Thursday, November 12, 2009

What can you do to encourage a reader?

Many times parents want to help their child to become a reader but are
unsure where to start. There are many activities that can be done at
home to support a child as they begin the experience of becoming a
reader. It can begin as easily as a parent talking with their child.
Parents can talk as you eat dinner, talk in the car about what you
each see along the road, or simply talk about the food you are buying
at the grocery store. Parents can ask questions that will encourage
their child to talk and not just give yes or no answers.

Start your own family book club. Time is precious for many families.
I have my children take turns reading to us in the car on the way to
and from school. We ask questions about what we have heard and
discuss the storyline and the characters. My children are excited
that I am interested in their favorite characters and can't wait to
read as a result.

When you are reading with your child take the time to point out and
discuss the front or back of the book, the title, and the author.
Discuss what the author does for a book. Have your child show you
where to begin reading.

As you read aloud, stop from time to time to ask your child about the
meaning of the book. Help them make a connection between the book and
their own life. Encourage your child to ask questions and retell the
story in their own words.

Parents need to remember that reading is not limited to books. Share
with your child magazines, newspapers, brochures, and other
materials. Including non-fiction materials is important.

There are many different activities a parent can do with their child
to encourage reading. The one's suggested in this article are just
the tip of the iceberg. What is your favorite activity? Add it to
our comments section.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Using websites to open up instructional worlds....

As a teacher who grew up during the time that computers moved from writing the simplest program line by line yourself on an Apple IIe to using a MacBook Pro and talking to teachers across the United States, I have watched and participated in the evolution of online learning. More teachers today expand their classrooms beyond the four walls of their school building than ever before in order to provide more tools to their students. I would like to share some of the sites that I have used and encourage you to share your favorites in the comments section.

I have enjoyed looking at the many ideas offered on Teacher Tube. It is the educator's version of YouTube that allows teachers to upload and share video clips of lessons. I have watched teachers share songs about math standards to motivational speeches by students that remind me why I do what I do every day.

Another site that I often visit is the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives. This website offers a wealth of java applets that allow students to see math in many different ways. It was a website recommended by our state trainers for math standards training.

For teachers looking for more information on differentiated instruction, please visit Verna Eaton's website Differentiated Instruction. She gives several ideas on how it can look and how to go about providing such instruction.

A large website with a wealth of information is the Center of Instruction. They describe themselves as "your gateway to a cutting-edge collection of scientifically based research and information on K-12 instruction in reading, math, science, special education, and English language learning. Part of the Comprehensive Center network, the Center on Instruction is one of five content centers serving as resources for the 16 regional U.S. Department of Education Comprehensive Centers. Explore the links to the left for topic-based materials, syntheses of recent research, and exemplars of best practices."

What websites have you found to be particularly helpful? Would you like to see them added to our running list of websites on our site? Add your favorites to our comments section.