Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." John F. Kennedy

Kids should have joy and fun in their lives. I remember our parents telling my brothers and me that the childhood years should be the happiest time of our lives.  We did have a wonderful childhood, growing up in a safe neighborhood with friends and caring adult neighbors, playing games like stickball, 7-Up, jacks, and board games (usually reserved for rainy days on the front porch). We also enjoyed catching lightning bugs, riding bikes, organizing baseball games, walking to the plaza shopping center and the bookmobile, and being home when the street lights came on. 

Of all the childhood games we played and the possessions we owned, our 2-wheel bikes were the favorites! George and I would ride all day - around our neighborhood, and then down the big hill (with hands in the air and no helmets) to another neighborhood, stopping at home only for a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of lemonade, in-between rides. When I think of those carefree days of childhood, I picture my brother George and I riding our freshly waxed two-wheelers down the big hill on Lengel Avenue with no hands on the handlebars. I can see our bikes with their matching streamers - with the logo "Roll-Fast" -George's boys' bike was blue, and my girls' bike was red. 

The 50's and 60's were a simpler time to be a child and ride a bike, but bicycle riding in childhood should transcend time, right?  One teacher in South Carolina decided that all kids- even ones who live in poverty - should have a chance to enjoy being kids. Since one of the things that makes every child happy is riding a bike, this dedicated teacher figured out a way to buy bikes for kids in her school.

Katie Blomquist, works in Pepperhill Elementary School in North Charleston, South Carolina.  A student told her that he wished for a bike for his birthday, but his parents could not afford to buy him one. After doing a bit of detective work, Katie discovered that many kids in the school did not own bikes, and she reflected upon her great childhood memories, which included riding a bike.  So, Katie decided to start a Go Fund Me page and a project to buy EVERY child in her school a new bike! With donations from businesses and ordinary citizens, she was able to reach her goal.  When I saw this story, I was very touched by her hard work and desire to help children!  You will be, too. Please click on this link for beautiful and heartwarming reactions from the students when they see their treasured new bikes.

I applaud Katie Blomquist and her dedication and devotion to her students and her school for working with her toward the goal of a bicycle  for every child. Katie saw a need, and she brainstormed a way to fulfill that need.  Isn't that what teachers do every day?  She just did it on a bigger scale.

I like sharing these true and feel-good stories.  I am a strong believer that inspiration creates more inspiration, and good things happen when people get inspired. Although teachers can't address every problem a child brings to school, teachers can address some of them. Helping students with their burdens is an inspiration.  I hope you will share this story, and help to lighten the load of a student today, even if it is not by giving them a new bike. Teacher kindness impacts children every day. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available or on Amazon at 

Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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