Book Stars: Interview with Kat Kirst

 

So, I have just launched a new video series where I interview the best authors.  Many of my clients ask about great books for their kids and Kat Kirst is one of my favorite Young Adult authors.  Her books are geared towards middle school and high school kids, but I can’t personally get enough of her books.  If your child is reading young adult books, then check out Kat’s books on Amazon.

She has just recently written her fourth book called The Cost of Living Forever.  It is about the horrors of what can happen if there was a pill that could make you live forever.  A young teenager has been living a sheltered life in this society, and he is about to take his first pill.  But then he falls in love with one of the hired hands.  His view and perspective on life and the society he is living in completely changes and he becomes a revolutionary pioneer. Check out this awesome interview below.

 

If you could live forever what would you do?

Kindle, Nook, Ipad Oh My – Second Habit of Highly Effective Readers

Kindle, Nook, Ipad Oh My – Second Habit of Highly Effective Readers

Well, it is that time of year again.  My kids are off to school and I am excited to begin writing a brand new book.  I will be creating the book through this blog and you will have free access to all of it’s content here.  This book/blog series is called Seven Habits of Highly Effective Readers and will give you information on what you can do to create an avid reader.

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As “Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh my” is to the Wizard of Oz, the Kindle, Nook and Ipad are to the book world.  Kids love their technology and if you ask any highlyKindle effective reader if they have a book on one of these digital tools, they will say yes.  In fact they love them.  This does not mean that the good old fashioned book is dead.  It simply means that this is another place that readers are storing their books and reading them.

However, what about kids that are not highly effective readers, do they always have books on these devices.  Not always.  Does this mean that you should run out and buy your child a Kindle, Nook, or iPad?  Not necessarily.  These devices can be expensive and the books that you put on them are not always free, in fact you can end up spending as much money on an e-book as you do a regular book.  So what are the benefits to these devices?  Here are just a few.

1.  At night when kids typically read books before bed they enjoy having the book on a device because it is lit up.

2.  A reader can easily bring multiple books anywhere at anytime on a tiny little device without having to cart around a ton of books.

3.  Entertainment for when your child is “BORED”.

4.  Lots of choice selection while sitting in the car on a long ride.

5.  Tap on a word and the definition appears.  No longer do you need to stop reading, look a word up in the dictionary, and then come back to your reading.  Everything is done with the touch of a finger.

There are many more benefits to have books on these devices, but these are the top ones.  In fact today on-screen reading is overtaking that of print reading according to an article posted on Words for Life.  In this article it mentions the following statistics.

Our new research with 34,910 young people aged eight to 16 reveals:

  • 39% of children and young people read daily using electronic devices including tablets and eReaders, but  only 28% read printed materials daily. The number of children reading eBooks has doubled in the last two years (from 6% to 12%).
  • Children say they prefer to read on screen. Over half (52%) said they would rather read on electronic devices but only a third (32%) would rather read in print.

Simply put, if you want your child to be a highly effective reader, you cannot discount the power of reading on these devices.  Our world is changing and if we want our children to be up to date in the 21st century, then it is definitely something to take into account.

According to ebookfriendly.com here is what kids have to say about ebooks.

It’s cool to read on an ereader.

– 11 year-old boy, New Jersey

I would like to get an ebook reader so I will want to read more books.

– 16 year-old boy, Ohio

I like to read ebooks in bed in the dark before falling asleep.

– 11 year-old girl, Georgia

I’m not sure how much I would like to read ebooks, but do want to try it!

– 13 year-old boy, California

It’s more fun, may cost less, and will help the environment.

– 10 year-old boy, Texas

You can tap on a word to see what it means and you can make the words big or small.

– 9 year-old girl, Virginia

I read more because I have an ereader.

– 14 year-old girl, Georgia

My ereader is easy to carry in my backpack wherever I go.

– 16 year-old girl, Wisconsin

Ebooks are fun to read anywhere.

– 9 year-old girl, California

When I am done with a book I can get another one in minutes.

– 10 year-old girl, Ohio

Ebooks are awesome.

– 13 year-old girl, Michigan

 

How do you feel about ebooks for kids?  Do you read ebooks and how often?

 

 

We Need Your Help

So, as many of you know my friend Renee and I wrote a book called Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along.  Last week we had a promotion and many people downloaded the book.  This is great news right?  Well, unfortunately a person that doesn’t know how to leave reviews happen to leave one on our book.  Here is what he said,

I think this book helped kids aruging to their parents.it helped me to stop my tone and pushing people. I like this book.

This person then left a 1 star, which significantly will deter people from reading it.  Now, if my book is truly a 1 star book, I am o.k. with that.  But here is how the star system works for books on Amazon.

1  star = Hate it

2 stars = I Don’t Like it

3 stars = It’s Okay

4 stars = I like it

5 stars = I love it

Technically this person meant to put 4 stars, but put one which now will effect if people will even take a look at it.  I know in my heart that the person who left this rating was trying to be helpful.  I honestly think that it was an honest mistake based off their comment.

So, if you are able to help Renee and I out, we would appreciate it.  If you have already gotten the book and would be able to leave an honest review we would be very grateful.  If you haven’t gotten the book and are able to get the digital one for kindle, look it over, and leave an honest review again we would be very grateful.

Some of you might be thinking, “But I don’t have a kindle.”  Well, no worries you can easily download the Kindle app onto any computer, phone, or ipad.   Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to help us out.  Just click on the link below and you will be brought to the page.  In the format section you will notice that the book is just .99 in Kindle.

 

 

Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along is Published

Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along is Published

Today is an extremely exciting day for my friend Renee and I.  We have created our first picture book together and it is live on Amazon Front_Cover_of_Three_Little_Sisters_Learn_to_Get_Alongbeginning today.  It is called Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along.  It is about three little sisters that yell, pinch, fight, and kick.  When the mother sees how her little girls are not getting along she becomes extremely distressed.  She teaches her girls how to use “I messages” and at once the sisters learn that there are other ways to resolve their problems. There are parent pages at the end that help parents with some ways to help their children in  a calm manner when their kids are not getting along.  Let’s face it.  This is a reality for our kids, they will fight, but now there is a healthy solution to make things right.

This book is perfect for anyone that has kids or knows anyone that has kids.  The illustrations engage kids of all ages and the text is at a 2nd grade reading level.  Below in the Amazon carousel you will find all of the books that we have created and are published through For the Love of Books Publishing.  I have also added a book in the carousel that I featured a few weeks ago by my friend Kat Kirst called Snitch.

Starting Tough Conversations for Struggling Readers an Interview with Kat Kirst

Starting Tough Conversations for Struggling Readers an Interview with Kat Kirst

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with an 8th grade English teacher that writes books for older struggling readers.  She keeps the reading levels low, so that all kids can enjoy the books and has had wonderful responses from her students.

Kirst has written two books, Surviving my Family and Snitch.   She has written these books to touch on difficult topics that kids can relate to.  These books can be books that parents can read with their children or their children can read independently.  The benefit of reading these books with your child is that you can have conversations with your children about these tough topics.

Here is the book summary for Surviving my Family.

 Thirteen year old Sharon Mason has become a master in damage control. Everyday she takes care of her alcoholic parents and protects her little sister from the unpredictable, dangerous life that they hide. Sharon has managed to keep everything running smoothly until things start falling apart faster than she can control. That’s when her school life, well-meaning friends, and a crush on that one special boy snowball into an unstoppable, threatening force that can easily rip Sharon’s family apart, separating them all, forever.

A young girl in Kirst’s classroom read this book and said, “This was the first book that I ever read.”  Another girl in her class had said that now she knows that her mom’s drinking is not her fault.

Talk about making an impact on your students lives.  To give a child a new perspective on the difficult things that she is dealing with is the best present a teacher could give a child.  What many people don’t know is that teachers do more than teach these days.  One role teachers play is that of a guidance counseler and Kat is playing this role well.

Now let’s take a look at Snitch.  This book is about cyberbullying.  Here is the review on Amazon.

Pinning the blame on someone is easy when all it takes is a fake Facebook account or one quick push of a button that sends a tweet so crazy the entire school picks up on it. But what happens when someone gets blamed for something they didn’t do? What happens when the truth plants itself smack in front of your face, and even though you don’t want to, you know you must tell someone? What happens when there’s no one there to tell? 

This book is based on a real situation that occured in Kirst’s neighborhood to a good kid with a good family.  It also incorporates important parenting tips like the dad rule.  The dad rule for Kirst is, “If you ever have a problem and you need a ride, I will come and pick you up without any questions asked.”  Wow, talk about support.

I asked Kirst how she goes through the editing process and she mentioned that she has her students go through the book.  Also, before a book is published she has read it over 50 times.  I get that, when I wrote my book 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: Increasing your Struggling Reader’s Reading Level I read it over and over and over again. You quickly are able to pick out your errors, especially when you read it out loud.

Kirst loves involving her students not only in the writing and editing process, but also on the covers of her books.  The grafitti that you see on Snitch is reall grafitti from her students.  Even the photos’s are of real students that she works with.

Kirst has mentioned that the kids that she works with feel that if their teacher can write a book, then so can they.  Sometimes she will come into her class and find kids writing away on the computer.  She gets to see the amazing impact she is making on her student’s lives on a daily basis.  I am so grateful for teachers like Kat Kirst that take their passions and dreams and make them a reality.  She is truly an inspiration.

P.S. If you are wondering if Kat Kirst is writing any other books, the answer is yes.  Her students are currently editing it and the title has not been decided on yet, so stay tuned.

Three Little Girls Learn to Get Along

Three Little Girls Learn to Get Along

Yesterday I promised to share my next book with you.  Renee who is co-owner of For the Love of Books, LLC will be creating pictures to go along with it.  After Renee did a picture of my three little girls in a tree and then I heard them arguing I became inspired to write it.  I would love feedback on what you like about it and things that you think that could make it better.  This book is set to be released in January.

Three little sisters sitting in a tree

Y-E-L-L-I-N-G

First came the lies

Then came the names

Next came the petty threats of no more games

Katelyn punched my back

Becca squeezed my arm

H-I-T-T-I-N-G

She hit me first

I don’t like her

So went the arguing, then there was more

The third little sister

Joined in the fight

K-I-C-K-I-N-G

                She kicked them near

She kicked them far

She kicked them everywhere, even in the car

The mother saw this picture

And became very sad

She knew that her children were not that bad

She talked about peace

She talked about love

She talked about sisters that fit like a glove

She said they use nice words

Talk about feelings

I feel hurt

That makes me sad

These were the words that don’t make others feel too bad.

The three little sisters apologized

A-P-O-L-O-G-Y

That’s a big word

But feels real good

Their mother knew they could and they would

Now the sisters play nice

and get along

L-O-V-I-N-G

Sometimes they fight

But they don’t forget

To think about feelings without regret

 

The three little sisters hug each other

H-A-R-M-O-N-Y

Harmony is the song of getting along

Today it doesn’t have to be about who is right or wrong.

Writing Picture Books and Going into a Partnership

Writing Picture Books and Going into a Partnership

business partnershipYesterday I got my very first book in the mail from Amazon.  It was very exciting.  The feeling of accomplishment was so good, that I actually wanted to hold it to myself for awhile.  Then I e-mailed my business partner Renee and let her know.

Did I say business partner?  Yes I did.  I am so excited to be having 6 more books coming out in the 2013 year.  They will all be picture books.  The first one is called Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along.  This book will feature a poem that I have written and will share in the next post.  Then, we have a series that we are going to create called Paulina, the Perfectly Messy Princess.  She is a wonderful little girl with a funny personality, her only problem is that she does not care if she is clean or dirty.  All this girl cares about is having fun.

I never thought that going into business with another person could be so scary.  I think part of it is exhilaration and the other part is having to rely on somebody else.  For the most part I always meet deadlines and since I have never worked with my friend Renee at this capacity I am left unsure if she will.

This past week she proved to be someone who can be relied upon.  We set our goals for the 2013 year.  In order for those goals to get accomplished she needed to create a painting room.  She did this ahead of schedule and I am confident that this will continue to be the pace that she continues at.

I also have two more books that I am going to write independent of the picture books.  Writing has become a part of my core and I want to continue as much as I can.  I am currently creating a workbook that will increase kids reading level with non-fiction text.  On top of that I will be writing a book about running your own tutoring business.  I will share all of the posts for the latter one here on this blog.  If you are interested in running your own tutoring business I encourage you to stay tuned.

Well, those are all of my endeavors that I have going on for the following year, in addition with growing my tutoring business.  I now have 26 students and am blessed to be involved in increasing their reading levels.  If you have any advice regarding partnerships or internet laws I would love your feedback in the comments section.

How the Reading Process and the Editing Process are Alike

How the Reading Process and the Editing Process are Alike

Over the holiday weekend I have been experiencing much joy in my life.  I have been remembering all of the things that I am grateful for and focusing on completing the editing stage of my book 31 Days to Become a Better Reader.  As I have been editing the book, it dawned on me how similar the self-monitoring tactics I teach to children in my online tutoring program are similar to the editing process.  Those strategies are:

  • Does it look right?
  • Does it sound right?
  • Does it make sense?

In my book I mention these strategies on Day 5.  Let’s take a closer look at what this looks like in the reading process and compare it to the writing process.

Does it Look Right?

In reading if I say a word that was not written on the page, then I need to think does that look right.  I can use the beginning of the word to make an initial decision and then move onto the end of the word and the middle.

As I was editing my book, thinking does it look right was extremely pivotal.  Amazon has expectations when a book is sent in about the size of the margins and font.  I even needed to pay close attention to the space at the end of a page and check with the alignment on the top.

My Table of Contents was one of those things that I saved for last because I knew that the page numbers would change.  However, I had difficulty with the page alignment with the chapter numbers and the chapter title.  I needed to call in my resource of call a friend and she helped me fix it.

Sometimes when we are reading we are able to fix our mistakes.  However, there are times when you just can’t figure out a word and you need to ask someone for help.

Does it sound right?

When we are reading we want to make sure that we are reading the way the author wrote it.  This means that the author needs to take special care to make sure that the sentences are grammatically correct.  If it doesn’t make sense, then we need to go back to read it if we are the reader, or go back and reword it if we are the editor/writer.

Does it Make Sense?

Many times struggling readers will read words that don’t sound like real words.  They need to think themselves if that is a word they have heard of or not.  The tricky part is sometimes the child reads the word correctly, but because she is not familiar with the meaning of the word, she second guesses herself.

During the editing process I found that I need to read my work out loud and check for any errors I may have made.  I found that I had several errors that I had not caught previously.  Thank goodness for that red squiggly line that alerts one to these errors.  I had a few spelling errors that are similar to the errors a reader makes when reading a made up word.

Writing a book from start to finish opened my eyes to the entire reading/writing process more than it ever has before.  In the schools many people are utilizing Lucy Calkins method of teaching writing.  This woman is spot on and she teaches children to edit for one thing at a time.  I found that in editing my book that I needed to focus on one part at a time.  For example, I looked for page alignment throughout the whole text, matching table of contents with my chapter titles, and so on and so forth.

The reading and the writing process are so closely aligned that it is important to marry the two and only focus on one thing at a time.  If we try to focus on everything, then eventually our minds will become frazzled.  Sometimes we need to take it one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one page at a time, or one chapter at a time.  However we decide to go about we always need to remember to keep it simple.

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