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

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.

The Need for Collaborative Schooling and Spelling Tests

This year’s back to school night was a nightmare. “No spelling test!” was the tip of the iceberg. When administrators at ‘back to school night’ said “spelling is not important enough to be tested;” “kids can just use spellcheck; “we use ‘word study;’” and “we can’t meet the needs of a gifted child,” it was time to homeschool! What about the collaborative schooling option?

Help Children Crack the Reading Code (Part 2)

Research in neuroscience confirms what parents and teachers should do to help children crack the reading code. Find out what showing kids how to sound out words does for their brain.

Help Children Crack the Reading Code (Part 1 of 2)

It’s easy for you to read the words to, too, and two or eye, I, you and ewe and get right to the meaning. But how do you explain the logic of English spelling to a beginning reader? Should we simply tell them “Spell it like it sounds”? The answer is "No!" Find out what to do.
5 Learning Techniques Psychologists Say Kids Aren’t Getting

5 Learning Techniques Psychologists Say Kids Aren’t Getting

Are we showing our kids the best way to learn? A recent study of ten learning techniques says, “No!” In fact, we may be encouraging kids, through our own ignorance and the perpetuation of traditions, to spend time and effort on activities we know to be unhelpful—at the expense of things that science tells us would be much more effective.

Will Common Core Wreck Writing in Schools?

Common Core Standards—adopted by 45 states—is supposed to bring back writing in schools. Ironically, a writing revolution in schools happened 37 years ago when an eloquent professor named Donald Graves cracked the psychology of writing. Today some teachers fear Common Core is wrecking writing instruction in their classrooms.

How Writing Instruction Is Changing in Schools

Here are Common Core's ten anchor standards for writing followed by ten recommendations to help teachers and schools meet them.

Getting the Facts Right on Pre-K

Get the facts right on preschool and the President's pre-K proposal. In a recently released policy report, Dr. Steven Barnett of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) provides impartial and comprehensive reviews of the science behind President Obama’s call for universal preschool education.

New Standards Demand Higher Expectations For Spelling

Educators and parents, take notice! Common Core State Standards adopted by 46 states and driving curricula and state testing in American schools now require higher standards for spelling.

Can Baby-Toddler Readers Really Comprehend?

When an infant seems to read words automatically on sight are they really comprehending or is it simple paired-associate learning like a parrot? Can 2-year-olds decode, comprehend, and make meaning from print? A young mother in Scotland shares her perspectives after skeptical colleagues asked the big question: “Can babies really learn to read?”

Joys (and Frustrations) of Teaching Babies to Read

A parent in Scotland shows parents how she taught her baby to read and responds to the criticisms of skeptics.

A Family Gives Thanks for 'Your Baby Can Read!'

See how two parents followed their gut to teach a baby to read even when skeptical experts said that he wouldn’t.

3-R’s Prepare Preschoolers for Olympics or Harvard

If you want to raise an Olympic champion, academic genius, or just a smart, well-balance child, start in preschool with 3 R’s that all parents and teachers need to know.

Can Your Child Write? 5 Questions You Should Ask

Find out why so many children are failing the state writing test and ask your child five important questions that may show whether he or she is learning to write well in school.

Back to School—Shame in America

This year, an army of poor American kindergarten kids will march through our kindergarten doors ill-equipped for the battle ahead: a battle for an education to lift them out of poverty.
Fried Chicken and Ethics—What Grandma Taught Me

Fried Chicken and Ethics—What Grandma Taught Me

Moral principles that govern a person’s life—knowing right from wrong—begin forming in preschool years. Not so much by memorizing Bible verses or scriptures I suspect, but from modeling by parents and grandparents. Should I become a vegan at age 63? My decision is based largely on what Grandma taught me as a 5 year old about murdering chickens.

Parent Lessons From a Successful 13-Year-Old Reader

Why should parents teach reading to preschoolers? How does it work? What are the long term effects? In a brilliant essay, “How I Learned to Read,” 13-year-old Bianca Florence answers these questions.

The Cultural Shift in Baby/Toddler Reading

Cultural shifts in society usually happen over decades. Then along comes new technology and everything changes overnight. That’s exactly what seems to be happening in the world of baby/toddler reading. Lap reading alone is “out,” and software-driven reading lessons are “in.”

Three Pivotal Beginning Reading Benchmarks for Parents and Teachers

Parents and teachers are responsible for three pivotal benchmarks in a child’s development of brain circuitry for reading: the first from birth to age 3 or 4, a second at the beginning of kindergarten, and a third at the end of first grade.

How Do You Spell a Better Amercia?

Kudos to USA Today’s national education writer Greg Toppo for putting spelling education on the front page of USA Today. He highlighted America’s failure to teach spelling: “Amercia, we have a spelling problem,” he wrote. Mr. Toppo, you nailed it.

A Spiral Staircase Solution to America’s Reading Problems

Under No Child Left Behind America had no strategy for teaching beginning reading that anyone could articulate or achieve. Common Core State Standards can now correct that problem by adopting a Spiral Staircase model for beginning reading.

The Reading Model that Failed America

America’s reading failures are school induced. Beginning in 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) steered beginning reading education down the wrong path by implementing a poor model of beginning reading instruction. It was a disastrous decision.
Third Graders’ Angst: Test Month Is Here

Third Graders’ Angst: Test Month Is Here

April in third grade used to be about flowers, shedding heavy jackets, and walking outside barefoot for the first time. It used to be about baseball season, fishing, the science fair, and creating colorful woven baskets or painting murals with ducks or bunnies. No time for that now. April in third grade is about fear of flunking a test.

Honor Public School Teachers—Don’t Degrade Them

A gifted high school English teacher, the first recipient of the Norman Mailer Writing Award for High School Teachers, speaks with poetic eloquence about the power of words and her ascension from poverty in Appalachia to national acclaim on the shoulders of her own public school teachers.

What Is Good Teaching?

Valentine's Day is a good time to express your appreciation of teachers. It’s also a good time to define good teaching and think about unsung heroes. One good teacher in my life was Miss Elliott.

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