Connecting Spelling Books to Reading Scores

Do you know why so many American school children can't read proficiently? Guess what we aren't teaching.

Messing Up Literacy in Texas

Find out why reading scores have plummeted in Texas and across the nation and what can be done to improve literacy education.

5 Reasons Your Child’s School Needs Spelling Books—Part 2

The brain reads by retrieving spellings of words. Spelling books help kids meet today's rigorous standards.

5 Reasons Your Child’s School Needs Spelling Books—Part 1

Parents and researchers agree that children need explicit spelling instruction in elementary school but school administrators may be ignoring the facts and harming students.

Are You Dyslexic? Is Your Child?

Here are three lists of classic early warning signs of dyslexia for very young children, school-age children, and adults. Do the lists fit you or your child?

America Needs Full-Day Kindergarten

Here's a message from the heart that shows why all kids need full-day kindergarten.

The Do’s and Don’ts for Family Reading

Here are ten research- and evidence-based do's and don’ts for family reading along with the “Top 10 Books for Raising a Reader” by Dr. Hilary Levey Friedman, esteemed Book Review editor of "Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers."

Why America Can’t Read

Advanced research in cognitive science including brain scan science is demonstrating that explicit spelling instruction may be the missing link to reading success in America where sixty-five percent of fourth graders read below proficiency levels.

Play, Common Core, and Early Reading Untangled

In a raging debate, leading researchers in reading education are speaking out in favor of keeping Common Core Kindergarten Literacy Standards. Their message? It’s perfectly fine for five year olds to play AND learn to read in school!

Spelling Knowledge Matters for High School Reading Fluency

A renown cognitive psychologist is touting the importance of spelling for reading achievement. He says spelling, which continues to develop even into high school, is just as important for high school and college-ready reading fluency as sounding out words in kindergarten. He’s right!

2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee Wows the Nation

It couldn’t have been better. America’s sharpest and brightest middle-school spellers wowed the world at the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee—arguably one of ESPN’s most thrilling sporting events of the year.

High Stakes Testing in America

“Thank God it’s over.” That’s what my high school educator friend in Florida says. The fattening-the-pig-by-weighing-it, over-the-top testing, happened almost every day from March to mid-May and impacted every student in his school. Everyone’s overwrought with this mess, most likely including the guy who started it, Jeb Bush.

An Ode to Common Core Kindergarten Standards

There is much wrong with American kindergartens—but Common Core State Standards are not to blame. If interpreted correctly, Common Core standards for literacy enable us to help enhance the kindergarten experience for all kindergarten children—from the underprepared to the most gifted and advanced.

Writing and Art, Picasso, and the Common Core

What would Picasso have to say about Common Core State Standards now driving the curriculum—and leaving art behind—in over 40 states? As it turns out, both Picasso and psychological studies support a call for cross-disciplinary connections at all levels of education.

16 Great Holiday Gift Books for Babies and Toddlers

Books make great gifts for babies and toddlers. Here are sixteen of my favorites with a very short review to help you make your choices. Come back to this list often—you can use it all year long!

Brain Scans Map a Pathway to Reading and Dyslexia Diagnosis

It’s good to celebrate recent strides in brain imaging to diagnose dyslexia, but are we clapping with one hand?

Do You Know More Black History than a Fourth Grader?

In light of recent events and a call by many to reassess and understand race relations in America, it occurs to me that how we think and act in race-related situations is affected by our understanding and personal history regarding race. Our past is part of our present. That being said, how much black history do you know? Take this short fourth-grade quiz to find out.

5 Back-to-School Questions for the First Team Meeting

Every good parent wants their child in an academically challenging school program that meets their child’s individual needs. Whether you are the parent of a child with disabilities or not, begin the school year with five questions that will require the school team to know your child’s present levels of achievement. Don't wait for the end-of-year test!

5 Ways to Read Aloud to Babies and Reap Later School Success

62,000 pediatricians just adopted a new policy: Read aloud to infants from birth! But will reading aloud to your preschooler carry over to academic success in school? The answer is “yes,” especially if you use five research-based reading aloud strategies.

Want Your Child to Graduate? Follow this Advice

It’s well established that the best predictor of a student’s achievement in school is parent involvement. You want your child to be happy in school, do his or her homework, get higher scores on tests, make good grades, go to college, and graduate. How can you be involved without being a hovering helicopter parent?

Are More Boys than Girls Dyslexic?

Find out the myth about gender and dyslexia that has become urban legend.

Celebrate World Book Day!

Find out about how to celebrate World Book Day in your local schools.

What Is High Quality Literacy Instruction in Preschool?

Everybody is talking about high quality preschools but few folks know what high quality preschool looks like—especially for literacy development. The following checklist can be used to evaluate quality literacy engagement in any preschool classroom.

The Importance of Handwriting Instruction

Handwriting is crucial for early learning and a worthy human endeavor.

In Plain Language: 5 Big FAQ’s About Dyslexia

Psychologists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists are unraveling the mysteries of dyslexia. Here are five important frequently asked questions and answers about dyslexia that cut through the scientific jargon to bring you up to date.

10 Rules for Kindergarten Readiness in Spanish

A school district in Texas with a predominant population of Mexican Americans sent me a Spanish translation of my “10 Rules for Reading Aloud and Kindergarten Readiness” post. The district is sharing it with all the preschool parents in their district. These rules give Spanish-only speaking parents tips for getting kids ready for kindergarten literacy success.

10 Rules for Reading Aloud to Preschoolers

Research shows interactions such as reading and talking to your child can lead to a 30 million word advantage by age 3 if you start early—with huge advantages in language and vocabulary development by 18-months of age. Here’s how to get your preschooler ready for kindergarten now, and avoid early literacy catastrophe.

5 Ways to Motivate Young Writers and Readers

Little kids want to write. What can parents and preschool teachers do to capture this intrinsic motivation? Here are five fun, everyday writing activities you don’t want to miss along with educational and scientific research to back them up.

Lifelong Learning Starts Before Preschool

Should you teach your child to read, do math, and recount facts about the world before age 4? And if you do, what options do you have later for formal schooling? Do parents who foster early learners end up with regrets? Neuroscience is revealing special capacities for brain development before age 6 when neuroplasticity may be at its peak. Reflections from an expert:

5 Reasons Why Writing Helps Early Reading

What’s the best way to teach reading to beginners in preschool, kindergarten, first grade or home school and how can we do it better? Both research and practice are offering a novel idea: Teach kids to read by writing.

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