Reading together

December 8, 2013

If you're like me, you're scurrying around looking for the perfect gift for a child in your life. Below are some helpful gift suggestion lists I've come across. Maybe you'll find just what you were looking for! A treasure trove of resources from Jen Robinson's Growing Bookworms Newsletter. Be sure to look through the...

November 20, 2013

We've all read books whose plot or main character stay with us for a long time. With kids, books can be a great and subtle way to illustrate personality traits we may want to engender. Collections of books with similar themes (sometimes called "text sets") give teachers and parents a way to focus on a theme but do so in such a way that you're not beating your kid over the head with the same...

September 27, 2013

That's essentially what I write in every card as I hand over a stack of board books to expectant mom friends: "Three a day keeps the reading specialist away." After a chuckle and a roll of the eyes, my Mom-to-be friends add our tried and true board book titles to the pile of baby gifts and toys. But I'm happy, knowing that those board books will be loved and chewed on for years to come. My...

June 17, 2013

Do you ever drag your feet when someone tells you absolutely must do something — especially when it's supposed to be "good" for you? I know I do —and so do lots of young people. Call it human nature. Call it whatever, but foot-dragging can be a real drag on summer learning especially for children who associate books exclusively with school.

Maybe a different approach can help: a...

March 26, 2013

We're heading off to Germany for some apple strudel, German soccer, apple strudel, and tours of castles and salt mines (and apple strudel). This is a big adventure for our family, and we've been prepping for weeks! It's been so fun for the girls to be involved in the planning and the excitement. I thought I'd share a few of the things we've done to get ready — most of these ideas could be...

March 11, 2013

Wordless picture books are books are told entirely through their illustrations — they are books without words, or sometimes just a few words. Sharing wordless books at home or at school gives us a chance to develop so many important literacy skills: listening, speaking, storytelling, vocabulary, comprehension, story structure, inference, cause and effect … the list goes on and on!

When...

December 30, 2012

A new year is about to begin. It's a fine time to think about sharing with family and friends old and new. And what better to share than a good story? Readers may find a new friend or come across an old buddy.

Have you ever met the original Puss in Boots? Visit — or revisit — him in a newly illustrated and retold version of the traditional tale of the bright, loyal, and adventurous...

December 20, 2012

Our hearts are heavy during this time for our neighbors in Connecticut. During tough times, I find comfort in returning to simple pleasures and traditions. This is our third year for "a book on every bed," and it's a tradition that I love, and one part of my shopping that I actually look forward to!

Two years ago, the Family...

December 18, 2012

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...

December 6, 2012

The media reminds us constantly that this is the most wonderful time of the year. Children — and adults — pick up the message often becoming overstimulated.

How can parents and teachers help children slow down (and maybe even themselves)? Sometimes all it takes is a good book and maybe a shared laugh.

Dinosaurs celebrate the season in...

November 2, 2012

It's been called the "perfect storm." Odd name for a destructive confluence of energy that changed people's lives, some forever. But super-storm Sandy did happen and like so many other natural disasters, it's up to adults to help children cope.

There are many guides to help children cope with a natural disaster like Sandy, but one of the most comprehensive was done by...

October 26, 2012

Can a story about a family of mice be realistic? Can readers empathize with a rodent and her family's history? The answer to both is an emphatic yes.

Everyone remembers mice stories by Beatrix Potter (Warne). Think of...

October 3, 2012

I saw this video for the first time a few years ago. I didn't know where the story was going, but I was entranced.

One upon a time …

Do you think that sweet girl has been read to? Talked to? Listened to? It's clear she has. For many hours for many years.

All that work we do as parents and teachers — reading,...

August 3, 2012

C.S. Lewis once said, "Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably." I couldn't agree more.

Long ago, I lived in Cambridge (Massachusetts), a city in which both activities "combine admirably." Not only is it a place where lots of writers and artists live, it has loads of bookstores and was once the home of Julia Child, renowned cook, cookbook author, and the first...

June 8, 2012

Today is the last day of school! It's a welcome relief from all the test stress we've been experiencing. But staring in the face of long days and weeks of a hot summer have me thinking about ways to keep my two daughters engaged with books this summer. One way I hope to keep them reading is by finding lots of new titles for them to read. Here are four resources for kids' books that I'm looking...

May 10, 2012

We're always on the hunt for good books around our house. I rely on friends, librarians, my local bookstore, and several online sources for new titles we should be sure to read.

I subscribe to many blogs through my RSS feed, one of which is Getting Kids Reading. Through GKR, I recently learned about two new YA books I think my girls will like:...

March 6, 2012

Magazines are great reading options. There's new content in every one, and if you have a subscription, it's great fun to get the new issue in the mail! Articles are short enough that they can be read in one setting, and there's usually a variety of writing in each one. The best magazines for kids I've seen often include recipes, jokes, craft ideas, and some stories.

I've written about...

February 3, 2012

We're all hyphenated Americans really. It's the way we identify our backgrounds and that's fine. If, however, identification by self or others becomes a way to maintain separation, well, that's not fine.

I was reminded recently that books are important as both "mirrors" and "windows" as I introduced books to a group of teenaged parents. They were learning about their children's...

January 12, 2012

What do a red cape, a magic wand and a light sword represent? Each seems to be a sign of magic, heroics, something more than mere human, right?

What happens when the writers who hold these objects come together in one room? They become the superheroes and spokespeople to let the world know about the importance of reading.

These are the Super National Ambassadors for Young...

January 9, 2012

I feel like I barely go through a week without reading about a school or district adopting e-readers for classrooms. Even at home, e-readers are becoming commonplace. Families are spending more time reading books with e-readers, even with their very young children.

Researchers at the Erickson Institute at Temple University seeking to understand the effect of an e-reader on the amount...

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