Parent engagement

Please Be Charitable for Literacy

As regular readers know, this is the time of the year that I identify charities that try to help improve children's literacy and language and to make books available to kids. Readers of my blog obviously care about whether kids can read and why not make that cause part of your charitable gifting as well.

Each year, I comb through Charity Navigator to identify appropriate literacy-focused charitable agencies. I look for national and internationals groups that are rated as 3- and 4-star charities (that means they are spending at least 80% of the contributions on services). 

7 Ways To Make National Family Literacy Day, Reading More Accessible, More Inclusive

National Family Literacy Day® falls on Nov. 1 2015. This national observance often kicks off a month of family literacy activities in libraries, schools, and community settings. It is a time for educators, librarians and others to celebrate learning differences and many ways to read. Put a spotlight on accessible digital text and alternatives to print. Build a nation of readers. 

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:


"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." — Lemony Snicket