Foster Learning Beyond Classroom Walls

Foster Learning Beyond Classroom WallsIn the ever-evolving landscape of education, empowering your child’s learning journey extends far beyond the conventional classroom walls. This guide serves as your beacon, illuminating the multitude of pathways you can navigate to enrich your child’s educational experience. From creating a learning path that resonates with their unique spirit, diving into your own educational growth, to infusing fun, creativity, and exploration into their learning, every step is a leap towards nurturing a well-rounded, intellectually curious, and emotionally intelligent individual.

Tailor a Personalized Learning Path

Craft a learning journey that resonates with your child’s unique interests and passions. Understanding their preferences and inclinations is crucial in customizing teaching methods, thereby enhancing their engagement and fostering a deeper connection with the subject matter. This personalized approach not only addresses their current challenges but also amplifies their innate curiosity.

Embark on Lifelong Learning as Parents

One of the best ways you can help your child expand their horizons is by modeling that behavior yourself. Consider embracing the journey of continual learning and professional growth by delving into advanced studies, like pursuing an EdD degree online. This dedication to education not only broadens your grasp of innovative teaching strategies but also positions you to make substantial contributions to the evolution of curriculum and the shaping of educational policies.

Make Learning Fun and Engaging

Revitalize your child’s educational journey by integrating fun and engaging learning experiences. Transition from monotonous study routines to dynamic, interactive sessions that captivate your child’s attention and invigorate their desire to learn. This lively approach not only enhances their cognitive abilities but also instills a profound appreciation for the joy of learning.

Discover the World of Educational Games

Introduce your child to the captivating realm of educational games, where learning converges with play. These games are meticulously designed to stimulate your child’s intellect while offering an enjoyable and interactive learning environment. Engaging in these educational adventures encourages your child to embrace new concepts and challenges with enthusiasm and confidence.

Explore the Richness of Arts

Venture together into the vibrant world of arts, uncovering a spectrum of creativity and expression. Exploring art and music with your child not only broadens their artistic knowledge but also nurtures their emotional intelligence and cultural awareness, and it can even help them do better in school. This holistic approach to education enriches their understanding and appreciation of the world’s diverse artistic heritage.

Venture Out on Educational Field Trips

Transform the world into your child’s classroom by embarking on educational field trips. These excursions provide a dynamic platform for experiential learning, where your child can explore, inquire, and absorb knowledge first-hand. Each trip is a unique adventure, enriching their understanding of various subjects and sparking a natural curiosity about the world around them.

Immerse in Nature-Based Learning

Step into the embrace of nature, where learning harmonizes with the tranquility and beauty of the natural world. Engaging in nature-based activities provides a serene yet stimulating environment for your child to learn, reflect, and grow. This connection with nature not only enhances their environmental awareness but also offers a refreshing escape from the routine of indoor learning.

Embark on Reading Adventures

Nurture a lifelong love for literature by embarking on reading adventures together. Explore the enchanting world of books, visit libraries to uncover hidden gems, and dive into stories that spark imagination and curiosity. These reading journeys not only improve literacy skills but also open doors to new worlds, ideas, and cultures, enriching your child’s perspective and understanding.

The journey of nurturing your child’s learning is an adventure filled with discovery, growth, and joy. As you traverse this path, remember that each experience weaves a rich tapestry of knowledge and wisdom for your child. These multifaceted learning encounters not only foster academic excellence but also cultivate a deep-seated love for learning, creativity, and critical thinking. In the grand tapestry of education, you and your child are co-creators, painting vibrant strokes of knowledge, passion, and curiosity that will color their world both now and in the future.

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Thanks to Leslie Campos of wellparents.com for another informative and entertaining article.

On my blog, I provide book reviews as well as news and info about the literary world.

Only Twice by Garrett James

Only Twice by Garrett JamesWant to read a great love story for Valentine’s Day? Or give it as a gift to your significant other? Only Twice by Garrett James will fill that bill nicely.

This delightful ode to love highlights one man’s life and how the simple act of telling one’s story can change another person’s life.

The common outlook is that true love only happens once in a person’s life. But is that really true? Only Twice will convince you otherwise.

Check out this brand-new tale of love lost and found again at www.amazon.com. The e-book will be available as a free download on February 10, 11 and 12, 2024. And check out other books by the author, Garrett James, at his website, garrettjproductions.com.

Great Mystery Websites

Great Mystery websitesI haven’t done a roundup of great mystery websites in a while. So here goes.

Aubrey Hamilton writes about forgotten authors at Happiness is a Book. She focuses mostly on mysteries written predominantly by American and British authors. Hamilton posts every Friday about a single book or sometimes about an author’s oeuvre.

From even a cursory look at this site, I will be hooked on Hamilton’s insights for some time to come. Most of the few authors about whom I’ve read on this site, so far, are unknow to me. But others, like Earl Derr Biggers, the creator of Charlie Chan, are familiar.

On a very similar note, Otto Penzler has, in the past, dealt in authors who have fallen out of sight. Penzler, the proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, had been publishing authors from previous eras, including the Golden Age of fiction at his Mysterious Press. Penzler’s bookshop deals in modern fiction in detective, crime, hard-boiled, thrillers, espionage and suspense.

On a different note, the blog collective, Mystery Lover’s Kitchen, is a must-see for cozy mystery fans who are also foodies. According to the tagline of the blog, they are a group of “mystery writers cooking up crime…and recipes!” They highlight cozies that deal with food and possibly include the recipes. Sounds delicious. I’ll have to give this website more than the cursory look I gave when I found it recently.

For those of us who are into podcasts, Kirkus Reviews offers a podcast about all things book related in their Fully Booked podcast. They say that their podcast is “the ultimate inside scoop on the best in new books.” It’s available wherever you get your podcasts.

(After a bit of an absence, I should be back next Monday with a book review.)

Techniques to Help Authors Get Recognized

Techniques to help authors to get recognized.Leslie Campos, of wellparents.com, gives us insight into techniques to help authors to get recognized.

GUEST POST
Within the expanse of literature, emerging authors grapple with the formidable challenge of bringing their literary works into the limelight. This piece delves into strategic approaches for writers, illuminating a path through the labyrinth of obscurity toward acknowledgment and triumph. By providing a roadmap, it serves as a beacon for wordsmiths, aiding them in their pursuit of visibility and achievement.

Craft an Engaging Online Presence

Establishing a strong online presence is paramount for emerging writers. Create an author website that showcases your portfolio, includes a captivating author bio, and features a blog where you share insights and engage with readers. Leverage social media platforms to connect with your audience and participate in online writing communities to expand your reach.

Embrace Literary Events and Conferences

Literary events, including writing conferences, book fairs, and author readings, offer a priceless avenue for writers to connect with peers, literary agents, publishers, and enthusiastic readers. Also, participation in these gatherings opens doors to forging significant relationships, exploring potential creative partnerships, and possibly securing book deals. By embracing these occasions, writers can navigate the intricate landscape of the literary world while fostering their craft and aspirations.

Submit to Writing Contests

Participating in esteemed writing contests holds the power to greatly enhance an author’s reputation. Emerging triumphant or securing a spot among finalists in well-regarded competitions not only enhances one’s credibility but also garners the interest of publishing experts on the lookout for innovative and promising talents. As a result, these contests serve as a vital gateway for writers to amplify their presence within the literary landscape.

Collaborate for Cross-Promotion

Engaging in collaborations with fellow creatives, whether they are illustrators, bloggers, or fellow authors, offers a powerful avenue to enhance your exposure. Through reciprocal promotion, you gain access to varied audiences, and cultivate a nurturing community that propels shared advancement. These partnerships become conduits for mutual growth and fueling creativity. They also expand your reach in ways that individual efforts might not achieve.

Engage Locally: Author Readings and Pop-Up Shops

Immerse yourself in your local community by joining book readings, author signings, and pop-up shops. These interactions offer a valuable opportunity to forge meaningful connections with readers, leaving a lasting impact. Beyond personal connections, these events also serve as a catalyst for organic buzz, amplifying the excitement surrounding your literary endeavors through genuine word-of-mouth endorsements.

Use Various Distribution Strategies

Utilizing various distribution strategies for your written work can significantly enhance its reach and impact. Diversify the way you distribute content, which allows you to target different audiences and platforms, maximizing exposure and engagement. For instance, you can opt for digital publishing on websites and e-magazines, social media sharing for quick snippets, or traditional print media for a more formal approach. Each of these methods caters to different reader preferences, ensuring that your work is accessible to a broader audience.

An essential part of managing these distribution strategies effectively is having the right tools to prepare your documents. Online PDF tools are particularly useful in this regard. These tools offer a variety of functionalities to edit and format your pieces for distribution. For example, if you want to combine PDF files – such as separate chapters or sections of a work into a single document – these tools make the process seamless and efficient. They also provide options for converting documents from other formats into PDFs and vice versa, which is crucial when dealing with different platforms and publication requirements.

Equip Yourself with Literary Business Acumen

Enhancing your understanding of the literary business landscape is pivotal for long-term success in the ever-evolving world of publishing. By earning an MBA degree through online courses, you can gain invaluable insights into effective marketing strategies, financial management, and navigating the complexities of the industry. Plus, this knowledge equips you with the tools to market your work, manage finances, and navigate the intricacies of the publishing world, while online coursework provides flexibility for workers.

For emerging authors, the journey from obscurity to recognition is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a blend of creativity and strategic initiatives. By cultivating a compelling online presence, participating in literary events, and strengthening literary business acumen, authors can forge a path toward a fulfilling and prosperous writing career. The fusion of artistic expression and purposeful action propels writers into the spotlight and positions them to leave an indelible mark on the literary landscape. As the realm of literature evolves, these techniques can assist authors toward the recognition they deserve.

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I want to thank Leslie Campos of Well Parents for providing another informative article.

Cultivating Your Child’s Love for Reading

A Guide to Cultivating Your Child’s Love of Reading
by Leslie Campos

Cultivating Your Child's Love of Reading
Photo via Pexels

Fostering a love for reading in children is a priceless gift that benefits their overall development and expands their understanding of the world. Instilling early reading habits not only enhances their academic skills but also nurtures their imagination and empathy. This article outlines practical strategies for cultivating children’s reading habits: creating shared reading times, offering a variety of books, setting up a cozy reading space, encouraging regular library visits, establishing a daily reading routine, balancing screen time, engaging in post-reading discussions, and modeling a love for reading.

Make Time to Read Together

Setting aside time to read with children is a fundamental step in cultivating their interest in books. Creating a routine for shared reading, such as a bedtime story or a weekend morning book session, establishes consistency. Prioritizing this activity amidst a busy schedule demonstrates the value of reading. This practice not only helps develop a child’s reading skills, but also strengthens the parent-child bond.

Ensure a Diverse Selection of Books

It is essential to provide children with access to a wide range of books. Diverse reading materials that include various cultures, experiences, and perspectives encourage inclusivity and curiosity. By introducing children to different types of literature, parents expand their child’s horizons and foster a more comprehensive understanding of the world.

Create a Cozy Reading Space

A dedicated reading area in the home can significantly enhance a child’s reading experience. Designing a comfortable, well-lit reading nook invites children to spend more time with books. Such spaces can be simple yet appealing, providing a serene environment that encourages reading, and you may even be able to add to the value of your home. Be sure to keep receipts and invoices to quantify any major changes you make to the space.

Regular Library Visits

Routine visits to the library is an enriching experience for children. These trips offer opportunities to explore new books and genres, and thus foster a sense of excitement about reading. Making library visits an enjoyable and educational family activity encourages children to view reading as a delightful pursuit. Not only that, but libraries offer much more than books; there are often family events and fun activities for kids of all ages.

Balance Screen Time

In the digital age, managing screen time is crucial. Setting boundaries for the use of electronic devices can create more space for reading activities. Encourage a balanced approach that includes both technology and books, allowing children to enjoy the best of both worlds. Setting these limits can challenge both parents and kids, so try reducing screen time incrementally at first so your child can get used to the change.

Post-Reading Discussions

Engaging children in discussions about the books they read is a powerful tool in deepening their understanding and appreciation of literature. Ask questions about the story, characters, and themes to promote critical thinking and comprehension. These conversations can also provide insights into the child’s thoughts and feelings, which further encourages their interest in reading.

Model a Love for Reading

Modeling a love for reading exerts a powerful influence on children’s reading habits. When children observe their parents engaged in reading, they are more likely to mirror this behavior and develop an interest in books themselves. Parents who visibly enjoy reading send a strong message that reading is a worthwhile and enjoyable activity. It’s important for parents to consciously set aside time for their own reading, whether to dive into a novel or explore a magazine. This practice not only reinforces the value of reading in the household, but also encourages children to embrace reading as a regular part of their lives.

Cultivating a child’s love for reading is a multifaceted endeavor that requires dedication and creativity. The strategies outlined in this article, from shared reading times and diverse book selections to creating reading-friendly spaces and balancing digital engagement, all contribute to developing a child’s reading habits. By implementing these practices, parents and caregivers play a pivotal role in nurturing young readers, ultimately enriching their lives with the joys and benefits of reading.

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Thanks to Leslie Campos of wellparents.com for providing this guest post.

 

Sanctuary Motel

Sanctuary MotelAlan Orloff‘s Sanctuary Motel is an entertaining look at one guy’s honest, but somewhat bumbling attempt to help the down-and-out. Benjamin “Mess” Hopkins’ parents own the Fairfax Manor Inn, situated just north of Fairfax, VA. According to Mess, the inn is one of four “independent, rinky-dink motels within four miles” of each other on a stretch of Route 50. This mystery provides a chuckle as the reader gets pulled into the world of Mess and Vell.

In his early 30s, Mess Hopkins has lived most of his life at the Fairfax Motor Inn. When his parents abruptly get wanderlust, it’s up to Mess to manage the inn. Truth is, a good number of guests are the non-paying type—Mess has a kind heart and helps those less fortunate souls sent his way by Mama, mother of D’Marvellus “Vell” Jackson, both of whom are friends with Mess. Good thing for Cesar Ruiz, the operating manager of the Fairfax Manor Inn. Originally hired by Mess’s parents, he keeps the motel clean and decently maintained, among other things. All this despite Mess’s kind-hearted philanthropic gestures to the down-and-out.

After a brief introduction of the main characters, the book concentrates on Nicole and her son, Nick. Vell brings Nicole and Nick to the motel. But why does Nicole stay only a night or two at the Fairfax Motor Inn, then disappear? Why would she leave Nick behind and apparently not keep in contact with him? In fact, what brought about Nicole’s stark current circumstances? So, Mess and Vell hunt for Nicole.

I enjoyed Sanctuary Motel, for the most part. And I like the cover art. Mess and Vell are well drawn, as is Cesar, to a good degree. However, Nicole is almost a non-existent character. She plays a part in the setup of the story line, but fades out behind her son, Nick, and abusive husband, Todd Payton. More than a cozy mystery, but less than a thriller, Sanctuary Motel could have used slightly more punch. The final scene pitting Mess and Lia Katsaros, a journalist interested in the case, against her boss, Will “Shotgun” Stokes, was a letdown.

To purchase a copy, click here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sanctuary Motel
by Alan Orloff
© 2023
Level Best Books

As Long As I Breathe

As Long as I Have BreatheAs Long as I Breathe, by Garrett James, is a romance with thriller and mystery aspects. Stephanie Morgan and her daughter, Lilianne Rose (Lily), live as quiet a life as they can. Stephanie (Steph) works nights at a nursing home and at the local bar on weekends. Life was tough since her fiancé had died. Or was it murder? And why was Cole Miller, the sheriff’s brother, so bent on having Steph as his girlfriend?

Mason Cain, ex-military, ex-convict, moves back into his mother’s house after she dies. He’d planned to clear things up and quickly move on. But the best laid plans…Mason witnesses Cole dealing violently with Steph, who lives across the street. Inevitably, Mason becomes friends with Lily, then with Steph. Cole becomes even more erratic and irrational as he witnesses the growing feelings between Mason and Steph. How far will Cole go to keep Mason away from Steph, who Cole views as his property? How far will Mason go to protect “his girls”?

Mystery has always surrounded the death of Steph’s fiancé. Everyone has a good word to say about Matt Peterson, who seemed to have had no enemies. So, why is Agent Nick Canon, from the Division of Criminal Investigation, hanging around pursuing an inquiry into Matt’s death?

Mystery, resolution, anger, love, tenderness, psychological problems, all fall within the realm of As Long as I Breathe. Garrett James does well in uncovering emotions in his characters and develops them into living beings. Love and tenderness can turn around the lives of some characters, like Mason. But others, like Cole, have nowhere to go but into a burning hell of their own making.

I enjoyed As Long as I Breathe for the character and plot development. I felt connected to Mason, Steph, Lily, and even Nick Canon. Be prepared for well-done, but explicit, sex scenes. My only “thumbs down” was that this book could have used a good proofreading to fix some grammatical issues. Otherwise, bravo.

This appears to be the first in a series. I look forward to reading about the future lives of Mason, Steph, Lily, and Nick Canon.

To purchase a copy, click here. I get a small commission for any purchases made.

As Long as I Breathe
by Garrett James
©2022

The Leipfold Files

The Leipfold FilesThird in the Leipfold Mysteries series, The Leipfold Files, by Dane Cobain, is a series of discreet, but connected, short stories. These stories mostly cover James Leipfold’s life prior to what’s recorded in Driven and The Tower Hill Terror (both of which I reviewed previously). However, a few stories cover cases occurring between those enacted in the prior books.

In these stories we learn how 14-year-old James Leipfold first meets novice policeman, Jack Cholmondeley. The reader learns why Leipfold no longer drinks and how he edged his way into becoming a private investigator. Leipfold’s assistant, Maile O’Hara, figures in the later stories in this collection. These stories occur in the time frame between the previous books. She gets no introduction here, under the assumption that the reader has read the previous tomes.

Some scenes covered in these stories have been referenced in previous books, such as the breaking and entering incident at the building housing Leipfold’s office. However, a bit more is added so that these instances are fleshed out. All in all, these stories round out James Leipold as a bit of an eccentric with a formidable memory. His ability to resolve problems makes his transition from jailbird to private investigator an almost foregone conclusion. Maile adds to the storyline with her in-depth knowledge of most computer-related things.

I enjoy the teetotalling, ginger-haired PI. So, I finished The Leipfold Files in two days. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Leipfold and Maile, his tech-savvy assistant, in future outings.

If you’d like a copy of The Leipfold files, click here. I receive a small commission when an item is purchased.

The Leipfold Files
by Dane Cobain
©2022
Encircle Publications

Trouble on Treasure Island

Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House MysteryAn easy-going romance-mystery, Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery is a lighthearted read with an undercurrent of sinister. Seth Sjostrom establishes the right tone for a mystery-romance set at a beach house on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Kate Harper, a well-to-do realtor, works for a real estate management company specializing in high-end rentals, mostly on beaches throughout the United States. As she inspects a house on Treasure Island near St. Petersburg, FL, her foot goes through a rotten board on one of the decks facing the ocean. A surfer using the beach access easement next to the property, comes to her aid. Turns out, he’s a handyman. So, Kate hires him. Nick Mason, the surfer-handyman, becomes friendly with Kate as she finds more jobs for him to do.

One night, Kate witnesses some unusual activity on the beach—two shadowy figures, one chasing the other—she hears a scream before the figures disappear along the shoreline. Kate exits the house to give chase but finds nothing but an engagement ring along the path the figures had taken. What follows is the discovery of Joann Marrs murdered further along the beach. The police investigation, with much input from Kate and a reluctant Nick, consumes the rest of the novel.

Lighthearted Romance-Mystery

I enjoyed this lighthearted read. Sharp-eyed and perceptive describe Kate. She easily interprets what she sees and hears concerning the murder and the police investigation. She puts herself out there to move the investigation along. Nick, it turns out, is a non-practicing lawyer as well as surfer and handyman. He is no slouch as a handyman, who can put together an intricate alarm system in the beach house for Kate. He’s a gentleman, who also knows the best local places to have great food. But he could be more well-rounded, not just a love interest for Kate.

And that’s another thing—to a large extent, Kate seems a little oblivious to the effect she’s having on Nick. Kate is also unaware of the effect she has on Detective Connolly, the policeman in charge of Joann Marrs’ murder investigation. All in all, more could be made of this emergent love triangle than what happens throughout the book. That might be a missed opportunity to ramp up the novel’s tension in a different direction.

Another potential shortcoming is that it takes about one-third of the book before it begins to ramp up. The beginning encompasses a lot of stealthy, creeping intruders who slink around Kate’s beach house, but don’t do much to move the plot along. Nor do they create the brooding atmosphere for which Sjostrom strove.

Sjostrom does do a great job of characterizing Frank Driscoll. Driscoll, a private investigator hired by someone in Charleston with an interest in the murder of Joann Marrs. Assigned to keep an eye on Kate, Driscoll uses various not very effective disguises to do so. He adds a delightful air to the mystery.

All things considered, Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery is a great romp on the gulf coast. The scenery, the restaurants, the marinas and the house at the center of this mystery all delight the reader as do the main characters: Kate Harper, Nick Mason and Detective Connolly.

If you want to purchase a copy of this book, click here. I receive a small commission if this product is purchased.

I received a copy of Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery and gave a fair review.

Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery
by Seth Sjostrom
© 2023
wolfprintMedia, LLC

Sherlock Holmes Audiobook

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

As you all know, I’m a diehard Sherlock Holmes fan. Whether the original canon or modern versions, I love the gas lights and foggy London streets of Victorian and Edwardian London. So, I’ve just come across an audiobook version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Simon Prebble narrates this audiobook–one of my favorite voice artists. Mr. Prebble narrated quite a few audiobooks that I’ve enjoyed over the years.

The stories in this audiobook take the reader back to London and the timeless duo of Holmes and Watson as envisioned by Doyle, the author of the illustrious and long-lived detective duo. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes presents such well-known stories such as “A Scandal in Bohemia” in which Holmes is bested by Irene Adler. “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” in which a rather dilapidated bowler hat and a fat goose figure rather prominently. In “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches” Holmes’ client crops her luxuriant auburn hair short as part of her new job as a governess. Why? These stories and more entice the reader onwards on the heels of Holmes and Watson.

You can pick up The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Download as a digital download.

I receive a small commission for any purchases made via the above link.