The Young and Not-So-Fabulous

9781416980063In the day and age of blogs, MySpace and Facebook, where so much is put out there, there’s still nothing like a good old fashioned journal. You know, the kind where you share your private thoughts and ideas—the kind where you actually write in! Ah, the good ol’ days!

As a lifelong journaler, my love for the written diary runs deep, which is why I adore the premise behind The Dork Diaries: The Tales Behind the Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachael Renee Russell. Sure, The Dork Diaries could’ve been written by yours truly, but this fun read geared to the tween set, is a collection of the main character, Nikki Maxwell’s school, friends, frenemies, crushes, and family.
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SmartyCard: earn while you learn

The end of the school year for many kids is upon us.  If they’re not already out, then they will be soon!  Ah, the endless days of summer…Some kids go to camp, some go to the beach, some go play outside all day and then, of course, they’ll play video games.  Hours spent playing video games won’t be so bad, especially if SmartyCard is in the equation.


SmartyCard is quite simple: parents pay for the card (smallest increment is $10), kids participate in interactive online games, quizzes and lessons; as they learn, they earn. The rewards rendered are SmartyCard’s virtual currency that can be redeemed at online destinations like, ClubPenguin, WebKinz, Stardoll, or used toward Wii games or iTunes giftcards.  SmartyCard recognizes the importance of refining reading skills during summer break and has partnered with the Scholastic Summer Challenge, a program that encourages kids to read for fun over summer break.  Every Scholastic Summer Challenge participant who reads and logs a minimum of 20 minutes is offered free SmartyCard points.

Call it learning 2.0:  I love the concept of SmartyCard, and how it leverages technology and video games to encourage educational activities targeted specifically toward tweens.  I know plenty of kids who consider reading a reward in itself, so earning cool rewards will be like extra credit!