Archive | Unite for Literacy

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Two Sides

For elementary school children, there are basically just two kinds of books (if we ignore poetry), Fiction and Non-fiction. Fictional books present to the reader created characters living created lives, experiencing created joys while dealing with what are frequently universal human problems. NON-fictional books typically use lots of different visuals interspersed with carefully structured expositional […]

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What Counts as Good Shared Reading?

What’s the best assessment of the educational value of a daily shared reading experience? By shared reading I mean that special kind of reading that happens when two or more people share a book together. This includes the lively (I hope) book transcription by a sufficiently experienced reader that then evokes the sharing of personal reflections about each book’s content […]

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Let’s Start a Bar Fight

Raise the bar. Lower the bar. Clear the bar. A never-ending K-12 push is to raise the literacy bar each year to ensure children’s success in college and career. The “bar” is the metaphor that educators use when discussing grade-level standards expectations. It’s a long scale from low literate to above proficient reading and writing. The 3rd-grade bar […]

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At a Loss for Words

The English language is a word magnet and vocabulary generator. English speakers pick up terms from other languages and even create new words almost effortlessly, and before we know it, a new word or phrase is considered fully English! The best part is that every new word adds power to the English language, multiplying its potential […]

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New Americans Offer Much to the World

Unite for Literacy recruits bilingual volunteers to support early literacy around the world. We seek out fluent native speakers of world languages, including English, to translate and narrate our books from English into other mother tongues. In turn, Unite for Literacy offers those book narrations for free to families around the world. This partnership has many rewards. […]

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The Daddy Rule

Though there is much to learn about tending to a new baby, I believe there is one hard-and-fast RULE a new dad needs to have learned by the day his little girl is born: Joyfully read with and constantly talk to her…every day… about everything…from her birth day forward. This directive is the only one […]

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ImPRESSive Books

When taking into consideration all of the inventions since long before the modern era, our progress in communication, transportation, medicine and government all pale in comparison to the impact of the movable-type printing press that has given us mass-produced books. Allowing us to share ideas and sentiments across the globe, and to communicate our culture and […]

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Take It Apart, Then Put It Back Together 

Today, Stefan Åge Hardonk Nielsen, an English teacher at Vonsild School near Kolding, Denmark, is leading his young students in translating simple English picture books into their native Danish language. These U.S.A. focused books were originally published in English for “new readers” of any age, but are deemed appropriate content for all children ages birth though early primary. Mr. Nielsen’s students […]

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Trash or Treasure?

I walked my dogs on a recent trash collection day. It was windy and we came across a trash bin that had blown over. I stopped to upright it and tried to pick up refuse that had spilled out and was still within reach before it blew down the street. One item was a 3rd–grade worksheet. It had lots of […]