Call in the Reading Dogs - This post was submitted by John Keenan and Jo-Anne Wilson Keenan of Bay Song. When kids struggle with reading, when they are afraid to read out loud in front of classmates, or when they just want to read for fun, it’s time to call in the dogs–reading dogs, that is. Reading dogs visit schools, libraries, … Continue reading "Call in the Reading Dogs"
Spelling With Legos - It’s important for students to have many opportunities to practice their spelling skills in a multitude of ways. With this activity, students can get creative and figure out how to put the Legos together to make letters and practice their spelling words. What You Need: Several small Legos (if possible, provide different sizes, colors, and shapes) Paper … Continue reading "Spelling With Legos"
American Literacy in the 21st Century - According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, many of the more than 700,000 students who leave U.S. high schools without a diploma have low literacy rates. Furthermore, over 60 percent of middle and high school students scored below “proficient” level in overall reading achievements. Why are literacy rates important and what can be done to … Continue reading "American Literacy in the 21st Century"
What Three Little Pigs Can Teach About Reading & Writing - This post was submitted by Liz Buchanan, originally published in her blog on March 17, 2015. In my songwriting life, I’ve become a little obsessed with characters in threes. My initial “Three Piggy Opera” was so much fun that on my next album, Once Upon a Tune, I included my own songs about The Three Bears, … Continue reading "What Three Little Pigs Can Teach About Reading & Writing"
Phonemic Awareness by Margo Edwards - Today’s post is from Guest Blogger, Margo Edwards of Sightwords.com. Phonemic Awareness is a crucial foundational skill for child literacy. It is, quite simply, the ability to think about and play with the sounds in spoken words. A child with high phonemic awareness understands that: adding a /fff/ sound to the beginning of arm makes … Continue reading "Phonemic Awareness by Margo Edwards"
Finding Great Books for Your Kids! - Do you ever get lost in the library or the bookstore? In all honesty, it isn’t really a bad thing when that happens, but with our busy lives, sometimes we find something quick and easy. That is why whenever I need a new children’s book, I turn to the experts and look at the award … Continue reading "Finding Great Books for Your Kids!"
Using Readers’ Theater in the Classroom - You and your students are bound to love Readers’ Theater! Readers’ Theater (also spelled “Reader’s Theatre” or “Readers Theater”) is an activity in which students, while reading directly from scripts, are able to tell a story in a most entertaining form, without props, costumes, or sets. This is a reading activity, and students are not asked to … Continue reading "Using Readers’ Theater in the Classroom"
Conquering the Chapter Book - Not sure when to introduce your students to chapter books? From the child’s point of view it can seem a bit daunting to read independently, but listening to a chapter book is beneficial, too! Children comprehend books that are a few levels above their own reading level when the stories are read aloud. Your expression … Continue reading "Conquering the Chapter Book"
To the Original Wizard of Oz, Happy Birthday! - L. Frank Baum is a household name thanks to his relentless perseverance. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a culmination of a career’s worth of work. It was published in 1900 after many minor publications and musicals. We all recognize the famous ruby slippers that Dorothy wears on her journey down the yellow brick road, but … Continue reading "To the Original Wizard of Oz, Happy Birthday!"
Texting and Literacy - Texting and internet memes must surely be the downfall of formal language, right? Quite a few scholarly studies point to no, actually. While it’s true that conventional English spelling and correct grammar are noticeably absent from the majority of texting conversations, the phonetics are accurate. As literacy advocates, seeing the phrase “C U l8r … Continue reading "Texting and Literacy"
Spring is Here! Help Your Young Readers Bloom - The sun is shining, the birds are chirping… and it’s getting harder and harder to sit still. Reading doesn’t have to be confined to the indoors. In fact, going outside on a walk or taking a book with you to read under a shady tree is quite relaxing. For those with a more active mindset, … Continue reading "Spring is Here! Help Your Young Readers Bloom"
Choosing Books for Preschoolers - There are over 2,000 children’s books published each year, so choosing books for preschool children can feel like an overwhelming task! Walk into any local bookstore or your neighborhood library and you will undoubtedly be faced with rows and rows of books from which to choose. Where do you begin? There are a few guiding … Continue reading "Choosing Books for Preschoolers"
Dr. Seuss’ Birthday: March 2 - Dr. Seuss’ imagination and his whimsical rhyming stories have become a staple of childhood for millions of people. His books bridge gaps between generations, allowing parents to share their favorite characters with their children. The 250 words that comprise the Cat in the Hat were a major breakthrough to help fight illiteracy in schools. Beginning … Continue reading "Dr. Seuss’ Birthday: March 2"
Journal Writing with Young Children - When most of us think of journal writing, we often conjure up an image of a cute little diary with a lock and key that contains pages of feelings, and is often tucked away in a nightstand or under a mattress. So let’s take a moment to erase that preconceived notion from our heads. Officially, … Continue reading "Journal Writing with Young Children"
Music and Literacy…A Perfect Match! - What “universal” language promotes reading, creativity, and comprehension skills all at the same time? MUSIC! According to neurobiologist Norman M. Weinberger, music exists in every culture. Parents all over the world sing to their babies. Music provides us with a natural and rhythmic way to learn. Do you ever wonder why children learn to sing … Continue reading "Music and Literacy…A Perfect Match!"
Technology and Literacy in the Early Childhood Classroom - Remember the old Jetson cartoons where George would call home and his image would appear on the “telephone” screen? And Elroy had a computerized homework helper? We may not be living in apartments in outer space and we certainly aren’t flying around in space cars (yet), but some of that Jetson technology has become closer … Continue reading "Technology and Literacy in the Early Childhood Classroom"
Science and Literacy: What’s the Connection? - Did you know that the teaching of science has a direct connection to literacy development? Science encourages logical thinking, communication skills, making predictions, drawing conclusions, and interpreting information; all of these skills enhance literacy development for students of any age! Science also provides a springboard for reading and writing activities. Young children are curious learners … Continue reading "Science and Literacy: What’s the Connection?"
Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell - Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell Every October, I pull out the Halloween-related books I’ve collected over the past few years. One of the first such books I purchased was Ten Timid Ghosts, written and illustrated by Jennifer O’Connell. It tells the story of a witch who moves into a house haunted by ghosts. She … Continue reading "Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell"
Halloween Fun with Books and Music - Halloween can be a great time to explore scary things and make-believe. There are some terrific resources out there to help kids enjoy different aspects of the holiday… besides candy! We love the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. It has wonderful sound effects and movement opportunities … Continue reading "Halloween Fun with Books and Music"
Working with Struggling Readers: Back to Basics - September, October, November… where does the time go? We have such limited time with our students. Determining the children’s reading levels and recognizing their specific difficulties are the first keys to helping them. As a Title 1 Aide, I work with children that are struggling. While working with children in our first grade reading program, … Continue reading "Working with Struggling Readers: Back to Basics"