Social and emotional

August 12, 2019

I experienced two very different things this week: I revisited some speeches by the incomparable Toni Morrison after I learned of her death. And I watched a recent video about education. I hope not only the timeliness but also how these two intersect will become clear as you read on.

A recent video that is posted on Colorín Colorado focuses on English language learners (ELLs) in...

November 27, 2018

There’s power in words. There is even more power in words that are strung together to tell a story. Stories reveal truths, encourage exploration, generate curiosity, and more. They become a connective tissue between time, people, cultures, and experiences.

There’s special power in a story shared aloud.

A few weeks ago, I witnessed an author reading to an all-adult audience. The...

July 5, 2018

Have you ever felt like recess is the hardest part of the day to support? Me too! Check out my latest vlog post to learn options for inclusion on the blacktop and beyond.

These ideas are from my book, Don’t We Already Do Inclusion?

December 12, 2017

What if I told you it was possible to make some (if not most) of your students feel more comfortable by just adopting a few EASY strategies each day, week, and month? What if I told you these strategies would not cost a thing and would also help you — as the teacher get a bit more organized? What if I told you these strategies could also help students learn new skills? Are you intrigued...

September 14, 2017

Our world continues to grow increasingly complex. We all want our children to succeed, but what exactly does that mean? 

Is it introducing academics earlier and earlier? How do we assure a child’s healthy social/emotional growth? Can we help young children live with others who have different backgrounds than their own? Might this imply that children have the ability to put themselves in...

June 1, 2017

Welcome Colleen Dykema to Book Life! Colleen is an award-winning ESL teacher and reading specialist with Arlington Public Schools. Her teaching career began in 1972, and since 2000 she’s worked with English language learners at Swanson Middle School. A great believer that “reading...

May 5, 2017

Welcome Jarrett J. Krosoczka to Book Life! New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka, whose more than 30 published works include fabulous picture books, his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, and the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels, is also the creator of...

March 21, 2016

A Washington Post columnist recently lamented the impact of the current polarized political climate in the United States. She said it was “contaminating” our children; that its impact was...

March 15, 2016

In the last few weeks I've visited five schools in four states. Each of them educates large numbers of students from low-income homes and students of color, and each is either high-performing or on an impressive improvement trajectory.

The schools are different in lots of ways, but one thing characterizes them all: Teachers, principals, and other administrators work hard at building...

March 7, 2016

The Swedish animated short, "Falling Letters (Bokstavsbarn)," (4:14 min) by Erik Rosenlund depicts a child who learns differently. In this case, some of the character's everyday actions turn out awkwardly or set them apart socially from peers.

The ending offers a heartwarming reminder of the power that parents, guardians, and teachers or helping personnel can have when simple support...

October 13, 2015

Reader Question:

The Atlantic just published an article about the mistake American educators make by teaching reading in kindergarten. Shouldn’t we do what the Finns do: let kids learn to read when they want to and end up with...

September 10, 2015

As school opens and teacher-parent conversations begin again, members of Decoding Dyslexia Utah offer advice on what they hope not to hear from educators or others.

DD Utah is part of a national grassroots organization that is working to stem what members describe as "limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities within...

August 24, 2015

Meet a memorable, comical, and intelligent book character named Hank. He is a second grader whose learning problems in school are not yet diagnosed.

August 10, 2015

"Sophia's Dyslexia Fight Song," posted on YouTube by Lisa Grannucci on Aug. 7 (3.21 min.) is a video letter by a student with dyslexia to her 5th grade teacher. She makes a compelling case for instruction that is delivered this year so that she can succeed in school. Teachers not only need awareness, they need strategies, accessible educational materials, and instructional methods...

July 22, 2015

Their peers often know how much students with dyslexia dread reading aloud in front of others, and hopefully teachers do, too. If not, many experts in dyslexia advise educators across the curriculum to avoid putting these students on the spot and, moreover, to give them opportunities to rehearse if they accept the challenge or volunteer to read in front of a partner or group. Sample some of...

June 11, 2015

We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB) just launched a Booktalking Kit that is now available to download at no cost. The kit is comprised of 30 titles and helps to increase the comfort level involved in identifying, reading, and discussing books that feature diverse...

April 24, 2015

Young people with dyslexia and other print disabilities need the same opportunities for social-emotional learning as their peers. Some of this growth occurs as they read books. A student with a print disability needs the same benefit from literature; but this student requires an accessible version in order to access the text. This is possible at no cost and happening for students whose...

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 12, 2014

Two "Don't Miss" websites that target parents of students with disabilities, do double duty and serve information needs for teachers, administrators, and related services personnel, too.

Both of the resources that follow are brimming with news, essential information, and hand-picked experts. Thankfully, they take on —rather than leave to someone else — the most serious concerns about...

December 11, 2014

Teaching students with dyslexia and other print disabilities requires informed school administrators, teachers, related services personnel, and parents working together. Their efforts to establish eligibility for accessible educational materials (AEM=AIM) can assure that students who need it can access grade-level content in order to meet or exceed state standards.

Asessments,...

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"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln