The Importance of Reading To a Child

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on May 24, 2017 11:11:00 AM

Did you know that 93% of adults in the United States read at or below the basic level needed to successfully navigate in our society! Yikes! For those of them who have children, they are responsible for their earliest language. Sadly, by the age of 3, a 30 million word gap has already been created. Reading to children, all children, regardless of socioeconomic status, is crucial. Reading aloud stimulates children’s imaginations, it expands their understanding of the world not to mention it develops their language and listening skills.

There is no such thing as reading too early to your child. The sooner the better and what better way to bond then sharing the pictures and the words of a book. At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language.
Taking care of a family is a very busy job in and of itself, however, finding ten minutes in your day to sit and share a book with your child is a must. 34 percent of children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills needed to learn how to read. Finding time within a hectic day shows your child that reading is important.

Having access to books of different genres (don’t forget nonfiction) will help expand your child’s interests and their imagination! If your child is anything like mine were, they have a favorite book that they want to hear or read over and over and over again.  Ugh, it can drive a parent crazy! Be patient though, make a deal to read their book first and then read another selection. Eventually, they will move on as their interests change.

Even after children learn to read by themselves, it's still important for you to read aloud together. A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. You can and should be reading seventh grade books to fifth grade kids. They’ll get excited about the plot and this will be a motivation to keep reading. A fifth grader can enjoy a more complicated plot than she can read herself, and reading aloud is really going to hook her, because when you get to chapter books, you’re getting into the real meat of print — there is really complicated, serious stuff going on that kids are ready to hear and understand, even if they can’t read at that level yet.
Introducing your children to a love of learning and reading will produce a literate adult who will read for learning, knowledge,  and pleasure. What better gift can a parent give to their child?

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Topics: Personal Experiences, Reading Lists, Literacy

Motivating Students

Posted by Laura Akers on May 23, 2017 11:41:00 AM

 As the school year is coming to a close, I find myself reflecting upon the year. I think about how my sweet first graders have grown in so many ways and how I influenced those changes.


When children enter the classroom during those first days of school, they are so eager to learn and excited for the many possibilities of the year. Children are excited about meeting their teachers, talking with friends, and exploring new subjects. Recognizing a child’s innate motivation and discovering the tools to reinforce motivation is key to a successful school year.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation

Reading for Information Using Big6

Posted by Reine L. on May 22, 2017 11:39:00 AM

Reading for information, research, or information literacy involves reading a variety of material, and having competencies such as being able to analyze, evaluate, and communicate information read into the written expression. The American Library Association defined Information Literacy as: “To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.”

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation, Literacy

Out of the Classroom, Out of the Box: 5 Outdoor Learning Ideas

Posted by Rachel Tapling on May 20, 2017 11:26:00 AM


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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Integration Ideas

Memorial Day: Activities Honoring Our Fallen

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on May 19, 2017 11:44:00 AM

Beginning as Decorating Day for those Union and Confederate soldiers dying in the Civil War, Memorial Day is now a national holiday that honors those who died while actively serving in the military.  Giving the ultimate sacrifice, recognizing their contribution to the development of our nation enjoys because of their acts deserves attention and recognition within our classrooms.  Read below for ideas that'll help you inspire your students to think beyond the typical things associated with this holiday--fireworks, cookouts, and parades.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation, Integration Ideas, Literacy

Student Engagement Part I

Posted by Teresa Marchant on May 18, 2017 11:48:00 AM

Are your students engaged or just entertained?  Wait, there’s a difference? Yes! Engagement is active learning where as entertainment is a passive activity.  With the end of the year weeks away, how can you eek out any sort of learning let alone engagement? There are many ideas educators can use to engage students. Today, I will focus on my top three ways to increase engagement anytime of year (especially at the end of the school year).

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation

Take Learning Outdoors

Posted by Stacey Barbeaus on May 17, 2017 11:30:00 AM

Who says that learning has to do be done inside a classroom?! There’s no reason learning the ABCs needs to be learned inside. In fact, there are lots of ways to encourage a love of reading and writing by spending time outdoors! Listed below are some of the ways that I have found to get kids outdoors and learning, some of which I have used with my own 10 and 7 year old kiddos.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation

Planning a Writing Lesson

Posted by Laura Akers on May 16, 2017 12:38:00 PM


From a young age people learn to speak a language before they can write. Speaking skills are a more natural way of communication until written language has been explicitly taught. When preparing a writing lesson, consider the age group and prior knowledge with speaking and writing skills. Choose a topic your students are more likely to be intrigued by and provide the correct tools to allow creativity. Teaching writing is not just about spelling or grammar but understanding what is expected with different writing genres. The following steps can guide you to selecting a genre, collecting ideas, planning and writing.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Writing, Literacy

Reading Out Loud to Improve Retention

Posted by Reine L. on May 15, 2017 11:48:00 AM
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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation

Asian Pacific American History Month: Five Ways to Celebrate

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on May 13, 2017 12:17:00 PM

This April is the 25th year for Asian Pacific American Month, and here at Big Universe, we want to recognize the great value Asian Americans and Pacific Americans give our society.  Representing cultures from the Asian continent as well as the island nations of the Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia, it's a time to celebrate the diversity of the culture and the people with heritage from those places.  Let these ideas below give your lesson plans life.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Literacy

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