Resolve to Read!


This month our literacy blog will feature some of excellent books and resources for parents to read and utilize.  I’ve selected these particular books because I have personally gained new and very useful knowledge from each of them both as an educator and parent. In the spirit of honesty, it’s the knowledge I gained as a parent from these resources that I channel into my work in the classroom with children.

A quick point before I share the list. Equally important as reading books with children is the gift of seeing YOU read. Talk about what YOU are reading. Make predictions about how YOUR novel might end. Suggest the motive in a mystery. Question the steps you are following in a recipe or criticize assembly directions for that new holiday gift you just can’t quite figure out yet. 

Literacy skills needed in the 21st century don’t end with the ability to read, write and report on a book. Our children and students, regardless of occupation or hobby, must be fluent in visual and digital literacy as well. The lens they experience their world from is simply different and more sophisticated than it was 20, 10 even 5 years ago. All of the selections below touch, in some way, upon the responsibility we have to ensure students are competent to use the amazing technological resources at their disposal – responsibly.

Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease   51jLGLMXBhL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

This is the BEST gift you could ever give to a new parent! Trelease speaks to the reader in a way that allows you to not feel bad about all the things you think you don’t or didn’t do to foster a love of reading in your child.  In fact he instills a confidence that it is NEVER too late to implement some of his ideas. He carefully covers the roles mothers, fathers, teachers, families and communities play in developing literate readers. The newest edition of his book addresses the impact our digital world has on reading.

When my oldest son was three I thought all was lost because he didn’t want to sit still next to me on the couch as I read to him. That was it, we had no chance. How would he ever make it kindergarten much less consider college? Jim Trelease taught me that we would survive! My son was getting ALL the benefits of my reading with him while he played with his trucks at my feet — and more than that, it was a MUCH more enjoyable experience for both of us.

The link above offers chapter excerpts and fabulous book lists.


Ted Talks: The Power of Introverts

QUIET, the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

FULL DISCLOSURE…I am an introvert.

Susan Cain does a masterful job of dispelling the image of an introvert as someone who never picks their head up, doesn’t like to talk or ever have fun. She distinguishes being shy from being introverted and articulates the attributes introverts have with humor and intelligence.

There is a lot of buzz around collaboration and teamwork. In the private business sector floor plans are redesigned to create openness and accessibility – constant openness and accessibility. Many classrooms are set up to foster group activities and interaction. This is all great stuff! However, some people and students do their best thinking work independently in their own space with time to process and think, really think, about what they are trying to accomplish. We need to make sure we accommodate those needs.

I have attached the link to her Ted Talk on The Power of Introverts, if you have any free time… EVER, to listen to the talk. I am positive you will take away something for yourself, your child, your workplace and your world.



Mindset by Carol Dweck

MINDSET by Carol Dweck a Psychology Professor at Stanford University, explores the intricacies of motivation and success.  She talks about how we as parents and teachers can talk to and create environments for children that encourage confidence and drive in the face of difficulty.

Do you think you can do it if you work hard enough? (GROWTH MINDSET) OR Do you think your successes are, to some extent, predetermined?(FIXED MINDSET).

Click on the link above to listen to her speak about the concept of “not yet”. I love it! How can we send the message to children (and adults) that instead of not mastering something they just haven’t mastered it…yet?


YouTube’s video: The Gift of Failure

A MUST READ…if you are a parent, a teacher or someone who has the slightest interest in human behavior you will not be disappointed with this book.

When onestatic1.squarespace-1.png of my sons was in second grade he left his school folder on the kitchen counter. I briefly debated about what to do. Of course I should bring it to school! He’s only seven and never forgotten anything before. The school even has a special drop off procedure for items like this.

WRONG answer! After reading this book instead of framing my parenting and teaching thoughts with:

YouTube’s video: The Gift of Failure

“What is going to happen to my child – if I don’t help out, come to their rescue or just simply make it easier for them.” I know frame my thoughts with “What will happen to my child if I do help, if I do come to the rescue or if I do just simply make it easier for them?”  

What will happen if I never give them the opportunity to experience failure?


I just finished listening to this on Audible. First, the book itself is amazing. Stocked with real life examples of grit and what it takes to be gritty in life and in the classroom. Angela Duckworth walks you through her research and explains the “grit factor”. I really enjoyed the quizzes included that allow you to determine your own grit factor. Second, I would listen to this while driving. One day I picked up four fourteen year old boys after a high school sports practice. Normally I would turn the radio on when they got in the car but this one time I unintentionally, let the book continue to play. Not one of the boys asked me to turn it off, or made a funny comment or sarcastic remark. In fact, during the ten minute ride home they listened intently as Duckworth discussed grit and the Seattle Seahawks. Maybe that shouldn’t have surprised me…but it did. Since then I leave whatever I am listening to on in the car – you never know when or how lessons can be learned.




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