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Informative Books, Family Discussions Comfort Children in Uncertain Times

Factual information helps people feel empowered and safe. A new COVID-19 collection of books written in English and Spanish, and narrated in many languages helps high-risk, underserved children and families navigate this stressful pandemic.

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Abandoned Books = Fraud Readers?

When I was a child in school—a thousand years ago—we were taken weekly to the library and encouraged to find books we could enjoy for that week. The following week, we’d return the previous week’s choices, swapping them for a new set of books. Simple. Early on, when a book report was called for, or […]

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Racism and Children: Read, Talk About What You Read

Kids are home from school (still) and the vastness of summertime stretches before us filling our vision of what that once meant, and how, due to the pandemic and to overdue showcased racial inequalities in our lives, those possibilities have forever changed. I recently read, with a strong measure of personal embarrassment and regret, a book […]

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The Simplicity of Building Literacy Foundations

This week, my hometown newspaper published a list of 100 books to enjoy during social distancing, which reminded me of many similar lists that have been published recently for parents, for new graduates, and for kids. The Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards lists of books preferred by kids are among my favorites. (I featured them in my May 21, 2020, blog.) […]

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Books Provide Powerful Learning, Heartfelt Conversation

I’ve just finished reading one of 10 essays from the 2012 book When I Was a Child I Read Books, by Marilynne Robinson. It was a no brainer for a literacy teacher, teacher educator and a contributor to a children’s library like myself to be drawn to a book with this title. However, I received this […]

Sierra Nevada College

Building a Future from Tragedy

These days there are so many ways for us to dismiss a religious, political, racial or economic individual or group as not fitting, in one way or another, and thus not seen as any kind of asset to our lives. All my life, I’ve heard that children can be so cruel and petty to each other. […]

How Swapping Stories Can Ignite Lifelong Learning

I recently read an article in The New York Times about the decline of road trips, including hitchhiking 0r “road bumming.” (And no, all the blame doesn’t go to the COVID-19 pandemic.) I think folks largely have stopped picking up hitchhikers for many reasons, including an increase in: a sense of mistrust; an unwillingness of the haves […]

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Kids Taught to Choose What They Read Can Choose Reading for Life

The International Literacy Association in partnership with the Children’s Book Council recently released the annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards and its lists of books preferred by kids.* Each year for decades 12,500 youngsters from around the U.S. have participated in creating the lists by reading books and voting on their favorites—their choices. The lists offer consistently […]

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Simple Way to Become Successful Literacy Teachers

Many families honoring stay-at-home or safer-at-home orders during the current pandemic (and in times when we’re not homebound) are doing their best to keep their kiddos engaged in literacy through reading, writing and art. That single goal is a natural as these are the very top capabilities that children need throughout their lives. Indeed, it’s a lifelong […]