Activities

February 18, 2011

A while back, a child mailed a Flat Stanley to me. I took pictures of the intrepid traveler at local landmarks and with college students before mailing the paper thin guy back home.

Even more recently, Flat Stanley made the Sports section of The Washington Post...

January 28, 2011

The east coast (including the Middle Atlantic States) has been blanketed. It is winter after all — everywhere. Even the far south has felt winter's bite.

It's wonderful to curl up with a good book or bake a tasty something but sometimes something more active is called for. This something can help parents and children (or teachers stuck indoors with restless kids) get moving while...

January 19, 2011

What can an adult book discussion do for young children? More than I'd imagined.

A friend of mine copied me on an email she'd sent out for her first grade son with, of course, a note to the recipients' parents. This 7-year old wanted to share books with his friends much as his mother did with hers.

Rafe wrote that he wanted to "start a book club with you…It will be all kids'...

January 19, 2011

I've written about this before, but just a reminder that we're developing a series of Growing Readers focused on exciting kids about science and math. This means I've been doing a lot more reading and surfing on the topic. Here are some things I've found that I thought teachers, parents and kids might enjoy! I apologize in advance for the giggling and snickering you'll hear when visiting...

January 11, 2011

While teachers experience their "real" New Year every August when they meet their new class, the mid-point of January also marks a chance to revisit, reflect, and ramp up efforts in the calendar New Year.

As a teacher or parent to a developing reader, I encourage you to think about and develop some resolutions for the New Year that will further the reading skills of the readers you work...

December 1, 2010

Maybe I can blame my years as a teacher for my pack rat tendencies. Teachers have a keen eye for creative ways to use (and re-use) many everyday objects. I was reminded of this as we unpacked our holiday decorations last weekend and found the "mitten man" Molly made from an unclaimed mitten from the lost and found at her preschool.

I'm not the only one who recognizes that everyday...

October 13, 2010

We can all agree that classrooms are busy places, with little time to spare. As teachers, we have to get the most we can out of every instructional minute. Doing so enables us to structure the day with time for more exploration, discovery, invention, and dare we say play?

There are few things that sap more instructional time than teaching a Letter of the Week (LOTW). I'm sorry to my...

September 29, 2010

There's always good stuff going on behind the scenes here at Reading Rockets. For example, right now we're working on a series of new Ed Extras.

Wait! You don't know what an Ed Extras is? Ed Extras are free monthly information sheets written for parents. They...

September 8, 2010

Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits is a timely reminder about a few techniques that can reliably improve how much a student learns from studying. Techniques include alternating study environments, spacing study sessions, self testing, and mixing content....

June 17, 2010

Everywhere I look these days, I see another book list of recommended books for summer reading. Some like them, others wish they would go away. Other sites include calendars, craft ideas, and more to keep kids busy this summer. Here's a handful from the blogosphere that stood out...

May 24, 2010

When I first heard the term "summer slide" I thought of equipment on a playground. But as I'm sure you're aware, there's another meaning entirely. This slide refers to summer learning loss.

There's lots of research about it. Children tend to lose reading (and math) skills over the summer when they're not used.

There are many activities that enhance...

April 28, 2010

What fun we had with poetry month this year! At home we resurrected our copy of Joyful Noise and had fun sharing poems about insects. Anna loved the Grasshoppers one the best, mostly because we had a long talk about autumn-laid eggs and the interesting words and images within the poem, including...

March 19, 2010

My son's frantic search for the reported scores so that he could fill in his brackets reminded me that it's March and there's basketball madness in the air.

I'm on spring break this week; good thing there was no class yesterday or today. With the gorgeous weather we've been having, there was bound to be major case of spring fever going around.

What do basketball and spring...

February 10, 2010

Here in Virginia, we're being absolutely pummeled by winter weather. Our area got 20 inches over the weekend, Tuesday night brought another 5, and today brings wind gusts of 30 miles per hour. The kids have missed 9 of the last 13 days of school, and we're all starting to lose it a little bit.

The whole East coast is dealing with the same weather. I think what we've gotten pales in...

December 1, 2009

The latest edition of Literacy Lava, a newsletter for parents and caregivers, is available in PDF form here.

From the editor:In this third edition of Literacy Lava, you'll find ideas for promoting literacy through inexpensive activities you can do...

November 24, 2009

It is the time of year when many children sit down to write an important letter addressed to the North Pole. Other children pen thank you notes and party invitations during this busy time of the year. Some say letter writing is a lost art, but it doesn't have to be!

An Introduction to Letter Writing covers...

August 26, 2009

This writing sample comes from a 5 year old boy in my neighborhood, who happily wrote a big long message one afternoon. "Wow, Nelson! What did you write?" Mom asked. Nelson looked at it, scrunched his nose, and said, "I dunno. Something about a butterfly, I think."

What this sample tells me:

This is a child who knows some letters! The sample contains just...

August 5, 2009

Recently I was looking for a birthday gift for a soon-to-be five year old girl. As I wandered into the toy department of a well known chain store, I was struck by the number of toys that included some kind of electronic noise or light — a gimmick to grab attention.

I heard guitars without strings, came across talking dolls (fuzzy and not), and even digital cameras for the very young....

May 26, 2009

I don't know a single teacher who stops thinking and learning over the summer. Whether we're teaching summer school, doing curriculum development, taking summer classes or observing flowers and insects at the pool, there's a small piece of a teacher's brain associated with sharing information with kids that doesn't shut off (OK, there are no fMRI's to support that statement,...

March 16, 2009

Years ago I was in a first grade classroom introducing new words to a small group. The word we were examining was "ditch."

I remember a little boy, Paul, recognized the word and was eager to share. I also remember the ooohs of the other kids when Paul replaced the "d" sound for a "b." (We wound up sounding out the word and coming up with a synonym for a trench, by the way...

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"Books are a uniquely portable magic." —

Stephen King