Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Magnetic Toy Danger Reminder

Refrigerator magnets and other magnetic toys can provide a fun, educational experience for many young children. However, loose magnets and magnetic toys designed for adults can cause serious injuries and lifelong impacts for children and teens.

In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was successful in advocating for new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards for children’s products and toys that contain magnets. These new standards help keep children safe by ensuring that magnets in children’s products will not fall out or become dislodged. This decreases the risk of loose magnets being swallowed by young children. 

Unfortunately, the new safety standards only apply to children’s products. Many magnets are found in products designed for adult use. Recently, children have been injured as a result of swallowing small, round magnets marketed as “stress relief” desk toys for adults. 

Here are Tips from the AAP :

Use the tips below to protect your children from the dangers of magnets:

  • Keep products with small or loose magnets away from young children who might swallow them.
  • Closely monitor loose magnets and other magnetic products to ensure children do not swallow them.
  • Avoid purchasing magnets sold in sets of 100 or more, as it is difficult to recognize if a few magnets have gone missing.
  • Talk to your older children and teens about the serious dangers associated with using magnets as fake piercings in their mouths or noses.

Know the symptoms of magnet ingestion:

  • Children who have ingested magnets may have abdominal pain, vomiting, and fever. Because these symptoms are common in children and not usually caused by ingested objects, the true cause may not be suspected right away.
  • Delaying treatment can lead to severe injuries to the stomach, intestines, and digestive tract and even death.
  • Contact your pediatrician or nearest emergency department immediately if you suspect your child has swallowed or been injured by a magnet.

Report injuries and incidences of magnet ingestions to the CPSC:

If your child has swallowed a magnet and/or been injured by a magnetic product, you can report that injury to the CPSC, the federal agency tasked with ensuring children’s toys and other consumer products are safe.

The CPSC has an online database for parents and the general public to report dangerous products and injuries related to consumer products directly to the agency.  Anyone can visit SaferProducts.gov to report injuries related to magnet ingestions or other products directly to the CPSC. 

The site requests, but does not require, the injured victim’s information. The CPSC must publicly disclose accident or investigation reports, but does not include identifying information for any injured individual or the person reporting the incident. If further information is necessary, the CPSC will contact the reporting individual directly, but such contact information is not shared with others.
Stronger regulatory action to remove dangerous magnets and magnetic products from the marketplace may depend on the CPSC receiving reports of injuries associated with these products.  Parents and others who witness magnet-related injuries are encouraged to report the incidents to the CPSC.

To read the full article CLICK HERE

**thanks to the AAP and Healthychildren.org for some great information

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Memorial day and Office Hours

We hope you have a wonderful Memorial day weekend. We wanted you to know that we will be open this weekend for Urgent Care sick appointments. Willow Creek Pediatrics is open 364 days a year and we always have a nurse or doctor to answer any of your questions.  Please know that on weekends we book in consecutive order as a courtesy to our patients and are happy to see your SICK child. We most likely will only be in the office in the mornings so if you want an appointment call early. We hope you have a great and safe weekend. Here is a list of when our phones turn on this weekend. Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday: 8:30 am
Sunday: 9:30 am
Monday: 9:30 am

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

We can learn from Summer Camps

Dr Jopling found this great article about What Schools can Learn from Summer Camps by Annie Murphy Paul. Click here to read the full article or part of the article below. It is a great resource to think about before our children start this summer break!

As warm weather approaches and parents sign up their kids for summer enrichment programs, many may wonder how long the effects of these programs last. Do their benefits persist into the school year, or do they disappear come September?
A study led by Stanford University psychologist Paul O’Keefe, released online this month by the journal Motivation and Emotion, offers some heartening news: Students’ improvements in attitude and motivation stick around well after summer turns to fall.
Over the course of nine months, O’Keefe and his coauthors assessed a group of eighth-, ninth-, and tenth-graders three times: once before the end of the school year, once during their summer enrichment program, and a final time six months after the end of the program.

Reward intellectual risk-taking, and avoid punishing students for failed experiments.
The researchers were looking at the teenagers’ “goal orientations”—were they interested in learning for learning’s sake, or in showing off their smarts? The first type of attitude, called a “mastery orientation,” has been linked to high levels of motivation and engagement, while the second, known as a “performance orientation,” has been tied to greater anxiety and less resilience in the face of failure.
During the summer enrichment program, the students became more apt to favor a mastery approach, endorsing statements such as “It’s important to me that I learn a lot of new concepts in science,” and discounting statements like, “One of my goals is to show others that I’m good at science,” which indicate a performance orientation.
The surprise was that the teenagers’ embrace of mastery remained strong even after they returned to school—which, with its tests and rankings, often places more emphasis on performance than on learning for its own sake.
As cheering as this finding may be, it in turn raises another question: How can we carry the mastery orientation cultivated in summer enrichment programs into the rest of the year? For the answer, look more closely at what the program in this study does right. Called the Talent Identification Program, it is held on the campus of Duke University and lasts for three weeks, during which participants attend academically rigorous classes for seven hours on weekdays and three hours on Saturdays. The courses, which include subjects like Aerospace Engineering, Introduction to Medical Science, Marine Biology, and Pharmacology, are deliberately designed to emphasize mastery and de-emphasize performance.
Some key characteristics:
  • The program promotes collaboration, playing down competition among students and fostering “a collegial attitude towards fellow learners.”
  • Its instructors offer what O’Keefe calls “autonomy support,” encouraging students “to draw their own conclusions and justify them, explore aspects of class subjects that interest them most, and make decisions regarding what they prefer to learn and how they would like to learn those materials.”
  • The program rewards intellectual risk-taking, and avoids punishing students for failed experiments.
  • Feedback given to students recognizes effort and growth and focuses on the learning process, rather than on its outcome.
As O’Keefe’s study demonstrates, summer enrichment programs offer lasting benefits for those lucky enough to participate in them. What would be even better? Every student encouraged to learn for mastery, all school year long.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Drowning Reminder as Summer starts

As the weather gets better and we all start to make plans for the summer months we wanted you to be aware of a new study that was just done. Read part of the article, provided by Dr Jopling, and also POOL SAFETY tips from the AAP below! Your child safety is always on our minds :)....

May 19--Drowning Top Cause of Injury Deaths in Kids 1-4---Although the death rate for drowning in the U.S. has gone down in the last decade, drowning leads to more deaths among young children aged 1 to 4 than any other cause except birth defects, a new report from the CDC reveals.
Between 2005 and 2009, the death rates from accidental drowning were higher among children under 4 years of age than for any other age group, the report shows. About half of these deadly incidents in young children took place at swimming pools.
Kids under 4 also had the highest rate of nonfatal drownings, meaning injuries from near drowning that may have landed them in the emergency room or in the hospital. Swimming pools were the site of roughly 65% of these near drownings in preschoolers.
Researchers also found that for each year between 2005 and 2009, an average of 3,880 Americans lost their lives to drowning and nearly 5,800 people a year were estimated to have sought treatment in the emergency room because of a near-drowning episode.

The researchers suggest that taking swimming lessons while young can teach life-saving skills to help prevent drownings and water-related injuries. Wearing life jackets, installing four-sided pool fencing, and giving bystander CPR can also help lessen the number of lives lost or injuries.

To read the full article please click HERE

Pool Safety (from the AAP)

  • Never leave children alone in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment.
  • Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.
  • Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can't reach.
  • If the house serves as the fourth side of a fence surrounding a pool, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and the pool.
  • Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd's hook — a long pole with a hook on the end — and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool. Choose a shepherd’s hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.
  • Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age.
  • The decision to enroll a 1- to 4-year-old child in swimming lessons should be made by the parent and based on the child’s developmental readiness, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.
  • Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
  • Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers. Ask your pool operator if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act. If you have a swimming pool or spa, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fitting with anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. See PoolSafely.gov for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
  • Large, inflatable, above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that they be surrounded by an appropriate fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access.
 **info from CDC
**Info about POOL SAFETY from Healthychildren.org/ and the AAP

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Week 5: Questions Come From Interest

Questions Come From Interest

What does your child wonder about?

Emily A. Swan, Ph.D.

Have you been reading to your children? Have you been talking to them about books?

Last week, I talked about ways to make reading more fun and interesting for you and your children. Two of those ways involve questions.

This week, I am going to talk about the topic of QUESTIONS and how important your child’s questions are to teaching you about your child’s interests. If we really listen to our children’s questions and what they wonder, we will truly gain insights into their thinking! When we know what our children’s interests are and what they wonder, finding the right books is easy!

The Importance of QUESTIONS

“WHY?” How many thousands of times have your children asked you this question? How many times have you secretly wished you could remove just a small portion of your child’s frontal lobe after the 47th time s/he asks it in the same day? But, let me tell you… it’s a good thing you can’t! Questions are the secret to learning. Questions are the secret to interest! Questions are the tools our children give to us so we can help them gain knowledge through reading.

These are the reasons WHY questions are so important to learning:

1.    Questions are diagnostic tools! You know exactly what your child is thinking when they ask a question. Their question is what is on their mind right now. And really, until that question gets answered, the child has a difficult time moving on. So rather than answering the question for your child, try and answer with another question, such as: “I’m not sure, what do you think?” Reflecting the question back on the child allows them to solve the problem, figure out sources for the answer, and they will retain the answer for longer periods of time than if we just answer their questions for them.

2.    Questions make more sense to kids when we phrase them as, “What do you wonder?” rather than, “What questions do you have?” Kids wonder about everything. Tapping into this wonder is what makes reading and learning FUN.

a.    Do you have a child within a 2 minute radius of you right now? Go ahead. Go and ask your child, (any age will do), “What are you wondering about?” if they are 5, they might tell you for 30 minutes. If they are 16, they may grunt and say, “nothing. Why?”  So, right there—what did you learn?? Who has more curiosity? Maybe it’s your 16 year old. GREAT! Feed that curiosity with things to help your child find answers to their own “wonderings.” Ask them what the answers are and how they found them.

3.    Questions have different levels of answers, which yield different levels of knowledge. For example, some questions are pretty thin. “Who was buried in Grant’s tomb?” has a pretty thin or simple answer. But “What do you know about Grant’s life and death?” might be a bit thicker question, which will probably take a little longer explanation. The simpler or thinner the question, the easier the question is to answer, resulting in simple or concrete knowledge. A thicker question, however, may take more reading, more thinking, more time, and more resources to answer. Thicker questions result in much deeper levels of knowledge, more abstract thinking, and more complex explanations.

4.    Questions are a GREAT reason to read books! Do you know how roly-poly bugs have babies? Do you know all the constellations in the summer sky? Do you know the state bird of Maryland? Do you know why May 17th was an important day to George Washington and the Patriots during the American Revolutionary War?  If not, START READING!! Reading is the #1 way to answer questions!

5.    The only stupid question is the one you already know how to answer. Here’s a real life story about this principle.  I was a reading consultant in Iowa for several years. I worked with some great teachers, teaching them how to engage their students more deeply. One 6th grade (really smart) science teacher, who had recently begun a unit on Energy, had asked his students what they knew about Energy and what they wondered about Energy. He had their questions written on sentence strips up on the wall. He had a large class and when I went to Iowa for a visit, I observed his classroom and I noticed that there were only about 7 or 8 questions up on the wall, which made me curious. I asked him, “Why don’t you have all of the students’ questions on the wall?” His reply was, “Oh, those are the only good questions.” I then asked, “Who determines which question is good enough to go up on the wall?” and he replied, “I do. The rest of the questions are too dumb to put on the wall.” Of course, I asked to see the other questions. Keep in mind that I am NOT a scientist, nor do I claim to be. But I do know how to engage kids in science using literacy principles; so I was very curious to read the other students’ questions that hadn’t made it onto the wall. When I looked at the questions, I thought they were pretty good, simply because I didn’t know how to answer them either! I felt just like the 6th graders, wondering the same things! I said to the teacher, “What is wrong with these questions? They look good to me. Why do you think they are dumb?” and the teacher replied, “Oh those are so easy to answer.” And my response was, “Yes. To a scientist they probably are easy. But to a 6th grader, or even to me, they are not easy at all because we don’t have enough knowledge to answer them. That’s why you are the teacher and they are the 6th graders!” 

          My point is: The only dumb question is the one in which you already know the    answer! All other questions are where you are (or where your child is) in the   learning process. So listen to your kids’ questions, even if you think they are easy        to answer. Remember, you’re the adult. So of course they’re easy for YOU to     answer!!

Action Plan for This Week:  LISTEN to your children’s questions. Write them down if you can. Pay attention. YOU, as a parent, will discover things about your child that will help you engage them in learning.

Next week I will provide a list of some of my favorite books I have read to and with my children! Hopefully, the list will give you some ideas for fun summer reading!

If you are interested in how to build literacy skills over the summer with your preschooler or Kindergartener. . . My business partner Michelle Roderick and I have created a tool for parents to maximize the time they spend reading to their young children. One tool that will soon be available to parents, grandparents, babysitters, or other caretakers, is our product called DiscoverLit Kits. These wonderful kits are designed around a book (e.g., Bugs) and we have written research-based activities around these wonderful books that increase comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, word study/phonics, and writing. We include easy step-by-step instructions for mothers and others that are easy to follow. We also integrate math, science, or art into our kits to extend learning. They help parents and children discover the fun of literacy. . .in a kit. The kit ships right to your door and all of the materials for the activities are included IN the kit. Simply choose an activity per day. Do as many or as few as you want. You can do them in any order. Easy. Convenient. Portable. We take parents and young children through the steps of creating interest, questioning, discovering, reading, sharing, and making connections. Our goal is to help parents know how to prepare their Preschooler or Kindergartener for school during the summer months. We will soon have kits for grades K-1 too. By fall, we’ll have kits for grades 2-3 and 3-4. We are excited to be able to help parents motivate their children in fun, meaningful ways that truly build lifelong skills and build special relationships between parent and child, by reading together.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Weight of the Nation

Dr. Donnelly wanted to share a great video on HBO that is addressing obesity in the Nation. You do not have to own HBO to watch just click on THIS LINK.  There are four different series you can watch. We encourage you to watch number three "Children in Crisis". Below you can read a little about this "Weight of the Nation" and click on the bottom of the page to go right to the series on children.  This is a great resource and we would love to hear what you think?

Bringing together the nation’s leading research institutions, THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION is a presentation of HBO and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.
The centerpiece of THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION campaign is the four-part documentary series, each featuring case studies, interviews with our nation’s leading experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity. The first film, CONSEQUENCES, examines the scope of the obesity epidemic and explores the serious health consequences of being overweight or obese. The second, CHOICES, offers viewers the skinny on fat, revealing what science has shown about how to lose weight, maintain weight loss and prevent weight gain. The third, CHILDREN IN CRISIS, documents the damage obesity is doing to our nation’s children. Through individual stories, this film describes how the strong forces at work in our society are causing children to consume too many calories and expend too little energy; tackling subjects from school lunches to the decline of physical education, the demise of school recess and the marketing of unhealthy food to children. The fourth film, CHALLENGES, examines the major driving forces causing the obesity epidemic, including agriculture, economics, evolutionary biology, food marketing, racial and socioeconomic disparities, physical inactivity, American food culture, and the strong influence of the food and beverage industry.


Childhood obesity is much more than a cosmetic concern. The health consequences of childhood obesity include greater risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other serious illnesses. The combination of these health effects and the dramatic increase in childhood obesity rates over the past three decades causes some experts to fear this may be the first generation of American children who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.Strategies like cutting out TV and sugar-sweetened drinks may help reduce a child’s weight or prevent future weight gain, but not always for the reasons we expect. There is a link between TV watching and overweight and obesity among children. While the act of watching TV - being sedentary and possibly eating snacks while taking in a favorite show - is part of the problem, experts are now looking at what kids watch as well. There is a growing debate over the effects of food marketing on the childhood obesity epidemic and what should be done about it.For parents of obese children, responsible parenting means more than tackling health challenges head on. It also means doing the hard work of finding supportive, healthy communities that will instill long-term habits that promote healthy living. And it means knowing that some day, every child will be an adult who deserves to know that their parents did all they could to help them grow up healthy and happy. Changes to school lunches are one way to make a major dent in the childhood obesity epidemic. But in too many schools across the country, the lunches being served don’t meet all of the federal government’s guidelines for nutrition. Moreover, the obstacles to changing our National School Lunch Program and the food served in cafeterias across the country are formidable.Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, including juice drinks, is also associated with obesity and accounts for more added sugar in our children’s daily diet than any other food. Replacing sports drinks, soda and other sugary drinks and limiting your intake of 100% fruit juice are effective straightforward ways to start the journey to healthier behaviors and lower body fat for kids and adults.Beyond proper diet, kids need physical activity to lead a healthy lifestyle. With the rise of video games and the decline of physical education in schools, being active isn’t as easy or common for today’s kids. Schools can become the centerpiece of public efforts to ensure that kids participate in physical activity and develop healthier lifestyles that can last a lifetime. And it makes perfect sense for them to do so: not only will they be nurturing the growth and development of the whole child, but research links physical activity with improved learning capacity. “If they’re not bouncing up and down in gym, they’re going to be bouncing off the walls in class,” says the director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden. Unfortunately, P.E. has become a low priority in some of our nation’s schools.The good news is that there are resources available for concerned parents who want to help their kids. With hard work, we can improve the health of our children. The bad news is that there are many barriers to achieving these goals and, unfortunately, a lot of parents don’t yet recognize the seriousness of obesity-related health issues and the help their children need to overcome the obstacles in their environment. Watch Now

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We love our baby names!

We love to see your newborns! It is so much fun to see a baby's little personality and to see what you have named these new little ones. The Social Security Administration released its top 1,000 baby name list for 2011 on Monday morning. To read the full list click HERE.
Just for fun we thought we would share and ask....where does your child's name stand?....
1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. William
4. Jayden
5. Noah
6. Michael
7. Ethan
8. Alexander
9. Aiden
10. Daniel
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Madison
9. Mia
10. Chloe

Here is the social security administration's list of top trenders:
1. Brantley
2. Iker
3. Maximiliano
4. Zaiden
5. Kamden
6. Barrett
7. Archer
8. Declan
9. Atticus
10. Nico
1. Briella
2. Angelique
3. Aria
4. Mila
5. Elsie
6. Nylah
7. Raelynn
8. Brynlee
9. Olive
10. June

**info from social security administration

Friday, May 11, 2012

Guest Post week 4: The Importance of Interest

The Importance of Interest

Ways to make reading FUN and PERSONAL for your kids!

Emily A. Swan, Ph.D.

Last week, I talked about the some common pitfalls parents make when trying to motivate their children to read. Yet, often these ways backfire.

I encouraged you to make reading FUN! So how are you doing? I’d love to hear about your progress?

·         Are you reading to your children daily?

·         Are you going to the library?

·         Are you having conversations with your children about what they are reading?

·         Are YOU reading?

·         If you answered NO to any of the above questions, What is the problem??

o   What to do: start TONIGHT reading with your kids! You can always start!

This week, I am going to talk about the topic of INTEREST and how vital it is to helping your children see the relevance to reading. Interest also plays an important role in helping your child find connections to what they read, which makes reading more FUN, so kids actually spend more time reading. It’s a nice cycle to get into.

The Importance of Interest

Can you imagine if you walked into Barnes & Noble and the sales person greeted you at the door and said, “Oh hello. The books you are allowed to read are on this table.” So you walk to that table and there are only 4 books, none of which are about anything you find interesting. But those are all the choices you have. You are not allowed to read “thicker” books, books on “those” topics, books by “those” authors, books with “those” genres, or even books on “that” level! Ridiculous, isn’t it? You would NEVER go back to that store again!

But what kinds of choices to we give kids? We tend to think we know best what our children, or our students should like, should read, or can read. The truth is, often we are wrong. The following few guidelines might be helpful the next time you are trying to convince your child to spend more time reading.

1.    Interest is one of the most important reasons to read. This is true for adults as well as children. When we can find something of interest to our children, chances are, they will listen to us read it to them; or better yet, they will read it on their own if they are able to do so. Even if our children are young, they can thumb through page after page of books on topics of their interest, if we have them available.

2.    Interest is more important than reading level. Research has shown that kids who have a high interest in a topic, will read for longer periods of time and will struggle through more difficult text because their interest is the motivation. This doesn’t mean that you can give your child ANY book. But it does mean that you can find books at appropriate levels on the topic of interest and your child is much more likely to read them and enjoy them!

3.    Interest is the way that readers determine what is important. Authors determine importance by how their books are structured, how much information to put into their books, and how deeply they cover a topic or topics. Teachers or tasks determine importance by curriculum standards, time, and skills that need to be taught. But INTEREST is how individual readers determine what is important. If kids don’t think reading is important, they won’t read for pleasure. They will only read out of compliance to do an assignment for a teacher and this is NOT the way to increase a child’s love of reading!

So. . . what are some ways to generate interest? How do you make reading FUN? How do you make reading INTERESTING?

1.    Create interest! If you don’t know what to read to your kids, or to have your older children read, create a situation that generates interest! How? Buy a pet (the creepier the better). Buy a snake. Go on a fieldtrip. Go on a hike. Go to the zoo. Visit the aviary. Look for bugs. People watch. Go to an amusement park and watch the different kinds of rides. Look at things differently.  Go somewhere and NOTICE THINGS! Observe. Draw pictures of what you notice. Pay attention! This is the first step.

2.    Ask lots of questions! When you ask your child, “Why doesn’t the rollercoaster fall off the track when it is upside down?” your child will have to think about the answer. “How do roly-poly bugs have babies?” Do you know? I got asked that question when my daughter was 4 and we were looking for bugs. That one question took us to the library and we read books about roly-poly bugs for a week. Listen to the questions your child asks when you are on a hike, at the mall, at the zoo, or looking at amazing birds. Questioning is the beginning of wonder. Wonder is the beginning of curiosity. Curiosity is long-term interest!

3.    Write down the questions. All of them. The only stupid question is the one to which you already know the answer. All the rest of the questions are fair game. When questions are written down, you have a list of reasons to read.

4.    Find interesting books—LOTS of books—on the topics that interest your child. Go to the library, to the bookstore, to your own shelves. Find a big stack of books and sit and read to find the answers to the questions. This takes time and it is a BLAST to do with your kids. You will learn things too! Go to the internet and look things up and see if you can find other information. LEARN as much as you can!

·         Interesting books, by definition, are books that (1) have vivid details, so that kids can get information by looking at words or photographs, (2) have colorful illustrations, diagrams, pictures, etc. that allow kids to get information in a variety of ways, and (3) have information that is easily accessible to children (e.g., clear explanations, short snippets of text, clear titles and subtitles, etc.)

5.    Read! Together! Find as many answers as you can. Get smart!

6.    Make connections to your life. Help your child make connections to their life. Take pictures of your hike, your trips, your adventures, your observations. Talk about them. Find the relevance to your child’s life in the reading and questioning and searching for answers. Your child will remember these times! They are powerful.

7.    Share what you know with others. Have your child share with a friend, a sibling, a grandparent, your spouse, whomever—what they have learned! It’s amazing how empowering this experience is. All of a sudden, your child becomes the expert on a topic of interest. They know something and knowledge is power!

8.    Repeat! Do these steps again and again. This is the process of learning. And it is one of the secrets to a happy LIFE!

Summer is almost here! There are so many great things you can do with your children to spark their interest! Every Public Library has a list of Award Winning Books. These are the Newberry (Best fiction book), Caldecott (best Picture Book), the National Book Awards, and even the Utah Book Award-winning booklist. Start with these books! They win awards for a reason. You can pick up this list at the library and there is a section of the library that showcases these books and authors.

If you are interested in other tools, stay tuned, I’ll give you more tips next week!

Action Plan for This Week:  Create interest with your child. Find out what your child finds fascinating. Then get books and read about it! Remember to allow your child to wonder and question. Write down the questions. Read to find the answers and share them with others. This is a winning cycle that will teach your child how fun reading can be!!

 Next week I will be discussing the importance of QUESTIONING and how this helps readers gain deeper levels of knowledge! Have a great week!

 If you are interested in how to build literacy skills over the summer with your preschooler or Kindergartener. . . My business partner Michelle Roderick and I have created a tool for parents to maximize the time they spend reading to their young children. One tool that will soon be available to parents, grandparents, babysitters, or other caretakers, is our product called DiscoverLit Kits. These wonderful kits are designed around a book (e.g., Bugs) and we have written research-based activities around these wonderful books that increase comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, word study/phonics, and writing. We include easy step-by-step instructions for mothers and others that are easy to follow. We also integrate math, science, or art into our kits to extend learning. They help parents and children discover the fun of literacy. . .in a kit. The kit ships right to your door and all of the materials for the activities are included IN the kit. Simply choose an activity per day. Do as many or as few as you want. You can do them in any order. Easy. Convenient. Portable. We take parents and young children through the steps of creating interest, questioning, discovering, reading, sharing, and making connections. Our goal is to help parents know how to prepare their Preschooler or Kindergartener for school during the summer months. We will soon have kits for grades K-1 too. By fall, we’ll have kits for grades 2-3 and 3-4. We are excited to be able to help parents motivate their children in fun, meaningful ways that truly build lifelong skills and build special relationships between parent and child, by reading together.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Media Exposure for children: Video

Dr Jopling wanted to share this great link and hope you find some great information in it! Dimitri Christakis is a pediatrician, parent, and researcher whose influential findings are helping identify optimal media exposure for children. Let us know what you think?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Guest Post week 3: Motivating Kids to Read

Motivating Kids to Read: What NOT To Do!

The things that parents do that undermine children’s motivations to read.

Emily A. Swan, Ph.D.

Last week, I talked about the differences between expert and novice readers. Your challenge for the week was to help your child imitate what expert readers do by tapping into your child’s WONDER, INTERESTS, and help your child MAKE CONNECTIONS to what they read.

I hope you have found some time to read TO or WITH your children! Isn’t it great? I have to say, I am reading The Tale of Despereaux  (By Kate DiCamillo) to my car and truck-loving, bike-riding 5 year old son, and he is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY HOOKED! I do love Kate DiCamillo; the language in her books draws in readers of all ages! But to have him beg me to keep reading “just one more chapter, pleeeeaaaasssseeee!” is music to my ears! Just the other night, he realized that we were more than half way through the book. He said, “Oh NO! We are getting closer to the end! I don’t want the pages to end, mom!”  We are having so much fun! I’ve read the book several times and I find my daughter and my husband like to listen in when we read. It’s the best time of the day!

This week, I am going to talk about motivating your kids to read, especially what NOT to do. Keep in mind that some of the things I am going to encourage you NOT to do are things most parents DO all the time. But I’m going to teach you why some of these things actually hurt your children and what to do instead! So, fasten your seatbelts.

The things that parents do that undermine children’s motivations to read.

Believe it or not, there are things parents do, thinking they will motivate their kids to read, but they actually undermine children’s motivations and can have the reverse effect. These things do not cause permanent damage, like a serious head injury, but they do cause temporary setbacks, some of which can be very difficult to remedy!

1.   Do NOT pay your child to read!
This means DO NOT give your child money for grades, for As, for book reports, for ANYTHING that involves learning or reading. PERIOD. DO NOT do it! Please.

·         Why not? Your child’s job is to go to school. At school, your child’s job is to learn and to get smart. Your child’s job is to learn the things in school that will help him or her become a responsible, reliable, and dependable person. School is there to teach your child how to be a strategic thinkers, a person who follows through, a person who can meet deadlines, a person who can work well with others, and a person who can manage their time. In short, your child’s job is to go to school to learn how to WORK so when they get out of school, they can get a job and EARN MONEY. The reason why paying your child to do what they are supposed to do anyway is that it takes their focus OFF the learning or the reading and puts their focus on the MONEY or on the performance. This is a problem for several reasons:

o   First, when your child’s focus is on performance, rather than on learning, your child develops more superficial forms of learning such as memorization, cramming, and even cheating. All they care about is getting the A (so they can get paid). They can have As, but no learning behind the As. This is not good. The goal is to LEARN first, and then the A will follow. The knowledge is the reward. You can pay your kids to mow the lawn. That’s a real job.

o   Second, performance-oriented students are more competitive (which isn’t a bad thing on a basketball court or a football field), and less cooperative, which can hurt them because their focus is usually more on the “product” versus the “process”.  It is FINE to be competitive in sports! That’s how sports work. But in school, there is enough knowledge to go around. Your child’s job is to get as much of it as they can and cooperating with others HELPS!!

o   The third reason is that when your child is more performance-oriented rather than learning or mastery-oriented, they tend to give up easier, have a difficult time persisting at more difficult tasks, are less dedicated, and become more work avoidant (which means they tend to do the least amount required). When children are more learning oriented, they choose more difficult tasks, thrive with challenges, and persist in the face of difficulty. This is what makes them great employees when they’re older.

2.   Do NOT do for your child what your child can do him or herself.
This means do not rescue or “helicopter” your child when it comes to homework, deadlines, reports, poster presentations, science fair projects, etc. NEVER do your child’s homework for them; not even the poster for their report!

·         Why not? I know lots of parents who are better at math than their 4th grader, or better at English than their 7th grader. So what! I tell them, “You learned how to do your math. You went on to 5th grade or on to 8th grade. You figured out how to learn! Let your children learn how to learn!”  Here is the most important thing I can say about this subject:

o   When you do your homework for your child, they will NOT fail. This is true.

o   BUT remember this: when parents do their children’s homework, or the poster, or the report—and it gets an A, the success is NOT the child’s, and the child KNOWS THIS! So you have just robbed your child of success.

o   Robbing your child of success is WORSE than allowing them to turn something in late, to get it wrong, or to even fail an assignment.

o   Allowing your child to fail or to make mistakes allows them to choose something different—and to learn. You shouldn’t care more than your kids do about their own schoolwork. Allowing your child to fail when the consequences are relatively small is better than rescuing them until they are in college and the consequences are much more severe!

o   Allowing your child (no matter what age!) more control over their own learning will actually improve their attitude and motivation because they DO need to be in control over their own learning. Then, when your child succeeds, and he or she WILL succeed, the success is THEIRS. When they are successful, they will work harder to create more situations where they can succeed again. Success is intoxicating.

3.   Do NOT make reading a punishment or put it on a list of chores!
This means pulling weeds, doing the dishes, folding the laundry, and sweeping the garage CANNOT be in the same category as “Do your READING!” I have heard friends say to their kids, “Get your room cleaned, do the bathroom, empty the dishwasher, get your 20 minutes of reading done and THEN you can go with your friends and have fun!” 

·         Why not? Do you hear how reading is a “chore” to be endured until there is something more fun to do? STOP! Try saying things like this instead:

o   Get all your work done, and then you can read and relax.

o   Get your work done and then we can go to the library and check out some great books!

o   If you can get your jobs done, we might have time to read together.

o   After you get your jobs done, you can play with your friends. Let’s save reading until tonight so I can read with you; it’s my favorite time of the day!

Reading IS the REWARD! When parents see reading as the time to spend one-on-one with a child, or a way to relax and unwind, or a special time to talk and share a great book, their children learn that reading is valued. Be careful how you talk about reading. If you aren’t reading or see reading as something enjoyable, your children most likely will adopt your same attitude about reading. When you value it, so will your children!

Easy ways to Motivate your children: What TO do!

·         Get caught reading yourself! Read the newspaper, a magazine, an article, one of your child’s books. WHAT you read is not as important as BEING SEEN reading!

·         Talk about what you read. Tell your child what happened in your book, what you learned from the article you just read, or how you are so glad you picked up the newspaper today because you really needed the inspirational article you read…

·         Subscribe to magazines your children would be interested in reading: Sports Illustrated for Kids, Highlights, National Geographic, Family Fun, whatever! Have magazines in the bathrooms, on nightstands, or in baskets by the sofas.

·         Turn OFF the television. Seriously. It’s almost summer. Who has time for TV when it’s so fun to be outside?

·         Make time to read WITH your child. Read on the trampoline at dusk. Read in a tent, while you’re camping, by flashlight. Read a favorite book of yours to your kids.

·         Go to the library. The books are FREE! You can check out 30 books and keep them for three weeks! It’s amazing! Take a book bag! Get your kids their own library card. Again—FREE!

·         Go to Barnes & Noble one night and just LOOK. They are open until 11 p.m. Take your teenager. Take your younger kids into the Children’s section and read them a picture book. You’ll be amazed when they don’t want to leave… not yet.

·         If you travel this summer, whether it is to Lake Powell or to France, READ about where you are going! Get an atlas and show your children! Get informed. Have your kids plan the itinerary based on what they have learned about what to see and what to do!

Action Plan for this week:  Make reading FUN! Find a great book and read together. If you have no idea where to start, start with Kate DiCamillo! She’s one of the best authors out there for kids and even teenagers will love her books!  The 30 minutes per day still applies. But if you are reading a great book together, don’t stop just because your 30 minutes is up… read “just one more chapter!!”

Next week: The Importance of INTEREST: Ways to make reading FUN and PERSONAL for your kids.