Category Archive:
Teaching and learning principles

Beware The Age Of Rudeness

beware the age of rudeness

“Ever since Jill started first grade, she’s become louder, messier, and not as kind as she was in kindergarten. I think her first grade classroom must be the reason she is the way she is,” Jill’s mother, Paula, said. Susan, a former kindergarten and first-grade teacher, smiled. “Paula, I heard this every year. What’s happening […]


Why Establish Routines?

why establish routines

Establishing routines with our children is an effective and powerful way to set boundaries. Setting limits helps our children feel safe, and allows them the freedom to focus on skill building and learning. Our routines, though, may have unintended consequences. If we spend the morning reminding, organizing and coercing our children in order to get […]


Know Who Your Children Are

know who your children are

Summer nights, years ago, right before the news there was a public service announcement: It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are? What I’d like to hear today is this: Do you know who your children are? When parents or grandparents contact me asking for advice about how to handle a child who […]


The Importance Of The Hand In Language Development

hand language development

Why does your tongue stick out when you are trying to thread a needle? For most of us, when we are doing a job with our hands that requires fine motor control, such as threading a needle, our tongues will stick out involuntarily as we concentrate on the task at hand. It is as if […]


How Singing Helps Reading

singing helps reading

My earliest memory of reading is singing from the Baptist hymnal. I remember being four-and-a-half, standing next to my mother, moving my finger under each hyphenated syllable as we sang. This was a new honor, as my mother had always done that job. Now I could do it! I know that singing with the hymnal […]


Solving The Read Aloud Blues

read aloud blues

Kitchen Scene: Mom and Dad are getting dinner ready after a busy day. Soccer practice is in 45 minutes. Enter six-year-old with book.  “Mom! Dad! I have to read ten pages out loud to you tonight for homework!”  Mom and Dad look at each other and sigh.  Perhaps you have sat painfully listening to your […]


Preparing The Hand To Write

how to help with spelling

Six-year-old Michael had his head down on his writing paper, shoulders heaving with sobs. “I can’t do it. It’s too hard.” I knew he was right. It was too hard for him. As a teacher, I know and believe the more children write, the higher their reading level becomes. What would help him start to […]


Why Teach Two Alphabets When One Will Do?

why teach two alphabets

“What’s this word?” my students ask. “Oh, you know it.” I reply. “No, I don’t.” Then I give them the secret. “What if I told you it started with a capital letter?” For the beginning reader, we add an unnecessary difficulty to learning the letters and their sounds by introducing fifty-two letters when twenty-six is […]


Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude

How can we cultivate gratitude in ourselves and others?  A few years ago a friend of mine with young children asked my advice about how to help her children appreciate the good life they had, a life full of love and comfort. She told me that when she looked at the ads of children in […]


Obstacles To Reading

obstacles to reading

“My child is 7 years old and is not reading.” “Help! My child is ten years old and is reading on a second grade level”. “My 7th grader is making D’s and F’s. What can I do?” Over the years, many parents have asked for my help with their children’s academic progress. Time after time, […]