What Do You Want for your Kids?

I’ve met a lot of people from many different cultures around the world and one thing I know for certain they all had in common was they wanted the best for their kids. I’ve wondered on occasion what parents would say if they were asked “if you could make a list of the top three things you would want your kids to be doing when they aren’t in school or asleep, what would they be?”

My priorities might be a little different than others but I think most parents would agree they would want one of those three things to be reading. There is no doubt that reading improves educational performance among all ages and all achievement levels. The best part is it doesn’t matter what your child is reading. It could be a comic book, a history book or a story about pirates. The more children read, the better they get at learning.

Books have a unique magic that other media cannot duplicate. They inspire something called the “fictive dream,” where a reader and an author work together to create a story that takes place entirely in the mind. Active minds create opportunities to learn, whether it is facts on the page, new words a young reader has never encountered before or just dreaming about what a faraway place or time might have really been like. There is no activity a child can engage in that can be potentially more rewarding.

My other two priorities would be going outside to play and explore and either playing or practicing music or a musical instrument. I have to admit those two are my based on my own experiences as I was heavily involved in both sports and music growing up and in school.

Because I know how rare educational opportunities can be for some families, I make it a priority to include “learning moments” in my LadyStar™ and Ironjammers™ stories. I introduce real-world concepts like why iron creates sparks in this excerpt from Dawnsong The Last Skyblade:

“We should keep one candle lit all the time, huh?” Jessica said.

“Especially at night, otherwise we won’t be able to see at all. This place is going to be pitch black after dark,” Shannon added.

“How come it makes sparks like that when you hit those rocks together?” Cici asked, playing with the little pieces of flint.

“It’s ’cause of iron!” Jessica exclaimed. “I remember when me and Talitha were in the Dandelion Guides and went on the nature tour! We learned how to make campfires and torches and lots of stuff. If you take something real hard and hit it against a piece of iron, it makes sparks fly because iron burns in the air!”

Talitha nodded, confirming Jessica’s explanation.

Just enough to introduce the idea. Kids who read this might be inspired to go look up the rest of the story. There are numerous moments like that in each book. I plan ahead to make sure I have plenty of opportunities for learning moments. It makes my LadyStar and Ironjammers novels more than just novels. I want them to be inspirational and encourage readers.

I’d like to encourage you to consider a LadyStar story for your next book purchase. I think you’ll agree they help make learning fun and will make your son or daughter want to read more.

If you’d like to see some sample chapters from Dawnsong The Last Skyblade, you can read them in the Library-Tron.

Reading more is always a good thing.

An Exciting Way to Build a Library for your Children

If you’re a mom or dad, I’m about to show you how to get $1000 worth of books (or more) for your child without spending a cent initially. No catch. No hidden fees. No fuss.

As you might already know if you’ve read my work I have a degree in English Education. Reading is important to me and I know it’s important to parents. It is one of the skills I’ve long been inspired to improve. I consider myself an above-average advocate for literacy, especially for elementary, middle school and high school students.

The more someone reads, the more they improve many different skills. Critical thinking, writing, research, public speaking and reading comprehension all improve naturally when someone reads often. These are among the most crucial basic skills any student can have regardless of their chosen field of study. Reading is the very bedrock of all education.

If you want your children to get the best start in life they can, reading should be your absolute top educational priority. This doesn’t mean your kids have to read textbooks or academic works from the moment they can turn the pages. The great thing about reading is all those benefits I listed happen even if you’re reading your favorite space novel, adventure series or pirate story.

To take full advantage of a program like Kindle Unlimited, you should start with a new Kindle if you can. The newest models are very reasonably priced and some are even designed for young readers. Amazon has installed parental controls in most of the color tablets, so you don’t have to worry about inappropriate content and you’ll have a chance to vet your child’s choices.

Even if you don’t get a Kindle, you can make use of Kindle Unlimited on any mobile device including tablets and phones through Amazon’s Kindle App. If you have the Fire Tablet like mine, some books can be set to read out loud! So you and your children can listen to books as well as read along.

The first 30 days of Kindle Unlimited is free.Once you sign up, you will be able to check out up to ten books at a time, read them and turn them back in to check out more. You don’t have to pay the cover prices. All you have to do is pay the monthly subscription fee which is $9.99. Think of it as Netflix for books.

Here’s the best part: Right now there are over 50,000 titles eligible for Kindle Unlimited in the Children’s eBooks category. If you paid full price, a library that size could easily run a half-million dollars or more! But if you’re part of the program, your kids get access to all those books at no additional cost.

Among the many recognizable titles on the list are:

  • Disney’s Frozen
  • Minecraft
  • Disney’s Cars
  • Harry Potter
  • Heroes of Olympus
  • Mary Poppins
  • Erin Hunter’s Warriors Series
  • Diary of a Sixth Grade Ninja
  • Liv and Maddie
  • Spongebob Squarepants
  • Star Wars
  • Big Hero 6

Once you have access to Kindle Unlimited, you’ll find enough reading material to keep any child occupied for years, and they will never run out of new books to try out. Even if you cancel after the first 30 days and don’t pay for the second month, you’ll still be able to download and read a thousand dollars or more worth of top quality material: Enough to give a family of any size a library without limits.

I plan to write occasional articles on interesting books I find in Kindle Unlimited. If you’d like to keep up with my recommendations, consider joining my mailing list. I’d love to hear about your experiences with Kindle Unlimited, and learn about any great books you find. Perhaps I can pass along what you discover. Be sure to add your recommendations in the comments and enjoy your next great read!