Saturday, May 16, 2015

Babies Love Reading!

                  Sandra Maddox on Vimeo.

This cutie pie is my grandson! I wanted to make sure that he would love books, so we started early! Does it work? Oh, yes! 

Notice his eye movements and body language. He loves the pictures and the sound of my voice as we weave our way through the book. It is obvious that he is happy and enjoying the experience.

So, what do babies learn from having books read to them?

Reading to babies stimulates and helps to develop their brains!

Reading to babies helps them to develop speech.

Reading aloud to babies exposes them to language. Children need to hear many words each day and learn to process language. 

Reading to babies will develop their love for books. Create routines that will encourage a love for reading, like bedtime stories. 

The love of books can be a shared experience that bonds baby and parent or grandparent. It creates memories and a lifelong love of reading. It also encourages snuggle time!
18 months

His favorite books from birth to age 1 were written by Karen Katz. He has added the Llama Llama books, The Little Blue Truck books, and many more!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


What do you believe about the teaching of reading?
I have spent my entire career trying to figure this out.  Through all the years of being the mother of a sweet little boy that struggled to read, as an elementary teacher, a special educator, and now as a literacy specialist.

Beliefs matter!

My struggling reader needed help decoding words. It took a long time for him to understand that letters had sounds. A multi-sensory approach helped him to learn to decode. 
But, that didn't make him a reader. He finally fell in love with reading when he was 15. We found a series that caught his interest.

So, here are a few things that I believe:
Reading is about meaning, not just decoding words.
Some kids need extra phonics instruction in order to decode words.
We have to find books that kids will read and enjoy.

Others can fight reading wars, but I will do whatever it takes to grow readers. Phonics or the ways of Marie Clay-I believe that we must meet the needs of students.

Once my son became a reader, he became more successful at school. He went on to graduate college. It was a very long journey, but well worth every step!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Important Conversation #AgeOfLiteracy

Kid Sitting with a Tablet

The International Literacy Association has declared April 14, 2014 Leaders for Literacy Day. Twitter conversation will be heard around the world with #AgeOfLiteracy.
Through #AgeofLiteracy, advocates have already shared on social media what they will do to further literacy around the world. On April 14, that hashtag will be used for one-hour intervals of discussion focused on the most important topics facing the literacy community. All discussions will be nonconventional Twitter chats where conversations will develop organically outside of a standard Q&A format. Bloggers are also encouraged to join the conversation!
The conversation on the pre-event Twitter will include:
How to Engage Today’s Students (12 p.m. ET): keeping interest in the classroom while competing with ever-evolving education reform and technology.
How to Take Charge of Professional Development (1 p.m. ET): going beyond one-sided lectures to interactive and cyber-propelled PD.
How to Become a Powerful Literacy Advocate (2 p.m. ET):  what to do in your neighborhood and around the world.

Little Girl Reading a Book

How to Become a Powerful Literacy Advocate
Right Where You Are!

When you think of being a powerful literacy advocate, do you automatically feel overwhelmed?  Where do you start? What does that really mean?

For a teacher, it can mean finding time every day for children to read books that they have chosen and write about things that interest them. Creating a classroom library that reflects the needs and interests of your students. Helping parents to understand their child's reading and writing life, as well as growth opportunities. Joining in the conversation about literacy with their colleagues. It might mean moving beyond the building to community-based projects that support literacy. Teachers that are passionate about literacy can change their classroom, grade-level, building, and community.

For school leaders, there may be a need to develop a belief system.  What do we believe that students need to become lovers of books and great thinkers and writers?  When someone walks in the building, is it obvious that literacy is important? It is vital to have leadership that monitors and supports the growth of reading and writing. Leaders carry the vision of what a literacy-rich school looks like and support all stakeholders as they grow readers and writers,

Parents can be great advocates for their children and literacy. Provide opportunities for parents to get to know you. Help them understand what you believe and how you will teach their children. As parents increase their knowledge about literacy, they become more confident and vocal in their involvement with teachers and leaders. This creates a positive environment where parents are more likely to participate and volunteer at school. We need to break down the barriers that keep parents away. We need to find areas in the community where parents are involved and take our beliefs about literacy to them.

There is a wealth of information online and the ILA is a great place to start your journey to understand and support literacy in your school and community..