Raising a strong reader: job description and example (Yertle the Turtle)

October 17th, 2018

What are the job requirements when it comes to the role of raising strong readers? In other words, what are schools counting on parents to do early, and what does that look like during reading time at home? Read the article  

The problem with limiting children’s library book choices based on reading levels

October 8th, 2018

Maria, a second grader, stands in front of the shelves during library time, trying to choose books to bring home for the week. She knows that the rule is she needs to take out a book that has a tag that matches with her reading level, L. At home she has a copy of Frog and Toad are Friends and wants another book in the series, so she gets excited when she sees Frog and Toad All Year on a nearby shelf. Unfortunately, there on the book spine is a big letter K, which is below her level so she can’t bring it home. She’s disappointed, but then she remembers that she saw her friend reading a book that looked like fun, The Day the Crayons Quit. When she finally finds it on the shelf, Maria realizes it’s a level M, above her reading level.

Is matching library book choice to reading level a good policy?

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Reading levels: quick answers to parents’ top questions

October 1st, 2018

In many schools, children are tested to determine their reading levels, and teachers use that reading-level information to design classroom instruction. Last week, we wrote about the important things that parents need to know about reading levels, but there have been lots of other parent questions, too. Here’s our attempt at brief and accessible answers to your reading level questions!

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Reading levels: What do parents of 1st-3rd graders need to know?

September 21st, 2018

The new school year has begun, and for many parents of early readers (grades 1-3), that means there will be a reading level assigned. It’s not the case in every school, but in lots of districts reading levels are used to group children for guided reading and overall support (sometimes even starting in kindergarten).

The reading level process creates a lot of questions for parents (see next week’s blog for an FAQ!). But most importantly, parents need to know WHY a child is at a certain level. That’s because until you know your child’s specific strengths, and the bucket(s) of skills your child needs to work on, it will be harder to support reading growth at home and to make sure that there is enough time spent in school working on your child’s reading needs. Read the article  

The WHY and HOW of new fall routines

September 8th, 2018

As the new school year begins, families everywhere are setting new routines that will make mornings less rushed and evenings less crazy. But let’s face it: it takes a lot of energy to make children follow through on those earlier bedtime routines, the getting-up-and-out-the-door routines, and the regular homework plans.   Read the article  

A plan for growing your child’s vocabulary

August 24th, 2018

It makes sense that vocabulary is important for reading success: if a child doesn’t know or understand enough words in a book, he or she will have lots of trouble understanding the book.


The problem is that when a child reaches elementary school without a strong vocabulary, it is hard for a teacher to “fix” it. Vocabulary has to build up over time, all the time, from birth — long before children go to school. That means that growing a child’s vocabulary isn’t something that teachers and schools can take on alone.


So how can you help your children grow their vocabulary over the years? First of all, since building vocabulary is so important,it makes sense to be intentional, rather than assume it will just happen. Make a decision to do things that will encourage vocabulary growth every day, and enlist other caregivers to do the same.

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Building knowledge through everyday conversations

August 18th, 2018

At this point in the summer, you might be wondering whether your early elementary-school child has learned a lot since school ended — or if he actually lost ground and been victim to the infamous “summer slide.” Regardless of your child’s age, remember this:

To understand what you read, it helps to already know a lot about the topic you’re reading about. When you have a lot of prior knowledge, even the more difficult books or articles are easier to understand because you can use what you know to help you figure it all out. Read the article  

August checklist for parents of early readers

August 2nd, 2018

It’s August, and that means there’s only about a month left before school starts. How did that happen?

At this point, you might be wondering if you are doing all you need to do to get your young reader prepped for school. If you can answer YES to these five questions, then you’ll know that there is skill building going on at your house in all three buckets of skills. If not, you have a plan for what you could do over the next few weeks. Regardless of your answers, remember that there’s still time to help your child build reading skills this summer and enter the academic year feeling more confident about reading!

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It does take a village: how one family shares the reading task and increases reading energy

July 26th, 2018


When interviewing Pavan, a PUP dad we highlighted in a recent blog, we noticed that in his family’s house, other adults besides the mum and dad regularly read to the kids. So today’s posting focuses on why it makes sense to think about ways you might enlist the help of others and lighten your own load, and how one family does it!

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Summer reading or bust: When school requirements start to spoil days at the beach

July 19th, 2018


For families with kids in school, there is something about mid-July that has to be savored. That’s because it is firmly summertime: school days were long enough ago that the schedule-juggling and homework feel like distant memories, and yet there isn’t that anxious feeling about gearing back up again, which tends to happen as the summer winds down.


There is, unfortunately, summer reading pressure for many families. When choosing to read isn’t a popular leisure-time activity for a child, it can put a major damper on summer fun, especially if the parent has to be in the role of Head Nag to get an elementary-aged child to read required texts.

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