Interest Tree Discoveries Can Unlock Learning

Our reading engagement team is just scratching the surface, when it comes to engaging kids via their deepest interests. So far this year our team has spent time with kids ages seven through 12 in the U.S. and the U.K. We’ve invited them to think about the subjects and activities they truly love and then create their very own interests trees, complete with branches representing their keenest interests.

This process enables kids to discover more about themselves and to feel successful as they take charge of their own learning. We’re discovering that keenest interests are the key to peeling away the layers of stress that can contribute to learning struggles in our kids.


External Motivation and the Desire to Read within Children

In discussing the role of motivation in helping children become avid readers, it’s clear that internal motivation drives much a reader’s behavior. Internal motivation occurs when a child enjoys reading because it’s fun or because he or she is interested in the subject matter.

But what about external motivators? Can punishments or prizes and rewards help generate long-term reading gains? The results of recent studies may surprise you.

External rewards may actually do more harm than good. Research demonstrates that using extrinsic motivators to engage students in learning can both lower achievement and negatively affect student motivation (Dev, Remedial and Special Education, 1997; Lumsden, ERIC, 1994).


Top 10 Reasons to PLAY with Your Kids this Holiday Weekend

There is certainly more to this holiday weekend than just eating and shopping. Find time to PLAY with your kids as we celebrate National Games and Puzzles Week! PLAY . . . #10     Engages kids in critical thinking and problem solving #9       Develops physical coordination skills #8       Improves ability to focus #7       Encourages […]


Internal Motivation and the Desire to Read within Children

In our continuing series on the literacy crisis facing the United States, we recently came to the question of motivation. We know that motivation drives the education process for children. We think we know what motivation is, but how does that flesh itself out in the lives of school-aged kids in the United States? What […]


It’s Time to Take Back the Word ‘Average’

“Average doesn’t mean boring. It doesn’t mean ordinary. In this context, it means numerous. And when you study just how cool the average kid can be, it means wonderful too.” Check out Evanced Solutions’ latest series.


Transform Your Library with a (Low-Budget!) Makerspace

You may have heard of “maker” programs before, but, due to cost constraints, thought they were out of the realm of possibility for your own library. Think again. Aided by new technologies like 3-D printers, maker programs emphasize both physical and digital creations, from simple arts and crafts programs to robots, advanced graphic design, and […]


5 Great Takeaways from “Written by a Kid”

If you haven’t seen the “Written by a Kid” series yet, you should. As advertised, the short episodes are conceived entirely by young children and are acted out and animated by some rather high-profile adults. For instance, the first in the series, “Scary Smash,” includes Dave Foley (from “Kids in the Hall” and “News Radio” fame), Joss […]


Froggy Phonics Develops Surprising Skills

Lindsey Hill, our lead for reading engagement innovation, recently appeared on Matthew Winner’s “Let’s Get Busy” podcast where the pair discussed Froggy Phonics. Turns out there’s a lot more to the game than simply leaping from lily pad to lily pad, gulping fireflies, and hunting for froggy friends.

Listen to the audio clip to find out which specific skills Froggy Phonics helps children to develop.


Motivation Drives the Educational Process for Children

As we continue to discuss the literacy crisis facing the United States, we recently brought up the importance that reading to young children plays in their development. Not only does it give them key skills that form the foundation of life-long literacy, but just as importantly, it teaches them that reading is fun. Kids like […]


What Does it Mean to Teach a Child to Read?

We take reading for granted. For most of us, it’s such a fundamental part of our lives, that we forget we are even doing it. Decoding signs and letters and books is more reflex than chore. We read without a thought. That’s not true for everyone. For children (and many teens and adults), reading requires […]