Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hot News from NAEYC - Free books (4) to Download Just in Time for the Start of the New School Year

has done it again.

 Going right along with the themes from the previous post on this blog, relating to the recent webinar "Supporting the Literacy Loop in Every Classroom", I just saw this incredible offer from NAEYC:

Back to School Resources for Teachers and Caregivers (click on this link to see details)

I especially like the 10 Tips for Involving Families Through Internet Communication

If you haven't joined this national organization, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, seriously consider it. 

Joining a professional organization is well worth the cost if you are serious about growing your career.  Having trouble coming up with all of the membership fee (there are student, basic and comprehensive memberships)?

1.  Ask your child development center director to support you by paying at least part of it for you.
2.  Look for a few local ECE-friendly businesses who want to support your growth as a professional and ask them to contribute. 

3.  Perhaps your director might ask families served at your facility to donate a few dollars to a collection so that someone on the staff (teacher of the year or person with the longest or shortest amount of time in early childhood education) can benefit with a free membership.

Where there is a will, there is a way.  

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tips for Planning in the New Year

In follow-up to my appearance on Robert-Leslie's InvestiGator Club webinar series yesterday, I'm providing even more resources on this blog.  I'll be adding several installments, including a link to the webinar contents.  Here's the first:

If you listened in to the webinar, welcome back.  Many of add-on resources I mentioned will be highlighted here.  If you weren't able to join us, a link to the recorded webinar is now available.  We'd love to hear comments back from you either through an email to, comments posted on this blog or on Robert-Leslie's Facebook and other social networking locations.  Placing WEBINAR in the subject line on mine will assure you get a quick response.  

On to the business of the new school year

What is the literacy loop?

When you combine efforts of teachers, parents and guardians, community, authors and illustrators, librarians and media specialists, all centered around a child, you have the best chance of success for EVERY child.  That's the concept behind the Literacy Loop. 

We know that questioning is a great way to understand at a deeper level so TLA recommends that you use the framework of questioning to plan how to integrate all these partners into your support for children.  In the partner area of evaluation, you can do the same.

Greater Attention on Early Childhood

I was thrilled yesterday to see that Barbara Chester, President of the National Association of Elementary School Principals was quoted in an Education Week article as calling for "focused professional development to help elementary school administrators meet the higher expectations of modern early childhood education".  I was also pleased to see the National Association for the Education of Young Children weighing in to make sure that developmentally appropriate practices are at the forefront of such training.

This also opens a door for expert teachers in the early childhood world to have the kinds of collaborative conversations I talk about in my book for educators of 3-6 year olds, Before They Read.  By addressing the needs of teachers in both arenas, and helping them understand one another's expertise, we can build partnerships that help make the transition to kindergarten easier for young children.  With the right preparation, they come to school with a rich foundation which brings them to the reading table eager and ready to learn.   This book gives you plenty of starting places and I've even created a facilitator's guide for a book study around this title (great idea for joint professional development). 

Don't Forget The Importance of Play

If we push too much rigorous, structured instruction in the preschool years, the product we send to kindergarten is quite different.  We send children, according to the research of Drs. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, and Diane Eyer (authors of Einstein Never Used Flashcards), more anxious, and less creative. In an overly structured environment, what young children get is deprivation of the "pleasures of creating their own games and the sense of mastery and independence they will need to enjoy running their own lives." 

Here's a bit of play you can engage in with young children that helps them practice (and learn about) rhyming skills.  My friends, Greta and Cora, play Rhymin' Simon with me quite proficiently.  All the while, they are acquiring mastery in the skill through play.  A simpler version, with strong teacher support, helps children learn the basics of how to rhyme.  Teachers have been kind enough to share many stories about children playing the game on their own, once they've learned the basics of knowing when words rhyme.  It's fun!

Extra links to help you grow your own literacy loop:

Facebook/The InvestiGator Club:  Place to watch for updates on the webinar, Supporting the Literacy Loop in Every Classroom:  A Planning Guide for Administrators (and Teachers) in the Preschool Environment.

Resources from Early Childhood InvestiGator Webinar Series.  Here you'll find SEVEN valuable links that extend beyond the content of the webinar (watch it first)!

Visit my website to learn how to play Rhymin' Simon.

Comments in a blog regarding Phillip Kovac's 5 Ways to Change the Status Quo 

Article on The Importance of Play in Human Evolution.

The Cheerios Challenge for First Book - your state (if they are in the top 5) can receive 20,000 books for the children who live there.  Click here to find out more.

Come see The Literacy Ambassador Up close and personal at:

Guest instructor for K/1, 2-3rd grade, 4-6th grade, and 7-8th grade classes for homeschoolers through CCA (home school cover school in Huntsville AL).   More info from 256-882-3668. (weekly September 1 through November 17).

Featured speaker at GA Association for the Education of Young Children - October 8 and 9, 2010 (scholarships for attendance of this conference still available) - Gwinnett Center (metro Atlanta, GA)

Featured Speaker at Region IV Head Start Association Annual Parent Conference - October 14 through 17, 2010 (Myrtle Beach, SC)

Featured Speaker at Alabama Reading Association Conference - November 2-4, 2010 (Birmingham, AL)

Round table session at the Kentucky Engagement Conference - November 19, 2010 (Louisville, KY)

Session at the National Reading Recovery Conference (February 5-8, 2011, Columbus, OH)

Featured Speaker at the IL Reading Council Conference (March 17, 2011), Springfield, IL

More on the way . . .