Archive | Unite for Literacy

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The Magic of Letters

Letters are magic. No, not alphabet letters. I mean  “snail mail.” Handcrafted letters are slow motion conversations across space and time that share emotions, events and ideas using paper and print. They have the gravity to split time into “before the letter arrived” and “after the letter arrived.” They provide us with an invisible asynchronous connection with other people. The first time a […]

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There’s Reading Aloud, and then There’s the Magic of Books

The results are in! Reading books to children is a really, really a good thing. Along with its academic benefits of increasing language and vocabulary strength, reading aloud with children helps them see the wonder that can be found within book pages. Lap reading may be their first encounter with the magic of books, print and […]

“Could you read with ME today?”

Jean Anne Clyde, my dear wife, is also a retired teacher educator, who focused her university teaching on literacy. Recently, she volunteered at a school two blocks from our home. Every Tuesday she drags a suitcase filled with favorite kids’ books to the school. For an hour each week, Jean Anne works with primary school children, helping them improve their literacy–not just […]

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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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Develop a Diverse Book Comfort Zone

Despite indications over the past few years of the ascendency of digital texts and, for many, hand wringing over the imminent death of printed books and bookstores, after an adjustment in the book publishing and selling markets, printed books in all sizes and shapes are still with us, much to the relief of every tactile […]

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To Know How to Teach is to Know How to GLIDE

Teaching children—whether as a professional educator or as a parent—is the delicate, challenging business of shepherding youngsters through experiences they don’t know much about, that they don’t know how to accomplish and that they may not know how to fit into their lives, nor that they may desire to learn. Teaching is not a simple process of herding children around […]

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The Bumpy Road to Reading

Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better – Samuel Beckett A failure is an event – It is not a person. – Zig Ziglar Some simple things are learned in a flash, like not touching fire. It only takes one mistake to learn the associated lesson, and it’s the same lesson for everyone. Most valuable lessons however, yielding […]