Tag Archives: family

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 […]

How Everybody Can Enjoy Story Time

One of the joys of parenting is reading with our kids, beginning when they are infants. There is nothing like snuggling up with a pile of simple books with our little ones on our laps. Soon, we invite toddlers to select the books. Later, we invite them to read along. But unfortunately, not all parents […]

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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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Playing Post Office Teaches Lifelong Literacy Lessons

At her mother’s request, the little girl went to the almost-too-high mailbox and brought the mail into the kitchen, holding the various envelopes and documents at arm’s length, she pointed them at Mom. She watched as her smiling mother muttered to herself while tearing envelopes open, tossing some of them unopened into the recycle bin. Magazines […]

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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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Culture is Everything

Certain family cultures make the likelihood of success in school and beyond more accessible than others. The culture of which I speak is not about ethnicity, parental education, income or language, though. It’s about the prevalence and prominence of book reading in the families, regardless of any other cultural group to which they might belong. […]

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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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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 […]

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