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.

Handwriting—the Most Elegant Form of Communication

E-mailers, text messengers, and skeptics be damned. Handwriting—American style—is born again!

An Epiphany and a Handwriting Summit in Washington, DC

Why do school-age children need handwriting instruction in the 21st century? That question will be addressed on January 23rd, 2012, National Handwriting Day when hundreds of educators, researchers, and citizens concerned about the demise of handwriting convene in Washington, DC.
Spelling Is Making a Comeback!

Spelling Is Making a Comeback!

Flash from the pages of The Boston Globe: Spelling is making a comeback! Reporter Linda Matchan chronicles a surge in spelling bees, spelling clubs, and even spelling books in schools. Could this trend lead to better readers and writers in American schools?

Inspiration: Fifth-Grader with No Arms Wins Trophy in 2011’s National Handwriting Contest

Children should always be praised for effort. Their God-given talents help them accomplish far more than we can ever imagine. To wit, Nick Maxim.

Hope for Dyslexics

Read how a world-class editor, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, and a motivational speaker/reading researcher/writer struggled through child- and adulthood dyslexia and rose to the top. Can kids and adults who can’t find words become champions at the very thing that smacked them down? You bet. Read on.

Do We Need a New Federal Education Agency?

With state and federal governments struggling with shrinking education budgets, cutting out textbooks, laying off teachers, and taking draconian measures to cut back expenditures, is now the best time to create a new education agency at the federal level?

Hypocrisy Surrounding Common Core Standards

Common Core State Standards are the new hot topic in American education, perhaps as important in shaping what happens in America’s classrooms as No Child Left Behind. Some interpretations of the Common Core State Standards seem to call for yet another assault on teachers and their current practices.
Revolutionary Machine Reveals Baby Geniuses

Revolutionary Machine Reveals Baby Geniuses

The latest brain-imaging technology reveals scientific evidence of everyday baby geniuses. Scientists at the University of Washington have shown the “first-in-the-world images of a real baby brain” in action and revealed stunning possibilities related to language building and baby/toddler reading.
Baby/Toddler Reading: What Neuroscientists and Parents Need to Know

Baby/Toddler Reading: What Neuroscientists and Parents Need to Know

Here's a misleading statement: "Language is acquired quite well before the age of 6, but trying to force your children to read before the age of 4 is an effort that doesn't work very well because the brain is not very well equipped to tell the letter 'b' from the letter 'd' and so on,"

R.E.A.D to Develop Baby-Toddler Reading and Writing Brains

The acronym R.E.A.D sums up four easy-to-remember actions for parents to take for teaching babies and toddlers to read: repetition, enthusiasm, attention, and drawing. Adding appropriate soft-ware driven technology to these time-tested behaviors leads to happy early readers.

Would Teaching “Critical Thinking” Help Both Students and Politicians?

The current political climate in America highlights the need for a stronger emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving in American schools. Wouldn’t our political culture be more civil if we were taught to examine competing ideas and work together toward solutions?

The Top 10 Reasons to Teach Your Baby or Toddler to Read

Here are my top 10 reasons to teach your baby or toddler to read, with supporting facts. Embrace them and add “reading” to the list of things your baby or toddler loves to do.

A Lack of Parent Engagement Helps Create Failing Schools

For the first time in history, a generation of American students will be less well educated than their parents. Teachers are getting the blame. While teachers have become the scapegoats for America’s failing schools, maybe it’s time to shine the light on parents.
Conquering Fear of Technology Helps Parents Teach Babies and Toddlers to Read

Conquering Fear of Technology Helps Parents Teach Babies and Toddlers to Read

To learn more about how parents are using new technology for reading lessons, I recently participated in interviews with 17 parents who are having success with baby-reading technology. Rather than fear technology they are using it sensibly. Here’s what they report.
Healthy Digital Habits for Babies

Healthy Digital Habits for Babies

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is taking a sensible lead for the 21st century and updating its policy on technology and screen time from birth to age 3. This is a wise and bold move, but guess who objects to this timely and prudent 21st-century stance.
Early Homeschooling Can Save American Schools

Early Homeschooling Can Save American Schools

This week Diane Ravitch wrote of miracles and revealed the solution to school reform in America in one sentence: “Families are children’s most important educators.”... The key is starting at home with baby/toddler reading. It’s a miracle that can work!
Spelling–Hungry Educators Stuck on the Reading Bus to Nowhere

Spelling–Hungry Educators Stuck on the Reading Bus to Nowhere

A standing–room–-only crowd packed the aisles, and people sat sprawled on the carpet in front of room W208b of the Orlando Convention Center, hungry for an alternative to twenty years of dumbed-down spelling instruction. I threw out fresh steak—Bring back spelling!—to a ravenous audience. Here’s the meat of what I had to say:
Baby Reading in 1900 versus Today

Baby Reading in 1900 versus Today

Baby reading has changed in 100 years! In this post you can see the power of the computer and its impact upon 21st century baby/toddler reading.

Digital Media and the Future of Beginning Reading: Brilliant Babies Reading Words!

Do babies have brain-reading capacity between the critical brain-building years from birth to age four that is creating a paradigm shift in the world of beginning reading? Does baby + parent + computer + fun = the perfect mix for baby reading? Eighty per cent of American children five years of age and under use the Internet on a weekly basis. Something new is happening.

Bring Weekly Spelling Tests Back!

A TV report from Solon City Schools presented an inaccurate and damaging retrograde view of spelling tests and made claims that Solon had found the silver bullet for effective spelling instruction in a new policy called “word study.” I presented a contrarian view. The community responded.

A Fad that Fails our Children: No More Spelling Tests!

Are Spelling Tests Really Necessary? Not in the affluent Solon City Schools in Ohio where fifth graders are learning to spell second-grade level words! What if these were your children? Would you support the district's policy?

Plug In or Unplug

Two billion people use the internet on a regular basis. Five billion text messages are sent out every day. What impact is new technology having on your child's reading brain?

“Winning the Future” in Education Doesn’t Mean Throwing Handwriting and Spelling Out the Window

 President Obama reminded us in a win-back-the future, State of the Union speech that looking forward in education requires smart decisions regarding cuts and spending: "Let's make sure that what we're cutting is really excess weight."   

Teach Your Preschooler to Read!

Parents are children's first reading teachers. As such, parents have wonderful opportunities to prevent their preschoolers from developing reading problems.  

Top Ten Solutions/Resolutions for Educational Reform in America and Around the World

 The latest test results show that America’s schools are ranked #14 in reading among industrialized nations. Here are my top ten solutions: 2011 Resolutions for Education Reform.

Are Commercial-Product Claims that Babies Can Read Overblown?

 There is a controversy brewing over the definition of reading and whether babies and toddlers can learn to read. Are too many child development experts from prestigious universities getting it wrong?