10 Things Your Kids Should Know About Martin Luther King Jr.

On January 16th our country celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This holiday is the perfect time to reflect with your child on the amazing life of one of civil rights’ most important figures. Why not take some time as a family to discuss some of the significant events in King’s life? Red Apple Reading has compiled a list of 10 things your kids should know about Dr. King to get you started.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • King was intelligent. He skipped two years of high school and enrolled in Morehouse College at age 15. After he graduated from Morehouse he attended Crozer Theological Seminary where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He then went to Boston University where he earned his doctorate in systematic theology.
  • Some of King’s primary influences were his father – Martin Luther King, Sr., Jesus Christ, Morehouse President – Dr. Benjamin Mays, and Mahatma Gandhi.
  • King believed that peaceful civil disobedience was the best and most effectual way of bringing about political and social change.
  • King wrote Letter from a Birmingham Jail (a stirring defense of civil disobedience) in April of 1963 after being arrested for participating in a civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. This powerful manifesto was written without reference materials or notes and was over 7000 words long. Click here to read or listen to King’s letter.
  • King presented his I Have a Dream Speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. Dr. King delivered his speech at the March on Washington, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Click here to view King delivering his full speech.
  • Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was the youngest person to ever receive the prize.
  • King was the influential force behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the Selma March. These events helped to propel the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).
  • King was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 by James Earl Ray. He was in Memphis supporting a sanitation workers’ strike.
  • King is remembered on the 3rd Monday in January, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This holiday was observed for the first time on January 20th, 1986.

If you would like to further explore the life of Dr. King, check out the following websites!


Is the Public Library a Dying Institution?

When was the last time you or your children visited the library? Devoted patrons sing the praises of their local libraries, but others don’t really see the point of visiting any longer. In fact, with the rise of the digital age, many people are wondering if libraries are a dying establishment. We believe there are several reasons local public libraries are still a valuable resource to the public.Are Libraries a Dying Institution? Red Apple Reading blog

Red Apple Reading offers up a few reasons why visiting your local library is still a good idea!

  • It’s fun! – If you give me unlimited access to a building filled with books – that’s enough for me! However, there is so much more to experiencing a library than wandering the bookshelves (though you really should give that a try sometime!). I find that one of the best outings I can offer my younger son is a trip to the children’s section of our local library. He can use the cool interactive Promethean table, visit the pet turtle, and play with all of the cool blocks and games they have available.
  • Peace and Quiet – Parents know how challenging it can be to get work done at home. However, I can always pack up my laptop and head to the library. Not only do I have access to free WiFi, I also have access to a peaceful and relatively quiet environment.
  • Technology – It’s easy to think of libraries as antiquated buildings with dusty books, but in reality most libraries have changed with the times. Our local library has several computers available for public use. They also have a wonderful website that allows me to checkout or renew books online, download books, and view computer tutorials.
  • Public Services – Libraries also offer wonderful services to the community. Very often they present classes on government programs, personal finance, and computer seminars. They also often have weekly story time and activities for children. A quick check of the library website will show you what services are available in your town.
  • Socialization – While it is super convenient to take care of tasks from the comfort of your own home, this doesn’t allow you to interact with other people. Local libraries afford visitors the opportunity to socialize with one another. Book clubs, creative writing classes, story time, and movie viewings are just a few examples of ways libraries encourage socialization.
  • Books! – Yep, this one is a no-brainer, but it bears reminding that libraries offer access to a wide variety of reading materials. Sure, I could download any book I want onto my tablet, but it might not be free!

Perhaps, instead of heading toward extinction, libraries are merely evolving. Whatever your views are about the relevance of libraries, we think you will be touched by this heartwarming story about a secret library in Syria. You’ll be amazed at how one library has changed the lives of a war torn community.


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!


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!


April and May Showers Bring Indoor Wow-ers

What’s there to do while waiting for nicer weather to come? While some people think there’s not much to do when it’s raining or cold outside, there are actually countless fun activities families can do together to make the most of any stormy day. Here are five favorites:

  • Camp in the Great Indoorscamping indoors pic
    Who ever said camping has to be outside only? Set up a tent indoors, light your fireplace, hang string lights for stars, and roast marshmallows over the fire. Children will love the different pace of this exciting indoor adventure. Take a hike around your house, point out wild animals (your pets!), and fall asleep in your tent under the twinkling stars.


  • BakeApril baking pic
    One of my personal favorite things to do when it’s raining outside is to bake cookies and cakes. It’s cold outside, but it’s nice and toasty inside with the warm oven on. Have your children help you bake cookies or other treats, then unleash their creativity with food coloring, cookie cutters, and sprinkles!


  • Create CraftsApril crafts pic
    One craft idea is to make a time capsule. With your child, take an airtight container (like Tupperware) and fill it with some of their favorite little things. Pack in stickers, photos, little toys, and have them write a note to their future selves! On a later sunny day, bury it in the backyard and wait 10 years to open it! For more time capsule ideas, check out this article from MyKidsTime blog.


  • Build a FortApril fort pic
    Take pillows, blankets, and clothes pins and build a big fort in front of the TV. Choose a movie that’s a family favorite, pop some popcorn, and eat snacks just like at the movie theater. Watch the movie in your fort and enjoy the show! Read about the developmental benefits of children building forts and fun fort ideas on Kinstantly.


  • Have Fun in the Rain April rain pic
    There’s nothing wrong with getting out into nature when it’s raining! Put on your best rain gear and rain boots or some warm clothes you don’t mind getting wet. Go outside to jump in puddles, sing and dance, catch rain drops in your hands, and look up at the rain falling. Then enjoy some cocoa and a warm bath or shower after. It will be a memory you and your children won’t forget!

April showers can bring more than May flowers- let those rainy days bring happiness and fun memories! Red Apple Reading wants your family to have a blast!