Motivation

June 1, 2015

Meet two ambassadors for summer reading who are advocating for high quality summer learning experiences that boost literacy and establish a habit of reading.

Hear ideas from Georgia Madsen, a second grade teacher, Rice Lake Area School District, and Katherine Elchert, librarian from the Rice Lake Public Library in Wisconsin as they make recommendations in the video embedded...

May 29, 2015

Here's list to grow readers from the world of audiobooks, the format for learning that engages struggling and other readers when books in print do not.

The format, that is essential for students with print disabilities, helps learners access the same books that their peers are reading in print. The literacy that can result from "ear reading" creates "academic" knowledge and the "social...

May 22, 2015

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb is a trailer from Libro.fm. Viewing the video is a strategy that could engage readers with an audiobook and its author and or illustrator before listening....

April 15, 2015

En route to Mansfield, Missouri, Laura and Almanzo’s final home, we had time to think and talk about the places connected to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family that weren’t on our Little Journey itinerary. Once we reached Mansfield, our mileage for the Little Journey would be more than a thousand miles, so there were some places along the...

March 2, 2015

On the Little Journey, both Avery and Janet had a special interest in schools where Laura studied or taught since Avery has always loved to play school and Janet has taught students at all levels — from early elementary to graduate school. Janet writes below about the striking differences and not so surprising similarities we found between the schoolhouses in De Smet and those of today....

February 13, 2015

"Leap Into Learning Differently," a new website by Sharon LePage Plante, is crafted carefully to include "amazing people who care about learning for all students." She is site founder and also a tireless teacher, tech director, and social-media-in-education aficionado who...

January 26, 2015

Students who use a device to support their access to the curriculum often struggle because assistive technology (AT) can make them feel different from their peers.

Devices as strengths

In...

December 18, 2014

When our son was young, a special holiday treat was an outing to see a live performance. Theater, dance, symphony — we tried it all. And during his time off from school, we’d visit art museums all over town. It certainly had an impact on our son but far too many children don’t have easy access to the arts or arts programs for any number of reasons.

So let’s integrate the arts into a...

December 1, 2014

After our trip to the Ingalls’ Homestead, we headed back to the little town on the prairie. With time for a leisurely stroll down Main Street in De Smet, we decided we had to stop in Loftus General Store — where during the Long Winter, Laura and Carrie bought suspenders for Pa for Christmas and the wheat procured for starving...

November 24, 2014

Ever been amazed by a magic trick? I know I have. After the pure joy of letting the magic wash over me, I often wanted to know how it was done. Sometimes learning how the magic trick worked made me feel like I’d been cheated. Sometimes my appreciation of the magician’s skill increased, making me feel like I was in on a secret. Reading is a lot like magic. Sometimes knowing how a piece of...

November 4, 2014

Five of the Little House books, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years, take place in De Smet, Dakota Territory (later South Dakota). We planned a few days here to get at least a taste of prairie life past and present and to savor the place where so many of Laura’s...

October 7, 2014

Last week I replied to some of the remarks about text complexity that were made on the Valerie Strauss’s Washington Post column. Here are a couple more.

CommentFountas and Pinnell are stating...

September 26, 2014

What’s the difference between participating and witnessing? And what does this have to do with books and children?

I had lunch with some longtime friends today and as we walked out together, my friend was telling me how she shared books with a group of children, the same group she had the opportunity to observe as they saw the same story read on a “smart board.”

When she read...

September 22, 2014

Nothing creates readers like a good book. And in my experience good books are often recommended to children by a trusted teacher or librarian.

But educators are busy people. A lot of teachers and school librarians I know have a hard time keeping up with what’s new and what’s good in books for children. Then there’s the entire matter of getting one’s hands on the books. Libraries...

September 5, 2014

If we followed the Ingalls’ journey according to the Little House series, after we left the Big Woods in Wisconsin, our next stop should be Independence, Kansas. Given that Independence is more than 600 miles from Pepin and Walnut Grove, Minnesota, is less than 200 miles, the banks of Plum Creek is where we headed next.

Our route took us through Mankato, Minnesota. Mankato is...

August 29, 2014

It's earlier than it's been in the past and the location has changed from the National Mall to the Washington Convention Center but once again, it's back. If past is prelude, then it will be just as much fun (with the benefit of indoor plumbing and air-conditioning against the dreaded DC humidity).

I'm talking about the National Book Festival, of course.

August 28, 2014

Remember Laura’s first trip to Pepin? In Little House in the Big Woods, Wilder writes, “Laura stood up on the board and Pa held her safe by the arm, so she could see the town. When she saw it, she could hardly breathe. She knew how Yankee Doodle felt, when he could not see the town because there were so many houses.”

It was dramatic for us too, but our drama was courtesy of...

July 10, 2014

I've been away for a while. The family vacation was without Internet access or even phone service. When I was reconnected, I was deeply saddened by news that one of the true giants of contemporary children's and young adult literature had died.

Walter Dean...

June 13, 2014

Schools are winding down. Teachers, librarians and parents all want the children in their lives to continue reading. Lots of children, however, don’t come from homes where books are readily available.

A friend of mine who is a librarian in a parochial school that serves students who don’t have easy access to books decided to jumpstart the kids at her school. For an entire year she’s...

April 7, 2014

Many classics of children's literature involve animals that behave like people. I've certainly likened several two-legged people I know to Eeyore. I often think like the Cat in the Hat on a dull, rainy day, looking for good, clean, indoor mischief. And in my house, Farmer Duck became a metaphor for unappreciated hard work. A recent...

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