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Sound It Out

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

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Dr. Joanne Meier

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Dr. Joanne Meier

Free Language Stuff

I juggle between posts that address big issues such as curriculum and leadership with posts that provide educators with resources that could be used in the classroom. Today. With the right student or students.

Estar aqui, estar listo

I had the good fortune to spend a few days in a classroom outside of Chicago. I spent lots of time watching one of those teachers you just hope your child gets. You'll get a chance to see Cathy in action when we add our clips to the classroom strategies section of our website. Until then, trust me when I say that this is a teacher who has created and nurtured a real community of learners.

Four questions new teachers should ask

Lots of May graduates are looking for jobs right now. School job fairs and district openings are full with pre-service teachers looking for their first teaching job. While these soon-to-be college graduates are busy worrying about what the interviewer might ask them, I've always encouraged prospective new teachers to ask a few questions of their own. I told my UVA students to realize that they are interviewing the school and principal just as much as the school is interviewing them (although they told me it didn't feel that way!)

Will we have an earthquake here?

Will we have an earthquake here? Will we have a tsunami here? I know I'm not the only parent or teacher to be asked those questions this week.

The crisis in Japan is so difficult to comprehend, especially for our young ones. Learning more about a situation can provide opportunities to talk through fears and concerns. Here are some resources that you might find useful to share with kids. Some are designed specifically for children, others are not, so be aware of ads or surrounding content that may not be appropriate for your audience.

Two ideas worth spreading

Ideas worth spreading is the tagline for TED, a website that provides "riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world." If you are not familiar with the TED site, you should go visit it! I've watched some truly amazing talks on there, ones that I think about for days afterward. Here are two new talks I watched recently that have really stayed with me.

Arriving late to the Read Aloud party

Who knew March 9 was World Read Aloud Day? I'm sure lots of people did, but sadly I didn't until very late at night on March 9. And besides the directions on the box of brownie mix, I'm pretty sure I didn't read anything aloud to my girls that day. As our girls get older, I'm finding it harder and harder to find that family read aloud time. Soccer schedules, Destination Imagination (DI) practice, and playdates all result in one rushed (and tired!) dinner — shower — bed routine. On top of that, both girls are highly engaged in their own reading these days.

If you see the words brain-based, run

If you see the words brain-based, run. That's the advice from David Daniel, a researcher at James Madison University. And it's not just Daniel that feels that way.

Stuttering in children

Stuttering is getting a fair amount of attention right now, thanks to the Oscar-nominated film, The King's Speech — the true story of how one speech therapist helped King George VI of Britain and his nervous stammer.

Transitional kindergarten: The answer for some

February marks the month where most preschools ask families to re-enroll for next year. For parents of 4 year olds with summer or early fall birthdays, the question looms: Should she stay or should she go, to kindergarten? Since writing this post about our family's decision four years ago, many readers have commented in sharing their own questions and concerns. Social skills top the list of many concerns, as well as parents wondering whether they want their child to be the youngest in the grade.

Teaching and managing the kindergarten classroom

Suzanne, a friend and neighbor, just started her student teaching in a kindergarten classroom. She's a career switcher, having gone back to school after 15 years as a nurse and a Mom to 4 kids, including one with special needs. Student teaching is turning out to be a ton of work to juggle on top of being a Mom and a wife. Long days of teaching and long nights of homework and planning. Remember those early days of teaching?

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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx