Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for February, 2013

Five Easy Tips to Motivate Your Child to Read

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Read Across America Day on March 1, 2013, is the largest celebration of reading in the country and a reminder that reading never goes out of style. Reading is an adventure that begins early in a child’s life and should extend beyond the classroom.

Hard copy books are now being replaced by reading apps and tablets. The form is changing. E-books and tablets are increasingly popular but the benefit is the same: reading continues to be a source of knowledge, happiness and success in school and life. Reading offers context, exposure to the art of the written word, and increases true learning.
Not sure where to start, or how to get your child involved?

In celebration of the National Education Association’s Read Across America program, Sylvan Learning is offering five simple tips to jump-start reading in your family and inspire children to develop a lifelong friendship with the written word.

Make it A Habit
Depending on your family’s schedule, reading time might be in the morning, afternoon or before bed. Whatever time you choose, stick to it! Consistency is key to building good habits.

Don’t Leave Home Without It
Bring reading tools with you wherever you go. Having a book, e-book or tablet handy at all times will help your child fit in reading at every chance he gets.

Change Screen Time to Reading Time
Prioritize reading as a free-time activity on a tablet instead of playing a video game or watching TV. Download an audio book or a series of e-books for your child’s leisure reading.

Share the Joy of Reading
Reading doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a fun activity. When children are pressured they may read only to please their parents. It is important to help your child find books at the appropriate reading level on subjects that interest them. Once you find books that can pique your child’s interest, you may find her reading ahead on her own.

Spice It Up
Any subject, no matter how interested your child is in that subject, can begin to feel dry if you focus all of your attention upon it. Offering a variety of texts is especially helpful: read non-fiction, stories, fables, mysteries and also newspapers, e-books and magazines. There are lots of free online reading resources and websites for kids’ book choices.  Book Adventure, for example, has motivated almost two million kids to read for over a decade.

“Encouraging children to read helps transform reading from a chore to a treat. Then, this basic skill becomes a learned behavior and an intellectual habit. Among reading’s benefits, many research studies have found that children who are read to or who read on their own at home do better in school,” says Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., senior vice president of education outreach for Sylvan Learning.

To join a Sylvan Learning center for a RAA reading event, please call 1-800-31-SUCCESS, or visit on the web at www.sylvanlearning.com.

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Monday, February 18th, 2013

Thomas and his engine friends have the inside track on adventure with the all-new Thomas & Friends®: Full Steam Ahead 3-DVD & Bonus Toy Gift Set, available on February 19, 2013 from Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment. It features three action-packed DVDs – Team Up With Thomas, Wobbly Wheels & Whistles and Railway Friends.

Thomas & Friends: Team Up With Thomas Synopsis

Everyone’s favorite true blue engine, Thomas, is back with friends old and new in four fun adventures on the Island of Sodor in Thomas & Friends: Team Up With Thomas.  This DVD is enhanced with CG animation and a live-action host, Mr. Arkwright, who welcomes viewers with a smile and a fun project for Lady Hatt’s grandchildren. Thomas, Edward, Toby, James and the rest of the engines introduce young engineers to Hank, a big, strong, new engine and Flora, a lovely new lady steam engine.  Together, they take us along on their tasks around the island.  Be careful: trouble may lie around the next bend.  But one thing’s for certain – you’ll always come home with a brand new friend!

Thomas & Friends: Wobbly Wheels & Whistles Synopsis

Travel along with Thomas for a wonderfully wobbly and wheel-spinning good time!  The No. 1 blue engine has bridges to cross and tracks to uncover in these exciting adventures. When Victor gets overloaded with too many tasks, can Thomas help him let out steam?  And while trying to get Scruff as clean as a whistle, will Thomas have to get his own wheels dirty?   Just when things seem to be rolling along, will Ol’ Wheezy make a wobbly mess of Thomas’ special delivery?  Hold on for exciting surprises waiting to be delivered just for you!

Thomas & Friends: Railway Friends Synopsis

All aboard for six all new adventures with Thomas and his engine friends in Thomas & Friends:  Railway Friends.  Meet Thomas’ best friend Percy, attend a festive winter party at the wharf, take a wrong turn on a mistaken shortcut and see Thomas worry about his squeaky brakes and strive to become a ‘Really Useful Engine.’  Filled with charming characters and heroic displays of loyalty, responsibility and friendship, this DVD will be a treasured addition to any home entertainment library.

Did you know that Thomas the Tank Engine was created by a father for his son over 65 years ago? Today the stories are enjoyed by families in more than 185 territories and in 30 languages.

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Social Media Just Another Task In The Job Description

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Sixty-five percent of organizations pile social media on top of other duties, while only 27 percent employ someone who focuses exclusively on social media, a new Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions survey reveals.

The survey, which aims to uncover the factors impacting how social media teams are structured, found that organizations are cautious about dedicating resources to social media, and add social media to the list of tasks traditionally assigned to communicators.

“They’re doing events, they’re putting out newsletters, they’re writing press releases, and now they’re handed this task of overseeing Twitter accounts, Facebook and Pinterest pages,” says Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, of communicators today.

The results of the survey, a joint effort by Ragan Communications and NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions, are summarized in a whitepaper that allows organizations to benchmark their social media efforts against organizations of similar size and industry.

This 18-page white paper reveals findings from a survey of more than 2,700 social media professionals. Major Findings in Key Areas include:

65% of respondents do social media on top of their other duties. For those who do social media exclusively, nearly 83% work on teams of three or fewer
69% are dissatisfied or only “somewhat satisfied” with how they measure social media. Only 31% are satisfied or very satisfied. And many say they lack the time to track data or aren’t even sure what to measure
Only 28% saw their budget increase this year, while 69% stayed the same. Prospects were only slightly better for 2013, with 62% of budgets remaining static
Salaries for social media manager or director also showed wide variation, with 21% earning in the $25,000- $35,000 range, and 22% earning from $65,000-$90,000. Five% earn top salaries, which hover above $125,000.
A lot of people are still figuring out social media. Only 13% describe their efforts as advanced. Slightly more than half agreed with the statement, “We keep our heads above water, but not by much.” Another 23% describe themselves as “newbies.”
Facebook is by far the most popular platform, with 91% of respondents maintaining a page there. Twitter follows closely, with 88%, while 69% use LinkedIn
“Ownership” of social media is murky, and the question may even become passé as numerous departments within organizations jump in. 70% of respondents say marketing is involved, with 69% reporting that public relations played a role. Corporate communications trailed, with 49%.

Respondents from for-profit corporations made up 58% of the total. Nonprofits amounted to 24%, while 7% came from government. (About 11% answered “other.”) Organizations of more than 1,000 employees constituted 28% of the total; the vast majority were under 1,000, and 23% worked for organizations employing fewer than 25. Social Media is revolutionizing communications, but an organization not committing additional resources is not alone.

In the era of social media, an education in communications (77%) or public relations (76%) is most highly valued for employment. (Respondents were allowed to click multiple answers). Marketing trailed with 65%. Only 20% felt an English major made a better candidate, compared with 42% for journalism.

The survey revealed that 69% are dissatisfied or only “somewhat satisfied” with how the company measures social media.
Many respondents felt there is no industry-accepted tool to determine the value of social media efforts. They say that they rely on impressions and general feedback. Asked about their social media goals, 87% said to increase brand awareness.

For more about this study and report from Ragan Communications, and access to the Whitepaper, please visit here.

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Valentine’s Day Special Offer from Disney on Princess Apps

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Disney Publishing Worldwide is offering its Princesses apps today through Friday, 2/15, at a reduced price of $1.99. Included are the following:

Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book
Readers help their favorite Disney Princesses prepare for magical moments in this dress-up sticker book. Updated version includes interactive camera feature, plus new outfits, shoes, stories, and Princess Tiana.

Cinderella: Storybook Deluxe
Disney’s Cinderella has enchanted generations with its spellbinding story, charming music, and endearing characters that live in your heart forever. This app includes a full retelling of the film with fresh illustrations, engaging narration, music and sound effects, as well as whimsical interactivity on every page.

Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe
In this unforgettable story of love and adventure in a magical new format, Belle finds herself in a castle with talking furniture, an enchanted rose and a grumpy beast. Despite an awkward beginning, Belle and the Beast gradually become friends, and Belle learns not to judge a book by its cover.

The Princess and the Frog Read-Along
This fully interactive app includes games, movie clips, coloring pages, and music to sing along! You can even record your own voice reading the story. Tiana, a beautiful Louisiana girl who dreams of owning her own restaurant and Naveen, a spoiled, jazz-loving prince who doesn’t know the meaning of hard work, have nothing in common – until they are magically transformed into frogs.

Princess Royal Party
Welcome to the Magical and Enchanting world of Disney’s Royal Party, just in time for Rapunzel’s own celebration! Disney’s Royal Party includes many fun activities and crafts for hours of fun with your favorite Disney Princesses.

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Peter Pan App + Peter Pan Diamond Edition DVD

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

This year, Disney’s Peter Pan turns 60 years old. To celebrate, today Disney released an all-new “Diamond Edition” DVD/Blu-ray; however, fans can also experience the classic tale on mobile devices with the Peter Pan: Disney Classics book app. The iOS story takes readers to Neverland like never before. With read along activities, games and more, readers will join Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the whole gang on a magical adventure whenever, wherever, and however they choose.

The swashbuckling interactive story features:·
Reading modes for all ages·
Coloring pages, interactive puzzles and memory matching games
Activities including a musical instrument activity similar to Peter’s

The Peter Pan: Disney Classics book app is available now for the iPhone and iPad on the App Store : http://bit.ly/USOCEm

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