Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Calling all professional early childhood teachers - you have important information about how children develop.  Don't hide that under a bushel basket; share it with parents, and fellow educators!


Recently I was speaking to a group of parents (most very highly educated) about their 4-5 year old children and the big "learn to read" event coming within a year or two for most of their children.  It was amazing to me that the science I know was foreign to them. 

For instance, did you know that, within a few 1,000 brain cells, every child (unless there is a major developmental issue) comes into this world with out 100 Billion brain cells?

Do you know how they grow?  Check out Child Care Aware!

The type of talk young children hear is very important to their later reading abilities and how easily they will learn to read?  View Dr. David Dickenson's Powerpoint and check out his research below:

The art of reading aloud to children is going away and we're not doing an adequate job of helping parents understand its important.  Instead of "wagging and nagging", let's try a different approach (plenty of modeling, facts that are meaningful to families, and a warm, caring approach. 

Literacy is my thing but you can probably list all kinds of information you need to be sharing in the areas of emotional/social development, motor skills, concepts and counting, etc.  Get those conversations started and share what you are learning through those and the successes you have had with families when you share your knowledge.  I'd love to hear!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Answer The Survey - Let Your Voice Be Heard!

United Way Worldwide, an organization with many local affiliates throughout the U.S. and the world has started a simple new survey/poll on Education.  It is one of their key areas of focus along with Income and Health. 

Please take the time to visit their Town Hall and answer a few questions.  Your local United Way (be sure to share it with them) can also log in and capture responses from your local communities by zip code, providing valuable insight into what is important in YOUR community. 

Here's a picture of some of our local United Way volunteers and organization staff, those stars who work hard in OUR community.

Please share this poll/link with as many folks as you can!

I'd love to hear about how United Ways in your community are involved in supporting quality early childhood education.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Debunking A Harmful Myth


For the past few years, I've seen an increasing wave of commercial products promising to help you "make sure your child isn't behind" when it comes to academics.  This barrage of advertising is marketed, not at families with elementary school children but at parents of children ages 3 months to 3 years. 

I encourage every professional early childhood educator reading this blog to explore the truth about these programs and communicate the science behind it to the families whose children you influence.  Take a moment to share this blog with the parents of children you care about and community leaders supporting high quality early childhood.  Our voices need to be stronger than the "hype".  Here's just one example: 

Myth #1: Your Baby Can Read:   Individuals more interested in making money than addressing rigorous scientific research (i.e., the same results in several studies and with several different populations), can easily create a report and use the catch phrase "research-based".  That's exactly what the clever fellow who created this program has done.  Clicking on the header in this paragraph takes you to a Today: Money interview where the truth is revealed.

In the world of education and reading, I always caution professionals to look for at least three independent studies that prove the validity of a program before even considering it.  Not only is this program ineffective in teaching babies who do not have the mental connections to read but it can be harmful in later reading development. 

My book for parents, Anytime Reading Readiness, addresses this important issue of the "rush to read"; earlier is not always better. Many other voices are speaking out to help families and early childhood educators understand this phenomenon including Literacy Connections, Educationworld, and The Learning Disabilities Association of Washington.

As always, I welcome comments for those who read this post and dialogue about understanding language and literacy development in young children.