Celebrate the 4th of July with Fun Literacy Activities!

Red Apple Reading image - Independence DayThe 4th of July weekend is upon us and summer is in full swing. If your kids are like mine they are really enjoying their vacation from school. While it’s good to have a break from the daily grind of schoolwork, kids can lose some of the progress they made over the previous school year. You can help avoid this “summer slump” by incorporating some educational content into the summer schedule. Why not start today? Take time to sharpen your child’s literacy skills with these fun 4th of July themed activities.

  • Patriotic Picture Books – If you’re looking for some patriotic reads to share with your kiddo, then look no further! No Time for Flashcards has compiled a list of 18 patriotic picture books that are sure to get your little one ready for 4th of July fun!
  • F is for Flag – This cute craft is a must for those of you with preschoolers! Your child will practice her phonics, exercise her creativity and learn about the Stars and Stripes when she constructs this adorable F shaped American flag. Thanks MPM Ideas!
  • 4th of July Word Search – Make your very own word search with Discovery Education’s free puzzle generator. Simply type in the patriotic terms you wish to use and your customized puzzle will be ready in a matter of seconds!
  • History Lesson – Older elementary, middle and high school students will enjoy the interactives, videos, articles and pictures about the 4th of July at History.com. Take advantage of this fun way to incorporate a history lesson for Independence Day.
  • Write a Thank You Note – The 4th of July is the perfect time to write a thank you note to a soldier serving in the military. Operation Gratitude helps facilitate this important volunteer activity. Visit their website today to learn more.
  • Patriotic Writing Prompts – Want to give your little one an opportunity to practice his writing skills? Give him a patriotic writing prompt to get his creative juices flowing! Writing prompts such as, “I love living in America because…”, “If I were President I would…” and “My favorite American hero is…” are just a few ways to get your kiddo going.
  • Compose a Patriotic Poem – If your kid enjoys poetry encourage her to compose her very own patriotic rhyme. The evening barbecue will be the perfect place for her to share her creation with the entire family!
  • A to Z Challenge – See who can come up with the most patriotic words this Independence Day. Give each of your kids a sheet of paper labeled A-Z. Have them write a patriotic word starting with each letter of the alphabet. Whoever comes up with the most words is the winner!
  • ABC Stick FlagsGrowing Book by Book has 3 great ABC stick flag activities that fit well with a 4th of July theme. Test these out with your preschool kiddo this Independence Day!

We hope your weekend is filled with lots of fun family activities. Happy 4th of July from all of us here at Red Apple Reading!


Books for Kids about the American Flag

Do you understand the history behind Flag Day? On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act in order to establish a national flag. President Wilson was the first president to officially establish an anniversary of the flag resolution in 1916. However, it wasn’t until August 1949 that June 14th was officially designated as National Flag Day, when President Truman signed an Act of Congress.

Now that you know a little more about this national holiday, why not share some of the American flag’s history with your little ones? Red Apple Reading recommends these 7 “flagtastic” books for you and your children to enjoy together!

stars and stripes

Stars and Stripes: The Story of the American Flag (Sarah L. Thomson) – Children in grades 1–4 will enjoy learning how the American flag came to be. This informative book chronicles the changes the flag has undergone throughout the years.



F is for flag



F is for Flag (Wendy Cheyette Lewison) – A nice book that reminds young children of the importance of the American flag in our society. The author explains how the Stars and Stripes symbolizes many things and serves to unite us all!




Our flag



Our Flag (Carl Memling) – If you are a fan of Little Golden Books, you and your little one will like this one! This is a great history of the American flag for preschool and early elementary school children.







Who Was Betsy Ross? (James Buckley) – Although this one isn’t primarily about the American flag, we included it because it’s about the patriotic seamstress who helped to create it! A great  biography for 8- to 12-year-olds.




Flags over America



Flags Over America: A Star Spangled Story (Cheryl Harness) – In this beautifully illustrated book, Harness tells the story of the different flags that have flown over our country. This book includes an American flag timeline as well as a glossary of flag terminology. For 7- to 10-year-olds.



The Star Spangled Banner



The Story of the “Star-Spangled Banner” (Patricia Pingry) – Children ages 2-5 will enjoy this introduction to our national anthem. This board book is toddler friendly and also includes a nice section on flag manners!




flag day



Flag Day  (Robin Nelson) – If you’re looking for a good book about the history of Flag Day, this is a great title for emerging readers. This First Step nonfiction book includes a Flag Day timeline, facts, and glossary.




We hope you’ll take time this month to share one of these books with your family. Happy Flag Day from all of us here at Red Apple Reading!


Summer Reading: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Summer Reading: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly | Red Apple ReadingOnce again the school year has flown by and summer is upon us. Many parents are thrilled for your kids to have some down time, but don’t relish the fight against television, video games, and social media. For me, summer reading has always been an important key to adding some loose structure to the break. However, reading can create mixed feelings in our kiddos: some are good, some are bad, and some are just plain ugly!

Summer reading is important and can be enjoyable if you present it the right way to your children. If you’re looking for some fun ways to implement reading into your kid’s summer break, Red Apple Reading invites you to try some of the following suggestions!

  • Scavenger Hunt – At the beginning of the summer plan a weekly scavenger hunt at your local library. For instance, the first week have your child search for a book about animals. The next week look for a mystery story. By planning a hunt with different genres each week, you can turn reading into an adventure!
  • Reading Rewards – Have your kid “purchase” technology time, swimming time, or ice cream dates. Don’t worry – this isn’t a shady scheme to make a little side money! Kids earn these prizes by reading! You decide how it works. Perhaps 1 hour of reading earns 20 minutes of television or 1 chapter book earns a trip to a fast food restaurant.
  • Family Reading – At the beginning of the summer, pick a book that the entire family can enjoy. Spend half an hour each day reading the story aloud to everyone. You’ll be surprised how much you and the children look forward to this daily activity!
  • Book Surprise – The first day of summer break present the kids with a surprise gift basket full of new books. These don’t have to be brand new titles; you can visit thrift stores and second hand shops to purchase “new to you” books.
  • Technology Temptation – If your kid is tech savvy, then take advantage of that passion and tempt them with technology! Allow your child to engage in reading in ways that don’t involve traditional books. For instance, did you know Red Apple Reading offers a bi-monthly e-magazine for kids and parents? Check it out today 
  • Mystery Book Basket – We love this fun idea from Inner Child Fun. Similar to “Blind Date with a Book”, this kid friendly version will add a little mystery to their book choice!
  • Library Programs – Most public libraries have summer reading programs for children. These programs encourage summer reading through fun programs, activities and prizes. This year’s Collaborative Summer Library Program theme is On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!
  • Book + Activity – Does your little one love a good craft or project? If so, combine her love of creativity with reading. Come up with a craft to make to go along with a book she is reading. Don’t worry if you’re not the creative type! A quick perusal of Pinterest will offer an abundance of ideas!

Be prepared to offer your kids a summer full of reading fun! With a little forethought and planning, you can experience all the good of summer reading and (hopefully!) avoid the bad and the ugly!


Unlucky Reads for Kids on Friday the 13th

Are superstitions real? Or is it all just hocus pocus? The only way to find out is by reading about them! In honor of Friday the 13th, here are some kid-friendly books to check out.

Unlucky Reads for Kids on Friday the 13th - Red Apple ReadingThere’s a Monster in My Closet by Linda Polistina
Do bad things really happen on Friday the 13th? And what really is in Timmy’s closet?

Beware! It’s Friday the 13th by Kate McMullen
This book is unlucky #13 in the Dragon Slayers’ Academy series.

Arthur and the Bad-Luck Brain by Stephen Krensky

Friday the 13th from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
Is it truly going to be an unlucky day? Find out in this story!

Call Me Friday the Thirteenth by Betty Bates

Sleepover Club on Friday 13th by Louis Catt
Five girls end up in monkey business on the dreaded day.

Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm by Megan McDonald
Judy wins and does well at everything… until something terrible happens to her lucky penny!

Bad Luck Boswell by Diane Dawson Hearn
Black kitty cat Boswell is surrounded by superstitious townspeople. Will the new witch in town turn it around?

Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions by Janet S. Wong

After reading these books, you and your kids are sure to have developed some opinion about superstitions. Enjoy the reads, and don’t step on a crack!


Last-Minute Gifts for Mom

Mothers deserve more than just one day a year for their hard work and unconditional love, but it’s important to make them feel special this Mother’s Day. Even if you haven’t had the chance to get something for your mom, you can always call or visit and just let her know how much you love her! Or, if you are heading out at the last minute, try one of these dozen gifts that moms will appreciate:

Homemade Gifts:

Signs of LoveMother's Day image - Red Apple Reading
Decorate a sign for mom, whether it’s a declaration of your love, or a clever saying like, “Home is Where the Mom Is.” Mothers are sure to love the creativity and thoughtfulness.

Painted Pots
Buy some small pots for planting and paint away! Fill with dirt and a flower of your mother’s favorite color/kind and watch her smile light up the room!

Mama’s Mason Jar
Mason jars are all the hype these days – there are so many uses for them! Here is another: fill a mason jar with confetti, tissue paper, and a gift for mom, such as nail polish, lip balm, mini lotions, or even her favorite chocolate will do just fine!

Bake Her Favorite Dessert
Or cook her favorite meal! Mother’s will love the delicious thought that you spent time just for her.

A Heartfelt Card
Sometimes words can say it better than gifts. Grab scrapbook paper, letters, stamps, and any other crafts and make mama a card with a love letter and a thank you.

DIY Picture Frame
We love this idea from BYOU magazine to make a picture frame out of yarn. Don’t forget the picture!

Buy For Moms Who Like to Read:

Coloring Book & Fancy Markers
Help your mother relieve any stress she might have through the art of coloring! Buy a fun coloring book she’ll like and include some Prismacolor colored pencils or pens to spruce up the gift!

If your mama loves to read, she might have quite the collection of books. Help her keep those books straight with some fancy bookends!

Have her try this candle from Bliss Home & Design while she reads.

Check-Me-Out Library Kit
A fun gift from ModCloth your mom will find amusing to use.

You can never have enough! We like these ones from Cost Plus World Market.

A Book!
See what she’s been reading and Google similar titles she doesn’t have already. She’ll love that you know what genre she likes!

Red Apple Reading wishes all mothers young and old a very special Mother’s Day!