• Join our Mailing List!

    Get access to free study tips, learning strategies, and other valuable resources for your child or student.
Monthly Archives: April 2014

Meeting Paul O. Zelinsky: The Man Behind the Books your kids have chewed, read, and loved

April 25, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff When children’s book illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky was first starting out, he took a bus from New Haven to New York City to show his work to an editor at The New York Times. The meeting got him his first assignment with the paper. Back in New Haven a few days later, he saw his work in print. “Hey, Zelinsky,” a professor said, calling into his studio, “there’s a cartoonist at The Times with your name.” I was in the art gallery of my daughter’s school when I heard Zelinksy tell this story. The room was full of parents, some of us clutching tattered or newly purchased copies of his Wheels on the Bus, or… Read More

Leave a Comment

We Don’t Make a Lot of Noise: The pushback is the new thing that’s happening

April 19, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Why are these children protesting in front of their school? Oh, wait—their parents are there, too. And their teachers. And their principal? One of them was Brooklyn mother, Jody Alperin. She has a first and fourth grader in PS10, a school that draws students from Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Greenwood Heights. Why were she and her kids expressing their discontent with the recent round of state language arts (ELA) tests? She’s not against all forms of testing. She’s not against standards.  But she had expected that after last year’s experimental first round—the first to be aligned with what has been a problematic rollout of Common Core standards—this year’s state tests would reflect improvements. By… Read More

Leave a Comment

Can We Talk About Autism?

April 12, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Imagine for a moment you’re the mother of three-month-old twins. One is developing as your oldest child had. The other will engage in eye contact only when he wants, not when you initiate it. You speak with your pediatrician who refers you to an eye doctor. You have your state’s early intervention program make a home visit. Everyone tells you it’s nothing to worry about. You’re not convinced, but decide to wait and see. That’s the beginning of this story; one that in retrospect was filled with “red-flags.” There’s a real mom in this, but in the interest of protecting her privacy, we’ll call her Melanie. By the time her son was two, Melanie told me,… Read More

Leave a Comment

How Did You Learn to Read?

April 4, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Erika Bird was standing in front of a table ready to demonstrate The Reading Game at the Toy Fair in New York when I first met her. Could The Reading Game be about reading, I wondered. Yes, Bird said, when I asked. I have a five-year-old, I explained. And an eight year old. I know BOB books like they’re going out of style. Her system was an alternative to BOB, she said, when I told her of my children’s devotion to the early reader books created by a teacher named Bobby Lynn Maslen. And The Reading Game was invented by Bird’s father, Kenneth Hodkinson, known for his Wordly Wise vocabulary series. Never heard of him. And… Read More

Leave a Comment