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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 […]

Navajo Reservation Sign

How to Become Proficient in English…or Not

A few years back I spent time in Navajo schools, working for various teachers, coaching them on literacy instruction and inserting as much support as I could for their ongoing professional growth. One visit coincided with the annual English Proficiency Test administered to students. Hearing that, my first response was, “Wait! These kids were raised speaking English. […]

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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 […]

African American Family Eating Meal At Home Together

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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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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How lap time contributes to social-emotional growth

For children, especially very young children, lap-time literacy experiences can offer powerful and usually positive contributions to their social-emotional development. Conversely, the language and informational richness of books don’t benefit a child much unless books are opened, explored, read and discussed with a caregiver. Such sharing forms a critical basis for positioning books to contribute to […]

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BookMarkS

The older kids get, the bigger their books get. And the bigger their books get, the deeper and wider their content gets. At some point, this wonderful pattern brings children to the possibly surprising conclusion that one cannot read every book cover to cover at one sitting. This natural conclusion, given the laws of time and space, […]

A young cowboy steps up onto the steel panels around the permiter of the corral on the Melin Ranch near Pray, Montana.

Who’s Responsible for Literacy?

Last week, the New York Times reported that a federal judge “dismissed a class-action lawsuit brought by students at troubled schools in Detroit and found that ‘access to literacy’ is not a constitutional right…” My organization and I easily qualify as pro-universal literacy. So, should we be happy or distressed by this legal determination that […]