Book Announcement! Lavalino Finds His Forever Home

As an educator, I’ve always tried to teach my students the importance of persistence in following your life dreams. This last year, I have been purposefully trying to practice what I teach, as I have been working diligently on my first book. I am super excited to let you know that it’s now out!

Lavalino Finds His Forever Home was just published and is available on Amazon and elsewhere as both an ebook and a print version (it is also in the Amazon lending library until March). It’s been such a passion project of mine, particularly because the central character is based on a cat who was important to our family, and I put a lot of love and work into it.

This is the first book in a series, The Adventures of Lavalino, and it introduces the scrappy and loveable street kitty as he searches for a forever home.  The story is set in Sicily, Italy, and readers, parents and teachers get a flavor of the country’s people and culture.  The colorful watercolor illustrations add to the story’s appeal. The back contains a glossary of the Italian phrases used throughout the book, and gives a touch of the language for young readers.

Please check out the book and let me know what you think. Positive reviews are helpful and welcome! Thanks so much!

The Six Syllable Types Freebie!

Last year, I did a series on teaching the six syllable types. Teaching the six syllable types is a phonics-based approach to teaching decoding and encoding (reading and spelling). Research shows that a phonics-based approach is the best approach for most students, especially those with a specific learning disability in reading (aka dyslexia).

I made this sheet for easy reference. I plan to print and laminate, so my students can refer to it. I can give the cue, “It’s a closed syllable,” and students can refresh their memory. They need, of course, to be thoroughly taught first.

For a refresher, or if you are new to the blog, here are some links explaining each syllable type:

The Six Syllable Type Overview     Closed Syllables I    Closed Syllables II     Open Syllables     Consonant -le Syllable     Vowel-Consonant-e Syllables     R-Controlled Syllables     Vowel Team Syllables I     Vowel Teams Syllables II

I hope this helps!

Monthly Book (Video) Recommendation: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

I like to recommend good and useful books, but this month I am recommending a video. The video is called “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” (available on Netflix and elsewhere).

Minimalism is basically a lifestyle approach where you minimize the excess things in your life, and try to be purposeful in your consumption. Winter break was a great time for me to go through my things, and give away many of the things I had accumulated. All together, I have given away over 500 things, and I am still going! (This is coming from someone who has little clutter and is organized by nature–as most teachers are.)

I did this by doing a minimalism challenge: give away one thing on day one, two things on day two, three things on day three, and so on. By the time you are done you will have given away close to 500 things. 

People have asked me where I donate. My go-to places are: the Arc (benefits people with intellectual and developmental disabilities) and a rescue mission that focuses on helping get people back on track from being homeless. I try to give high quality things and clothes that will be a blessing. I, in turn, feel happy and relieved to have less stuff in my life.

Even if you have no desire to become a minimalist, I think you will benefit from watching the video. The documentary approaches the topic from many different viewpoints. It also takes a look at advertising, and how we are constantly being bombarded through technology. It’s quite fascinating.