Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Importance of Summer Reading: Some Helpful Tips for Parents

Helpful Tips to Foster a Love of Reading for Lifelong Learners - From the Desk of Mrs. Pulido

As an educator, I believe that summer reading is important in developing lifelong reading habits, maintaining literary skills, and promoting reading for pleasure. Students who continue to read during the summer perform better when school resumes in the fall.
Although I understand that when summer vacation starts, we are all tempted to put away our books altogether and be outside riding our bikes, playing softball, or cooling off in the pool. I also understand that as a parent, committing your child to reading, even just for a little each day, is a struggle especially when outdoor activities and distractions of TV, video games, and the Internet seem more exciting.

Here are some helpful tips to foster a love of reading for your child:

1. Read together. You don't necessarily have to read the same books, but by simply sharing the experience of reading with them, you are more likely to get them motivated to read enthusiastically.
2. Set aside family time to bond through reading. You can do this by going to a coffee shop, bookstore, or a library together to make reading a fun experience to remember.
3. Ask them what book they are currently reading and use this as a topic of conversation with them.
4. Help them select a book that might pique their interest.
5. Encourage them to join/form a book club. When reading becomes a social experience, kids become more enthusiastic and more motivated. Check with your local library for summer reading incentives.
6. Encourage them to keep a log/journal of their reading minutes to help them keep track of their progress.
7. Create a book trailer video by using Animoto (, a video slideshow maker with music.
8. Use sidewalk chalk and draw three squares in a row to create a giant "storyboard" to draw and/or write the beginning, middle, and end of a book they just read to summarize important narrative elements. You could also do the same with 2x2 squares: top left - CHARACTERS top right - SETTING bottom left - CONFLICT bottom right - RESOLUTION
9. Check out a bilingual book that has English and another language you want to learn together. Read it in English first. Then try it in the second language and read it again to make a memory game of new vocabulary learned.
10. Find a recipe to make with your children before or after they finish the book. Edible playdough could go with any story, or find a popular book with food-related themes, such as Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, or invite their friends to make a friendship fruit salad (try this recipe: to go with Toad and Frog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Junior Writers' Workshop: Summer Camp 2012


Many of you have expressed an interest in my creative writing camp this summer, and I am very grateful for the response. It is parents like you who support the cause and keep teachers like me motivated to do more! It speaks volumes about how much you care for your children and their education.

This year, I am grateful to be in a position where I can offer a special discounted rate for the camp. While most art camps cost almost $200 per week (full day) to cover the cost of facilities, overhead, and payment for specialized instructors I will charge $80 for one week per child in my home. Each additional child within the family is $10. Hours are 9AM to 1pm Monday through Friday on July 23rd - July 27th. Materials are provided (including a signed copy of my second book TERRIBLE TREVOR, a $15 value), but please bring your own sack lunch, drink, and snack daily. We will have a "mini-field trip" on Friday (venue still TBD, but either a nearby park, a pastry shop, or a bookstore) to showcase our masterpieces in front of an audience (friends/family). Space is limited. Please secure your spot by turning in your registration form attached at your earliest convenience. Registration deadline is Friday, July 13th. Payment method is cash, check, credit card in person or via Paypal in our website:

As always, please do not hesitate to email me if you have any questions or concerns Read course description. If you would like to register, please email me.
Creative Writing Course Description:

This year’s theme is “Wake UP and Dream BIG!” Following the basic structure of common writing traits, participants will hear short stories each day relating to their lives and how certain choices affect their future. Using group discussions, multisensory activities, performance arts, and collaborative projects, the young writers will identify common elements and brainstorm how these elements will help them develop a perspective of their own personal future. Using writing prompts and illustrations, writers will create a story of what they hope to see and become, and what impact they want to secure their future.

See you all soon!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Move Forward with Fervency" 6/10/2010

Every morning, at the hour when you've finally given up closing your eyes,
You hold on to a strong desire to keep moving forward with fervency.
But you're drifting away
In this massive ocean of self-inflicted
Chaos and uncertainty.

The crashing waves hit you as you hope for a second chance,
Seducing you with desire to take refuge at the Devil's Dance.
You get up to face the world, but still fear the raging storms are near,
Abruptly interrupting the soothing, melancholic
Four chords of your painful, irrevocable verse,
Prose, song, prayer
Together symbolic
Of your heartbreak.

It's easy to take refuge in some other time,
But you know better.
Time is not in anyone's hands.

So you move forward,
Despite the wind over water
Pushing you,
Holding you back
Further away from where you want to go.
Still you move forward with fervency.

Maybe when you reach the shore,
You'll find it again -
Your paradise.
The perfect blend of fortune and prosperity,
Dreams not elusive, but within reach.
The warm morning sun prickling
Like gentle kisses on your cheeks,
Bringing light in your heart again,
So you can sing the songs that make me smile
And play your guitar without the guilt.

Pia Villanueva-Pulido