Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back-to-School Mode

With the beginning of a new school year just around the corner, we want to offer some back-to-school tips to prepare your child for the transition. It is so important to integrate the skills your child has picked up (or will be picking up) at school into activities at home so they may benefit from the continued practice. Doing crafts with your child can give them a chance to work on their cutting and pasting skills, handwriting, or coloring inside the lines. And of course, keep up on the reading - 20 minutes a day! - and practicing the alphabet. Check out the links below, as well as those listed on the sidebar, for some ideas to give your child a head start on the school year.

In other news - the Reading Railroad Train Station Literacy Center wrapped up its summer schedule last Monday with an end of summer Hawaiian Luau. The Train Station will be closed the next two Mondays in preparation for the school schedule. We will be back in action August 16th for a Back-to-School themed Literacy Center held from 1-6PM at the Logansport library. Mark your calendars and come out to join us in kicking off the school year.

If you haven't already done so, click the Follow button on the sidebar to become a follower of our blog. And as always, be sure to check back for updates on Reading Railroad events, as well as more tips for spreading literacy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't Forget to Eat Breakfast!!


With school creeping closer and closer I thought I would give a little plug for the most important meal of the day....Breakfast. This meal is not only important during the school year, but all year round as kids get up and prepare for a day full of non-stop activity.

By eating breakfast you can easily enhance your performance throughout the day in all activities. From literacy activities to physical activities, eating breakfast can set you apart from other children. This article from Kid Health gives multiple suggestions for a healthy start to your day as well as research examples to prove that breakfast is a vital part to everyones day.

Check it out!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Welcome New Friends


If you are viewing our blog for the first time or for your hundredth time, welcome. We are excited about this new opportunity to reach the parents and children of Cass County to let them know about all of the exciting things the Reading Railroad has going on throughout the year. Since its inception the blog has been used to spread the word about or weekly programs, give reports of how those programs went, tips for packing fun and healthy brown bag lunch ideas, literacy ideas to keep kids active throughout the summer and website suggestions for parents trying to find helpful ways to keep their kids active in literacy.

Throughout the year we hope to continue the blog's regularity and keep it up to date several times a week. It has been a bit easier this summer having two summer interns in the office to take care of such tasks, but as the summer draws to a close it will all be back in the hands of Nikki Reed, the program director. However, she is looking forward to using this valuable resource to reach all of the fans of the Reading Railroad and spread the news of all the good things we are doing.

If you are a first timer, check out the side bar where you will find interactive website suggestions that are good for kids to link up to, as well as childrens book author suggestions. These authors are some of our favorites here at the Reading Railroad and ones your children are sure to enjoy. We update both of these whenever we receive word of something new and exciting. If you know of an author or website we do not have listed, please contact us at and let us know. We are always looking for ways to better the literacy experience for the children of Cass County.

With all of this being said, make sure to stop by daily and see what we have going on at the Reading Railroad. It is an exciting time in Cass County as we start to turn over a new leaf in the era of social media. Don't miss the opportunity to be a big part of it by following our blog.

In Reading 20 minutes every day,


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Link-Up at the 4-H Fair

Hello All-

The Reading Railroad has been out at the Cass County Fair all week, and will be out there through Friday in merchang building 1. Make sure to come out and see us and take the pledge to read 20 minutes a day. By doing so you can add a personalized link to our evergrowing chain that will be placed in the library at the conclusion of the fair.

Plus we have several other things to offer. We have a supply of free childrens books for kids of all ages to stop by and choose from. We also have bookmarks and several other goodies to choose from. We are located right next to the United Way booth in Merchant Building 1 so stop by and see us. Tonight is bracelet night, so hopefully we will see several little ones looking to take the pledge and link up with the Reading Railroad. See you tonight.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

StoryBook Success!!!

Hello All-

We are back in action here at the blog. It was a long week of preparation for our StoryBook Festival last Sunday, but this week make sure to check back daily for your Reading Railroad updates.

Our StoryBook Festival that took place on Sunday was a huge success. There were children all over the park and each one seemed to be having a great time. With all of our planning finally coming to a head on Sunday at the park it was a great feeling for us here at the Reading Railroad to see everyone having such a good time.

We had plenty to offer the children as the park was turned into something straight out of a fairytale. Our theme for the festival was "Once Upon a Time." The kids were able to make their own crowns, wands, bookmarks, illustrate their own fairytale story, create their own fairytale music, joust like knights and even take in a puppet show. There was no shortage of entertainment. Not to mention the delicous cookies, popsicles and popcorn that was donated from our gracious sponsors. All in all it was a fantastic day.

Another benefit of attending the festival this year was that each child who participated in the festival received a free children's book. All they had to do was visit our book distribution corner and choose from the hundreds of childrens books we had to offer. This festival gave us a chance to reach out to the children and families of Cass County and spread the gift of literacy. It was a true display of what the Reading Railroad is all about. Seeing children have fun with literacy is one of the most gratifying gifts on can give, and that is exactly what we get to do every day here with the Reading Railroad.

Thanks to all of our sponsors who provided donations to help the festival come together as it would not have all been possible without them. A big thanks to all of our volunteers and the families who showed up as well. This is something that we look to continue building on in the future and hopefully everyone comes back to join us in future years.

However, the festival DOES NOT mark the end of our summer programs. Don't forget to join us on Mondays for our literacy centers, Tuesday and Thursdays for Brown Bags and Books and Wednesday nights for our Story Nights at the Story House Depot. Two more weeks left. Let's finish up strong. Check back tomorrow for some Brown Bag ideas.

Friday, July 2, 2010

StoryBook Festival

What do you think of when you read the words ‘Once Upon a Time’? I would venture to say that some of you may think immediately of princesses and dreams coming true, while others may think of dragons and knights facing daring feats. Whatever thoughts these four words conjure up, I am certain that we all have heard them, spoken them, and anxiously awaited the story that follows them. ‘Once Upon a Time…’, these are very powerful words. Once spoken, anything is possible!

It is this magnitude of magic that we, at the Reading Railroad, hope to capture at our upcoming Storybook Festival. Our theme for this year’s Storybook Festival is, you guessed it, ‘Once Upon a Time’. As with many Reading Railroad events, our vision for this special day is to create an environment where children and families can engage in activities and experiences that help foster a love for literacy. And on Sunday, July 11th the Reading Railroad crew will transform Spencer Park into a storybook land, perfect for all the princesses and brave knights (and their royal families) from across the land, to come and enjoy.

We will have three main entertainment areas at the festival. In our “Lyrics and Literacy” area, Jarrett Binney will be performing live music and allowing kids to interact with different types of instruments, as he sings and teaches kids that songs are stories put to a tune. Across the park we will have a puppeteer on hand who will offer two marionette performances of the classic fairytale, ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Head back to the wooded area of Spencer Park to find our third main entertainment option; a few professional storytellers from the Bloomington Storyteller’s Guild will be joining us to perform live storytelling to all intrigued listeners.

If all of these great entertainment options aren’t luring enough, we have oodles of hands-on activities to suit your fairytale fancy. We will have the traditional fairytale activities for you and your family to enjoy, like making your own crowns, wands, and leather story-bookmarks. We will also be offering some extra unique activity options; in our ‘Glass Slippers and Seeds’ area, festival attendees will get to choose a shoe and turn it into a flower pot, by filling it with soil and then planting some seeds. If Cinderella can turn pumpkins into stage coaches, we can certainly turn slippers into miniature flower gardens.

If your children enjoy stories more for the action and adventure, rather than the glitter and glitz, the Storybook Festival will have a handful of activities for this too. There will be a number of active play areas, designed to inspire imaginative play. Check out the ‘Princess Castle’ and ‘Pirate’s Cove’ play areas where kids can easily pretend to be the main character in their own fairytale. And, you won’t want to miss out on our favorite activity at this year’s festival, ‘Noodle Jousting’; you’ll have to stop by the festival to see what that is all about!

No fairytale would be complete without a happy ending. And the happy ending for our Storybook Festival is that all this family fun is FREE for all festival attendees! There will also be free snacks available, as well as free books distributed. Children are encouraged to dress-up like their favorite fairytale or storybook character, to help bring the magic of this day to life. To take part in all of this fairytale and storybook fun, join us for the Storybook Festival, July 11th from 1:00-3:00pm at Spencer Park. Come out and see how with literacy, we are one step closer to living happily ever after.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Can Eat a Rainbow....Can You?


Today is Thursday, and the holiday weekend is almost upon us. We have one more literacy event planned for the week, so make sure to come and visit us at the Story House today for Brown Bags and Books from 12-2. For today's Brown Bags blog I am going to talk about the importance of getting your children to "Eat a Rainbow." Check out this catchy tune to get your little ones inspired.

Although it seems like pulling teeth when trying to get your children to eat vegetables, it is well worth the pull. Not only do raw fruits and vegetables come packed with vitamins, minerals and all important phytochemicals, but they are a phenomenal brain food. These foods will be sure to keep your children healthy and on top of their game while they are in class. So when you and your child are packing up a brown bag to come to the park or even packing a lunch to take to school make sure to pack a rainbow. Send some vegetable sticks such as carrots and peppers or include some cucumbers and grape tomatoes. Mix in some fruit salad with apples, oranges, pineapple and grapes. All of these suggestions will go great on their own or are even better when mixed together with other fruits and vegetables. They make an easy side to go along with a sandwich or whatever else it is you are packing for lunch that day.

I would encourage you to let your kids get involved in packing their lunch. It gets them excited to eat whatever it is they are packing, and will even help get them excited to eat those fruits and vegetables we often struggle with.

Hope everyone has a safe and relaxing holiday, and don't forget to take some time and eat a rainbow while you are with your family and friends this holiday weekend.