Reading aloud

August 9, 2016

Last month I read an article about Clip-Air, a concept for a new modular aircraft. Clip-Air would separate the wings from the fuselage so that body of the plane could be loaded with passengers or cargo anywhere — like a bus station or train depot — and then driven to the wings for takeoff. Even more cool is that up to three passenger or...

August 3, 2016

As a parent, I’m always looking for outdoor activities in the summer to do with the kids right at home, especially the “no fuss, no muss” types of activities. It turns out having your very own Olympics at home is easy to set up, and easy to execute. With the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics upon us, it was the perfect time to host our very own “Go Olympics!” event, and it also turned out to...

July 5, 2016

Kate Messner writes both nonfiction and fiction for a range of young readers. She’s explored the natural world as well as various themes in novels and picture books. I caught up with Kate while on a tour for her latest book, The Seventh Wish (Bloomsbury; 1619633760).

In it, readers meet 12-year old Charlie who catches a magical fish that grants her wishes. Serious...

June 8, 2016

Bookshare's summer reading collection for young readers is chosen to entice, engage and keep readers coming back when traditional books in print cause frustration.

Read Independently

For students with free Bookshare accounts, even the youngest readers can hop on a road to reading independently using an audio format that helps them best achieve literacy. Many charming books in...

April 4, 2016

Anyone who has taught reading — or really any course that requires a textbook — knows about kids who struggle to make sense of the text. Often they don’t even try. The text just looks hard and they’re ready to run. We’ve been talking a lot about complex text since the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) burst on the scene. But most of that talk has focused on how to find texts that meet the...

March 3, 2016

Beverly Cleary has received countless awards. They include being named by the Library of Congress as a Living Legend; Cleary received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her lasting contributions to children’s literature; she is the recipient of a Newbery Medal and several Newbery Honors; and has been the American nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award.

But...

February 26, 2016

WOWIE KAZOO! Surf's Up, a joyful picture book with two froggie friends at the beach debuted officially for all on February 1. The story unfolds on colorful pages with a unique literacy message that possibly could inspire readers who struggle.

This book combines two big talents — author...

November 19, 2015

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.

October 15, 2015

Kidlit TV is a resource chock full of treasures to help educators and parents explore children's literature. Be sure to add the "Read Out Loud" selection to your teacher or parent toolkit. Find several books read aloud by their authors.

In the video above, author Mike Curato reads Little Elliot, Big City (4:46 min.), a story of how a little guy in a big city...

September 23, 2015

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...

September 23, 2015

September is National Library Card Sign-Up month – rightly so. Schools are open, but the library card sign-up campaign should be a reminder for parents and caregivers of babies and toddlers that it’s never to early for children to visit libraries. Their adults can get books, ideas and maybe gain...

September 9, 2015

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...

August 19, 2015

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.

August 17, 2015

Teachers who like using Storyline Online, the free literacy website where voice artists/actors from the Screen Actors Guild read children's books, will also enjoy Learning Ally audiobooks that also are read by professionals. Through a volunteer program, the "Acted Community" has about 130 voice...

August 13, 2015

There are many things to celebrate in August. Lots of parents celebrate schools soon opening. Commuters appreciate less crowded roads. There’s still time for a summer getaway.

And of course, the second week of August has been dubbed National Smile Week!

Frankly, I had never heard...

August 11, 2015

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.

Addie loves science. It’s something that she started expressing a great interest in this past year. So it was on my...

July 30, 2015

A graphic novel takes me much longer to read carefully than a text-only book does. Why? I think the pictures slow me down. I need to examine them carefully in order to make meaning from them, what they’re saying, how they interact with the words (if any).

The artist is telling a story. And how that story is told is intriguing.

I was reminded of this notion when I read a...

July 16, 2015

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...

July 8, 2015

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...

July 6, 2015

I’ve been thinking a lot about picture books and why some work and are memorable while others just land with a thud when read. I continue to ask myself what is it about those picture books that resonate with readers and particularly those that can be shared many times between adults and children, delighting both.

Then it occurred to me. The thoughts that follow probably aren’t entirely...

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