what questions to ask. It also entails learning how to use reason, when to use reasoning and what reasoning methods to use. Reasoning is derived from the word ‘ratio’ and essentially means to balance. When you talk to your child about a book you have read to them or that they have read independently you are gently encouraging your child to balance or weigh their thoughts and assumptions. You, as the parent, are a critical component of getting your child to think critically about a text. The critical thinking habits they develop under your tutelage regarding reading will last throughout their lives.

For more information visit and explore Fujimini Island.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Encourage your Child to Read

Reading is a rewarding activity for people of all ages. Reading is a skill that children develop in school with expert instruction. Children can also learn a great deal about reading from their peers. Children learn best when they are having fun and books that trigger their imagination and love of action and adventure work best for encouraging reading. But reading can be difficult. Here are some strategies to encourage children to use when reading:
  1. Skipping: This means skipping over difficult words. Skipping words allows readers to continue reading. You might want to encourage your reader to make note of the difficult words.
  2. Stretching: This means encouraging your reader to sound out the word or stretch the pronunciation of each consonant and vowel.
  3. Summarizing: It is good practice to encourage your reader to summarize what they have read after a few pages. 
  4. Thinking aloud: This is about encouraging your reader to verbally think through what they have read. You can also use this as an opportunity to have your reader clarify certain points in the story.
  5. Visualizing: Ask your reader about their mental images of the text. Help them create images or assist them in correcting images. Words form images in minds and if a word is misinterpreted your reader may have a radically different image. You can help your reader correct different images.
For more information visit and explore Fujimini Island.

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Reading Helps Children Become Independent Learners

    ONCEKids, the publisher of the Fujimini Island Adventure Series, understands that the goal of teaching reading involves helping children become independent learners. Reading is a skill that requires children to venture into new worlds and learn. Being an independent learner does not mean learning alone but it does mean that students receive effective instruction before they wander into books. What does effective instruction look like when it comes to teaching reading?
    1. Teacher modeling: This involves combining explicit, direct instruction with discussion. 
    2. Scaffolding: This means building from what students know. A great way to scaffold is to do pre-reading diagrams or mind mapping. 
    3. Group practice: After instruction and mind mapping, pairs or small groups read texts together. This helps students learn more reading strategies from their fellow students.
    4. Peer teaching: Invite students to become teachers. This helps engage students in the task of reading gives them the power to help form reading strategies together.
    5. Integration: This basically means combining all of the above strategies with writing and read-alouds.
    For more information visit and explore Fujimini Island.

      Tuesday, January 11, 2011

      E-books are the future! Celebrate with ONCEKids!

      Borders Bookstore, with over 19,000 employees and stores in nearly every state, is having financial difficulty. Sales at Borders have been declining over the past five years and they have posted losses for each earning period. Borders is in the process of closing 30% of its stores. Interestingly, Barnes & Noble has posted gains and continues to do a brisk business. Why is Borders having problems and not Barnes & Noble? Experts say it has much to do with the rise of e-books and Barnes & Noble’s success at marketing their e-book readers. Barnes & Noble’s claims to have had a great holiday season and attributes their profit to high e-book reader sales. E-books are the future of reading.

      ONCEKids recognizes the power of e-books. ONCEKids will be launching their Fujimini Island Adventure Series books on iBook. Young children will be able to enjoy the series digitally.

      Stay tuned for the launch date!

      For more information visit and explore Fujimini Island.
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