Tuesday, February 26, 2013

choice words

children define themselves through their actions and experiences.  peter h. johnston, chair of the reading department at the university of albany/suny, wrote two useful books on the topic.

children need to know that their "smartness" is not fixed, and effort creates progress.  

some helpful phrases:

how did you do that? 
what are you thinking?  
are you ready to get started?  do you have a plan?  
maybe you should find another way to do that.  
you found a good way to do that.  can you find another that would work?

notice competence, even when there are mistakes:
i see you know how to spell the beginning of the word.

let the child know that learning is continuing:
let's see how many words you can spell already.  the already is key.

another strategy peter suggests when reading with children is to emphasize characters changing.
  what did the character learn?  

if a child makes a mistake:
that's not like you.

when they succeed at something:
i bet you are proud of yourself.

here's an important one:
what problems did you come across today?  
how did you solve it?  


useful books.  i'll read them much more closely during the summer, and perhaps share again.

joy to you and yours!  


  1. These are great, Noreen! I always love the stuff you come up with to help us engage with our kids learning. Growing up is hard, isn't it? Parenting too.

  2. Noreen,
    I always tell my children that "I know you did your best."
    Doing our best comes with patience and practice.
    We learn to treat others as we want to treat ourselves.

  3. I love this. And it has come at a perfect time, I can cetainly take lots from this to use with Miss S! Such encouraging words of wisdom. And I love "effort creates progress". I think I need to remember that one! I hope you share more soon xx


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