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A Note to Teachers from our Chief of Education

As an early childhood educator and now a parent, I know that it can be exhausting to fit everything you need to do into jam-packed days. As the school year comes to a close, I hope you take a moment to reflect on the joyful moments of success and the challenges that inspired to do better.

We created our app so that story time is an achievable daily goal that can create those moments of success. Novel Effect is an aid for those of us who don’t like to read out loud, for those of us who are too tired to make choo-choo train noises or roar like a lion, or for those of us looking for something to jazz up the ol’ classroom routine and get the wee one’s attention back to the basics of listening to a good story – with a little magic thrown in for good measure. 

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Novel Effect Takes New York!

If you love books, then the place to be last week was BookCon at New York City’s Javits Center. Since Novel Effect LOVES books, we set up shop at the heart of the action.

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BookCon is the event where storytelling and pop culture collide. Attendees can experience the origin of the story in all its forms by interacting with the authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything you read, hear and see.

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As one of these creators, Novel Effect let attendees in on the action. We set up an interactive recording space where kids of all ages (and we mean ALL ages) could spin a wheel, hear a demo of a wrong sound effect, and then take their shot at voicing their own version. We can’t wait to share the results in our new Novel Effect Original story, “At the Stroke of Storytime,” coming Friday to your Novel Effect app!

Be sure to download Novel Effect today and to check the app on June 8th for “At the Stroke of Storytime.” If you recorded one of the sounds for us at BookCon, be sure to let us know what you think of the end result!

Red Carpet Ready

The Webby Awards are the Internet's highest honor, with categories for everything from Mobile Apps to Podcasts to Digital Streaming. Novel Effect took home the Webby for Best Mobile Integrated Experience:

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How to Do Story Time Like a Pro: Parents

For the next three months, we're bringing you a series of tips on how to be a master storyteller in any situation. This month, we're focusing on story time at home. Here are seven ways you can jazz up story time at home to get your little readers coming back for more…

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Books to Read This Earth Day

Earth Day is this weekend! Depending on where you are, you may be stuck inside watching another beautiful snow storm or out enjoying a hike to celebrate. Whatever you do, be sure to add in some story time! We’ve got some suggestions on books to get you in the Earth Day spirit:

 

I Stink by Kate & Jim McMullan
All the things we use create waste. Find out about all the hard work garbage trucks do in “I Stink” and then try to find one thing you can do to reduce the work garbage trucks have to do to keep our cities clean.

 

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Robinowitz
Helping animals can be incredibly rewarding, as the young boy in “A Boy and a Jaguar” discovers. Overcoming his stutter, he finds a way to use his passion to protect his favorite animals. Start a conversation with your little ones to find out what their passions are!

 

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Conney
Plants do more than provide oxygen for us to breathe. They also make the world a beautiful place! Join Miss Rumphius on her world-beautification project and plant your own favorite plants as a family.

 

The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson
Yes, this planet is pretty stellar. But….the MOON! The moon is quite awesome as well. You can read Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem about Earth’s favorite little sister with the free ebook provided in the Novel Effect app!

 

The Earth Book by Todd Parr
Here’s a whole book devoted to our home planet! It’s full of great ideas and simple ways that even the littlest of humans can chip in and make the world a greener, better place.

 

The best way to celebrate Earth Day is to make EVERY day Earth Day! We hope some of these books (and one poem) on the Novel Effect app inspire your family to find little ways every day to make our shared home the best it can be.

4 Literary Themed Holidays in April

The Month of April showers us with all the things for book lovers.! All month long, there are special celebrations and events that you and your little wordsmiths can enjoy together. Look for these celebrations locally to find shared experiences that will help build lasting memories and lasting love of reading for your family.

 

1. National Poetry Month

April is a month for poetry! We’ve celebrated at Novel Effect by adding free children’s poetry to the app, complete with the text, so you can enjoy some immersive poems right away. Additionally, if you’re looking for a fun poetry-related activity to do together, why not create your own black-out poetry using magazines or newspapers you have around the house?

 

2. National Library Week

April 8th-14th is National Library Week! Since 1958, this established event has been a big deal in the library world. It features micro-celebrations for everyone from school librarians to bookmobiles, with special activities for readers both big and small. The best way to celebrate is to support your local library – stop by and check a book out, attend a story time, and don’t forget to mention Novel Effect while you’re there. If you can’t make it in, little things like following/liking posts on their social media channels can go a long way to help their visibility in the community.

 

3. World Book Day, April 23rd

World Book Day is an UNESCO organized event celebrating all things related to reading, publishing, and copyright. First celebrated in 1995, the date April 23rd was chosen as it is the birth or death day for Cervantes, Shakespeare, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Vladimir Nabokov, and many other notable writers. April 23rd also happens to be St. George’s Day. In some cultures, books are given as a gift to a love interest St. George’s Day, not unlike the gift exchanges on Valentine’s Day here in the US, so feel free to pass along the gift of reading to someone you love on this day.

 

4. Independent Bookstore Day

Indie bookstores are community centers run by passionate book people. The last Saturday in April (this year, April 28th) is a day to celebrate these special places that make a neighborhood unique. Every store (and every Independent Bookstore Day party) is different, but it’s not uncommon to find authors, live music, kids events, art tables, contests, and fun exclusives that can’t be found anywhere else. Seattle bookstores have a passport program to encourage you to hit the wide variety of bookstores across the city. Novel Effect will be participating in several celebrations across the countries, so if you don’t see us, be sure to let the bookstore know that you would like to!

 

April is a big month for Novel Effect in another way – we were nominated for 2 Webby Awards! The Webbys, according to The New York Times, are the “internet’s highest honor.” As a nominee we have the possibility of winning the Webby chosen by the academy or the People’s Choice Webby, chosen by popular vote. We’d love your vote in each of the two categories where we were nominated:

Mobile Sites & Apps: Family & Kids: https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2018/mobile-sites-apps/general/family-kids

Mobils Sites & Apps: Integrated Mobile Experience: https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2018/mobile-sites-apps/features/integrated-mobile-experience

6 Ways to Get Kids Excited About Reading

How do we motivate our children to engage in reading experiences and understand the value of the written word? Some early readers struggle and get frustrated. Others find the many distractions more compelling (and instantly gratifying) than doing the work of reading.

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Bedtime Stories for Read Across America Day

Every year, on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, parents, teachers, librarians, kids, and lovers of children’s books celebrate all things reading! We here at Novel Effect enjoyed the day, literally reading across America (in classrooms from Washington state to South Carolina) volunteering and sharing our magical story time experience.

After a busy day of fun reading experiences, we thought we would share some of our favorite bedtime stories so you can keep the celebration going right up to the point the sandman arrives.

 

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson

Harold is the perfect story to unwind to after a day full of imagination. Harold himself uses his purple crayon to draw out his own adventures before falling asleep in his bed, crayon (almost) in hand. I particularly love the dragon roars and the boat scene in the middle of the book – the music and sound effects are spot on!

 

DREAM ANIMALS by Emily Winfield Martin

The whimsical and nostalgic imagery of “Dream Animals” beautifully demonstrates the power of books and how they can help children develop their imaginations. Plus, there are some great, unexpected character voices that really set the mood of the story.

 

 

GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Gentle rhymes and gentle music help prepare busy minds and busy construction sites off to sleep for the day. After a day full of busy hands and fun activities, this is the perfect story to help unwind the chaos and get settled in for bed.

 

OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO by Dr. Seuss

Ok, so this isn’t a bed time store, per se! But we couldn’t have a list for Read Across America Day and NOT have a book from the birthday boy himself. Plus, dreams are where…well…dreams are born. Why not send your child off to sleep with visions of all the things the places they can!

3 Tips for Spring Break with Kids

Spring break takes on a whole new meaning after you have kids. With winter winding down, Spring Break is rapidly approaching on the calendar. A lot of stress can come from travel in general – busy airports, long car rides, and the crowded destinations are only the tips of the vacation icebergs. Before you decide to shut you and your family in your house for the break, here are some tips to keeping your cool on even the hottest spring break beach!

       1. Countdown Calendar

Before you even get on the road, get your children prepped and pumped for their trip with a countdown calendar. While the underlying meaning of the calendar is to have your kids help you pack and plan activities, it will give them a space to get excited about the trip beforehand. If you’re traveling to a destination include interesting facts about where you are going. Are there any unique animals that are native to the area? Any interesting festivals happening while you’re there? Write down little fun facts a few weeks in advance on the calendar for your kids to look at, and as you get closer to your trip pair these facts with different things they can pack. Is it sunny where you’re going? Better pack some sunscreen and sunglasses! 

Photo by Jake Hawkes on Unsplash

       2. Up Your Reading Game

One of the easiest distraction during a long car ride is something almost everyone resorts to – screens. Anything to keep your kids from asking the dreaded “are we there yet?” Every hour on the hour. While this certainly get the job done, there is something magical about reading a good book while you travel. For your kids, Novel Effect takes it to a new level by adding engaging sound effects and follows along with your voices to make every moment magical where it counts. There are hundreds of stories to choose from, including some great travel stories (I suggest “Wherever You Go”). 

Photo by Domenico Daniele on Unsplash

        3. Soothing Soundproofing

The first time traveling with a child is anxiety inducing. What if they don’t get their nap in before the airport? What if they scream? How will they handle that much time in the car? If you’re going to be in a busy airport or amusement park with a sleepy baby, a pair of soundproof headphones can do wonders for your child. It keeps all of the new sound as muffled as possible for them so they can enjoy a nap almost anywhere. Headphones like these help children who might be more prone to over stimulation by loud or new surroundings. Sound machines, especially if they use one at home, are another way to ensure that even in the strange surroundings of a hotel room, your child can get the rest they need.

 

Regardless of your travel plans this spring season, at the end of the day the process can be just as fun as the destination. The fun far outweighs the stress in the end!

Books to Celebrate with in February

Looking for the perfect book to pair with all the February holidays? Then look no further!

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