Posted by: cindybiz | June 27, 2011

Summer, here we come!

Summer is here….are you ready??  I am looking forward to a relaxed schedule….taking my time in the morning, enjoying the sunshine and renting a cottage at the beach! But according to an ad for a tutoring service, this all could be DANGEROUS….?? A child can’t take 2 months off of school!! They, of course, have a solution….for you to sign up your child for a few hours a week with their service.

I would propose a different (inexpensive) approach…reading books and enjoying the world! Summer is such an excellent time to take a breath and enjoy your kids and share with them a few things you have not had time to do during the busy school year. Check out local festivals (we have all kinds of them here in London….lots of different cultures to learn about), go mini golfing (lots of angles in that sport….hmm…real life application of math??), road trips (SO much learning can happen in the van….there are lots of games to be played to pass the time…or maybe a book on cd?) and even walks in the neighbourhood can be fun (we have been thinking of re-do our garden….it is amazing how many plants you see when you start observing).

If you want to be a bit more formal, I don’t think you need to pay to have folks teach your children….here are some other summer ideas we have done in the past. What have you done to keep the learning going??

So….while I would disagree with the choice of the word “dangerous” in the tutoring ad, I would agree that the learning needs to continue….and in our house it does….hope you have a wonderful summer of learning where you are too!

Posted by: cindybiz | June 6, 2011

Teaching Children….Whose job is it?

I can across this blog post recently (via another excellent blog Read Aloud Dad ) that got me thinking….while I may not agree with everything on this woman’s blog, I DO agree with this post!

Teaching Children….Whose job is it? found on Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

Let me know what you think??

Posted by: cindybiz | March 9, 2011

Hearing how others do it….

Have your children caught on to reading quickly? Or have they struggled. I found this article about a mom of twins and her journey to help her boys read….

Help for Struggling Readers by Marianne Hering

When my twin boys began learning to read, I discovered that success came more slowly for some kids than for others. At the end of six months, one son was reading Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad books; my other son still couldn’t sound out the word it. I sought a reading specialist for advice. Here’s what helped us: … the rest of the article here….

Do you have a reluctant or challenged reader?? What ideas have you tried?? What worked? What didn’t??  Other would love to hear about your journey, I am sure!!

For more great articles on children and family, check out Thriving Family!

Posted by: cindybiz | January 24, 2011

Family Literacy Day….what does that mean to you?

If you do a quick google search, you will find a lot of special days on the calendar to celebrate this or that….and quite a few special days to emphasize literacy too. I like the opportunity to take a day to remember the importance of something….with the idea that it is the beginning of starting a habit of remembering the importance of that something every day!

I have been pondering why literacy is so important…or is it?? Why is it more important than say, the times tables?? or the periodic table? I think it is one of those basic, fundamental skills that is required to acquire all other skills. Think about it…if you want your children to make a difference in the world, how do you visualize that? Are there certain careers that you see as making a huge impact on the world (doctor, lawyer, missionary or, dare I say, mom?), think about the unifying factor….being able to learn and communicate via the written word. It is absolutely fundamental.

And, there is a direct correlation between good literacy skills and higher income….and I am not one to say that money is everything, but it DOES make a difference when you share it with others. One thing I did this Christmas was put my money where my mouth was and donated to Compassion Canada through purchasing an Education package. It is a way to help others understand the joy (and importance) of literacy! So thankful for organizations like Compassion Canada that desire to help children learn these important skills, so in turn they can help others in their own country learn as well! As the saying goes….give a man a fish, he eats for a day….teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime! Awesome!

So…how can YOU make the greatest impact on the world??? It is my opinion that it is through making sure our children have these most basic and fundamental skills….reading and comprehending well! I hope you take some time this week to read to your children…after all, this is the first step to changing the world!!

Love to hear your stories of literacy…how has it impacted your life? your children’s lives? All stories welcome!!

Want ideas on how to celebrate? Check this out!

Photo Credit: popofatticus

Posted by: cindybiz | October 1, 2010

Boys and reading….

EXCELLENT article in the Wall Street Journal about boys and reading….


When I was a young boy, America’s elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can’t read. more….

Posted by: cindybiz | September 27, 2010

Reading for meaning….

Do your children read well?? If so…that is good! But a more important question is, are they understanding what they are reading?? Here is an article that talks about the importance of comprehension…and steps to take to make sure it is happening!

Reading with Understanding

My first year of teaching was as a first grade teacher and I thought I was prepared for teaching reading and reading comprehension skills to children -and I probably was. What I was not prepared for was the realization that even though I was good at teaching reading and reading comprehension skills, I could only do so much. Each student’s brain had to make sense of the reading and reading comprehension skills they were being taught and I had no control of whether this would happen or not. Most of my student’s brains did make the required neural connections and they began reading, but some did not.

One of the epiphanies I had early in my career is that children can be excellent readers and not understand or have any reading comprehension related to what they have read. This phenomenon is known as word calling. Word callers have word recognition skills and can decode – sounds words out, but they pay little attention to the meaning of the words. In other words, they have inadequate reading comprehension skills. They may also have very good visual memory skills and be able to remember what the visual configuration of words. As a new teacher, I was surprised students could read words but not answer questions about what they had just read.

Research has shown that children who have good reading comprehension skills know how to be involved in thinking about what they are reading and not just reading words. What this says to teachers, whose responsibility it is to teach reading comprehension skills, is they need to teach children reading comprehension strategies. Some of the most effective research-based strategies are teaching children:

1) to think about personal experiences related to what they are reading,

2) to look at the text to discover how it has been organized – what happened first, next, and last,

3) to look at pictures and the text to make predictions about what will happen next,

4) to conjure up mental pictures that reflect what they are reading,

5) to make deductions or draw conclusions about what they are reading,

6) to pay attention to special symbols such as punctuation, and

7) to check their understanding often.

Had I known about these kinds of strategies for teaching children reading comprehension skills when I was a new teacher, I think I would have been more successful with those few students who didn’t learn to read with initial instruction. I did learn how to support reading comprehension skill development as I matured as a teacher and as I continued my education in reading and special education.

Want more ideas? Click here!

What is your experience with this? Have you found your child reading AND understanding?? Love to hear your stories!

Posted by: cindybiz | September 22, 2010

Adopt a school…

A fellow Usborne consultant pointed me in the direction of this program by Indigo called “Adopt a School”….love the concept! Check it out here.

Do you know of any programs in your area to get books into schools (or other organizations)? Post a link in the comments to share them! Any way to get books into kid’s hands is important!

Posted by: cindybiz | September 1, 2010

Off to college…

A whole new world

Back to school time and so much on the news is how to prepare our kids for this experience…but what about college…and what about college for those who have grown up overseas or were educated at home?!

I thought the following checklist was a little different take on the list for college/university. It is from the perspective of preparing your MK (Missionary Kid), who has grown up in a non-North American environment….but I thought the list applied to ALL young adults trying to move from a “known world” of high school or homeschool to the “unknown world” of college! I know I found it helpful!

Ideally, a student entering college will demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:

1. Emotional stability: possesses the self-confidence needed to initiate relationships, make decisions, and enter into US society.

2. Practical knowledge: possesses the skills needed for independent living in the US such as driving, banking, and conducting ordinary business.

3. Spiritual development: demonstrates the maturity to associate with a local church, as well as the spiritual discernment and personal morality to cope with temptation in a world of freedom.

4. Financial responsibility: handles money well, understands and uses a budget, saves up money prior to making a purchase, and understands the cost of living on one’s own.

5. Communication/Social skills: demonstrates confidence initiating conversations and can clearly yet tactfully articulate needs, feelings, opinions, and suggestions.

6. Responsible behavior: accomplishes what is expected without outside prodding, completes tasks in a timely fashion, recognizes and voluntarily does household chores, rarely makes excuses, and initiates communication with the responsible person when he or she cannot complete a task as expected.

7. Identity awareness: has a healthy understanding of who one is, knows own strengths and weaknesses, and demonstrates appropriate autonomy.

8. Decision making: understands the decision-making process, accepts the consequences of decisions, and learns from mistakes.

9. Work ethic: understands the commitments of employment, importance of arriving on time, not using work time for personal activities, and avoiding unauthorized use of equipment and materials.

10. Time management: balance between studies and social activities; not unduly stressed out by responsibilities, and makes good decisions about sleep, proper food and recreation.

I would love to hear your thoughts on things that YOU have done to prepare your child for college/university…or even just life after high school!

Thank you to Mercy Ships for this list!

Posted by: cindybiz | August 11, 2010

Reading together…

Reading with our children is a wonderful experience…for them and for us! Here are some tips to help make your time even more memorable!

Reading with your child

  1. Establish a routine so that there is time for your child to read with you as well as time for reading to your child.
  2. Show interest in what your child wants to read to you.
  3. Beginning readers need to use their finger to point to words as they read.
  4. Be supportive, giving “wait time” for your child to figure out tricky words.
  5. Beginning readers may want you to read to them first before they try to read the selection alone the second time through. This works well for some children.
  6. Encourage children to use the following strategies in the following order when they come to words that they don’t know:
    • look at the picture for a clue.
    • skip the unknown word and read to the end of the sentence,
    • go back and re-read to see what word would make sense, sound right and start with the same letter.
    • ask for help.
  7. Encourage your child to re-read stories in order to develop fluency and expression.

Reading to your child

  1. Establish a routine with a set time and place, and stick to it as much as possible.
  2. Relax and chose a comfortable spot for reading.
  3. Let your child choose the book.
  4. Glance through the book together before you read. Talk about the title, author and pictures.
  5. Be sure that your child can see the pictures and follow the print. Snuggle up.
  6. Have the story come to life by using expression. Enjoy this time together.
  7. Let your child:
    • help hold the book.
    • turn the pages.
    • look at and talk about the pictures with you.
    • read with you or fill in words and phrases that he/she knows. This works especially well with a rhyming book.
    • ask you questions along the way. Listening to you read and asking questions helps a child figure out how the world works.
    • listen to a favourite book over and over.
  8. When the book is finished, have a chat about what the story was about.

– Erica Schubart, primary/resource/LA teacher, Port Alberni

Thanks to the BC Teachers’ Federation for these ideas!

What memories do you have of reading to your children?? We would love to hear them!!

Posted by: cindybiz | July 27, 2010

Look who’s reading…

I am a fan of Dave Ramsey. He is just so “tell it like it really is”!! AND he is a big proponent of reading too! Take a look at his recent blog post for his thoughts on the topic… Dave’s thoughts…enjoy…and let me know what YOU think too!

Hope you are enjoying the summer!!

Photo credit: _FXR

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