Parent engagement

Bubble Burst: The Truth About Vanity Cakes

Our little journey last summer brought many of the experiences of the Ingalls family to life for us. From sweeping out a dugout to making a corncob doll, we felt like we had walked in Laura’s shoes. But we hadn’t eaten at her table. While Breece and Avery enjoyed a stick of old fashioned candy at nearly every stop, there was very little authentic pioneer flavor to our food experiences along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Highway.

11 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Read

Parents often ask how they can help their children learn to read; and it’s no wonder that they’re interested in this essential skill. Reading plays an important role in later school success. One study even demonstrates that how well 7-year-olds read predicts their income 35 years later!

Here are 11 practical recommendations for helping preschoolers and school-age students learn to read.

Catching Stars

In Carol’s final blog posting for the summer, the family embarks on another Start with a Book summer science exploration: The Night Sky. Unbeknownst to them, their exploration continues on in paradise, and wraps up at home in their own front yard.

6 Pitfalls/Solutions from "Dyslexia in the Schools," an E-Book that Could Change Parent Advocacy

A free e-book and guide from an expert on dyslexia, Kelli-Sandman-Hurley, aims to dispel myths about dyslexia. It also cautions parents to be less trusting of school personnel if they suspect their child's reading difficulties stem from this particular reading difficulty. She gives specific advice on how parents can advocate for their child during an Individualized Education Program (IEP) planning meeting in order to avoid delays and to secure the prompt delivery of appropriate services.

We're Going on Five Planes!

Carol and her kids explore the topic of flight with a visit to the National Air and Space Museum. Their ongoing exploration of flight continues during their summer travels as they learn about Amelia Earhart, go on five planes, and make their own paper airplanes.

Report Cards and Standards

From a teacher:

I wanted to ask your opinion regarding the structure of report cards for parents of students in grades 3-5. Understanding that ELA CCSS intertwines the areas of reading, language, spelling, writing, and moving toward creating district standards-based report cards in all K-5 grade levels, how do you think students' progress should be reported out to parents via report cards, as we transition? Would you recommend having an ELA grade on the report card or segregating particular areas as a stand alone grade?

It’s a Tomato Warning!

Carol and her family share their gardening adventures. They learn the virtue of patience when it comes to gardening with some help from a book called And Then It’s Spring, and experience the satisfaction of growing their own fruits and vegetables from seed.

The other day, Addie asked me, “Mommy, why was there a tomato warning?”

“A tomato warning?” I repeated, confused.

“Yes, a tomato warning. It happened during the thunderstorm.”

11 Take-Aways: Panel of Dyslexia Experts Signal Need for Ed Changes experts convened July 14 in Washington, D.C. at the Newseum broadcast studio to help inform parents and build their confidence about raising children and youth with learning and attention issues. Panelists included:

Madam President

Addie explores the idea of becoming President. With a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, and a candid “what if I were President” interview with her mom, we get to see the world through the eyes of a five and half year old.

About a month ago, Addie came home from school, and said to me, “Mom, you can become President.”

“OK, why is that?”

“Because you have to be 35 to be President. And you’re 35!” (In all honesty, I’m 35+2, but why ruin a perfectly good moment by pointing out a harmless error).

A Strawberry Farm-to-Table Adventure

Carol shares the delicious fun of strawberry picking at a local farm, and how a book and Highlight magazine article lead to baking adventures in the kitchen with the kids.

One of my favorite things to do when the weather turns warm is taking my kids fruit picking. Yes, it gets hot. Yes, there are bugs flying around. Yes, it involves manual labor. But when you bite into that plump, perfectly ripe strawberry, blackberry, peach, fuji apple, and the list goes on, your mouth fills with such sweet and juicy goodness that it’s well worth the effort.


"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain