Dig Up the Letters! Match the Sounds!

I love The Measured Mom!  She has such terrific ideas and beautiful free printables. Check out this post she wrote recently about matching letters to beginning sound pictures.  Dig Up the Letters I bought the letter tiles she mentioned in her post, and they are very nice. I also found some colored rice on Amazon.  Karma Keepers Rainbow Colored Rice Dig Up the Letters Printable from The Measure Mom. Karma Keepers Colored Rice with Hidden Letters I can’t wait to try this with my 2 1/2 year-old grandson when he returns from his little jaunt to England with his parents. My 7 year-old grandson loved matching the letters to the pictures and burying them in the rice for his...

For anyone who struggles!

Take a motivated teacher, a well-known movie, and a determined student and what do you get? This wonderful story is told in this video, Educating Yorkshire. Read more of this remarkable...

SNAP! Learning: A New Reading Program

A few days ago, I received a Demo code to check out SNAP! Learning, a reading program developed by Sullivan Learning Systems.  After doing a little research, I found out that the company is located in Fresno, where I live.  I made an appointment to meet Mark Sullivan, the President and Founder of Sullivan Learning Systems. There’s nothing like a personal demonstration of a product to generate excitement! SNAP Learning is designed to support students and teachers in the implementation of Common Core State Standards.   What I like about SNAP Learning: The titles cover grade levels Pre-K through 8th grade Books can be read on the iPad or printed out in PDF format The iPad version contains interactive elements Scores on Cloze, Multiple Choice, and Fluency activities on the iPad are uploaded to the website Measure section There are comprehensive lesson plans for the teacher, available as PDFs on the website, or on the iPad when you are logged in as the teacher There are many non-fiction stories, especially at the upper grade levels The audio for the stories uses a clear and pleasant voice The visuals are supportive rather than distracting The support via email or phone is excellent Color versions of the books, lesson plans, and record books are available for individual purchase The app is available for Android and Kindle Fire also (I only reviewed the iPad version) DRA, Fountas & Pinnell, Rigby, and Reading Recovery, and Grade Levels are provided for Pre-K through 1st Grade Lexile and Flesch-Kincaid readability levels are provided for 2 through 8th Grade Information on CCSS (Common Core State Standards)...

Online Teaching: Virtual Prof Leslie Bowman

Leslie was one of my inspirations for trying online tutoring.  She teaches for a variety of colleges that have online classes.  As it says on her blog, Teach Online: Leslie Bowman is a full time online professor specializing in course design, development and instruction in the following fields/subject areas: English Comp Developmental English Professional Writing Developmental Writing Personal and Professional Communications Educational Technology Online Teaching Criminal Justice. Leslie graciously allowed me to write a guest post, Effective Online Tutoring, which describes the process I’m currently using with one of my tutoring clients who is in another state....

Inside Story Flashcards: Vocabulary Fun

I just received my flashcards from Inside Story and they are wonderful!  All kinds of fantastic words, illustrated by cats and dogs in one set, animals of all kinds in another, and the city of Seattle in a third set. There are more than 900 free, printable flashcards on the website as well.  They range from cards for Kids and English Learners (Basic and Easy) to SAT words (Medium) all the way to words for the GRE and beyond (Hard).  You can hear the words pronounced, study the words by hiding the definition, or print the cards.  New words are added often, according to the website. I learned something while perusing the Hard words—I am NOT an Ailurophile, a person who likes cats. However, I DO love them in their hilarious poses on these cards!...

Squishing Squash, Pinching Peppers!

Dexteria, Jr. averted a cupcake meltdown this morning!  This new app by Binary Labs was a lifesaver with my 4 1/2 year old grandson. He was immediately fascinated by the games and stayed engaged for nearly an hour.  His favorite comment, “Awesome!!!”  His next favorite comment? “This is Awesome!” According to an email from the developer: We developed it in response to the OTs, parents, and teachers who love Dexteria but say that sometimes the activities are too hard for the younger kids.  So we designed new activities for smaller hands and younger minds. We added music, characters, sprite animations, and some surprises to make it fun and engaging for preschoolers and toddlers. The Science Behind Dexteria Jr. – The Motor-Cognitive Link It’s common knowledge that fine motor skills help a child succeed in school with tasks like handwriting, using scissors, manipulating objects, etc.  However, recent research shows that fine motor skills also develop the same brain function as used in reading, mathematics, and science.  Research shows there is a strong relationship between the development of fine motor skills in early childhood and later success in math, reading, and science. Dexteria Jr. targets the sweet-spot age group for developing fine motor skills and associated cognitive function. It’s important to master fine motor skills by age 6 to help ensure later academic success. After playing with my grandson, I can say that Dexteria, Jr., meets its goals.  In Squish the Squash, the child taps a cute little squash, which goes flat and makes a satisfying ‘splat’ sound.  The app tracks how many squash are tapped and how long it takes for...

A Pocketful of Posies

What a pleasure it was to meet Salley Mavor on Saturday at Petunia’s Place in Fresno. I love her new book, A Pocketful of Posies.  Her fabric artwork is exquisite.  I not only purchased three of her books, I decided to try my hand at making ‘wee folk,’ using her book, Felt Wee Folk, as a...

Coffee or Tea? You and Me! Let’s Chat…Janna Brenhaug of Spelling Success!

I use the Barton Reading & Spelling System in my reading tutoring.  I found a link to Janna’s games on the Barton site.  I now own all the games and use them regularly in my tutoring.  They are laminated and printed on high quality cardstock, with wonderful pictures.  They correlate extremely well with the Barton System, but can be used separately also.  Janna provides excellent directions for using the card decks in several different ways. Here’s what Janna has to say about her games. Janna: I have developed several games to help reinforce the lessons taught in the Barton Reading & Spelling System.  I currently have 5 games available. Sound Game Unit Game Suffix Game Prefix Game Level 3 Spelling Rules Game Level 4 Spelling Rules Game will be available in May 2013  The game card packs feature bright, colorful, and engaging pictures.  Students of all ages enjoy playing the games.  To see a demo video of the games, go to www.SpellingSuccess.com Janna Brenhaug, Owner of Spelling Success www.SpellingSuccess.com...

In Honor of St. Patrick’s Day

I spent the afternoon with my son-in-law, Paddy Myers, as he entertained the residents of Horizon Assisted Living with some Irish (and some not) ballads and a little bit of Irish blather.  He really touched the residents’ hearts with his renditions of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling and Danny Boy.  Check out the videos...

Daily Reading DOES have a Positive Impact

My mom used to read to my kids every day when she was taking care of them while I worked.  I remember that with my second daughter, Mom had a stack of twenty picture books that she read to her at least three times a day.  All four of my kids are readers today.  My nephew had some difficulty with reading and his mother read aloud to him well into middle school.  He graduated from UC Berkeley and Georgetown Law.  This article is a reminder to me to read even more than I do with my four-year-old grandson. Here is a chart from the article showing the impact different amounts of reading can have on exposure to new vocabulary. More than the growth in fluency that being read to can have, and more than the growth in vocabulary that daily reading can have, the biggest impact, in my mind, is the enjoyment of reading, the exposure to so many different ideas, and an understanding of how we are all connected by our experiences....

Watch a Skype Tutoring Lesson!

Yes, I’m tutoring via Skype now.  This client is in Chicago!!  We’ve been working together since October and it’s going really well. Check it out!  Maybe Skype tutoring would work for you, too.  Even if we are in the same city, think of the time and gas you will save tutoring via Skype!...