Word Families and Spelling

In my last post, I wrote about some of the reasons English spelling is so weird. Interesting, sure, but what do we actually do to help children learn to spell? People learn things that are relevant to them. You’ve all watched your children’s amazing capacity to retain information about Legos or horse breeds or ancientContinue reading “Word Families and Spelling”

Why Is English Spelling So Weird?

English spelling is undeniably chaotic. There is an exception to pretty much every rule.¬†However, while it doesn’t follow orderly rules, English spelling does have patterns. I think that learning a little background about how English spelling came to be is both fascinating and helpful.* There are about 44 phonemes (distinct sounds) in English, depending onContinue reading “Why Is English Spelling So Weird?”

14 Ways to Model Literacy

As we all know so well, children don’t just learn the lessons we plan to teach them. They learn by what we model for them.¬†So if we want kids to be capable readers and writers, we have to do more than help them learn to read and write. We have to model literacy as aContinue reading “14 Ways to Model Literacy”

Dada in Our Hearts: teaching French Surrealism and Dadaism to children

Last week, I introduced the class to French Surrealist poetry and Dadaism. This sounds very highbrow, but actually this poetry is right up the kids’ alley. Why? Because it’s totally nuts. Basically, these poets were responding to the insanity of World War One by deifying nonsense. But lots of it is very lively, wondrous nonsense.Continue reading “Dada in Our Hearts: teaching French Surrealism and Dadaism to children”