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The Best and Worst of Reading

The month of December is a terrific time to review “bests” and “worsts.” It takes time and some discipline to systematically and thoughtfully step back from the business of the holidays and remember what in life is worth holding onto or letting go of. It is a nice way to bring closure to another year. As I’ve […]

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Books: The Ever-giving Gifts

In the past week, thanks to TV and radio commercials, the chilly weather and knowing that this week includes “Giving Tuesday,” I have been gently prodded into thinking about what gifts I might give for the upcoming holidays. Of course, my favorite gifts to give are books. Virtually every book could make a terrific gift […]

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The Very VERY Best Way to Learn to Read

The “VERY BEST WAY TO TEACH READING” to a particular learner is not debatable. It is discoverable. There are scores of paths that lead from a baby’s first taste of a board book, to his life of joyful and informative reading. Those journeys are very complex. I’d predict that there are as many paths as […]

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Time and Fun Choices Make For Happy Readers

Good readers don’t necessarily think about wanting to read better, they typically just want more time to read. Struggling readers certainly don’t want to spend any more time reading, they just want to read better–or not at all. Hmmm….but what if struggling readers DID want to spend more time reading? Researchers uniformly predict their reading […]

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The Cost of Free Books

I’m currently working with the Kentucky Humanities Prime Time Project in a school in my home town. The fabulous librarian coordinates this project which has invited 40 of the school’s Hispanic families (parents AND kids) to enjoy a light meal, some picture-book read-aloud time and participate in demonstrations of humanities-based conversations about the books once a week. Humanities conversations focus […]

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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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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 […]