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Classroom strategies

Reading logs: Our own hot topic

I've written twice before about reading logs: back in August 2007 with "Reading logs, reading blahs" and then again in April 2008 with "Should reading with parents count?"

Those two posts have sparked lots of comments, all of which carried valid points about the purposes and pitfalls of reading logs.

Are word searches a waste of instructional time?

A question came to me via the Ask the Expert service that Reading Rockets provides. With the teacher's permission, I'm including it here to get your opinion.

Teaching vocabulary

A few weeks ago I blogged about a kindergarten lesson where the students were confused by the word pause, thinking the teacher meant applause or paws. I promised that teacher I'd send her some materials about vocabulary development with second language learners. I thought I'd share some of the resources I like.

Putting fluency in its place

For six years I trained and observed preservice elementary education students. I vividly remember one lesson, observing a student teacher whose lesson plan included using timed repeated readings to increase her students' reading speed.

Everything started off well until I saw the text she planned to use: A POEM. For timed repeated readings! I watched as she worked with students one-on-one using some of her favorite Shel Silverstein poems and a bar graph.

Reading logs, reading blahs

Many of us are back to school by now. And for most of us, that means daily reading logs, where a parent signs a log each night confirming that her child has read at home that day. For us, we're on day five, and we're already a little bored.

In the spirit of starting the year off on the right foot, here are a few ideas (hopes? hints?) for teachers and parents that may make reading logs more useful, interesting, and exciting.

I'd love to hear from teachers and parents about reading logs — what has worked for you, and what hasn't?
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My budding author and her (lack of) pencil grip

My daughter Anna LOVES to write. It's something she's always enjoyed doing. Her kindergarten class has Writer's Workshop several times a week, and she eagerly publishes her stories. During our school's Author Share later this month, Anna's planning to share a book of short stories she's penned.

She has fantastic skill with dialogue, word choice, and even a surprise ending or two. Where she lacks skill is with her pencil grip! She uses this two-finger-over-pencil, grasp mid-way-up-pencil technique that I've never seen before.

Space, AKA Concept of Word

6:17 A.M.

Anna: Mama, you know how it says "The Solar System" on the wall of my classroom? Well, it really says 'The space solar space system space.'

Me: (Yawn) Um, what sweetie?

Anna: On the wall. It really says, "The space solar space system space." You know, you have to put a space in-between words otherwise it just says gobbledy-gook.

Me: Oh, right! Of course.

Anna: O.K.

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"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges