Learn The Alphabet With Me

Learn The Alphabet With Me

The first step in reading is learning the alphabet!
I’m super happy and excited to announce that Learn the Alphabet With Me is now available! This is my latest book and it’s full of bright illustrations and silly tongue twisters. Learning the alphabet has never been so much fun 🙂

Reading to Your Child, The Earlier the Better

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   The main motivation behind becoming a children’s book author was the dream of instilling an early love of reading in all children. I want my books to reach them in a way no toy or video game can. I want their imaginations to dance and to fall in love with the silly characters I created in my books. But sadly, not every child will have the opportunity to take that journey.
    There have been articles and reports published about the declining rate of parents reading to their children on a daily basis. This is very alarming to me because I know personally that reading plays a key role in the I.Q and mental development of children. I have read to my daughter daily, even before she was born and she is a bright little girl who learns quickly and demonstrates a higher I.Q than what she should for her age. We’re still working on potty training though, so it’s not all perfect!
   *Studies show that there is an important role for parents in the development and educational performance of their children. Parental reading to children increases the child’s reading and other cognitive skills at least up to the age of 10. This is an early life intervention that seems to be beneficial for the rest of their lives.
    Key Findings
-The frequency of reading to children at a young age has a direct causal effect on their schooling outcomes regardless of their family background and home environment.
-Reading to children at age 4-5 every day has a significant positive effect on their reading skills and cognitive skills (i.e., language and literacy, numeracy and cognition) later in life.
-Reading to children 3-5 days per week (compared to 2 or less) has the same effect on the child’s reading skills at age 4-5 as being six months older
-Reading to them 6-7 days per week has the same effect as being almost 12 months older
-Children read to more frequently at age 4-5 achieve higher scores on the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests for both Reading and Numeracy in Year 3 (age 8 to 9).
-These differences in reading and cognitive skills are not related to the child’s family background or home environment but are the direct result of how frequently they have been read to prior to starting school. *
    Including this one, there are numerous studies and statistics out there that have proven the importance of early reading. Children don’t only show a higher IQ from being read to early, they are more engaged with books, display an early love of learning and have a higher rate of concentration at school.
    With all of the research so readily available out there, I ask myself “Why is the number of parents reading to their children dropping so rapidly?” It only takes a few minutes and your child will thank you for it, maybe not directly but you will see it in the future, when they bring home higher test scores, or when they would rather pick up a book than play video games.  It’s also an excellent way of reconnecting with your child after a long day at work or school. There is no excuse why you can’t spare a few minutes.
    There is a lot of controversy surrounding the topic of electronic learning devices. I agree that Leap pads and similar devices do have their advantages, but my opinion is that they should be a supplement, a form of entertainment to children, not their only source of exposure to education and literature.
 For all the parents who already read to their children everyday, a million thanks and keep on reading! Spread the word to everyone about the joy of reading to your children and hopefully that word will spread!
    As a favor to yourself and to your children, make the time. Stop by your local library and attend a toddler reading session, talk to your children about their favorite books and make up fun activities that revolve around the characters or simply curl up in a comfy chair together and take a journey into the fun and imaginative world of children’s literature. You won’t regret it. There are endless ways to make reading fun and my hope is that after reading this, you’ll run to the bookshelf and introduce your children to the fun and fantastic world of reading!
   (For added fun, stop by the Kids Corner page on my website: courtneymjones.com and download free printable coloring and activity sheets that feature the characters from my In A Room You Will Find series).
  

     Happy Reading and Learning!

*Department of Education and Early Childhood Development                                         

First Day of School

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 Today was the first day of school here in San Antonio. This reminds me of my first day of Kindergarten, which feels like ages ago!
  I had the coolest backpack! It had an area on one pocket that came with markers that you could color! I thought that was so awesome!
  My mother walked me to the top of the hill in my neighborhood, which was the bus stop. I grew up in a rural type area and you could hear the bus coming from a ways away. When I heard the roar of the engine I got butterflies in my stomach and looked nervously at that big yellow tank heading towards us. I still remember the bus number, 97.
  When the driver opened the door I remember wondering how that lever made the door open. My mom took a picture of me standing a the top of the bus steps and stood back to watch her youngest child venture towards the beginning of her education.
  I was so nervous the entire ride to school. I wanted to go but I didn’t.  At the time, it felt to me that this marked the true end of my childhood. In my mind, from this day on I was a grown up, backpack and all, with a schedule to keep and work to do. (I still miss those simplistic days).
 My first day went well and I loved the chocolate milk they served. I didn’t even mind that my classroom was in what felt like a dungeon, it was partially underground so it was dark in there when all of the lights weren’t on.
  I don’t really remember exactly what we did the first day but I remember sitting in the bus on the way home. As the bus reached the bottom of the drop off hill my mother appeared from behind the trees, standing at the top of the hill, there to greet me. All in all, I had a good first day of kindergarten!

 How was your child’s first day? My daughter isn’t of school age just yet so parents, what about schools have changed since you’ve been a student? I’d love to hear about it!

A Desire to Inspire

 I’m asked by a lot of people why I chose to write children’s books. Everyone has a story to tell, thoughts to express, desires they could only reveal while wearing the masks of their alter egos. In a nutshell, everyone is born to express something in some form or fashion.

 Coming to the realization that children’s books was the place for my talents wasn’t a fast or easy to find answer. I’ve been an artist since I gained the motor skills to finger paint, I’ve considered myself a writer since the fifth grade when I had to write a daily journal entry in my English class and discovered the sheer enjoyment and release that writing brought to me. By putting my bright green pen on a sheet of notebook paper and transforming a one line assignment on the chalkboard into a full page story, full of twists and turns, emotions and color was exhilarating for me.  Honestly, I enjoy living in that fantasy world that’s in my head. To take that journey that whisks me away from reality and into the perfect world where I create my own utopia, that’s all mine and that I can escape to is just one hundred percent freedom to me.

 I have been bringing my perfect world out for years into my paintings and short stories. I never released my short stories to anyone, but my paintings are out there for all to see. I had always dreamed that someone would take a look at one of my paintings and have trouble looking away. I wanted my paintings to become an escape for others. One look at the bright and bold colors that I always use would suddenly create an explosion inside of you, bringing to the surface that fun and imaginative side of you that is innocent, fun, unafraid to do whatever it may be that makes what seems unreachable suddenly so easy to obtain. I wanted to give the dreamers like myself the inspiration to dream and do, all at the same time.

 All of that may sound odd to you, but to me it’s natural. It’s who I am, who I will always be. I’ll always be the woman who looks at someone or something and sees potential for success, for freedom. If you want it, charge! Go for it, let nothing hold you back from reaching those stars that you stare at night after night, yearning for the formula to success so that you may feel free to live the way you’ve dreamed of living. I’m not just talking from a financial standpoint, that usually ends up being the reward for your bravery, determination and hard work of turning those dreams into a reality. I’m also talking about reaching deep down inside of yourself and discovering what you truly want to do with this one life you’re given. For some people, it’s not easy to figure out. For others, that answer has always been sitting on the surface, poking at you, making you feel horrible everyday that you ignore it. We are all meant to do something great, to be someone great. It all boils down to whether or not you swallow that lump in your throat, and forge ahead into the unknown, stopping at nothing to bring that dream into the real world and to transform it into reality, into your life, into who you are and becoming the definition of you, what you do, what you’ve made happen for yourself. 

 I’ve painted, I’ve done photography, I’ve been a vocalist in a band, I’ve made custom clocks. I love doing anything art related. Vibrancy, color, light. I love it all.

 As much as I love art, it never truly clicked. I felt like it wasn’t truly what I was meant to do with my life. Something was missing.

 Then my daughter was born. I’ve never been someone who stops doing what they love, but with my husband being a truck driver and no family living in the same city, I was usually on my own taking care of  my daughter. After what felt like an eternity of no new artwork I found the time. There was something missing in our living room. We had furniture and decor, but there was nothing that really brought the room together. I realized that I needed to do an acrylic painting of squares on a canvas and hang it up on the fireplace in the corner. That would bring all the colors and theme of the room together!

 My daughter was four months old at the time. I figured out how to do it. She would wake up for about an hour, eat, play for a bit and then sleep for two hours or so. Her schedule at that age was very predictable. So I unwrapped a dusty canvas that was tucked away in the closet, set up my paints and easel on the living room floor so I could keep an eye on her napping in the boppy pillow on the couch and got to painting!

 What usually took me a day ended up taking me two weeks. I was so happy when I finished the painting and it still hangs proudly above the fireplace. That was the last painting I made.

 As my daughter grew I was reading more and more books to her on a daily basis. I was almost obsessed with those books I was reading to her all the time. Her reaction to the rhyming, the characters and especially the bright colors was fascinating and insatiable to me. Then it hit me. I love writing, I love drawing and painting, I love to inspire. Oh my gosh! Children’s books!

 It was like a perfect harmony for my skills and abilities. Why hadn’t I thought of it sooner? Well, before my daughter was born I hadn’t picked up a children’s book since I was, well, a child!

 I got to work right away, writing fun poems, dreaming up the perfect character that would compliment the story lines. I felt like I had been doing this forever. I felt at home. Yes, this is it. This is what I was meant to do.

 I thank my daughter everyday for being the answer to my dreams. She was the key to my destiny and I never would have imagined that!

 My dream, my goal is for the books I write and for the characters I create to inspire other children. If I can bring those big smiles to every child’s face who sees my books, who reads my books, I will feel like the richest woman in the world, even if I don’t make much doing it. Strange isn’t it? I don’t dream of making millions from my books. I dream of my books inspiring children to awaken that creative side of themselves, to laugh, to question everything on the page, to learn new words, shapes, colors. If I can make that dream a reality, I will be the most successful person in the world.

Come visit my website!

Come visit my website!

A little introduction here. I am a children’s book author and illustrator. I currently have 3 volumes of my In A Room You Will Find Series for sale on Amazon Kindle and am working on the completion of volume 4.

Come visit my website to check updates, browse titles that I currently have for sale on Amazon Kindle, to check out the kids corner on my website that has freebie printables featuring the characters and illustrations in my books  or even just to learn a little more about me and the books I create! Sign up and subscribe to my newsletter for freebies and to be the first to know about new releases, upcoming events and promotions!

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