Skip to main content

Literacy Starts at the Dinner Table

Literacy is difficult. The varied combinations of sounds, letters, and words arranged into sentences and paragraphs to form meaning can easily become overwhelming. I was blessed to grow up in a highly literate family. Both of my parents are highly educated and enjoyed reading for pleasure. More importantly, they valued the importance of family dinner.  Dinner and dinner conversations with adults enable the transference of background knowledge and elevated vocabulary to children.

Anne Fishel, a cofounder of The Family Dinner Project, says that as we gather around a family dinner table "we’re nourishing our minds as much as our bodies." She goes on to say even more astonishingly: "In fact, regular family dinner may be a more powerful vocabulary builder for young kids than reading." Dr. Catherine Snow, Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, explains that "rare or sophisticated vocabulary are  the building blocks of a robust vocabulary in children." So rare, that these words do not appear on an age-defined list of 3000 common vocabulary words.  So, then, how do children add these words to their vocabulary?  Ann Fishel explains that these words appear more often at the dinner table.  Join The Family Dinner Project in sharing the importance of gathering together not only for nourishment but also academic and social and emotional growth. 

On Monday, try this set of conversation starters to help your family discuss the importance of the ideas behind Martin Luther King Day.


Suzanne M. Rogers, M.Ed
I am an AP English teacher, ELA Coach, and a PD facilitator.
I have taught in private, public, and public open-enrollment charter schools.


Popular posts from this blog

#Edtech tools of summer

Summer is a great time for teachers to work with #edtech tools. Two free Edtech tools that I'm working with this summer include TED-Ed and RECAP. Both of these tools can help a teacher flip his or her classroom. I've found that videos and screencasts are helpful to my students. Why?

1. Visual learners benefit from a visual explanation in addition to a handout

2. Students who have been absent can more easily regain what they missed

3. Students can replay the video and not be embarrassed

So, what is TED-Ed?
"TED-Ed is also a platform for teachers. They can adapt TED-Ed Original Lesson content to create customized lessons to use in their classrooms or use our Create a Lesson tool to build their own new lessons with any YouTube video."


My students have also used TED-Ed to create memorable lessons. I'm using it this summer to quickly create video lessons from videos that I have used in the classroom previously. I will be able to…

Inaugural Poetry Night

Inaugural Poetry Night at LISA North
April 5, 2016

As we approach our first Poetry Night, hearts are fluttering.   Our students are nervous to present their poetry, and out teachers are nervous about attendance. Since it is our first attempt to showcase our student's work, we  have also set up a LISA North Poetry Channel on Youtube so that the students and parents and view our students' efforts.

We will continue to add to our poetry channel each year.
LISA North Poetry Channel

Google Summit in Arkansas-I am Thankful!

I AM Thankful for

     The Google in Education Arkansas Summit took place this weekend on the Conway High School campus. Wow! Just Wow! The pure joy of being part of a PLN is in the connection. This weekend, I saw just a couple of Tweets talking about #GIESummit in Arkansas. I literally said "OH MY Goodness! How could I have missed this amazing opportunity?"  So, I quickly responded to a Tweeter @davidjhinson from Hendrix College,  +Hendrix College to ask if I could register late and still attend. David was kind enough to ask the Google staff, if it was even doable. The answer was yes!

     Thankful to be allowed to attend a Google Summit, I thought nothing of ponying up the money for such an  amazing opportunity in our state. (Thanks to Dan Taylor for helping with the registration process.) This morning, I drove up to Conway and sat in on the lovely Keynote, "What's on the Horizon" by +Lisa Thumann, @lthumann.  Each session I attended bu…