Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

If you’re listening to your young reader read aloud—which you absolutely should be doing, nearly every day— and s/he stops to look up toward the ceiling, you might have a problem to address. Here it is: Readers who are looking up are either 1) trying to remember the word or 2) they are praying that…

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Say No to Guess and Go!

Christy Williams Synthetic Phonics

Every parent in my school community knows about sight words. They may be called star words, snap words, or something else, but we know what they are. Early childhood classrooms feature from 25 to more than 100 words students must know on sight by the end of the school year. That’s not a problem—the fluent…

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Tear Down the (Word) Walls

My husband and I had a flat tire, and both of our phones were dead. (Note to self: Next overnight camping excursion- Bring phone chargers!) And, we had no spare tire. When a police officer stopped to ask if we needed help, we could not recall a single phone number of someone who could lend…

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How Words Work

After about 28 years of working with kids, striving to teach them to read and spell well, I’ve learned this: Our language is complicated . . . But it is teachable. We’ve all (if you’re reading this) learned to navigate the rough terrain of crazy word spellings, pronunciations, meanings, and usages. But, could you explain…

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Foundations for Literacy is Coming Soon!

Foundations For Literacy

About seven years ago, we began dreaming about a space called Book Bums. We dreamed of serving our community with a focus on literacy promotion and building face-to-face relationships with families. We slowly grew into a bustling, book-loving community in a quaint café’ setting. We didn’t make a lot of money, but we were rich…

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Say No to Word Families

Teaching kids to read? Do not use word families. Here’s the problem: Let’s say we have a teacher who is spending a whole week focusing on /at/ words. You know— hat, mat, fat…  Next thing you know, the children see the words hated, mating, and father, and what children were taught is hindering them, not…

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