Professionals Against Bullying

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Update on my personal literacy challenge...

Many of you are aware of my reading resolution for 2010. I spend countless hours investing time and energy into getting others excited about reading and writing and all that encompasses literacy.
I decided to give myself a personal goal this year to make sure that I am practicing what I preach. My goal this year is to finish 52 books in 52 weeks.
I am currently on my fourth book which is "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.
It's nice to take into perspective that life is a gift and that although challenging it does not have to be grueling and everything does not have to be a major problem.
If you are wondering when I get the time to read so much...I do my best to use my time wisely. Have you ever waited in line thinking that you could be doing something better? I do too...and then I pull my book out of my bag and get in a few pages. In essence this helps me to be more patient and I feel great about my personal literacy goals as well as helping others to reach theirs. I'll keep you updated from time to time where I am at in my reading and I hope that you are taking on some great literacy challenges of your own. If you need ideas take a look at the blog post from yesterday.
-Read something great!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Lover of Literacy Challenge and update...

Readers as a lover of literacy I have done some interesting things. I have written two books that promote self-esteem and diversity in children. I speak at schools, libraries and organizations that have a passion for reading and writing. This year I also partenered with Operation: Kid Equip, a wonderful non-profit in Southeastern Michigan that provides dreams by way of school supplies and support to children who are low-income. This summer we plan on providing a personalized book signing to many of these childen.
Summer reading is probably far away in our minds but it is not that far away in reality. In order to meet this goal it is important that we fundraise for this goal now so that the future of area kids is brighter and filled with the beauty and promise that only books can bring. I challenge you! Get involved! If you read to a class, volunteer at a library or donate to our literacy project you are making a big difference. You can even do all three!
Books change lives...let's be a part of the miracle!
Read something great!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Inspiring the Dream...

I was fortunate enough to speak at Baker College of Allen Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The staff wanted me to explain how King's life influenced my own. I talked about the freedoms that I have because he fought so hard in the face of adversity. I shared that because he protested, went to prison and even died for civil rights I am able to have small blessings like a Diet Coke at a cafe.
I realize that the national holiday is over but I want to implore the readers to remember that when you stand for something and fight hard enough you not only change history but you create a new future for others.
Read something great!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Keep Dreaming!

Today is a special day in which we acknowledge a man who gave his life for freedom. What I find fascinating is that he not only gave his life for the freedom of his family but those around him. I have benefited greatly from the dream and drive of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I was not even born when he gave his paramount speech or when he marched on Washington. I never was told that I can't sit at a lunch counter or that I better get to the back of the bus. I'm just a girl who has been inspired by his passion and faith to make his dream a reality. Today banks will be closed and most kids will be given a day off of school to remember the work that Dr. King stood for. What will you do with this day?
I will be having a meeting to help a company with their diversity action planning in the morning and speaking at a college on King's legacy and how it has inspired me tonight.
If this man's dream could live on after he is gone...your dreams can too.
What do you want to accomplish? What legacy do you want to leave behind? What is holding you back? My advice? Through off all that hinders you from reaching goals that greatly improve the lives of others.
Everyday I am grateful that I get to do what I love in regards to influencing the work of diversity awareness and sharing books that are great tools for students, parents and teachers to have open dialogue about race and ethnicity.
Enjoy this special day, reflect on how it has changed your life and read something great!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Be A Part of Their Story Literacy Project" partners with Operation: Kid Equip

Are you ready to help Southeastern Michigan students embrace literacy over the summer? Join Operation:Kid Equip and Author, Tara Michener in the quest to provide new books to local kids in the summer of 2010.
Statistics show that reading achievement typically declines an average of three months between June and September. Children need to read outside of school. Research clearly shows that the key to stemming summer reading loss is finding ways to get books into the hands of children during the summer break.
Your donation of funds can help us in the quest to keep children literacy-motivated year round! Use the PayPal button titled Literacy project to make your contribution to a better and brighter Michigan Summer.

Readers, it is our goal to start early raising funds so that we have enough books ordered for our distribution date of June 12th. Below are some stats on the importance of Summer reading.

All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation (Cooper, 1996).

On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Studies reveal that the greatest areas of summer loss for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, are in factual or procedural knowledge (Cooper, 1996).

children and youth that are low-income experience greater summer learning losses than their higher income peers. On average, middle-income students experience slight gains in reading performance over the summer months. students that are low-income experience an average summer learning loss in reading achievement of over two months (Cooper, 1996).

Thanks for helping and read something great!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies...

I have always loved the poem Phenomenal woman by Maya Angelou. The poem is both inspiring and thought provoking. Have you ever met a person that did not hold the stereotype of traditional beauty that took your breath away as though they were the most gorgeous person on the planet? I have. I am amazed at how many people are super models at heart. The people that impress me the most are the one's that have a breath taking spirit. Take a deeper look today as you encounter those you meet. Look at their eyes for a sparkle instead of eye-shadow. Pay close attention to their they empower? Beauty is not only skin deep it is just deep. True beauty flows from inside out and that is a trend that is always in style. Have you seen my web show? The beauty shop focuses on inner beauty and self-esteem. Let's help our young people to appreciate the fashion of their character over the fashion of clothing. Make this Monday memorable and put your best face forward!
Read something great!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In someone else's shoes...

To truly appreciate diversity it helps to put yourself in someone else's shoes. When I was in college I studied abroad in Europe.
I had always longed to visit Paris and see the fashion, history and culture. The most difficult thing for me while in France was my language barrier. My French was far from fluent and my pronunciation was not the best. I was fortunate enough for some of the people that I encountered to talk to me in English once my small bank of French vocabulary words ran out.
The trip was great for my grade point average and I added many new items to my closet. However, the best part of the trip was for me to see for myself that this world is a large place filled with culture, history and people that bring depth to my life in a great way.

Diversity is more than just Black and White. It is walking in another person's shoes and trying to gain an understanding of what makes them who they are. In my 1st book, "Who I Am Not What I Am" Janelle is told by her parents that her culture is important but her culture includes the foods that she likes to eat, the activities that she enjoys participating in and her family and ethnicity. It is a whole package.
Every person is diverse because every person is special and unique. Get to know someone new today and find out about their culture, likes, dislikes, etc.
Read something great!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Guest blog by Patty O'Brien Novak...Enjoy!

“Transforming Books into a 1 Woman Stage Show”

Hello everyone! I’m Patty O’Brien Novak and I’m elated to be Tara’s guest blogger today. I met Tara through Twitter and am also a writer. My book, “Engineering the ABC’s: How Engineers Shape Our World” was recently published. Please visit me at!

I love to read with my children, now 8 & 5, and started reading to them at a few days old. What I didn’t love was reading the same story over & over again. I’d groan inside my head and think “Not this one again!” I quickly realized I needed to do something to bring back the joy and squeeze out the monotony.

And that is how it began… my 1 woman stage show - my venture into all things dramatic with visions of standing ovations dancing in my head. My readings came alive and with each one, I added a bit more to my acting repertoire.

I started using different voices for different characters:
- a big, booming voice for a papa bear;
- a soothing, soft voice for a mama rabbit and
- various higher pitched voices for the multitude of youngsters we encountered in our reading journey.

Then I added emotions to my tone. I used:
- “eeeee” to express glee;
- “aaahhhh’s” and “ooohhhh’s” for a sense of wonder and
- “ummmm’s” to express love and contentment.

The final step in my theatrical journey was adding movement:
- fluttering my hand to represent birds flying;
- bop up and down for trucks going over a country road and
- stretch my arms wide, then swoop and dive like an airplane.

My reading became a 1 woman stage show with an enraptured audience – just what this secret drama queen needed to make each reading even more expressive and dramatic than the last. I found a new sense of joy in reading the same story over & over.

My heart fluttered with excitement at how I could make this reading different, dare I say “better?” than the last. I was no longer simply reading words – I had become a storyteller.

Share with me: What are some things you do to make reading more fun for you and the young people in your life? What are some ideas you would like to try for making reading fun?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

(Inner) Beauty Basics

In the same way that we prepare our hair and our skin for beauty treatments...we should prepare our hearts. When you think of beauty do you think of long lashes and great shoes? When I think of beauty I think of traits like kindness, self-control, and the like. So the next time that you decide to get a makeover...have a makeover on the inside as well. As an advocate for self-esteem and diversity and a author children's books I realize that their is value in feeling great about who you are as well as accepting others for who they are as well. Have you seen my Beauty Shop Channel on YouTube? Mini-videos are posted about Inner beauty, self-esteem, etc. Be sure to give it a look and comment if you like. Be beautiful!
Read Something great!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Inner Beauty Shop

As the New Year sets in many people are trying to figure out how to look good on the outside through fitness, make-up, etc. I wanted to let you in on my newest web show....the Beauty Shop. I hope that we can look like Super models on the inside for 2010. Enjoy!
Read Something Great!

Friday, January 1, 2010

"Booked" for the year...

I saw an interesting challenge on Twitter and decided that it would be great to take on this year. A friend of mine on this awesome network is challeging herself to read 52 books in a year. I told her that I was in too and I wanted to share this New Year Goal with the rest of you!
If you love reading-you can join me! Write a comment and let me know if you would like to dedicate this year to reading and literacy. I think that this would be a great challenge for young people too-families that read together are the best in my book (no pun intended). Ready...Set...Read!
Have a great new year and read something great!