How moms can nurture a love for reading among kids

With all content available in a myriad of forms and platforms, sometimes we parents wonder how we can instill a love of reading among our kids.

Wishing to do so is not being out of touch with the times. Studies have shown that avid readers have certain advantages over their peers. Since reading is a more complex activity than watching video content on television or other gadgets, it helps to exercise their brains, improving concentration and imagination, as well as their vocabulary and language skills. A well-read child may have a better and more expansive understanding of the world around him and may be able to develop empathy for others.

MomSchool 3.0, Mommy Mundo

In a recent Mommy Mundo #MomSchool learning session “Raising Readers and Writers in the Digital Age,” mom and Keys School literacy coordinator Monica Lopez Javier shared some insights and tips on how parents can help foster a love of reading among their kids.

MomSchool, Mommy Mundo

For Teacher Monica, talking to your kids starting from early childhood is very important.

“Talk is the foundation of learning,” she shares. “Through language, meaning is built.”

She encourages parents to develop oral language at home, to facilitate kids in communicating and interacting with them. Kids should learn how to tell stories to learn how to put the things and situations around them in perspective or context.

Some tips she shared include:

  • Respect their think time. Younger children take time respond to your conversation prompts. Allow them the time to process the conversation and respond to you.
  • Establish rituals of conversation. Make time when you’re available to converse with your kids. Set up long talks with the kids when you can communicate with them at length.
  • Talk about complex topics. As kids grow older, allow them to process more complex ideas as they communicate with you. When letting them talk about their day, ask them what they learned or what they plan to do.
  • Don’t shy away from trouble stories. Don’t raise your kids in a bubble. For example, tell them about the bad day you’re having and how you cope with it. They will be able to express to you their similar emotions as well as model their response to challenging situations after yours.
  • Teach them to listen. Kids should be encouraged to respond thoughtfully. Help them understand that when they listen, even to opposing views, their ideas can grow.
  • Support their language development through reading. Kids’ vocabularies are better developed by reading. It also through reading that they encounter fresh concepts and ideas. Parents are encouraged to read aloud to younger kids so that children will develop a love for words and imagination that reading affords. For older children, parents are urged to discuss the books that the kids read; this will help them process what they learn from books and develop critical thinking.

Parents may be worried that buying more and more books may be a strain on the budget. Teacher Monica advises looking for libraries in your area where you or your kids can borrow books.

Growing up as a child of a reader, and becoming an avid reader myself, I can attest to the hours of enjoyment and the fun of discovery that I experienced since childhood. Being a reader has also informed my writing and my current work in marketing and in blogging.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

MomSchool 3.0, Mommy Mundo

I’m proud that I have helped to instill the same love for reading in my daughter.

MomSchool, Mommy Mundo

MomSchool, Mommy Mundo

This #MomSchool learning session held at the Ayala The 30th Activity Center was organized by Mommy Mundo, a community of moms dedicated to making motherhood easier, happier and more fulfilling for every mom through various avenues and activities. Upcoming events by Mommy Mundo for the year are slated on these dates:

  • March 16-17: Mommy Mundo World (The 5th at Rockwell)
  • May 17-19: Expo Mom Manila (Glorietta)
  • June 29-30: Expo Mom South (Alabang Town Center)
  • July 19-21: Expo Mom North (Trinoma)
  • August 3-4: Mommy Mundo World (The 5th at Rockwell)
  • August 31 to September 1: Expo Mom Central (Bonifacio Global City)
  • October 18-20: Expo Mom North 2 (Trinoma)
  • November 23: Expo Mom South 2 (Alabang Town Center)
  • December 6-8: Expo Mom Holiday (Glorietta)

Want to be on your way to developing future avid readers? Below is a list of the books that Teacher Monica recommends for reading aloud to kids.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

My World by Margaret Wise Brown

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

Tom by Tomie dePaola

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells

Freight Train by Donald Crews

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Stuart Little by E.B. White

Matilda by Roald Dahl

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My own customized notebook: thanks to the IFEX Paper Bar

For a paper addict like me, getting a notebook that just fits my purpose for it is like stumbling into a gold mine.

In terms of aesthetics, I lean towards minimalism: I prefer plains instead of prints, or single color designs instead or multiples ones.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that I can have notebooks made according to these specifications!

Where is this possible you may ask?

At your nearest IFEX Paper Bar!

IFEX stands for International Fine Paper Exchange, a Filipino company which is primarily engaged in the marketing and distribution of specialty papers, premium paper for school and office supplies, as well as art materials.

Its fine paper products came into play when I went to the Art Bar of the National Bookstore branch along Panay Avenue to have my customized notebooks made.

IFEX Paper Bar

IFEX Paper Bar

I’ve just gotten a Starbucks travel organizer for this year and I’ve been worrying about what to do when I use up its notebook filler. I’ve been scouring bookstores looking appropriately sized notebooks but couldn’t find any.

That is, until I realized I could just have them made!

Getting your own customized notebooks at the Paper Bar is just so easy!

Step 1: Choose a notebook size.

Available sizes are: A4 (210 x 295 mm), A5 (148 x 210 mm) and A6 (105 x 148 mm).

I chose the smallest size, A6, as this is the one that would best fit my travel organizer. I ordered two notebooks so that I have another spare.

Step 2: Choose a notebook cover.

IFEX has a wide range of card stocks of various colors that you can choose for your notebook cover.

I opted for two shades green (one at Php12 and the other at Php15) as these go with the cover of my travel organizer.

IFEX Paper Bar

Step 3: Choose your inserts.

Depending on your purpose for your notebook, you can choose from among the high-quality paper inserts that IFEX carries. These include plain, ruled, dotted, grid, black, calligraphic, sketching and watercolor.

I prefer my notebooks to not have lines (so I can draw diagrams or doodle if need be) so I opted for plain (Php65) and dotted (Php85) inserts.

IFEX Paper Bar

Step 4: Choose your breakers (optional).

If you will use a single notebook for multiple purposes, you can opt to insert breakers from the available cardstocks. This will help make your notebook more organized.

Step 5: Choose your notebook spine.

To bind your notebook, choose a spine that complements your notebook’s color scheme. The double-loop metallic spines available in black or silver make durable binders for your notebook.

IFEX Paper Bar

Step 6: Personalize it (optional)!

Your name or any text can be hot-stamped to your notebook cover for Php60. Choose from gold, silver, green, blue or embossed letters in either serif or san serif fonts. You can also pick the font size: from 16mm (up to 8 characters), 9mm (up to 14 characters) and 5.5mm (up to 16 characters).

I opted to have my blog URL embossed on my notebooks in gold letters, consistent with the color theme of my travel organizer.

IFEX Paper Bar

IFEX Paper Bar

Total spent on the two notebooks is Php267 which amounts to Php133.50 for each of the A6-sized notebooks.

Here’s an A5-sized notebook I had made months ago.

IFEX Paper Bar

For my next notebook orders, I might combine dotted, ruled and plain inserts with cardstock breaks in one thick book which can serve as a planner, sketchpad and notebook all in one.

A customized notebook from the IFEX Paper Bar is a great buy or even a wonderful gift for paper addicts like me! (I even gifted one to a friend for her birthday.)

IFEX Paper Bars are located inside National Bookstore branches in SM Megamall, Glorietta 1, Shangri-La Plaza Mall and in the Art Bar inside the National Bookstore branch along Panay Avenue in Quezon City.

For more details about IFEX, visit its website at www.ifex.com.ph.

Complete Seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale to premiere in PH on HBO Go on September 15

In the Republic of Gilead, fertile women are conscripted to serve the new goverment’s high-ranking officials by bearing children for the infertile wives.  Called handmaids, they are identified by their red clothing, their slave names taken after the names of the commanders they are assigned to, and every month, the gruesome task of lying in between their commanders and their respective wives, hoping to get pregnant and thereby prove their worth to this new society.  Such is the world in The Handmaid’s Tale, a TV series based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning dystopian novel.

The Handmaid's Tale S2

The Handmaid's Tale S1

The Handmaid's Tale S2

Filipino fans of the book will be able to watch and download all episodes of the Emmy® and Golden Globe Award-winning hit drama series on HBO Go, HBO’s online streaming service exclusively available in the Philippines to SKYcable subscribers, starting September 15.

Emmy® and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”, “Top of the Lake”), Joseph Fiennes (“American Horror Story: Asylum”, “Shakespeare in Love”), and Yvonne Strahovski (“Chuck”, “Dexter”) headline the series’ all-star cast.  Emmy Award-winning actress Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”), Madeline Brewer (“Orange Is the New Black”), Amanda Brugel (“Workin’ Moms”), Emmy Award-winning actress Ann Dowd (“Compliance”, HBO’s “The Leftovers”), O-T Fagbenle (“The Five”), Max Minghella (“The Mindy Project”), and Samira Wiley (“Orange is the New Black”) also play supporting roles. THE HANDMAID’S TALE was created for television by Bruce Miller (“The 100”), who is also the showrunner. Season Two of the series was executive produced by Miller, Warren Littlefield (“Fargo”), Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears. The series is produced by MGM Television and internationally distributed by MGM.

The series’ second season was recently nominated for 20 Emmy® Awards, a series record.  It now becomes part of HBO Asia’s programming slate of Emmy® award-winning and nominated titles – bringing the best of Hollywood to Asia.

Series details and images provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out my other posts on HBO shows adapted from novels:

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HBO Go not available in your area? Watch The Handmaid’s Tale on Amazon Prime.  Sign up for a free 7-day trial.

You can also purchase the novel that the series is based on, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, at Amazon.com.

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TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s “Good Omens” to be released in 2019

The creatively twisted minds of two of Britain’s greatest modern fantasy writers produced Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (or more commonly known as just Good Omens). The fruit of a very successful collaboration between Neil Gaiman (“American Gods,” “The Graveyard Book,” and “Stardust“) and Sir Terry Prachett (“Discworld“) published in 1990, Good Omens is a quirky and entertaining novel that tells of the coming of the Apocalypse. The book is chock-full of humorous situations: from a witch’s super-accurate predictions of her execution, the birth and childhood of the AntiChrist in the English suburbs, the coming together of the Four Horsemen, and the mad antics of the legions of Heaven led by Aziraphale the Angel and Hell led by Crowley the Demon (both of whom happen to treat each other as friends) as they prepare for the endtimes.

I first read the book in the late 90’s and I did think the story would translate well onscreen.

A film adaptation was in fact planned in 2002 in which Robin Williams and Johnny Depp were set to star as Aziraphale and Crowley respectively but financing fell through.

A radio dramatization was aired in BBC Radio 4 in 2015, wherein Gaiman and Pratchett had cameo appearances.

Nearly two decades after first reading the book, I’m thrilled to find out that a TV adaptation is finally in the works, starring no less than Michael Sheen (“Underwold: Rise of the Lycans,” “Midnight in Paris“) as Aziraphale and David Tennant (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” “Broadchurch“) as Crowley.

This TV series couldn’t have come at a better time, being the new Golden Age of Television, and judging from the recent success of the TV series based on another Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods.

The 6-episode series will be released on Amazon Prime in 2019, followed by a conventional broadcast on BBC Two.

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Take a sneak peek into the beginnings of your favorite influencers with LikeToKnow.It

Ever wondered how your favorite IG mavens got their start? The print offshoot of the app-based shopping service that makes the Instagram pics of many Instagram influencers instantly shoppable, LikeToKnow.it: Stories from the Influencer Next Door, delves into how these IG stars got their start.

Photo by Daria Litvinova on Unsplash

Collated and curated by editors of LikeToKnow.it, the stories contain interesting narratives of how these influencers were able to turn their passions – which range from fashion, beauty, food, interior design and homemaking – into thriving online businesses. Common themes among their stories that their fans can learn from are:

Passion for their area of interest.  These enterprising folks are tuned in to their passion, building expertise and credibility in their respective fields, and are motivated to share their favorites to the world.

Support from family and friends.  Building an online presence, especially on one’s own, is never easy, but with help and encouragement from their loved ones, they were able to pursue their dreams.

Great financial and personal rewards.  Having built their following and established their expertise, they are able to enjoy financial freedom.  Some are earning enough to support their families that their spouses quit their jobs to help them with their online business.  Others share their feeling of gratification at being paid to do what they love while spending more time with loved ones.

Photo by Igot Miske on Unsplash

Featured influencers include fashion mavens Molly Sims (@mollybsims) and Courtney Kerr (@KERRently), lifestyle gurus Liz Joy (@purejoyhome) and Kelly Larkin (@kellyinthecity), food and nutrition bloggers July Bauer Roth (@paleomg) and Tori Wesszer (@fraichenutrition), among others.

Photo by Chikeun Park on Unsplash

The stories, accompanied by gorgeous shots of influencers doing and sharing what they love best, will give readers a tantalizing inspiration to get started on bringing their own dreams to life. Note, though, these Q&A-type narratives are by no means comprehensive and do skip most of the early struggles and sacrifices that most businesses go through.

LikeToKnow.it: Stories from the Influencer Next Door, published by Greenleaf Book Group, will be released on September 18, 2018 and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com!

Thanks to NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group for the advanced reader copy.

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Photo Credits: Ewan Robertson, Daria Litvinova, Igor Miske and Chikeun Park on Unsplash

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Book gives tips on how to help kids appreciate healthy food

With all the fast food, microwaveables and sugar-laden fare easily available in malls and grocery stores, kids these days might be missing out on both the nutrients and flavors that healthy food brings. Earlier generations benefited from home-cooked meals and the time devoted by homemakers to acquiring fresh ingredients but today’s busy lifestyle sees families turning more towards food that is more convenient than truly nutritious.

In Taste Buds: The Magic and Fun of Sensible Food, author Nicolette Francey Asselin shares food-based wisdom gathered from her childhood memories and her medical practice. This booklet is the fourth installment in a series of health books released by Getwell.org. Among her notable pieces of advice are:

Avoid using dessert as a reward. This implies that the meal already laid on the table is not the best.

Keep meals simple. Time- and effort-intensive dishes for weekday meals are neither practical nor sustainable given today’s busy lifestyle.

Involve the kids. Getting them to participate in meal preparation – such as chopping vegetables or fetching tools or ingredients – will help them develop an appreciation for the effort that goes into getting a good meal on the table.

Asselin also included a few simple recipes of healthy dishes that she grew up with such as roasted vegetables, ratatouille, a basic vinaigrette for salads and muesli, among others, as well as instructions on how to pickle or ferment foodstuffs at home.

This is a short book and I think she could have expounded more on some sections such as how to balance meat, poultry, seafood and produce in the weekly menu or how to enjoy healthy food outside the home through quick and easy meal preparation strategies.

That said, this book can provide an adequate impetus to start cooking and eating healthier.

Taste Buds: The Magic and Fun of Sensible Food, published by CorpWell Publishing, is available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.

Thanks to NetGalley and CorpWell Publishing for the copy of the ebook provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Want to start cooking fresh and healthy? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

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Country songstress Martina McBride shares recipes close to her heart in upcoming cookbook, Martina’s Kitchen Mix

In her cookbook to be released this fall, Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life, country superstar Martina McBride shares her passion other than singing: cooking meals for her family and friends to enjoy.

McBride’s recipes reveal her predilection for entertaining and family gatherings centered around good food and great stories.

Having grown up in a Kansas farm, McBride is no stranger to the kitchen; even at an early age, she began helping her mother in preparing meals with fresh-from-the-field ingredients. Over the years, her travels as a country music singer has exposed her to more gastronomic influences, particularly the use of organic foods and healthy diets, which she has applied to her home cooking.

I like the book’s mixture of recipes and family insider stories, particularly the tweaks that McBride does on the recipes which she labeled “Adlibs.” The book is by no means a strict stick-to-the-recipe cookbook – even the author improvises from time to time! It really does welcome the reader to McBride’s kitchen and some aspects of her life. Plus, the food styling on the gorgeous photos that accompany some of the recipes are really superb.

Some of the ingredients may be expensive or hard-to-find here in the Philippines, but home cooks can draw inspiration from the recipes for their own culinary masterpieces.

Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life, published by Oxmoor House will be released on October 30, 2018. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Thanks to NetGalley and Oxmoor House for the advanced copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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Check our Martina McBride’s other cookbook:

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