Fill your House with Stacks of Books, in All the Crannies and All the Nooks

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The Benefits of Reading to Your Kids Now that They’ve Grown

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Giving Kids Their Own Reading Spot

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Online Degree

Exploring Educational Options Online

By on September 28, 2013

 

Online studies offer students a host of benefits that can’t be accessed through traditional classroom programs, but often these programs do qualify for the same financial aid assistance available through brick-and-mortar schools. The programs go by different names at different schools – for instance, at New England College it’s called the Master of Science in Management, Project Management (MSPM) program – but they all offer similar benefits.

Improve Operations and Job Performance

Many companies will help pay the expense of an online MSPM program, knowing that the educational benefits will improve your performance on the job. They’re willing to invest in their own overall success, and actually prefer online courses for their ability to keep you at work during the day. Most people don’t expect financial help from their employers though it is a hidden aspect of many benefit programs. If you’re interested in getting your Masters in Project Management online, make sure you speak with HR about tuition and book assistance.

online education
image via http://www.educationnews.org/

Increase Your Credentials

Your employer may also support your decision in order to shop your increased credentials to clients. Being able to say that project managers hold advanced degrees can make a difference when it comes to securing contracts. Continuing your education may take a few years of extra work when you’re off the clock, but there are many reasons it could lead to advanced opportunities on the job. You could find yourself up for promotion, salary increases or just additional responsibilities that will put you in line for the job of your dreams.

Find a Better Position

You can also use your increased skills and improved professional credentials to land a better job. A master’s degree enhances your human capital whether you stay with your current employer or not. If you’ve felt frustrated at your current business or feel you’ve reached your potential there, an MSPM program gives you a convenient way to open the door to a brighter future.

Keep Your Skills Fresh

After you’ve been working for awhile, tasks on the job can feel old and boring. You may start to feel the same way and become frustrated with where you’re working, as well as where you are in life. Men especially suffer from a lack of self-esteem in their mid-30s to 50s because of these kinds of issues. Continuing your education can inspire and infuse your normal way of doing things, adding extraordinary value to your day-to-day job.

At the end of the day, getting a master’s degree in any new field will benefit you professionally and on a personal level. With support from your employer or access to federal funds, it’s a benefit that shouldn’t be ignored. Explore your educational options easily online today.

 

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Book Clubs

Starting A Book Club in Honor of Banned Books Week

By on September 25, 2013

 

This September 22-28 is Banned Book Week, when the National Book Community celebrates the freedom to read! Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by raising awareness of the classic books that have been banned or challenged. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. Lord of the Flies, Ulysses, and Catcher in the Rye are only some of the books that have been affected by censorship in the past. If you have been thinking about starting a book club in the past, what better time than now! Here are some tips to get you started:

Starting a Book Club

Even though it feels like nearly everything has gone digital, there’s still nothing quite like an old fashioned book club. You get to sit around with old friends and new friends to talk about the themes, characters, story and your favorite moments of a book that you’re all reading. There’s nothing quite like the shared experience of a book club, so why not start one of your very own?

Gather a Core Group

You’ll have an easier time of starting a book club if you already know of one or two people who are interested in the idea. You can ask around your office, your church or any organizations that you’re a part of if anyone has any interest in joining your book club. If you’re relatively new in town, you can advertise your book club either online or by posting up a notice in a few local coffee shops to see if you can generate interest that way. Ideally, you’ll want to get anywhere from eight to eleven people. Try to find one or two people who you think might already know of even more people who might want to join. If you can get a large enough book club, you might be able to order books through wholesale book distributors and get discounts on whatever book you’re reading.

Set a Meeting Time

Once you’ve gathered enough people, you’ll want to set up a regular meeting time. Since it can be difficult to match up everyone’s schedule, you might want to just start out with a core group and at least have your first meeting to see how things go. That way when you start to have more people join the book club you’ll be that much more organized. Something you might want to do is actually set a day and time before you start advertising so you can go ahead and weed out anyone who won’t be able to make it. You’ll be saving their time and yours.

Set Ground Rules

Your book group will need some ground rules to keep everything civilized and organized .You can either include everyone’s input while you’re setting up the ground rules, or you can turn to core members of the group if you already have an idea of what you’d like those rules to be. Examples of rules could be how you choose the books, who will host meetings, the person who will be in charge of the group discussions and the type of commitment that everyone is expected to make to the group. This can also be the time where you all decide on when you’ll regularly meet.

Meet

Once you officially start the book club, don’t get discouraged if it seems small at first. Some people would much rather join a book club that’s well-established rather than one that’s still using training wheels. Continue to advertise and invite people to join. You should also prepare yourself for people dropping out of the group as well. This is all of the process, so don’t get discouraged.

If you’re interested in getting kids to read, you can start a children’s book club and order Dr. Seuss book sets. It’s always best to get kids reading as early as possible so that you can help stimulate their minds and help them remain readers throughout life.

Curious to know if any of the books you have read made the list? Check out the infographic below to find out the reason these ten classic books have been banned in the US.

Banned Books Infographic from Book-Pal.com

Presented By BookPal

http://blog.book-pal.com/2013/09/banned-books-infographic/

 

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Study Abroad

Abroad for College

By on August 31, 2013

 

books, study abroad
image via www2.pacific.edu

Studying abroad is one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences a college student can have. Abroad study enables the student to truly become immersed in a culture. Whether you want to visit China in order to learn Mandarin and learn more about ancient Chinese culture or you’re interested in studying in Mexico in order to become fluent in Spanish, studying abroad opens a huge range of possibilities when it comes to your education and your future career.

One thing that’s important to consider is that regardless of your major, you can study abroad. Most students choose to study abroad for a set period of time, such as two months, one semester, or an entire year. The amount of time you choose to dedicate to studying abroad depends on your current financial situation, your personal responsibilities, and whether or not you have a family. After all, heading overseas when you have kids can be a challenge.

When you decide to take the leap and go overseas, you’ll need to choose where exactly you want to study. Consider your major and what areas have a strong university with classes in your field. For example, if you want to study law, you may find that learning about legal issues in Australia is a beneficial choice. You can Statutory Interpretation in Australia or even work on your law degree while overseas.

When you do go overseas, make sure you actually get involved in the local community and the people around you. Avoid the temptation to stick in a group with your friends. After all, the value of being overseas is that you can talk to native speakers of the language you’re learning and truly get absorbed in the culture and the community. Consider joining a club, a church group, or even an activities group. If you go to Taiwan, there are plenty of places to go hiking and exploring. Consider joining a hiking group that goes on regular activities. Visiting Japan? Why not join a tea drinking group? You’ll be able to explore and try a variety of different tasty treats while simultaneously learning about the culture and expanding your personal horizons.

 

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Online Degree

The Convenience of Getting a Degree Online

By on July 30, 2013

 

College graduates often look back on their education and have regrets. They think about the degree program and whether they chose the right one. Whether they go into graduate school or decide to go back to school, most don’t realize there is a simpler solution that will still allow them to use their current college degree. Going to college doesn’t have to be an all day affair. You can still have a job, take care of your family and even go to the beach on the days you have classes. It’s become such a popular way to go to school. For example, VistaCollege.Edu offers all different types of college programs that are hosted completely online. Students are able to access materials any time from their own computers.

Degree Programs Available Online You can find any type of degree program online. However, the first thing that you have to look for is accreditation. Schools and courses must be accredited in order to be approved for credit transfers and federal financial aid. Once you’ve found the schools that are accredited, you can start picking out programs that will really help define your interests and make it easier to get a job in any field. Whether you want to go into healthcare administration, law, criminal justice, science, engineering or information technology, degree programs are available for anything that you want to study online.

Go to School in Your Underwear

While it’s not recommended, there’s certainly nothing against it. You can wake up and have your breakfast in bed while studying a little English literature or learning the latest code behind HTML5 for a web design course. The best part about going to school online is being able to control your schedule. You don’t have to set aside four hours just to go to a traditional school and sit for a couple of hours. Students are going to school before and after work, on lunch, in between play time with kids or at 3:00 AM.

What to Look For

Obviously degree programs need to provide a lot of information to students about financial aid, tuition, course credits, track information and graduation requirements. Just like any other course, they’ll be a syllabus. However, you will need to understand how to work online and use the school’s interface in order to take the class. It’s best if you register for classes only after you’ve tested your computer and seen if you can handle the information presented in the online format.

Getting Ahead with Degree Programs

Many adult college students understand that they’ll never be able to get ahead in their current job without going to school. Most professional jobs require a college education and degree of some kind. While many colleges don’t offer all of the degree programs local to where you live, you can always find what you’re looking for with an online program. There are hundreds of degree programs just waiting to help your career go to new heights and provide a better lifestyle.

 

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Education

Surprising Facts About the Finnish Education System

By on July 9, 2013

 

Anyone walking into a Finnish school could be forgiven for thinking that the standard of education is low and that discipline is poor. Students do not wear uniforms and many go barefoot as they do at home; they have lounges in which to relax and are on first name terms with their teachers. And yet, according to surveys conducted by the Programme for International Student assessment (PISA), Finland’s education system is one of the most successful in the world.

finnish education

PISA tests 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics and science on a three-yearly basis. Since the first tests in 2000, Finland has consistently placed high in the rankings and is on a par with the Asian powerhouses like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and Singapore, where the education systems are rigid and highly competitive, the very opposite of Finland’s seemingly laid back approach.

At the heart of this success lies the fact that teachers in Finland are highly motivated and that teachers are accorded the country’s top vocational status. Coupled with the comparatively good pay, this means that jobs in education in Finland are highly sought after with around 25% of Finnish youth choosing the teaching profession as their preferred career.

The Finnish school system has a number of unique features which may surprise you:

  • Education is compulsory for children from seven to sixteen years of age. However, toddlers have the right to free pre-school education, where they are taught self-reliance and social skills.

  • Children do not start school until they are seven years old.

  • Students are not marked for the first six years of their education.

  • Teachers are not rewarded with bonus schemes. However, in the society, they are regarded as highly as lawyers and doctors.

  • Also, a teacher’s salary grows exponentially with seniority and experience! To find a job in education in Finland visit http://www.workinfinland.com/

  • The national core curriculum is loosely structured giving teachers the freedom to place their own interpretation on the curriculum and to select the textbooks from which their students work.

  • Classes are not streamed so students of all abilities are taught together. Over-achievers are not praised but struggling pupils are given all the help they need.

  • Rather than being forced to memorise lessons, classwork in Finland focuses on creativity and students are taught to understand the need to learn rather than being forced to memorise lessons.

  • School hours are shorter than in most countries in the developed world and homework is limited to no more than half an hour a day.

  • Cooperation between students and teachers is encouraged and competition between students is highly discouraged.

  • Although immigration in Finland has increased over the last few years, Finland’s assessment scores have never dropped.

  • Teacher-student ratios are good, with secondary school science classes limited to 16 students so that everyone has the opportunity to take a full part in practical work.

  • Education at all levels is free, including tertiary level.

  • The Finnish education system is built on trust and equity, values which are taught throughout students’ education.

  • College graduation in Finland has a 93% rate.

Finland’s education system may depart from the norms of Western education but, from the PISA results, it obviously has considerable merits. Those with families considering a move to work in Finland can rest assured that their children’s education will not suffer.

 

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Studying Abroad

The Best Countries to Study Abroad

By on May 28, 2013

 

When the time comes to plan your future beyond University you’re usually faced with three options. Either, you go into the big scary world of work; you take some time out to “find yourself” and go travelling around the world; or you go on to further education which can involve studying for a postgraduate degree, (known as a Masters), or studying in a different country altogether.

study abroad
image via http://www.studyabroad.pk/

This third option lets you combine the chance to travel around the world and also to gain recognized qualifications that will help to set you apart from all of the other candidates who apply for the position you want so badly.

However, some courses are obviously rated as better than others, just like the Universities are in the UK or USA for instance, so it pays to study in the institutions ranked higher up the list of “top Universities in the world.” The question remains, however, how do you find them? After all, just because you want to study at one University doesn’t mean that studying at a different one, within the same country, is a bad thing.

Here are just five of the best countries you could study in to help kick start your career and allow you to see the world your way:

United States

With 30 of the world’s top 50 Universities spread across the nation, most people looking to study abroad opt for the United States. If you’re good enough and have the grades, then you’re most likely to look for the best of the best, Harvard for example is globally renowned for being one of the best in the country; but there are plenty of others that will be on the lookout for successful, ambitious students and many will offer scholarships.

United Kingdom

British Universities, particularly those based in London, are popular among foreign students looking to obtain well-regarded qualifications before returning home or making a career for themselves in the UK. Tuition fees are often the only stumbling block with Universities now able to charge as much as £9,000 each year.

Sweden

Sweden is attempting to become one of the most modern countries in Europe, and a lot of students are looking to take advantage of the innovative companies that have been born in the country. The likes of Volvo, Ericsson and Ikea have all grown from Swedish roots and students have looked to obtain the finishing skills in the area before moving into a career with these major firms, or taking work experience back to a similar career in their home country.

Israel

If you choose to study abroad in Israel, you might get a few raised eyebrows from friends and family who couldn’t even point to it on a map. However, the education you can receive from choosing an Israeli University is just as well respected as any you would receive in the US or UK, with IDC currently ranked the top institution in the country.

Switzerland

Despite its size, Switzerland is one of the European superpowers. Four Swiss Universities have made the top 30 for teaching international students and the picturesque country, quality education and everything else it has to offer in terms of its close proximity to the rest of Europe makes it an ideal country for anyone looking to study and travel around Europe.

Matt Rawlings is a UK-based writer who has studied abroad and across Europe, including Switzerland, France and Spain.

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Be Bookish | Reading Nook

Giving Kids Their Own Reading Spot

By on May 4, 2013

 

It’s not like the “corner.”  A reading nook that will encourage your kids to read at home should not be a place that they associate with something that happens when they get into mischief.  It has to be a fun place where they can have their own adventure whether from the stories that they read or from stories that they create themselves.  An age-appropriate reading nook will make it easier for your children to develop the love for reading and learning.

For toddlers and pre-school aged kids, your reading nook should have padded floors and walls.  You can have a book rack with all his favorite books.  Make sure that your reading nook furniture pieces do not have sharp corners.  Better yet, you can have throw pillows on the floor where you and your little one can cuddle up for reading time.  Some reading nooks have puppet stages or doll houses where the characters of the storybook adventures can come alive.

Bookish
bookstore reading corner

Older kids who can read by themselves should already have an organized reading nook.  They would need to have their own reading chair.  Parents should still have their own spot in their child’s reading nook to allow him to be with his child when he wants to have company while he reads.  For families with more than one child, having a small table with a few chairs around can accommodate kids who want to spend reading time together.

Teeners are a little bit of a challenge to build or designate any space for.  Some teeners would opt to isolate themselves in their rooms while they read and do other things.  You can still find a way to give your teen his own reading spot while at the same time giving him some privacy.  He can actually have his nook inside his room.  Or, if you don’t want him staying in his room all the time, you can give him his own corner in the den or build him a comfortable reading perch out in the yard.

Unlike adult reading nooks, children’s reading nooks are often more colorful.  Relaxation is often not the goal when kids go to their nooks.  Mental stimulation and stirring their imagination is the goal of reading.  A children’s reading nook is therefore often a fun and exciting place.  When they have such a space where they can let their imagination run wild, kids will surely go from one book to another without much coaxing.

reading nook
photo by Supergail – http://www.flickr.com/photos/12387001@N00/

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Book List

3 Young Adult Books Every Teacher Should Read (and Teach)

By on May 2, 2013

 

The ability for a teacher to empathise with their students is something that can either be an innate talent or the result of years of experience in classrooms. Whatever the route that needs to be taken to gain the quality, it is essential for teachers with pupils of all age groups to be able to understand their students’ concerns and worries.

When it comes to young adults, this can be an even more acute problem. Fortunately there is a wealth of great literature that not only gives a great insight into what people of that age might be going through but is also very popular with the target age group.

Here are three books aimed at young adults than can help you and them deal with relevant issues:

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Author: Mark Haddon

Good for: teaching about learning difficulties, acceptance and social problems

The book is narrated in the first-person by Christopher, a 15-year-old boy who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties.” The exact condition of the character is not explicitly referenced in the text, however, Christopher has Asperger syndrome (AS), a form of high-functioning autism that is sometimes called ‘savant syndrome.’ The book follows Christopher as he investigates the murder of a neighbour’s black poodle.

This 2003 mystery novel by British writer Mark Haddon is a great work for delving into issues regarding learning disabilities. The book has won the Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and Book of the Year, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Good for: teaching about emotional development, growing up and adolescence

This coming-of-age novel is narrated through a series of letters written by Charlie, a high school freshman. With a cult following much like that of Catcher in the Rye, the narrative takes the form of a series of letters from the protagonist written to an anonymous person. The story deals with social issues and struggles of fitting in, sexuality, suicide, abuse and falling in love.

The book was written by American novelist Stephen Chbosky and in 2012 it was adapted into a film.

Title: Go Ask Alice

Author: anonymous

Good for: teaching about drugs, substance abuse and peer pressure

Although written in 1971, this based-on-fact story about the life of a troubled teenage girl remains relevant to issues surrounding substance abuse today. Written in the form of the diary of an anonymous teenage girl who became addicted to drugs, the title is taken from a line in Jefferson Airplane’s hit song from the 60s White Rabbit.

The story caused a sensation when published but remains in print as of 2012. Revelations about the book’s origin have caused some doubt over its authenticity and factual accounts to arise, and the publishers have listed it as a work of fiction since at least the mid-late 80s. Still published as a work of fiction today, it often appears under the byline “anonymous” but is widely considered to be the true life story of its editor Beatrice Sparks.

Jane Parkinson writes on behalf of Randstad Education, a UK based education recruitment company who recruit for all subjects from maths to music. 

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Information

The Brain Behind the Products You Love: Consumer Psychology and You

By on April 2, 2013

 

One of the more fascinating fields of consumer research is the study of consumer behavior. This field is relatively young and based on the work of Abraham Maslow and Arnold Mitchell at the Standard Research Institute in Palo Alto, CA. Consumer psychology masters programs introduces students into the math, science and behavioral factors behind consumer behavior.

Companies, large and small, use consumer psychology to design, engineer, package and market products to subgroups of consumers they’ve identified using different types of primary research and classifying the results using sophisticated statistical analyses. This type of research is also called psychographic research.

image via http://www.guardian.co.uk/

Although measuring the reaction of consumers to new products and ideas is one of the most complex types of primary research, it’s also the most rewarding in terms of applications. Learning the science and art behind consumption patterns is a large part of consumer psychology masters programs.

Psychographics allow companies to delve deeper into product preferences than just segmenting using demographic information. On the surface, two people may have similar demographics, but widely different product preferences. Consumer psychology explains the reasons.

People tend to respond to products based on what the product says about them. Consumer psychologists have developed systems that measure the reactions that subgroups have to the message that the product conveys. They develop quantitative techniques to classify the broader population into different segments, making it easy to target well-defined subsets of consumers.

Products and services appeal to people for different reasons. Some groups strive for buying and using demonstrably unique and authentic products, while other groups stick with more tried and proven brands that give them a sense of approval and belonging. It’s the role of a consumer psychologist to uncover those motivations, quantify the size of the group and determine their purchasing power.

When companies uncover the forces that drive consumers to their products, they understand what prompts people to buy them. This information helps them either build stronger brand loyalty or reach out to a broader market by simply changing the product a bit to appeal to another consumer segment.

Consumer psychologists use a constellation of factors to cluster characteristics about people based on their reactions to different issues that drive their values.  These psychologists also use a battery of demographics about the population to further define their subgroups.

Working in the field of consumer psychology typically requires an advanced degree, since it’s a complex field requiring excellent written and verbal communication skills, analytical abilities and research experience. Nearly all the research done in the field of consumer psychology is applied to commercial or business ventures in some capacity, and enjoying interacting with clients could be a significant component of the role of someone working in this field.

Although the barriers to entry are high, the rewards are great. People who are intellectually curious and who find creative problem-solving enjoyable thrive in this branch of market research. The product applications could be as simple as positioning paper clips to attract an environmentally conscious consumer to complex industries, as designing, building and marketing cars and homes.

An advanced degree helps build credibility with the clients that use psychographic data, since the results could be applied to their strategic planning, design and development programs. The research itself is more expensive to administer and deliver, and the execution of the findings could alter a company’s course for years to come.

It’s the one field of research that delivers clear results with an eye toward implementation. Companies who apply the results to their business usually see demonstrable results, since the point of the research is to provide a concrete direction and road map for the future.

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Apps

Reading On the Go with Audio Books from Audible

By on March 21, 2013

First there were e-books, now there is Audible. Life is certainly getting better for all the bookworms out there. There is no reason to miss out on the latest bestsellers when one has an e-book or audio book that enables users to access their favorite novels and texts while on the go. But one must admit that the audio books get the upper hand when it comes to reading convenience. Avid readers can simply play the books on their gadgets and listen. This allows them to “read” while traveling, multi-tasking, or even with their eyes closed.

Bookworms who want to get access to a wide selection of audio books can simply visit the Audible site and take their bestseller picks. Audible is a subsidiary of amazon.com that sells a wide selection of audio books online. Consumers can simply purchase and download books from the site anytime they want. iPhone and iPad users get the added convenience of having the Audio Books from Audible app available for their gadgets. This application enables users to transfer books to any compatible device via wi-fi. Readers can also enjoy basic features of book marking, chapter navigation, variable narration speed, sleep mode and button free mode, update friends on your current read through facebook and twitter, keep track of your listening habits, and earn badges. The latest version includes a Whispersync for Voice which allows users to easily switch between listening and reading. Unfortunately, the new version also has flaws like the absence of volume control and skip button which disappointed their old time users.

The best way to spend idle time is to enrich the mind. Listening to an audio book is the most effortless way to feed one’s mind and cultivate the imagination. Even with the flaws in the Audible app, there are users who still find it handy for enjoying books while on the go.

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