The A-Z library challenge!

Kelley, who lives with her family in Boxborough, MA, came up with a novel (!) approach to making sure her (now 6-year old) twins would be library lovers forever:

“I said to them one summer, ‘Let’s try to go to libraries from towns that start with each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Think we can do it?’

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Another reason to read a chapter book aloud

It’s vacation time for a lot of families, and that means there’s a chance to dive into a longer story together. It’s easy to either stay with picture books when reading with 4-6 year olds, or let young readers ages 6+ just read on their own. But to maximize children’s reading skill growth, engage them in a chapter book on occasion, too. Here’s why:

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Misreading and skipping words: A great question from a first grade mom

I had the pleasure of presenting to some engaged and eager parents recently, and one of them asked me a question that I hear variations of often:

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Should you use flashcards to teach your kindergartener sight words?

At a recent parent meeting, one mother asked if she should use flashcards to teach her kindergartener sight words. My gut response? Don’t bother. But here’s why avoiding flashcards is my knee-jerk reaction, and when, on the other hand, flashcards might not be so bad.

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New research on parents’ phone use

As I think back to when my kids were little, I’m so thankful that there weren’t mobile phones. I know it would have been really hard for me to avoid picking my phone up; taking care of young children was tedious at times, and texting or scrolling would have been a great way to entertain myself.

But does a parent’s mobile-device use even matter? Apparently, it can. An article in the New York Times quotes data that might make parents of babies and toddlers want to rethink their phone habits:

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“A book on every bed”

Last week I wrote about why giving books to your children as gifts sends a clear message about how important reading is in your family. For another fun take on holiday book giving, read about the Book on Every Bed campaign.

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Holiday gift ideas: Buy books this holiday season!

What you give your children says something to them. So when you are buying gifts for children, always include books. They’ll know that you think books are special and gift-worthy, and you will be building a family culture that puts reading at the center: we read and talk about books together, we read books on our own, and we give special books (lovingly chosen) as gifts to people we care about. Make book-giving a habit early and stick with it through the years: you want a solid connection between family, books, reading, and good times.

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Reading motivation: Why doesn’t my child just pick up a book and read?

When I talk with parents of children beyond kindergarten, the same question often comes up: “My child just doesn’t pick up a book on his own. How can I get him more excited about reading?” While this is a topic we’ve tackled before, I think it’s worth a deeper dive.

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Going digital (part 2): Reading with little ones — ebooks or print books?

Full disclosure: as a rule, I am a print-book fan. But I know there are some positives to the engaging and now-ubiquitous ebook format, so I reviewed a number of studies and learned a lot about the digital format’s strengths and limitations. The research is not comprehensive, unfortunately. There have not been enough high-quality studies done on all types of ebook experiences with young children, including Kindle-like ebooks, for example, or enough strong studies with digital formats at every age of child. Given the research that is out there, however, there are things parents should know.

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