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My Humble Opinion

Don’t Let The Term “Research-Based” Turn You Off

Some people tend to veer away from things that claim to be “research-based” and I can’t blame them. These days everything claims to be scientifically researched in some way and there always seems to be some “study” available to support or refute just about any idea. So it’s no wonder that people tend to be skeptical! However, don’t let that scare you away or make you decide that all research holds no value. Research holds an important place in making decisions about a lot of things in life…especially in education.

Providing your child with an education is no easy task and there are what seem to be millions of programs and methods out there. Which curriculum and/or techniques should you choose? Almost all of them have value and are effective in some way with some kids, but many are better than others. So I advise you to choose wisely based on your individual child, your teaching style, and what works best for your family’s philosophy. But I also encourage you to look at the research that’s out there on the subject and that has been done on various programs. The reason that some are better than others is probably because they are built around research-based practices.

So what does “research-based” mean as it relates to reading programs and teaching techniques? It means that educators and scientists have been studying the way kids learn how to read over many years in order to find out what works best for most kids. They also look into reasons why reading is difficult for some kids and what can be done in order to prevent reading problems as well as techniques that can be used to help kids who do struggle. Researchers have even gone so far as using brain scans to see how our minds work while reading! The information that has been collected over decades is now at our fingertips to be used to guide our decisions for educating our kids.

So don’t shy away from the term, it can really help to guide you in the direction you want to take on your child’s educational journey. Just be really careful that you check all references and sources of things that claim to be research-based to make sure you are receiving quality information.

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Must Reads My Humble Opinion

7 Common Myths About Reading

Myths run rampant in almost every part of our lives – especially when it comes to parenting and education. Things that have “always been done” may not necessarily be what’s right, and vice versa. It’s important to be able to tell good and true information apart from faulty misconceptions. In regards to reading there are many of these myths. As parents who aren’t “formal” educators, you may not know how to tell whether certain practices are useful or not. So here’s a list of common myths that I’ve come across while working with teachers and parents.

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Articles My Humble Opinion

Karla — Reading Doesn’t Come Naturally For Everyone

I have read several accounts of parents whose kids have learned how to read on their own. Some of these children began reading slowly while others took off quickly. As impressive as it may seem, I don’t believe that reading truly came as a natural ability for them. I absolutely believe that these parents feel that their kids learned how to read naturally, however, I don’t think they realize how much of a role they played in their children’s learning. While they may not have explicitly taught their kids to read, they certainly taught them implicitly. What I mean is that everything these parents did for their kids (some from the time they were born) helped to build a foundation that would later translate into them becoming literate. Many of these parents share how they would read books to their kids daily, track words while reading, discuss books, provide books and experiences with literature at home, model reading, take them to the library, and many other wonderful activities that expose children to the world of reading. Just because these parents didn’t sit down and provide their kids with formal lessons on reading doesn’t mean that they didn’t teach them how to read. These parents did amazing things for their children even if they don’t realize it! It is this type of parent that is often found behind a child that has learned how to read “naturally”. These kids are one extreme.

Let me give you an example of the other extreme, because some kids aren’t as lucky. I had the opportunity to work with a little girl that convinced me that reading does not occur naturally for everyone. She was an eleven year old girl that was raised by her illiterate grandmother in a small Central American country. Having never attended school, she came to me knowing nothing academically, and had absolutely no knowledge of the alphabet or numbers. Other than that, she was of average intelligence – she just lacked education. She never had anyone that read to her and had never even seen a book until moving to the US. She didn’t even grasp the concept that writing was a representation of the words we speak – she had no idea what those “black and white scribbles” were. Needless to say, she was a very challenging case.

Now most kids fall somewhere in between these two extremes. They probably have parents who read to them occasionally, are exposed to literature, and are aware of why the ability to read is important. Yet their daily modeling of reading may only include functional reading – such as reading menus, tv guides, signs, or other things that simply get people through the day. They may not have someone who emphasizes the importance of learning new things or who encourages them to read nonfiction just to learn about things that interest them. In my opinion, these kids would probably not be able to learn to read if left to their own devices.

I’ll assume that if you’ve made it this far in this article then you’re someone who enjoys reading for the sake of learning. If your kids are in the room while you read this, you are modeling for them right now. Congratulations! You are already taking steps to ensure that your children learn to read and will later read to learn!

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Must Reads My Humble Opinion

Reading . . . Is It A Natural Occurrence?

There is some debate regarding this question. Some parents and authorities maintain that children will develop the ability to learn how to read on their own when they are ready and exposed to text. Most others believe that reading has to be taught to children. So who is right? Both sides offer up what they consider to be convincing research or evidence to support their stance. Yet in the midst of this debate, you have to ask the question . . . If reading is a natural occurrence, why are there so many illiterate people in the world? I’m by no means claiming that I know the answer to this, yet I feel that part of the answer may lie in the possibility that these people may not have been exposed to much literature or to an environment that fostered a love for reading. Read about Karla to find out more on my theory.