Post Tagged with: "GKR"

Happy Family Literacy Day, Canada!

Today is Family Literacy Day.

Bookmark, from’s a great day to… click on “15-minute ideas” or “Games” or “Crafts” in our tags and find a wonderful activity you can do with your kids that will help to get them reading.

At our school, a parent contacted the local library, which is having a bookmark-making contest. They gave us blank bookmarks and forms for all the kids at our school so they can enter the library contest. Fun!

More about FLD here.

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Teaching Kids the News

Teaching Kids the News (logo)We’ve just launched an exciting new website that offers kid-friendly news articles.
Teaching Kids the News provides daily news articles, appropriate for kids (approximately grades 1-6).
Some articles also have ESL (English as a Second Language) versions.
The site can be used by parents; by teachers in the classroom; by homeschoolers and by kids themselves.
Every article also has “Curriculum Connections,” which tie it to school curriculum – including grammar points and discussion points.
I’m working with two amazing educators on this site, Jonathan Ophek and Kathleen Tilly, who are passionate about education and want kids to have access to “real” news – not what marketers want them to read.
Please drop us a line and let us know what you think!

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The “New” Getting Kids Reading

Books on a shelf

As you can see, we’re in the process of upgrading Getting Kids Reading.
All of the posts from the “old” site are here, but we’re still working on the look of the site.
So please continue to use GKR as normal… and in the meantime, if you have any ideas or suggestions for the new site, please let us know. Thanks for hanging in there while we reconfigure!


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Access to printed materials does help

What impact, if any, does access to print materials have on our children’s reading?

A lot, according to extensive research by RIF, Reading Is Fundamental, a non-profit children’s literacy organization based in Washington, DC.

Owning and borrowing books from the library causes, “positive behavioural, educational and psychological outcomes.”

In other words, kids who have access to books do better socially and at school.
(Does this sound familiar to regular GKR readers? But I digress.)

RIF found that having access to printed materials:

…improves children’s reading performance. Children, and kindergarten students in particular, read better when they’re often surrounded by books.

…is instrumental in helping children learn the basics of reading. Kids who have lots of different books become better at identifying words, being able to sound out words, and read sentences.

…causes children to read more and for longer lengths of time. There is more shared reading between parents and children. Kids read more often and for longer stretches.

…produces improved attitudes toward reading and learning among children. Kids who own, borrow or who are given books say they like reading and schoolwork more than kids who don’t have access to books.

So there you have it. It’s what this blog has been advocating for more than a year, and I’m thrilled to see another significant study that backs it up: kids who have access to books are much more likely to become great readers, and to love reading.

Scatter books around the house
Please check out these ideas for surrounding your kid with books.
Mom got her son reading!
Percy Jackson and the Olympians (let him find books on his bed)
Get your six-year-old reading
More books = more education

How the RIF study was done
Researchers searched 11,000 reports and analyzed 108 of the most relevant studies. They then chose “the most thorough and carefully conducted 44” of the 108 and did further analysis in order to draw their conclusions. That’s a lot of stuff.

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Contest: Win free Picture It books

We’ve only had two contest entries so far.

And while it’s great that two people have entered (thank you, M and K!)… I ask myself, “why haven’t more people entered?”

I figure it could be for two reasons (both of which have to do with the fact that I’m a neophyte at offering contests):

1) You don’t want to have to worry about picking the books up or paying for postage. Fair enough – I get that. Can’t change it, though.

2) You don’t want to have to put your e-mail address (as asked in my original post) on the Internet. This one I can fix.

So now if you want to enter the contest, just e-mail me your information at joycegrant at sympatico dot ca and I’ll enter you!

3) Don’t know what contest I’m talking about? Read this. And then enter, please.

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Literacy Lava 6 – e-newsletter

Please check out the 6th edition of Literacy Lava e-newsletter.

I have an article in it (“Newspapers Build Literacy Skills”) that I hope you enjoy.

Click here to access the free .pdf, Literacy Lava 6. Scroll down on the page and click on the image of LL6.

You’ll find lots of other great literacy articles in this edition of LL, including:
* How to create a father/son book club;
* Telling tales with “story stones”;
* Using poetry to support literacy; and
* Revving up reluctant readers.

Our thanks to Susan Stephenson, of The Book Chook, who produces Literacy Lava.

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Survey for research on "enhanced books"

GKR readers, the U of C needs our help.

The University of Connecticut is doing a study on illustrated children’s books. They’d like GKR readers to help by taking a brief (four-minute) online survey.

Before passing along their request to you, I called them and spoke to them about their research. It sounds pretty interesting.

It’s an academic study – not funded by any toy company or book publisher. They’re interested in investigating a product that would enhance an illustrated book with online information. So for instance, it might be that a child clicks on a picture of a dolphin and gets some facts about dolphins. Or maybe the child is instructed to click on all of the nouns on a page and the device counts the number of nouns the child successfully finds.

The survey is intended for parents of children 8 and under, but if you’ve got an older child and can simply cast your mind back to the time when they were 8, they’d like your input too.

I’ve asked them to share with us the results of their survey so we can blog about it. The results should ready in August.

Here’s the survey:

Canadian (and other non-US) GKRers – when you come to the question “What state do you live in?” resist the temptation to type “state of bliss” and just leave it blank. Their research includes Canadians and non-Americans, but not to the extent where they’ll actually let you select a province. Whatevah.
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Reading is a language

  • May 14, 2010 at 7:36 am
  • Uncategorized

My son called me over.

“Mom,” he said,”remember when I used to look at a word like ‘fox’ and I’d sit there, trying to sound it out? And it would take forever?!”

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, isn’t it funny,” he said, “that now I just blast through sentences and pages of words. I don’t even have to think about it! Why is that?”

And then we both sat there, silent, thinking about that.

If your child is struggling with reading and sounding-out – here’s a great reminder that one day… it will all just click.

And reading will become a new language that your child doesn’t even have to think about – that he’ll just know – that he’ll blast right through.

It will.

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Getting active kids reading

Sitting and reading is not the only way.

At age five, girls are able to sit still and listen about 2.5 times longer than boys, according to studies.

But we don’t need research to tell us that most boys would rather get up and move around than sit and read.

Here are some great ways to keep active kids happy while they’re learning. (Statistically, this tends to be a boy issue–so we’re using the male pronoun–but if you’ve got an active girl these tips will apply just as well.)

1) LET HIM MOVE. Let your son play with a ball while you read to him. Having a ball to quietly hold and catch helps lots of kids concentrate better.

2) INTERRUPT THE STORY. When you come to a plot point, stop and ask him, “why do you think that happened?” or “what do you think that meant?” Not only does it help with comprehension, but it breaks up the monotony of listening.

3) GO OUTSIDE. It’s called “environmental literacy” – finding things to read outside. There are tons of signs and advertisements to read out there, and even word puzzles to figure out. What does that parking sign mean? When can you park here? How much is parking? What is that an ad for? Do you believe the ad? He’ll have to read carefully to figure out the answers.

4) MAKE EVERYTHING A CONTEST. Active kids, and especially kids who like sports, love to be timed, challenged, and rewarded. When you play literacy games, getting out a stopwatch can bring the right measure of fun competition to it.

5) PLAY ACTIVE GAMES. Take a long strip of paper – say four feet long by four inches high (or several strips). In marker, write a sentence on it. Then cut the sentence up into words. Hide the words around your backyard or playground. Have the child run around and collect the words, bringing each one back to you when it’s found, before running out and getting the next one. When he has them all, he can piece them all into a sentence. Time him and see if he can do it faster the second time around.

6) HOST A TREASURE HUNT. Use signs to lead your child up to his bedroom, across to his dresser, over to the bathroom, down to the basement, into a closet, up to the attic, into the fridge… and then over to the dining room table, where he’ll find his treat (chocolate, or a wrapped book, or some other small reward). It’s a great game that combines reading with physical activity.

7) WRITE A STORY WHILE YOU’RE WALKING. Schedule a long walk, just the two of you. While you’re walking, lead him to create a story – with characters, an interesting setting and a couple of plot points.

Extending this activity: When you get back home, he can dictate the story so you can write it down, or he can type it up. Make it into a book and add illustrations. He’ll have something tangible that he has created.

This post is part of the Literacy Blog Tour (March 8-14, 2010) – welcome tourists! We hope you’ll be back again and again.

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We’re now

  • February 18, 2010 at 7:34 pm
  • Uncategorized

We have a new – and improved – web address.

Getting Kids Reading is now at

The old address ( will still work. And the content hasn’t changed. But the address is just a bit easier to, um, read. And isn’t that the point? Yes.

I’d like to thank my husband without whom, trust me, this could not have happened. Like, in a million years.

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