Single most important activity for building reading skills

“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”

— Marilyn Jager Adams


Technology Is Changing The Way Children Learn To Read


One of the reasons that it was so difficult to get children to learn to read in the past was because it was hard to develop functional lessons that were applicable to real-life situations. For example, reading a story about a duck was helpful, but it was not always something that kids could readily apply to what was going on around them. As the Internet and other technology continues to advance, it is becoming easier to teach children to read in ways that they will be able to use in their daily lives.

The progressive parents have stopped fighting with video games and have realized that video games can be a great way to help kids to learn to read at almost any level. Interactive video games that teach reading skills are available all over the Internet and can be used by children at every level of aptitude. If you want your kids to learn to read, then utilizing a video game can be the most effective way to do it.

The interactive video games that connect people all over the world can help children to learn to read in several different ways. Kids want to play those games. But if they want to play, then they will have to learn how to read. Their friends are already playing online interactive video games and no kid wants to be left behind when it comes to the popular games everyone is playing. The games also require people to chat back and forth using the written word. Not only can your kids learn to read by playing video games, but they can also learn sentence structure and good grammar as well.

Another way that technology is helping kids to learn to read is by offering new reading courses for kids at all levels that can be easily manipulated to help the child learn at his pace. In a classroom setting, there can be pressure that may leave behind some of the kids that cannot keep up the same pace as everyone else. But when the child gets home, he can stop a DVD reading lesson and review it at his own pace. Now every kid has the chance to learn to read thanks to technology that was not available just 20 years ago.

Because there are so many technology tools to help children read, that allows the parents to find the time to get involved in their kids’ lessons as well. The portability of technology means that parents and kids can be in the same room reviewing a reading lesson for the day while the parent does his own work tasks on the Internet as well.

Technology continues to bring breakthroughs in ways that allow us to become more interactive with the world around us. By channeling reading into video games, interactive DVDs and other materials, educators can help kids start to read at ages that may have been impossible in the past. If the child wants to learn, then there is nothing to stop him.


Author: Cookie Maxwell offers information regarding phonics activities. For more on teaching children to read, please shop online with us at

The Print Friendly Classroom

There is strong emphasis in today’s early childhood world for teachers to be aware of making their classrooms “print friendly.” This used to mean tacking up colorful alphabet cards as decorations in the classroom and moving on to other activities. The only time the alphabet cards were mentioned to students was when the teacher introduced a new letter to the class. That has changed. Print friendly means much more today.

When a teacher is practicing “print friendly” there is evidence everywhere in the classroom. That awareness, literacy awareness, takes the form of age appropriate media being available for all its students. In an infant room “print friendly” means having large colorful pictures around the room, placed at the infant’s eye level. The goal is to help young children focus their attention on printed matter. For infants this may mean placing pictures lower on the walls at their eye level. It is a recognition by the teacher that all the wonderful printed items available will do no good if the child can not see them.
America, long considered the melting pot of the world, often serves families whose primary language is not English. This means children often enter the classroom with no or limited English. These children will be learning a minimum of two languages at the same time, one at home and one at school. In these cases, a teacher’s print friendly environment may include labeling items in English and simultaneously labeling them in the secondary language such as Spanish or Chinese.

Here are a few ways to easily and quickly begin to make a classroom print friendly.

1. Establish an attendance wall chart large enough so that all children are listed and all children can easily record their presence with an check mark. Each child can learn to check in daily. At first the child will learn to find their picture and then mark his attendance. After a while the teacher can replace the picture with a card that now has a smaller picture with the child’s name printed next to it. Soon that card is replaced with a new card and this one will bear only the child’s printed name. By now the child has learned his own name and can check in easily. He’s probably also learned to recognize all of his classmates’ names as well. The important message here is that children learn to go to printed material to retrieve information. He’s beginning to use a new tool.

2. Each learning center within the classroom offers different possibilities for labeling. The Domestic Center may have pictures of common fruits and vegetables along side their printed names. There may be posted recipes that have drawings to explain the measurements. The Block Corner may show diagrams on how to construct a building. These diagrams may or may not used printed words. Again, they lead the child to printed material to retrieve information. Print friendly doesn’t always have to use words.

3. The Library Center can be rich with a variety of books. From board books to pictionaries, from short picture books to chapter books, from recreational books to reference books, there are opportunities for children to learn to use the printed word. Even though a classroom may have children who all speak the same language a print friendly room will include books from different languages. For example, adding Spanish books, Russian books or Chinese books helps children understand that there are many different languages in our world and they all communicate through the printed word.

The classroom teacher sets the print friendly goals in her classroom through labeling, material selection, and curriculum development. The teacher that values language and desires to create readers will find many ways to use words and symbols throughout the room. When children pick up on this enthusiasm they will begin to add to the classroom collection of print friendly materials by contributing newspapers and magazines from home and making their own books. One of the child’s greatest achievements in early childhood education is understanding how to use language and print friendly gives them a strong start.

Elaine S. Rexdale earned a BA in Elementary Education from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and an MA in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College at Columbia University in NY. She has been an early childhood educator and administrator for the past 30 years and has served in public and private schools in IL, LA, and NY. Her website is

John Butler – fun page

Children’s illustrator and writer John Butler provides two interactive stories for very young children: Whose nose and toes? and Whose baby am I? Children move the mouse to find the matching animal. The simple easy to read text is displayed alongside.

Video – The Road to Meaning

The process of reading is very like that of driving a car. As readers, it is our charge to “navigate” our way to meaning as we enter nonfiction texts and tasks. For students the, road to meaning in informational text is one paved with challenge and complexity. This presentation explores what great “drivers” need to do before, during, and after reading to successfully arrive at their final destination…UNDERSTANDING THE BIG IDEA!

Graphic Novels Come Out From Under the Desk at Fordham University

On January 31st, FordhamUniversity’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) hosted Graphica in Education: Graphic Novels come out from under the Desk, a conference to discuss a pedagogical approach to the use of graphic novels and graphica in K-12 classrooms.


Learning to read in Australia
This paper from the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia outlines what is known on the process of learning to read, and reports on the Australian national survey of children’s reading levels and of classroom practices in the teaching of reading. The review concluded that for any reading program to be effective, it must include throughout its first two or three years extensive systematic explicit instruction in synthetic phonics. This paper summarizes what has been done so far in response to the 2005 review.