Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday Five: Ways a Parent Can Help a Child Learn to Read

The question we educators are most often asked is: How can I help my child with reading? 
I stumbled across this great article that sums it up:


Monday, September 22, 2014

Reading on the Edge

For the first time ever, Pediatricians have been asked to remind new parents to read aloud to their children starting at birth.  The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that doctors tell parents to make reading a "daily fun family activity” from infancy, stating that these early reading experiences will help shape the pre-literacy skills needed for all children to learn to read.  

Educational researchers will agree with these suggestions and suggest you continue reading aloud to your child long into their school years.  But how do you find the time for this "daily family fun activity" in an already cramped day? 

Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, suggests we "read on the edge." In other words, reading when we have a few minutes here or there. While sitting down with your child and getting lost in a book for 30 minutes to an hour is important and needed, reading in one 30 minute session isn't always possible.  How about: 5 minutes before school, another 5 minutes while waiting for the soccer game or dance class to begin, 5 minutes while the pasta is boiling and 15 minutes before bed. There's 30 minutes of reading time you gained that day!   So, get that basket of books into the car, tuck a picture book in your bag and be prepared to have a book at the ready so reading can take place at any time or place.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


This week McGovern school began their whole-school morning routines. Each day four or five students lead the entire school in reciting the pledge of allegiance over the school intercom. They practice skills such as speaking up and enunciating words. The students speak with stand with Mrs. Yanuskiewicz and state the pledge with great pride.    This year we added another routine to the morning, turning over a number on the 100's chart.  While most children need to reach on their tippy-toes to reach the number, the act of flipping the number of the day carries much importance to the children.
Routines such as these might seem trite but they do indeed carry much importance and provide structure and a sense of security.  To read more about the importance of routines, click here to read an article from Scholastic.

The first group of students to lead the McGovern School
children in the Pledge of Allegiance

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How was school today?

When my children were in elementary school I recall scooping them excitedly off the school bus and asking them about their day.   I wanted to hear what they did each moment: who they sat next to in math class, which book was read aloud to them, and what they discovered in science. I wanted them to relive each minute for me.  But, most often the response to my question how was your day was a lukewarm "fine."  I oftentimes felt stuck.  
This weekend I came across this article from Huffington Post that gave some great suggestions for alternatives to asking your child:  How was school today?   The article lists 25 engaging ways to ask your child about his/her day.  I believe the ideas are creative and fun and most likely will elicit a response far deeper than the ok's that I received from my children years ago.