Early literacy development

June 24, 2014

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 ...

April 24, 2014

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...

January 30, 2014

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. "And as...

November 5, 2013

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...

September 27, 2013

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. My...

July 8, 2013

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...

May 20, 2013

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.

NAEYC for families has some...

May 2, 2013

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...

March 11, 2013

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!

When...

November 7, 2012

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. There you'll find the citations for important work such as Chall's Learning...

October 10, 2012

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...

October 3, 2012

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 …

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.

All that work we do as parents and teachers — reading,...

September 17, 2012

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?

A recent study in the August 2012 Journal of School Psychology,...

August 31, 2012

I'm very excited about a new project I've been working on. It's a series of webinars focused on Parent Engagement, produced by Reading Rockets in partnership with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. You can read more about the series here. You can also see...

July 25, 2012

One of my very favorite kindergarten teachers emailed me last week with the following question:

I have a Big Question for you. How would you assess fluency in kindergarten? Where would you begin? With letter names or beginning sounds or word lists? Or would you wait until a student is reading passages? If you would recommend assessing fluency in kindergarten, what tool(s) would you...

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...

June 6, 2012

I hear you. I really do. It's hard to know the best way to raise a reader in today's digital world. E-books, i-books, apps, and tweets … Not to mention podcasts and really cranky birds!

What do we know for certain? What we've always known about kids and their reading development. Engaging with children during the experience, talking, laughing, and asking each other questions, is the...

March 28, 2012

All of us who have worked with young children have worked with kids who struggle. Many of us have worked directly with kids with learning disabilities (LD). PBS NewsHour is putting together a terrific series about kids with LD as part of the American Graduate project. I encourage you to read, watch and share! Among the...

November 11, 2011

Recently I watched a small group of young children playing in a childcare center. There were toys and books and lots of other things around but that's not what held their attention.

What did? A large (particularly when compared to the children) cardboard box.

I didn't hear the conversation because I didn't want to become a distraction to their play. But they were clearly...

August 24, 2011

First day jitters? First week jitters? Assessing kids those first few days and weeks of school probably isn't a great idea. Kids need a chance to settle in to school, to learn the new routine, and generally become more comfortable in the new classroom. Hopefully, by waiting, a child's assessment results more accurately reflect her true skills.

Here in Virginia, kindergarten teachers...

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox