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Parent engagement

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.

Innocence lost

How do you explain the unexplainable? It's impossible for adults to fathom what happened in a quiet Connecticut town, much less try to articulate to children why or how it could have happened.

I don't think there's anyone who hasn't been moved by the news. But beyond the debates around mental health issues or gun control laws, I've been stymied as to what can be done more tangibly.

Is there anything we — adults and children alike — can do that is concrete, doable, something lasting, to honor and remember the children and their teachers?

An important message: no bullying allowed!

Everyone has been there in real time or vicariously. It sometimes feels like its reached epidemic proportions. There are all kinds of reasons, none of them good. Each incident has numerous victims who come in all sizes and ages.

I'm talking about bullying, of course. And because bullying is so prevalent, October has been designated as National Bullying Prevention Month sponsored by PACER.

Literacy pledge cards for parents

I'm very excited about a new project I've been working on. It's a series of webinars focused on Parent Engagement, produced by Reading Rockets in partnership with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. You can read more about the series here. You can also see the PPT slides our presenters used for the first webinar, and links to many related resources. We'll update that page each time we have a new webinar.

Back to school with a question about ADHD

Happy back to school time for all you teachers, Moms and Dads! If you're reading my blog for the first time, welcome! I blog weekly-ish about all sorts of things related to reading, writing, parenting, teaching, volunteering, and more. This is a "no teacher bashing, no parent bashing" zone created with the recognition that we all find our own path in a way that works for us. Along the way I'll share with you information from current and classic research on teaching, parenting, schools, and more.

Helping parents help with homework

This week my 5th grade daughter came home with math homework that involved finding the surface area and volume of pentagonal prisms. She needed help with it, and it was really hard! It was hard because I hadn't worked problems like those for years, and even when I did, I'm not sure how easily I did it. We got through the homework okay (after a looooooong time and several Google searches) but the experience made me think about ways teachers can help parents help with homework.

Learning more about learning disabilities

All of us who have worked with young children have worked with kids who struggle. Many of us have worked directly with kids with learning disabilities (LD). PBS NewsHour is putting together a terrific series about kids with LD as part of the American Graduate project. I encourage you to read, watch and share! Among the resources:

What books do best

Books entertain, educate, inform, engage, and more — more than we may realize. Readers meet others and see themselves in them. They may feel validated, see change, or may be changed by a book.

A recent piece by Katia Hetter exploring how children's books help families explore diversity brought this home for me.

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"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." — Margaret Fuller