Monday’s Mentionable

Looking for a “new” way to practice with flashcards? Whether we like it or not, flashcards are sometimes the best way to remember rote facts. Flashcards can be used for sight words, math facts, or just about anything else you need to memorize.

Here is a clever “non-invasive” way to practice with flashcards – place them around your house. Put the cards in places where your child frequently looks: on cereal boxes, on the bathroom mirror, attached to the side of the TV or computer, on the dresser drawer…somewhere that your child will happen upon the card a few times a day. This allows for spontaneous practice of a word and lots of families find great success with this method…plus, it takes the pressure off of “drill and practice”.

So give it a try and let me know how it went!

Monday’s Mentionable

discouragedOften parents are unsure of how to respond to a frustrated learner. In my experience, this discouragement occurs because the child is frequently engaged in tasks that are much too difficult for them.  In fact, researchers like Richard Allington have found that students spending time in reading material that is too difficult actually resulted in a decline in reading ability. Yes, they declined!

In other words, reading books that are “hard” (less than 90% accuracy) can actually impede your child’s reading! But this is a conversation for another day…

Today I wanted to share some ideas for encouraging your discouraged child because it does happen. Reading Rockets have put together a guide to help parents learn specific come-backs for common put-downs.

Give it a read! I hope you will find something helpful for the next time you need help reassuring your child during academic tasks.

Monday’s Mentionable

Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope the sunshine will become a constant around here soon!

Read AloudWell…here is a good rainy day activity…read! Parents often ask me for ideas when reading with their child. As we all know, reading aloud time is critical for all children, regardless of age. 

Reading aloud to children is vital because it helps them acquire the information and skills they need in life:

  • Knowledge of printed letters and words, and the relationship between sound and print.
  • The meaning of words.
  • How books work, and a variety of writing styles.
  • The world in which they live.
  • The difference between written language and everyday conversation.
  • The pleasure of reading.

Some families have dedicated reading times, before bed or after dinner. As mentioned in the podcast below, it is also important to find random moments in the day to sit and read together just for the pure enjoyment of it.

So…now you are wondering WHAT you should be reading, right? Picture books are appropriate for all children. Don’t be afraid to spend time in a picture book just because your child is older. Picture books typically possess beautiful illustrations and extravagant vocabulary that capture the love of all readers.

Nancy Anderson wrote a book entitled, “What Should I Read Aloud? A Guide to 200 Best Selling Picture Books”. In her book, she outlines great book choices for children from age 1 to 8. Click here to listen to a podcast by a group of moms who divvied up the chapters of Anderson’s book and tried reading several of the recommendations with their own children. You can hear their discussion and the input of a popular children’s author, Jane Yolen (the author of “How Do Dinosaurs…” series) too.

Most importantly, go with what your child enjoys – follow their interests. If you know what your child is interested in, but are unsure of what books would match - ask an expert! Children’s librarians (at Cherry Valley and King County libraries) are excellent resources. You can always ask me too! I am always here to lend book advice! Also, here is a pamphlet on how to help match books to children.

So as the rain falls outside (again!), cozy up with your child(ren) and dive into the world of picture books. You will not only build their reading skills, but you create a lifetime of memories as well.

Happy Monday!

Lisa Powers

Monday’s Mentionable

I plan to update the blog weekly with tidbits for families working with students, primarily focusing on literacy.

Monday’s tips will be entitled, “Monday’s Mentionable”, with the hope that you find some information worth mentioning to someone else! :)

Family Dinnertime
Here is the first Monday Mentionable:

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to Beverly Pressey speak about children and nutrition at Lake Washington Technical College. She spoke about the importance of family meal time. The statistics are clear: kids who dine with the folks are healthier, happier and better students. There are plenty of articles on the subject. Here is one I liked in The New York Times. 

Harvard University’s Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development shows that “table talk” during the early years is related to children’s academic achievement. PBS has great age-specific articles that can help you take advantage of everyday routines, such as dinnertime, to help your children learn more about their world, while laying the foundation for their language and literacy development.   

Here are some of their suggestions:
* Find the time: Make time to eat altogether. If you cannot find time to sit everyone down, do sit with your child when they eat. Take time out to talk and share.

* Remove distractions: To encourage good conversation, you must remove those distractions! No TV, laptops, or smart phones – that goes for everyone at the table (adults included!)

* Include everyone in the conversation and practice turn-taking: The conversation should include all family members. Practice the “give and take” of conversation.

* Talk and share: Take time to tell stories, new or old. Children love to hear stories of when adults were little, like them.

* Ask genuine questions about your child’s daily activities and experiences.

* Be a facilitator, not a director.

* Eat and play: For example, name 4 objects – 3 of which are in the same category and one that is different. Ask your child to name the object that does not fit.

I hope some of this entry will inspire you to try family mealtimes or add a dimension to what you are already doing.

Have a good week, everyone!


Welcome to the Learning Place!

Please subscribe to our blog by clicking on the “subscribe” link. This way you will receive all our updates directly to your mailbox!

The purpose of this blog is to provide families with ideas for working with children primarily in the area of reading. We will share tips, articles, resources, and events! We hope that you find the information helpful as you continue to support your child’s learning at home.


The Learning Place Staff