By Chrysta Naron “Once I unlocked the mystery of the alphabet that led to words, a multitude of words connecting me to the world, there was no stopping me.” —Gloria Naylor Every word in the entire English language, every word your child will ever read or say, is made up of only 26 letters. Learning the alphabet is the gateway to reading, but in order to master it, kids need to relate the letters to their names, sounds, and to real-world objects. This is the way letters become more than . . .
By Maya Payne Smart The idea of reading to children daily is deeply entrenched in American culture, even if the practice hasn’t completely taken hold. Books advising parents on creating family reading routines, and recommending what to read to kids when, have flourished since the 1930s. Raise-a-reader stories are standard features of parenting magazines and blogs. Schools, teachers, and community organizations all tout the benefits of reading to kids. My local grocery store chain even . . .
By Laila Weir To set kids up for long-term success and get them kindergarten-ready, it’s important to introduce them to letters early and often. Repetition is key to really fixing these all-important squiggles into their memories, as is exposing them to letters in a variety of contexts. But as any parent knows, small children have a whole lot of energy to let out of their systems. Getting our little ones outside keeps them healthy and happy—and offers a welcome shot at tiring them . . .
By Chrysta Naron May is the time to celebrate and lift up the mothers and mother figures in our lives. But rather than just limiting our celebration to one day, let’s make a DIY Mother’s Day gift that lets them know how much we appreciate them every day. I love to kick off most kid projects with, you guessed it…a book! While there are many incredible picture books for this special day, I am particularly fond of A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams. Most other Mother’s Day books focus . . .
By Laila Weir We have a saying in our family of three children: Siblings are friends for life. But along the way to that lifelong relationship are plenty of challenges, competition, and complicated feelings. Encouraging first children to get excited for an upcoming sibling, and then supporting both younger and older children through the emotional ups and downs of their relationship, will help them develop that special bond. And a well-selected book is among parents’ most powerful . . .
By Tulani Thomas In my family, Earth Day is every day. We strive to cherish our planet and never take it for granted. Every day we can do small acts that make a big difference: This is the ethos that I have always taught my children. I try to incorporate nature-friendly living into so many areas of our lives that it becomes second nature (pun intended). We turn the lights off when leaving a room, use reusable water bottles, turn the water off when brushing our teeth, and, yes, eat loads of . . .
By Sarah Tiglao Earth Day presents a great opportunity to teach our children to care for the planet, but finding the way to explain these complex issues to young ones can be difficult. Read on for fun literacy-building activities that will help your children develop a love for the planet and foster their budding belief in their ability to help make the world a better place. Sharing a good book with our little ones provides one of the best ways to teach young kids about important topics . . .
By Karen Williams As we spend more time at home, it’s increasingly common to feel isolated and lonely. Many of us, parents and children included, are spending less time socializing with our friends and families, and more time feeling more disconnected from others. This is especially true for older adults, particularly those in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. If you’re looking for an easy at-home literacy activity for your child, writing a letter or card to a senior is a . . .
By Courtney Runn Libraries are a lifeline to their communities. With free WiFi, technology, programming, and—of course—books, they’re also a refuge for many. Libraries not only support reading skills but also equip vulnerable populations like the formerly incarcerated with the tools necessary to learn technology and find jobs, narrowing gaps in internet literacy as well as actual literacy. In The Library Book, Susan Orlean beautifully sums up their function: “All the things that are wrong . . .
By Chrysta Naron It’s that time of year. We’re packing our suitcases, putting on the sunscreen, and eating Goldfish crackers aplenty! But all that time in cars or planes can be tedious for little ones, so how do you keep them occupied? Games, of course! Here are a few of my favorite educational road trip games for kids, to keep your children engaged and learning while you travel. All of them are free or cheap, require little to no prep work, and fit into a backpack or purse. Happy . . .