A few months ago, I raved in an Instagram story about how much I got out of reading The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson, and you all asked for a full review. So, here you go — my thoughts on The Self-Driven Child! Read them, and be sure to scroll down to see a few of my favorite quotes (though it was definitely hard to choose just a few!).Continue reading “The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson”
How do your kids keep track of what is happening and when it will happen in their lives? For probably three years now, we’ve used this little beauty (it lives on one of our kitchen cabinets next to our eating table)… When the girls were really little, I’d just write their initials and draw a little picture representing what they were going to do each day (since they couldn’t read). When quarantine hit, I took it off of the cabinet, because there was no reason to have it up. But, we dragged it out again a few weeks ago, because we finally have a few (socially distanced, outdoors, and safe…) things to do these days, and we realized both children benefited from having control over knowing what to anticipate each day and week.Continue reading “A Calendar to Give Children Control of Their Days”
Parents, have you heard about summer learning loss, the summer slump, or the summer slide? Does what you’re hearing make you worry about what you need to do with your children over the summer to ensure they start a new school year fresh and ready to go, especially after such a strange finish to the most recent school year? Are you trying to do ALL THE THINGS to make this happen? Read on for a little info about summer learning loss, as well as what we’re doing in our house to keep skills up in fun and natural ways! Continue reading “What We’re Doing to Combat the Summer Slide”
How comfortable are you with your understanding of your child’s development? Does your child ever do something that makes you wonder, “What on earth is going on in his head?” or “What happened to the child who always did _____? She seems like a completely different kid overnight!”
I was a Child Development major in college (and I have a graduate degree in Elementary Education…), and even I have to admit that my memory of all that I learned about how children grow, learn, and change so many years ago seems rocky at times. Fortunately, researchers have given us many wonderful resources, full of information that provides parents and teachers a small window into what’s happening in children’s brains.
And y’all, I refer to these resources ALL THE TIME. As a teacher, I owned a handful of these books and gave brochures with pertinent information to my students’ parents at the beginning of each year. As a parent, these have provided me with great comfort when we hit “What in the world is going on?” stages. Read on to see why it’s important to gain an understanding of stages of child development, as well as which resources for understanding stages of child development I love and why!Continue reading “Child Development Resources for Parents and Teachers”
A few weeks ago, I could have told you springtime was fast approaching based not on the calendar or the weather, but on the number of emails and messages I got from followers wanting to know the best at-home programs to use to teach their preschoolers to read. It’s that time of year when we’re all looking ahead to the next school year, a year that seems especially important if next year means kindergarten, as we all want our children to have a positive first school experience. (And for many parents these days, pre-kindergarten, junior kindergarten, or transitional kindergarten also seem monumental, as people believe that is the school year when their children need to start reading so that they are ready for kindergarten…). Who knew that worrying about teaching our children to read was such a seasonal thing for parents?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Anyway, my answer is almost always the same and is super easy to implement… In fact, I’d be willing to bet money that if you’re following me, you’re doing exactly what you need to do already… Continue reading “The Most Important Reading “Teaching” You Can Do With Children at Home”
Today’s post comes to you from my husband! While I am the one with two degrees in children and ten years of classroom experience, he is by far the more natural parent when it comes to many things… Especially fostering growth mindset. Read on to learn about the routine he created to set our children up for learning and perseverance when they go to classes, school, lessons, etc.
Do you know and love Common Sense Media? If you are a parent or a teacher, or are somehow responsible for helping make decisions about which books children read or movies kids see, you need to know about this wonderful resource! Continue reading “A Must-Use Resource for Parents and Teachers”
A few weeks ago, when I told my Instagram followers that I had received How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo (editors of The New York Times Book Review and parents themselves), I got an onslaught of messages asking me for my thoughts on it! I was able to finish this on a flight a few weekends ago, but I spent some time going through the pages and paragraphs I had marked to choose some of my favorites to share with you… So, at long last, I’ve got some information for you about How to Raise a Reader! Continue reading “How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo”
Last week, I wrote about a simple way to help your children get so much more out of picture book read-alouds than they might be getting. (You can read more about that here). Today, I’ve got 5 really easy conversations starters that you can use with your children before, during, and after read-alouds, whether picture books or chapter books, to both deepen their comprehension of the book and build your connection over that book. Continue reading “Read-Aloud Conversation Starters”
A few months ago, my husband came out from reading with the girls before bed and announced that storytime had gotten significantly more meaningful because he decided to simply sit and wait at the end of a page. He wouldn’t turn the page himself, he’d just wait until either the girls turned it themselves or asked him to turn it…
As a teacher, I read many many studies about the benefits of increased “wait time” (the time between when a teacher asks a question and a child answers it) to the quality of students’ thinking and responses. Studies show, in fact, that “the length of student responses tends to increase at least threefold” when the wait time is at least 3 seconds. “Student responses tended to be more substantive, including more thorough argumentation and less mimicry of what the instructor had already stated. On top of all that, increased wait time appears to be directly related to increased student motivation!” (from https://ucat.osu.edu/blog/value-awkward-silence-increasing-wait-time-classroom/).
And we’ve seen the same thing in our house when we let the girls lead in terms of how quickly we move through a picture book! The girls notice more about the illustrations (which are often integral to the story in a picture book), they ask insightful questions about the characters or plot, and they make more connections to the stories. We learned from this that, as adults, we tend to move through picture books at our reading speed, which is WAY too fast for children to process the story, and WAY too fast for them to take in all the details given through the illustrations.
With children’s picture books, it can be tempting for adults to flip through the pages at the pace of the prose… Looking with intensity, or “close looking…” calls for a change of gears, or a downshift. “If we want to be able to make the most of a picture— to be open to it and wonder why we feel as we do in front of it— we need to look not just as what’s being represented but rather at everything that presents itself, and grasp at the how as well as the what… The more you know, the more you’ll be able to discover and the more meanings you’ll be able to make.” (page 165).
How do you pace your picture book read-alouds? Are you willing to have your “page-turn wait time” feel a little awkward for the benefit of your children?