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My daughter’s fourth-grade teacher asked the class to bring in favorite poems to share. At the end of the month, parents are invited to help publish a poetry anthology for each kid to take home. I was like, really? With the big push on STEM subjects and Common Core math and nonfiction reading, they’re doing poetry?

Please tell your son’s teacher I’m a fan. Really! Kids love reading, reciting and writing poetry. It’s good to hear that with all the test-prep stress, some teachers still pause to celebrate National Poetry Month in April.

And why not? Poetry lends itself to several English/language arts literacy standards for close reading and narrative writing. Research shows that poetry helps students develop an ear for the sounds and rhythms of words.

Teachers have long held that being exposed to poetry in the early years can foster a lasting appreciation of language. Literacy expert Mem Fox thinks that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re 4 years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re 8.

Fox says, “Rhymers will be readers; it’s that simple.”

The study of poems has been an enduring staple in American textbooks, says New York-based education editor Nancy Hereford.

“The earliest McGuffey Readers contained poems, as well as essays and speeches,” she says. “For decades, students were required to study and memorize certain poems chosen to enrich a sense of history, or to hone memory and oral language skills.”

In addition, poetry is fun for kids. Pop culture is packed with poetry in song lyrics. Poems promote word play and painlessly introduce new vocabulary. They can inspire reluctant students to read and write. Poems can also illuminate great moments in history and help students think about topics in new ways.

Creative teachers are designing Common Core standards-aligned reading and writing lessons around poems from such a wide range of authors as Odgen Nash, Shel Silverstein, Walt Whitman and Maya Angelou. To find standards that invite the study of poetry, go to corestandards.org or achievethecore.org and search “poetry.”

So find time for rhyme with your daughter. Libraries have great poetry collections for kids that are readily available this month. Two well-known authors of poetry for children, Lee Bennett Hopkins and Jack Prelutsky, have edited dozens of rich anthologies on a range of topics — from pets and farm animals to American history, math, baseball, space travel, seasons and city streets. The series “Poetry for Young People” (Sterling Publishers) introduces kids to poets including Robert Frost, Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson.

Want to polish your math and reading skills? “Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), a collection of brainteaser poems by J. Patrick Lewis, reimagines classic poems with math puzzler twists.

Pore over these poetry collections with your daughter and you’ll both be ready for “Poem in Your Pocket Day” on April 30. (For more information, go to poets.org/national-poetry-month.)

I’m a parent organizer of our elementary school’s Earth Day celebration. This year the event falls during testing, so school-wide activities are difficult to schedule. I want to send home activities, so parents can increase kids’ awareness of their obligation to our planet. Any suggestions?

When the late Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson launched the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, it was called an “environmental teach-in” to raise awareness of the need for cleaner air and water. While the media focused on the day itself, he was more interested in a sustained effort. He wanted local leaders to schedule events that worked for their own schools and communities. That spirit still guides the celebration.

If testing falls on Earth Day (April 22), the folks at the Green Education Foundation have suggested celebrating National Green Week anytime from Feb. 2 through May 2. They provide free learning materials created by top educators and subject-area experts in fields such as green architecture and sustainable energy.

These lessons, projects and activities can be used for whole-school events, individual classrooms, families or youth groups, covering green themes such as Sustainable Transportation, Energy, Gardening, Waste Reduction, Sustainable Water and Green Building. Accompanying each theme you’ll find recommended reading suggestions, sustainability tips and a challenge for young learners. Go to greeneducationfoundation.org.

You could combine your Earth Day and Arbor Day (April 24) celebrations. “It’s important for kids to learn the important role of trees in our daily lives — how they provide shade and wind breaks, cool our climate and clean our air — and what care trees need to thrive,” says Iowa garden writer and arborist Luke Miller. “Planting a tree that is suitable for your region offers enduring lessons. Choose a site easily accessible, so kids can water the tree and observe and measure its growth over time.”

The Arbor Day Foundation offers a free downloadable Nature Explore Families’ Club Kit with field-tested resources designed to help you organize a Families’ Club at your school or in your neighborhood. The kit helps connect families with the outdoors and introduces them to a variety of natural spaces in the community. Go to natureexplore.org/families/FamiliesClub.cfm.

Award-winning children’s nonfiction author Sandra Markle wants families to know that by participating in these activities, “they are really part of a powerful global movement.”

She cites the work of SavingSpecies, which she calls “a great organization with worldwide efforts to save habitat and thus wildlife.”

Markle mentions one activity the group is working on: “School groups in Brazil are involved in raising native trees from seeds to saplings and helping with a reforestation project that will help save golden lion tamarins, an endangered monkey.” (Follow her research on this project at sandra-markle.blogspot.com.)

In addition, families can add high-quality books with environmental themes to bedtime reading. Ask your librarian for suggestions, or look for titles on these lists: the Green Earth Book Awards (Nature Generation); Growing Good Kids Book Awards (American Horticultural Society); Outstanding Science Trade Books (National Science Teachers Association); Excellence in Science Books (American Association for the Advancement of Science); Green Reads (PBS Parents); and the Riverby Award List of Nature Books for Young Readers (John Burroughs Association).

Our PTO needs more volunteers. You’d think that the chance to contribute to their kids’ school would get people through the door, but turnout is stagnant. How do successful PTOs keep volunteers and continue to recruit new ones?

The folks at online resource PTO Today know why people raise their hands to give their time and talent — and why they burn out.

“Studies show that people are motivated to volunteer for six reasons,” says Tim Sullivan, president of PTO Today. “Sure, people want to make a difference in other people’s lives and to support a particular organization. But personal motivations drive the decision, too. Folks volunteer to learn something new, grow professionally or personally, meet new people and feel better about themselves.”

When PTO presidents hang out the “Volunteers Welcome” sign, Sullivan advises showing would-be recruits what’s in it for them. Research by Claremont Graduate University psychology professor Allen Omoto finds that the more you align your activities with a volunteer’s interests, the more people you’ll get and the more productively they’ll pitch in.

Sullivan says to keep these recruiting tips in mind:

– Don’t “guilt” people into signing up. Instead, promote how it benefits them. It’s more effective to say, “You’ll learn new skills, meet new people and get to know your child’s teacher better,” than, “We need all parents to show up!”

– Enlist a volunteer coordinator. This person organizes volunteers’ time, explains clearly what the task and time commitment is and why it matters.

“Choose a networker who connects experienced volunteers with new ones, makes newbies feel comfortable and lessens the ’social risk’ some folks perceive when joining a new group,” says Sullivan. “This person invites parents who need to get comfortable before they volunteer to school social events.” (If you have non-English speaking parents, make sure to recruit a bilingual coordinator.)

– Match volunteers’ jobs with interests. Sullivan suggests using a Volunteer Interest Survey that allows potential volunteers to decide how they might use their talents and time in ways that will benefit the PTO. (Find a survey template to tailor to your group at PTOtoday.com/magazine.)

“If someone is interested in volunteering because it will help her meet people, assign her to the school’s Welcome Committee to orient new families,” suggests Sullivan. “If another can only work on your website at night, great!”

– Have worthwhile work ready. “Nothing kills volunteer spirit like showing up and having nothing to do,” warns Sullivan. “Make sure that from day one, your new recruits are engaged in purposeful activities.”

– Broaden your scope. “Sure, parents are your natural constituency, but reach out to seniors, youth groups and persons with disabilities,” says Sullivan.

– Make it easy to stay involved. This might mean providing childcare, offering meals and snacks or giving virtual work arrangements.

– Remember to reach out. Don’t rely on email blasts, fliers in backpacks or Facebook pleas. “Contact folks, one-on-one,” says Sullivan. “A Gallup report shows that people are four times more likely to volunteer when someone from the organization personally asks them to come on board.” (For more information, go to PTOToday.com.)

Our daughter, a high-school sophomore, is smart but highly emotional, distractible and melts down when things aren’t perfect. We’re working with her school counselor to help her focus, prioritize and achieve her high expectations. We don’t want her on attention-deficit drugs. He suggests that she could benefit from mindfulness training. What is it?

Psychologists define mindfulness as the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment. Some call it learning how to regulate our inner compass.

While mindfulness techniques such as meditation have been around for thousands of years, in the last few decades scientists have begun to study their effects on our well-being.

Research shows that learning to be mindful can help adults reduce stress, manage pain, shorten migraines, get better sleep and control unproductive emotions. More and more cardiologists encourage heart-surgery patients to learn meditation as part of recovery. Some dietitians add “mindfulness training” to weight-loss programs.

The scientist who brought mindfulness into medicine’s mainstream is Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and founder of its Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society.

Kabat-Zinn’s work has inspired educators to include mindfulness training in social-emotional learning curricula.

“Any stressed-out parent who has read Zinn’s book, ‘Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting’ (Hachette, 1998), has thought, ‘Kids ought to be learning this stuff in school,’” says New York educator Miriam Kahn. “Teaching a class how to calm themselves with their breath can reduce stress, promote mutual respect and de-escalate discipline problems.”

Several studies show the potential benefits of mindfulness practices for students’ physical health, psychological well-being, social skills and academic performance, writes Emily Campbell, research assistant for education at the University of California Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

One published recently in Developmental Psychology describes how a program called MindUP taught fourth- and fifth-grade students to practice mindfulness. Over a four-month period, they improved their behavior and social skills and even got significantly higher math scores than the control group.

Richmond, California, teacher Jean-Gabrielle Larochette realized that the many minutes he spent getting kids to settle into the school day ate into their precious instructional time.

“We tell kids to be quiet, calm down, stay on task, regulate and make good choices, but we’re not teaching them how to do that,” he says.

A mindfulness practitioner himself, Larochette taught them the focused breathing techniques he used daily. The results were so compelling that he founded the Mindful Life Project (mindfullifeproject.org) to expand the program to area schools.

A program offered by the nonprofit group Mindful Schools (mindfulschools.org) promotes practices that help students pay attention, build empathy and self-awareness, improve self-control and reduce stress. Research has shown that after six weeks of training, student behavior can improve significantly in those areas and that the gains can be sustained with a few minutes of daily practice.

Will mindfulness training help your daughter? It may be worth a try. If you can’t locate a qualified local trainer, find well-recommended resources by Kabat-Zinn at mindfulnesscds.com. Or consider a free eight-week online university course from the Greater Good Science Center called “The Science of Happiness.” Enroll at greatergood.berkeley.edu.

Our daughter’s high school is offering an online literacy workshop for parents, so we can help teach kids how to use the Internet for homework. However, my daughter knows way more than I do; she’s on Instagram and other sites a lot. Why is the school offering this?

Just because she’s social-media savvy, it doesn’t mean that your daughter knows how to choose the best websites for her research report on the early days of the U.S. space program; nor how to distinguish among accurate sources on diet and nutrition and those with a point of view to push.

A recent study released by the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut shows that, despite the fact that today’s teens are digital natives — strong in social networking, texting, video and gaming, they are incredibly weak when it comes to using the Internet to gain new knowledge, says Donald Leu, the lab’s director.

The ability to read on the Internet to learn information is a critically important new area for schools to teach, Leu says.

“There’s a big difference between online reading and offline reading,” he explains. “Online reading isn’t simply taking a passage from a book and putting it on a computer screen.”

Online reading is using the Internet to read, evaluate and learn new information — skills that students need in an increasingly digital world.

Leu calls these new literacies “online research and comprehension” skills. They include:

– Reading to answer questions and solve problems. This means knowing how to effectively frame or define a search or a question.

– Reading to locate online information. This means teaching students how to query search engines and quickly scan sources for relevancy in a sea of information.

– Reading to critically evaluate online information. “Kids tend to use the first hit they get when they research a subject, without thinking about where the information is coming from and whether there is a vested interest involved,” says Blanche Warner, a library manager in Naples, New York.

– Reading to synthesize vast amounts of information. Once, students took notes from print sources on index cards. Now students have multiple media formats to research — from YouTube videos to slideshows to online journals. It takes practice for students to make sense of varied information on a topic and to use it effectively.

– Reading and writing to communicate online information. Leu wants students to “become well-versed in communicating in multiple modalities” and creating and sharing work online. He’d like to see more schools promote blogging and provide students with email accounts and wiki access.

He encourages district literacy leaders to engage students in far more online reading and to use school librarians trained in online research to lead instruction.

Meanwhile, Warner says, “It makes a huge difference when there is a librarian in the school who can teach students how to evaluate sources of information and foster these other online reading skills.”

So sign up for the workshop. “Parents have a key role in this,” Warner emphasizes. “It’s important to reinforce at home what students learn at school.”

Our local school is awful. Some parents in our district saw a movie about using a “parent trigger” law to shut down a failing school. I’m not sure how much work that would entail and if it would make a difference. How common are these laws and have they been successful?

California passed the nation’s first parent trigger law in January 2010. Since then, six other states — Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Ohio — have passed some version of parent-trigger legislation. The National Council on State Legislatures reports that at least 25 states have considered it.

Parent-trigger laws allow parents to become deeply involved in the management and decision-making in their children’s school. They spell out processes parents can use to organize and act to improve a school, such as removing the principal and faculty, converting it to a charter school or even closing the school altogether and reassigning students to better-performing schools.

The movie those parents saw was probably “Won’t Back Down,” a 2012 story of two moms (one a teacher) who use a state law to take over their kids’ struggling school. It is loosely based on events in a California district.

While the laws (and the movie) have been successful in drawing national attention to parents’ frustrations in challenging a school’s history of underperformance, very few schools have been affected. California is the only state in which parents have successfully used the law to force changes at a failing school.

Changing a school from the outside requires robust leadership, organization and planning. The Los Angeles-based Parent Revolution (parentrevolution.org) trains parents in organizing, building knowledge of what works, and fostering relationships with teachers, administrators, school boards and other constituencies in the community to bring about change. It offers support to parents in any community working to improve schools, whether or not they are in “parent trigger” states.

Another group, Parents Across America (parentsacrossamerica.org), supports parental empowerment, but opposes parent-trigger processes because they are divisive and likely to cause more problems that they solve, says Rita Solnet, a founding member based in Florida. She has extensive experience in involving the entire community in improving schools.

“Parents, grandparents, retired educators and local citizens can partner with schools to improve the quality of public education,” she says. “That creates goodwill among citizens versus the divisiveness, turmoil and uncertainty inherent in a parent takeover.”

Last year, Los Angeles schools Superintendent Ramon Cortines affirmed the district’s support for allowing parents to petition for sweeping changes in failing schools.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, “Cortines said he saw no reason not to allow parents the chance to change their schools under the trigger law if they so desire.”

He explained that “it is a part of giving parents a choice. If they want to do something, I need to support it.”

Still, while Cortines has given encouragement to concerned parents, he has urged patience in tackling school reform efforts.

Our school is urging parents to give their kids more access to computers at home so that they can practice their keyboarding skills for tests given this spring. My middle-school-age son is an accomplished Minecrafter and gamer, but a really poor typist. Why does he need to know how to type to do well on a computer-based test?

If your son excels at Minecraft, he’ll do fine on test items that require a student to “drag and drop” a correct answer, but he needs to polish his typing skills for the short answer and essay responses.

The old “fill in the bubble” multiple-choice tests are now as rare as carbon paper. Today’s computer-based assessments make use of a range of digital capabilities to help kids “show what they know.”

Created to align with Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the new tests are more nuanced and don’t look for one right answer. They are packed with open response questions constructed to test whether students can think critically, analyze and solve problems, write a cogent essay and provide thoughtful, short responses to questions.

In other words, the tests give students opportunities to demonstrate their thinking — something everyone agrees is hard with multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank items.

Most states assessing the CCSS use one of two test providers: Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC, parcconline.org/for-parents) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (smarterbalanced.org).

Each organization provides sample practice items for each tested grade on their websites. For example, a sample seventh-grade PARCC English test item asks students to read two passages about electricity, watch a short TED Talk video about building circuits with Play-Doh, and then write an essay, explaining their thinking with evidence from each source.

California educator Corinne Burton visits school districts around the country in her capacity as president of Teacher Created Materials, an education publisher. She says teachers are pushing to get students up to speed in keyboarding.

“We’re seeing this all over,” she says. “After years on the decline, keyboarding classes are coming back. Schools are setting instructional standards for keyboarding and beefing up their programs to get students ready for digital testing. Parents can help.”

Burton has successfully used Typing.com and some online games with her own kids to prepare them.

She suggests that parents ask their kids’ teachers which test provider their school is using.

“Go to the provider’s website and try out with your kids the sample test questions at the appropriate grade level,” says Burton. “You’ll not only get a sense of how they’ll fare at typing with time constraints, you’ll see what skill and concept mastery the new standards expect of students.”

In life, there are no multiple-choice answers, says Jeff Nellhaus, director of policy, research and design for PARCC. “You have to construct your own answers from your own knowledge and drawing on other sources to get information.”

The new tests are designed to measure students’ ability to do just that. It would be a shame if poor keyboarding skills prevented your son from demonstrating what he really knows.

Our fifth-grade son loves reading and science and does well in them, but he has always had trouble in math. His teacher says he’s “working below capacity.” The trouble is, she really can’t describe what “below capacity” means. Does that mean he’s below grade level?

You say he’s always had trouble with math, so it could mean that he’s working below fifth-grade level and has been promoted from grade to grade without fully mastering math content each year. Or it could mean that he knows the material but doesn’t love the subject and simply doesn’t apply himself.

Whatever the reason, you’re right to be concerned, says San Jose, California, fifth-grade teacher Bill Laraway.

“When students do well in most subjects but lag in one, parents and teachers sometimes assume that they’ll just catch up,” he says. “But math is one of those subjects requiring a strong early foundation. Students must master one set of skills before moving to another. Your son will need to up his math game to be successful in middle school math and science.”

Schedule another conference with his teacher, suggests Laraway.

“Ask her to pinpoint areas where his skills and understanding are weak,” he says. “Create a plan to help him quickly come up to speed. This could mean working with a resource teacher who suggests practice activities that you monitor. You could also consider a tutor. If he truly lacks skill mastery, you have to help him catch up.”

If he knows the material and just doesn’t apply himself, “show him that math can be useful in his day-to-day life, that he can have fun with it and it can be a lifelong tool to make life easier,” says Laraway.

Find fun math-related games and puzzles to challenge him.

“Since he loves science,” Laraway says, “show him how key math is in higher-level science. There are no successful scientists who fail at math.”

Many parents want tangible ways to understand if their child is on track in school, says Bill Jackson, president and founder of GreatSchools.org, an organization that supports parental engagement in their children’s education.

“Report cards don’t tell the whole story,” he says. “With the new state learning standards, parents are demanding easy ways to know if a child is working on grade level.”

To demonstrate what skill proficiency looks like, GreatSchools created a series of short Milestone Videos to help parents assess their child’s progress in reading, writing and math in grades kindergarten through five. Click on the fifth-grade math milestones, for example, and you’ll see a teacher guiding a student through key skills such as adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators and estimating answers to word problems.

The videos in English and Spanish highlight three to five key elements of the standards in each subject. Before meeting with your son’s teacher, go through the fifth-grade math videos to learn what “on grade level” means in math, says Jackson.

“Does the son appear to understand the concepts?” he asks. “If not, try the fourth-grade math videos, and so on. You’ll get a sense of what he may still need to learn.”

To access the Milestone Videos, go to greatschools.org/milestones or check out the YouTube channel: youtube.com/greatschools.

Our son turns 5 in August. My sister suggests we hold him back a year from kindergarten. He’s shy and not as academic as her 5-year-old daughter, who reads picture books. Will the school give him a readiness test? What factors determine if we should hold him back?

Some parents hold back a child to give “the gift of time” to catch up to today’s higher levels of kindergarten readiness. A few do it to give a child a leg up for later participation in sports. But don’t do it because your sister tells you to.

There is no clear data on the academic, social and emotional benefits of holding a child back. After reviewing studies, Deborah Stipek of Stanford University concluded that whatever gains might exist in the early elementary years disappear by the end of upper elementary school. There is data from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggesting that an average kindergartner actually benefits from exposure to more mature peers.

Consider the following factors, says Robin Obey, an experienced K-1 teacher in North Bellmore, New York:

– Each child develops cognitively, socially, physically and emotionally at a different pace.

“Kindergarten teachers expect a wide range of ability and behaviors in each class and are prepared to accommodate each learner,” Obey says.

– Kindergartners aren’t expected to be able to read when they enter school. A few may be emerging readers, but most are not.

“Don’t compare him with his cousin,” says Obey. “She’s the exception, not the norm.”

– If your son is in preschool, consult his teachers.

“Their observations can be invaluable in your decision,” Obey advises.

– A kindergarten screening is essential.

“Each school has one and he’ll be assessed for speech or cognitive delays,” says Obey. “The results can offer guidance.”

– Accelerate your son’s readiness.

“Parents don’t realize how much they can do with simple activities, says Obey. “The most important? Read to him every day. Include some of the wonderful books about starting kindergarten.”

Play word games such as, “I say cat. You say rat.” Play I Spy and Categories: “Let’s think of things that are red …” Encourage storytelling: “Tell me what happened when we went to the zoo.” Take photos and have your son dictate captions. Have him draw a story; dictate what’s happening while you write the words.

Give your son simple tasks, such as sorting laundry or setting the table, to build one-to-one correspondence, number sense and independence. Provide multistep directions to develop listening skills and ability to focus.

Boost his fine motor skills: Sculpt with Play-Doh; tear up junk mail; use scissors; draw.

Provide opportunities to socialize in small and large group settings.

“His shyness can be a personality trait or just how he is right now,” Obey notes. “One year, the youngest child in my class barely spoke. She’s now the president of her high school class.”

Unless the screening tests reveal a problem, Obey advises you to focus your energies on getting your son excited about going to kindergarten this fall.

“Reinforce simple readiness skills every day,” she says. “Your school can provide a list of those skills, or find them online at state education department websites.”

Our fifth-grade son has “writer’s block,” and his teacher says he should expand his vocabulary. Can you suggest useful worksheets and online vocabulary drills?

Children’s author Ralph Fletcher says vocabulary building is all about helping students fall in love with words.

Nothing will kill a budding love for lexicography like handing your son some boring worksheets. Help him fall in love with words by finding joy in learning new words with him. Try these teacher-tested suggestions:

– Dinner served with words! Family dinners have positive social and academic influences on kids; having a daily discussion that allows them to hear new vocabulary is one of them. Choose topics to discuss at each meal (such as a recent school event or plans for a family vacation) and ask everyone to weigh in.

Model and encourage rich vocabulary.

For example: “To plan our vacation, let’s look up state and national parks within a 200-mile radius of where we live. A radius is the distance from the center of a circle to its edge. On a map, we will estimate a distance of 200 miles from our house and draw a circle around it. Then we will pinpoint and investigate parks we could visit.”

Encourage dialogue, but even if kids don’t chime in, don’t worry. They’re still absorbing the words and making them their own.

– Let pictures launch a thousand words: Find great images from “photo of the day” websites or calendars to get kids talking. A photo of diver encountering a shark generates words like scuba, equipment, adventure, conditions, saltwater, gear and so on, and piques interest in a wondrous ocean species.

– Have some pun fun, and kick off word play.

“I found ‘Pun and Games: Jokes, Riddles, Daffynitions, Tairy Fales, Rhymes, and More Word Play for Kids’ by Richard Lederer (Chicago Review Press, 1996) at a yard sale. My son thinks it’s crazy-funny,” says Anita Burnham, a California math teacher. “We play word games in the car, from how many homonym pairs we can think of in a minute (prey-pray, rain-rein, slay-sleigh) to 20 Questions. We try to ‘out pun’ each other, too, to keep it fun.”

Find word fun in portmanteaus and eggcorns, says Brenda Power, founder of the teacher website Choice Literacy (choiceliteracy.com‬). ‬

A portmanteau combines two words and their meanings into one new word. Some trendy examples are snowmageddon, emoticon and frenemy.

“Discovering a new portmanteau is like finding a buried treasure in a text,” Power says. “An eggcorn is a substitution for a word or phrase that may shift its meaning, but still makes sense in the context and is usually accidental on the part of the speaker.”

Think cold slaw for cole slaw or bread and breakfast for bed and breakfast. Go egghorn hunting at eggcorns.lascribe.net.

While your son’s teacher has identified weak vocabulary as the source of your son’s “writer’s block,” I’ll bet that there are other contributing factors. Children’s author Fletcher has a book for young writers, “A Writer’s Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You” (HarperCollins, 2003), which will give your son techniques to add to his writer’s toolbox.

Better understanding the writing process will motivate him to fall in love with words.

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