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Signs of spring

Winter doesn't seem to want to end. March came in with a roar and seems to be leaving with one, too.

Unlike the month that we're having, Marion Dane Bauer's In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb (Holiday) with Emily Arnold McCully's effervescent wash and line illustrations provides a lively and quite literal look at March's changing weather. You can see the book here.

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.

Starting early with science and math

Lots of schools are trying to get children ready for standardized tests. Science and math are usually a focus though the skill and drill approach doesn't do much to cultivate lifelong learners.

Science fun

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 these sites with kids.

Dramatic science, and a calendar too!

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.

The summer song of cicadas

There's a special sound to late summer. The air almost seems to vibrate with the songs of insects.

I was walking down the sidewalk earlier today and came across a shell of a really ugly (at least in my opinion) critter. But I recognized it as that of a totally harmless cicada, one of the likely music makers.

Teaching nonfiction text features

How much nonfiction do your students read? Probably not enough, according to Jay Mathews at the Washington Post. In a blog entry from February 2010, he uses the What Kids Are Reading report that describes what 4.6 million students in grades 1-12 read during 2008-2009 as evidence.

Earth day and the stories in nonfiction

I remember when Earth Day was first celebrated (but I won't date myself and tell you where I was in school!). The 40th celebration will take place on April 22, 2010. In other words, Earth Day is older than the children who will celebrate it this year — and probably older than many of their parents.

Share a Story Shape a Future 2010

Don't miss a day of this year's Share a Story — Shape a Future 2010 Blog Tour. This year the theme is "It takes a village to raise a reader." Each day you can start your "tour" from the homepage of the blog tour.

The tour runs from March 8 — 12, 2010.

The homepage of the blog tour outlines the schedule (excerpted below), and includes many links and read aloud resources. Enjoy!

Let the games begin! (2010 Winter Olympics)

The opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver (BC) will begin later today. It's an exciting time for the young athletes and a wonderful opportunity for all children to see what can result from not only talent but lots of hard work.

It's also a chance for parents and teachers to introduce children to sports that they may not otherwise be exposed to as well as history (where, why, and when did the Olympics begin?), math (who skis down the hill in the shortest time?), stories (how do you train for these games?), and more.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables