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Early literacy development

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.

Informational picture books in preK

The lasting impact of early childhood education has been known for a long, long time. The first three years of a child's life are crucial to their development socially, emotionally, and educationally.

We've gotten the word from pediatricians like T. Berry Brazelton and child development specialists such as Burton White. They provide evidence for what teachers already know.

A few words about wordless picture books

Wordless picture books are books are told entirely through their illustrations — they are books without words, or sometimes just a few words. Sharing wordless books at home or at school gives us a chance to develop so many important literacy skills: listening, speaking, storytelling, vocabulary, comprehension, story structure, inference, cause and effect … the list goes on and on!

A new book for your professional reading, at a discount!

Important professional books — you know, the sort you need to have close at hand, come along every once in a while. We've gathered many of those titles in our Research by Topic section. Look for those listed under Foundational Research.

Vocabulary, worth talking about

I have a good friend with a 7 month old daughter. Through his video clips on Facebook, I have watched E react to new toys, try all sorts of new foods, and learn to sit up. Around our house, we're way past soft foods and teethers, so I watch with joy as E happily gums spoonfuls of bananas and sweet potato. But every time I watch, I'm struck by the silence. There are no adult sounds, just the occasional grunt or gurgle from baby E. When I finally asked E's Mom and Dad about the silence, it turns out to be plain 'ol stage fright — Mom and Dad are too shy to have their voice heard on video.

The power of stories

I saw this video for the first time a few years ago. I didn't know where the story was going, but I was entranced.

One upon a time …

Once upon a time

Do you think that sweet girl has been read to? Talked to? Listened to? It's clear she has. For many hours for many years.

Assessing and learning the letters of the alphabet

Teachers, parents, and researchers often wonder similar things about the alphabet. Specifically, what's the right order to teach letters? How can I best assess what a very young child knows about the alphabet? Should I start by teaching my preschool-aged child the first letter of her name, and then go from there?

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"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall." — Roald Dahl