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Got a newspaper? You've got learning!

Just a few pages from your newspaper can be turned into lots of early learning activities. In this edition of Growing Readers, you'll find "letters and words" activities for the youngest, plus fun writing prompts and tips on how to read and analyze the news for older kids.

Kids Who Blog

As the parent of a young child, you may think your child is too young to have his or her own blog. Here's your chance to reconsider that idea! There are several free blog sites that make it easy to get started. And writing for an audience gives kids a meaningful purpose — a reason to use their developing reading and writing skills. Here are some tips to get you and your child started.

How to Read an E-Book with Your Child

Electronic books are becoming more and more commonplace. Here you'll discover practical tips for sharing e-books with your child, and how to keep the focus on reading and the story.

Getting the Most Out of Nonfiction Reading Time

Nonfiction books give kids a chance to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden their view of the world. Learn how to take a "book walk" with a new nonfiction book and how to model active reading.

Putting Your Family Calendar to Work

Calendars help young children learn the basics of the days of the week and the months of the year. Your family calendar offers opportunities for other learning as well, including vocabulary, sequencing, and math.

Outdoor Explorations

Stepping outside is a simple way to set foot into nature's laboratory. Backyards and neighborhood walks can lead to interesting conversations that contain new vocabulary words. You'll also be helping your child developing important scientific skills such as observing, predicting, and investigating. Try these fun outdoor exploration activities to nurture the budding scientist or mathematician in your home!

Mission Critical: Reading Together to Build Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking, the ability to think deeply about a topic or a book, is an essential skill for children to develop. Here are some helpful tips and recommended books to strengthen your child's ability to think critically.

Beat the Heat with Your Weather Page

Summer's temperatures often send kids and parents inside to cooler air. Here are a few tips to make the most of those hot afternoons with some literacy and math fun using only your newspaper, computer, or other household items.

Book Swap for Kids

Libraries and bookstores are great options for building a home library. Another great resource for books is a book swap. Consider organizing one for your neighborhood or block. It can be a simple afternoon undertaking, or with more time and effort, a fun event that will become an annual tradition! Below are some suggestions for organizing a book swap for kids.

Environmental Print

Letters are all around us! Here are some ideas to use print found in your everyday environment to help develop your child's reading skills.

Poems at Home

Sharing poetry with kids is a great way to highlight language. Poems include humor, interesting words, tongue twisters, alliteration, and opportunities for choral reading among other important literacy concepts. This article provides guidelines for a family poetry jam — a great way to promote literacy and togetherness in your own home.

Use a PEER When You Read Aloud

The best story times are very interactive: You are talking about and reading the story, your child is talking, and there is conversation taking place between the two of you. Read below to learn more about dialogic reading and PEER, a method to help you remember a few important ways to read in this interactive way.

Picture This! Using Mental Imagery While Reading

One way to help a child comprehend what he is reading is to encourage him to visualize parts of the story in his mind. These "mind movies" help clarify information, increase understanding, and can include any of the five senses. Try these practices below when reading with your child.

Playing with Word Sounds: Stretch and Shorten

Blending (combining sounds) and segmenting (separating sounds) are phonological awareness skills that are necessary for learning to read. Developing your child's phonological awareness is an important part of developing your child as a reader. Learn how working on phonological awareness can be fun and easy below.

The Night Before the Museum

Day trips, vacations and special outings create special memories and great learning opportunities for families. The time leading up to your trip can be filled with excitement and adventure too! Whether you're going to the zoo, the museum, or a state park, below are a few "stops" to make before your visit to help your child get the most out of a family or school educational experience.

Grocery Store Literacy for Preschoolers

A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a real learning experience for your preschooler. Below are some easy ways to build literacy and math skills while getting your shopping done at the same time!

Grocery Store Literacy

A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a real learning experience for your child. Below are some easy ways to build literacy and math skills while getting your shopping done at the same time!

Developing Writing and Spelling at Home

Writing is a terrific way for children to express their thoughts, creativity, and uniqueness. It is also a fundamental way in which children learn to organize ideas and helps them to be better readers. Here are some suggestions that engage your child in the writing process.

Reading for Meaning with Your Child

Reading with comprehension means understanding what's been read. It takes practice, time, and patience to develop reading comprehension skills. Below is a before-during-after approach that families can use to help children learn to read for understanding.

A Fresh Look at Your Home Library

Having interesting things to read at home is a great way to keep kids motivated. Below are a few questions to ask yourself about your home library. Some simple changes on your part can help you create an amazing home library, and help your child develop an early love of reading!

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