Author Archives: Krista G.

Kids Reciting Poetry – The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot

Don’t you love kids reciting poetry?  A month or so ago my 12 year old daughter was reading her literature book for school.  Her poem for the day was The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot.  I love poetry that is well written and I immediately fell in love with this poem.

I quickly ordered Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (Harvest Book) from my library.  I have been thoroughly enjoying the poems contained in this book. I even discovered that the Broadway play “Cats” is based on these poems.  As a child my parents took me to see this very play, so some of the poems are familiar.  Anyway, I began having my 6 and 9 year old read the poem daily so they could memorize it.  It has been a lot of fun and the results are here.  First I will post the poem for your own reading pleasure and below that you can watch Gabriella and Joshua each recite it from memory.  Joshua was being a bit silly and began with some sort of accent, which he happened to lose  by the end.  Do you have a favorite poem to recommend?

The Naming Of CatsThe Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Does Phonics Really Matter? Can We Read Without It?

You may have seen this before.  It is a paragraph where all the letters are mixed up, but most people are still able to read it.  So does phonics really matter?  I was able to read it and so was my husband.    I decided to see if my 6 year old would have the same ease.  I think she did pretty well.  You can see it here.  First, take a turn reading it yourself.

Basically, what this means is that we use phonics to read new and unfamiliar words, but we read mostly by sight reading, which means we have committed the words to memory.  It is an interesting exercise, nonetheless.  So does phonics really matter?  Yes it does, but sight reading becomes key as well.

To find out more about how Gabriella began reading early visit

Stop Bashing Super Moms

Today’s post comes from guest blogger Lacy.  This post originally appeared on her blog, Push Play Learning,which is full of great information, so I highly recommend following what she has to say.  She believes that teaching children should be as easy as pushing play.  I have to say that I agree.  What is easy gets done.  I hope you enjoy her post It’s Time to Stop Bashing Super Moms.

I was bouncing around some blogs and I stumbled on this post, and while it had good information on the “counting on” technique, I was disappointed at the “super mom” bash that went with it. The bash was just saying that the next time a “super mom” comes along and exclaims her 2 year old can count to 20, you can confidently ask the child to show you 3 things as if that would establish the child’s inadequacies to truly count.

In the post, it was implied that super moms are just always in a competition, and this is a sentiment that I find often in communities of mothers and even fathers. But I would like to point out that the competition is in the mind of the one perceiving a competition.

You see not too long ago I learned how much I needed super moms. I had one of those absent, less than adequate mothers, so for the longest time I had been stumbling through motherhood. I found an amazing forum of what I perceived as being filled with super moms and dads. Their babies were reading in more than one language. Their toddlers were completing one and two digit equations. Their preschoolers were reading chapter books with ease.

You can imagine the emotional roller coaster I found myself on. I was totally in awe of these children and what the parents had accomplished. Why hadn’t anyone told me this was possible? Then the downturn of emotions hit me and hit me hard. To acknowledge their success would be to accept my own failures, to accept that I failed my children. This was a crushing blow to my ego for I always felt I was an awesome mom despite everything, and my bruised ego held me back for the longest time from diving deep into the world of early learning. My heart had seen the truth though and it never let me go.

But I would be lying to you if all the success stories of these super moms didn’t start seeming like a competition.  This competition made me feel inadequate and a born failure. I had started early learning with all three of my children all under 4 years of age and I wasn’t seeing a lot of amazing results, and everyday on the forum was a new success story from another super mom. Some days I just couldn’t pull off an early learning activity because my spirit was so downtrodden.  It would have been easy to just roll my eyes and find these tales obnoxious.

Fast forwarded to over a year and a half later and even though I don’t feel like a super mom, I am sure that if I told anyone my children’s accomplishments I would get some eye rolling. But how did I finally overcome that roller coaster of awe and heart break and get to where I am today?

First, I accepted responsibility that I could open my children’s minds to learning great thing despite their age. Second, I accepted that our journey would be our own, and that super parents are just role models. My children and I have our own journey, and because we are unique like every individual it is going to be a different journey.

The third and most important thing I learned to do is celebrate. I celebrate my success, but most of all I celebrate the success of the super moms and dads. If they didn’t share their stories in the first place, I wouldn’t be here today. I choose everyday to not let it be a competition but to instead embrace the wonderful successes of others and to use it as motivation to keep moving forward.

When a mom shares that their 2 year old can count to 20 already, make a conscious choice not to make it a competition but instead celebrate it. If you decide that it would be wonderful for your little one to count to 20 (even if its just words), then take on that challenge cheerfully. We need super moms and dads to help us become the people we really want to be in life, and there are so many out there hesitant to share their success because of all the eye rolling.

Let’s not judge the super moms and dads even if their success or joy seems empty to you. Our judgment ultimately falls on the child, and to have a better future for our children, we need to uplift all children. Let’s not cut them down because we think we are in a competition with their super mom.

Because I did choose to accept responsibility, accept my journey for everything it is and celebrate myself and others, I have been able to learn so much about being a better mom and offering a better future to my children.   I know that if had spent my time judging others, myself and wallowing in jealousy and envy, I wouldn’t have seen my children blossom into joyful, early learners.

Remember celebrate your success and the success of others. We will all be better for it.

Teach Your Young Child Grammar

There has been some discussion recently about how to teach your young child grammar and if it makes sense to do so.


As usual, there are different schools of thought, but I know that my children enjoy it.  My 6 year old loves to diagram sentences.  We are currently using First Language Lessons Book 4 and she  clearly states that this is her favorite subject.  Sadly, this is the last book in the series. We started using this series when she was about 4 years old and we have enjoyed it a lot.  First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 1 (Second Edition) (First Language Lessons)

It is very easy to use and teaches the parts of speech among other things. The lessons are completely scripted, so all you have to do is read the lesson to your child.  It makes no difference if you remember grammar at all.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.


A game that all of my children have enjoyed is Madlibs.  If you are not familiar with Madlibs let me tell you what they are.  They are stories in which some of the words are left out. These words can be nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs.  The child is asked to provide words for the parts of speech that are missing.  This generally results in a silly or absurd story, which they just delight in hearing, and leaves them begging to do another page.  Everyone likes to learn when learning is this much fun.  Check out some of the Madlibs at Amazon. Super Silly Mad Libs Junior.

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My last recommendation for teaching grammar to young children would be to read to them
Parts-of-Speech Tales: A Motivating Collection of Super-Funny Storybooks That Teach the Eight Parts of Speech or the delightful Grammar-Land (Yesterday’s Classics).  I would start with Grammar Land before the Parts-of-Speech Tales.  I have used all of these products and I really like them all.  I am definitely partial to storybooks and Grammar Land is written is such a lovely way.  It would certainly be at the top of my list because reading together is such a wonderful experience between parent and child.  Once my child had an understanding of the parts of speech I would play Madlibs and have fun with that.

I hope you realize that it is really easy to teach your child all about grammar and have fun while doing so, and no experience is required.  If you have some resources to recommend, please comment below.


Crazy $10 MonkiSee Back to School Sale


You won’t want to miss out on our biggest sale ever.  From now until August 7th, 2013, you can purchase any of the MonkiSee DVDs and flash cards for just $10 each.  That is a savings of almost $10.  You won’t see these prices again, so stock up now.  As always, you can choose our low media mail shipping options to save even more.  Visit MonkiSee Store.


My Girls and Their Band

If you happen to be a MonkiSee customer, then you already know my girls.  They sing the MonkiSee theme song as well as every other song on the dvds.  They do, however, have other passions for music besides helping me write kid’s songs, which, by the way, they are pretty good at, and I am certainly thankful that I have them.

Today’s post is in honor of their latest project “DaVida Unplugged”.  In this video you will get a chance to hear some of the their latest songs as well as the inspiration behind the music they write.  They are four, lovely, guitar playing cuties, if I do say so myself.  Check out their video and feel free to LIKE it.

How to Use the MonkiSee Baby Reading Kit

Can you tell me how to use the MonkiSee Baby Reading Kit?  This a a question we got from one of our customers.

We have received our MonkiSee Baby Reading Kit thank you and I have a question about this kit.

Do you have a recommendation of how I should use all of the materials together?  Such as a schedule where I would use all the flash cards first, then once completed move onto the DVD’s, then the books etc?

I am just not sure how I should be scheduling the material up and whether I should mix them up for example one set of flash cards one week then one section of the DVD the following week and alternate.

Some advice would be greatly appreciated and bear in mind that my baby is just 3 months old.

Thanks for writing!  I am glad you got your order.  I would love to answer your questions, but please keep in mind, you are free to do what feels right to you and your baby.

So you want to know how to use the MonkiSee Baby Reading Kit.  Her is my advice.

If you want to start with the flash cards, you can get out the first set, make sure to shuffle them so they are not in alphabetical order, and choose 5-10 cards.  Show these to your baby 2 or 3 times a day for about a week, then put them away and pull out some new cards.  May I suggest showing the cards after a diaper change or a feeding?  I kept my stuff on my dresser, changed the baby on my bed, and after that would flip through my materials.  By lunchtime each day, we had already had a look at all of our flash cards for the day.  Since your baby is so young, they might be interested in more than 5-10 cards.  A young baby, since it cannot move very much, really enjoys reading time.  My baby would easily look at 40 cards at a time and then a book or two.  You have to gauge your baby’s interest level, so you don’t do it too long or too short.  Try to stop a few seconds before they might want to stop.  This keeps them eager to participate again at the next session.

You can begin showing the dvds at the same time, or you can wait.  You are able to teach your baby with just the cards, if you choose.  Because I began this with my 5th child, I used to feed him when he woke up and then have him watch his video while I got my other kids their breakfast.  He was very receptive to watching at this time of the day, so it worked well for our family.  I would have him watch a video each day, sometimes twice a day, as I needed to tend to my other kids or things in the house.

You can read the books to the baby anytime.  If you can point to the words as you read, that is just another way of drawing their attention to the book.  At this age, the baby might not be as interested in the text, since it is smaller than the flash cards, but you can read them to the baby as this definitely benefits the baby.

Once you get on a good routine of showing your cards and the Monki See DVDs, you can start to show some of the Memoflix categories.  Start with the first volume.  There are 80 categories to choose from.  You may want to start at the beginning and show 2 or 3 or whatever the baby likes at a time.  You can do this once a day or 2-3 times.  You would like the baby to see the same category about 15-20 times, then move on to new sets.  Here is a word of caution though, if at any time your baby seems disinterested or bored, show new material.  Babies learn much faster than we will ever understand, and will lose interest when seeing the same old stuff over and over.

Once you have gone through an entire set of flash cards, you can begin a new set.  You might work with once volume of flash cards for 2-4 weeks, depending on how often you show them.  It is beneficial to review previous material, so once or twice a week, pull out some of the materials you have already shown.  Each time your baby sees a written word and hears the word spoken, they are picking up patterns in phonics and figuring out language on their own.  The more language they see and hear, the better able they are to do this and the faster they should be able to do this.  I was very eager to teach my baby, so I pointed out written language every time we encountered it.  I pointed to words on cereal boxes, containers, soap bottles, anywhere and everywhere.

I hope this has answered your questions, but if there are others, please write me back or feel free to call me.  I would be happy to help you in any way I can.

7 Reasons to Get the MonkiSee ABC Roundup DVD

The MonkiSee ABC Roundup DVD will be released on June 28th, 2013.  Listed here are 7 reasons to get the ABC Roundup.  This is a great way for kids to learn the alphabet this summer.

  1. Teaches children capital and lowercase letters – That’s pretty much a no-brainer since the video is called ABC Roundup.
  2. Chuck full of great vocabulary – Who couldn’t stand to learn some new words?  Even I learned new words in the making of this video. 
  3. Just plain fun – The hosts are monkeys! Need I say more?
  4. Contains 26 playful poems – Poetry is very good for developing language and vocabulary skills.
  5. Resembles read aloud time – We all know the benefits of reading to our children, but who feels they do enough of that each day?  I know I don’t, and I am an avid reader.
  6. Lively and exciting – That is also implied in the title, since a roundup is very active.
  7. Includes great music – Features 2 original ABC songs and 2 silly raps, which  might just be your favorite part of the video.

Babies and young children will have a whole heap of fun learning the alphabet with the newest MonkiSee ABC Roundup DVD.  This 30 minute dvd keeps things lively and exciting as Howie, Skip, and friends round up the letters from A-Z.  ABC Roundup features twenty-six playful poems, four new original and upbeat songs, and all the capital and lowercase letters of the alphabet.  Children learn to identify the letters and sounds in this ‘sure to be a favorite’ video.  Read more about ABC Roundup.  Watch a sample clip below.

Visit to find out more about the wonderful selection of entertaining early learning products.