By Chrysta Naron Anyone who’s watched educational videos with kids has probably seen one (or many) with the words printed at the bottom of the screen and a cheerful ball bouncing from word to word, guiding viewers along the text of a song or story. Other times, instead of a bouncing ball, the words might be highlighted, one by one, by a yellow box. The ball or box helps us follow along to the lyrics of “Hakunah Matata,” for example, or read along to Goldilocks and the Three . . .
By Penny Leigh Sebring As adults, many of us understand that gratitude is an important element of our mental and emotional well-being. Practicing gratitude and appreciation in our lives makes us happier as people. It reminds us to keep our eyes open to the wonders of the world and it helps us to be more resilient individuals. Expressing words of gratitude can improve our relationships with friends, family members, peers, and ourselves. And the benefits of gratitude can be seen just as . . .
By Laila Weir At MayaSmart.com, we’re all about supporting parents to raise readers by fostering literacy from day one—and all the days afterwards. Parents are uniquely positioned to help their kids build reading and writing skills that are best developed little by little over many years. Plus, the research shows that caregivers are an absolutely crucial part of the literacy equation. And a central tenet of the Maya Smart approach to raising readers is helping children learn through what . . .
By Chrysta Naron Knock knock. Who’s there? Boo! Boo who? Don’t cry. It’s only a joke! Or in this case, it’s only reading. Sometimes the OO spelling pattern can throw kids for a loop! The letters don’t make the short O sound (like hot) they learn to read first. And it doesn’t make the long O sound (like rope) that they know as the letter’s name. So just how can you teach your child the sounds that O makes when it’s doubled up? Play this . . .
By Mikee Mapalo Fun facts: Every word has at least one vowel, as does every syllable. (In fact, that’s the definition of a syllable: a word segment with a vowel sound!) Yet vowels are among the trickiest letters for kids learning to read, write, and spell. Every vowel can make a “short” sound, like A in cap, and a “long” sound, like A in cape. What’s more, they make different sounds when they’re doubled or combined with other vowels. Whew! Mastering all this takes practice, and as we . . .
By Chrysta Naron Arrr, me mateys! It’s the 19th o’ September, which means we be celebrating “Talk Like a Pirate Day!” For this silly and seaworthy occasion, we’re taking the opportunity to create a pirate treasure map reading activity and story time. And, along the way, we’ll be working on literacy and an important life skill: the ability to follow written directions. With that goal in mind, the treasure map we’ll be creating today isn’t any ordinary one. Instead of pictures, dotted lines, . . .
By Maya Payne Smart I woke up at 3 a.m. on the morning of my daughter’s return to full-time in-person school this year and cracked open Unwinding Anxiety by Dr. Judson Brewer. It seemed like the perfect book to help set the right tone for the long day ahead. I was anxious because it was my daughter’s first day at a new school in a new state. I was anxious because the school had sent a heads-up email the night before warning that there could be pick-up delays due to a bus driver shortage. . . .
By Chrysta Naron Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It has costumes, candy … and lots of ways to make learning fun. Building little moments of literacy practice into everyday activities is the best way for parents to raise a thriving reader. So we’ve put together some favorite tips for how to make Halloween a reading holiday. For many parents, teaching your child to read can feel a bit scary. But with these fun tricks, Halloween reading becomes a real treat (for kids—and their . . .
By Courtney Runn Whether you and your family root for your college team or love to watch your favorite NFL players, you’ll all be a fan of these football picture books! These sweet reads capture the magic of a fall day in the stadium: the excitement in the stands, the heartbreaking losses, the underdog victories, the athletic feats, and the inspiring stories of the players themselves. Aspiring football players and all sports fans—kids and adults alike—will enjoy learning about legendary . . .
By Mikee Mapalo Did you ever wonder why storybooks for kids are filled with illustrations or visuals? It’s because it’s proven that using illustrations alongside text helps in increasing children’s learning retention. According to Dr. Haig Kouyoumdjian, “Words are abstract and rather difficult for the brain to retain, whereas visuals are concrete and, as such, more easily remembered.” This is the power of visual imagery in learning. There are a lot of fun ways to encourage young kids to . . .