Archive | Self-determined Reading for Fun

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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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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 […]

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 […]

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The Perfect Pastime for All Times

Like so many others during this stay-at-home period, I have spent an unusual amount of time watching television, especially news or current events programming. It helps me stay up to date on how my life, which feels completely out of my control, is likely to change or when it might ever return to some semblance […]

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How to Create a Pandemic History Book

History books are a gift to help us never forget. They are like breathing in at the focus time and then breathing out years later. By recording history we capture a point in time for future reflections. Daunting?  But writing a history book that accurately reflects the facts is challenging. A well-written, vetted history book takes planning and […]

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Expanding Expressions of Literacy

Sometimes we educators get focused on literacy development in young children exclusively in the form of reading, as if print is the only kind of communication between humans. Granted, print is the most venerated form of literacy in our culture. Mastering this literacy skill leads to becoming avid, self-determined, lifelong print readers, writers and learners, and […]

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The Year Summer Slide Started in March

The U.S. tradition of long summer school breaks hails from times when children lived on family farms and needed to be available during the growing season to help tend them. While beneficial for farming, long breaks from structured learning can take its toll on academic progress. The sometimes negative impact of up to 12 weeks away […]