Can You Spell That Senator's Name? Why or Why Not? Is It Important?

Are Alaskans America's top spellers? Spelling is in the news! It happened in a big way this week. Move over Florida and hanging chads, Alaska now gets the nod for weirdest (or wierdest?), whimsical and wacky state in American elections. 

The Big Lie: We teach Spelling in our reading program

Currently three major toxic delivery systems for spelling instruction are infecting American schools. As a parent, you should know what they are selling to your school district and the negative impact they have on your child's literacy education.

How well do you spell? Find Out in Sixty Seconds

English spelling is hard and needs to be taught explicitly, but most American schools fail miserably to teach children to spell. 

Parents—Empower Children as Thinkers with Picture Books!

In the rush to early reading, it seems parents tout reading chapter books over picture books. This is a big mistake

Can Babies Really Read? What Parents Should Know!

So much can change in your baby's world--and in yours--when you hold your baby in your arms and read a book to him or her. When doing research for Raising Confident Readers, I discovered some remarkable findings that might surprise parents. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about reading aloud to babies, and whether or not babies can read.

A Brief History Lesson—Back to the Basics—Teach Spelling!

For the first two centuries of American education, spelling was the backbone of reading instruction. At a time when teachers had relatively little formal training and few tools besides a blackboard and a few standard textbooks, Americans became increasingly literate. But then things changed.

Are You Obsessed with Sex? Is your Child?

In the 1950's Art Linkletter brought us "Kids Say the Darndest Things." Over fifty years later have mores changed? What is your young child thinking, saying, and writing about today? Your child's innermost thoughts may be revealed in his writing. Parents should take care not to misinterpret and over-react. Before you read further-advanced warning: some of the child-writing ahead may shock you!  

Do "Tech World" Parents Read Books?

 Want to know how to raise a confident reader? Should you read the book, scan blogs, go to YouTube, or watch TV? Modern parents have lots of options for finding information. Every parent knows you are supposed to read to your child, but in the print versus digital world do busy parents have time to read a book on parenting?

No Spelling Book in your Child’s Book Bag Spells Trouble Ahead!

Poor spelling instruction is really an epidemic: The mother of a suburban, A-student, fourth grader discovered that her son and his friends couldn't spell the word place! She's worried, and she should be.

Human Behavior: Your Baby Can Read—Just Like Carl, or Why Johnny Can’t Read and Carl Can

What could be more fun than watching your baby learn to read during the critical period of brain development from birth to age 4? This is the true life account of how a boy named Carl learned to read.  His journey on the road to literacy was jump-started at birth by parents who read to him and bonded with him through books. 

Facing Reading or Learning Disability? Beat the Odds!

Parents who face the daunting task of raising a child with a learning disability now have a comprehensive guide covering everything from risk factors, to monitoring progress, to solving conflicts, to helping at home. Reading Disabilities: Beating the Odds, is a book I recommend for any parent or teacher with a child who has a reading problem or reading difficulty.

France Could Solve Withering Racial Gap in New York Schools

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his schools chancellor Joel Klein seem stymied over what to do about the shameful racial achievement gap in New York city schools. To get the solution, all they need to do is look to France and watch a 5 minute recording from NPR's Morning Edition showing how preschools get every child in France ready for success with literacy and ready to be a happy and healthy citizen. 

Find Your Child's Reading Level in 60 Seconds!

 Get a quick but accurate estimate of your child's beginning reading level (preschool to Grade 2) by matching his or her writing to one of the five writing samples below, a simple tool for parents found in my new book, Raising Confident Readers. The sample that best fits your child's writing likely shows how he or she uses the English alphabet code and provides a good prediction of your child's level of reading.  

Spellers of the World UNTIE—Spell-check Before Tattooing!

Professors at Cambridge University seem hell-bent on destroying English spelling and literacy. First they publish faulty research on the efficacy of teaching spelling and then they deface the Classics Department building on their revered campus by misspelling Aristotle's very own words at the entrance. Aristotle would not be amused. Widespread disinterest and misunderstanding of the importance of spelling for literacy is now showing up on some of our most revered cultural icons-the tattooed bodies of celebrities. It's revolting!

Human Behavior: The Brain-based Formula for Teaching Your Child to READ and Write--Baby to Age 7

Want to know how to teach reading to your baby or toddler? The secret is revealed in the acronym READ-Repetition-Enthusiasm-Attention-Drawing. It works for any parent, grandparent, or preschool caregiver. And it's supported by history, science, and literature.