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How to extend the attention span of your children.


Happy reading with the kids every day! http://www.4writer~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.writersandreaders.com 

Dayne Sislen Children's Book Illustration

Kids today are bombarded with video games as well as fast action cartoons and movies. Picture book publishers are requesting shorter and shorter picture books for young children. No wonder our children have problems keeping their minds focused on one thing for very long.

What can you do to help your kids have a longer attention span? My advice is not some new technical invention or app for your phone or tablet, but something easy and inexpensive that you can do in your own home.

SCBWI_Postcard_sm_sq_WP

You can extend your children’s attention span by reading to them.

What better way to show them you love them and help them at the same time. Kids love getting attention from their parents and grandparents. This one-on-one time without any distractions from phones or TV is important. Children can later illustrate the stories you read together so you have a visual reminder of the time you have…

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Mark Twain’s Use Of The N-Word In Huckleberry Finn


Mark Twain knew what he was doing! Find out more in this must-read article. ~Bette A. Stevens

Excerpt: “Bullying is an epidemic in schools. Analyzing all the harmful aspects of dehumanization by use of slurs of all kinds, and the crushing results such labe[l]ling has on its victim(s), seems a critical topic to explore in the classroom. If you care about the next generation, don’t take the expeditious and therefore cowardly way out by refusing to acknowledge such evils exist, dedicate yourself to teaching our children why something is wrong. Erasing words from a book won’t erase from any heart the poison those words reveal, only education and understanding can do that…”

Growing Up Stupid

Huck and Jim On Raft

If you remove uncomfortable words from literature, you remove the heart of the entire reason for their use. Mark Twain was a masterful wordsmith who chose his words carefully, and he didn’t live in a vacuum, he understood the negative charge the N-word carried, even back then. Inclusion of the dehumanizing N-word sharply contrasts the reality of who Jim actually was, a kind, caring, noble human being, of higher character than most of the self-important whites he and Huck encountered. That one despicable word spoke volumes, both about those using it, how they used it and the reason they used it, as well as how Jim reacted to the use of it during different interactions, weighted by the motives and actions of the one using that word.

Despots know, and use the brutal tactic of labelling to conquer and rule, whether thousands of years ago or today, its effectiveness hasn’t…

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Happy Birthday, Beatrix Potter


Beatrix Potter—a pioneer in self-publishing and introducing picture books for young children! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandereaders.com

Nesie's Place


Beatrix Potter
Helen Beatrix Potter ( 28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist best known for her children’s books featuring animals, such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit .

Peter Rabbit cover The Tale of Peter Rabbit. First Edition, 1902

From Wikipedia

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Thank You, Jim Trelease! – The Power of Reading Aloud to Children


Invest in our future…
READ to a CHILD today! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Oxford Tutoring

Picture copy.jpg My son, Matt, reading to my four grandchildren.

Reading aloud to my four children is one of the fondest memories I have of their growing up years.  They are all adults now with their own families and busy lives, but I have wonderful memories of cuddling on the couch with them, reading stories together, watching their eyes light up as we traveled to other lands and other times through story.

As a teacher, reading to my children seemed a natural part of the parenting process.  Even when they were babies, they would sit on my lap as we enjoyed books like Pat the Bunny.  As they grew older, we graduated to story books.  Some were fairy tales, some were Bible stories, but all were chances to bond together over printed word. They had their favorites that they asked to be read to them over and over and over. We went…

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Picture Books for St. Patrick’s Day


HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY & HAPPY READING with the kids...
You’ll find some awesome books to help celebrate the day! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Pages and Margins

My son has been far more interested in holidays this year than he was in the past. This can at times be problematic — like when he declares his own holiday and is then thoroughly disappointed when I inform him that it doesn’t mean he gets the day off from school. But I’ve been trying to catch the wave of his enthusiasm in other ways, like introducing him to good books surrounding each holiday. Here are some that we enjoyed about St. Patrick’s Day.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland – by Tomie de Paola

patric.jpg

A beautiful introduction to St. Patrick as a person — his history and his legacy. It includes a number of legends about St. Patrick at the end.

St. Patrick’s Day – by Gail Gibbons

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This book provides a brief introduction to the life of St. Patrick, as well as some of symbolism and traditions surrounding St…

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15 Words You Never Knew Came From Literature


Words, words, words… AWESOME! ~ Bette A. Stevens

International Book Promotion

15 Words You Never Knew Came From Literature                                                             15 Words You Never Knew Came From Literature

Did you know that these words came from the literature earlier? Share your scores here!

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When Shakespeare committed word crimes


GUILTY as charged! ~ Bette A. Stevens

ideas.ted.com

Shakespeare coined new words when he needed — or merely wanted — them. Can you guess which words were invented by the Bard?

English heading into the sixteenth century was a makeshift, cobbled-together thing. No fewer than eight conquering peoples had added to our vocabulary and shaped our syntax. But the Brits were doing more than just borrowing, swiping and outright stealing words from other languages. Versifiers like Chaucer let newfangled words from the street amble onto the literary stage – newfangled and amble being two of them.

By the time Elizabethan dramatists sought expression for ever-more sophisticated sentiments, crowds cheered their linguistic daring.

A short list of verbs invented by the Bard:

arouse
besmirch
bet
drug
dwindle
hoodwink
hurry
puke
rant
swagger

Shakespeare also minted new metaphors, many now cliches, but fresh in his time:

it’s Greek to me
played fast and loose
slept not one wink
seen better days

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