Spark Curiosity Through Early Learning! #SparkAMind #IC @HMHCo #Ad

*This post was sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.


    When I was growing up, I was a reluctant reader and refused to read unless I was required to do so for school assignments or homework.  This was very upsetting to my mother who had always been an avid reader and tried to instill a love of literature in us kids since we began our early learning.  She knew that once I realized how wonderful books were, it would spark a lifelong love of reading in me.

    Finally, in fourth grade, a family friend gave me a box of old books that she had put away from when she was a young girl.  I decided to start reading them and I immediately fell in love with reading!  It was almost like a lightbulb went off over my head and I realized how wonderful it was to be transported into the worlds and adventures inside the books that I was reading.


    Unfortunately, in middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children.  This means that many children will not have the opportunity to spark a love of reading from early learning years and through their school years.  Reading encourages a natural curiosity in children that makes them feel empowered and like anything is possible that they put their mind to.  Their long-term success depends on it to help them feel intelligent, valuable, and determined.

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt believes that everyday moments can spark curiosity and stimulate the mind in a fleeting moment.  Their goal is to capture these moments and foster a place where ideas can be shared and individuals can be inspired through ways that will spark their minds.  Every time someone uses #SparkAMind, it will appear on the #SparkAMind mini-site and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will donate a children’s book to an early learning organization to help close the early education gap and prepare children for long-term success in school and in life. 


    Another way that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt encourages early learning and love of reading is through their app called The Curious World which is designed for children ages 3-7 and has over 500 FUN and educational games, videos and books for kids to explore and learn from. You can get 20% OFF off a subscription to this educational app HERE.  The Curious World also provides tools to monitor your child’s progress and track their learning.


    Let your child’s imagination allow them to enjoy all of the precious moments that life has to offer.  As a mom, I know I will never grow tired of answering the endless chain of questions that my children ask just as I know they will never grow tired of asking them!

Let’s Discuss:  What are some of the ways that you spark curiosity in your own children?

Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.  All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

© 2016, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    Both of my boys LOVE doing science experiments at home, so we try to do as many as possible. I love that they are both SO interested in it.

  2. I never had any children of my own but that doesn’t mean I didn’t read to and encourage reading to all my friends children!! I so totally believe in reading and literacy. It is a shame that books are not available in abundance for all children. I am glad that Harcourt Brace is attempting to do something about this,

  3. I hadn’t heard about some of these so I will have to check them out! I definitely encourage curiosity and creative thinking at home.

  4. Reading is so important & triggers all sorts of conversations. This morning my 6 year old and I went from mosquitoes to how clouds are formed to the Statue of Liberty to who knows what else in a matter of 10 minutes! Haha!

  5. I don’t have any kids yet, but I plan on surrounding them with books and encouraging them to read! I know for me, my dad constantly had a book in his hand and it encouraged me to do the same.

  6. Your story is interesting because it’s very similar to my little sister’s. She was so disinterested in reading, no matter how much I tried to push her. It was very difficult for her to read so she avoided it completely, even skipping over words. At some point, she gave it a go on her own initiative and her reading skills improved dramatically. Now she’s book-obsessed!

  7. I spark their curiosity through stories and pictures the mix of visual and narrative content really captures their imagination! What a great program too!

  8. That sounds like an amazing app. My grandson loves Curious George. To spark their minds I take them hiking and to a local hands-on farm. Soon the babies will be born on the farm, we are looking forward to meeting them.

  9. I’ve always been a lover of reading, and I know my children have picked that up from me as well. As we outgrow our books and bring new ones into our library, we seem to very regularly be donating them to the women’s shelter (they sometimes see children) and the food pantry to give away to families. I love any initiave that strives to bring books to children who need them!

  10. Wow early learning is huge I love this !! I do all sorts of things to get my two going.

  11. Love this so much! We spark curiosity by going on nature walks and letting our kids help in the kitchen and around the house!

  12. What a wonderful organization! Never heard of it, but what they are doing is such a great resource in education. Many kids don’t read at their level just because of these reasons you had as a child. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I am with you. I think reading is so important for our children. I still to this day have my daughter (who is in 7th grade) keep a book log of ones she’s read and then incorporate what she has read into a story of some kind – maybe a picture, a journal entry, etc. She loves it.

  14. Several years ago I read an article written by an experienced Grandfather and he said that he made his grandchild curious by being curious himself. They would just repeat after him.

  15. Megan mccoig says

    It’s astonishing to hear how many people suffer with trying to get a book to read. 13 to 1 in an area is just insane! Would really help for everyone to contribute and help like you have!

  16. Love this! Early learning is important, and so is exposing them to books. But you’re right, not everyone has access to a library or can afford books. It’s a sad truth people face.

  17. This looks like a great app. When my teen was little, we didn’t have anything like this. You’re lucky!

  18. Such a wonderful program. My two kids, when they were younger, would have been so into all of these. So important to instill a love of reading early.

  19. In my opinion parents should grab all the opportunity offered by organization like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the advantage of technology to learn young children reading. Reading is an adventure! I love reading even before I could read, and still remember the huge excitment the moment I could read.

  20. I love the #sparkamind hashtag. It’s the job of a parent to spark our kids’ curiosity about the world around them.

  21. Ah it is a wonderfull thing to foster a love of reading. Bet you’re glad your family friend had that box of books. 🙂

  22. My mom taught us many things before we even entered school. Once we took our entrance test, they told our mother that we were too young to go into the grade level we were at. My mom homeschooled.

  23. This is great. I’ve always been a big fan of reading. My daughter is 9 and likes it ok but not a big fan like me. I hope she finds the right books eventually so she can love it like I do.

  24. I love to read and am so happy that my children have all grown to be avid readers. My step children also fell in love with reading after hanging around me for a while. Sometimes it is just a matter of finding the right story to spark the love.

  25. Omg!!! so awesome!!!! I’m all about early learning for little ones!!!! It’s so important 🙂

  26. This looks awesome.

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