4 Resources for Teaching Essential Reading Skills

Direct instruction from a reading teacher is one way kids learn to read. Informal learning from parents and caregivers is another way. In fact, research has shown that this informal instruction is pivotal to ensuring kids have the basic skills they need to actually learn to read once they are in school with a teacher doing direct instruction.


Informal learning should be just what the name implies: informal. No flash cards, no drills, no worksheets. Instead there are a plethora (I’ve been wanting to use that word for a while now!) of ways to give your kids the reading skills they need without ever letting on that you are teaching reading. Here are a few resources you can turn to for ideas of how to provide that informal instruction in a kid-friendly, stress-free, and joyful learning environment.


  • Fun Crafts to Teach Kids to Read: Our friends at Café Mom have compiled a list of simple but fun crafts you can use to make learning hands-on, using stuff you were going to throw away anyway. A game using bottle caps? Sure. Popsicle stick puzzles? You bet. Try these and your kids won’t even know they are picking up literacy skills.
  • Reading Games from PBS Kids: While nothing beats the personal time invested sitting with your kids and playing literacy games or just reading books together, using technology in a mindful way can not only help your kids gain literacy smarts, but can also teach them essential computer skills and increased hand-eye coordination. There are plenty of so-called education reading games out there, but the folks at PBS Kids are experts at this and what kid wouldn’t want to learn about reading with friends like Curious George or Word Girl?
  • Active Reading Activities: From a verb relay race to reading-focused theater games, education.com has reading activities perfect for those kids who never seems to stop moving. Don’t make them sit and listen, get up and play and the learning will come naturally.
  • Write Your Own Book with Storybird: Storybird will provide the inspiration for your child to try their hand at writing with beautiful illustrations that help lead a child through creating their own story. Writing is the opposite side of reading and mastering this skill will help your child read more fluently and write like a pro. You can then have the book they create turned into a keepsake storybook your family will enjoy reading over and over again.

Combine some of these innovative reading activities to your nightly reading time and you will be giving your kids the informal instruction they need to be top-notch readers. And chances are the only ones who will know they’ve learned something is you and their teachers.

6 Tips for Starting Your Own Father-Daughter Book Club

My daughter and I are reading the same book. It happened completely by accident. She had a book. She left it lying on the kitchen counter. I spilled grape juice on it. While I was cleaning it up, I happened to read a few lines of the book and suddenly I was hooked. I must have stood at the counter, sponge in one hand, book in the other for 20 minutes before my daughter came in looking for her book and made me give it up.


Bad news: The book was a library book and it now was definitely tinted purple on a bunch of pages.


More bad news: My daughter cried when she saw the state of the book.


Good news: The damage meant that I had to buy the book from the library which meant that I could finish reading it.


My daughter and I both continued reading the book and as we did we would discuss what was going on. It was pretty interesting to get her take on things and I discovered that what she thought was the most exciting or most important parts of the book were not the same as what I considered the best parts. When we were both done with the book, I was disappointed. I wanted that same connection to keep going. Luckily, the book was the first in a series, and a few days later, my daughter brought home book 2. And that is where our unofficial but very satisfying ongoing father-daughter book club began.


Start Your Own Father-Daughter Book Club


Want to get your own Father-Daughter (or Father-Son, for that matter) Book Club going? Here are few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that might help make it easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved.


  • Let her pick the book. Trust me on this. You may have a favorite book that you remember from when you were a kid, but if you suggest it, your child will not want to read it and if by some chance they do (or pretend to) they will tell you how much they hate it, totally ruining the experience for you. Yep, I’ve been there. Resist the urge to pick the book, it’s just not worth it.
  • Provide snacks. Sitting down with your child across an empty (or mostly empty table) is OK, but add some chips and salsa and it’s an invitation to dig deep into the story and spend quality time together.
  • Invite friends. If your other kids want to join or your daughter has friends who want to be part of the discussion, let them. As long as they’ve read the book and have something to contribute, your conversation will be so much more interesting with multiple points of view.
  • Go there. Don’t be afraid to broach difficult topics. Books for kids often touch on controversial themes (which is why so many of them get banned!) but if your daughter isn’t going to discuss death or prejudice or boys with you, who is she going to talk about these things with?
  • Give your honest opinion. If you didn’t like the book, say so. If you did like it, say that too. And back it up with reasons why. Expect your daughter to do the same. It’s incredibly important for your daughter to understand that she is entitled to her own opinion and that her opinion is valid even if it differs from yours.
  • Discuss, don’t quiz. A lot of books come with book club type questions in the back these days. Ignore those. I’ve found it so much more rewarding to have a conversation with my daughter about the book rather than quizzing her about what she read like they do at school. In fact, I think the reason we both enjoy our book club time together is that it doesn’t feel like school. It feels like hanging out with someone you really like who also read the same book you did.


Don’t feel like you have enough time to read an entire book? Or perhaps your child isn’t quite ready to take on an entire novel? Why not try a short story instead? A well-written short story, like those found in CRICKET Magazine, contains all of the same elements of a good novel, including interesting characters, well-developed plots, and universal themes that will make for a great discussion. But with word counts much shorter than a traditional novel, you’ll both be able to get to the part where you learn more about your child much faster.


By the way, that first book my daughter and I read together was called City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. I highly recommend it for all kids ages 9 and up (and their dads). If you see your child with this book, pick it up yourself and try it. Just watch out if you have a glass of grape juice in your hands.

5 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Passions Through Reading

Every kid has something they love and are passionate about. It might be sports or music or chess or computers or art or cooking or whatever. And while not every kid loves to read, here are some great ways to use books or magazines to encourage whatever passion your child does have while also boosting their reading, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills.


  • Get out the How to Books. This may be the most obvious answer to how to encourage your child to read when they would rather be doing what they love but it’s also the truest. Virtually any subject you can name has a book about how to be even better in that subject. If your child is struggling with a particular skill or just wants to tackle some new facet of their chosen activity, suggest they find a book on the subject and get to work.
  • Try a Biography. Kids often become inspired to try something new by reading a biography of someone who succeeded in the same thing. My friend’s ballet-obsessed daughter, who doesn’t normally pick up a book for fun, took to Misty Copeland’s biography with a vengeance and then moved on to biographies of other dancers.
  • Give Them Some Background Knowledge. No matter the passion, chances are it has a history or evolved in some interesting way. Young skateboarders might enjoy discovering how their sport evolved from the earliest days until today. Young soccer players might be interested in reading about the first women’s soccer teams and the struggles they faced in earning respect for the sport.
  • Bedazzle it. Whatever your child loves, I bet there is gear or at least clothing that goes with it. Craft books can help your child make their equipment or team shirts more their own or might provide interesting ways to preserve special mementos of their experience.
  • Try a Magazine. There are magazines out there with topics as specific as nature photography, camping, horseback riding, birdwatching, and collecting baseball cards. Plus, as people who subscribe to professional and trade magazines know, magazines generally have more updated information than books. Here at Cricket Media we have award-winning magazines perfect for kids who love American history and the Presidents (Cobblestone), geography (Faces), Science (Muse, Ask, and Click), reading and writing (Cricket and the gang), and archeology (Dig).

It may be that your child’s interests change over time. Perhaps this year they are all in to Harry Potter but last year all their energy was focused on softball and the year before that they were all about swimming. A thread that can connect all of these interests and also help them throughout their entire lives is reading so don’t be afraid to suggest that they get a book or magazine to help them take their skills and knowledge to the next level.

YOU, Yes, YOU Should Read to Your Children

Two separate articles came through my inbox during the past few days. The first was the announcement of a new piece of technology called Aristotle which supposedly can understand the speech of very young children, allowing it to answer their questions and play simple games. The device will even read the child a bedtime stories, the announcement boasts, as if this is a good thing.


The second article is a scientific study which demonstrated that reading physical books to kids makes parents more affectionate. Other studies have shown that additional benefits of having parents or caregivers read aloud to children include increased brain development, stronger relationships between parent and child, and increased academic achievement for kids of all ages.


You probably didn’t need to think very hard to see the disconnect between these two articles.  What the tech world is envisioning for our kids and what science (and experience) is telling us kids actually need are, in this case, two different things. More than ever before, our kids need our physical presence, our time, our attention. And the perfect way to deliver all those things is by grabbing a book (or a magazine), settling down without any electronics, and reading to our kids. After all, with the amount of devices already taking over our lives and the ballooning number of minutes our kids already spend looking at screens and talking to Siri, do they really need another electronic voice firing off a story? I think we all know that what our kids need is the closeness, the discussion, and the affection that comes from reading together.


Our goal here at Cricket Media is to make reading aloud to your kids easier than ever. Our magazines come right to your mailbox…no need to even head to the library or bookstore each month for new stories. And right here on this blog, we’ve provided hundreds of free stories and articles for you to share with your kids. Let’s start the new year off right, with another free story, a sci-fi mystery called “Mercury’s Missing Mutt” (Part 1 and Part 2) by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb and illustrated by Michael McCabe, which appeared in SPIDER Magazine. For more stories like this delivered right to your mailbox, be sure to subscribe to SPIDER.

What We Learn From Nature

Go outside. Look around. What do you see? A robin? A squirrel? A honeybee? A parade of busy ants beneath a shady tree?


What can our little outdoor friends teach us? What can we learn from them? What lessons await us at every turn?


The robin is busy collecting sticks and straw and building a beautiful nest for her baby chicks that are on the way. She teaches us diligence and patience and pride as she prepares for the future.


The squirrel gathers and stores acorns for the winter. He teaches us how to postpone immediate gratification as he prepares for greater rewards in the future.


The busy honeybee buzzes around the garden with his brothers and sisters. He gathers nectar from the flowers and takes it back to the hive to make honey. He teaches us how to work together to reach a common goal.


The eager little ant hurries back and forth carrying crumbs to her ant hill for everyone to enjoy. The crumbs she carries are often bigger than she is. She teaches us the joy of sharing and the reward of doing more than we thought we could.


We can learn much from our little nature friends. We, too, can find joy and pride and reward in working toward our goals every day, working together and alone to accomplish more than we ever imagined.


The Ant

See the little ant.

He never says, “I can’t.”

And so it comes as no surprise,

He carries things ten times his size.

—Charles Ghigna


A Poem is a Busy Bee

A Poem is a Busy Bee

A poem is a busy bee

Buzzing in your head.


His hive is full of hidden thoughts

Waiting to be said.


His honey comes from your ideas

That he makes into rhyme.

He flies around looking for

What goes on in your mind.


When it is time to let him out

To make some poetry,

He gathers up your secret thoughts

And then he sets them free.

—Charles Ghigna

Ladybug Cover

Robin’s Nest

Tiptoe up and look real closely,

Made with sticks and straw but mostly

Made with love and lots of care,

A little tree house in the air.

—Charles Ghigna


Shadow Tail

Shadow Tail

The word “squirrel” comes from

Greek meaning “shadow tail.”


Elusive as a wisp of smoke,

Bashful as a breeze,

Shadow Tail plays hide and seek

Among the morning trees.

—Charles Ghigna


Editor’s Note: For more about how nature can inspire readers of all ages, read our recent blog about how to bring the outdoors inside with nature magazines for kids.


Charles Ghigna - Father Goose®Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers, and more than 5000 poems, many of which appear in textbooks and anthologies, and in newspapers and magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricketand Highlights. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He has spoken at schools, colleges, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids That Last

As kids get older, it’s harder and harder to buy them unique gifts they can enjoy well beyond the day they receive them.  As each celebration approaches, my kids request gift cards or money as their gift. While I understand why they ask for money and/or gifts cards, I also like to surprise them with something that they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves.


Here are some unique gift ideas I came up with that keep on giving beyond the special day:


Sign them up for some classes

While many kids may not like to admit it, they love to learn. Paying for a series of classes to help them explore their interests and hobbies can be fun and educational. I’m not talking about a formal, sit-down class either. Think fun classes like cooking, acting or even parkour.


Plan a fun day of activities for them

Recent research shows people who spent money on experiences rather than things were happier. My older kids love when I plan special days devoted to doing things they love. It not only makes them feel special, but it also creates lasting memories for everyone involved.


Order a subscription box
Many kids love subscription boxes. It’s like getting a surprise in the mail regularly. And, there are literally subscription boxes available for every imaginable interest. Do some research, and I am sure you will find one that will engage your kid.


Give the gift of reading Buy a magazine subscription
Magazine subscriptions make great gifts for kids. With a subscription to 1 of our 11 children’s magazines, kids will continually receive a magazine in the mail written with their age and interests in mind.


Being able to give kids gifts that are wanted is important. But, being able to give them something fun, unique and meaningful that also comes with touch of surprise can make gift giving even more special.

Dr. Strangedad or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Children’s Book

by Read Aloud Dad


We must clear up something from the very start.


Some kids will never love to read and it is useless to try to force them to love it.


We may try to plead with them, we may try to coax them, we can even threaten to starve them of Minecraft – still no one can force kids to love reading.


In fact, the best way to make a kid dislike reading is to continuously force individual books and magazines (that we want them to read) down their throats.


Yeah, like that is going to do the trick.


No way.


A parent’s motto should be to provide children with choice, choice, and then with even more choice of reading material.


Instead of choosing a book or magazine for your kids to read, provide them with two or three or fifteen.


Go crazy.


Go into the hundreds.


And then go more.


Flower Power


Let me rewind the clock back nine years ago, when my twins (girl and boy) were born.


Slowly as the months passed by, I came to realize that one of the most important tasks ahead of me was to help my kids fall in love with reading.


Like many other things in life, easy does it.


We must keep in mind that the true task of us as parents is not to ensure that a child learns to read well.


Correct reading is simple mechanics for most kids. They will get the hang of it.


But, do we just want them to lay a row of words down and then another, mechanically?


Is our goal to help them become bricklayers with words or a virtuoso of reading?


Do we want to have an orchid that grows … but ultimately does not flower?


No, no, no.


We must help our little orchids to bloom.


But it is not always easy.


The only way that kids can fall in love is if they are exposed to good books, quality magazines, and fun reading.


Remember, children are the pinnacle of evolution of life on our planet.


They are the newest, best, and most advanced creatures … ever to walk on this planet.


Let us treat them with the respect they deserve.


Our task is to provide the right environment, by reading to them every day and surrounding them with easily accessible, high quality reading materials.


Build a Reading Empire

“A goal without a plan, is just a wish


Love for reading grows like a delicate rainforest orchid from the tropics.


You cannot force an orchid to grow or flower, you just need to provide an environment without extremes and then orchids do the rest by themselves.


I knew that my kids would grow up with a love of reading if they were offered around-the-clock easy access to a wide choice of reading materials, topics, book formats, magazines… you name it.


Yep, easy, all-day access is the key.


I knew that if my kids did not handle books, throw books, leaf through books, read and re-read them early on in life, we would face an uphill battle later on.


Like Genghis Khan in a battle, start the fight against illiteracy by overwhelming the enemy.


Winning by numbers is part of Genghis Khan’s recipe for success.


Add books to your library, add magazines – build up your reading civilization at home.


We also need to take another page from Genghis Khan’s book.


Genghis Khan used to lead his troops into battle.


That is why we need to enter the reading ecosystem ourselves.


Instinctively I felt that if I grew to love children’s books and immersed myself in that world, that would be much better than worrying about the future of my children.


We must learn to stop worrying about our kids’ reading.


Instead, it is better to start loving children’s books together with our daughters and sons.


Celebrate your love of children’s books by reading together with them.


It requires no sacrifice on our part.


The best literature in the world is children’s literature.


It is a win-win situation for everyone


Let put this winning battle plan into action!


Read Aloud Dad is a Dad who is simply reading the best children’s books to his twins. Intrigued? Find out more about him by visiting his website, Read Aloud Dad.

What Makes a Great Magazine for a Toddler?

If you are in the market for a magazine for your toddler, you certainly have plenty of choices ranging from bland and boring “educational” titles to over the top, ad-riddled nonsense. Today’s blog will discuss how to cut through the noise and discover a magazine with the ability to both delight and entertain your toddler.


First, let’s start with what makes a great magazine. Just like the picture books you read to your child, the best magazines for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers contain key characteristics:


  • Beautiful and colorful illustrations
  • Lovable characters that kids can relate to
  • Patterns and repetition
  • Text that babies and toddlers can easily understand
  • Interactivity
  • Rhyme that is purposeful and well-constructed
  • Re-readability
  • No advertisements

Most magazines for toddlers will contain one or two of these attributes but may violate some of the other rules. For example, a magazine chock full of ads is likely to be colorful. Or one that contains well-known and beloved characters may have poorly written text with forced rhyme schemes. Others may have one or two of the 8 attributes but fall short in other ways. For example, a magazine that has no ads and lots of patterns and repetition may lack lovable characters or beautiful illustrations. If you do your research, you’ll discover that very few magazines for toddlers combine all of these attributes into one product. One of the few that does is Cricket Media’s BABYBUG magazine.


For more than 25 years, BABYBUG has provided babies and toddlers with high-quality stories and poems specifically selected for this age group combined with beautiful illustrations. Just a look at a few of the beautiful spreads that have appeared in BABYBUG over the years:


What Makes a Great Magazine for a Toddler?

What Makes a Great Magazine for a Toddler?

What Makes a Great Magazine for a Toddler?

Each issue of BABYBUG features finger rhymes for interactivity, adorable characters that toddlers can relate to (Kim and Carrots have been BABYBUG favorites for years!), beautiful illustrations on every page, text that babies and toddlers will want to hear over and over again, and of course, no advertisements. In addition, to help the caregiver, whether that is a parent, a grandparent, a babysitter, or an older child, make the most out of each issue, the back page always contains helpful hints of activities you can incorporate to make reading time even more interactive.


Caregiver guide - Babybug Magazine

So now you know what makes a great magazine for a toddler and why BABYBUG is the perfect choice to delight, entertain, and educate the baby or toddler in your life. To make sure your little one doesn’t miss an issue, be sure to subscribe to BABYBUG.

Predicting Your Future

What if you had a crystal ball that you could look into to see your future?


You do.


It’s YOU! You are your own crystal ball.


In his play “The Tempest,” William Shakespeare wrote, “What is past is prologue.” That means that all we need do to predict our future is to look to our past. Our past thoughts, actions, interests and activities are the road map to our future. We very often become what we most like to do.


Do you like to work in the garden? Do you like to build things with your hands or on the computer? Do you like to draw, or paint, or dance and sing? Do you like to bake and cook? Do you like to take care of pets and people? Do you like to daydream and make up stories and poems and songs?


Henry Ford liked to tinker with pocket watches when he was a child, taking them apart and putting them back together to see what made them work. Vincent Van Gogh liked to draw. Ernest Hemingway wrote articles for his high school newspaper. Amelia Earhart made a home-made ramp and rode on a wooden box down it off the roof of the family toolshed. She said it felt “just like flying!”


Think of all the things you like to do. Think of all the things you have done. Your past actions, interests, and dreams are a good indication of your future success.


Predicting Your Future -

Artwork by Brad Walker from the April 2016 cover of DIG INTO HISTORY Magazine

Your crystal ball is in your hands. What do you see?


In Sight

Close your eyes and look inside,

A mirror shines within;

To find where you are going,

First see where you have been.

—Charles Ghigna


Choice Art

The answer to the artist

Comes quicker than a blink

Though initial inspiration

Is not what you might think.

The Muse is full of magic,

Though her vision’s sometimes dim;

The artist does not choose the work,

It is the work that chooses him.

—Charles Ghigna



Charles Ghigna – Father Goose®
 lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 award-winning books from Random House, Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers, and more than 5000 poems, many of which appear in textbooks and anthologies, and in newspapers and magazines from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Cricket and Highlights. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at charles-ghignathe Alabama School of Fine Arts, and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He has spoken at schools, colleges, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, please visit his website at FatherGoose.com

Magazines Make a Big Impact in the Classroom

By Sue Gagliardi


Looking for a fun and engaging resource to bring literacy to life in your classroom?  Try children’s magazines! Magazines are a wonderful supplement to classroom instruction. Students are exposed to a wide variety of texts and lots of interactive content. From stories, poems, and action rhymes to nonfiction, crafts, puzzles, and games, kids’ magazines can offer an abundance of high-interest content to support your curriculum.


Magazines and Literacy Instruction


As a kindergarten teacher, I love using magazines in my classroom!  My students get so excited when we share a new magazine issue! Literary children’s magazines often feature characters and story lines that appear in each issue. It’s exciting for children to follow the adventures of these familiar characters. They can’t wait to see what their “friends” are up to next.


Literary magazines are full of content that supports growing readers in their literacy development and inspires their love of reading.  With colorful artwork and photos, magazines bring an array of content to life for young readers. Magazine pieces offer short text and can be used for instruction in many literacy skill areas. Students are exposed to a variety of texts that encourage them to read, listen, learn and interact with engaging content. Literacy skills such as story elements, main idea, details, characterization, cause and effect, predictions, inferences, and more can be addressed in a fun way with the wonderful content offered in kids’ magazines.


In my classroom, we share digital magazine issues on our interactive white board and use our document camera for the print issues so all students can see and interact with the content. Students love to use our interactive white board pens to complete the puzzles, games and activities. They enjoy highlighting sight words, rhyming words, and vocabulary words. The stories, poems and other features are great for building rich vocabulary.  My students look forward to each new issue and love returning to browse through magazines in our classroom library.


Exploring Non-Fiction


High interest, nonfiction articles found in magazines are great resources for teaching text and graphic features.  These features include captions, headings, bolded words, content vocabulary, sidebars, charts, and graphs.  Visual aids help students connect with text and make topics come to life. Magazines can offer timely topics that connect with content areas. Content can include history, science, nature, math, technology and the arts all in one beautifully illustrated magazine.  These articles can offer a springboard for further discussion and research and can support what students are learning in the content areas.  My students often share that they tell their families about the topics they explore in a magazine. This often leads to family conversations and further exploration at the library and through online resources. They love coming back to tell me all about the new information, photos, and videos they discovered! Lots of magazine experiments, recipes, crafts, games and other activities can also be shared at home as a way of engaging families in literacy and learning together!


Magazines as a Springboard for Writing


Magazines offer a wide variety of writing opportunities as students respond to the text and create their own pieces modeled from the various features offered in a magazine. In my classroom, students enjoy writing their own captions and stories inspired by photos and illustrations found in magazines. Students can create their own poetry inspired from poems they read in magazines as they use the poems as a scaffold for their writing. For the youngest writers, teachers can use a shared writing experience to create a class poem together with students creating their own poems following the shared experience. Features such as rhyming text, alliteration, onomatopoeia, similes, and metaphors can be explored in the poetry and prose featured in the magazine. Magazines often feature a section where readers can write letters to the editor on a variety of topics. These letters can be a springboard for budding writers to explore letter writing. Children may have opportunities to submit their own poetry, jokes and artwork to some children’s magazines.


Magazine Supplements


Many children’s magazines offer additional resources for parents and teachers that pair well with the magazine’s content. Check out magazine websites to find resources such as digital editions of the magazines along with teacher’s editions that correlate common core with the magazine’s content. Websites offer many resources and interactive content such as online games, activities, crafts and downloadable content to print for use in classroom activities.  Magazine blogs and newsletters are great resources for further exploration of content and include lots of useful tips and information to promote literacy and learning at home, in the classroom, and in the community. Many magazines offer thematic content on topics in science and technology, history and current events, the arts and more.  There is so much offered that can connect with students’ interests and experiences. All this fun content offers ways of getting kids excited about a topic and that excitement can lead to extended inquiry and learning in the classroom and beyond!


Ways to Build Your Classroom Magazine Collection


Ways to Build a Classroom Magazine CollectionBins full of children’s magazines are a wonderful, enriching addition to a classroom library!  Keep bins of magazines accessible for students to browse and read when they visit your classroom library. There are many ways of building a collection of children’s magazines for the classroom.


  • Ask your HSA to help support your class and school library with subscriptions to a variety of children’s magazines.
  • Check your local library to see if they can donate back issues of magazines that they may be clearing out to make room for more current issues.
  • Borrow current magazines from the public library.
  • Scout used bookstores, yard sales, thrift stores, online auctions and library book sales for magazine back issues at bargain prices.
  • Some children’s magazines have digital editions that can be purchased at a reduced rate and can be shared on interactive whiteboards.
  • Ask families to donate issues of magazines when they are finished reading them at home.
  • Ask local pediatrician offices and other places of business to donate past issues of kids’ magazines.
  • Ask families to donate a children’s magazine subscription to your classroom when your school participates in magazine fundraisers.

The rich language, delightful artwork, and multi-genre texts found in children’s magazines are wonderful for teaching a wide variety of skills, concepts and topics – and most of all, for sharing the pure joy and wonder of words and art!


Editor’s Note: Check out Cricket Media’s Magazine in the Classroom webpage for info on teacher guides and other educator resources.


Sue Gagliardi Sue Gagliardi is a kindergarten teacher and children’s author. Her fiction, nonfiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming in several children’s magazines including Ladybug, Spider, Highlights Hello, Highlights High Five, Boys’ Quest and Fun For Kidz,. A picture eBook titled Benjamin’s Bookshelf is forthcoming with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Curious World. In addition, she writes nonfiction reading passages for the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) through the University of Kansas. She received a Letter of Merit for Fiction for her story, “Just Enough for Me” (Ladybug Magazine, Sept. 2015) in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 2016 Magazine Merit Awards.  She lives in Hatboro, PA with her husband and son.  You can visit her website at www.suegagliardi.com and connect with her on Twitter @Sue_Gagliardi.