Category Archives: Rusty and Rosy Reading

Educational Activities for the Summer

educational activities for summer

No more pencils no more books!! Remember that old song. We’re deep into summer, but I’m already thinking about how to keep their brains sharp and free from any brain drain. I’m all for a super fun summer but I know we have to fit in some educational activities so the kids don’t forget everything they’ve learned this far.

With a good list of summer learning activities to lean on you’ll never be at a loss for finding something fun but instructive for the kids to do when there have been maybe too many popsicles.

Assign a book report. This may sound utterly cruel but a book report doesn’t have to be a 5 page summary of a boring story. Choose any age appropriate book or section of chapters and then chose 3-4 questions that your child about the plot, characters or even the emotion that characters are feeling. It doesn’t have to be difficult but it should be enough to get them thinking about the story as they read it.

Play online games. Rusty and Rosy Reading has been a part of our home for more than 2 years. It grows with our youngest child so she is never at a loss for games that match her ability. Set a timer and let your child explore their favorite educational software. Find one that gives you scores or a review of your child’s progress.

Visit with nature. We’ll enjoy lots of visits to our parks to enjoy the playground, ride bikes or have a picnic. What about arming yourselves with binoculars, notebook & pen and a smartphone. Look for birds, bugs, plants and flowers and see if you can identify them by looking up characteristics. This is a great time to learn the “Leaves of Three, Let Them Be” rhyme.leaves of three let it be rhyme

Leaves of three, let it be!
Leaves of five, let it thrive!
Hairy vine? No friend of mine!
Berries white, danger in sight!
Red leaflets in spring are a dangerous thing.
Side leaflets like mittens will itch like the dickens!
Berries of red will soon be dead!
White and yellow, kill a fellow.
Plants get too thick, run away quick!
Berries of blue will do harm to you!

Host a lemonade stand. Give the kids a lesson in math by helping them run a lemonade stand. Let them know that it doesn’t just take the sale of a cup of lemonade to make a profit. What about the cost of making the lemonade, creating signs and buying supplies.

Take a field trip. Museums of all kinds are found in cities big and small. Research what can be found in your neck of the woods and see if the kids will learn something new. Don’t dismiss the obscure finds, they can often be the most fun.

Learn the history.  With just a few clicks on a computer you can find a history lesson in your own backyard. Find out about the first settlers in your area or your states leading agricultural producer or who your highway is named after.

Keeping the summer productive with educational activities doesn’t have to be boring. Look at things in a different way to hold your kid’s attention and keep them happy.

Poison Ivy image provided via Flickr from Carterse

Rusty and Rosy Reading Review

rustyandrosy copy

My children have been eager to use the computer from a very early age.  Because of their interest, I was so excited to be introduced to an educational computer based reading program geared for younger children called Rusty and Rosy Reading. It allowed my children to do something they thought was special, use the coveted computer, and learn at the same time. We have been lucky to have the opportunity to use the Rusty and Rosy Reading program in our home over the last year. For the first half of the year, I had my kindergarten aged son using it for extra reinforcement of beginning reading concepts. Once my daughter got to be preschool age and since she practically shadowed her brother whenever he was using the program, I decided it would be a good addition to our “Mommy Preschool” time.

The Rusty and Rosy Reading program adapted to my children’s different learning levels. It was able to assess what level my child was at in reading and start them there. For instance, my son already knew most of his letters when he started, so Rusty and Rosy Reading did a quick review of the letters for him and started into beginning reading and sentence structure. Then when I had my daughter start the program, I had it reassess her reading level and the program started out teaching her all her letters.

“Unlike other kids’ reading programs, Rusty and Rosy Reading is comprehensive. It begins with the alphabet and teaches everything your child needs to become a fluent reader. With over 4,000 activities and three full years of reading instruction, this complete reading program contains enough content to keep your child learning from preschool through second grade, right from your home.”

Rusty and Rosy Reading used music, stories, and games to teach as well as repetition, where they repeat the same lesson or learning concept two or three times. Each time it repeats it is with less instruction and my child gets through them faster. My son was more into the games, of course, and so he often got frustrated by the repetition, but he still did it. My daughter on the other hand l.o.v.e.s. the repetition and I often hear her singing along or repeating out loud everything the program is saying.

Rusty and Rosy Review by Fun On a Dime

I also really like that the Rusty and Rosy Reading program is easy enough to use that both my children can do it on their own. My children sit at the kitchen table with the computer and can navigate everything on their own while I am nearby getting my stuff done. I love to hear what they are learning and be near in case they need me, which is rare. Both children love the music and I will often hear my daughter singing the songs she heard on the program throughout the day, which I also love!

Overall, I love our experience we have had with Rusty and Rosy Reading. My children are learning skills that I have hard time teaching on my own and think they are “playing”. I love that the software can cover all the way up to 2nd grade because I can especially use it during the summers to help my son retain and practice what he has learned the year before. It seems like the schools are expecting children to read earlier than when I was in school. It is nice to be able to help give my children an extra boost by having them “play” Rusty and Rosy Reading and it is even better that is is something they are excited about!

Choosing the Right Educational Website

Online Homework Help with Rusty and Rosy

I have three kids in three different grades who learn thre different ways. Their ages are spaced far apart so homework time is a huge obstacle some nights.
The oldest is almost out of high school so her homework is usually done independently but the two school age kids often need help.

It’s been many years since I’ve been to school so sometimes I’m not the most helpful with “new math”, improper fractions or combining sentences with participles. These examples are true representations that have come about with our 4th grader. I’ve turned to Google, Wikipedia and Facebook for explanations and refreshers. I realize it’s the only way for the kids to stay on top of the skills they are learning each day.

A little screen time each day on select sites and software is how we are keeping minds sharp and fresh. Each company below offers something different than standard workbooks or flashcards. Digital content is updated often to reflect current learning trends and changing information. These are some of my favorite reputable and supportive resources that are helpful for just about any age or grade.

online homework is a Free (Premium membership available) efficient game-based website focusing on literacy and language art skills for children from Pre-K to 3rd Grade. is a comprehensive collection of printables, activities, games and articles for children in pre-k through high school. The fun and insightful content spanning many subjects is a great educational boost to assignments from school. is a whole different level of learning. This donor supported non-profit resource hosts a library of over 4,000 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of other life skills to practice. offers FREE resources for teachers and student turning lessons inside and outside the classroom into engaging digital learning environments. is a skill building educational software tool for pre K- 2nd graders. Rusty and Rosy teaches phonics, vocabulary, language concepts and math through games, songs and activities.

No matter what tool, website, software or method you use to enhance your child’s school education make sure it’s a fit for your family. Rely on tools that encourage what they are already learning.

Book Clubbing with your child

old books

Like many parents, I’ve always loved cuddling with my children and reading books to them. As they grew older, my reading to them became reading with them and then, in the blink of an eye, my oldest couldn’t wait for me to read the next chapter and began taking the books and reading ahead.

My older son is an over-achreader. Yes, we created the term because it suits him. He picks up a book, no matter the level and reads and reads until he’s finished. Immediately, he’ll order a new book, or he’ll re-read a book again. He’s a third grader, reading on a 7th grade level. I’m incredibly proud of his skills, but I also worry. It’s not easy to find appropriate books for a child reading so far above his level.

Last spring, he took to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, which focuses on Greek, and later, Roman, mythology. He read the 7-book series at least two times and then proceeded to teach others what he was learning, and to discuss mythology with my friend who majored in it in college. He began visiting the library to view every mythological video and book. He collected mythology coffee table books. You might say he was obsessed.

I knew so little about the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, beyond my college sorority letters and themes. He’d try to quiz me on gods and their powers and I’d just shrug and smile. “I’m trying,” I’d tell him.

While talking about his interests and his habits with our school principal, the principal asked how I could be sure he was truly comprehending? It was a good question. He was reading books so quickly, about topics I was unfamiliar about, was he missing anything? The question also made me take pause. I was missing something. I was missing sharing the excitement and drama of reading a book with him.

That afternoon, I proposed that he start the series over and read it with me. We didn’t have to read aloud, but we’d read the books at the same time, discussing as we learned: asking each other questions, predicting outcomes… Of course, he’d already read all of the books, but he jumped at the opportunity to read with me.

We started a 7-book book club. We were able to, once again, share the joy of pivots and plots and fall in love and hate with characters together. We had long discussions about what the characters should have done, and what might happen next in the next book.

I also learned that he’s a faster reader than I. Growing up, I was that kid. That kid who read and read and never stopped. But now, now I have to stop and care for his siblings. Read with them. Play with them. I can’t devote my free time just to a favorite book.

He also has phenomenal comprehension. I found myself going back to previous chapters or volumes to confirm something he was quoting. I truly believe he has stronger comprehension skills than I’ve ever had.

Last week, the eighth book in the series, Mark of Athena, was released. It had been a pre-order best seller for weeks and you can be certain that when Big came home from school he did his homework faster than we’ve ever seen. He barely put his Kindle down for two days.

And then he was done reading, telling me that we’ll have to wait a year for the ninth book in the series. He wants to discuss all that happened in the book with me. His eyes are lit with excitement over the twists and turns.

I’ve fallen behind, I explained to him. I’m starting the book tonight, I promise. I can’t wait to read the adventure that he’s read and learn all that he’s learned. But I just can’t keep up with his reading skills. It’s amazing to me that my third grader has such strong skills.

I also wonder what we’ll read next. What book we’ll share for our November club “meeting.” While I do miss the opportunities to read books with my friends, book clubbing with my 9 year old son has enriched our relationship and given us something that I hope we’ll value doing for years to come.

Learning While on Camera – Be a Movie Star

Educational Movies

Ready, Action! I have yet to meet a child who does not like to see themselves “on film.” My two young children are constantly asking to see video of themselves and they get such a kick out of it! In fact, they will ask to see the same video clips over and over again.

A great activity is to create a short film and let your children be the stars and even the directors, if they desire. With the wide availability of digital cameras and their video capabilities this can be a pretty entertaining activity for even older children/teenagers. We have made a couple videos so far and have really enjoyed the results. You can base it off a favorite book or recently read story. We usually base our videos off of a nursery rhyme, because it is the easiest to put together with young children and the children also choose how to act out each line. Eventually, we will do something a little more difficult, but for now this is perfect. It keeps them entertained, gets their brains working and they always love the results!

For this particular “film” we made below we captured no more than 2 minutes of video and edited (with software already on my computer) down to less than 1 minute. If you want to do it all in one take to avoid editing, everyone always enjoys bloopers! As you can see, it is not perfect. This was a quick film and by the time I realized we accidentally missed the end of one line, the kiddos were already in bed, but I am sure they will still enjoy this. For another example of a film we have done you can check out our This Little Pig video, too.


What You Need:

  • A digital camera or camcorder
  • Actors and actresses
  • Props (optional)
  • A script/plan (we used a nursery rhyme)
  • Editing software (optional)


Step 1: Gather your actors and actresses and discuss what you are going to do. Let them gather props they think they need.

Step 2: Practice it once or twice or a lot if you want it perfect. My actors/actresses wanted to do this fast, so we quickly discussed and let them have one practice and then I recorded them right there (personality and all).

Step 3: Lights. Camera. Action.

Step 4: If you would like to edit (cut parts out) it, there are usually programs on your computer and sites that are pretty easy to figure out. I have a free software on my computer called Windows Live Movie Maker and there are free sites, too, like One True Media, that are easy to use.

Step 5: Have fun. I love hearing them giggle every time they watch this film.

This is even a great activity for older children, too. I have even watched my older nieces and nephews create their own short films many times. They will spend hours prepping scripts and props and then recording their short film (usually in one take, so they do not have to edit). They will usually do this all by themselves, too. I can see my 6 year old wanting to do this, too. He really wanted to take charge of the camera with the above video. As soon as I find my camera stand, I will let him have a go at it!


Top digital image credit of:

Help Your Child Avoid the Summer Slide


While having a break from school is fun, taking three months off of academic work can result in loss of learning over the summer. Help your kids avoid spending the first weeks of school catching up by keeping their minds active during the break. Spend the summer practicing real world application of their math skills and don’t forget to have them read!

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Mom’s Choice Awards!


We’re excited to announce that Rusty and Rosy Reading has been selected as a Gold award recipient in the 2012 Mom’s Choice Awards!
The Mom’s Choice Awards is an international awards program that recognizes organizations and individuals that create quality, family-friendly media, products, and services. The Gold award is the highest level of acknowledgment from Mom’s Choice Awards, which recognizes Rusty and Rosy Reading™ as being among the best educational products available on the market today.
Rusty and Rosy Reading will be featured in the upcoming Mom’s Choice Awards magazine, and the award will soon be listed on the Barnes & Noble website. In addition, watch for the MCA logo on the site in a few weeks!

Children’s Book Week – Fun and a Free Book!

Henny Penny

Did you know that this week is Children’s Book Week?

Originally created in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running children’s literacy event in the country. Sponsored by the Children’s Book Council, the purpose of the week is to celebrate the power of books to transform the lives of children. Hundreds of events across the country are held each year in schools, libraries, and bookstores for the general public to enjoy!

Rusty and Rosy are supporting Children’s Book Week by giving a FREE copy of Henny Penny to everyone who “likes” our Facebook page this week. If you’ve already “liked” us, “share” the page with your friends and you’ll receive a free book too. It’s our way of celebrating this wonderful week dedicated to children’s reading.

To receive your copy of Henny Penny go here and follow the steps*.

For more information on Children’s Book Week, visit the official site here.

*No purchase necessary, shipping is free. We will contact you via the email address you provide after May 14 to request shipping information.


8 Tips for Teaching Your Child to Read

how to teach reading

Good reading skills are crucial to every child’s long term educational success, so getting started early is important. You can help your child learn to love reading from the time they are born by taking time to read to your child. As your child grows, take time to practice rhymes, recite stories, and practice the alphabet together. Even very young children can practice writing their own names, which is a great way to connect literacy with writing.

You can help your child understand how words and meaning together by asking questions and talking about what you read with your child. Don’t forget to keep it fun by choosing books your child likes.

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National Library Week Fun

Rusty reading in his library.

Did you know that April 8-14 is National Library Week?

National Library Week was started in 1966 by the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest association of libraries in the world. National Library Week is a week to celebrate literacy and creativity, and to encourage people to see what’s new at their local libraries.

Here are a few activities that will help your child get excited about reading during National Library Week:

Take your child to the library
It may sound simple, but just taking your son/daughter to the library will open their eyes to fun and creative experiences. Let them pick what they are interested in, and they will feel more invested in the experience. You can learn a lot about your kids when you let them “drive” for a bit.

Write your own stories
Books from the library will introduce your child to new characters and settings. Encourage them to think beyond the pages with these characters and/or settings to write their own stories. They will enjoy the chance to use their imagination, and you will have the opportunity to help them through the creative process.

Find/create art projects based on books
Do a search online through blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, or craft-oriented web sites, and you are bound to find projects related to your son’s/daughter’s favorite books. Chances are some parent out there (with a lot more time on her hands) has developed fun and creative art projects based on popular children’s books. Adapt these ideas to suit your own needs!

There are plenty of other ideas out there to keep your child excited about reading, so take a look around. Most local libraries have daily or weekly children’s reading hours, and many will have activities planned around National Library Week. Plan a trip to the library this week and have an adventure with your child!

Rusty and Rosy will also be busy reading books from their personal library (including books from the Rusty and Rosy store).