By Sarah Tiglao One of the best ways we can set our young children up for kindergarten and beyond is by introducing them to the alphabet and teaching letter sounds. This may sound intimidating to busy parents without training in education, but with a few tips, it can be easy and fun. Besides teaching the letters directly, one of the easiest ways to help kids learn the ABCs and understand their purpose is snuggling together while reading simple picture books and bringing the child’s attention . . .
By Karen Williams Grief can have a lasting effect on anyone, regardless of age. Like all of us, young children feel devastated if they lose someone precious to their heart. With the confusion of not understanding what's going on, they can be left without any idea of how to cope. Fortunately, there are many literary resources available for parents to help kids heal and manage their grief. Picture books about grief and loss are a powerful way to help younger children understand the . . .
MayaSmart.com is your one-stop-shop for raising a reader, from evidence-based early literacy advice to fun activities that support literacy learning and awesome free educational printables. And, of course, one of the best ways to raise a reader is to read to your child (and talk about books with them, even when they’re babies—learn more in our post about how to get the most out of your read-aloud time). That’s why we publish lots of kids’ book lists and book reviews with suggestions of great . . .
By Karen Williams Picture books are a fantastic way to broach topics of importance with your little ones, and one topic that could use more attention is the relationship between senior citizens and the community at large. Increasingly, children’s books are being published that paint the elderly and the aging process in a positive light—instead of focusing on frailty and diminished capacities. Interesting children’s books about seniors share the life experiences that shaped older . . .
By Andrea Hunt Want your kids to be kind, compassionate, and open-hearted? Then you’ll be pleased to know emotional intelligence, including empathy, is learnable. As parents, there’s a lot we can do to model and teach it to our children—from showing them how we engage with others in daily life to imaginative role play games. Still, there’s no one-and-done way to teach empathy to kids. It’s a gradual process, and (as parents can testify) younger children don’t always find it easy to understand . . .
By Courtney Runn There’s something so unifying in cheering on Olympic athletes as they strive for excellence on the world stage. The summer and winter Games also offer an opportunity to teach kids important lessons about resilience, teamwork, discipline, winning, and losing. So go for the gold during read-aloud time with these picture books about the Winter Olympics! Dive into the world of winter sports and join these storybook characters (real and fictional) as they glide along ice, soar . . .
By Maya Smart What does Santa Claus really look like? Nancy Redd’s new children’s book, The Real Santa, features one boy’s quest to find out. In today’s video, I chat with Nancy about this beautiful Christmas tale, the importance of representation in kids’ stories, and the behind-the-scenes process of creating a picture book. Watch the video of our conversation, or scroll down for the transcript. https://youtu.be/BK7DSYnmPts Thanks so much for joining us this afternoon. I'm so . . .
By Laila Weir When the holidays and school vacations roll around, they bring family time for many of us. Not just time with the members of your household—visits with extended family. Big gatherings and family meals. Going to stay with relatives, or hosting them at our homes. Grandparents visiting or coming to stay. Cousins, aunts, uncles. So. Much. Family. Gathering and reconnecting with loved ones near and far, within and across generations, is a source of great joy. It can also represent . . .
By Andrea Hunt Tempted to write off empathy as a “soft” skill? Think again. Today, understanding and being sensitive to others’ feelings and perspectives is seen as a new “superpower” across fields from education and business to science and technology. And it’s credited with everything from increased personal satisfaction and creativity to better leadership and negotiation skills. As Barack Obama put it, “Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.” But empathy is on . . .
By Chrysta Naron I’m a teacher, and as November approaches, parents often ask me to recommend books by Native American authors or with Native American characters. I always have a list handy. But it got me thinking: Why now; why November? Well, we know the answer, of course. Thanksgiving. It’s generally the only time of year schools and media celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Americans to the current version of this nation. What’s more, many kids’ Thanksgiving books tell a . . .