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

November 20th, 2018

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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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  

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  

Making screen time count: a new book gives parents guidance

August 11th, 2018

Even reading teachers know that children can learn reading-related skills through shows and videos, not only through book reading. But reading with an adult sets up opportunities for building reading skills in ways that putting a child in front of a screen often doesn’t.

In other words, when you are sitting and reading to children, there are obvious and easy chances for conversations that get kids empathizing with characters and seeing different perspectives, learning vocabulary words and new concepts, and thinking critically. But if young children are alone and passively watching the kind of programs that are merely entertainment, the show-watching experience is not valuable for building the critical skills they need for the years ahead. Read the article  

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: mixing it up (part 2)

June 27th, 2018

Changing the book inventory:

Mixing up the reading routine this summer (part 2)


By now, most people are well aware of the research showing that reading to young children is linked to their later academic achievement. But the types of reading experiences matter, too, and summer is a great time to add more substance to those read-alouds without working too hard at it.


How? Today we focus on increasing book variety. With a wider range of book types and topics, and a plan to talk about the differences from one book to another, you’ll expand your child’s knowledge about different genres while also adding some fun to this summer’s reading routine. Read the article  

Promoting reading skills while wearing flip-flops: Mixing up the routine this summer (part 1)

June 23rd, 2018

To keep things fresh and generate excitement around books, we all know it takes a commitment by the adults in the house. So first pat yourself on the back for all you’ve done all year to help build your child’s reading skills, and then dive in and try to make summer reading at your house a “day at the beach”!

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Talk at home? The language research take-aways for families

June 15th, 2018

It’s not often that educational research becomes part of the public discussion, but the 1992 Hart & Risley study did just that.

You surely heard about it: News reports focused on the dramatic differences they found in the amount of words children heard in the early years, depending upon their family settings. More specifically, the researchers found a 30 million word gap between how much language children from “welfare families” were exposed to by the age of 3, versus the language exposure young children from “professional families” had in their homes. That large number got people’s attention — and had huge policy implications over the years.


But was the study accurate?  Read the article  

Meet a PUP dad: Find out how this family supports “readers” at very different stages

June 9th, 2018

Today’s blog highlights a PUP dad, Pavan P. We will be featuring Pavan in a series of blogs over the next few months, as we talk about common family questions around raising successful readers. Thanks in advance to Pavan and his family for sharing their learning-to-read stories!

Pavan and his wife have a 5-year old boy, and an 8-month old girl. Their 5-year old is a skilled reader for his age, but as Pavan explains today and in upcoming posts, that success brings its own challenges. And then there are the 8-month old’s reading-related skill needs, which are also always on Pavan’s mind, and which we will hear more about in other blogs. When we asked Pavan to talk about the readers in his house, he told us about their 5-year old, and that called to mind some things we thought other parents might want to know, too. Read the article  

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