Reading Instruction

10 Ways to Explode Your Students’ Excitement for Reading!

How do you get kids excited about books? Over my 25 years of teaching, I’ve discovered many ways to spark excitement. Here are 10 to get you started: Start an After-School Book Club Invite a guest reader from the community to kick off the meetings. After the read-aloud, the kids spread out to read independently …

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12 Simple Tips for Helping Your Child Become a Better Reader

Check out these 12 simple tips from Dr. Andrew Johnson to help your child become a better reader! Read to your child Expose your child to words Use pretend reading Expose to rhymes, rhyming books, nursery rhymes, poetry, music Reread the same book Read bedtime stories

Let\’s Leverage The Fun To Connect Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing!

The young students frantically waved their hands high in the air. They couldn’t wait to run to the front of the gym and participate in a game I call, “5 in Ten!”. I recently spoke with hundreds of students in different settings (urban, rural, and suburban) and they all enjoyed “5 in 10’!”. The gist …

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Reading to Reach the Stars

We want our kids to reach for the stars, dream big, think for themselves and grow up with a life and career that they happily built. But how when the winding path to achieve such goals involves so many variables and, sometimes, challenges that may be out of our control? Well, there is a way, …

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Literacy + STEM = A Perfect Pairing

When it comes to STEM and literacy, one can’t exist without the other. STEM teachers emphasize the Engineering Design Process and computational thinking, as well as technology tools. But the work of engineers and scientists goes much further than the traditional STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math. They are also communicators, collaborators, writers, …

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Young boy sitting atop a stack of books

Poetry: My Story

In 1994, my 6-year-old son Nicholas failed first grade. Testing revealed he could read ten words, showed no strengths, and had a low IQ. The prognosis was dire, his future bleak. Finally, the diagnostician called him: “The worst child I’ve seen in twenty years of teaching.” I had the option to remove my son from …

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Raised hands of multiple bright colors

Include Me!

All children like to read things they can relate to or that make them feel good. And the best children’s stories I “read” were those on the laps of my parents. In order to write books for children of a different mold than our own, we need to know them. I grew up in a …

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Family Joining Puzzle Pieces; schema

Background is Everything

Although we don’t generally think about it, every experience we have adds to a repertoire of events that create “us” – our background. The stories we share with friends, the lessons we teach our kids, and the bank of knowledge we use to make decisions in the moment. Everything we encounter adds to this background, …

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stack of giant books with a ladder; pleasure reading & assigned reading

What is your Literary History?

Pleasure reading and assigned reading are not mutually-exclusive activities Have you ever taken pause to consider your personal literary history? I remember back to my senior year, an honors English class where I was asked to do this very exercise. It is remarkable how influential the very first pieces of text you consumed are. They …

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