Archive | Community Involvement

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At a Loss for Words

The English language is a word magnet and vocabulary generator. English speakers pick up terms from other languages and even create new words almost effortlessly, and before we know it, a new word or phrase is considered fully English! The best part is that every new word adds power to the English language, multiplying its potential […]

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Take It Apart, Then Put It Back Together 

Today, Stefan Åge Hardonk Nielsen, an English teacher at Vonsild School near Kolding, Denmark, is leading his young students in translating simple English picture books into their native Danish language. These U.S.A. focused books were originally published in English for “new readers” of any age, but are deemed appropriate content for all children ages birth though early primary. Mr. Nielsen’s students […]

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Girl Power: History Lessons and Challenges

I’m enjoying Women’s History Month. It is supported by The U.S. Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with abundant research and memorabilia to showcase and educate about women’s  abundant contributions to the world. […]

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Your “Mother” Language

This week the United Nations invites us to celebrate International Mother Language Day. I’m guessing most of us are unaware of this invitation, especially those of us in the U.S., where celebrating our mother language is a bit like fish celebrating water. Why celebrate something that seems omnipresent? Indeed, those of us who hail from the good ole […]

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Listening to Littles as They Learn to BE

Given the primacy of language in children’s development, one of the historically common ideas that we should all immediately scrub from our thoughts is… Children should be seen, but not heard. Perhaps “HOGWASH!” is the best response to such self-serving silliness. The premise that children should remain quiet until spoken to by parents and other adults […]

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Curiosity Drives Discovery

Curiosity is the emotional engine that drives learning. That would make curiosity probably the most important tool in a parent or teacher’s toolbox for rearing and teaching children. But if you think you can force a child to be curious about something, think again. Curiosity is an intrinsic desire to gain knowledge and understanding which resides […]

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50 Percent of Eligible Kids Not Ready for Kindergarten

That news appeared recently here in Louisville, Ky. However, that very percentage has been used this year to describe lack of school-preparedness in children across the United States. My first reaction was one that calls for some actual investigative journalism to answer the question of why Kindergarten classes, by and large, are not ready for half the students […]

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The Tiniest, BIG Literacy Lesson

She looked at the card, then at her mother, then at me. I had given my business card to a woman with a small, less than 2-year-old child outside of the hotel where the Literacy Research Association was celebrating its yearly awards for those individuals making lifelong contributions in support of literacy. My business card […]

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Building Bridges with Rich Language

One of the benefits of wide and frequent reading and the conversation that springs from it is the durable expansion of a strong reading, writing and speaking vocabulary. Children whose writing is simple and inexpressive, or who struggle to verbally share their thoughts, feelings and needs often suffer from a lack of essential language skills. Unaddressed, […]