The most effective phonics instruction is systematic, sequential, and explicit. Teachers give preschoolers plenty of practice before moving on. Your child will read short, easy books containing the particular letter sounds or words they’re working on.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin.
Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills, such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.
Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. People with dyslexia can also have problems with spoken language, even after they have been exposed to excellent language models in their homes and high -quality language instruction in school.
Once I learned to read at the age of five there was no stopping me. I read the back of cereal boxes and the ingredients in every can in the kitchen. I loved rhyming books the most. It was a special treat when my stepfather came home from the grocery store with Archie and Veronica comic books. The Sunday comics were something I waited for all week. Once I discovered Nancy Drew I wanted to be a detective. She was smart, confident and curious.
In school I usually had the task of helping the struggling readers. I often wondered why the teacher didn’t work more closely to bring along students who couldn’t read as well. I didn’t mind, as I was usually bored with the stories in the designated reader.
The teachers I remember the most are those who presented a book in a way that grabbed my attention. When I read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, I was wanting to know more. I didn’t want the book to end. One teacher introduced me to Shakespeare and I was hooked. She would ask open-ended questions and put us in groups to discuss and act out pivotal scenes. Another teacher introduced me to classics, Moby Dick, The Grapes of Wrath, Beloved, The Alchemist, My Antonia, The Call of the Wild, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Pearl, and so many more.
I have always escaped into books. It has been a way to learn of other ways of living, exploring different perspectives, trying out new vocabulary. Books are my friend, a constant I can count on for entertainment as well as enlightenment. On top of my dresser is a basket filled with “To Be Read” books. My guess is that it will always be full.
When a child is able to form an image in their mind, it helps them understand what they are reading. It provides a context based on the child’s prior knowledge. Teachers can lead students to visualize by reading aloud and having students either draw what they “see,” write about it, or discuss with a partner.
A child’s imagination is unlimited and should be encouraged and celebrated. Reading to children and asking questions like, “I wonder what will happen next,” allows them to construct their own scenarios. Children learn through repetition and exposure to a variety of experiences.
Books that become familiar are like the foundation of a house. Once a child finds a book that sparks their imagination, they see wonderful possibilities that didn’t exist before. A trip to the library can open a world of possibilities to a growing mind. Reading aloud is especially important in that it helps children equate reading with caring and enjoyment.
Fairy Tales offer an opportunity to go outside reality and explore a creative world where animals talk, a lesson is bestowed and magical things happen. My granddaughter in the photo above is looking for fairies or leprechauns. That beautiful gift of imagination grows through books. Here are some books that are fantasy and fairy tales. Check with your local library to see if they are available.
Begin your collection of children’s books. Make sure you check out your local library book sales, thrift stores, yard sales, online sources.
Last night I fell asleep reading a thriller (my new favorite genre). Mind you, it was 1 a.m. and I was hopeful I would finish the last third of the book. There is something hypnotic about eyes moving across a page, even if it is a thriller. When a parent reads to a child the child learns to equate books with pleasure and comfort. Changing your voice to match the personality of a character captivates a child. They learn to imitate the reader. So much of what children learn is through imitation. Parents who read books leave an imprint that promotes a love of reading.
It is important that children select their own books to allow them to explore their interests. Books are the passageways to other cultures, places, experiences. The books they choose must be at their reading level. It’s good to use the “Five Finger Rule.” If a child makes 5 mistakes when reading a page, that book is too difficult. Direct the child to a book that is appropriate for their reading level yet honors their choice. If they insist on a book that is too hard, offer to read it to them. It’s always best when they find a book they can read themself.
These days children are doing much of their reading on devices (iPads, phones, laptops). You may think, “at least they’re reading,” but a Harvard study showed that,
Put your Ipad or phone in another room before bedtime. Resist the urge to allow children to use a device prior to bedtime.
Make sure a child has access to books. Local libraries, thrift stores, Little Libraries, garage sales, online read aloud websites, and book swaps are ways to accumulate your personal library. Check out these:
Children need to practice reading skills by reading aloud. This helps them develop fluency. A child can read to a sibling, a pet, their toys, and even plants. Their reading becomes enjoyable when they have someone or something to share in the experience.
When I taught second grade I set up an experiment. My hypothesis was that plants that are read to do better than those that aren’t. I had the same type of plant (pathos) in opposite sides of the classroom. One plant was read to daily and one was not. Students clamored to be the reader. They kept a notebook of their discoveries. It may have been happenstance, but the plant that was read to flourished in contrast to the plant that did not have a child read to it. I’m not a scientist, but I am a reading teacher with a creative mind. My experiment was a success! It got students reading and writing.
I imagine that a sibling or a pet would love the attention. Anything that encourages reading is a good thing.
If you are like many people today you use your cell phone, Ipad or laptop to get updates on news and happenings. I encourage you to make time for reading a book instead. The benefits are worthy of your time and attention. You have heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” Well, it applies to your brain. Reading stimulates your brain and allows new information to get lodged in longterm storage. The physical act of turning pages makes reading tactile, activating an area of your brain. Reading also allows you a break from stressful situations and provides an opportunity to experience places and have adventures in your mind. You gain new information that can be come in handy at some point.
Moreover, reading expands your vocabulary and helps improve critical thinking skills. There is a strong connection between reading and writing. Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. So next time you are inclined to grab your phone or ipad, pick up a good book and enjoy the benefits of turning the pages.
Here are some suggestions:
Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple-yet-powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life. Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these techniques help us identify and express our needs clearly and without apology–and unravel a root problem behind codependency, power struggles, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more.
While there is no such thing as an “Authenticity Expert,” you now have a viable alternative. Morhaf Al Achkar obtained his Ph.D in education and is currently a practicing family physician at the University of Washington. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, his research has focused on the experiences of patients living with cancer. His first book is based on interviews he did with 39 patients who live, like him, with advanced illness. He explored how these patients find meaning, cope, and build resilience. Using his own experiences and deep knowledge of philosophical concepts, Morhaf shares his understanding of authenticity from the perspective of someone aware of his own finitude.
◆ By following along with his fascinating life story, Morhaf invites you on a journey of dialogue and reflection to live a more authentic and purposeful life with integrity.
A Life Without Water can be read as a standalone, but is part of an overarching three book A Life Without Water Series. It is women’s fiction that pulls at your heartstrings from your new favorite author Marci Bolden. If you are seeking awell written, heartbreaking book about forgiveness, and finding peace amidst a tragedy . . . this book is for you!
The book looks at the most serious issues and helps the reader process them. From the instructions: ”Write about what keeps you awake at night. The emotional upheaval bothering you the most and keeping you awake at night is a good place to start writing.”
A charming, clever, and quietly moving novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.
A revelatory look at the complexity of Gandhi’s thinking and motives, the book is a luminous portrait of not only the man himself, but also those closest to him—family, friends, and political and social leaders.
Five shots on Saturday morning change their fate forever…
Shurka is a happy young woman who lives a fairy tale life with her beloved husband and their two young children, in a pretty house in a village in Poland.
She believes that nothing can hurt them. Or so she thinks…
Then, World War II breaks out and the happy family quickly understands that their happiness has come to a brutal end. The family is forced to flee their house and find shelter in a neighboring ghetto, where they come to realized that the Gestapo is taking Jews away on trucks every night, never to be seen again.
Visualization is Powerful ●Tell students to form a movie in their head as they read.
●You can lead them into this by having them draw as you read aloud.
●Use think alouds.
However, NONE of these comprehension strategies is taught in a single mini-lesson. It’s impossible to teach visualization in 15 minutes. Rather, plan and deliver numerous mini-lessons across the year that target the array of sub-skills that will prepare students to visualize independently.
LEARN TO MAKE CONNECTIONS
•text to self – This reminds me of my own life…
When picking text to self books, it is important to look for books that have a theme that kids can relate to. Family, sibling rivalry, pets, school, or feelings are a great place to start. The characters also need to be realistic, especially for older kids.
•text to text– This reminds me of another book I’ve read/movie I’ve watched…
•text to world– This reminds me this time in history/what’s going on in the world right now…
●Harvey, S. & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. Portland, ME: Stenhouse. ●Keene, E. & Zimmerman, S. (1997). Mosaic of Thought. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
●Tovani, C. (2000). I read it, but I don’t get it: Comprehension strategies for adolescent readers. Portland, ME: Steinhouse.
Keep up your child’s reading skills by encouraging them to engage in summer reading. I have collected some books that are fun and good for a read aloud or independent reading. Keep a record of the books they’ve read to share with their teacher in the fall.
This is part of a series. The books are about two kids who are an apprentice to a vet who treats imaginary creatures. You can imagine all the crazy adventures that follow as they help unicorns, lake monsters, and sasquatch. So much imagination packed into each book.
In this collection, witness unforgettable kids who, against all odds, survived sinking ships, shark attacks, the most destructive hurricane to hit North America, and the bombing that launched the United States into World War II.
When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, Kyle is determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library—it’s getting out.
Ranger is the kind of dog you want, especially if you are on The Oregon Trail.
In this heartfelt story about change, Kelly Jordan’s lilting text and Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s lush art captures the essence of cherishing a favorite place. This is a story about change.
I’ve wanted a free library ever since I saw one a few years ago. It was conveniently placed in a yard near the entrance to the beach parking lot near my home. It inspired me to investigate the cost of making one. Inside that little library there were a variety of paperbacks and several children’s books. I even spotted one that I donated a year ago to the elementary school. I have made a few trips in my golf cart to stock that mini-library with books I have read and exchange them for one that caught my eye. This weekend I will be stocking our own! My husband found a kit online and I ordered it. He is following the directions and waiting for the stain to dry. I hope that children of all ages will stop and take a book with them to enjoy at the beach or the dog park.
I have been reading more in the last 14 months than I ever have. Being the owner of at least fifty books that been collecting dust, I kept promising myself I would use the pandemic as an opportunity to catch up on my reading. I am glad to report that I completed almost every book. Some of the books I read were previously cast aside as not worthy of my time. I hastily concluded that if the first few pages failed to capture my interest, then it would make it to the “to be read” shelf.
Lately I have approached each book on my cast off shelf with a new perspective since I realized how grateful I am to have choices of books to read. There have been a few books that brought me on a journey, several brought me to tears, and most became a blessed escape from current events. I will take that “hug” anytime!
Listed below are powerful books that I read during the height of the pandemic. Some offered hope, others offered escape, they all offered me time with a great book.
A true account of life in unimaginable circumstances as told by a Holocaust survivor. A lesson on what is important.
A guide to finding peace and calm in times of trouble. His book is an easy read and has gems of wisdom throughout.
This book will help you break old habits and build habits that will serve you well.
A beautiful tale of a childless couple in the wilderness of Alaska during the 1920s. The imagery alone makes this a beautiful book. The story is one that will stay with you for awhile.
A tribute to the grit of the women who survived during the Dust Bowl era. As fierce as the winds were during that time, a mother’s love and devotion prevails. A great read from an author who can write an epic with incredible power.
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Due to the pandemic, teachers and parents are scrambling to provide educational opportunities to children. I compiled a list of great learning apps. It is my hope that they help during this difficult time.
I compiled a list of great learning apps:
Learn With Homer
Grade level: Pre-K, K
Skill: Comprehension, Phonics
A learn-to-read app for kids ages 3 to 6 that incorporates drawing, voice recording, stories, songs, and more, along with more traditional phonics exercises.
This app can be helpful for kids who have speech production issues and organization of language issues.
Grade level: 3rd, 4th, 4th and above
Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
The Opposites app helps children learn vocabulary and the corresponding antonyms by challenging them to match up pairs of opposing words in increasingly difficult levels. The game also helps children understand the importance of word context, and is an opportunity for them to think about how the words they use oppose other words. The Opposites consists of 10 different levels, each stage with a corresponding level of vocabulary. The app also offers a dictionary option that provides definitions and antonyms in a kid-friendly format.
Close reading is thoughtful, critical analysis of a text that focuses on significant details or patterns in order to develop a deep, precise understanding of the text’s form, craft, meanings, etc. It is a key requirement of the Common Core State Standards and directs the reader’s attention to the text itself. The skills gained from close reading help students locate information more easily and develop comprehension.
Strategies for Close Reading:
•Use Think Alouds
•Model it often. For example,
I might say, “I see a word I don’t know. I’m going to circle it or write it in my personal dictionary and find out what it means.”
•Make connectionsas you read. “I think the Empire State Building must be as tall as a roller coaster I saw once.”
•Ask questions: “What evidence or proof do we have that bats are nocturnal?”
1.Sequence: Which event happened first? Which happened last?
2.Character Traits: Name one character. What is one trait you infer that character has? Explain why you think that.
3.Motive: What is something that person does? Why do you think that person does that?
4.Summarize: Summarize the story in four sentences. Tell about the characters and what they do.
5.Main Idea: What do you think is the main idea of the story? Why?