Motivation

July 30, 2012

Our daughter Anna is one of those kids that gets an idea stuck in her head, and she won't let it drop. This summer, she's had one thing on her mind: getting bunk beds for her room.

So, we weren't that surprised when she announced that she had prepared a presentation for us on the topic, complete with a bar graph based on Amazon reviews.

As a reading specialist,...

June 21, 2012

When I gave some advanced reading copies of books to a particularly astute school librarian friend, she used them in a way that just might help these children avoid the dreaded "summer slide" which happens when children don't read during non-school months.

She asked 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders to examine the books and decide as a group which was their top choice. l had visited earlier...

June 18, 2012

Sometimes it takes more than a new book to keep a child reading. If you're finding that your reader needs a nudge, here are some summer incentive programs that may spark some page turning. It truly seems as though everyone is offering an incentive program this year. Just about every program includes tips, booklists, and some sort of tracking mechanism.

National

...

June 8, 2012

Today is the last day of school! It's a welcome relief from all the test stress we've been experiencing. But staring in the face of long days and weeks of a hot summer have me thinking about ways to keep my two daughters engaged with books this summer. One way I hope to keep them reading is by finding lots of new titles for them to read. Here are four resources for kids' books that I'm looking...

May 16, 2012

Our younger daughter has always been super easygoing. She makes friends easily and is quick to laugh. Lately though, we've seen her positive attitude slip away. She's become one of those kids who literally counts the days until the last day of school. She's complaining about headaches and classmates, and she'd really rather stay home. The stress of end-of-the year projects and looming state...

March 6, 2012

Magazines are great reading options. There's new content in every one, and if you have a subscription, it's great fun to get the new issue in the mail! Articles are short enough that they can be read in one setting, and there's usually a variety of writing in each one. The best magazines for kids I've seen often include recipes, jokes, craft ideas, and some stories.

I've written about...

March 2, 2012

Today is Read Across America Day! It celebrates the Doctor's birthday (Dr. Seuss, that is) and the joy he created with his wonderful imagination.

Because of Theodor Geisel, we have unforgettable characters like the mischief-making Cat in the Hat, an environmentally concerned guy named the Lorax, the 20th century Scrooge named the Grinch, and an exceedingly kind elephant named Horton...

February 17, 2012

I remember many years ago sharing a book with photographs by Bruce MacMillan with a group of inner-city preschool children. They were bright and vivacious and eager to share what they knew.

While I no longer remember the title of the book, I'll never forget a little boy's response when I asked what the full-color image of a black and white cow was. He exclaimed with authority, "A dog...

February 1, 2012

Do you ever hear this complaint? Kids know which teacher gives the most homework AND which teacher gives almost no homework at all. I think there are two issues here: how much homework is good? And should teachers at the same grade level give the same amount of homework?

How much homework is good? If you've seen the documentary ...

December 16, 2011

We started a new tradition in our family last year. We'll do it again this year, and I hope you'll consider adding this tradition to your family holiday too! It's a simple one: put a book on every bed.

Last year, the Family Reading Partnership and...

November 22, 2011

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that one blog in my RSS feed is written by Lisa Belkin. Belkin's blog, Parentlode, can be found in the Huffington Post. Many of Belkin's posts speak to me on a personal level, and some circle into my...

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...

October 28, 2011

A staff member at a child care center I visited this week looked at me very skeptically when I said that we were going to have a good time together. I was there to introduce the staff to children's books and how media and hands-on activities help lay a firm literacy foundation.

For the next hour, we read, watched a short clip from a children's television program, sang, made noise,...

October 21, 2011

The world is addicted to media and technology. Information whether accurate or not speeds from one corner of the globe to the other in a matter of minutes. Got a question? Google it. Want a book or music? Download it. Want to create a reader? Slow down.

An article about...

October 14, 2011

Like most of us, I enjoy parties. And outdoor parties on glorious sunny days are among the best.

It was on just such a gorgeous day that, with young friend and his mom, I attended a book party to celebrate the publication of Katy Kelly's newest...

September 30, 2011

My newly 7 year old niece, now in the 2nd grade, is visiting us this week during her school district's professional days. She's reading like a champ, gobbling down various (and more difficult) chapter books — fiction and nonfiction — with great gusto.

But she reminded me of the joy of picture books and the pleasure in reading them together or independently for readers of all ages....

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...

August 2, 2011

Those of us familiar with the 2000 National Reading Panel report remember that the report did not support teachers' use of silent reading in the classroom. The research evidence that it had any effect on reading achievement just wasn't there. Some school districts and teachers greatly reduced or stopped providing time during the instructional day for silent reading. Other teachers...

July 15, 2011

As the last Harry Potter movie opens today, the media is filled with examinations of the impact of Harry Potter on a generation of children and adults. I know my son has grown up with the boy wizard and his friends and he continues to revisit them in books and...

July 5, 2011

We're experiencing a strange phenomenon in our house this summer. Molly, who turns 11 in August, has two books she's required to read before she starts 5th grade this fall. The two books are Little Women and...

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943