Reading together

August 19, 2009

Teaching by Listening, a study from the July 2009 journal Pediatrics, is all about the contribution of adult-child conversations to a child's language development. This piece, along with other research...

August 12, 2009

What happens when a perfectly dreadful adult is forced to deal with a talented albeit unusual group of children? A very funny, offbeat book by Newbery Medalist Paul Fleischman called The Dunderheads (Candlewick)....

August 5, 2009

Recently I was looking for a birthday gift for a soon-to-be five year old girl. As I wandered into the toy department of a well known chain store, I was struck by the number of toys that included some kind of electronic noise or light — a gimmick to grab attention.

I heard guitars without strings, came across talking dolls (fuzzy and not), and even digital cameras for the very young....

July 29, 2009

Are awards for children's books useful? What can they do in a real sense?

Children's publishing is a crowded field and for many, awards can help identify not only critically valuable books but help identify new and interesting work.

When it first started some 40 years ago, the Coretta Scott King was intended to recognize the work of African American...

July 22, 2009

Summer of this year marks several things worth remembering. Some are happy anniversaries, others not so at all.

What do these events mean to children? Are they relevant to them in any way at all? What do stories — real or fictional — offer to children? Can they inspire as well as inform?

It was in July 1969 that Neil Armstrong left the relative safety of his spacecraft to...

July 14, 2009

Imagine…a small mouse being chased by a hungry owl disturbs a fierce looking lion. The lion, however, release the mouse only to be caught up in a rope trap himself. When the mouse hears the lion's roar, what does he do?

If you've read the "Lion and the Mouse," a fable credited to Aesop or even a tale called "Androcles and the Lion" (in a collection by Joseph Jacobs now long out of...

June 8, 2009

I'm on a national children's book award committee so submissions have been arriving at my home/office in increasing quantities. Even though I read a lot of books for young people anyway, I've been reading them to the exclusion of just about anything. (I can't give up the newspaper though; it's a must-have either online or in print.)

I'm reading so many books so quickly that I've been...

June 2, 2009

All she wanted to do was clean my teeth and share new pictures of her 6-month-old little girl.

"She's very cute!" I mumbled, with Christina's hands in my mouth. "Do you read to her?" I asked.

"We do! Probably a book almost every day. But it's not like she understands what we say. It's sort of funny to do it."

There's nothing like a comment like that to get this...

May 8, 2009

This weekend is Mother's Day. I always thought of it as a holiday created by, well, by Hallmark.

But it's not. I learned that it has roots in a feisty woman named Anna Jarvis who wanted to honor her mother. And apparently mothers were celebrated even farther back in history.

I admit that I have a particular point of view; that any day and any...

April 13, 2009

Both girls, Molly (8) and Anna (6), are obsessed with mysteries right now, and they spent most of their spring break tearing through several. It started awhile back when they stumbled into the Boxcar Children series. Since then, their reading habits expanded into the...

March 17, 2009

Motivation is a huge topic in reading. So many parents and teachers deal with motivation issues every day. I saw this quote recently; I think it applies nicely to reading: Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. (Jim Ryun, author and runner)

Yesterday's trip to the library was an interesting lesson for me about Anna's motivation to read. After Anna slipped 3...

December 16, 2008

Was it really a year ago that I wrote this post about feeling frenzied and guilty about the lack of quality reading and writing time at our house? Because it's happening again! And once again I realize that my girls ARE engaged in reading and writing. It just looks different this time of year.

Here what we're doing,...

September 9, 2008

Sometimes parent volunteers require a lot of extra work for a teacher. Other times, parents work as a second set of hands but don't really work one-on-one with kids. Somewhere in the middle is a setting in which the time flies by with both the volunteer and the students benefitting from spending time together.

Here's the system I used for volunteers when I taught second grade. I put a...

April 3, 2008

We're on spring break this week, but I thought I'd share a few of the books we'll be reading together during our road trip. I've blogged before about some of the terrific read alouds we have read, and my criteria for choosing them. The same ones apply for this list too.

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April 2, 2008

I blogged about reading logs back in August, when Molly was just getting started with a daily homework assignment to read and respond every day after school. The title of that post, Reading Logs, Reading Blahs pretty much sums up the way I feel about reading logs. Your comments on that...

February 5, 2008

I heard that expression for the first time when my mom was teaching me to drive. She has a bit of a lead foot, and had gotten a spate of speeding tickets when I was a teenager. The new driver that I was, I stepped on the gas to reach the speed limit as quickly as possible. She turned to me and said, "Do as I say, not as I do, especially when it comes to driving!"

I find myself using...

December 5, 2007

Like everyone, we're in for a busy couple of weeks. Our homework and storytime routines sometimes get pushed aside, and at first I was feeling guilty about that. But when I think about how the girls are spending their time, there's plenty of reading, writing, and math going on...it just looks different! Here's how Anna spent her afternoon yesterday on the computer:

Dear Santa,...

October 30, 2007

I don't care what they read as long as they are reading.

There's some food for thought! Is that true? It doesn't matter what they read as long as they're reading?

Last week, Michael Winerip's Parenting...

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio