Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!


Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall


Although fall officially begins on September 23rd this year, for most of us Labor Day signals the end of summer and the unofficial beginning of fall. While it is sad to say goodbye to the lazy days of summer, let’s keep in mind all of the great things we will be saying hello to! Here are five things we are excited about here at Red Apple Reading:




  • School is in Session – Although I love a relaxed summer schedule, I have to admit by the time September rolls around, I’m not altogether sad to see my kiddos heading off for school! With the new school year comes structure and routine, and let’s face it, that’s not only good for our children, it’s good for us parents as well!
  • Fall Athletics and Activities – I live in the south and around here, football is king. So this weekend we anticipate the beloved beginning of college football. As a parent of four kids though, my focus will be marching band and soccer practice. There’s something about picking out your child in the midst of the halftime show and realizing that she totally rocks that geeky band uniform! And who doesn’t love watching the entire 6-year-old team clumped together around the soccer ball? They’ll learn strategy soon enough – and it won’t be nearly as cute!
  • Cooler Weather – Labor Day weekend also reminds us that cooler weather is around the corner! Waking up to a brisk morning is good for my soul. Mild, pleasant days are a welcome change from the summertime heat (did I mention I live in the South?). Plus, chilly fall evenings mean Saturday nights spent eating s’mores with the kids around a backyard fire!
  • Comfort Food – Perhaps one of the best things about fall is the food! Sure, there’s no rule to what you can eat during the summer, but it somehow seems wrong to eat a bowl of chili when it’s 95 degrees outside. So bring on the chicken and dumplings, vegetable soup, and apple crisp – it’s fall!
  • Turning Leaves – It happens every year and it never ceases to please me – the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows of the turning leaves! There’s something about the beautiful backdrop of colorful trees that makes the outdoors even more appealing. The multi-colored leaves may only last a few weeks, but look on the bright side: once they fall off the trees, the kids can rake them into piles and jump in them!

If you’re mourning the end of the summer season, cheer up! There’s so much to look forward to with the return of fall. Thank goodness that reading is an enjoyable and productive past time whatever the season! Why not grab a book now and cuddle up with your kiddo and spend some quality time reading? It’s always a good idea!

Fall is also a great time to sign up for our full Red Apple Reading Program. For a limited time you can save up to 40%. Visit our website and discover how Red Apple Reading makes serious learning seriously fun!

How to Help Older Children Choose Reading Material

How to Help Older Children Choose Reading Material - Red Apple ReadingWould your child rather visit the dentist than pick up a book? It can be challenging for parents to find reading material that captures their children’s attention – especially older children!

I have four kids and their reading interests are as varied as their personalities! My youngest is a question generator. He enjoys non-fiction books that get to the bottom of his inquiries. My 11 year old has trouble completing chapter books but loves comic book style reads such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate. My 14 year old loves fantasy and historical fiction while my 17 year old enjoys the dystopic genre of books.

All kids are different, and with a little effort you can help yours discover enjoyable reading material. Red Apple Reading has a few suggestions to get you started!

1) Interest Inventory – The first and easiest suggestion for helping your kiddo find reading material is to simply think of things that interest her. This suggestion may seem a bit obvious; but sometimes it’s easy to overlook the answer that is “staring us in the face”. If your kid would rather watch WWE than read a book, find all the books you can about the wrestling profession. Yes, there are plenty out there! Maybe your child enjoys playing with Legos. Guess what? There are several books available featuring Lego characters as well as Lego history.

2) Be a Benevolent Dictator – If you really have a hankering that your kiddo would enjoy a particular book if he gave it a chance, then try instituting a “three chapter rule”. Tell your reluctant reader that he must read three chapters of the book. If he still doesn’t like it, then let him put it away. He may discover that the story had a slow start but eventually “hooked” him!

3) Survey Says… – One of the best ways to help your older child find material she would like to read is to ask friends for recommendations. Next time you are with a group of parents, ask them what their kiddos are currently reading. There’s a good chance that someone has unearthed a gem of a book that you and your child haven’t discovered yet!

4) Think Outside the Book – If you’re having trouble finding any book your kid will read, then it’s time to “think outside the book”! There is a variety of reading material available that isn’t in “book form”. Magazines, newspapers, blogs, and graphic novels are all great reading resources!

5) Challenge Accepted! – Many kids find a good challenge to be inspiring. Think about how you can turn reading into a fun competition. For instance, you could challenge your child to read one book from each of the 10 categories of the Dewey Decimal system. Or you could see how many books he could read from the Banned and Challenged Classics list. Be sure to offer an incentive to spice up the offer!

 Don’t grow weary of encouraging your child to read! Although it may be challenging to find the right reading material for your kiddo, your persistence will eventually pay off. Reading is a gift that will yield rewards far into their future! If you want to learn more about how Red Apple Reading helps kids become successful readers then check out our website. Our online program provides serious learning that’s seriously fun!

Make Learning Fun at Home!

Little girl with alphabet

All parents want their children to experience success in life. An important part of parenting is making sure that our little ones develop the skills necessary to be fully literate. You don’t have to have a teaching degree in order to help your kiddo learn. In fact, the main way that young children learn is through play! Check out these ideas on how you can make learning fun at home.

Repurpose Household Items – Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when considering ways to teach your children. The primary way young children learn is through play and your home is a treasure trove of teaching materials! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Flour Power – Everyone has flour at home. If you want to keep little hands busy while you are preparing supper, set up a small “sand tray” for your kiddo to practice tracing letters. A 9×13 or roasting pan with a little flour, salt, or sugar, becomes the perfect manipulative for practicing letter writing.
  • Magazine Messages – Kids love to cut and paste! If your house is like mine, there are several old magazines lying around. Let your little one cut out lots of different letters and identify them as she pastes. If your child is already spelling small words, have her form words with the cut outs.
  • Lego Love – How many times this past week have you stepped on one of those pesky Legos that are laying all over the house? Most moms have a love/hate relationship with these building blocks; but children are crazy for them! Check out how this blogger from One Perfect Day used Legos and play dough to spice up her little one’s learning.

Vary Reading Material – It’s always important to have plenty of reading material available throughout the house! Make sure you have a good variety for your kiddo to choose from, and encourage friends and relatives to donate or purchase books and magazines that you think your children will enjoy. Don’t forget about all of the free books at your local library!

  • Fiction and Non-Fiction Books – I love to read fiction; however, my youngest son prefers to read non-fiction books about animals. It’s important for a home library to have both fiction and non-fiction reading material. You may also want to have both shorter picture books and chapter books for read-alouds. How balanced is your kid’s bookshelf?
  • Other Reading Material – It’s just as important that your child see a variety of reading material available, including magazines, comic books, recipes, cereal boxes, and websites.

Make Sight Words and Spelling Words Fun – Let’s face it – it can be difficult to get excited about practicing spelling words and sight words at the end of a busy day. Nevertheless, it’s important that our little ones not associate literacy with drudgery. Here at Red Apple Reading we believe learning should be seriously fun! Check out these tips to help bring a little fun to spelling and sight word practice:

  • Refrigerator Review – If you have young children there’s a better than average chance you have alphabet magnets on the refrigerator. These manipulatives are perfect resources for varying how you review spelling/sight words. Instead of writing or spelling the word aloud, have your kiddo spell it with the magnets.
  • Wikki Words – Let your youngster use Wikki Stix to practice his spelling. These colorful sticky manipulatives can be twisted into different letter shapes and are wonderfully mess free!
  • Red Apple Reading –Your child will enjoy playing our online games so much that she won’t even realize how much she is learning. If you want to give your child a little extra help with sight words, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and reading comprehension, then sign up now for a no risk trial. Red Apple Reading makes it fun to learn!

We would love to hear how you make learning fun at home! Leave us a comment sharing your favorite ways to sneak a little fun into the learning process.

7 Books that Celebrate Uniqueness

Did you know that August 13th is International Left-Handers Day? Left- handed people are definitely unique. Only about 10% of the population is left-hand dominant! Southpaws may be in the minority, but they are also in good company. Albert Einstein, Aristotle, Helen Keller, and Marie Curie were all lefties! In honor of International Left-Handers Day, Red Apple Reading has composed a list of 7 books that celebrate uniqueness.

tacky the penguin


Tacky the Penguin (Helen Lester) – Tacky is a penguin who marches to the beat of his own drum! While the other Penguins have very “buttoned up” personalities, Tacky is loud in both his mannerisms and dress. In the end, Tacky’s unique personality actually helps save the day! (Pre-school – Early Elementary)





Leo the Late Bloomer


Leo the Late Bloomer (Robert Kraus) – Leo’s dad is worried about his little Tiger. He can’t seem to get anything right! But Leo’s mom knows that he will eventually “blossom” when the time is right for him! This book is a sweet reminder that everyone blooms at their own pace. (Preschool – Early Elementary)





a bad case of stripes


A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon) – Poor Camilla Cream! She is always concerned with what other people think of her. In fact, she will not eat lima beans (which she loves) because the other kids don’t like them! It all leads to a bad case of stripes. Will Camilla learn that it’s OK to be herself? (Elementary School Students)





Big Bouffant


Big Bouffant (Kate Hosford) – Annabelle doesn’t want a hairstyle like the other girls. She wants something exciting and different! After seeing a picture of her grandmother, she knows just what kind of hair-do she wants. This book reminds readers that it’s good to be an individual. (Elementary School Students)





the colors of us


The Colors of Us (Karen Katz) – Lena is learning that brown comes in many different shades! This charming book celebrates the different shades of skin colors. Children will not only enjoy the story, but they will love the beautiful illustrations as well! (Preschool – Early Elementary)





odd velvet


Odd Velvet (Mary Whitcomb) – Velvet doesn’t fit in with the rest of the kids. She doesn’t have a new dress like the other girls at the beginning of the year and she brings odd things to school! Will the other children learn to appreciate Velvet’s differences? (Preschool – Early Elementary)




same, same but differentSame, Same but Different (Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw) – Kailash lives in India and Elliot lives in America. These two boys learn that while there are many differences between their two cultures, there are also many things about their lives that are the same! A nice story about two pen pals who learn to value diversity while realizing they are also similar in many ways! (Preschool – Early Elementary)


Start the School Year on a Positive Note

Getting the School Year Off to a Positive Start

Summer break is almost over! Some school children have another month of vacation to enjoy, and many students are heading back to the classroom in the next few weeks. While returning to a structured routine is appealing, beginning a new year can be stressful for both kids and parents! Red Apple Reading has a few tips to help your family get the school year off to a positive start.


A Week Before:

  • Book Bag Deposit – Strategically placed wall hangers, cubbies, or baskets ensure that kids can quickly locate their back packs and books.
  • Homework Headquarters – Prepare a place for kids to work. A quiet work space stocked with pencils, pens, and paper, is a must for successful homework completion!
  • Parent Papers – We all know how hard it is to keep track of all those notes, calendars, and lunch menus that go home daily. Purchase a paper tray to keep all those pieces of paper tidy and handy. When kids empty their book bags, papers for home go immediately in the tray!
  • Time to Talk – One of the most important things parents can do to help their little ones get off on the right foot is to talk with them about the upcoming year. A simple conversation can reveal your child’s fears, hopes, and expectations. So before classes start take your kiddo out for an ice cream and discuss the approaching school year.

The Night Before:

  • Fuss Free Wardrobe – Avoid morning drama over clothing. Have your child choose his outfit and lay it out the night before. Make sure clothing complies with the school dress code.
  • Packed and Ready – Make certain book bags are packed with completed homework and other papers that have to be returned.
  • Reasonable Bed Time – One of the most effective ways to improve your child’s school experience is by ensuring she gets adequate sleep each night. The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute recommends that preschoolers get 11-12 hours of sleep per night; while school age children require at least 10 hours, and teens need 9-10 hours.

The Morning of the First Day:

  • Time to Go– Make sure your kiddo has plenty of time to get ready in the morning. A mad, morning rush almost guarantees that you will be sending a disgruntled child off to school. Some kids move slowly in the morning and others hit the ground running. Plan your morning accordingly!
  • Breakfast Boost – Be sure to incorporate a healthy breakfast into your morning schedule. A full tummy will help your little one concentrate and give her the energy she needs to tackle the day! Many schools offer breakfast before classes begin each morning. Often these meals are free or reduced depending on your household income. Ask your school administration for details!

We can’t be in complete control over how our child’s first day of school unfolds, but we can implement a few strategies to help make the transition smoother. We hope your kiddos have an enjoyable first day of school this year!

Speaking of back to school, for a limited time you can get the complete Red Apple Reading Program for up to 40% off with our back to school special. If you want to learn more about helping your child become a successful reader with serious learning that’s seriously fun, visit our website for a free trial today!