By Karen Williams Showing support for independent bookstores is a noble cause, and a common way to do so is to simply visit the bookstore itself. But you can show support from home, too. Whether your goal is to avoid the crowds or get to know a bookstore outside your region, there are several ways you can support your favorite bookstore virtually. Buy books from online storefronts. Now more than ever, your favorite independent bookstores need your business. Many bookstores have the . . .
Many parents, especially bookish ones, long for their children to fall in love with reading. They read to their kids religiously, awaiting the day when their children take pleasure in selecting and reading books on their own. They hope that curling up in the company of a great book will beat out apps, games, and screen time on their kids’ list of preferred activities. But, alas, kids often show greater interest in other things. I know that my own daughter’s reading interest and . . .
By Karen Williams We’re witnessing a worldwide movement against police brutality, systemic racism, and oppression against black people in the United States. The protests, inspired by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery (to name a few), quickly went global, causing a renewed interest in books, art, and other creative works by and about black people in America. Many are seeking to educate themselves about black history and racism in the United States, and black . . .
Wordless picture books are excellent tools for practicing reading fluency. This crucial literacy skill is defined as the ability to read a text smoothly with rhythm, expression, and appropriate emotion—and it’s a key indicator of reading comprehension. I first came across this novel use of wordless picture books in The Megabook of Fluency by Tim V. Rasinski and Melissa Cheesman Smith, and it struck me as a great example of building crucial reading skills without directly reading. As such, . . .
By Maya Payne Smart In reading, as in conversation, it’s not just what we say, but how we say it that matters. The rhythm, pitch, and intonation someone brings to spoken words can convey meaning far beyond basic definitions. A shaky utterance might indicate fear or uncertainty. Changes in the pitch or speed of speech might accompany a compliment, signal anger, or communicate disappointment. Facial expressions and gestures, too, bring layers of interpretation and significance to . . .
By Karen Williams By nature, children are learners and discoverers. But there are some crucial skills—like letter shapes, names, and sounds—that parents should teach rather than wait for kids to sort out on their own. And the more fun and light-hearted the approach, the better. Try this neighborhood scavenger hunt activity to engage kids and have family fun outdoors. Getting outside, moving around, and boosting letter engagement is a win-win-win. Benefits include: Affordability. You . . .
I was late to embrace ebooks for kids. Convinced of the superiority of print books for young children, I joined multiple kids’ book-subscription programs and regularly stocked up on physical books at school book fairs, our local independent bookstore and public libraries to make it easy for my daughter to read more and more. But the inflow of books dwindled during my daughter’s second-grade year, with the coronavirus pandemic and the stay-at-home orders that followed. Our local library . . .
Stay-at-home orders resulting from the new coronavirus have got many of us holed up inside 24/7 with kids and partners. All that togetherness can mean lots of quality time, if we make it that way. Luckily, books can be heroes every family needs to experience wonder, connection, and enjoyment during long days spent indoors. Engaging texts keep independent readers happily occupied and create valuable time for parents to work, relax, or tackle household chores. Reading to yourself, reading . . .
Can you spell sesquipedalian? Well, the children featured in anthropologist Shalini Shankar’s Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success can. The elite competitors in the Scripps National Spelling Bee are largely of South Asian descent and, though born after 1996, exhibit intensity, skill, and poise rare in people twice their age. On stage, they spell obscure words with ease, backed by supportive parents and thousands of hours of practice. And these feats . . .
Every week, my daughter brings home a list of spelling words, along with a note on the spelling pattern the words exemplify. For example, a recent word list focused on examples of the short o sound spelled with an a following w or qu, e.g. squad, wash, and want. I appreciate that the words are organized around a single, specific spelling concept, so that any time spent on them reinforces a lesson she’s received. (Unlike thematic lists organized by holidays, seasons, or other topics that give . . .