Friday, September 20, 2013

Visit Your Local Library

"Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find the answers. And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors for learning are always open."
--Laura Bush

A great resource for parents, educators and caregivers is the library. For parents of young children, I highly suggest taking them to Story Time at your local library. Story time is a wonderful way to get your students interacting with books, other children and to have some fun. Plus, you can connect with other adults in your community as well. The library is a great resource for Spanish speakers too. At my library there is a weekly Spanish Story Time and and books in Spanish for children.

There is a sweet little library that just opened last year in my community and I wanted to share the children's area...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Create a Reading Routine

Image Credit:
One way to incorporate reading into your busy life is to build it into your nightly bedtime routine.

When I was young and my mom would read me a story before bed. I remember feeling so excited about the stories we would read -- lots of Berenstain Bears and many other wonderful children's books. After getting ready for bed, my mom and I would snuggle next to each other and she would sweetly read me. I had so much fun finding out what Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Sister and Brother Bear were up to. Mom always had the perfect voice for each of the characters and to this day, I believe that no one else can read them as good as her.

Our nightly routine fostered my love of reading and a positive attitude towards literacy (also I was more compliant about getting ready for bed with this wonderful routine!). I hold those times of reading with my mom dear to my heart. Reading a book to a child is not a chore, but a time to create long lasting beautiful memories.

For new parents, caregivers or educators. I want to share this great website I found that has a suggested nightly routine schedule: Establishing a Bedtime Routine on

Perhaps reading at night doesn't fit into your schedule or even your preferred routine, but this is just one way you can get more reading time in with your child/children. This routine is not only important for Pre-K children but throughout their elementary years. suggests spending 15 minutes per day reading aloud with your children. Whether this is at bedtime or some time of the day. I urge you to make this effort. All of the minutes you spend reading with your children positively affects their learning development and attitudes about reading. Plus, it's a great way for you to bond with your child. Check out 's awesome graphic on their campaign for all parents/caregivers/guardians to read with children 15 minutes per day.

What book will you read with your child today?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pre-K Literacy Goals

"The process of becoming literate is not a one-time event that begins when children start formal schooling and reading instruction in kindergarten or first grade. Rather, the acquisition of literacy occurs as part of a developmental continuum that begins early in life, as early as birth and the first attempts at communication between a parent and child." -- Birth to Five Literacy Plan, Oregon

As stated in the above quote, preparing children for kindergarten is a process that begins many years before entry into formal schooling. Young children need opportunities to be active in learning, which will help them develop emergent skills for kindergarten. According to the Birth to Five Literacy Plan of Oregon, these are the emergent/readiness skills that pre-k children need to acquire:
  • Recognizing letters of alphabet
  • Identifying beginning sounds of words
  • Identifying primary colors
  • Counting to 20
  • Writing own name
  • Amount of time read prior to kindergarten
  • Accumulated experience with words also lists goals for  pre-k children -- important skills that they should obtain prior to kindergarten. These goals are worked on in many preschools across the United States. Here some that are listed on the website:
  • Simple sentence structure
  • Ways to handle a book
  • Numbers and prewriting skills, shape identification, letter recognition, sounds and rhyming
  • Oral language skills
  • Vocabularies
  • Conversations with other children and adults
  • Proficiency in language
  • Literacy skills related to writing and reading
  • Letters of the alphabet
  • Listening to comprehension
  • Motivation to read
  • Print awareness
  • Ways to use and appreciate books
Being knowledgeable about the skills that pre-k children need to acquire gives a sense of purpose to the time and type of literacy activities that parents/guardians provide for their children. The amount of time in literacy activities in the early years greatly affects the the child for the rest of his or her life: "...a poor reader at the end of first grade has an .88 probability of being a poor reader at the end of fourth grade" (Juel, 1988, Birth to Five Literacy Plan of Oregon) A poor reader in the elementary years leads to the likelihood that the child will eventually drop out of high school due to not meeting the basic expectations or state standards. High school drop outs often become engaged in negative behavior such as drug abuse, teen pregnancy and can get arrested for poor choices.*

The bottom line: Parents/guardians must consistently engage their children in quality, meaningful and engaging activities to boost literacy skills. Being a literate individual prior to kindergarten greatly affects ones academic achievement for the rest of his or her school career, and ultimately success in life.

Keeping these goals and skills in mind for young learners, I will provide parents, guardians and educators with resources and advice this month.

Go read with your children! :)

*Many thanks to the Birth to Five Literacy Plan for excellent information for my blog post

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Focus: Preparing Pre-K Children for Kindergarten

As children from all over the country are starting their new school year, I want to focus this month on how parents/guardians can prepare their young children for learning how to read in kindergarten.

The kind of support that a child does or does not receive when they are young can greatly affect them for the rest of their school career. Parental/Guardian support is critical in the early years. With that said, socioeconomic status is a major factor in the amount support that children will receive when they are young and as they go through their elementary, middle and high school years. I am an advocate for free resources for all parents/guardians, access to high quality texts, free literacy programs for children and for all educators to be knowledgeable of strategies to help children that come from disadvantaged backgrounds. I also feel as though their are little excuses for parents/guardians [who have the means to provide for their children's basic needs] -- they need to be active in engaging their children in literacy activities.

These startling statistics should have educators, parents and educator stakeholders alarmed:

37% of children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning 1

By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive skills than their peers 2

Across the nation just under half of children between birth and five years old (47.8%) are read to every day by their parents or other family members 3

The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to print 4

There are many more statistics on, where I found these. So many compelling statistics. All children deserve good quality books from a young age, time and attention to literacy from adults and literacy support throughout their school career. 

1 - Laundry, S.H. (2005). Effective Early Childhood Programs: Turning Knowledge Into Action. Houston, TX: University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston.

2- Raikes, H., Pan, B.A., Luze, G.J., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S., Brooks-Gunn, J., Constantine, J., Tarullo, L.B., Raikes, J.A., Rodriguez, E. (2006). Mother-child bookreading in low-income families: Correlates and outcomes during the first three years of life. Child Development, 77 (4)

3- Russ, S., Perez, V., Garro, N., Klass, P., Kuo, A.A., Gershun, M., Halfon, N., Zuckerman, B. Reading Across the Nation: A Chartbook (2007): Reach Out and Read National Center, Boston MA.

4- Newman, Sanford et. al. (2000) Americans Child Care Crisis: A Crime Prevention Tragedy, Fight Crime; Invest in Kids.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Quote from Lean In

"I have written this book to encourage women to dream big, forge a path through the obstacles, and achieve their full potential. I am hoping that each woman will set her own goals and reach for them with gusto. And I am hoping that each man will do his part to support women in the workplace and in the home, also with gusto. As we start using talents of the entire population, our institutions will be more productive, our homes will be happier, and the children growing up in those homes will no longer be held back by narrow stereotypes." 
--Sheryl Sandberg

(p. 171)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Recommendation: Lean In

Image Credit: Neen James

Book: Lean In: 
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Copyright: 2013
Publisher: Random House LLC
Type: Personal read, inspiration for all educators and in general
Where to get it: Library (always!), Powell's, Barnes & Noble and

More information: I highly suggest you watch her thought provoking TED talk that she gave in December 2010. She discusses the three points in her speech more thoroughly in her book.

Check out the website

Why ~

Men and women of any age and industry should read this book! Ms. Sandberg did an excellent job of discussing the importance of women progressing in the workforce and being able to also have a family. She does not claim that women can have it all, but that there can be more of a balance at home and at a work. I particularly liked how Ms. Sandberg advocated for more respect for men as well as for women. Men need to feel as though they can be active in their home life without being marginalized at work.

Her book is incredibly insightful, engaging and honest. She brings light to a topic that is not talked about enough. Women hold very few top positions in companies and political positions around the globe. This needs to change because women need to be represented.  If you're a woman, you should read this book to be inspired and given practical advice. If you're a man, you should read this book for being reminded that women need your support in the work place and the home. Together, we can create a better future for generations after us -- erasing the social limitations on gender and creating a world where both men and women can have more satisfaction at home and at work.

Head to your local library or order a used copy!

Happy reading!