Developmental milestones

February 21, 2018

Teacher question:

What are your thoughts about writing in kindergarten? Is there a scientifically-researched instructional methodology that we should implement. We’ve been trying to embed writing opportunities within the literacy block related to the whole group listening comprehension text. Should students draw in relation to the prompt or question and then label...

September 14, 2017

Our world continues to grow increasingly complex. We all want our children to succeed, but what exactly does that mean? 

Is it introducing academics earlier and earlier? How do we assure a child’s healthy social/emotional growth? Can we help young children live with others who have different backgrounds than their own? Might this imply that children have the ability to put themselves in...

April 26, 2017

Teacher question:

I am preschool teacher and I would like to know how I can implement a sight word program with 4 year old students. I have tried my best to implement at least three but I feel my strategies are not working. I am trying to do a program to help preschoolers to be ready when they go to kindergarten.

 Shanahan's...

September 9, 2015

Parents often ask how they can help their children learn to read; and it’s no wonder that they’re interested in this essential skill. Reading plays an important role in later school success. One study even demonstrates that how well 7-year-olds read predicts their income 35 years later!

Here are 11...

July 18, 2012

My friend Karen has a 4-year old daughter with a September birthday. Karen is still trying to decide whether to send Sophie to kindergarten this fall, so she decided to enroll Sophie in our school's summer kindergarten camp. K camp is a 5-day morning experience designed to acclimate the kids to school and give the kindergarten teachers a...

July 19, 2011

This might be the most gorgeous description of a reader, just on the cusp of reading on her own:

At her age, "reading to yourself" means "reading out loud." Silent reading is perhaps a year away. I get caught up in listening. Can't help it! Such a delight, those confident trotting sentences and then the stumble, the try and re-try and a tap on my arm, "Mommy, what's this word?"...

July 1, 2010

MT: I'm so glad Ian is finally really talking, but gosh; he never takes a breath now. It's exhausting!

AB: Our doctor brought up speech therapy by the end of the summer if MEB doesn't have some more words. She just turned two. How old is Ian?

MT: Ian turned two in April, and I swear, in the last month or so something just clicked...

March 3, 2009

It's that time of year when parents are facing a tough decision: another year of preschool for their child with a summer birthday? Or send them to kindergarten as one of the youngest in the class?

We faced this very decision in our family. Twice. Molly's birthday is August 13; Anna's is July 2. Two summer babies, two very different children. I've blogged about this...

December 2, 2008

Thanks for your feedback on the report card comment two weeks ago. Your comments highlighted the need for balance between the need to provide parent-friendly information with the need to provide accurate, research-based information. In a perfect world, a good comment would do both.

I admire the teacher's effort to...

October 21, 2008

My friend Cathy called to talk about her daughter's first grade teacher. Lilly, her six year old, started complaining about school a few weeks ago, and over the past two weeks the situation has gotten steadily worse. Cathy finally coaxed it out of Lilly that the problem is all about handwriting. Lilly's teacher requires that all school assignments, including spelling tests, be...

October 3, 2007

Rebecca commented on my last post:

How should the parent respond if the teacher says this: "Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Let's watch and see how she does through the holidays. I'm betting she'll catch on by then."

Great question, Rebecca. Thank you for commenting!

In some cases, that teacher...

September 26, 2007

We get lots of questions through our Ask the Expert service. Occasionally I'll post a question here in hopes of reaching a wider audience. Feel free to chime in with your own additions to my answer! If you're like me, you'll find yourself wanting to write a dissertation for each one.

Question: My 6 year old daughter...

July 24, 2007

I'm often asked what the best sequence is for teaching letter sounds. From the work done by the National Reading Panel, we know that systematic and explicit phonics programs teach children letter–sound relationships directly in a well-defined and predetermined sequence.

Most systematic phonics programs sequence phonics generalizations from least difficult to more difficult. Even still...

May 14, 2007

As a new mom, I feverishly read just about every parenting book I could get my hands on. Why wasn't Molly sleeping through the night? Why did she crawl on her belly rather than on all fours? Were her utterances in line with language milestones? Really, I must have driven my husband, friends, sisters and colleagues nuts with my conversation!

Three books found their way to my...

April 3, 2007

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!...

January 18, 2007

I knew it was coming — re-enrollment time at preschool. Top of the form, first question: Will your child be going to kindergarten next year? Our answer: UGH!! We can't decide!

Anna (our younger daughter) turns five in early July. In Virginia, the kindergarten cut off date is September 30, so she clearly could...

"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume