What is it about reading to your child that makes a difference in his own reading success?

October 26th, 2018

Next time you settle down to read with your child (of any age), feel good about the fact that there are lots of things that you’re doing to help him/her become a strong reader. Here are 10 specific things you are doing – or could be doing – that make a difference!

You’re… Read the article  

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  

HARD WORDS: a compelling podcast on why many kids can’t read well

September 15th, 2018

This week, a podcast came out that is most definitely worth sharing: it’s called Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?

The author, Emily Hanford, is a correspondent for APM’s (American Public Media) EDUCATE podcast. In a recent email sent to researchers and literacy professionals, she wrote something that I wholeheartedly agree with, and that I think all parents should read:  

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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  

The medical world speaks out about preschoolers’ schedules

August 30th, 2018

The summer is just about over, and like many parents, you might be trying to decide whether to sign your young children up for music lessons or sports experiences or academic enrichment classes starting in the fall. A recent report, however, might make you decide to save your money.


The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) released a policy statement on Monday explaining that there are so many structured activities and so much screen time in some young children’s lives that doctors may need to start handing out prescriptions for free play. 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  

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