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Parent engagement

Back to school with small gestures

It's the time of year where parents buy lunchbox snacks, kids stuff blank composition books into stiff backpacks, and teachers stand at their classroom door waiting to greet their new class. Happy back to school!

Your kids are watching you watch TV

A study from the journal Pediatrics published online July 15, 2013, reports an important — but perhaps not surprising — relationship between parents' and children's television viewing. The study set out to determine whether the amount of TV parents watch has an effect on the amount children watch. Using an online survey, more than 1,500 parents and 620 adolescents provided information about their media access and typical weekday and weekend viewing habits (viewing included TV and computer screens).

Poverty and planning skills

A recent study in the journal Child Development suggests a link between students living in poverty and poor planning skills that extends into several academic areas, including math and reading. Using scores from a strategic puzzle-based task that requires advance planning and tactical moves, researchers found that scores on the planning task in Grade 3 predicted children's reading and math outcomes at Grade 5, even while controlling for IQ.

Summer, summer, summertime! How parents can support Common Core

It drives me CrAzY each year when kids enter into third grade, and it becomes clear that we have to review previous content to get them up to speed. It is such a loss of valuable learning time! If I have to spend so much time reviewing content from the prior grade, for me it begs the question: "Do I have a different definition of mastery than other teachers?" If students have two months off, should they really be that far behind if they have truly "mastered" the content? Just food for thought.

Getting ready for summer reading

Memorial Day is coming up soon — marking the unofficial start of summer. Parents and teachers know how hard it can be for children to remain focused as the school year ends and summer starts.

Summers that don't include books and reading for children most often results in the "summer slide" — the loss of reading skills gained during the previous school year.

The power of story

A friend and colleague was telling me recently about a project that her son was working on and the power of a book they shared had on his thinking.

Travel journals AKA more dead guys in boxes

We're back from our big family trip to Germany, and it was everything we hoped it would be. One of my favorite aspects of the trip was how carefully Anna kept up with her travel journal. She's a writer at heart, so it feels very natural to her to capture her experiences on paper. She's been using the same travel journal for years, and it's really fun to look back at her first entries and appreciate how her writing has changed over the years (see below for entries from 2009, 2011 and 2013).

The doctor is IN!

March is a windy month that begins with a playful celebration of some things that may be considered peculiar: green eggs and ham; a green Grinch; oobleck; a socially concerned elephant; Sneetches — with and without stars; a turtle named Yertle; a hatted cat; truffala trees; and even a 75 year old guy with 500 hats. And more — ever so much more.

Using technology to support parents

We recently wrapped up our 5-webinar series on Parent Engagement. We developed the series to support charter members of the Grade-Level Reading Communities Network, a key community-based effort of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. We've archived the entire Parent Engagement Webinar Series so now it's a free, permanent resource for all.

Comfort food for the mind

As we begin a new year, let's hope it's memorable for all the right reasons unlike its predecessor. There are positive signs pointing to it.

We all remember superstorm Sandy. Images of destroyed homes, schools, businesses, and libraries will be long remembered — and most of us are on the outside looking in. It's hard to imagine what it must be like to try to find normality when you're living it.

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"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl