Advice and strategies to help your children read


January 20, 2002

Making King's dream a reality

Each year on the third Monday in January, we celebrate the birth and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a minister, author, leader and family man who organized peaceful demonstrations against racism during the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Throughout his life, King taught the values of responsibility, tolerance, respect, nonviolence and courage. On the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Aug. 28, 1963, he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, in which he told of the dreams he had for his people and for the world.


King's vision was that all people would live together in harmony. One way to bring that concept home is to make a "diversity garden." Buy some flower seed packets so you'll have seeds of many different sizes and colors. Use an egg carton with soil and plant a different seed in each section of the carton. After the plants begin growing, transfer to small pots so that, by the spring, they can be planted outside. When they bloom, your family will be reminded that many different kinds of seeds can form a beautiful garden.

ON THE WEB / mlk / speech.htm: Here you'll find the text of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, along with biographical information for students. / pocantico / traverna / 98 / king.htm: This site contains a simple explanation of the important events in King's life, each beautifully illustrated with actual drawings by children. You will also be able to take a quiz about King and even write your own "I Have a Dream" speech. / activity'dreammobile.html:Using supplies you have around the house, you can help your child make an "I-Have-A-Dream" mobile.


My Dream of Martin Luther King, by Faith Ringgold

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, by Jean Marzollo

-- Susan Rapp

Village Reading Center

Staying on board and organized

Staying on task is one new year's resolution many children have on their agenda. To help, parents can check out a new organizational tool developed by a company called On Higher Ground.

The Family Control Center ( or 800-720-4812, $49.95) is a 32-inch by 22-inch dry-erase magnetic organizer board that can be mounted in a central location. Because numbers aren't permanently printed on, the board becomes an everlasting calendar. Just fill in the numbers with the dry-erase pen included in the set and pick the magnet that corresponds to the current month. Day-to-day reminders will fit in the boxes. Color-coded magnets -- 100 in all -- remind parents and children of coming events and chores (i.e., tests, doctor's appointments, returning library books, taking out the trash).

If the price is too steep for you, consider this a template for an activity board you can create, incorporating designs unique to your family. Start with a dry-erase board from an office supply store and let your imagination take it from there.

-- Athima Chansanchai

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New York Times Best Sellers List: Children's Paperback Books

Editor's Note: The children's best-seller list has three categories -- picture books, chapter books, and paperbacks -- which are published in rotation, one category per week.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (weeks on list: 113)

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling (70)

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling (17)

4. Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman, by Dav Pilkey (20)

5. The Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot (20)

6. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Tough Stuff, compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger (10)

7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by Newt Scamander (34)

8. Quidditch Through the Ages, by Kennilworthy Whisp (36)

9. Sealed With a Kiss, by Judy Katschke (5)

10. Holes, by Louis Sachar (60)

The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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