Diana

About Diana

Diana is a sociologist, freelance writer and mom, though rarely in that order. Her writing spans topics from parenting joys and challenges to prevention education. She writes a monthly parenting blog for Yahoo and has published feature articles on adoption, family rituals and the childcare industry for parenting publications. Diana earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. These days find her hanging with her husband and book-loving six year old in the San Francisco Bay Area, while happily blogging and serving as a reading advocate for Bookboard.

Here are my most recent posts:

Kid-to-Kid: Keep Believing You Can Read!

by On April 21, 2014 in Childrens Books, Reading

There are so many books I want to read!

There are so many books I want to read!
Photos: Diana Dull Akers

Parent’s note: In past blogs, I’ve described our 6-year old daughter Hope as a child?who “loves books but struggles mightily with reading.” We continue to work in partnership with her teacher and school reading specialists, using library books and Bookboard as engaging resources.

Hope still gets frustrated with reading, but she is more determined than ever to read books on her own.

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Spring Break versus a Giant Squirrel

by On April 8, 2014 in General, Reading

Super Squirrel (aka John Triska, Principal, Brittan Acres Elementary School)

Super Squirrel (aka John Triska, Principal, Brittan Acres School, San Carlos School District. (Credit: Diana Dull Akers)

It’s that time of year when many parents are watching their kids hitting a wall with the school-year routine. So it isn’t surprising with various weeks off from school in the mix (President’s week, ski week/spring break) that kids are issuing declarations: “there is no way am I doing ANY school work on break.”

Parents and educators often strive for a message encouraging balance over school breaks, something like “have fun on your break, and don’t forget that can include reading cool books!”? And if you’re a really clever school principal like the one at my daughter’s elementary school, you issue the kids a really clever read-a-thon challenge they can’t resist:

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Lost and (waiting to be) Found Kids’ Clothes

by On March 20, 2014 in General

School lost-and-found areas aren't always this contained. Credit: www.fcusd.org

School lost-and-found areas aren’t always this contained.
Credit: www.fcusd.org

At school drop-off the other morning, I saw other parents walking by me, staring. I know what they were thinking.

“Why is she hanging up all the kids’ clothes in the lost-and-found box?”

I had eyed that Matterhorn-sized pile of abandoned kids’ wear before, thinking it odd that the provided hooks and hangers are never used. ?Surely it would help kids and parents find lost items if they were hung up neatly, right? Still, I never thought to tidy the mess myself until my desperate need to find lost items arose.

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4 Reasons Why Mystery Readers Rock

by On February 19, 2014 in Childrens Books, General, Reading

Can kids guess the mystery reader?  Credit: wintersixfour@morguefile.com

Can kids guess the mystery reader?
Credit: [email protected]

Last week, I stood with my daughter outside her first-grade classroom, waiting with other kids and parents for the door to open.  But since it was Mystery Reader Friday, the kids were also busy staring at parents, giggling and speculating. Which parent was going to secretly wait outside while the kids settled in, then reappear at the door as The Mystery Reader?

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Parent Spotlight: Jay and Scott

by On February 12, 2014 in General, Reading

Jay and Scott, parents of two Bookboard fans

Jay and Scott, parents of two Bookboard fans

Meet San Francisco Bay Area parents Jay and Scott! They kindly agreed to share some of their family reading experiences with daughter Gracie, age 5 and son Austin, age 3.

 

Q: Help us picture the reading scene in your home.?

Jay:? Scott does the nightly reading with both kids. Gracie likes to do daily reading as well. When she was little, she always loved to read. With Austin, not so much yet, but we have a routine; at nighttime, he lets us read to him.

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Cheetah Love: More Than Critter Couture

by On February 4, 2014 in Childrens Books, General, Holidays, Reading

She loves cheetah prints for a reason! Credit: Diana Dull Akers

She loves cheetah prints for a reason!
Credit: Diana Dull Akers

If you’re the parent of a young girl, you’ve probably noticed that cheetah, leopard and zebra print designs are everywhere on kids’ clothing, backpack and shoes. I’ve never been a fan of the animal print look, but my 6-year old Hope assures me it is “definitely cool” to be sporting spots and stripes at school. And for her, the cheetah print reigns supreme.

What makes me smile is that my kid’s love for cheetah couture is not fueled by a goal of being cool or fashion forward. Nope, Hope’s inspiration comes from her love of actual cheetahs, a passion inspired by books and educational programming.

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Kids and MLK Day – 1 Reflection, 4 Resources

by On January 20, 2014 in General, Holidays

Kindergarten art for MLK Day Credit: Diana Dull Akers

Kindergarten art for MLK Day
Credit: Diana Dull Akers

I saved the Martin Luther King Day projects my daughter Hope did in kindergarten last year. For one, they are endearing. There’s the construction paper portrait of King with crazy huge eyes, or her best-penmanship statement at age 5 that she dreamt of a world where people wouldn’t litter.

But I’ll also save these — and future MLK Day projects — ?because they chronicle my daughter’s emerging understanding of challenging topics. What will she understand about King’s legacy at age 8, 10, or 15?

Last month, we explored an outdoor MLK art installation in San Francisco. There were King quotes etched in stone and photos of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

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Confessions of a Weather Wimp

by On January 9, 2014 in General

Is that a storm brewing over the Golden Gate bridge? credit: kconnors. morguefile.com. http://mrg.bz/Ebk1ZT

Is that a storm brewing over the Golden Gate bridge?
credit: kconnors. morguefile.com. http://mrg.bz/Ebk1ZT

 

While I’ve always been proud to be a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, I have a confession: overall, we’re a population of weather wimps around here. It’s a bit embarrassing.

Sure, we’re aware of the comparative weather realities faced by folks in other regions: the frigid winters, the need to dig through snow to reach your cars or front doors. We appreciate that your winter storms include lightening, thunder, giant hail, and knock-you-down winds. Heck, millions of you just earned your “I-Survived-The-Polar-Vortex-of-2014″ medals. It’s impressive, to be sure.

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New Year, Ongoing Resolution (reading with my kid!)

by On January 6, 2014 in General, Reading

It's that time of year for resolutions!

It’s that time of year for resolutions!
Credit: credit: efi; morguefile.com. http://mrg/bz/n1YI8o

This morning I read an article describing the 10 most popular New Year’s resolutions, according to a Harris poll. All the usual suspects you’d expect to see were there, from better eating to quitting smoking. The clever spin? Each was paired with an app that might help folks achieve these well-intended, frequently abandoned resolutions. For example:

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Sweet Holidays: From Divinity to Flaming Snowballs

by On January 2, 2014 in General, Holidays, Recipes

Making divinity Credit: Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright via Wikimedia Commons

Making divinity
Credit: Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright via Wikimedia Commons

As a child, I used to love hanging out in my grandmother’s large, gleaming white kitchen. Helping her bake and cook was always fun, but I was also on a mission to get into the walk-in pantry.

It housed the canned and dried goods you’d expect, but also a special round, red tin. It once held commercial cookies, but was now used for Grandma’s superior efforts: dainty sugar cookies, rich date nut bars, dark chocolate fudge. The item I longed for most only appeared at the holidays: grandma’s divinity.

These imperfectly shaped white mounds of velvety, sugary goodness were like no other candy I’d ever had. I used to call them “sweet clouds.”

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