In this article, you'll find 9 tips for effective word study instruction. Word study is an approach to spelling instruction that moves away from memorization towards a deeper understanding of letter-sound relationships and patterns in English spelling. Word study is active and hands-on — encouraging kids to become actively engaged in discovering and making sense of word patterns. See article >
Go inside a second grade classroom to see how one teacher integrates word study into her school's reading program. In this clip, Madeline Gorman gets her students talking about how we add "ing" to a verb. (From Writing and Spelling, part of our PBS Launching Young Readers series.) Watch video clip "Spelling Patterns" >
Spelling is a challenge for children with dyslexia. This fact sheet explains how weaknesses in language skills (including the ability to analyze and remember the individual sounds in words) affect spelling and how we can help children with dyslexia become better spellers. See article >
When a child comes up with an unconventional spelling, it's not always a sign of trouble. In fact, kids should be encouraged to try writing words as soon as they know some letters and letter sounds. As they make up spellings, they practice letter-sound connections. In this video clip from our PBS Show Writing and Spelling, watch first-grade teacher Carol Spinello turn a spelling lesson into something of a game. Watch video clip "Invented spelling" >
From Clifford's 'Be Big with Words' to the Electric Company's 'Wordball' to Hoppy the letter-licking frog — we've selected 10 engaging apps that provide real practice with important letter and spelling skills. See apps >
"Stories connect us," says Kate DiCamillo, the Newbery-winning author of The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn Dixie. "It wasn't until my fifth or sixth book where I realized I'm trying to do the same thing in every story I tell, which is bring everybody together in the same room." During her two-year ambassadorship, she will spread that message throughout the country, encouraging communities to read together across generations. Watch our video interview >
Celebrate the life and civil rights work of Dr. King on January 20th, the National Day of Service, where volunteers across the country work together to make a difference in their communities. These two booklists feature fiction and nonfiction books about ordinary people who stand up for what's right as well as stories about helping others and giving back. See booklist >
Privyet! Calling all bobsled, curling, skating and skiing fans! The 2014 Winter Games will begin on February 7 in Sochi, Russia, a city nestled between the Black Sea and the snowy Caucasus Mountains. In our special booklist, learn about Olympic history, how athletes train for their sports, and the science of snow — as well as a cross-country cat and penguins who use frozen fish for skis! See booklist >
January is National Braille Literacy Month. The Library of Congress offers a wide range of Braille and recorded books and magazines for children through their National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Visit the Kids Zone section and browse the catalog! Find audio and Braille books >
Think-pair-share is a collaborative learning strategy where students work together to solve a problem or answer a question about an assigned reading. This is a great strategy for encouraging whole-class participation — and drawing out kids who are often reluctant to talk in front of the whole class. See strategy >
Peek inside Cathy Doyle's second grade classroom in Evanston, Illinois to observe her students learning the think-pair-share strategy. Cathy explains the "rules" and then engages her kids around a reading of the nonfiction book A Seed Is Quiet. Watch think-pair-share in action >
Is there a relationship between grammar and reading comprehension? Yes, says literacy expert Timothy Shanahan. In summarizing the research, Shanahan suggests "as students learn to employ more complex sentences in their oral and written language, their ability to make sense of what they read increases, too." Shanahan provides a good example of a meaningful way a teacher can "untangle" a complex sentence for students, to help them decode more successfully when they're reading independently. Learn more >
Erin Klein describes how she accidentally turned a zoo project into a digital writing workshop for her second grade class. It started with bringing the Columbus Zoo right into the classroom via live webcams. As her students dug deeper into researching their animals, they began to integrate digital tools into their presentations — videos, multimedia iBooks, web-based posters for sharing and more. Read more at Edutopia >
Let's face it: Not all kids love to write. For some, every step of the writing process is difficult — including spelling, handwriting and getting organized ideas onto paper. Some kids who struggle with writing may have a learning disability called dysgraphia. In this edition of Growing Readers, you'll learn more about dysgraphia and how you can support your child's writing. (in English and Spanish) See article >
Did the recent "polar vortex" (brrrr ...) make your kids curious about winter weather? Check out our collection of weather-themed books (forecasting for kids, wild weather), hands-on activities (like how to make a weather station), great kid-friendly websites and apps, and more. From our companion site, Start with a Book. See weather books and resources >
Celebrate National Letter Writing Week by encouraging your child to write a real pen-to-paper letter. It can be a personal note (a belated thank you for holiday gifts, perhaps), a fan letter to a favorite author, or a persuasive letter to a local official about a community service project. This introduction to letter writing offers activities to help kids get started. See article >
The Georgia Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a multi-sector effort to marshal the state's ground troops to do things differently for Georgia's children, starting with rallying around a single, common goal: Increase the percentage of Georgia children reading at or above grade level by NAEP standards by the end of third grade from 35 to 60 percent by 2015. Three major sectors are engaged in this work — public agencies and elected officials, nonprofits and community organizations, and schools and school districts. Download report >
The Office of Head Start has published a new 19 minute video describing 11 key domains of learning and development for children ages 3 to 5 years old, including dual language learners and children with disabilities. But, development and learning doesn't start at 3! You'll catch a few glimpses of infants and toddlers from Head Start programs across the country who remind us how the foundations of school readiness begin very early in life. See video >
By the age of three, children from low-income families have heard 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers. This word gap is one of the key factors driving the achievement gap. The TMW initiative helps parents recognize the power of conversation and giving their very young children opportunities to express themselves and ask questions. Learn more about the initiative >
Chicago parent Aneisha Newell says that program taught her to talk to her young daughter in new ways. She says she never realized bath time — with colors and shapes of bubbles and toys to describe — could be a teachable moment. She ended up breaking the program's record for the most words spoken. And then there was the moment her daughter — not yet 3 years old — used the word 'ridiculous' correctly. Newell was amazed. [excerpted from the article below] Closing the 'Word Gap' Between Rich and Poor >
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