Archive | Early Literacy

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 […]

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Only 60 percent? Surely, not!

I recently reviewed the latest Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report (2014) and was struck by the many interesting statistics shared through this well-designed survey about book reading by children and families. For example, 60 percent of the more than 2500 parents surveyed said they received the advice from someone that reading books to children from birth […]

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Who REALLY Needs Diverse Books, Anyway?

I came across an article in the Pacific Standard magazine recently that got me thinking about what diversity in children’s books really means. It was authored by Noah Berlatsky, a somewhat controversial writer and cartoon editor. In it he says, “Diverse kids’ literature gives children of color a chance to see themselves as heroes, which is vital. […]