Tag Archives: teaching

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. […]

Phonics 3

The Very VERY Best Way to Learn to Read

The “VERY BEST WAY TO TEACH READING” to a particular learner is not debatable. It is discoverable. There are scores of paths that lead from a baby’s first taste of a board book, to his life of joyful and informative reading. Those journeys are very complex. I’d predict that there are as many paths as […]

choosing 3

Practice Makes Perfect? Not.

Children and adults that bemoan being poor readers and/or writers seem to have either missed out on or forgotten the golden rule of human learning. While nothing a human does ever makes things perfect, despite what the old saying says, enjoyable practice always leads to improvement. Always. Erin never was and never will be a particularly good […]

Big 2

How to Turn Little Readers into Big Readers

I recently read about hyper-successful people who are considered Big Readers. They all, happily, read a lot…every day. There were also lists of books that rich and/or successful people (e.g., Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey) recommended. Almost all of the books were specifically focused upon developments around the success which for each famous […]

Talking 1

Talking about Talking about Books

“Read to your kids!” That directive echoes down the halls of every maternity ward, is heard in the waiting rooms of every good pediatrician’s office and is certainly in every school classroom, regardless of the age of a student. But that statement packs so much more meaning, and too often the larger message is lost, turning what […]

Notice 1

We’re All On Notice

What do kids notice as they read? That’s a key question that will help parents and teachers understand what their kids comprehend and what hasn’t yet grabbed their attention. What did you notice about the dog? What did you notice about yourself as a reader as you read this book? What did you notice about how the […]

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 […]

Bilingual 5

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 […]

elephant 1

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 […]