Expert Tips

SCREEN-FREE Week Activities

SCREEN-FREE Week Activities (and literacy suggestions from my Usborne bookstore!)



Here are some fun things to suggest this week when your littles are tempted to turn on the screened devices in your home!

We watch TV almost daily in our home. We do, however, try to set clear and consistent boundaries about how MUCH television is on during the day/week.

One thing I find super helpful is this website: This helps us keep our screens safe. It isn’t a fail-proof method, but it HELPS!

I am excited to try some of these things out when my kids want to turn to the screen!

I hope you and the children in your life have fun this week!


Life & Literacy Tools for Childhood Emotions Facebook Class

When I was in community college for Early Childhood Education, I took a very intense class called Challenging Behavior. I learned many tools that go right along with the Positive Discipline tools Jane Nelson taught me.

When some of my repeat Usborne Books & More hostesses came back to host a party, their friends began craving more of the conversations regarding these tools. I now offer to host a “learning time” before the book party, where I share the tools I learned from this class and I enjoy every minute of it!

While we tend to be very thoughtful and intentional about teaching literacy, cognitive, and other skills, we need to be just as intentional about teaching social emotional skills. Give children lots of opportunities to identify feelings in themselves and others. Below are some links to tools I am unable to share in Facebook events due to the format of the file. These tools are mostly from The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) unless otherwise noted.

  1. I Can Use My Words” is a wonderful story you can print to remind children their words are powerful and can be used in place of other behaviors when experiencing big feelings.
  2. When teaching to take the time to think, use Tucker the Turtle printable story script and easy-to-make Homemade Tucker the Turtle puppet (use the printable template and plastic spoon) OR Turtle and Hare finger puppets.
  3. When there is a conflict between children, use this Solution Kit. Print, cut out and place in a container (whatever you have around is fine — basket, tray, pencil case). Give the child the power to choose their own solutions. Eventually you won’t need it!
  4. The Thinking Process for Problem-Solving Poster is a wonderful way to help children (and adults!) who need a step-by-step reminder for how one responds to a stressful situation.
  5. Mistaken Goal Chart from Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline tools are helpful for guiding children with specific behaviors to what they need while encouraging them (using the reminder tools above, etc.) to behave appropriately when they feel a certain way or have a goal they’re unable to express verbally.

Thank you for being a part of the class and being willing to use better tools to support healthy social-emotional development in our next generation!

If hosting a party with learning time is something you would be interested in, I would love to help you! Email me at


7 Motivating Reading Statistic & Quotes

When I have so much I’d like to be doing, and my girls ask me to STOP to read, I am sometimes able to stop long enough to at least think about whether what I am doing can be paused or not and what might please God. Then, I remind myself of the ways I am helping my children: socially and emotionally, spiritually, and in other ways…

Here are some eye-opening statistics and quotes about literacy and reading:

1. “Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 to 4 times more likely to drop out in later years.”
US Department of Education

2. “74% of children who are poor readers in 3rd grade are poor readers in 9th grade.”
Bob Chase, President, National Education Association

3. “So strong is the link between literacy and being a useful member of society that some states use 3rd grade?level reading statistics as a factor in projecting future prison construction.”
Bob Chase, President, National Education Association


4. Only 18.5% of state prison inmates are high school graduates.
Only 2.7% are college graduates.
National Institute for Literacy

5. Only 29.2% of children under age 6 living at poverty rate have a parent that was a high school graduate.
Only 2.8% have a parent with a college degree.
National Center for Children in Poverty

6. “To grow up reading is to grow up with power and freedom.”
Dr . Perri Klass, Director, Reach Out and Read

7. “If every child were read to daily from infancy, it would revolutionize education in this country.”
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley

More information from the National Institute for Literacy:

“To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence” is available as a book or free 98 page document from the National Endowment for the Arts website: Publications, Literature

Usborne Programs

Reach for the Stars!! Reading Incentive Program


What is Reach for the Stars!!?

Reach for the Stars!! is a pledge based reading incentive program that works like a “read-a-thon” or reading challenge.  We put books into the hands of students and reward them for reading.  At the same time, it provides the school or organization cash and/or books.

What is the Goal of Reach for the Stars!!?

The goal of the Reach for the Stars!! program is for the participants to read, or to be read to, 300 minutes or more over a two-week period of time, thus developing a reading routine, receiving Usborne and Kane Miller books for participating.This is an average of 30 minutes per weekday. Education experts encourage routine daily reading and recommend a minimum of 30 minutes every day!

Who Can Participate?

This program can benefit any sized organizational group. This would include entire schools, public libraries, individual classrooms, clubs, troops, preschools, ECFE, church groups, home school groups, charities, businesses, etc…

Do Children Go Door-to-Door?

No ! This program will work well seeking just those safe, mentoring friends, family members who will encourage students in their reading.

What benefits the child?
They develop the important habit of daily reading and receive Usborne books and other prizes for participating. The Reach For The Stars program helps children discover the joy of reading and gives them the opportunity to choose their very own high quality Usborne books to keep!


Two Program Options Are Available


Commercial-Free Bookfairs

100% of the pledge money is given to the organization
in the form of educational books from the Usborne catalog.


    • 50% in books to participating students
    • 50% in books to the classrooms, library
      and/or incentives for children. (percentages flexible)


Fund Raiser Program*

100% of the pledge money is given to the organization
in the form of cash and books from the Usborne catalog.


    • 50% in books to participating students.
    • 30% in CASH is given to the organization.
    • 20% in books to the classrooms, library
      and/or incentives for children. (book %’s are flexible)

Both options offer a 100% return!!


What is Needed to Run a Reach for the Stars!!?

There is no cost to the organization to run the program.  All materials to run the Reach for the Stars!! reading challenge are provided by Usborne Books — free of charge.

Forms are provided to aid in compiling donation monies and student book orders.  Thorough instructions are given for each step of the program to make things as easy as possible.

Volunteers Needed for a Reach for the Stars!!

A designated “Coach/Cheerleader” is needed to…

  • Distribute the materials to students.
  • Explain the program in an assembly or by classroom.
  • Coach teachers to encourage student participation.
  • Cheer on students in collecting pledges & to meet reading goals

A program “Coordinator” is also needed to…

  • Work with the Usborne Consultant by phone and email.
  • Collect/calculate monies and reading logs from each classroom.
  • Bag books by student and deliver to each classroom.


Summer Reading Program




*The Fundraiser option below is the recommended fundraiser:

Cards for a Cause Fundraiser



Empower Your Birth

I am incredibly excited to be part of Empower Your Birth in Murfreesboro, TN! My Usborne Books and I will be at the Lane Agri-Park Center October 1st, 9am to 3:30pm.

There will be conference give-aways classes, movies, snacks, baby wearing demonstrations from Baby Wearing International’s Middle TN chapter, exhibitor give-aways, and so much more!

I didn’t know as much about having babies when my first baby came around. What I would GIVE to know what I know now… do you ever say that?

I felt as prepared as I could be. I didn’t know what questions to ask or what to expect. I took a Hypnobirthing class with my husband, had the baby showers with all of the experienced moms sharing snippets of their experiences, etc. but I still look back and wonder how I managed to have a baby! God’s grace — it is a wonder!

So — do you know someone who is about to have a baby? It might not be their first, but maybe they weren’t super fond of their birthing experience the first go around. Or maybe it is their first. Maybe it’s YOUR first!

There is an amazing network of people who gather for a conference to empower women and their partners with a voice they didn’t know they had!

The Empower Your Birth is a non-profit event supported by the Nashville Birth Network.  It holds conferences that provide growing families local resources & education about the variety of options available to you as you venture through the journey of fertility, pregnancy, labor & delivery, postpartum, and parenting.  Whether you’re pregnant, recently had a baby, or looking forward to being a parent in the future (whether for the first or the 5th time!), the education, experiences, and resources shared at this conference will truly help you feel a greater confidence in yourself during this incredible experience.

I wish I had known about Empower Your Birth with any of my pregnancies! I didn’t though — not until my third baby was a week from joining us. I had a wonderful birthing experience with my 2nd and 3rd baby, but I find that I am still processing the first birthing experience. How about you? What has your journey been like?

Come join us, Saturday!

Register here with this discount code for $7 off any ticket: usborneEYB




Monthly Brain Bags

We love reading to our children. We love reading NEW books and seeing the joy spark over and over again as we dive into the books.
Books - no danger of overdose

My family and I love Usborne Books and More.

UBAM_logo_slogan_purple_CMYK_printUsborne Books and More | Rachael Harris

Just in time for the holidays, I am introducing a Monthly Brain Bag subscription plan for all of my fellow book lovers to receive books for 6-12 months (your choice) out of the year! The books are tailored to your child’s interests and age!
Monthly Brain Bags SubscriptionIf you’re interested in this, FIRST fill out my Google Form HERE!

I’ll send you a PayPal Invoice when I receive the form response.