by Nancy Churnin If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I was going to quit my job now that my first book has been published, I’d have…a couple of dollars. Which is not enough to quit my job and write picture books full-time. But here’s the thing. For me and […]

via Storystorm Day 10: “Storystorm While You Work” by Nancy Churnin — Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)



DOUGHNUTS IN THE FIR TREE On the first day of Christmas My Mrs. gives to me: a doughnut in a Fir Tree. On the second day of Christmas I jump up fast with glee with glaze stuck all over me. On…




On the first day of Christmas

My Mrs. gives to me:

a doughnut in a Fir Tree.

On the second day of Christmas

I jump up fast with glee

with glaze stuck all over me.

On the third day of Christmas

My Mrs. gives to me:

two sprinkled cakes

and a doughnut in a Fir Tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas

I sing songs, “dee, dee, dee,”

as dots pour all over me.

On the fifth day of Christmas

My Mrs. gives to me

three Boston Creams

two sprinkled cakes

and a doughnut in a Fir Tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas

I’m busy as a bee, “wee,”

with cream smeared all over me.

On the seventh day of Christmas

My Mrs. gives to me:

six doughnut holes

three Boston Creams

two sprinkled cakes

and a doughnut in a Fir Tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas

My Mrs. says to me,

“You’re quite a sight to see,

RED LIGHT on your donut spree!”

On the ninth day of Christmas

I’m a Santa full of glee–

but I cannot seem to ski.

On the tenth day of Christmas

My Mrs. steeps some tea

for the ache in my tummy!

On the eleventh day of Christmas

My Mrs. packs for me

and my trip round the deep blue sea.

On the twelfth day of Christmas

My Mrs. kisses me

and I fly for all to see.

On the night of your Christmas,

“kids just leave carrots please,

so I’ll fit down your chimney.”


Spider’s Halloween Hunt

Here is my entry for Susan Leonard Hill’6th Annual Halloweensie Story Contest.  Scroll down to see contest details below.

Spider’s Halloween Hunt

By Kristen Olsen


In the light of the moon

hovered a small spider

watching trick or treaters

from her hot air balloon.


She spun white sticky webs

from gateposts to doorposts

to trap tasty treats like

sour bats and ghost heads.


“I always catch the most,”

small spider liked to sing

as she floated above

sipping cider with toast.


Along came a monsoon.

Cold wind halloweensied.

The balloon lost control

and crashed near a lagoon.


With candy apple eyes

a toad croaked to spider

“It’s my birthday today,

thank you for my surprise.”


The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words spiderghost, and moon.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. moon, moons, mooned, spidery, ghostly, whathaveyou🙂  No illustration notes please!

And Now…The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For…!

Susanna Leonard Hill

Happy Columbus Day everyone!

Ah, Columbus Day!  That wondrous day on which we all get to skip school and work because old Chris happened to bump into the Bahamas and thereby be forever remembered and credited as having discovered America which he did not remotely accomplish! 🙂  (Poor Chris.  If only he’d had Sat Nav  on the Santa Maria!)

But we don’t mind, do we?!  We get the day off!  And as I always say, what better way to spend that Columbus Day off than by thinking happy thoughts of Halloween?

And what happier Halloween thoughts to dwell upon than anything else (besides the delightful abundance of chocolate it will be your duty to collect – you know, the Mom Tax (or Dad Tax) – the percentage you discreetly skim from those heavy-laden plastic pumpkins to make sure your little darlings don’t overdo it 🙂 ) than…

The 6th Annual 

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Early Literacy Activities

Early Literacy Activities get your child ready to read. Here are some activities from the Read With Me Program created by the Denver Public Library.  

Birth to 2 year olds 

  • Read a book with your baby and describe the pictures
  • Go to a library storytime
  • Play I spy with a letter or object while reading a book
  • Have your child repeat words and sounds and turn pages while sharing a book
  • Read something for yourself


  • Sing the alphabet song
  • Sing a song with your child while riding in the car or the bus
  • Recite a nursery rhyme
  • Sing a song or rhyme with actions


  • Repeat back the sounds and words you hear your child say
  • Take a walk and tell your child what you see
  • Look at animal pictures and teach your child their sounds
  • Encourage your child to repeat new words after you say them
  • Talk about the activities you do with your child


  • Point out the letters in your child’s name
  • Let your child fingerprint with shaving cream during bathtime
  • Name the shapes of objects
  • Have your child color with a big crayon
  • Write the names of family members for your child


  • Play peek-a-book
  • Build with blocks
  • Play with playdough
  • Pretend to be different animals
  • Play with toys at bath-time
  • Put together puzzles with large pieces
  • Bounce your child on your knee while singing a song
  • Play I spy with colors
  • Play with stuffed animals
  • Clap and dance to music


3 Year Olds and up


  • Read a book about your child’s favorite interest.
  • Talk about what is happening in the story while reading the book.
  • Talk about the pictures before reading the book
  • Read something yourself while your child is looking at the book
  • Go to the library Storytime


  • Sing one of your child’s favorite songs
  • Learn a new song from a friend or a CD
  • Sing a song while you pick up toys
  • Teach your child a new nursery rhyme
  • Sing a song or rhyme with actions


  • After reading a book, have your child retell the story (age appropriate)
  • After going somewhere special, talk about what happened (age appropriate)
  • While shopping, talk about what you see and buy
  • Encourage your child to learn new words
  • At bedtime, talk about your child’s day


  • Have your child write his/her name on drawings and cards(age appropriate)
  • Write down what your child says about a drawing
  • Write a grocery list together
  • Cut out letters from a magazine to make words
  • Help your child draw shapes


  • Read a book and have your child act out the story
  • Play tea party or restaurant with your child
  • Help your child make up stories from pictures in a magazine
  • Play simple board games
  • Encourage your child to tell stories using stuffed animals or action figures
  • Put simple puzzles together
  • Pretend to be different animals
  • Play I spy with letters of the alphabet
  • Pretend to have conversations over the telephone
  • Clap and dance to music


Characteristics of Dyslexia

According to The International DYSLEXIA Association, there are several common characteristics of dyslexia. Individuals with dyslexia struggle with not only reading but also writing, spelling, and/or math. Students with Dyslexia are very smart and want to learn, but they will need specialized instruction to promote reading success and ease many difficulties associated with Dyslexia.  Here are some common characteristics of Dyslexia.

Oral Language

  • Late Learning to talk
  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Difficulty acquiring vocabulary or using age proper grammar
  • Difficulty following Directions
  • Confusion with before/after, Right/Left
  • Difficulty Learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes or songs
  • Difficulty understanding concepts and relationships
  • Difficulty with word retrieval or naming problems


  • Difficulty Learning to read
  • Difficulty identifying or generating rhyming words, or counting syllables in words ( Phonological Awareness)
  • Difficulty with hearing and manipulating sounds in words ( Phonemic Awareness)
  • Difficulty distinguishing different sounds in words (Phonological processing)
  • Difficulty in learning the sounds of letters ( phonics)
  • Difficulty remembering names and shapes of letters or naming letter rapidly
  • Transposing the order of letters when reading or spelling
  • Misreading or omitting common short words
  • Has difficulty reading longer words ” Stumbles” through.
  • Poor reading comprehension during oral or silent reading because words are not accurately read
  • Slow, laborious oral reading


  • Difficulty putting ideas on paper
  • Many spelling mistakes
  • May do well on weekly spelling tests, but may have many spelling mistakes in daily work
  • Difficulty proofreading