Expository text can be challenging to young readers because of the unfamiliar concepts and vocabulary it presents. Discover ways to help your students analyze expository text structures and pull apart the text to uncover the main idea and supporting details. Read article >
Sit in on Katie Bannon's NYC third grade class as she helps her students develop simple strategies for finding the main idea in a text. Watch as she uses a whole-group reading, turn-and-talk, and class discussion to model critical thinking. Bannon then gives the kids a chance to try the strategies themselves in their own small groups. See Teaching Channel video >
Reading for Meaning, one of the shows in Our PBS Launching Young Readers series, highlights effective ways to help kids understand — and care about — what they read. See what Reciprocal Teaching and Concept Oriented Reading Instruction strategies look like in action. Watch show online >
Isabel Beck, Nanci Bell, and Sharon Walpole discuss the essential components for developing good reading comprehension skills, identifying potential stumbling blocks, and offering strategies teachers can use in the classroom.
In this excerpt, Walpole paints a vivid picture of a classroom where a lot of deep learning is going on: They're filled with language. You can't teach comprehension quietly. Teachers are talking, children are talking. There are wonderful books being read that are complex contexts for comprehension. You can't teach comprehension in a very, very simple book, you have to have something that actually has some meat to it. Teachers are actually modeling thinking, which is the hardest thing about teaching comprehension. Making that thinking verbal and accessible to the kids. And the kids are asking questions of the teacher, of the text, and of one another. So, they're noisy places. Watch online >
Our webcasts feature national experts in lively discussions on critical literacy topics. The one-hour webcasts can easily be integrated into your teaching curriculum across a wide range of literacy courses. Learn more >
Learn more about practices that encourage first graders' engagement with texts. The authors describe reading as a "transactional process" where text and reader together make meaning, talk about the benefits of reading aloud, provide a rationale for promoting engagement with texts, discuss three literacy strategies implemented in one first-grade classroom (Alphaboxes, making connections, and discussion webs), and share examples of work contributed by the students. Read article >
The best story times are very interactive: You are talking about and reading the story, your child is talking, and there is conversation taking place between the two of you — often called dialogic reading. It takes a bit of practice! The PEER method (Prompt, Evaluate, Expand, Repeat) can help guide you. See article (In English and Spanish) >
Give your child practice with a range of comprehension skills: sequencing, inference, differentiating between fact and opinion, reading for details, developing word awareness (through antonyms, synonyms, and homophones), and mind mapping. Starring Aesop, Garfield, young magicians Luna and Leo, and other kid-friendly characters. See apps slideshow >
Award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier began creating art at the age of 15. Using his signature style — a vibrant mix of watercolor and collage — he brings stories to life. As a young boy in school Collier remembers how, when his teacher would talk, he "would see words float out of her mouth." He has illustrated many unforgettable children's books, including Martin's Big Words, Rosa, and I, Too, Am America based on the classic poem by Langston Hughes. Uptown, written and illustrated by Collier, was his first published book — a joyful celebration of his beloved hometown, Harlem. His most recent picture book, Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me, received the 2014 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. Watch video interview >
Explore the extraordinary achievements of African Americans through stories, biography, and literacy activities. In our Black History Month section, you'll discover great online resources for school and home. Take a journey on the Underground Railroad through National Geographic's interactive website — sure to inspire conversations in class and around the kitchen table. Discover ideas for collecting and sharing family stories or stretch creative writing muscles with prompts inspired by James Ransome and Patricia and the late Fred McKissack (winners of the 2014 Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement). Watch video interviews with award-winning writers and illustrators, and browse our children's books featuring the lives of artists, musicians, writers, athletes, civil rights leaders, and African American families. See Black History Month resources >
"The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I have not read."
Just in time for President's Day, this collection gives children an intimate look at our 16th president as an adventurous young boy, loving husband and father, and steadfast leader during the most difficult of times. See Lincoln booklist >
In these exclusive video interviews, listen in as authors Rosemary Wells, Deborah Hopkinson, and Candace Fleming talk about their approach to writing historical fiction and non-fiction for children — and read from their new books about Lincoln.
With this cooperative learning strategy, "home groups" and "expert groups" do research, collaborate, debate, and present everything they've learned about a topic.
Watch jigsaw in action! Go inside Cathy Doyle's second grade classroom in Evanston, Illinois to observe her students use the jigsaw strategy to understand the topic of gardening. Joanne Meier, our research director, introduces the strategy and talks about the importance of advanced planning and organization to make this strategy really effective. See jigsaw strategy >
The third annual Digital Learning Day is February 5th — bringing special focus to the effective use of technology in classrooms across the country. Dig into this really rich resource library from Edutopia. Topics include flipped and blended classrooms, teaching with new media tools, coding across the curriculum, game-based learning, social media in education, digital citizenship, and much more. Visit Edutopia website >
Valentine's Day is a perfect opportunity to practice creative writing skills — and take a fresh look at poetry, figurative language, and word play. Kids can experiment with new poetry forms like Korean sijo and cinquain. Special video feature: a visit with children's writer Laura Elliott, author of A String of Hearts who shares wonderful ideas to spark creativity with words and art. See Valentine's Day writing activities >
Just a few pages from your newspaper can be turned into lots of early learning activities. In this edition of Growing Readers, you'll find "letters and words" activities for the youngest, plus fun writing prompts and tips on how to read and analyze the news for older kids. [In English and Spanish] See parent tips >
Having a pen pal, either in a different country or just a town away helps kids practice skills in literacy, writing and geography. Get tips in this fresh video from PBS Parents Adventures in Learning. Learn more >
This new report from New America aims to provide a clearer picture of where early education in America stands today by highlighting what is improving, in stasis, in flux, imperiled, or ignored. While bright spots are visible in some states, funding has fluctuated wildly, millions of children still lack access to quality programs, the K3 grades have received little attention, and achievement gaps in reading and math have widened between family income levels. Read the report >
President Obama's 2014 State of the Union speech put preschool in the spotlight. Obama challenged Congress to build on programs that exist in 30 states to provide high-quality preschool for every child. Daniel Willingham, a UVA professor of psychology and author, (and also friend to the Reading Rockets project) and his colleague David Grissmer wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times which describes some of the challenges and truths about high-quality preschool programs. See blog post >
Results of a recent national survey of more than 1,500 parents of children age 2 to 10 by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop show that kids' media use soars as they approach school age — but the amount of time that they spend with educational media plummets. Most parents believe that educational media use contributed to their child's learning and are pretty savvy about what's educational and what's not when it comes to television. In the new wide world of apps, there is more uncertainty and parents wish they had more information. The report suggests that the market needs to do a better job of developing effective educational apps and more compelling content for older children. See report >
Slightly more fourth graders nationwide are reading proficiently compared to a decade ago, but only a third of them are now reading well, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The study also found the reading skills gap between children from lower-income and higher-income families has grown, and proficiency varies considerably across states. Read article from Pew >
Reading Rockets is a national educational service of WETA, the flagship public television and radio station in the nation's capital. The goal of the project is to provide information on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help. Learn about easy ways you can link to us to let others know about the many free resources available from Reading Rockets.
Reading Rockets is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
Send your questions, comments, or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our mailing address is WETA/Reading Rockets, 2775 S. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22206. We look forward to hearing from you!