Hear the fanfare? I now have high speed Internet service, so if I can stop procrastinating, I might get posts up on a regular basis. Yay!

This month, while the winds howl and the snow blows, you can read or reread The BFG by Roald Dahl. It is one of my all-time favorites and will be released in theaters as a Steven Spielberg film in July. If you haven’t read it, you will enjoy the irreverent humor and light, but engaging story, and so will your child. Make sure that you read it right up to its back cover, because just when you thought you knew everything, you find out you really didn’t.

I have even used this book for a high school student who was a very reluctant reader and he loved it, chuckling at the wordplay throughout. On that note, here is a collection of techniques that teachers use. It’s called scaffolding. I like the name, because you can visualize how it works. Start at the level you like and then remove pieces of scaffolding as they are not needed. There are other steps that can be inserted if needed.


  1. Read aloud – making sure that you stop often to discuss what is being read.
    1. Read books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, or One Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish, where kids can anticipate the text. Let them “read” those words.
      1. Likewise, reread favorite stories over and over. This helps kids feel that they are readers.
    2. Echo read – you read a short piece aloud and then have your child read the piece.
    3. Take turns – by sentences, paragraphs and pages.
    4. Independent reading – just because your child is reading without you, don’t forget to discuss each book.


Now pour out some hot cocoa, put your feet up and enjoy this one kid’s book that isn’t just for kids anymore.


Building a Reading Blog Together

Note:  This site is still being built, so some things like your ability to respond to the posts are not working yet.  Please feel free to email me at with your comments until this is fixed.

I want this site to be a helpful and fun place to gather and to find materials about reading.  Dr. Thompson, my college professor, often said that any group is a lot better or smarter than its teacher.  My hope is that we can build an awesome site together…and have fun doing so.


Today I want you to think about what reading means to you, for like many other things, we need to discover what compels us to ruin our sleep in order to finish that final page.  In order to do this I have a bunch of questions which I hope will prove as jumping off points for discussion in the Big People, Teacher, or Kids’ sections, or as direct responses to this blog post.

  1. What do you like to read?
  2. Where do you like to read?
  3. Where is the craziest place you read?
  4. Where do you usually read?
  5. Did your parents or someone else read to you regularly?
  6. When you had to read books for reports or Accelerated Reader or like programs, what was the result?
  7. What other questions did I miss?


We all know someone for whom reading is difficult.  There have been many studies, books, articles and programs to address this.  What has worked for you in either helping that struggling reader? 

To get the ball rolling, I want to introduce some books by Henry Winkler, yeah, the Fonz, and Lin Oliver.  Henry has dyslexia, and is super sensitive to how hard it is growing up with a reading disability.  His first set of books were about a young boy named Hank Zipzer who gets in trouble because reading is hard for him, but he has a supportive group of friends who stand by him.  The newest series of books called, Here’s Hank, follow the same character, only earlier on.  It is written using q special font that uses lots of white space in addition to slightly changing the shape of some letters.  For example, letters like the /e/ and /a/ have large openings making them easier to track.  You can find both sets of books at


I truly want this site to be more than a list of good books or links to great authors, although both are important.  To me a good reading site is the combination of hard resources (studies, books, authors) and shared experiences.  Please join me in this quest.


Kathy Maggio