Archive | Early Literacy

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Reading Comprehension: Got It? Pass It On.

The ability to understand characters’ points of view is fundamental to higher-level reading comprehension. How might we teach that to young readers? Babies seem to be born with a natural empathetic response. If they see another baby cry, they may start crying in harmony, or if they see someone laughing, they may smile and giggle […]

How Everybody Can Enjoy Story Time

One of the joys of parenting is reading with our kids, beginning when they are infants. There is nothing like snuggling up with a pile of simple books with our little ones on our laps. Soon, we invite toddlers to select the books. Later, we invite them to read along. But unfortunately, not all parents […]

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Celebrating Language Diversity is a Win-Win

We are losing one of the world’s 7,000+ languages every two weeks. This is the result of world-shrinking technology, wars, enslavements and colonizations. Hence, the development of the language hegemonies now evident to all. For example, English has become the language of international business worldwide. My immigrant neighbors speak an eastern European language fluently. At one […]

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Are You A Sneak Reader?

The ultimate goal of any enlightened program of reading instruction must be the development in each student of a self-determined habit of lifelong daily reading. That’s because this completely personal disposition paves the way to joyful lifelong inquiry and learning—the ultimate goal of a good education. Right? Sadly, at least not in many schools that consider […]

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Playing Post Office Teaches Lifelong Literacy Lessons

At her mother’s request, the little girl went to the almost-too-high mailbox and brought the mail into the kitchen, holding the various envelopes and documents at arm’s length, she pointed them at Mom. She watched as her smiling mother muttered to herself while tearing envelopes open, tossing some of them unopened into the recycle bin. Magazines […]

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Children Must Learn how to Understand

I recently saw the cute T-shirt  shown here. Even with an explanation, understanding what we hear or read often requires some work on our parts. Of course, in repetitive, familial interactions, small children learn how to understand, how to make sense of things. That ability grows with the complexity of the learning they take on. “Give […]

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Authentic Literacy Lessons Made Simple

Daily reading with children ensures that they develop a full and delightful culture of reading, setting the stage for them to become lifelong learners. But long-term learning is not just about reading. It is about all of literacy, reading and writing. As adults, we can stimulate children’s interests, but kids are the ones who ultimately decide what to play […]

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(Arithmetic ≠ Mathematics) + (Reading ≠ Literacy)

*Click on images to see larger version. Forty-some years ago I joined the International Reading Association (IRA), a huge collection of reading educators from all over the world. I also joined the National Reading Conference (NRC), which was a rather small organization of reading researchers. Members of these organizations met to share what they’ve been up […]

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Children Learning to ask Great Questions

The qualities of the questions we ask children are important. From them, kids learn to ask and answer good questions or to remain silent. There are Direct questions, which focus upon verifiable answers. Questions we hope even young kids can correctly answer are designed to ensure that a student / child is processing experiences productively and that expanding their thinking. […]

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The Primacy of “Mother Language”

This week the world celebrates International Mother Tongue Day. February 21st is the date designated in 1999 by the United Nations to recognize the primacy of the home language in everyone’s culture. That language in turn is the most comprehensive path to the full understanding of a people and their values. The commitment of this […]