Tag Archives: reading

Picture Book Review: Billy, go to bed!

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Billy_Go_Bed_CoverI’m always on the look out for a good nighttime picture book. I think I found one that is realistic and captures the imagination. Billy, go to bed! by Pamela Malcolm is a fun repeating bedtime adventure.

Billy is having trouble falling asleep. He follows his parents’ instructions to go to bed, but each time, something disturbs him. First, there’s a ghost. Then, he can’t sleep because of a skeleton in the closet. Lastly, a vampire stalks him under the bed. Each time, his parents patiently explain away his fears. Finally, aliens land in his room and take him on an adventure. In the end, he finds out he was dreaming about his new alien friends realizing he could visit them the next evening in his dreams.

If you have trouble getting your child to sleep, here’s a fun picture book that will make them laugh and try to make friends in their sleep like Billy. This will make a great read-aloud every night and maybe convince your toddler they’ll make friends while they sleep. Plus, there are a slew of other Billy books that your child will enjoy. This will make a great addition to your nighttime read-alouds.

***Billy, got to bed! is available on Amazon.com.

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February Author Spotlight: Interview with Allison Holland

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bio_picFebruary Featured Author

I’m proud to introduce a fabulous writer. Allison Holland is a children’s picture book author that has left the 9-to-5 corporate world to write children’s books. Of course, her new bosses are brutally honest and a joy to work for. She is the author of the Raspberry Sassafras picture book series. In my exclusive interview with her, she reveals some inspirational authors from her childhood, memories of being an avid reader, and what it’s like in the new job she loves, writing for children.

What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

HeadAllisonBabyThat’s a tough one because I read voraciously as a child. I was like a little swarm of locusts devouring everything I could get my hands on. But the one thing that really stands out for me is when I was given Kay Thompson’s Eloise. Growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, feminism and the equal rights movement were undoubtedly in full-swing, but it didn’t seem to trickle down to little girls. We were expected to like dolls and tea sets and patent leather Mary Janes, and Girl Power was a concept on par with having phones you could carry around in your pocket. That is to say, it wasn’t even a consideration. But then Eloise came along, and unlike all the sweet, dainty little girls in my other books, she was a hot mess. Just like me. She was the first book character I could relate to, and I loved it. I loved her. That’s probably why I still have that book on my shelf today.

Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

I think I was more drawn to a book’s characters than to its author. I loved Beverly Cleary’s Ramona for much the same reason I loved Eloise, but I don’t recall ever thinking, “I want to be a writer just like Beverly Cleary.” I liked Roald Dahl because he could be a bit dark and sometimes scary. I remember being a bit shaken up that James’ parents were killed in James and the Giant Peach. But, at the same time, it made the story much more interesting than all the typical fluff aimed at readers my age. But the first one that made me want to write like him was Shel Silverstein. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout was my absolute favorite, and I remember writing long, terrible poems trying to emulate Silverstein. I don’t write poetry anymore (you’re welcome, world) but I feel that I still carry his influence. From him, I learned that every word matters and using the wrong one is like playing the wrong note in a musical piece. It’s noticeable, it stands out, it disrupts the flow.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

I don’t, actually. I’ll make notes and write down ideas, but I don’t sit down and write for a certain number of hours every day. I write in waves and gushes. When an idea hits me, it hits me all at once. I was driving to meet a friend when the inspiration for Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow struck, and by the time I arrived at my destination, I had the whole story figured out in my head. All I had to do was get it into my laptop when I got home. When I do write, when an idea blossoms in my brain, I can bang away at my computer for hours on end, editing, re-editing and tweaking it, first writing, and then endlessly tweaking it until I’ve taken care of all the sour notes.

What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

I’ll definitely be writing more Raspberry Sassafras books … in fact, I’m pretty much done with the story for the fourth book, and I just need to crank out the illustrations. Which can take a while because I’m a terrible artist and I have to tweak my drawing far more than my writing. I want to cover essential things with Raspberry and Jane, things that matter to kids … bullying, being different, peer pressure, loneliness … but I never want to be heavy-handed. I hope that any message or lesson I’m trying to convey wafts gently into the child’s mind and easily sinks in. I never want my books to shout, “This is wrong!” or “This is scary!” Kids are smart, they can absorb a subtle message. I also want to break up the message-parade with some stories that are just for fun … Raspberry In Space, Raspberry Visits The Farm, Raspberry Confronts Her Irrational Fear Of Clowns … hahaha!

What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing is the key to my identity, my self-confidence and, quite often, my sanity.

RS01_Raspberry_SassafrasAllison Holland’s Raspberry Sassafras picture books series has three darling picture books for children ages 4-9. The first in the series, Raspberry Sassafras, introduces the beloved cow Raspberry Sassafras as she moves from her farm to an apartment in the city. She learns to adapt teaching her friend to except her for who she is. The second book has Raspberry Sassafras exploring the city park, and her encounters with dogs. They learn that being different than others is okay. And in the third book in the series, Raspberry Sassafras, the Flying Cow, embraces her talent and shows it off to the world. All of these picture books can be purchased from Amazon.com and  Barnes and Noble.

For more information on Allison Holland and her other books, visit her website:

https://raspberrysassafras.com/

Buy Links for all three books:

Raspberry Sassafras

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Allison-Holland/dp/B01GLC0RAS

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126574449

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The second book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-I-Am-Cow/dp/1365956229

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575024

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The third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Famous-Flying-Cow/dp/1365989879

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575037

***Stay tuned for a book review of the Raspberry Sassafras series in the next couple of days! Hit the button on the left, and follow my blog to be updated on all of the new and exciting Indie Authors in Children’s Books!

 

Crystal Keeper Series After Christmas Sale on Smashwords

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I’ve listed the first book in the series, The Lost Secret of Fairies, as a FREE ebook on Smashwords just in time to help ring out the old year. The next book in the series, The Lost Secret of the Green Man, is on sale 50% off at $0.99. The After Christmas Sale will be going on from December 25, 2017 – January 1, 2018.

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The Lost Secret of Fairies will be on sale for FREE from Dec. 25-Jan. 1, 2018!

This is all in anticipation of the upcoming book, The Lost Secret of Time. It will be the fourth and final book in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Currently, I’m in the middle of revising the completed manuscript. The release date is looking good for Spring 2018. I’ve been in contact with the artist to complete the cover, and my editor has it on her calendar. Everything is in preparation.

I am SO PROUD to be finally bringing you this last book. It has been a long time in coming. With my being ill back in December 2014, this last book almost wasn’t written. But after the physical therapy, and surviving a heart attack, pneumonia and septic shock, it seems almost a miracle to finally be nearing the completion of this last book. I’m so looking forward to all of you being able to read it. There will be more to come as we near the release date. So stay tuned, and be sure to follow my blog for all the updated info.

But I do have to warn you. Brewford, the cat sorcerer, is telling me that he wants a book of his own to finally set the record straight. He wants a book of his own to tell the stories of his 800 year old lifetime adventures. Something tells me, he may get his wish. But how about you let me know. If you’d like a book told by Brewford explaining his adventures over 800 years as a cat sorcerer, let me know in the comments below.

And to you and all my fans and followers, a very Happy New Year and best wishes in 2018!

-Tiffany Turner

Back to School Blog Tour Day 5: Wrap-Up and Giveaway Last Chance!

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the last day of the Back to School Blog Tour. I want to thank the other participating authors, Teddy O’Malley and Becca Price for their wonderful interviews and book reviews. I’d also like to thank all of my followers and fans that stopped by during the week. Thank you so much for your continued support of myself and my fellow Indie children’s author friends. Without readers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, write.

Plus, have you had a chance to enter the special $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway yet? It runs until the end of Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. So, be sure to enter for your chance to win a back to school shopping spree from the Indie Children’s Authors Connection.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE!

Winners will be announced on the blog next week.

This will close the 5th Annual Back to School Blog Tour. On behalf of all the authors and myself, thank you for stopping by. Be sure to check out the book reviews on Teddy O’Malley’s and Becca Price’s books on the linked blogs.

Teddy O’Malley’s Book Review

Becca Price’s Book Review

Until next year,

Keep reading! Keep Writing!

-Tiffany Turner

Head editor and writer for the Indie Children’s Authors Connection Blog.

 

 

 

Back To School Blog Tour 2017 Starts Sept. 11

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2017B2SchoolBannerSo, I’ve been hard at work planning the 5th Annual Back to School Blog Tour. I’ve got some pretty amazing authors lined up to share the behind the scenes take on writing children’s books. Plus, these same amazing authors will be posting reviews of the books featured the week of the blog tour.

**So come back on Sept. 11 and get to know the participating authors. All week, author interviews will be posted with links to their book reviews. Enjoy a week of celebrating books and education. I’m looking forward to it!

**Plus, the Back to School Blog Tour Giveaway will start on Sept. 11. Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card for your very own books to start off the year. Teachers can enter to add to their own class libraries. It will run through the weekend and end Sunday Sept. 17.

Link for Back to School Giveaway: Starts Monday, Sept. 11

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/

So, bookmark and come back on Monday Sept. 11. Until then, happy beginning of school!

-Mrs. Turner

June Author Spotlight: Zachariah Rippee, an author interview

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Zachariah Rippee is the author of the children’s picture book series that deals with the joys of reading.

This month, our featured Indie children’s book author is Zachariah Rippee. Zach has written an amazing series of picture books that deals with the treasure that can be found while reading. His main character, Elijah, has a series of adventures discovering the joys of taking a perusal through a book. Each book deals with a different theme of reading.  Knowledge and imagination start out the series in the first two books, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge and Elijah and the City of Danger. 

I had the chance to talk to Zachariah about his series and the joys he’s discovered writing them.

1) How did you get the idea to write your books? 

Mr. Rippee: This is a good question. It is always fun to look at the “birth” of an idea. From a young age I have hoped and dreamed of being a father. Most kids dreamed of being doctors and firemen, a policeman maybe. Nope, not me. I wanted to be a father, a husband. I think that is because of the strong example I had in my own father (who is today my biggest hero). As I got older I began to understand this desire was not only to be a father, but to be a role model for children.

Plain and simply put our children are our future. It only seems logical to want decent role models for our future. As a father I hope my children learn to love reading. As a teacher and role model I want the same thing for my students. I want to do as many things to encourage that as possible. The books are just an extension of my desire to help our children build a better future. Reading is the key to that. If a child can read, they hold the key to their own learning and to a brighter future.
2) Did you have trouble reading as a child? How did this inspire your books?
Mr. Rippee: Short answer: YES!!! I can honestly say, without a doubt and with full understanding of what these words mean, “I HATED READING AS A CHILD!” I did not learn to read easily. I fought to not read. I had such insecurities because of reading deficiencies. I can actually trace being shy and introverted back to an insecurity because of my poor reading ability. Many are shocked to find out that I did not read my first chapter book from cover to cover until I was 22 years old.
The first chapter book I read was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Full disclosure, I only read this book so that I could talk to a girl. The girl!!! She loved reading. She always talked about the Potter books. I find it humorous that reading caused me to pull away from social settings as a child, and reading was the door through which I entered into the most important “social setting” of my adult life. That girl, the girl, is now my wife of nearly eleven years. She has helped me grow my own love of reading. Because of her example I can now see the value of reading as an important life tool. (She also scolded me for reading the Harry Potter books out of order)
My troubles with reading inspired my own books because my books were born out of the desire to prevent my story from becoming my children’s story. After I wrote my first book, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge, I realized that it wasn’t only my story or their story. Kids all over the country are living the same struggles and experiencing the same fears and anxiety that I did. Thus my continued writing.
3) What would you suggest to a reader to try if they want to be an author someday?
Mr. Rippee: In today’s world there are so many tools available to aspiring authors. Social media is full of groups and clubs that are geared towards helping authors learn and grow. Publishing has become so easy with online self-publishing platforms. You can LITERALLY write, illustrate, and publish your own books in a few days. That being said, consider these things: What is your message or story? Who is your audience? How will you build your platform? Who are people you can trust to be helpful resources (editors, illustrators, proof readers, and people to bounce ideas off of)?
Finally, if it is a dream of yours to become a writer…write!
4) What were some of your favorite authors while growing up?
Mr. Rippee: As a child I didn’t like reading. However, since I have been “playing catch up” I have found several wonderful stories by amazing authors.
I am a fan of older (some might say classic) dystopian novels, mysteries, spy novels. Ann Rand, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Orwell are some of my favorite authors. I love Anthem by Rand and my favorite book is probably her epic Atlas Shrugged. The ideas and philosophies the novel discusses are interesting to me. I actually spent hours reading it during my 10 year wedding anniversary trip (in flight reading).
I love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Jay Asher is a good author. I am also reading The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
5) What was the drawing and writing process for your children’s books?
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Sketches by Zachariah Rippee during his illustration process in creating his children’s book series.

Mr. Rippee: The drawing process began 5 years and 9 months before my first book was published. I illustrated my character Elijah on the day my wife told me she was pregnant for the first time. (included image). All of my illustrations start as hand drawn sketches that are then scanned and colored digitally. Formatting has been a fun journey for me, as I format all my own books. That is the beauty of self-publishing. You get creative control of the entire project. Several steps happen in between the first sketch and the final draft.

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Finished layouts of the book Elijah and the City of Danger by Zachariah Rippee.

As far as the writing process, I have adapted a saying my father taught me. When building something ( we dabble in woodworking) he says “Measure twice, cut once.”   I will consider a page or paragraph in my head for days, rewording it, revising it, and so on. When it hits the paper it is usually fairly close to the finished product. Most of my writing happens in quiet times of waiting ( at the grocery store, eating lunch, in the car). My mind just rolls it over and over until something shiny pops out at me!

6) What writing projects do you have coming up?
Mr. Rippee: I am currently rolling around several stories in my head. I just began self-publishing in the spring. So several ideas have been pent up waiting to burst forth. I am currently working on books that nod to the classic monster movies and campy 60’s superhero shows. I am also working on a whimsical look at how feelings affect our perception of the world around us.

Thank you so much to Mr. Rippee for sharing his experience and his creative process with me for my blog readers. I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to start writing your own stories. For more information on Zachariah Rippee’s books, visit him at Facebook or his Amazon Author Page at:

Facebook Link: https://m.facebook.com/mr.rippee.sir/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Zachariah-Rippee/e/B06XFKLHK9

ElijahKeyKnowledgeCvr***His picture books, Elijah and the Key of Knowledge, Elijah and the City of Danger, and The Green Ladybug: A Book About Kindness are available on Amazon.

***Barnes and Noble links:

***Next week, book reviews of the featured books by the author in the Indie Authors Monthly Spotlight!

-Tiffany Turner

***Tiffany Turner is a children’s author that has been self-publishing for over 10 years. She started the Indie Children’s Authors Connection to help get the word out about amazing children’s books she has found by other Indie authors. Her children’s fantasy adventure books, Crystal Keeper Chronicles series, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

UPDATE: The Lost Secret of Time: Final Book in Crystal Keeper Series Due out Spring 2018

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Working cover for the last Crystal Keeper Chronicles book, The Lost Secret of Time. 

I wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of the last book in the Crystal Keeper series, The Lost Secret of Time. I’m proud to announce that there has been a schedule set up for it’s completion. It is outlined, and has 9 chapters of the 14 written thus far. It’s scheduled with my editor for the end of October, and I’ve been working hard with the help of Camp NaNo to get it completed.

I have to thank all of my fans for your patience. I know this one is taking longer, but sometimes life throws things at you that can’t be planned for, like a heart attack, going septic in the hospital and having acute pneumonia. I’m just happy to still be alive and be around for a second chance to finally complete the series.

I also have to mention I did try to end the series with the third book, but the characters WOULDN’T let me. They insisted that the story carry on. So, that is why the third book ends the way it does in a cliffhanger. There was just more story to tell.

Plus, once I wrap up this series, I’m planning a prequel in which Brewford, the cat sorcerer, will be the main character. There are a lot of things hinted about his past in the series, and I want to write a prequel that explains it all. So, the ending of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles won’t be the end of Wanda’s fairy world. It will continue in other forms.

It has been an amazing ten year journey so far. I’m sure many of you fans have grown up waiting for the books to be written. If anything, you’ve learned that writing is a process and takes time, an average of two years per book at least. The biggest thing that a reader needs to possess is patience for your favorite books. I know your pain. I’ve gone through the same thing with my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey. I think the secret is having LOTS of favorite authors so you can switch between them between new book releases. It’s how I cope. 😉

Until then, take care, and I hope you enjoy your other favorite authors until the new and last book in the series is released next Spring. Stay tuned for fun summer reading activities and giveaways. Have a fabulous summer.

-Tiffany (Mrs. Turner)

 

Tiffany Turner Appearance at 20th Annual Tartan Day Scottish Fair-April 1, 2017 in Fremont, CA

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Tiffany Turner will be at the 20th annual Tartan Day Scottish Fair at Ardenwood Park in Fremont, CA on April 1, 2017. She’ll be there to sell her children’s books and

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Visit Tiffany Turner’s booth and enter the $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

talk to visitors about her upcoming book, The Lost Secret of Time: Book 4 in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. There will also be a giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card at her booth. Stop by and sign up to enter, and get a chance to win the gift card or one of three Crystal Keeper pendants designed by Mrs. Turner.

The fair includes living history demonstrations including the Scottish Queens court, sword and battle demonstrations, and Scottish foods on sale. Come visit to experience a piece of Scotland and Celtic culture for a day.

Tartan Day Scottish Fair Website:

http://www.eastbayscots.org/

East Bay Scottish Association
Tartan Day Scottish Faire
Saturday April 1st, 2017
Ardenwood Historical Farm
Fremont, California
Gates open at 10 AM
Admission Adults: $12.00 Seniors (62+): $8.00
Children (4-17): $5.00
Children under 3 Free
Free On-Site Parking!

UPDATE: Announcing the winners for the Tartan Day Giveaway:

**All winners have been mailed their prizes. Thanks everyone for entering at the event. Hope to see you next year with the newly released fourth book: The Lost Secret of Time.

$25 Amazon Gift Card: Bruce W.

Winners of an official Crystal Pendant:

  1. Elizabeth L.
  2. Janice M.
  3. Olu S.

 

Read Across America Free EBook Coupon

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Read Across America is Mon. March 2, 2015.

Read Across America is Mon. March 2, 2015.

A lot of readers are going digital. What better way to celebrate that than joining in Read Across America with a free ebook. So, this year I’m offering my first novel in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles as a free book up through March 3. Enjoy the adventures of Wanda as she discovers fairies are real, and full of problems.

The free coupon is available for downloads on Smashwords with formats for several different ereaders.

The Lost Secret of Fairies by Tiffany Turner

Wanda had always read about adventure. Now she was in the middle of one. The World of Fairies is real, and she is their new Crystal Keeper, human caretaker to the World of Fairies. But the Fairy World is in trouble. The fairies are falling ill from the pollution that ravages the world above. Wanda has to find the key to their cure, before it’s too late.

Coupon Code: FL57N

Plus, I’ll post on Wed. March 4  special promo package information. It will tell you how to find several free ebooks that can be picked up through free coupons. They are hidden at the end of a free book by one of my fellow children’s writers. We’ve gone in together to help celebrate reading, and now you’re in on the secret. So, make reading a part of your life now by going digital and Read Across America all next week. More details will appear on my blog on Read Across America Day, March 2.

Special gift package instructions will be sent out on March 2 to celebrate Read Across America.

Special gift package instructions will be sent out on March 2 to celebrate Read Across America.

Summer Reading: Important Practice for Any Age

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Not often do I go on the day job soap box, but as a teacher I know how important it is to keep your children reading during the summer. So many school budgets have been cut that summer school is becoming a luxury. As it is, only the really low and needy kids will make it into summer school these days. But all children need to practice their reading during the summer. They lose important skills they learned during the school year if they don’t.

So here is a list of some things to consider from a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade experienced teacher to help you navigate where to start in your child’s reading needs:

1) Let them read for enjoyment.
A lot of parents try to force books on kids which tends to turn them off. Of course, sometimes it’s hard for a child to find what they like. This is actually part of the reading process, and trying lots of different kinds of reading is a skill they practice in school. Take them to the library and let them explore. Try not to limit.

These days there are a lot of different kinds of books to try. New classics have come out since you were a kid. The “Wimpy” kid series, lots of fantasy, graphic novels are some of the new popular areas that were absent 20 years ago. Let your kid “Go for It” and explore. You might discover some new fabulous novels as well.

2) Reading anything is good.
A lot of kids don’t find they enjoy books. But they might enjoy gaming magazines, code books, Highlights for Kids, or other reading enjoyment. Even the internet has vast amounts of reading to explore. Reading has changed it’s venue, and even Ereaders to phones have reading opportunities. Trying lots of different things is key. The summer can be a wonderful time to explore all these vast storage areas of new reading.

3) Practice makes perfect.
Kids are not perfect readers, and need practice. It’s called Independent Reading, and it’s the third prong of reading development. Kids need to read on their own for enjoyment. The summer is a time to really practice and make this third area of reading development key. The more reading children do, the better they will get.

4) Setting up a reading time is helpful.
Kids need routines. Just a basic time for Independent Reading time is a wonderful structure to get kids to practice. It can be chosen by the child or structured into their regular day. 20 minutes seems to be a good starting amount, but can be increased 5 min. each year. I wouldn’t go over 30 minutes during the summer unless your child wants to. Reading Time shouldn’t be torture, but for enjoyment. And if your child starts to want to read longer than the set time, brilliant. They should start to choose more reading time on their own so it doesn’t become a punishment.

In the end, your child should start to be able to enjoy reading whether it’s on the internet, with a book, on the Ereader or even a magazine. Reading should be for fun, and the more practice your child has at that, the more they will want to read.

Tiffany Turner is working on her third book “The Lost Secret of Dragonfire”. Her first and second books, “The Lost Secret of Fairies” and “The Lost Secret of the Green Man” are available on Amazon.com as a paperback and a Kindle Edition. She teaches during the school year in a California Elementary school, and has 13 years teaching experience.