How Can You Make Your Kids Read More This Summer?

    I'm sure that most of you struggle with coaxing your children to read during summer vacation.  Even though I am a teacher, my kids would much rather ride their bikes outside and play on their tablets than read any day.  Believe me, teachers' kids are just as good as at other kids at getting out of doing anything that is remotely related to school work.     The truth is that I don't even read as much as I used to because I am just so busy most of the time.  However, I can tell you that reading is the foundation of everything that your kids will every do in school and it is important to encourage them to read as much as they can.     Doing so will help them with their fluency, which is the ability to pronounce words properly when they are reading aloud.  Also, reading frequently helps kids with their comprehension and their ability to clearly understand what is taking place in the text.     So here is the million dollar question, just how can we all get our kids to read more when … [Read more...]

Get Your Kids Excited About Reading! #Literacy #Education

    One of the most frequent questions that I get asked as an educator by parents is how they can get their kids to read more.  It seems that in this fast-paced, technologically advanced world that we currently live in, taking the time out to read a book has become something of an anomaly.  Unfortunately, it is something that I witness regularly with my own students as it is a daily struggle to get them to read.     Many parents blame themselves for this but, the reality is that the Internet and the easy access that we now have to all kinds of information has decreased our attention span for reading to a certain extent.  When I let my students go on the computers in my classroom they immediately become engaged but I rarely see the same enthusiasm when I put books in front of them.  As a parent, I also worry about whether my children are spending enough time reading.     There are many reasons why reading is such an important part of a child's academic and social development.  Reading … [Read more...]

10 Things I Learned This School Year…

       The end of the school year is finally upon us.  Tomorrow is the last day of school for all New York City public school students.  It is a bitter-sweet time for me because I am saying goodbye to students that I have taught for the last two years for seventh and eighth grade.  This time has really allowed me to develop meaningful relationships with these kids and get to really know them.     I would be lying, however, if I didn't admit that I am ecstatic at the prospect of going on summer vacation and having two whole months off with my sons to make up for lost time that I did not get to spend with them throughout the year while I am working and they are in school.  To mark the end of the academic year, I would like to reflect on some of the things that my students taught me this year.  So, without further ado, here are...  10 things I learned in the 2010-2011 school year: 1.  One can never be too cautious about personal hygiene so, when in doubt, it is okay to apply … [Read more...]

I Was Wrong…

 Earlier this year, I had a couple of run-ins with my son's teacher.  She is a veteran teacher who has been teaching in parochial schools for decades and I felt that she antiquated and was placing emphasis on areas of my son's academic development that I did not consider to be overly important, namely penmanship.  Since I am a teacher, I suppose some of it had to do with my own ego about being younger and more up to date on the latest teaching practices.I actually went back and forth with her a few times expressing my concerns over her teaching practices and her responses were somewhat dismissive which only further infuriated me.  Eventually, I even spoke to the Principal and generally made an ass of myself.  The reason I say this is that I have actually grown to respect and appreciate this teacher as the year has progressed.  This post is basically the written version of me "eating crow."My demise probably began during parent teacher conferences last Fall.  I sat in the … [Read more...]

TMI!

        As most of you already know, I have been an English Language Arts Middle School teacher for the past ten years.  All of that time has been spent teaching inner city public school students.  I can tell you that everyday of teaching this age group is an adventure for a variety of reasons...First, they are at that age where they think that they are grown-ups and that they know everything.  Second, they are full of hormones that sometimes make them lose their minds and say and do things that are shocking to us adults.     Today, as I was teaching and interacting with my students, I thought that you guys would enjoy reading some of the things that my Darlings tell me on a daily basis.  So, without further ado, I present you with "Middle Schooler Quotes" courtesy of my students:"Mrs. C, I can't help eating candy and chewing gum in class.  The gum calls out to me and tells me, "Please chew me!""Miss, could you please talk to "R."  He just licked my notebook and my … [Read more...]

Read Them The Way

This evening, I was listening to my seven year old son read aloud as part of his homework. I couldn't help but think to myself that he is a much better reader than some of my students in the eighth grade. You would not believe how many teenagers these days barely know how to read. We could spend days debating back and forth about what the reasons are for this. The truth is that, in most cases, a love of literature begins very early in childhood and is a direct result of the literacy behaviors that children have observed being modeled by their parents or legal guardians.As a Literacy teacher, I knew early on how important it was to expose my boys to a variety of texts regularly. This included reading to both of them aloud in the evenings as well as discussions about the book before and after reading it. Many parents make the mistake of simply reading books to their children but not discussing their content and asking questions about what the story was mostly about. While reading … [Read more...]