Attention SF Bay Freckleheads and personalized book lovers!

Frecklebox is spreading the word about a new community event that encourages reading and helps support small childrens’ bookstores at the same time!

Check out Kids Otter Read Day — this Bay Area event is being hosted at bookstores all around the bay. Click here to find a participating bookstore near you: http://kidsotterread.com/kor/Kids_Otter_Read_Day.html

Event description: On May 16th the Northern California Children’s Bookseller’s Association will sponsor the first-ever KIDS OTTER READ DAY AROUND THE BAY, a celebration of children’s booksellers, children’s books authors, children’s book illustrators,and, most importantly, children’s book lovers. Open to readers of all ages, Kids Otter Read Day will feature appearances by local children’s authors and illustrators from 1pm to 3pm at more than 10 independent bookstores around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tips to get your child to read! (or buy a personalized book from us)

As you may know, I am an avid reader and have constantly looked for ways to encourage my children to follow in my footsteps.
Here are the top tips we have come up with at Frecklebox to get your kids to read!

1. Set a good example. If your children see you reading, they will want to do the same.

2. Be consistent. Set aside time every day specifically to read with your kids. Dads, maybe the time that works best for you is evening, there’s nothing like a good story before before bedtime. You can also encourage your children to choose the book, assign them to be a page turner or take turns reading with them (i.e. you read the pages on the left, you child reads the pages on the right.)

3. Make it fun. Play reading games while you wait at a restaurant, at the grocery store or even while you’re in the car. You know how bad Bay Area traffic is — take advantage of it and make up a game! Here’s an example of a game you can play anywhere: each person reads as many words as they can from street signs, billboards, store names, menus, labels, etc. in one minute.

4. Start early. It’s a crucial time in a toddler’s life when they learn that they have their very own name as part of their identity! To help toddlers learn to recognize and spell their names, it helps to see it in as many settings as possible: from cubbies at preschool, to t-shirts, to spelling their name out in blocks, to painting and writing it down on paper for them to marvel at.

5. Try a personalized book. This is the tip that inspired our line of products. We feel it goes a long way in promoting self-confidence and engages the reader becasue the story is actually about them.

6. Find books that YOUR children enjoy. Let them read the same books over and over if they want to. Sometimes reading starts with kids actually memorizing what is on each page and pretending to read the story to others.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful in cultivating your little bookworm at home!
-Mark

Make Learning to Read Eaiser

Hi everyone,

Shari M., a school psychologist and mom fromhttp://www.apsychmommy.com/, shared some of her thoughts with us regarding early readers and the effect of personalization:

“I know based on my experiences, one of the recommendations we give to parents and teachers to enhance learning is to make the information meaningful to the child–so, if a book is personalized to the child, they are more likely to engage in the material. Kids love to be the center of attention, and what better way to do that then to make them the star of the book!  Also, the repetition of seeing their name written in a variety of ways will help them to generalize name recognition, spelling, etc.  The rhyming in the book will also help them to build phonemic awareness skills.”

We are always looking for comments from experts in education regarding our products — please feel free to post them here!

Calling All Freckle-Experts!

While we have found that rhyming, repetition and personalization all play an important role in creating stories that engage children and make reading more fun, we would love for any reading experts out there to share their thoughts!

Here are some sites we have used in our research:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/child/

http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/

http://www.education.com

http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopment/

Please share any other relevant sites as well — thanks in advance!

Thank you, Freckleheads!

Frecklebox just completed a photo contest for our new website coming soon.

We were amazed and overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of photo submissions by our loyal customers. Frecklebox would like to thank everyone who participated, and congratulate Heather J, Lisa M and Tracy R for their winning photo entries.

Stay tuned for more contests and chances to win Frecklebox products!

Frecklebox on TV!

Wow…Frecklebox just had its first appearance on TV!

We’d like to thank everyone at the show for making us feel comfortable and welcome. And I have to say, Spencer Christian and Jannelle Wang were even nicer in person than they appear on TV.

Our segment on the show was about our personalized books and personalized gifts and how they can encourage kids to read more. We made a personalized placemat and personalized coloring book for Spencer and a personalized journal and personalized princess coloring book for Jannnelle.

Check us out on the 4/20 episode of The View From The Bay:
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/parenting_babies&id=6770915

Let us know what you think. Any tips for our next TV appearance are welcome!

Special Needs / Autism Book

My mother-in-law, who is an autism expert, forwarded us a book concept that was originally written by the grandmother of one of her clients.

Our hope is that this will make a great personalized gift for kids with special needs. We not only want the kids to relate to the story, we also believe it will touch the family and friends who will be reading the story with them.

Ideas, suggestions and comments are always welcome.

Adoption Book Coming Soon

I just finished writing a personalized book about an adopted child. It was inspired by several comments we’ve received regarding our new baby book where people wanted to change the pregnant mom page to somehow convey adopting a child instead.

We are currently working on editing the story and drawing the illustrations; any ideas on how to make the book appeal to an adopted child are welcome.

Personalized gifts, not just for John and Jane anymore…

It’s always fun when the previous year’s most popular baby name list comes out, especially since as a personalized gift provider, we see a lot of unique names come our way! Emma and Jacob ruled 2008 in the number one spot respectively for girls and boys. But, a lot of more unusual names are on their way up the charts, check them out:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090508/ap_on_go_ot/us_baby_names

The new name list prepared by the Social Security Administration inspired Frecklebox to come up with our own list of favorite names – these are names that have been sent to us to create personalized bookscoloring booksposters or growth charts. There are definitely some creative minds out there!

Topher
Claiborne
Brykin
Fisher
Cornelius

Gemma
Sparkle
Essence
Dixie
Jewel

And, for your reference, here’s the link to the SSA’s list of popular names:http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/babynames/

Enjoy!