Archive by Author

family reading room

Are You A Sneak Reader?

The ultimate goal of any enlightened program of reading instruction must be the development in each student of a self-determined habit of lifelong daily reading. That’s because this completely personal disposition paves the way to joyful lifelong inquiry and learning—the ultimate goal of a good education. Right? Sadly, at least not in many schools that consider […]

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Playing Post Office Teaches Lifelong Literacy Lessons

At her mother’s request, the little girl went to the almost-too-high mailbox and brought the mail into the kitchen, holding the various envelopes and documents at arm’s length, she pointed them at Mom. She watched as her smiling mother muttered to herself while tearing envelopes open, tossing some of them unopened into the recycle bin. Magazines […]

Love Thy Neighbor–Learn Their Language and Culture

For bilingual children in the U.S., having just a sufficient grasp of the English language to succeed in school doesn’t work well the rest of the time. These children often can only fully communicate their  wants, needs and values when they are at home speaking their native tongue. This is not okay for a country of immigrants and […]

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Get a Bang Out of Reading

Most years the Kentucky Derby Festival (in my hometown) is launched with the big bang of Thunder Over Louisville, a pyrotechnic display of sky-filling beauty. Most years it’s the largest fireworks display in North America. The event draws about 800,000 people to the banks of the Ohio River for 30 mesmerizing minutes of explosive creativity. […]

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The Elephant in the (Class) Room

My position on recent literacy teaching practices reflects the ancient tale of the six blind men and the elephant. Each man encountered a different part of the elephant, but not the whole, which resulted in each having a very limited understanding of the entirety of that magnificent creature. The elephant can only be understood by appreciating […]

woman with Quaran 2a

The Girl on the Train…with a Book

I’m all about reading books and enjoying the unique powers that they provide. Because of my personal love of the written word, I often take candid photos of others reading in interesting places. So when I saw a woman reading while sitting across the aisle from me on a commuter train outside of Washington D.C., I was intrigued. […]

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Children Must Learn how to Understand

I recently saw the cute T-shirt  shown here. Even with an explanation, understanding what we hear or read often requires some work on our parts. Of course, in repetitive, familial interactions, small children learn how to understand, how to make sense of things. That ability grows with the complexity of the learning they take on. “Give […]

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Authentic Literacy Lessons Made Simple

Daily reading with children ensures that they develop a full and delightful culture of reading, setting the stage for them to become lifelong learners. But long-term learning is not just about reading. It is about all of literacy, reading and writing. As adults, we can stimulate children’s interests, but kids are the ones who ultimately decide what to play […]

OldFashionedSchool

(Arithmetic ≠ Mathematics) + (Reading ≠ Literacy)

*Click on images to see larger version. Forty-some years ago I joined the International Reading Association (IRA), a huge collection of reading educators from all over the world. I also joined the National Reading Conference (NRC), which was a rather small organization of reading researchers. Members of these organizations met to share what they’ve been up […]

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Culture is Everything

Certain family cultures make the likelihood of success in school and beyond more accessible than others. The culture of which I speak is not about ethnicity, parental education, income or language, though. It’s about the prevalence and prominence of book reading in the families, regardless of any other cultural group to which they might belong. […]