Children need social face-to-face interaction to learn language.

October 19, 2011

“Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language” http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2016472193_
speaks to the many benefits of babies growing up bilingual and it also speaks to the social, face to face interaction children need to learn language. Research has shown that exposing English-language infants to someone speaking to them in Mandarin helped those babies preserve the ability to discriminate Chinese language sounds, but when the same “dose” of Mandarin was delivered by a television program or an audiotape, the babies learned nothing.

The groundwork for childhood literacy begins at birth. Parents, caregivers & other adults need to be mindful of the significance and importance of their communicative model: eye contact, body language, over all feed back. The world of distracted and multi-tasking adults along with children using gadgets does NOT foster the type of interaction that stimulates the brain to learn language. Many of the skills children need to be ready to learn to read are first learned in conversation. Vocabulary is the lynchpin to literacy and  a child who enters school with a vocabulary of 22, 000 words, words learned in the course of normal conversation is well prepared to be a successful learner.

High performing students need high quality teaching.

October 6, 2011

Bill Keller’s “The University of Wherever” (NYT 10.3.201) highlights the fact that technology-centric schooling does not improve basic learning. The question becomes what kind of classroom best teaches kids to think, calculate, and invent? Classrooms in countries with the highest-performing students contain very little tech wizardry and emphasis is on pedagogical practices rather than digital […]


Celebrate Banned Book Week 2011

September 24, 2011

Banned book week, September, 25- October 2, 2011 is one of my all time favorite literary events. Each year I am proud of how many banned or challenged books I count as my favorites. Often it is these very books that change the way I see the world. In my mind, that is a pretty […]


Should books for children be scary, silly or sophisticated?

September 20, 2011

With Banned Book Week (September 24-October1) approaching, I find myself thinking about the benefits of subversive thinkers. Some of our most cherished authors have been rebels who railed against the norms of their day. Most notably in the field of children’s literature, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein come to mind. They all wrote […]


Too good to pass up: The trials and tribulations of a second grader

September 16, 2011

“It’s all learning—is fun and invented spelling, and then—bam!—second grade.” 


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