Making Reading Social for Your Kids at New Book Hangouts

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – With so many TV shows, videos, and games vying for a child’s attention, it can be hard to keep him or her inspired to read. It can be even harder to do so in “real life” settings, but interacting with other kids and sharing excitement for a series or character is often more powerful than swiping a screen.
Enter the Barnes & Noble Kids’ Book Hangout. This new nationwide program invites kids aged 6 through 12 to go to their local Barnes & Noble to hang out, talk books, and play fun games and activities – all “in real life.”
Through this new program, Barnes & Noble booksellers will lead kids in games and activities related to select titles that showcase a range of genres and tastes.
“The whole idea of the Hangout is for kids to see how much fun reading can be, and that enjoying characters, stories, and books really can be a social experience,” says Stephanie Fryling, Vice President of Merchandising, Children’s Books. “If the kids walk away with a new favorite character or series that motivates them to keep reading, then we’ll have done our job.”
The first Kids’ Book Hangout starts Saturday, July 28, at 2 p.m. in every Barnes & Noble store nationwide. Kids don’t have to read the featured books, and everyone from 6-12 is welcome. The national bookseller will continue to host Hangouts on a seasonal schedule.
For the inaugural gathering, Barnes & Noble has teamed up with Penguin Young Readers to showcase titles that include heartfelt poetry, a hilarious Caveboy, a mysterious adventure, and a Beatle-crazed young woman. The books are:
* Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
* More Scrawny Than Brawny, by Aaron Reynolds
* The Basque Dragon, by Adam Gidwitz
* She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah), by Ann Hood
The four titles will be 20 percent off all day at Barnes & Noble on July 28, and Frappuccinos and smoothies will be $1 off for Hangout participants.
The first Hangout comes at a great time for parents struggling to keep their kids reading during the summer. When school starts up again, the Hangouts will be a good reminder that books aren’t just for classrooms.
“The relationship people have with books and reading often starts in childhood, and we hope these Hangouts will help parents and caregivers lay a great foundation for young readers,” Fryling says.
The program adds to Barnes & Noble’s other offerings for kids, including the earn-a-free-book Summer Reading Program, and weekly Storytimes for younger kids.
The bookseller has more information on its website: www.bn.com/bnhangout, and will be posting about the event at #BNHangout.

Everything Newlyweds Should Know about Coupling Finances

Turns out that “coupling” doesn’t just mean “pairing” in the traditional sense, but is also a catchphrase when it comes to finances. As we head into wedding season, it’s especially relevant. Because as much as you may think no two people have ever been more in love than you are, the truth is that it could be less than smooth sailing ahead if you’re not on the same page when it comes to financial matters.

“Couples have a very hard time talking about money,” Joan Atwood, a Hofstra University professor of marriage and family therapy, bemoaned on an NPR “Money Coach” segment on the issue. “I would say it’s the last taboo.”

Summertime Boating Safety Tips for Families

(NewsUSA) – As summer approaches, many families look forward to more time on the water together.The fun might include boating and other watersports, such as tubing, skiing, or wakeboarding. Preparation and education are the keys to a safe and successful day on the water. So get the summer off to a great start by making sure passengers of all ages have well-fitted lifejackets and understand safety procedures.When fitting a child’s lifejacket, be sure to select the current size. Don’t put a child in an adult lifejacket or buy one in a larger size for a child to grow into. Rather, put the jacket on the child and buckle and secure all straps. Then lift the child’s arm up over his or her head and pull up on the jacket. If it slips off, it’s too big.BoatUS offers a helpful video to show correct fit on their website, BoatUS.org/fit-video.If you don’t own a lifejacket and aren’t prepared to buy one, borrow one from a friend or neighbor, or borrow one for free through the BoatUS Foundation Kids Life Jacket Loaner program. Find information about their 550 locations at BoatUS.org/life-jacket-loaner.Be sure a child or anyone else riding behind a boat not only wears a lifejacket, but also knows the hand signals to communicate with the boat driver while being towed.The following hand signals and rules of the water will ensure that everyone has fun and stays safe:* If the speed is right, use an OK sign with your thumb and first finger.* If you want the driver to go faster, use a thumbs up; to slow down, use a thumbs down; and use a slashing motion across your neck to stop.* If you fall off, raise both arms above your head and clasp your hands as soon as possible to let the boat driver know you are okay.Find more signals at BoatUS.com/hand-signals.* While waiting in the water, ready to be pulled or towed again, be patient and allow the boat captain a little time to safely deliver the towline or tube to you.* If you decide to come back aboard, the driver will allow the boat to drift to you with the engine off. When reboarding, use a step, deck, or boarding ladder only after the boat driver has signaled that it is safe to get back in the boat.* Never swim near a boat while the engine is on.Visit BoatUS.org for more information about staying safe on the water this summer. Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and have fun! 

Working Moms Stay Connected to Children Through Messenger Kids

(NewsUSA) – According to research from Working Mother Research Institute and Messenger Kids, 79 percent of working moms find that there is a constant struggle to find the right balance between being at work and being with their kids.They never want to miss a moment with their kids, but also feel the pressure to be present at work.Getting updates throughout the day makes working moms feel more connected to their kids, and Messenger Kids, a new app available in the US for iOS, Android and Fire tablets, is making it easier for working moms and their kids to talk.Messenger Kids puts the power to communicate in the hands of children and lets them reach out to mom whenever they need to."After talking to thousands of moms and working with the Working Mother Research Institute, we’ve found that 84 percent of moms wish they could have a brief look into how their child’s day is going. Most feel there’s a need for apps that let kids connect with people they love, but also have the level of parental control parents want," says Antigone Davis, Facebook Global Head of Safety.Communication apps such as Messenger Kids have many benefits, including:•  Connection. Apps are a great way for children to connect with the people they love. With Messenger Kids, kids can video chat and message with parent-approved contacts once their account is set up by a parent or guardian.•  Creativity. An app should be fun and allow kids to express themselves within the limits set by parents. Messenger Kids features a library of specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools that let them decorate photos and videos and have more fun with video chats.•  Control. Messenger Kids helps ease parents’ concerns about how children are using devices and whether they are using apps that are age-appropriate. It also gives parents more control. Parents fully control the contact list and kids can’t connect with people that their parent does not approve.•  Convenience. Apps, especially those built for kids, must be easy to set up and use. Once the account is established, the home screen shows kids at a glance whom they are approved to talk to and when those contacts are online. In addition, parents can chat with kids through their regular Messenger account, so it’s convenient for both parent and child.This Mother’s Day, and every day with Messenger Kids, moms never have to miss a moment.

This Subscription Box Helps People Do Good and Feel Good

(NewsUSA) – In today’s busy world, the convenience of products and services delivered directly to your home makes life easier. But you can receive more than the usual groceries, diapers and dog food. You can get support and encouragement, and bring about positive change to a world in need.Faithbox is a subscription box that meets this need by providing ongoing spiritual support and inspiration, as well as a way to do good works.Here are a few of its benefits:Good works: Its charitable focus allows you to do good and affect positive change. Faithbox is a company making a difference to people who want to make a difference. Products in each box are sourced from companies and organizations that don’t exploit people or nature. Rather, they support and empower eco-friendly, humane and sustainable organizations.Consistency: Fresh, thought-provoking tools promote daily practice, which in turn promotes growth, change and improvement in any area of your life. That includes both your spiritual and emotional health.Convenience: At-home delivery makes it easy to have regular, ongoing access to new and uplifting devotional materials and unique products that embody good works. This convenience is especially helpful for anyone who wants to find new, faith-based products, or who lives in a remote area where they might not be readily available.For many people, a regular dose of inspiration, along with the anticipation of something positive and new every month, is a strong way to supplement their spiritual journeys. Faithbox’s devotional materials and products are built around a monthly theme, such as Leadership, Journey, Grief, Connection, Transformation and others. Each product in Faithbox is mindfully and conscientiously curated based on the month’s theme. Faithbox has several subscription options, including monthly, three-month and one year.Visit Faithbox.com for inspiration and more information. 

National School Choice Week – Time to Start a Conversation

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The world’s largest celebration of opportunity in education starts next week.
National School Choice Week 2018 begins on January 21, shining a positive spotlight on traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.
The goal is simple: to let parents know that they have choices when it comes to their children’s education, and to celebrate the many different and effective education options available for students.
For almost every parent in America, there are ways to get involved in this positive, inspirational week.
If you are looking to find a new school for your child and want to know how to start the process, use the Week as a time to research your options. Download a free school choice guide for your state at www.schoolchoiceweek.com/mystate.
If you want to learn more about the different schools and education environments in your area, consider using the week to attend a special event. More than 32,000 are being planned during National School Choice Week – everything from information sessions, school fairs, and open houses, to rallies. Find an event in your community by visiting www.schoolchoiceweek.com/map.
If you are happy with the choices you have made for your child’s education, take time during National School Choice Week to thank a teacher or school leader, or to brag about your child’s school in a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. You can also share your story with us at schoolchoiceweek.com/share.
If you think that your community or state needs more educational choices for children, use National School Choice Week to speak up and make your opinion known.
Making a difference is easier than it sounds. All it takes is starting one conversation.
You can start that conversation on social media (using #schoolchoice in your posts), or by talking with a friend, coworker, or member of your family.
“Did you know that this is National School Choice Week?” is a good question to get the discussion going.
When more Americans talk about opportunity in education, more parents will discover the options available for their children’s education. That means that more children will have the chance of being matched with schools that meet their unique talents, challenges, needs, and interests.
This National School Choice Week, all that it takes is one conversation to brighten the future of a family. Will you start one?

School Choice Is About Parents, Not Politics

(NewsUSA) – As tens of millions of people across the country prepare to celebrate National School Choice Week Jan. 21 through 27, our goal is to focus on parents and children, not politics or politicians.During National School Choice Week, schools of every type – traditional public, charter, magnet, online, and private – will join homeschool groups to celebrate the things that make their education environments unique and effective.As a nonpartisan awareness effort, National School Choice Week provides an opportunity to bring conversations about education out from the political sphere and to the kitchen tables and living rooms of parents in communities across America.This is important because, even though education is a matter of public policy, it is also deeply personal.At its core, school choice affirms the special bond between parents and children. School choice empowers parents to turn the love and concern they have for their children into action. It encourages them to talk to their children and make decisions together about what schooling environments fit the talents, interests, and challenges that are unique to every student. And it recognizes that while one school might be a good fit for some students, it isn’t necessarily a good fit for every child.By exercising school choice options, parents who want their children to learn Mandarin can send them to a school where they will learn Mandarin; parents who believe their kids need a lot of time outdoors or who want to affirm their faith tradition can follow that path; parents who didn’t go to college but want their kids to have that opportunity can find a college prep choice.Parents choose schools for a variety of reasons. For example, a survey of Indiana parents found that parents considered factors such as academics, morality, social skills, diversity, college preparation, an appreciation for nature, patriotism, the ability to enter the job force without a college degree, and an opportunity to learn another language.These choices reflect the diversity and individualism of our great country, and they should be respected and celebrated. After all, no matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we all share the same goal: to unlock the potential for success and happiness in every child through a great education tailored to who they are and who they want to be.

Encourage a Love of Reading During National Family Literacy Month

(NewsUSA) – For many parents, it’s a struggle to get kids to read outside of the classroom, but November is the perfect time to change that, because it’s National Family Literacy Month.The importance of reading goes well beyond acing a test or getting an "A" on a book report. It’s a lifelong skill that helps you to better understand the world around you and even yourself. And it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure that kids don’t become non-readers in their busy, over-connected daily lives."Reading opens up so many possibilities, from discovering a new interest to sparking untapped creativity. Best of all, it is a great way to spend time together as a family," says Emily Levitt, vice president of Education for Sylvan Learning.Here are a few suggestions to help kids to fall in love with reading, and to share fun, memorable reading experiences together as a family.* Read Aloud — The easiest way to get kids interested in reading and to build their vocabulary is for parents to read aloud to their children, no matter their ages. Kids will often skip over words they don’t recognize when reading alone, but if they hear their parents say the word, they may ask for the definition. Putting aside just 15 minutes a week to read aloud to kids can make a difference.* Start a Book Club — Starting a book club with a group of your kid’s friends and their parents is a great way to make reading fun. Give participants a month to read the selected book, then organize a party where everyone can chat and enjoy themed snacks.* Stick with What They Like — Kids will be more inclined to read if it’s about something they’re already interested in. And if you can share that interest with them, that’s even better! And because not everyone loves the same subjects or genres, try to at least hook them with engaging books on whatever they enjoy — be it baseball, magic or anything else.* Monkey See, Monkey Do — It’s important that kids see their parents reading. If they don’t, it’s an unspoken statement to your child that it’s okay not to read. From crossword puzzles to comic books, it’s easier than you think to build literacy as a family. Make a conscious effort to set time aside time for you and your kids to read together.* Deploy Backup — Not every child is a natural born reader and even kids who are great readers can use reading help.Sylvan Learning offers reading programs from Pre-K through Grade 12. And because no two children are exactly alike, they personalize reading tutoring for each child, giving kids the personal attention and confidence they need to thrive.For more information, please visit www.sylvanlearning.com

Misconceptions About Conception

(NewsUSA) – As straightforward as the idea of getting pregnant may seem, there is still a great deal of confusion about infertility. A survey of 500 participants, conducted by The Stork Ib2C, Inc. uncovers the most prevalent misconceptions about conception.When asked how long respondents assumed it would take to see a positive pregnancy test, nearly 56 percent thought only three to six months. In actuality, most will take up to a year to conceive. Fertility is often out of our control, and these false expectations can lead to disappointment and stress early on, and that can negatively impact fertility and the conception process.The survey also revealed a psychological impact from fertility issues as 38 percent described feeling sad or upset that others were pregnant while they were not.Although friends and family are supporting the couple’s success, not being able to give those loved ones the news they want to hear causes the same percent to feel unwanted pressure.Thirty-three percent were concerned about financial barriers of fertility treatments, questioning how they would finance expensive treatments, particularly at a time they were saving for a new baby. Clinical fertility treatments vary in price, but most procedures are not covered by health insurance and can reach well over $10,000.More than 52 percent thought multiple births were the number-one risk associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF), and 67 percent said they would not try the most invasive of the clinically fertility treatments. Surprisingly, many did not recognize the risks associated with ovulation-stimulating hormones. The high price of clinical procedures doesn’t equate to greater success rates, a component only 13 percent cited as a risk they associated with treatments.The average cost of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is $500, but yields only a 16-21 percent rate of success, similar to the 20 percent of cervical cap insemination, the technique the Stork OTC offers, but at a considerable lower price .The Stork OTC home conception device is a low-cost option that affords couples the opportunity to assist their chances of conception without engaging in invasive and costly treatments. The FDA-cleared, over-the-counter device provides a way to keep a higher sperm score concentration at the cervix compared to natural intercourse. For more information, visit www.storkotc.com

Fast Facts About Excessive Sweating at School

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It’s back-to-school and sweat’s happening.
But while it’s “normal” to sweat with heat, exertion or anxiety, 4.8 percent of people — students included — experience sweating so excessive it’s a serious medical condition called hyperhidrosis.
To help these youngsters as they return to school, the International Hyperhidrosis Society, a non-profit that helps improve quality-of-life for those living with hyperhidrosis, is debunking excessive sweating myths with facts:
* Children, teens, and young adults can all suffer from hyperhidrosis that’s debilitating and life-altering.
* Hyperhidrosis often first manifests during school-aged years, bringing with it severe embarrassment due to sweat-drenched clothes and damaged school materials.
* Poor academic performance, social isolation, and depression can happen as a result.
* Individuals with hyperhidrosis sweat about 5 times more than what’s considered “normal” because they have overactive sweat glands, NOT because of moods, poor health, or lack of hygiene.
* Kids don’t outgrow hyperhidrosis; they need help to manage it.
* This condition can make basic school activities, such as holding a pencil difficult.
* Hyperhidrosis is as emotionally damaging as severe acne and shouldn’t be ignored.
* Young people with hyperhidrosis can find support, understanding, and treatment — but they need adults to help.
Learn more at www.SweatHelp.org.