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First WHY, Then HOW

It seems that these days every news or scholarly article about literacy development contains the word “skills.” Reading and writing skills, to be exact. We want to teach children to read and write, but instead we teach reading and writing SKILLS. What’s up with that? I believe it’s because skills are easier to measure than lifelong learning habits. Skills get attention because […]

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What’s Your Family Culture?

Culture is everything in creating family connection. Members of most cultures share values and commonly admired lifestyles to which others in the same culture aspire. In multi-cultural settings like the United States of America or Canada where hundreds of languages and cultures create a shared community, it is difficult to assess a single value placed on […]

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When Is It Time to STOP Reading?

How do adults decide when a child has read enough? How much is enough as part of homework, or a read-a-thon of  Harry Potter or other popular books, or interesting websites? There are lots of folks waving red flag figures targeting what is too little time for children reading on their own. One common recommendation is for primary and […]

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They’ll Watch Us Digging

My neighbor’s kids gave her a truly precious puppy for her 85th birthday. Right. My thought exactly. Why not a sweet, older, house-trained dog?! But she seems thrilled and has escape proofed her picket-fenced yard with chicken wire and filled it with balls to entertain Coco. As we observed her active new companion, my wife and I […]

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Children’s Questions Guide Literacy Development

Children signal a preparedness to learn to read and write by carefully observing what older kids and adults do and then asking questions. They carefully observe mature models of literate behavior who make themselves available during daily reading times and in the sharing of letters and birthday cards. Writing interest is reflected in children’s curiosity […]

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Practice Makes Perfect? Not.

Children and adults that bemoan being poor readers and/or writers seem to have either missed out on or forgotten the golden rule of human learning. While nothing a human does ever makes things perfect, despite what the old saying says, enjoyable practice always leads to improvement. Always. Erin never was and never will be a particularly good […]

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Reading. What’s It to You?

Teachers and parents might get confused by research reports that claim to focus upon reading, even research reported by highly respected scholars. One problem is the varied definitions of reading that editorial boards seem to ignore in their constant efforts to find solid studies on literacy to publish. “Reading” has many possible definitions, and each definition has value in […]

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How to Turn Little Readers into Big Readers

I recently read about hyper-successful people who are considered Big Readers. They all, happily, read a lot…every day. There were also lists of books that rich and/or successful people (e.g., Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey) recommended. Almost all of the books were specifically focused upon developments around the success which for each famous […]

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Talking about Talking about Books

“Read to your kids!” That directive echoes down the halls of every maternity ward, is heard in the waiting rooms of every good pediatrician’s office and is certainly in every school classroom, regardless of the age of a student. But that statement packs so much more meaning, and too often the larger message is lost, turning what […]

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How to Learn to Read Like a Child

In Ray Bradbury’s book, Fahrenheit 451, those hoping to save books and literacy from a government that would destroy all printed sources from the past memorized entire books. Imagine memorizing your favorite book. Maybe it has thousands of pages with tens of thousands of words! As it turns out, book memorization is quite common. New, young readers are […]