Goosebumps for Halloween

Do you have children who like a good scare? During the spooky month of October we celebrate a mysterious author’s birthday: R.L. Stine. Stine is best known for his spine-chilling children’s book series: Goosebumps.

I can recall in sixth grade when I read Stine’s eleventh book in the series: The Haunted Mask. In this thriller, an 11-year-old girl with my own name, Carly, battles bullying and decides to stand up to her tormentors. She buys a frightening Halloween mask to scare them on Halloween night, but there’s something wrong: the mask won’t come off and is stuck to her own face! Carly grows more and more aggressive that night and must do what she can to get the mask off.

This ghostly tale is the perfect read for youngsters ages 8 to 12 who enjoy a little scare to get in the mood for Halloween. Your child might also enjoy one of over one hundred other Goosebumps stories in the series. Check them out at any library or bookstore!

Spotlight on RL Stine - Red Apple Reading

Fall Family Favorites

When I was a child, a big part of feeling festive around the holidays was to read holiday and seasonal books. My mom always had plenty of books that went back and forth between home and the school where she taught, and she still has a bookcase full of picture books even though we are grown and she is no longer teaching in the classroom. Here are some of our favorites from the shelf that are sure to get you and your kiddos into the fall spirit!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrettcloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs

Kiddos can discover the town of Chewandswallow, a land where breakfast, lunch, and dinner come from the weather! What will happen when too much food falls from the sky?
Ages 4 to 8


Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by Bonnie Lasswho-took-the-cookies-from-the-cookie-jar

Help the small critters find out who took the cookies. Was it Raven? Snake? Frog? Follow the cookie crumbs to solve the mystery and be delighted with the happy ending.
Ages 4 to 7


Beneath the Ghost Moon by Jane Yolenbeneath-ghost-moon

The mice have prepared for their Ghost Dance Ball, but some creepy-crawlies destroy their work. Help the mice fight back and celebrate in the Halloween moon with a clever and catchy rhyme scheme.
Ages 5 and up


Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alboroughwheres-my-teddy

Eddie finds his teddy in the woods, only to discover the teddy has grown. A real bear comes along with Eddie’s real-sized teddy, and they both get spooked.
Ages 3 to 7


Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet  by Diane de Groattrick-treat-smell-feet

Gilbert is in for a surprise when he accidentally takes his sister’s Halloween costume to school and not his. This story will teach the good and the bad about being different.
Ages 4 to 8


The House That Drac Built by Judy Sierrahouse-drac-built

Trick-or-treaters on Halloween resolve the chaotic events going on in the house that Drac built. Not for the faint of heart.
Ages 4 to 7



Mustard by Jessel Millermustard

Witness Mustard blossom into a happy, kind, and insightful woman. Thanks to her parents and angels, she grows up with soft love and strong values. Children will be drawn to the vivid and detailed illustrations.
All ages


The 13 Days of Halloween by Carol Greene13-days-halloween

In this spooky spin-off of The 12 Days of Christmas, a ghoul proves his love to another with haunting gifts like hissing cats and flying brooms. Read to discover what frightening present he receives in return!
Ages 4 to 8


My sister and I listened to and read these stories countless times before bedtime. Luckily none of them are too scary for nightmares! Find some seasonal favorites of your own and your children will enjoy them for years to come.


Helping Toddlers with Pre-Reading Skills

If you have a toddler at home, you may not have thought much about teaching her to read. Most parents of toddlers would be thrilled if their little one would just learn to keep their food on their plate! While most toddlers have several years before they begin to read fluently, there are some activities you can begin now in order to build a strong reading foundation. And trust us, your child will be in much better shape when starting school if you have already taken the time to do these things!

Developing your little one’s phonemic awareness is one very important way you can begin to lay the groundwork for reading success. Simply put, phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate sounds within words. The following phonemic awareness activities will help your toddler cultivate a strong basis for later reading.

  • Read Nursery Rhymes – Rhymes help children hear the phonetic connections between words with similar spellings and sounds. When you read nursery rhymes to your toddler, he learns the natural rhythms of spoken language.
  • Sing Rhyming Songs – Singing fun rhyming songs is another way to help your little one develop an awareness of rhythmic patterns among words. When you’re singing their favorite song for the tenth time that day, remember that you really are doing important brain work!
  • Clap Words – You can begin to introduce the concept of syllables to your toddler by “clapping words”. Clapping out the syllables in words helps your little one learn to isolate sounds, which is an important part of developing phonemic awareness.
  • Read Word Family Books – Reading books to your toddler that focus on a particular “word family” (words ending in a particular sound – “ad”, “an”, “op”, etc.), will help him gain phonemic awareness.  Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop is an example of a good book for introducing word families.
  • Go on a Sound Hunt – Help your toddler learn to isolate sounds within words by going on a “sound hunt”. For instance, look around the house for objects that have the /d/ sound in them (dog, door).
  • Talk and Read with Your Toddler! – Speaking abundantly with a young child and reading stories – both fiction and non-fiction – are easy and effective things a parent can do to help a child’s budding literacy.

Your toddler is probably still several years from becoming an independent reader, but it’s never too early to begin laying a good foundation for reading. In fact, you are probably already doing many of the things necessary for nurturing an emerging reader without even realizing it!

If you would like to know more about the concept of phonemic awareness, check out this video from Red Apple Reading!

Settling Into a New School Year

Settling Into a New School YearThe school supplies have been purchased, orientations attended, and bed times have been established – the new school year is well underway! Most parents have started settling into the routine for the fall, but how are your children adjusting? Don’t assume that no news is good news. Specific probing statements and questions such as, “Tell me about your teacher” or “What subject do you think you might struggle the most with this year?” can help your child to open up. Red Apple Reading has some tips for helping your child navigate issues with friends, teachers, and homework.

Friends – One of the perks of going back to school is hanging out with friends. While these interactions may normally be positive, sometimes they can become stressful. If your kiddo seems to be having friend drama, try the following:

  • Don’t Panic – Very often kids tend to work these things out themselves. Unless your child seems to be more upset than normal, resist the urge to jump in too quickly.
  • Try Something New – If your child seems to be having trouble making friends or her current friends are (ahem) less than desirable, encourage her to join some extracurricular activities. New activities will provide new acquaintances your child might not otherwise run into.
  • Host – Have your child’s friends over to your house periodically. This way you can observe firsthand any personality conflicts and perhaps offer a bit of guidance when issues arise.

Teachers – Every parent of school-age children knows the stress of waiting to discover who their child’s teacher will be for the new school year. Teachers spend several hours each day with our children and have a profound impact on their school experience. How should parents address issues with teachers?

  • Get to Know the Teacher – Don’t depend on hearsay from other parents or your child’s interpretation of events when forming an opinion of their teacher. Make an effort to get to know the teacher yourself. Ask if there is any way you can help her over the course of the school year. She’ll appreciate the help and you will be able to see how she interacts with the children and get to know the atmosphere of the classroom.
  • Frame Concerns Diplomatically – Be diplomatic when addressing concerns with your little one’s teacher. Remember that you and your child will be interacting with this person for the remainder of the school year – you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot. For instance, if your child seems to be intimidated by the way his teacher speaks to him, you could say, “Billy may seem closed off at times; we’ve found that he responds best to clear instructions delivered with a smile!”
  • Use Administration as a Last Resort – Most problems involving teachers can be easily resolved. However, if you have tried your best to deal with the situation in a courteous, understanding way without resolution, it may be time to speak to a principal. You are your child’s advocate and certainly have the right to address issues that concern your child’s well-being.

Homework – The older our children get, the more potential there is for problems with homework. Try employing some of the following strategies when you run into homework trouble!

  • Use the Internet – Is there anything that strikes more fear into the heart of a parent than when he’s asked to assist his 3rd grader with math homework? (Did you know they don’t carry the one anymore when doing multiplication?!) Don’t despair! A quick perusal of the internet can give you the much needed tutorial you need to be able to assist your kiddo with his homework.
  • Talk with the Teacher – If your kiddo is struggling with a particular subject, contact his teacher sooner rather than later. It is much better to get on top of the problem right away than to wait until your child has fallen far behind. Most teachers are happy to provide parents with resources and ideas to help them get their kid back on track! You may also want to check the teacher’s web page. Many instructors provide helpful resources that are only a click away!

Don’t let beginning of the year problems get you and your little one down. Most issues can be resolved with the support of a loving, involved parent. Here’s wishing your child a fantastic school year!

6 Great Nighttime Reads for Curious Kids

Putting a Curious Soul to Bed - 6 Great Nighttime Reads - Red Apple ReadingBeing a parent can be a challenging experience. It takes plenty of patience to educate children well and help them understand why certain things should be done. What is your trick when trying to put your curious little child to bed at night?

Here are six great nighttime reads that may come in handy for parents trying to ensure the best childhood experience for their little curious souls:

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh
First on our list is A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles. Why? Surprisingly, this is not only an interesting nighttime read to consider but also one that can calm your child down and get him ready for a good night’s sleep. Even if you never though it was possible to introduce your child to meditation at this age, it is actually highly-recommended. This read will help you do so. Playful activities and fun are ensured for you and your child right before bed!

6 Great Nighttime Reads for Curious Souls - A Handful of Quiet - Red Apple Reading

I Am Yoga by Susan Verde
How about introducing your child to yoga through fun activities that are appropriate for her age? This will feed her curiosity and get her ready for bed in a pleasant, calm manner without hassles and arguments. I Am Yoga is a child-friendly guide to 16 innovative poses that will make your child feel the thrills of fun interaction, not to mention the fun you will be having on the side!

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
This is a great nighttime read that parents should consider when they want to teach children about friendship, living with pets and living through fear even at early ages. Your child will certainly end up imagining himself being Splat on his first day of school with his pet mouse friend, Seymour to have his back. Learning all about making new friends and the amazing adventures on the first day of school will ensure a great night of sleep for your child while dreaming about another world.

6 Great Nighttime Reads for Curious Souls - Splat the Cat - Red Apple Reading

Unstoppable Me: 10 Ways to Soar Through Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Here is another recommendation for you – Unstoppable Me: 10 Ways to Soar through Life. It allows you to teach your child all sorts of valuable lessons that she will enjoy learning. She will learn all about living without fear and adopting a life without limits. Your happy kid will discover new ways of never having to just fit in and live her life to the fullest. You may get new insights for the child living inside of you as well.

Skippjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Get ready to introduce your child to a very special kitten. There is nothing ordinary about this character and the lessons he can teach your kid. Let El Skippito, the great sword-fighter against banditos around the world, teach valuable lessons in a fun way. Your child will fall asleep imagining himself being on a new adventure and will learn all about the way in which positive characters always win the battles against negative ones – all with the help of a frisky cat!

6 Great Nighttime Reads for Curious Souls - Skippyjon Jones - Red Apple Reading

Dreams Come True: All They Need Is You by Mike Dooley
Teach your child a valuable lesson right before bedtime: dreams always come true if she trusts herself to make things happen. Read all about the magnificent land of dreams where young friends are headed towards the greatest adventure of their lives. Let your child enjoy the thrills of living a new adventure every time she goes to bed and learn valuable lessons about life with the help of Dreams Come True: All They Need is You.

Every night before bedtime, introduce your child to a new world packed with valuable lessons and entertaining dreams that will keep him sleeping like an angel and waking up well-rested and ready for new activities. These reads will help you get started!

By Steve Brown and!