Tag Archives: culture

Navajo Reservation Sign

How to Become Proficient in English…or Not

A few years back I spent time in Navajo schools, working for various teachers, coaching them on literacy instruction and inserting as much support as I could for their ongoing professional growth. One visit coincided with the annual English Proficiency Test administered to students. Hearing that, my first response was, “Wait! These kids were raised speaking English. […]

African American Family Eating Meal At Home Together

The Cost of Free Books

I’m currently working with the Kentucky Humanities Prime Time Project in a school in my home town. The fabulous librarian coordinates this project which has invited 40 of the school’s Hispanic families (parents AND kids) to enjoy a light meal, some picture-book read-aloud time and participate in demonstrations of humanities-based conversations about the books once a week. Humanities conversations focus […]

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What’s Your Family Culture?

Culture is everything in creating family connection. Members of most cultures share values and commonly admired lifestyles to which others in the same culture aspire. In multi-cultural settings like the United States of America or Canada where hundreds of languages and cultures create a shared community, it is difficult to assess a single value placed on […]

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How lap time contributes to social-emotional growth

For children, especially very young children, lap-time literacy experiences can offer powerful and usually positive contributions to their social-emotional development. Conversely, the language and informational richness of books don’t benefit a child much unless books are opened, explored, read and discussed with a caregiver. Such sharing forms a critical basis for positioning books to contribute to […]

A young cowboy steps up onto the steel panels around the permiter of the corral on the Melin Ranch near Pray, Montana.

Who’s Responsible for Literacy?

Last week, the New York Times reported that a federal judge “dismissed a class-action lawsuit brought by students at troubled schools in Detroit and found that ‘access to literacy’ is not a constitutional right…” My organization and I easily qualify as pro-universal literacy. So, should we be happy or distressed by this legal determination that […]

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Let’s Talk About YOU!

The best thing that parents can do to support their children for success in school isn’t helping them with their science project or in figuring out fractions. Those are, of course, terrific ways to convey to children the value of school success. However, these content-rich activities are most educational when the conversation that goes along with them […]

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Celebrating Language Diversity is a Win-Win

We are losing one of the world’s 7,000+ languages every two weeks. This is the result of world-shrinking technology, wars, enslavements and colonizations. Hence, the development of the language hegemonies now evident to all. For example, English has become the language of international business worldwide. My immigrant neighbors speak an eastern European language fluently. At one […]

family reading room

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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Get a Bang Out of Reading

Most years the Kentucky Derby Festival (in my hometown) is launched with the big bang of Thunder Over Louisville, a pyrotechnic display of sky-filling beauty. Most years it’s the largest fireworks display in North America. The event draws about 800,000 people to the banks of the Ohio River for 30 mesmerizing minutes of explosive creativity. […]