Archive | Early Literacy

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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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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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Choose Talk

Doing life with little ones can either enrich their development or thwart it. Consider these two scenarios: Bundle up baby and get her into the car seat. Off to the Post office. Back out of the car seat. Standing in line, chattering with her about the line and clerks and stamp photos on the wall. […]

Adorable little boy, sitting in a book store, looking at books

Show and Tell

I’m originally from Missouri, the Show Me! state. I bring this up today because of my observation of how many parents and teachers, dedicated to helping children learn something, don’t really show their children how, why, when and where, to do things—from riding a bicycle to reading books. They may explain things, tell things and expect […]

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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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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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The Biggest Question is WHY?

Nancy was in her sister’s kitchen chatting with Kerri as she prepared a ham for cooking. Kerri put the ham in a large roasting pan and Nancy interjected, “Don’t forget to cut the ends off.” Kerri replied, “Oh right. When we were kids mom always cut the ends off.” They looked at each other and […]

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Conversation Starters…for Babies

“So, how are things with you?” “How’s the fam?” “‘Wazup?” These questions are typical conversation starters between adults. They are first serves in a casual game that invites a pleasant return interaction. They indicate we care about hearing what another person wishes to share. And as we make our way through each day conversing with others, our family’s or job site’s or […]