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Topic Archives: Reading & Vocabulary

Mindprint Exclusive: Observation Checklist for Learning Struggles

June 28, 2016

This is one of many exclusive Mindprint guides found in the FREE Parent & Teacher Resources section of the Mindprint website. We hope it makes it easier for you to identify the source of your child’s struggles. If you’re looking for more detailed insight, consider a confidential Comprehensive Mindprint. Once you know the source of a child’s difficulties, search our free Toolbox to find research-backed strategies to support a struggling learner.

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Exclusive Mindprint Guide: Ideas for Reluctant Readers

June 26, 2016

  This is one of many exclusive Mindprint guides found in the FREE Parent & Teacher Resources section of the Mindprint website. Independent reading is so important for students of all ages. We hope this list enables you to successfully foster a love of reading. If your child is reading below grade level consider audio books to help keep him engaged. But be sure to get to the root cause of a learning struggle. Early intervention can make all the difference. You can learn more about the potential causes of reading difficulties here.

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Now You See it, Now You Don’t: Cognitive Blindness

October 25, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff A few days ago, my six-year-old brought home a book from school that was considered a “right-fit”. Her assignment was to read the book to me out loud. We’ve been doing this since the start of the school year. It was a routine assignment and from what I could tell from the book’s jacket, a routine kind of book for a typical first grader. But this was not routine. A few pages into the story, she lost much of the fluency I would have expected given the book’s vocabulary. And why? Because she was distracted by the pictures. “That man is not wearing a helmet,” she said, looking at a man on a motorcycle depicted… Read More

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5 Tips to Help them Finish their Summer Reading (and math)

August 15, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Perhaps you, too, once had a weekend in college when you realized you had two days to read 700 pages of Dostoyevsky. I planted myself in a coffee shop and inhaled The Brothers Karamazov, along with the fumes of java, until I got the job done, my own form of crime and punishment. With a few weeks left of summer, I can’t send my kids to a coffee shop, not without a hefty Starbucks bill and some raised eyebrows. But we have work to do! Sure, we’ve been reading, and yes, we’ve been doing math, but there are papers to fill out and more math to be done. How are we going to get it all… Read More

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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

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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

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Vocab Words only a Colonist Can Teach You

March 21, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff We’ve recently returned to the twenty-first century having spent a few days hanging out with the settlers and revolutionaries of Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg. My kids will be talking about the experience for days and years to come, and certainly testing out the new words they learned during our trip back in time. Take, for example, cannibalism. I’m sure our readers know the definition, but suffice it to say, my eight-year-old took a few seconds to process the term when she heard it for the first time moments after entering the visitor’s center in Jamestown. Our present weather woes look lovely compared to the  “starving winter” of 1609-1610, when the settlers in the first English colony… Read More

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Learn with Homer: This Pigeon’s Got Wings

March 7, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff When Peggy Kaye was first starting out in teaching, a parent asked if there was something she could use for the classroom. “Yes,” she said, “a tape recorder.” The parent got her one, and Kaye recorded herself reading books her students could later listen to on their own. Today, Kaye is Director of Joyful Learning for the Learn with Homer App, and it’s children who have the ability to record their voices in the product designed for beginning readers. She’s come a long way, it seems, from the days of analog cassettes. But Learn with Homer is all about blending the creative and imaginative traditions of the past with the capabilities of the present  moment. As… Read More

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What is a Psychoeducational Evaluation?

November 7, 2013

A few weeks ago, we featured an interview with a mother who had a problem when it came to her third grader’s reading ability: “The school representatives could not explain the discrepancy between his reading fluency and his CogAT scores.” The one person who helped the family put the pieces of their particular puzzle together was their clinical child psychologist who specializes in psychoeducational evaluations. If no one at your school mentions psychoeducational testing, and no one in your particular circle of friends discusses it, it can feel intimidating. We asked psychologist Dr. Carol Blum to give us the facts about psychoeducational evaluations. Every situation is unique, to use an old cliché, but it’s helpful to know some basics about a… Read More

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The School Says a Child is Fine, but a Mother Suspects More…

October 11, 2013

October is, among other things, National Dyslexia Awareness Month. But today’s blog post is timely no matter the date, because a delayed diagnosis of a child’s learning difference exhausts every resource a parent might have. If have a concern about dyslexia, we strongly encourage you to have your child tested. This is a service schools must provide if you request it. You can also do a relatively quick, at-home dyslexia screener, or find a child psychologist who can do a full evaluation.   Nancy Weinstein, the founder of Mindprint, starts us off with a brief introduction, followed by our Q&A. Nancy: Although each family’s situation is unique, this story is all too familiar. Parents know they have a bright child but something feels “wrong”…. Read More

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