Book Excerpts

book_medExcerpt from The Teachable Minute:
The Secret to Raising Smart & Appreciative Kids

(Morgan James Publisher/NYC):

“My daughter use to sit on a chair at the laundromat as she watched the clothes go round and round in the dryer. She always had a scowl on her face as she sucked on her index finger and rocked back and forth. I just know she was thinking why, oh why, is my precious ‘blankie’ in that thing and why can’t I have it right NOW…ah, kids and blankets share loving moments.”
—Tamika, Houston, TX

For Younger Kids
SHOW them how to put the money in the washers and dryers, counting each coin that is pushed in. Then show them where the START button or dial is. Kids love to push buttons and turn dials! ASK questions such as, “Why do we have to put clothes in the dryer?” “Why do the clothes feel warm when they come out of the dryer?” “Why do we wash our clothes?” TEACH them how to fold clothes. Face towels and wash cloths are easy to fold in half and then in half again. This is the way we fold the clothes!

For Older Kids
SHOW them how to set the washer and dryer cycles to the right settings. ASK them questions that make them think about different parts related to a washer and dryer. Examples: “What is the lint collector for and why do we have to empty it?” “Why does a washing machine spin?” “Where does the laundry detergent go?” TEACH them how to sort clothes into different piles and how to choose the right machine for the right pile of clothes. How much soap does each load need and does it go? How much money does each machine need and how does a change machine work? There’s a lot to learn here!

Comments from Educators & Parents . . .

“Connie Hebert’s The Teachable Minute: The Secret to Raising Smart & Appreciative Kids shows parents, our children’s first teachers, how to tap into everyday activities and make them fun learning experiences. Dr. Hebert describes numerous opportunities for moms and dads to promote learning throughout the day – all without pressure. This learning starts our children on their path to lifelong learning early and in a special way – with Mom and Dad! The Teachable Minute is a great read and a must-have for parents striving to support learning as a lifelong process.”
Dr. Diane Lowe, Literacy Specialist & Professor, Framingham State College, MA

“The Teachable Minute: The Secret to Raising Smart & Appreciative Kids: I found this book has really helped me connect with my daughter. My daughter is special needs and it is sometimes hard for me to think of things to talk about with her. Dr Hebert’s suggestions really helped me connect with her. For me that connection is as important as what she is learning. Instead of me trying to teach her, we are exploring and learning about the world around us together. This opens her up to conversations about other things in her life which we probably would not have talked about if we weren’t already engaged in a conversation. Quite frankly it has helped both of us, because we are looking around for things to explore and noticing and appreciating things rather than just mindlessly moving through our day. Great book, nicely written and well organized.”
N. Sansome, Video Production Specialist, Hartford, CT


Catch a Falling StarBook Excerpt
Catch a Falling Reader

(2nd ed.) © 2007 C. Hebert. (Corwin Press)

Teaching Them How to Think as They Read

Teach students how to ask questions in a manner that leads to the answer, and you will be teaching them the answer.

One of the greatest things we can do for kids is to teach them how to ask questions of themselves as they are reading. The trick is to use the power of modeling.  No program or set of materials can do this for you. It is the teacher who models strategies, behaviors, and skills. It is the teacher who demonstrates how to do something, not the program that is sitting on the shelf. Just as effective ski instructors use the power of demonstration to teach their students, teachers and parents must also do the same.

What does this sort of modeling look like? It starts with a willingness to verbalize and share our own thinking with the kids. For example, we might start them out by saying, “Today, we’re going to think through this book together, and I will be telling you what I’m thinking about as well.” This introduction sets up the thinking and establishes a purpose for the lesson. As the adult reads the text aloud, he or she stops at certain places to think out loud. Here are a few key phrases that might be used to model the process of thinking and questioning a text as it is read:

  • “I’m wondering . . .”
  • “This part has me confused. Let’s look at the words in the story that might clear up this confusion.”
  • “So now I understand that . . .”
  • “Listen to the words that helped me.” (Teacher points to the actual page and then reads the supporting evidence aloud.)
  • “I don’t understand why . . . Can someone help me think through this part of the story?”
  • “Here’s a question that keeps coming back at me as I read.”

It is important that the tone of the voice be considered whenever we are modeling our questions aloud for kids. Little puppies and kids are especially gifted in picking up on what we mean simply by the tone in our voice. We can sound genuinely curious or ridiculously bored depending on how we ask the question. Teaching kids to think while reading is a monumental task because it requires that we share our personal thoughts, ideas, confusions, and strategies.

Comments from Educators & Parents . . .

“Filled with a ton of easy-to-implement strategies that will make reading fun for ALL readers!  Inspiring…makes you want to become a better teacher!”
Tracy Carbone, Literacy Facilitator Villa Heights Elementary, Charlotte, NC

“The author’s engaging voice and the book’s reader-friendly format, solid research, and theory-based advice and suggestions combine to make a terrific teacher resource.”
Lettie K. Albright, Associate Professor of Reading Texas Woman’s University

“Any teacher will benefit from reading this book and having resources for where to go to learn more about these concepts.”
Ganna Maymind, First-Grade Teacher Asher Holmes Elementary School,
Morganville, NJ