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Literacy: Where to find reading help for a child


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young girl reading

Free Publications: Shining Stars Series - These free publications from EdPubs show how Parents can help toddlers thru children in the 3rd grade level learn to read. To order, download or view, visit and enter "Shining Stars" in the search box near the top of the page.

A Different Kind of Home Schooling - The son of poor laborers in rural Mexico, Ocario Gonzalez doesn't remember his parents ever helping with his schoolwork. After struggling with his studies for a few years, Gonzalez left school at 12. Now the 42-year-old South Los Angeles factory worker is trying to break that cycle with his daughter, Carolina.

 Kindergarten - Third Grade Literacy

With Help, Kids Keep Reading After Age 8 - Some 92 percent of children enjoy reading books for fun, but their reading time takes a steep dive after age 8. The main cause: They can't find books they like and parents aren't helping them with book selection as much as they did when the kids were small.


A Page Turner For Parents Who Want Their Child To Read - Anyone who has struggled to help a child learn to love books will find "Deconstructing Penguins" full of new ideas.


Lansing Educators Take Reading Tools on the Road - Door-to-door visits part of plan to help struggling students. Lansing parents, be aware: If your child is in kindergarten or first-, second- or third-grade, an educator may come knocking on your door. Ingham County's largest school district formally introduced a new door-to-door initiative last week called, "On the Road for Reading." It requires several educators to spend a half-day per week visiting homes of young struggling readers.

Partnership For Reading - The Partnership for Reading is offering free literacy resources for educators, teacher educators, administrators, policymakers, support agencies and families. Among the resources now available are: a new booklet for parents to help their children in grades K-3 become successful readers; a book geared to parents of children from birth through preschool; and a guide to help teachers become discerning consumers of education programs and materials. All of these documents and more can be downloaded for free. [Source: PEN]


publication coverPut Reading First
Helping Your Child Learn to Read - A Parent Guide

This brochure, designed for parents, provides a quick overview of the findings of the National Reading Panel and gives ideas for what to expect from a school's reading program based on evidence from the research (preschool through grade 3). The brochure also suggests ways parents can reinforce reading instruction at home with everyday activities and interactions.  Download this document -- PDF or HTML (accessible format) or order this document in print

publication coverA Child Becomes a Reader
Proven Ideas for Parents from Research--Kindergarten through Grade Three
The road to becoming a reader begins the day a child is born and continues through the end of third grade. At that point, a child must read with ease and understanding to take advantage of the learning opportunities in fourth grade and beyond. This booklet offers advice for parents of children from grades K-3 on how to support reading development at home, and how to recognize effective instruction in their children's classrooms. 
Download the color PDF version; black and white PDF version;
HTML (accessible format); or order this document

publication coverPut Reading First
The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read

This 64-page booklet provides teachers with a summary of the findings of the National Reading Panel from its review of reading research. Organized by major reading topic for kindergarten through grade 3 (phonemic awareness instruction, phonics instruction, vocabulary instruction, fluency instruction, and text comprehension instruction), the booklet lists the main findings from the research, suggests how the findings can be translated to practice, and answers some frequently asked questions about each topic.  Download this document -- PDF or HTML (accessible format) or order this document in print


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 Featured Websites


Featured Resource: - Looking for a break from the doldrums of creating yet another e-commerce website (that's just what the world needs), or email server application (oooh, those are doubly exciting), Ron Hornbaker sought to create a community site that would be the first of its kind, that would give back to the world at large, and that would provide warm fuzzy feelings whenever he worked on it. was the result, a website that encourages everyone to “release” their favorite books “into the wild” and then track the books’ travels worldwide.


Red Flag Screening - Give your child an informal reading test to help evaluate his/her level of reading accuracy. The test is based on materials from the State of Texas. "Our screening is designed to provide parents with a tool that can help confirm or negate their suspicions, through the use of objective & widely accepted standards as applied to state approved grade level material. The results of the screening can then be used as one more piece of the puzzle in determining whether to seek further help or testing."


Featured Website: Free Phonics Lessons Online


Jel Publishing: Books Designed for Children with Disabilities


Scientific Learning: A new way to learn - The Fast ForWord family of products develops the critical thinking, listening, and reading skills that are necessary for success in the classroom, the workplace and in everyday life. The Fast ForWord family of products use neuroscience principles to create an optimal learning environment that enables you to: Simultaneously develop multiple skill sets to maximize learning, Identify reading and language difficulties, and Attack the underlying causes of these difficulties.


The Adolescent Literacy Web Topic is packed full of research-based information on literacy and is now available on the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) Web site.

America's Literacy Directory: Where to find Reading & Literacy Help for Children - click here.


America's Literacy Directory: Where to find Reading & Literacy Help for Adults - click here.


Starfall - Help your child learn to read; includes free reading activities!



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 Articles About Literacy


Retired Teacher Reveals He Was Illiterate Until Age 48 - John Corcoran graduated from college and taught high school for 17 years without being able to read, write or spell.


Curriculum Helps Jolt Reading Skills - A Hickman Mills High student earns national honors for the improvements he has shown with Read 180. Kevin Bowen was a floater, one of those students who drift into high school reading no better than a third-grader. But now the 15-year-old Hickman Mills High School freshman is an all-star, one of nine students in a nationwide spotlight for their dramatic reading gains. The recognition came from publishing giant Scholastic Inc. It developed the Read 180 curriculum credited with turning Kevin into a ninth-grade reader within a matter of months. Some local districts are spending upwards of half a million dollars on the program--and that doesn't even include personnel costs. But administrators swear by its results.

Parents Learn Alongside Kids in Literacy Program - Jose Perez is a fidgety 5-year-old and his teacher changes activities often to accommodate his attention span. Yesterday, his mother, Sylvia, was at his left elbow for 40 minutes, coaching him to put space between words, erasing mistakes, helping him with vocabulary. Harborside Elementary School lured his mother onto campus by enrolling her as a student at the kindergarten through sixth-grade school. Before she became a Harborside pupil, Sylvia Perez did not set foot on campus. The extent of her involvement was giving her children rides to and from school.

Interview: Dr. Mel Levine - All Kinds of Learning - In this Children of the Code interview, Dr. Levine discusses his work at All Kinds of Minds and engages in a wide ranging dialogue about the many dimensions of learning. Of particular interest to COTC readers, Dr. Levine discusses how the effects of reading difficulty can ripple through learning in general.


Tips on Picking Audio Books - Here are some tips for choosing audio books for children, suggested by Shannon Maughan, audio book expert at Publishers Weekly, and Sharon Grover, youth services librarian in Arlington, Va.   


The Personal and Social Implications of Literacy and Literacy Instruction - Interview with Dr. Shanahan who is currently chair of the National Early Literacy Panel. Dr. Shanahan is an internationally recognized reading researcher with extensive experience with children in Head Start, children with special needs, and children in inner-city schools. During the course of over five hours of conversations, spread across three interviews, we found Dr. Shanahan to be an open minded and well rounded literacy expert whose driving passion is to serve children and families. He is without doubt one of the least partisan and most noble champions of children and literacy we have encountered.


The Scream! Does Children’s Literature Have to Be Scary? - It is as though the authors, the publishers, the teachers, and the professors of education share a bizarre consensus that ordinary children need to be shaken out of their complacency, stripped of their innocence, and frightened by the horrors that the world has in store for them at any moment. What Feinberg nicely exposes is that the entire field of children’s literature specialists has bought a flawed bill of goods and has sold it to the nation’s teachers. They have persuaded themselves that their job is not to promote excellent literature, but to promote depressing problem novels. In doing so, they seem to be turning young people away from literature in droves.


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 Literacy-related Resources & Tools


Resource from a parent: Parenting a Struggling Reader: A Guide to Diagnosing and Finding Help for Your Child's Reading Difficulties by Susan Hall & Louisa Cook Moats - You can read an excerpt from chapter 1 on the Barnes & Noble website if you search under the book title and then "click" on the book title.  You then have an option to "click" to read an excerpt. Among the many things covered in the book are "central linguistic processing" issues. Visit for more information.


Literacy screening tool for 4-year-olds:,1120,63-25466,00.html


Family Literacy: A Strategy for Educational Improvement - There is an overwhelming relationship between parental education levels, parental involvement, and children's school success. Family literacy directly affects the role and effectiveness of parents in helping their children learn.  Click here to download the pdf brief (size=222kb).


C-A-T = CAT Online Phonics/Learn to Read Module - This online book/module is available for free online. "I think that the sounds available on the site (that coincide with each letter) is a very nice touch.  It is a humble approach to phonics from the UK." (JDI)


Ohio Department of Education: Choosing a Reading Program: A Consumer's Guide (PDF) - Descriptions and evaluations of 21 programs used in Ohio elementary schools.


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 Literacy Organizations & Websites


Directory of National and State Literacy Contacts - Locate literacy programs in your state.  The National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) is a federal organization that shares information about literacy and supports the development of high-quality literacy services so all Americans can develop essential basic skills.

Starfall Learn to Read

RIF logoReading Is Fundamental (RIF) - Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those families who need them most.  RIF operates through a network of 435,000 volunteers and gives away 16 million books a year at more than 23,000 sites nationwide. These sites include schools, libraries, community centers, child-care centers, hospitals, migrant worker camps, Head Start and Even Start programs, homeless shelters, and detention centers.


National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
Get Ready to Read website (an initiative of the NCLD):
Internet Special Ed:


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 Literacy Hotlines


National Literacy Hotline 1-800-228-8813
The National Literacy Hotline has a 24-hour bilingual (Spanish/English) operator service that provides information on: literacy/education classes, GED testing services, volunteer organizations, and a learning disabilities brochure.


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