Archive | Education

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The Elephant in the (Class) Room

My position on recent literacy teaching practices reflects the ancient tale of the six blind men and the elephant. Each man encountered a different part of the elephant, but not the whole, which resulted in each having a very limited understanding of the entirety of that magnificent creature. The elephant can only be understood by appreciating […]

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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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(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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How to Use Magic to Grow Lifelong Learners

Many kids can read just fine, they just don’t read books. This is not okay, because books are irreplaceable sources of learning, language and literacy development. Consider that twenty-seven percent of adults were willing to share that they did NOT read a book last year. Non-reading kids grow up to become non-reading adults.  Of course, many circumstances contribute to […]

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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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Do you have the most important job in the world?

Early childhood education, defined as the nurturance of cognitive, emotional and physical growth of children from birth through age 8, is inarguably the most productive and fruitful window for establishing the life trajectories of kids. This relatively short period of dramatic physical and neurological expansion, of psychological and emotional growth, is paramount in its importance for child development. Yet, that fact seems pretty much ignored by education experts and policy makers who spend an unconscionable amount of time, energy and money on engineering and assessing the results […]

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Untouched Violins and Unread Books

Adults trained and hired to lead children into mastery of knowledge and skills that the larger community feel are important take the business of schooling very seriously. Chief among the goals we have for students inarguably is Teaching Children to Read. Strangely enough, this most critical phrase is used with several meanings. Teaching Children to Read could mean being […]

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What Sacrifice is Too Great? What Investment is Too Small?

To sacrifice is to give up forever something we would prefer to keep. Sacrifices are made to obtain something of  value, a personally irreplaceable loss of time, opportunity or possessions, given up usually for others. All families make sacrifices to get what they want for their children. After all, what sacrifice is too great to make […]

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Why Do We Teach Reading Anyway?

The best way to improve children’s reading is to arrange it so that kids are frequently reading what they want to read, at least according to Stephen Krashen who’s a vocal proponent and prolific researcher of this theory. In his recent book*, Krashen asserts that for both developing and fully mature readers, the best book […]

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To Be a Reader or Not: Children Ultimately Have to Choose

Children learning to read books respond well to adult guidance, patience and understanding. In return, adults typically expect children to daily hard work on learning to read. However, daily willingness put forth by kids toward learning to read  is a bigger and wider determiner of success than can be matched by professionals and well-meaning families. The roles […]

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