Even Teens Need Story Time!

When my kids were younger, I made a special effort to read aloud to them at least once a day. It set a warm, cozy atmosphere in our home. Who doesn’t love to cuddle next to mom and listen to The Duchess Who Baked a Cake, The Big Green Pocketbook, or The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane ? Now that they are ages 13 and up, that time is past, right? No way!

It is not often that we hear anyone urging us to keep that special read aloud time in place when our kids are older. However, it is common to hear that teens need a healthy connection with parents to survive adolescence. In How to Really Love Your Teen, Ross Campbell says that despite their appearance and abilities, teens are not simply mini-adults.

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The Inner Spellist

When I work with high school students in my writing classes, I see tangible improvements in grammar and punctuation usage. I see the ability to compose a paragraph come to life. I also see timed essays worth scores of 5 and 6 but for one thing: spelling errors galore.

Is it common for students to make great strides in grammar, punctuation, and other writing skills but still not be able to spell their way out of a wet paper bag? It certainly is. Spelling occurs in a specific part of the brain. Handwriting has its part, and composing (getting thoughts on paper) has its part. Structuring sentences, choosing words, using punctuation, typing, and so on, each use a different part of the brain. Insisting that the act of writing — complete with proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation — is one big skill that a kid can master simply by writing more is one of the worst forms of educational malpractice out there.

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