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What other home visitors know and do:

Home visitors can use the VROOM website to help parents deeply appreciate the fact that they are the most important teacher their child will have before age five. (Click the image below to access the full resource)

At the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) met in NYC January 9-12, 2017. Over 1100 published and “pre-published” children’s book writers and illustrators met. Such a supportive group! Gathered for lunch in this photo are:  DaveSzalay.com, a wonderfully funny and beautiful illustrator, look him up on-line;  Tammy Steele, of this blog; and Judy Allen Dodson, a librarian and award-winning children’s book author. Her book, Fast Friends, is about Jesse Owens and Marty Glickman who became friends at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Finally, Sandra Headen is sitting far right. Sandra, another award-winner, is just finishing a book for young adults about the world of baseball in 1938 a decade before Jackie Robinson became the first African-american major league baseball player. 

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Art and Language Workshop

Register for a teacher workshop, ART and LANGUAGE: Using Art to Foster Academic Conversations. The workshop will focus on English Language Learners at the Art Institute of Chicago on April 1, 8:30am - 2:30pm, 5 CPDUs, $50. Check Teacher Programs Calendar under the Art Institute’s website.  


Register at teacherworkshops@artic.edu or by calling 312-443-9092.

Check in on the Community Playthings website

Their February 2017 post had wonderful open-ended questions (see below). Open-ended questions do not quiz or test. They are conversation starters because the asker wants to know what the child thinks.


  • Can you tell me why you’re angry? or, Do you know why you’re angry?

  • Is there some way I can help you feel better?

  • How can I help you remember?

  • Do you need help with that?

  • What can we do so that everyone playing in the block area is happy?

  • What can you both do to make this work out?

  • What’s another way to play so that no one gets hurt?

  • Do you need to stay sad/angry for a while?

  • You seem to be angry. Am I right about that?

  • You seem to be sad. Am I right about that?

  • Would you like a hug?

  • Do you need more time?

  • Would you like to do that by yourself?

  • What would you like to happen now?

  • We have two kinds of drinks. Which would you like?

  • What can I do to help?

  • May I switch your shoes to the right feet/wipe your nose/write your name on the paper/take your picture?

  • I need to change your diaper now, are you ready?

  • Do you need more materials to complete that collage?

  • Should we place your sculpture here to dry and continue tomorrow?

  • What can we do about making sure you get to the toilet in time?

  • What can you do to remember to wash your hands before eating?

  • I see that you are upset. Can you tell me why?

Early Career Preparation  

At the Opening Minds Conference in Chicago on January 28, Ruby Payne talked about teaching very young children that experts think differently from each other. Payne explained that the point of view of an engineer and a book editor are not the same. An adult can talk about how an architect solves problems and what words he uses as a child builds a tall big block tower or a welcoming Lego ice cream store.


A child playing with blocks can connect the good feelings she has with the words and problem-solving approaches of an architect. Thinking and talking the way an expert talks and thinks is the first step toward job preparation.  Three year olds can start with expert’s words and block play.  A mom or a teacher can begin early to give career words to very young children.