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Parent engagement

Not goodbye, but see you later!

It’s impossible for me to believe that I started blogging for Reading Rockets in January, 2007. My girls were 5 and 7 then, and our days were filled with preschool celebrations and I Can Read chapter books. Fast forward 7 years and we’re firmly entrenched in middle school and more dystopian and realistic fiction than I could possibly read.

Working through online issues

I shouldn't be surprised — but I am — by some of the online issues we're facing around our house. I'm wondering if any of you have faced these questions, and how you're handling them? Please comment in to let me know!

Much ado about media

Screen time for young kids has been in the news a lot lately. The last few days of October gave us two new resources on the topic of children's media use.

First, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidance on managing children's and adolescents' media use. Access to the new policy requires a subscription to the American Academy of Pediatrics, but the press release provides a glimpse into the thinking:

How schools can help parents

I read an article in Slate last week called Parents Left Behind that resonated with me. The author writes of her back-to-school night experience: "The evening passed in a blur of acronyms, test names, and emendations to last year's system." Then I experienced my own first middle-school back to school night, and left feeling a little "behind" myself.

Take note of chronic absences

This September marks the first-ever Attendance Awareness Month in schools and communities. Attendance Works, one sponsor of the month, is a national and state initiative that promotes awareness of the important role that school attendance plays in achieving academic success starting with school entry. According to their site, absences of as little as 10% can have a real impact on a child's achievement in elementary school.

Resources for parents of kids with special needs: Back-to-school edition

Parents of kids with special needs, whether a child has learning or physical differences, often have additional considerations and worries to contend with during back to school time. I've gathered a few resources that may smooth over a bump or two and get you started on your advocacy efforts for the year.

Back to school with small gestures

It's the time of year where parents buy lunchbox snacks, kids stuff blank composition books into stiff backpacks, and teachers stand at their classroom door waiting to greet their new class. Happy back to school!

Your kids are watching you watch TV

A study from the journal Pediatrics published online July 15, 2013, reports an important — but perhaps not surprising — relationship between parents' and children's television viewing. The study set out to determine whether the amount of TV parents watch has an effect on the amount children watch. Using an online survey, more than 1,500 parents and 620 adolescents provided information about their media access and typical weekday and weekend viewing habits (viewing included TV and computer screens).

Poverty and planning skills

A recent study in the journal Child Development suggests a link between students living in poverty and poor planning skills that extends into several academic areas, including math and reading. Using scores from a strategic puzzle-based task that requires advance planning and tactical moves, researchers found that scores on the planning task in Grade 3 predicted children's reading and math outcomes at Grade 5, even while controlling for IQ.

Summer, summer, summertime! How parents can support Common Core

It drives me CrAzY each year when kids enter into third grade, and it becomes clear that we have to review previous content to get them up to speed. It is such a loss of valuable learning time! If I have to spend so much time reviewing content from the prior grade, for me it begs the question: "Do I have a different definition of mastery than other teachers?" If students have two months off, should they really be that far behind if they have truly "mastered" the content? Just food for thought.

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"Wear the old coat and buy the new book." — Austin Phelps