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Monday, September 5, 2011


Someone recently asked me how I kept current with research and professional issues.  I’ve always felt that part of our job as professional educators is to keep growing and to learn as much as we can.

First, I believe it’s important to be a part of professional organizations.  I am a member of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children),  IRA (International Reading Association), and NKA (National Kindergarten Alliance).  It’s very powerful if you have the ability to attend their local and national conferences, but you can also stay connected by reading their newsletters and visiting their websites.

I’m also always on the look out for meaningful books that validate best practices and that help us “teach smarter.”  Here are some books that I’d let you borrow if you lived near me!

PROUST AND THE SQUID by Maryanne Wolfe
“How a child first learns to read is a tale of either magic and fairies or missed chances and unnecessary loss.” 
Here’s what one of the top reading researchers suggests to help young children learn to read:
1.   Lap reading.  Language + books = LOVE
2.  Oral language.  Oral language and cognition are intertwined.
3.  Laughter, tears, and friends – books are safe.
4.  The language of books
5.  Alphabet knowledge.
6.  Phoneme awareness with Mother Goose.
7.  Logographic reading.

Anyone who teaches school certainly recognizes there is a difference in how boys and girls act in the classroom and how they learn.  What an insightful book for educators and parents! 

MIND IN THE MAKING by Ellen Galinsky
Galinsky has grouped the research into these seven critical life skills that children need to know:
1.     Focus and self-control
2.    Perspective taking
3.    Communicating
4.    Making connections
5.    Critical thinking
6.    Taking on challenges
7.    Self-directed, engaged learning

SMART MOVES by Carla Hannaford
This book explores the mind/body connection so pertinent to classroom learning.  Hannaford explains WHY children must move and HOW to help them move to increase learning potential.

The interesting thing here is that all of the experts in the field are saying BACK TO OUR ROOTS!  Talk to them, read to them, sing to them.  Let children move, play, and explore!  A “good education” is more than a reading or math score on a test.  Maybe some of our administrators and decision makers need to read these books and trust teachers to implement more creative strategies in their classrooms!!!!!!