Speakaboos is a publisher of children's digital content. Our main goal is to engage children in the traditional storytelling that our grandparents used to narrate. We love cute kids, education, and great stories that have great messages. For more information, check us out at www.speakaboos.com.
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This Thanksgiving, we’re thanking you! Enter our giveaway, and get a chance to win a $50 American Express Gift Card

Instructions:

  1. Enter your name and e-mail address here
  2. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter
  3. Enter our giveaway before Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST
  4. The winner will be chosen at random

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  1. No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter our giveaway. A purchase will not improve an individual’s chance of winning
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  7. Winner must respond within seven (7) days after notification has been sent out. If no response is heard, another winner will be chosen
  8. Gift card may not be substituted for cash or any other prize
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For the past two months, I worked as an America Reads tutor at PS 142 in the Lower East Side of New York City. While exhausting, my time spent with my class was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. The America Reads/Counts program began in 1997 as a federal initiative to help public elementary school students achieve proficiency in literacy and mathematics by employing college students as tutors. The program is truly unique in that the learning process works both ways. While the children enhance their own knowledge, the adults learn about children, the public school system, the value of education, and a little bit about themselves.

I can marginally recall what my time was spent like in third grade and of course, from my now adult perspective, I don’t remember the third grade being as emotionally charged and dramatic as it really is. I would now like to take this time to personally apologize to Mrs. Messenger for any stress and headaches I caused her during my third grade tenure. I have an immense amount of respect for the teacher (as well as all educators) I worked with. Every day she came to work, ready to teach 20 students and deal with everything from the perpetual “I’m not feeling well” to “doesn’t want to be my friend anymore.” I can only imagine what it is like to be a parent and constantly deal with the pre-pubescent emotions and concerns on a 24/7 basis. So in addition to teachers, I have just as much respect for mothers and fathers

I give even more credit to the children I spent each day with. Some of them trekked over 200 blocks or from outer boroughs (in other words, a 45-60 min trip) each morning (to avoid going to an unsafe school) and they always wore a smiling face. I would eat lunch with the students and some of them could barely afford their meal. As she ate her lunch consisting of a sole sandwich, one girl told me “it’s all her family had” and went back to eating and talking about Justin Bieber with her classmates. They never let at-home drama get in the way of learning and having fun. What I discovered is that children think and process just like an adult, but to the extent that their knowledge and life experience allows them. They want to understand and articulate. Even when they got frustrated with work or playground issues, the kids would always try to resolve the problem (though sometimes it involved tears and chest puffing).

The most important bit of knowledge I left with from my experience with America Reads is that education is KEY. I cannot stress this enough. And by education, I’m not just limiting it to only classroom work. Exposure to new things and personal differences, I believe, is the best way to promote tolerance, interests, and understanding.  For example, one lunch period, I brought carrots to eat and a girl had never eaten them before. In fact, she said she didn’t like vegetables. I gave her her first carrot and she loved it, prompting her to try other greens (from what she told me). Being a Caucasian (a pale one for that matter) teaching at a predominantly Hispanic school located in a lower-income neighborhood, race was a major topic of discussion. Each day I dealt with questions and comments about my skin color and physical experience. While blunt in their delivery, these racial inquiries were not out of malice, just out of curiosity. These kids loved me (as I loved them) unconditionally. They didn’t know any better. They wanted to know more about me and the world I grew up in. From food to race to science fair experiments and everything in between, children want to learn. It is paramount that we help them as much as we can. I‘m grateful that I helped, in some small way, in the education of some of our country’s future leaders.

The Emperor’s New Clothes - read by Harry Shearer. For more videos like this, please visit Speakaboos!

Such a sweet post!

confessionsofafirsttimedad:

Here you are on Thursday hiding from the doctor on the day you got your first shot. Though you cried for 5 minutes after, I think you took it like a champ. We didn’t really see the side effects until yesterday when you basically freaked out all day. I think the shot took a bit to settle in and work it’s magic.

Tomorrow is Daddy’s 30th birthday party! Please behave, that’s all I ask for one day. Tonight you allowed mommy and daddy to go out alone for an early birthday dinner while grandma and grandpa watched you. From what they say, and by the looks of it by the time we got home, you were well behaved. Keep it up!

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Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.


Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

"Dreams" - Langston Hughes

after practice: right foot
to left foot, stepping forward and back,
to right foot and left foot,
and left foot up to his thigh, holding
it on his thigh as he twists
around in a circle, until it rolls
down the inside of his leg,
like a tickle of sweat, not catching
and tapping on the soft
side of his foot, and juggling
once, twice, three times,
hopping on one foot like a jump-roper
in the gym, now trapping
and holding the ball in midair,
balancing it on the instep
of his weak left foot, stepping forward
and forward and back, then
lifting it overhead until it hangs there;
and squaring off his body,
he keeps the ball aloft with a nudge
of his neck, heading it
from side to side, softer and softer,
like a dying refrain,
until the ball, slowing, balances
itself on his hairline,
the hot sun and sweat filling his eyes
as he jiggles this way
and that, then flicking it up gently,
hunching his shoulders
and tilting his head back, he traps it
in the hollow of his neck,
and bending at the waist, sees his shadow,
his dangling T-shirt, the bent
blades of brown grass in summer heat;
and relaxing, the ball slipping
down his back…and missing his foot.

He wheels around, he marches
over the ball, as if it were a rock
he stumbled into, and pressing
his left foot against it, he pushes it
against the inside of his right
until it pops into the air, is heeled
over his head—the rainbow!—
and settles on his extended thigh before
rolling over his knee and down
his shin, so he can juggle it again
from his left foot to his right foot
—and right foot to left foot to thigh—
as he wanders, on the last day
of summer, around the empty field.

"A Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball" - Christopher Merril