Ask Dr. Blank: Sounding It Out

”Sounding out” is probably the single most common piece of advice that adults offer to children to help them learn to read. Unfortunately, for many children, it is not an effective strategy. What are some signs that “sounding out” may not be proving useful to your child?  One key sign is a failure to retain the word once it has…

Schools Beat Earlier Plagues With Outdoor Classes. We should, too.

In the early years of the 20th century, tuberculosis ravaged American cities, taking a particular and often fatal toll on the poor and the young. In 1907, two Rhode Island doctors, Mary Packard and Ellen Stone, had an idea for mitigating transmission among children. Following education trends in Germany, they proposed the creation of an open-air schoolroom. Within a matter of…

Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019

CDC has created recommendations to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease. Children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a…

Children’s books to read: My Life as a Book

“My Life as a Book” by Janet Tashjian is one of our favorite children’s books to read. Melissa Gaynor of Sweet on Books explains why: What You Need to Know: • A funny, entertaining, clever novel about a 12 year-old boy struggling with reading.• The impressive illustrations that appear throughout the book were drawn by the author’s fifteen year old son.•…

Taking Ella Up the Wall

By Andy Kirkpatrick for adventure-journal.com It’s 4 a.m. and I’m wide awake, coming round with a start in a hot motel in Mariposa, my first thought being, “She did it!” Ella, my 13-year-old daughter, is sleeping in the bed next to me as only a teenager could, a sleep so deep it would take an earthquake to break it, and…

Ask Dr. Blank: Sight Words: What We Fail to See

“Oh he knows some sight words, but he really can’t read” This is an observation often offered by both parents and teachers about young children. Contained within it is a central, albeit hidden, assumption; namely, that “sight words” represent an inferior form of reading –a form that falls short of “real reading.” Is this, in fact, the case? This interpretation…