Motivation

June 10, 2011

Far too many children within the U.S. and abroad live in homes with little or no access to books. Among other things, no access means no reading materials for the summer months. Grass roots efforts like summer reading bags and neighborhood book swaps, public libraries, and organizations such as First Book and...

May 26, 2011

Many teachers find creative ways to keep kids learning over the summer. These efforts are fueled by summer learning loss research whose finding is clear: Children who don't read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and that loss has a cumulative, long-term effect. Summer learning is loss is bad for kids, and it's especially bad news for kids who...

April 20, 2011

My technology prowess is adequate. Passable. Sufficient. I can manage my own use just fine, and (for now!) can answer most of the questions the girls ask about technology. But there's a ton more out there, and one technology has recently caught my eye: QR codes. They seem to be cropping up everywhere! The new coffee shop here in town has one plastered right on the side of it. And the house for...

February 18, 2011

A while back, a child mailed a Flat Stanley to me. I took pictures of the intrepid traveler at local landmarks and with college students before mailing the paper thin guy back home.

Even more recently, Flat Stanley made the Sports section of The Washington Post...

January 11, 2011

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...

November 12, 2010

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...

November 9, 2010

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...

September 24, 2010

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."

These findings were announced earlier this week by Reading Is Fundamental (...

September 17, 2010

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...

July 16, 2010

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...

June 7, 2010

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.

According to an article on Salon.com, having books around the house (the more, the better) is...

May 23, 2010

Here are three ways to ruin a good book:

December 15, 2009

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...

October 14, 2009

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."

October 8, 2009

Oh, the wondrous things a postcard with a quick note from a teacher can do! Molly received this post card in the mail from her third-grade teacher. I wish Mrs. M could have seen Molly's face when she realized what the mailman had brought. She rushed in to show me, grinning from ear to ear. This small gesture from Molly's teacher did so much to further Molly's perception of herself in...

September 8, 2009

"You can't let your failures define you — you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time." What an important and powerful message for students from President Obama.

Persistence and perseverance are particularly important traits for students who...

June 8, 2009

The Summer Reading Bag project wrapped up last week (read more about it here). I was amazed by the quality and quantity of donations we gathered! Thanks to the generosity of teachers and neighbors, the PTO tables were piled high with books, games, flash cards, mini chalkboards, and more.

Once we sorted and...

May 26, 2009

A colleague recently sent me a link to new and "hot" children's book releases. The majority of them were books that featured well known and proven characters like the eloquent Nancy of...

May 18, 2009

In last week's blog post, I wrote about the research on access to books for kids in poverty. In short: all kids, but especially kids from lower-income households, need access to books over the summer. If there are no books laying around to read, it's unlikely that a child will lay around to read.

At our school, we...

April 29, 2009

The end of the school year usually means one thing for kids: TESTS! In Virginia, our 3rd and 5th graders are gearing up to take the Virginia Standards of Learning tests. Other grade levels are preparing for end of unit tests, spelling tests, math chapter tests, tests to inform placements for next year, and tests just because teachers like to grade (just kidding).

As the Mom of a...

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"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase