Raising Rock-star Readers with Amy Mascott and Allison McDonald

We’ve always felt that one of the very best things about blogging are the connections that bloggers make with each other and the relationships formed between people who live across the country from each other. That makes this particular interview so very fun for us to share with you. Amy of Teach Mama and Allie of No Time for Flash Cards are a perfect example of that phenomenon, plus they were able to take it a step further and write a book together!

Rock-Star_Reader_cover_hiResAbout Raising a Rock-Star Reader

From the creators of the popular education blogs Teach Mama and No Time for Flash Cards comes a must-have parents’ guide for raising lifelong readers and learners. Written for today’s time-crunched parents, this book is filled with easy-to-implement tips for creating a literate environment and fun, quick activities for building children’s oral language and early reading and writing skills. Just five minutes a day every day is all it takes to foster a child’s love of reading and learning. For use with Grades K-5.


O2O: What was your inspiration for writing this book?

amy profile circle 350Amy: The idea stemmed from an eBook I wrote in March of 2013 called 5-Minute Tricks to Raising Rock-Star Readers. Most of what I wrote about on my blog,, focused on quick tips for building a strong literacy foundation in children, so really the eBook was a compilation of many of those ideas. The eBook was doing so well that I shared it with some of the Scholastic team when I was in NYC that month; I was invited as one of their parent bloggers to participate in a Think Tank of sorts. They were totally interested in taking it a step further, and that’s how the book came to be.

The fact is that sneaking in some learning into my kids’ everyday comes very natural to me; I’m an educator by nature, I suppose. However, I am well aware of the fact that it’s not the case for everyone. I wanted to share tips and ideas for every parent. I want every, single parent to know that he or she really and truly is a child’s first teacher. I want every, single parent to know that building those early literacy skills is easy and that everyone can –and should—do it. I want every, single parent to know that these super-important skills can be built in just a tiny bit of time every day, with just a little bit of planning and prep.

allie profile circle 350Allie: My co-author and I are both teachers and bloggers and have gotten a million questions and requests for advice over the years and we decided to pop all our best advice and the answers to those reading questions all into one book.

O2O: What surprised you most about the writing process?

Amy: I found the writing process to be really exhausting and not at all as fun as I thought it would be. I love writing. I write every, single day, and normally, I love it. It comes easy to me, and I have been doing it now for years and years. However, when it came to writing the book, it was serious work. I literally felt like I was trudging along through slowly settling cement each time I sat down to write. I’m not sure why, either–maybe it just became my ‘homework’ and each day I fell behind my work load got heavier.

Allie: How many skittles I ate. I now know I AM an emotional eater, especially during editing.

O2O: What were your writing habits?

Amy: Ha! Our writing habits were pretty sporadic and random, I’m afraid. Since both of us have young kids, our writing times depended on childcare, spouses, school schedules, kids’ activities, and a million other variables. Because Allie and I co-wrote the book, we relied heavily on a shared Google doc and our private, 2-person facebook group to help us meet deadlines and to stay on track. We really have a great balance, though, so usually when one person had an especially busy week or sick kids, the other person would just naturally swoop in and pick up the slack. I am just so thankful to have had a buddy through the whole process.

Allie: I did a lot of the initial writing during the summer of 2014 at a coffee shop in town. Being pressed for time (only had a sitter for so long) was a good thing for me.

O2O: What was the best advice that another writer gave you about writing? Or was there a writing quote or mantra that kept you inspired?

Amy: I think it’s just really important to do what you can, when you are able and to take care of yourself through the process.. There were some nights when I was so very, very tired, trying to meet deadlines after a long day of work, family, and everything else, and I’d literally fall asleep at the computer. During those times, my work was definitely not my best! I wish someone would have just nudged me to head to bed and wake up early the next day to work instead of trying fruitlessly to plow through. I was actually making more work for myself by not listening to my body telling me to take a break, recharge, and start again later, refreshed.

Allie: Danielle Smith gave me great advice about writing with a co-author, just that it will be harder than I expect but having someone with you will also be more comforting than you expect it to. That is totally paraphrased but it helped!

O2O: What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?

Amy: My best advice is to just continue going to events, meeting people, and creating meaningful relationships with people because you never know where those connections will take you. I connected with Scholastic at a blogger event years and years ago, and that connection led to me starting to do some work with the company, then being invited to a super-small Think Tank with them, which then led to me sharing an eBook I wrote about reading! Who would have known that years later–like 5 years later!–I’d have a book published with them? Though our publishing route was by no means ‘traditional’, I think it happens this way more often than we realize!

Allie: Get a literary agent.

O2O: Will you write another book?

Amy: Yes!

Allie: Maybe?

Where to Buy Raising a Rock-Star Reader


Tip #76 is to enter to win a copy of Raising a Rock-Star Reader! We have two copies of Amy & Allie’s book to give to two One2One Network members*! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling us your favorite book, book series, or author. One entry per person. Giveaway closes Sunday, March 13,2016. Winners will be drawn and notified via email on Monday, March 14th.

Congrats to comments #2 (Leah) & #15 (Kerri) on winning copies of Raising a Rock-Star Reader!

More about Amy

Amy Mascott is the creator of, where since 2008, she has shared tools and resources parents can use to become the best teachers they can be for their children. A Reading Specialist, writer, and literacy consultant, Amy’s work has been featured on dozens of online and print publications, including Scholastic Parents, PBS Parents,, PBS Digital Studios, and more. A former high school English teacher, Amy expanded the walls of her classroom and often shares her expertise at local and national conferences and events, speaking about literacy, education, social media, and community building. She currently sits on the Gates Foundation Teacher2Teacher Community Advisory Committee.

Married to an elementary school principal, Amy resides in the DC Metro with her three crazy-cool kids, a dog, two birds, and four fish.

More about Allie

Allison McDonald B.A, B.Ed is a preschool teacher, graduate student, writer, wife, and mom. She founded her early education blog No Time For Flash Cards in 2008 when she jumped out of the classroom to be a stay at home mom. She started writing about early education because she missed teaching and wanted to share her knowledge with other parents.

In addition to her own blog, she also writes about literacy regularly for Scholastic Parents on their Raise A Reader blog. Helping parents help their children learn is one of her true passions. Her other true passion is running and she is currently training for her third marathon.

This fall she is returned to the classroom as a graduate student, studying early education and child development at Missouri State University. She lives in a yellow farmhouse on an island outside of Seattle with her family.


*No Purchase Necessary. Void Where Prohibited By Law. Entry period will run from Wednesday, March 2, 2016 through midnight (PT), Sunday, March 13, 2016. Entries must be received in those time frames to be valid. Contest is open to One2One Network members, 18 years of age or older, and a resident of the United States of America. Winner will be chosen via random draw and notified via email. Please see Official Rules for Giveaways.


  1. Lindsey H says:

    I feel like there are too many books to choose a favorite from! Right now, I’m loving “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court!”

  2. For my young kids, I am loving Sandra Boynton books!

  3. I an really enjoying the art of waffling so I’m currently reading the recipe book called “will it waffle”? By Daniel Shumski

  4. Meredith Jones says:

    My current favorite is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo,

  5. So many books to choose from! I’ll say a current fave is Beverly Cleary because I just introduced my 2nd grader to the “Ralph” stories, and he loves them as much as I did when I was his age. We love that mouse and his motorcycle!

  6. Ahh you can’t ask a reader what their favorite is. We don’t have a favorite. Every book is our favorite 😉 But most recently, I loved the final Lunar Chronicles book, Winter.

  7. Jennifer Wood says:

    My favorite author at the moment is Ted Dekker, but I’m always looking for new authors to read.

  8. Neida Aponte says:

    I really love the Harry Potter books and very excited about the new addition!

  9. Ahh, how can we possibly pick one?!

    Recently, I’ve been obsessed with Self Help books, I love being able to improve myself. They’re like advice, you take what you like and ignore the rest, it’s beautiful! Then OF COURSE, I loved reading the Harry Potter series. I cried for quite some time after I finished the last book, just knowing that the beautiful journey JK Rowling took me on had ended was difficult for me!

    Now I have two small children and another one the way, so we like to read Mickey Mouse books, and Sandra Boynton. Our family favorite is “Moo Baa La La La” 🙂

  10. I have so many favorite children’s books to read, but right now my youngest is really loving If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books. My personal favorite author is Liane Moriarty.

  11. Whitney S. says:

    Dee Henderson and Charles Martin.

  12. My favorite is “Don’t Push the Button.” It’s so hilarious and my kids LOVE it!

    mysticbutterfly37 at

  13. My daughter loves the Ramona book series.

  14. Hendrika Van Dijk says:

    At the moment I am reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Really eye opening.

  15. I love The Littles series and enjoy reading it with my class.