It's likely that you've heard before that preschoolers need at least 15 minutes of reading time each day. Building vocabulary and fluency, laying the foundation for literacy, instilling a love for reading, and creating a special bond are just some of the benefits of carving out this small amount of time each day between a parent and their preschooler.
If you were to ask my kids what my favorite word is, I'm afraid that their answer would be the word "no.” I say it often. I say it without thinking. I say it when I'm angry. I say it when I'm busy. I say it when I don't mean it. I say it when I'm lazy, and I often say it because it's convenient and easy.
When we hear the word "attend" in the context of school, most of us probably think of attendance. Students are marked either present or absent in class, representing their physical presence in a learning space. Merriam-Webster's first entry to define "attend" says...
From a child's youngest years, they are asked by adults: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Answers typically include professional athletes, firefighters, astronauts, and doctors, sprinkled with more imaginative outliers like princesses and unicorns.
Third grade is one of the most crucial developmental periods of the elementary years and perhaps a child's entire formal schooling. It stands apart as a year of pivotal transition and change in a child's education. It is the foundation for the rest of a student's life: what a student learns in third grade will be built upon for years to come, not only in academics, but also in life.
As a seventh and eighth grade English teacher, I am both intrigued and disheartened by how many students enter my class who have already declared themselves "not a reader" or "not a writer." Certainly, writing a literary analysis in middle school language arts is different than writing an Instagram post or texting with friends, but we are all readers and writers. As parents, family members, and support system members of middle school students, we have a tremendous opportunity to encourage students as communicators.
Welcome to the Attention Economy–where you are the product. In this digital landscape, they keep score with eyeballs and eardrums. Your attention–even for a few seconds–translates into cold, hard cash they're willing to manipulate and even hack you for.
A study on tween and teen media use conducted by Common Sense Media in 2019 revealed some intriguing data. They found that over two-thirds (69%) of kids have their own smartphone by 12 years of age. That means that most middle schoolers and their parents have entered the world of smartphones, with all its apps, online entertainment, and social media interaction.
Another particularly eyebrow-raising finding is that only 15% of tweens report using an app or a tool to track their device time, and only about one in four tweens (28%) say that their parent uses an app or tool to track their child’s time spent on a device. While 50% of tweens say that their parent does use some type of app or tool to monitor what they do on their devices, this still leaves a lot of young people unchecked with what they do and how long they use their phones each day.
As another year (and WHAT a year!) is in the books, we are invited into a season of reflection on the last twelve months, as well as a time to set goals for the coming year. From a mental and emotional health standpoint, this process is especially important this year. For a year unlike any other we've experienced, it's a unique opportunity to sit down as a family to reflect on the past and dream about the future.
I've found myself nodding in agreement and bowing in shame to much of the parenting advice I’ve ever received — feeling emboldened and inadequate all at the same time. There has been one piece of advice, though, that came like a refreshing drink of water (or maybe a slap in the face). It’s equal parts simple and overwhelming. It’s advice that continuously causes me to re-think my habits and makes obsolete many of the strategies and tips which tend to paralyze us.
Confession: I was that weird kid in high school that actually liked Spanish class. Prior to my sophomore year in high school, I'd never had any experience with a foreign language. I was quickly enthralled. The verb conjugation charts, the strange new phonetics of familiar letters, the shared vocabulary spoken in different ways, the completely novel vocabulary that just had to be memorized--it all made my brain so happy in a way I'd never experienced before. And I began to realize that there was so much about my first language I didn't know, like what in the world an adverb is and how English pronunciation rules make no sense.