Archive | Education

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When a Book Grabs Them and Won’t Let Go

The question echoed quietly down the halls of his school as his teachers shared their concerns. It was a constant topic in telephone calls between his parents and their family members. The question, “So, how’s he doing in school?,” was always answered with: “Stevie doesn’t like to read. It’s a fight.” Stevie is now a […]

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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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Love Thy Neighbor–Learn Their Language and Culture

For bilingual children in the U.S., having just a sufficient grasp of the English language to succeed in school doesn’t work well the rest of the time. These children often can only fully communicate their  wants, needs and values when they are at home speaking their native tongue. This is not okay for a country of immigrants and […]

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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 […]

OldFashionedSchool

(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 […]