Reading, Learning and Education

Reading and all things literacy have been a big focus in our house over the last month or so. This focus has permeating my blog reading and as such this month’s highlights from the blogosphere are all about this too!

1. Three Ways To Ruin A Good Book

By Reading Rockets this post looks at the simple things that teachers and parents might do that take away the enjoyment of reading for kids.

2. Bring On The Educational Revolution

Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish. (Recorded at TED2010, February 2010 in Long Beach, CA. Duration: 16:48)

I find Sir Ken completely engaging and inspiring. Be sure to check out his other TEDtalk on why schools kill creativity.

3. Learning Is A Journey

I really enjoyed the analogy made by Deb at Science@Home:

A common way of thinking about learning is ‘the empty vessel’ – children’s minds begin empty and parents or teachers pour knowledge in until they are filled. Different children have larger or smaller vessels to allow them to learn more or less facts, and they may have wider or narrower necks to affect the speed of filling.

For a mother of five children, it is important for me to remember this and the way that I teach or interact with my children needs to reflect the way they learn.

4. The Best Children’s Book Ever

The Guardian’s list will not be agreed with by everyone, but it is still a great list of books, even if you don’t think they are the best ever! I like that it breaks down the list down into age group as follows and to see that there is a mix of classics and contemporary book listed:

Best books: 0-2 year-olds

Best books: 2-4 year-olds

Best books: 5-7 year-olds

Best books: 8-12 year-olds

Best books: 12-years-old and over

5. Ways To Raise A Writer

I love the simplicity of this activity by Classroom Talk. Maggie shows you how to put together a writing box and suggestions for a writing corner in the house.

6. The Importance of Reader Response

I couldn’t have a list on literacy with out including something from Trevor Cairney’s blog Literacy, Families and Learning. This post has a fantastic list of questions to help elicit a response from children on the text they have read including imagery, textual elements and ideology. Very helpful for parents as well as teachers!

7. Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover

My lovely friend Julie sent me the link to this video. She is also a big fan of the TEDtalks. Although Dan Meyer is talking about how mathematics is taught in America, I don’t think that the case is that different in Australia. He talks about how how we are short changing kids by teaching them to be impatient problem solvers.

Today’s math curriculum is teaching students to expect — and excel at — paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them.

8. Flashing Screens Or Turning Pages?

In this article renowned children’s author Mem Fox talks about “Making books more magnetic than television”. This piece is not anti-television. Fox lists eight qualities of homes that are more likely to produce book lovers. She then looks at what is happening at “non ideal” schools that will be turning kids away from books.

Television and books have concurrent, different roles to play in our lives, but children who suffer at non-ideal schools will only ever have t.v. because books have been made so deeply unattractive to them.

9. Ad-ucation For Kids

Second post from Reading Rockets which highlights how in an age of rampant consumerism an essential skill that we need to teach to our kids is media literacy. This post highlights a number of great on line resources that parents can use with their kids. (I am reading a new book on the lives of boys and the issues that they face. My initial take out from it is that we really have to educate our kids about the advertising they are bombarded with.)

10. the skinny on important early literacy term

Teach Mama rightly points out that as parents we are the first teacher to our children. To help those parents who have children as they approach the reading stage of their lives, Teach Mama has collated a list of “Literacy Terms That Every Parent Needs to Know”. You can download a great pdf of the terms from her blog.