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Early literacy development

Is Rhyming Ability Important in Reading?

Our district is wrestling with how much emphasis to give rhyming as an early literacy skill. We had previously downplayed rhyming as a necessary focus but the new CA ELA/ELD Framework and CCSS where rhyming is specifically called out has resurfaced old questions.

Connecticut Early Literacy Presentation

The Connecticut Council for School Reform asked me to speak in Hartford, on April 9, 2015. My presentation reviewed and responded to some of the complaints or concerns about teaching young children to read, and considered several issues in expanding preschool literacy opportunities. My presentation was based largely on the Report of the National Early Literacy Panel and a handful of other individual studies that I wanted to highlight. See the PowerPoint here.

Would you rather have $50,000 or $25,000? Explaining the impact of full-day kindergarten

Lots of interest, all of a sudden, in full-day kindergarten … I’ve had several questions about that scheme during the past few days. I’m not sure why, but it is well worth discussing yet again.

The doctor knows best

It’s a cliché, I know, but it really does take a village to raise a child. And that village benefits all around from children who read.

Pediatricians have recognized the power of reading to young children from a very young age and are releasing a policy statement emphasizing it. They’re actively encouraging parents of all backgrounds to read aloud to their young children — and that it’s really never too early to start.

Distilled, powerful words

April is almost over and with it ends National Poetry Month. What continues, however, is what Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate, said of poetry. It is "… language at its most distilled and most powerful."

Children respond to poetry from early on — and why not? Its sounds, cadence and music are immediate and appealing. Think of Mother Goose and other nursery rhymes. They've been shared with young children for centuries.

Preschool in the news

President Obama's 2014 State of the Union speech put preschool in the spotlight. Obama challenged Congress to build on programs that exist in 30 states to provide high-quality preschool for every child. "Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high-quality early education," he said.

Much ado about media

Screen time for young kids has been in the news a lot lately. The last few days of October gave us two new resources on the topic of children's media use.

First, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidance on managing children's and adolescents' media use. Access to the new policy requires a subscription to the American Academy of Pediatrics, but the press release provides a glimpse into the thinking:

Board books: Three a day keeps the reading specialist away

That's essentially what I write in every card as I hand over a stack of board books to expectant mom friends: "Three a day keeps the reading specialist away." After a chuckle and a roll of the eyes, my Mom-to-be friends add our tried and true board book titles to the pile of baby gifts and toys. But I'm happy, knowing that those board books will be loved and chewed on for years to come.

Poverty and planning skills

A recent study in the journal Child Development suggests a link between students living in poverty and poor planning skills that extends into several academic areas, including math and reading. Using scores from a strategic puzzle-based task that requires advance planning and tactical moves, researchers found that scores on the planning task in Grade 3 predicted children's reading and math outcomes at Grade 5, even while controlling for IQ.

Goodbye preschool. Hello kindergarten!

How many of you are in your very last days of preschool dropoff? It's hard to believe that those years are behind you and that your little one will be heading off to kindergarten in the fall!

This is an exciting time for all, but it can also be a scary one, too.

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"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney