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Resolutions and readers

While teachers experience their "real" New Year every August when they meet their new class, the mid-point of January also marks a chance to revisit, reflect, and ramp up efforts in the calendar New Year.

As a teacher or parent to a developing reader, I encourage you to think about and develop some resolutions for the New Year that will further the reading skills of the readers you work with. Sometimes that starts with a little more information.

Every week is National Young Readers Week

Today concludes the official celebration of National Young Readers Week. But if the goals of the founders — Pizza Hut and the Library of Congress Center for the Book — are realized, then children will become lifelong readers, making every week one for readers of all ages. (Learn more about National Young Readers Week.)

How to read a report card

In a typical school year, report cards come home every nine weeks or so. The purpose of report cards is to communicate about a child's progress across subject areas. Most report cards also include a Work Habits, Social Skills, or similar section.

Some kids, especially those having difficulty in school, dread report card time. Here are some suggestions for making report card time a little less scary and a little more productive.

Common sense confirmed: books + access = young readers

It's something that makes perfect sense. Those who work with children have seen it time and time again. But now there is actual data to support what common sense has told us all along: "Giving children access to print materials is associated with positive behavioral, educational, and psychological outcomes."

Got to or get to?

Do children feel that they've got to read or that they get to read? There is a difference.

Last week I wrote about what Peter Dickinson called "rubbish" and letting kids read a fair amount of it. Adults often feel strongly about what children read. They may love or loathe certain children's books — and adults are generally the ones who put books into children's hands. But their response can vastly differ from children's responses to the same material.

Gulping down books

We've been on a road trip for a while, combining visits with family and friends with college tours. I'm amazed that my son's time in high school is going by at such breakneck speed. It seems to speed up exponentially once kids begin numbered grades.

And my niece is starting first grade this fall.

What a joy it's been to share books with this just-turned-6-year old child! She's just starting to read independently — and wow! Has she ever taken off — reading well beyond most kids her age.

Keep them reading this summer

There are five days left in our school year, how many are left for you? As school winds down, here are two reminders and one idea to help make sure that reading DOESN'T wind down for kids.

Three ways to ruin a good book

Here are three ways to ruin a good book:

So long, Mr. Ambassador

This December marks the last month of Jon Scieszka's tenure as the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. For two years, Mr. Scieszka (the author of several children's books and founder of Guys Read) has worked to promote a love of reading and books. He's been particularly focused on helping parents and teachers reach the reluctant reader, one he describes as "that's the kid who might be a reader, who could be one, but just isn't that interested in reading."

Accelerated Reader is not a reading program

My friend B called yesterday to talk about her second grader. A former teacher herself, B was worried because she hasn't seen any language-arts related papers come home. When she asks her daughter about reading groups at school, her daughter simply says, "We don't do reading groups. I take tests on a computer."

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"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln