Shining Readers

Shine On and Shining Readers??? What’s in a name? Shine On came from my belief that all children can shine as they learn to read with engaging books, positive support, and practice.  And it takes lots of practice, especially at the beginning, with the right books. What does it mean – the “right books?” To me, the right books are … Read More

Purposeful Writing

Provide purposeful writing opportunities and students will write! Note the Elf on the Shelf sat atop some Goldfish with children’s letters gathering below. How fun and so unexpected! The first time the Elf appeared, she sat on the rim of a large, blue bucket with a plastic white-handled strap, holding her in. Part-way through the day, she started to lean … Read More

Teaching Prompts: Speak Lightly and Specifically, Words of Encouragement

As we begin a new school year, both as parents or guardians and teachers, let’s focus on what children can do. Strive to be a careful observer and attentive listener as we observe what they can do and in turn, use their strengths as a springboard to connect (link) to what they cannot accomplish yet. Notice the yet. What will … Read More

Choosing Books for your Child: Finding the “Right” or “Good Fit” Book

Parents and grandparents often ask me how do I find the right book for my child or grandchild. It depends on what is meant by “right” book. Book choice, personal interest in the subject matter, and purpose (Why am I reading this?) are critical to any reader. Without these attributes, reading may become a chore, a struggle to complete if … Read More

Travel . . . See the U.S.A.

I recently read, If you want to be an interesting person, read books. I would add, Live life. Life is short so think about how you really want to spend your time and spend it to the fullest. Rather than take time to reminisce about the “should ofs, would ofs,” take action on what you can do. No matter how … Read More

End-of-Year Testing and Preparation

Schools everywhere prepare students to take their end-of-year tests.  As we prepare students in test-taking strategies, let us continue to model and encourage students in comprehension strategies. This is what reading is really all about ~ to understand the words read and the author’s message, and to clarify any confusions. It’s critical to teach students how to synthesize the information … Read More

Little Free Libraries

Have you heard of a little free library?   Two years ago, I visited Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell University and Ithaca College, and spotted two or three of these literary gems. To me, they looked like over-sized birdhouses on poles but definitely cuter and filled with books. J. Robinson (2014) defined a free little library as “a neighborhood book exchange … Read More

Finding Inspiration to Write

Sometimes finding inspiration only takes a spark – a hint of something not yet manifested or an unanswered nudge.  Then if I pause, just for a moment, the idea slowly takes shape before it tumbles forth.  This makes me think of kayaking and how I hear the rapids before I see them.  I pause, listening, a whisper of running water, … Read More

Storytime at the Local Library

Once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open.   ~ Laura Bush Public libraries play an important role in their communities. Libraries provide a wealth of materials and resources as well as various services and programs, promoting literacy and improving the overall quality of life. Have you visited the public library recently? Last weekend, … Read More

Dr. Seuss – Happy Birthday!

On March 2nd, we honor one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time, Theodore Seuss Geisel, affectionately known as Dr. Seuss. Schools all across the United States prepare for a fun-filled day or possibly squeeze in fun yet purposeful activities all week long. Some of the students’ favorite activities include choosing Dr. Seuss books to read with a … Read More