Building Confident Kids Online Event — Coming Soon!

This looks like a great resource for parents and grandparents as well.

confident parents confident kids

Next week, April 7-12, check out the free online conference hosted by full-time teacher and Mom Heather Davis. This 5-day online event includes interviews with experts focused on how we can authentically build confidence in kids in our everyday roles as parents or educators. 

If you want to learn ways to improve your role and effectiveness with the children you love, you’ll discover plenty of helpful strategies from world-class experts. Here are a few of the topics to be discussed:

How You Play A Major Role In The Social and Emotional Development Of Your Kids – Jennifer S. Miller

How To Help Kids Develop A Growth Mindset – Alexandra Eidens

The Importance Of Encouraging Play At EVERY Age (Even As Adults) – Janine Halloran

How Boosting The Competence Of Our Kids Builds Confidence And Resilience – Dr. Ken Ginsburg

How To Teach Kids To Be Courageous In The Midst Of…

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Speed Reading Plus Blog!

“The more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.“–Dr. Seuss

Read Across America 1st graders listening to Seuss

I love Read Across America for personal reasons.

I started my career in education as a first grade teacher.

I wanted to be a person who made sure that kids just starting out would like school and like to read. And since co-founding Advanced Reading Concepts in 1977, I love what I do with teens and adults for a similar reason. I help prepare them for additional  learning and to rekindle and have time for a love of reading again. I also help those who never liked to read become readers–so I am sort of starting them off as well.

Once a year I get to go back to my beginnings as a teacher.  I volunteer to read stories to grade school children through…

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The Gestalt: What How to Read the Bible, a Novel and Making Military Decisions Have in Common

Just had a recent graduate ask how to read the Bible and decided to re-post this. Would love to have your feedback.

Speed Reading Plus Blog!

NT WrightI am re-posting this blog as one of my recent graduates wanted to know how to read the Bible.  He was accustomed to reading it one-word-at-a-time.  I told him about this blog and decided to re-post it.  It was written  in 2014 originally, but it is still up to date.

This blog was inspired by a sermon given by Jim Mehler at the Gathering service at Covenant Presbyterian Church last Sunday who showed us a part of a video interview with N. T. Wright, a Bible Scholar from England who has written a number of well-known books.  The video is How to Read the Bible, the Whole Sweep of Scripture.  Mr. Wright’s suggestion was completely different from what I had ever heard before.  Some of the people on Facebook believe that reading the Bible means taking a quote out of context to say “I’m right and you’re wrong.”  Some of…

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The is about to be a copyrighted content word!

As THE Ohio State University is all in the news lately about copyrighting the word “the” including Joe Blundo in the Columbus Dispatch–trying-to-skirt-thee-latest-ohio-state-trademark, I decided to re-post “our blog about “the”.

               “The” as a Content WordThe OSU t-shirt

The” is a structure word that is often used as a content word as in it is referring to the only thing or only one that matters.

E.g. as an ordinary structure word:  “I’m going to get “the” groceries.”

red OSU

The Ohio State University Alumni Club of San Diego

As a content word:
The” Ohio State University.  Really.  The university is alphabetized under the t’s  in lists of schools!

My own personal use of “the“:
The” Lake (Lake Erie)
The” Bay (Put ‘n Bay)
The” Boat (our boat at Lake Erie)
The” Island (Washington Island)
The” Cabin (our place on “the” Island)
The” Cats (ours of course)!

When students were introducing themselves at the speed reading course I was teaching for Upper Arlington’s summer school  some of them said “I go to “the” High School” as opposed to any other schools that might be represented in the group.

Sometimes the word “the” can be very confusing.  If it’s being used to define “the” only item but instead it could be one of many, it creates poor communication.  As in on “the” Boat when “the” Captain asks me to get “the” Line–there are a lot of lines (ropes) on a sailboat, he is “the” only person who knows what he wants but I am supposed to!

Often  the word “the” requires insider information.  Here in Columbus when people say they are going to “the” Shoe, they are referring  to “The” Ohio State University’s football stadium — not to footwear!   Just like reading, it takes prior knowledge to understand the context.

The word “that” can also be problematic as in getting the request to get “that” thing by the previously mentioned Captain!   There are a lot of things!  English teachers and writers are good at clarifying what “the” and “that” are referencing.  The rest of us think you should just know!

How do you use “the”?  Share with us.  And what do you think of The Ohio State University wanting to own the word?  Respond to The Speed Reading Plus Blog!

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Bringing Gratitude to Thanksgiving

A wonderful article from Confident Parents Confident Kids.  Hope you enjoy it!  And have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Bringing Gratitude to Thanksgiving

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Wow!  Our summer results are in and they are amazing.  Please click the link to see them!

white paper with yeah signage

Photo by on


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Helping Kids Deal with the Stress of the Test!

As we strive to give kids less stress on the test with better reading skills, I was impressed with this article on how to handle the emotional part of test anxiety.

confident parents confident kids

”Mom, everything seems to speed up around me, get louder in my head, and I can’t take my test. I feel scared.” This is how my ten-year-old son described his anxiety during test taking time. But though I know he has felt those feelings in the past, this is the first time he’s been able to articulate it.

In fact, anxiety is experienced differently by every person. Some may get headaches, some tummy aches. Some may feel hot, sweaty or like they are going to faint. But whatever the physical symptoms, frequently they can be accompanied by a host of fears. Yes, the stress of performing well is one of those fears but those worries may lead to a number of others like, “Will everyone make fun of me when I fail?” “Will I learn that I actually don’t have the smarts to do it?” and “Why can’t I think?…

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Fake News Confronted by Educators, World Wide Newspapers and the Columbus Metropolitan Club.


Tabloid “News”

internet quote picture

Facebook “News”









I published this article last year and last week an updated similar one.  The recent Metropolitan Club’s panel topic was “Fake News is an Oxymoron”, so I decided to run a couple of blogs again.

This is the link to that very interesting discussion: Metropolitan Club “Fake News is an Oxymoron.  “What is fake news and how do we fight it? Intentional Insights President Dr. Gleb Tsipursky presented on this topic at the Columbus Metropolitan Club, in a panel along with Kelly Frank (News Director at 10TV – WBNS) Alan Miller (Editor of The Columbus Dispatch) and Clark Donley (News Director of Sunny 95 – Columbus, OH). He focuses on the Pro-Truth Pledge project at”

As the picture of the tabloids demonstrates, fake news has been around for a long time and it is still with us at the checkout line at the grocery store! But it is more invasive with  the Internet.

We might be getting sick of the words “fake news” right now due to their overuse and misuse these days. But it is refreshing to know that  good information is out there to help people who choose to take it in to help sort out what is real and fake.

When I was in Bangkok teaching a class for the USAID last January, I enjoyed reading the English version of the local papers.  I found an article about how to spot fake news and to think before sharing (novel approach)!

Then when I got back, our local paper the Columbus Dispatch had a wonderful article about how students are being taught to THINK about what they are reading and how to come up with what is accurate.  Following that, ASCD published an article from the Seattle Times which  released a worksheet to help students lessons on news judgment.

I am sharing the Columbus Dispatch article first.  The next two blogs will be the one from Bangkok and from ASCD (a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading).  The Dispatch article shows how various area schools are incorporating reading and discussing news articles into social studies, government classes, and writing courses.  I’d love to see a follow-up study to see what kind of conversations might have occurred in the homes where the older generation uses its comfortable sources and the younger one has learned to delve deeper.

Columbus Dispatch:  Teachers confront fake news in classroom lessons


Teacher Amanda Suttle’s students know to take with a grain of salt an online article positing that millennials are bad with money and need financial-planning help. It was written by a bank executive. And they get that a photo of mutated daisies, posted online with the claim that they sprouted near Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, could be total bunk. These were examples that she floated this week for her 12-student media-literacy class at Licking Valley High School, just east of Newark, and she’s glad to see their healthy skepticism.

“I often ask them questions that I don’t have the answers to because I want them to think for themselves and not just tell me what they think I want to hear or what they think the ‘right’ answer is,” Suttle said in an email. “I consider it vital that they learn how to question everything, to resist the urge to believe the single story, the stereotype or the first thing they hear. In essence, I want them to read more and not be easily duped.

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The Nation Article on Avoiding Fake News From Bangkok


The Nation

Because The Columbus Metropolitan Club’s topic today is Fake News is an Oxymoron and because we made our trip to Bangkok this month a year ago, I decided to re-post this blog.

I read this article when teaching a class in Bangkok for the USAID.  I enjoyed reading the English version of the papers in the hotel lobby.  This column in the The Nation by Suthichai Yoon started with:  Thais got a taste of what “fake” news can do to you recently when Facebook got fooled by its own algorithm.
It is interesting that it also mentions to the News Literacy Project in the US.  Funny that I found out about the project while in Bangkok!

The full article is below. The link can take you to the publication.
Source: How to spot fake news – Think before you share

Thais got a taste of what “fake” news can do to you recently when Facebook got fooled by its own algorithm.

When the social network activated its Safety Check feature, a false security alert was triggered. A year-old article about a bomb blast in Bangkok (the 2015 Erawan Shrine attack) sent a jolt of panic across the world before it was deactivated an hour later.

The incident raised questions about how Thais consume news on the social media. Long before fake news became a big issue during the US presidential election campaign, many Thais were caught in their own drawn-out social media battle, posting news considered favourable to their political orientation – and disparaging stories that shed a negative light on their faction.

The general public, however, has to be armed with sufficient guidelines on how to detect news that is deliberately distorted or cooked up to paint an incident in a certain way.

I was drawn to the News Literacy Project in the US, which is focused on “vaccinating” citizens against fake news from a young age. The process has to start in the classroom, even before kids start using mobile phones.

In what is being dubbed a post-truth era, news literacy must start from the ground up.

The US project uses a virtual classroom and mobilizes seasoned journalists to help students nationwide sort fact from fiction in the digital age.

It offers basic questions – the five W’s and one H – as guards against falling into the fake news trap:

WHO wrote the article? Is there a byline or author?

WHAT is the publication? Is it a credible or trusted news source?

WHERE do the sources inside come from? Are they named? Are they legit? Are they absent?

WHEN was it published? A missing date could raise a flag.

WHY did the writer create it? What was the motivation? Would you share it with someone?

HOW did it make you feel? Angry? Excited? Any other strong emotions? That could be another flag. Is it suspicious? To what degree can you fix it?

To the general public, guidelines given by Nick Robins-Early, a  world news reporter for the Huffington Post, can also be very helpful in spotting a fake story.

1. Read past the headline.

One way that fake news gets amplified is that busy readers don’t look past the headline or opening paragraph before they decide to share an article. Fake news publishers sometimes exploit this tendency, writing the beginning of a story in a straightforward way before filling in the rest with obviously false information.

2.     Check what news outlet published it.

Unfamiliar websites plastered with ads and all-caps headlines should draw immediate scepticism. Googling a site’s name and checking out other articles it posts should also help determine whether it’s trustworthy.

Many fake news sites will outright say that they are satire or don’t contain factual information, but others are made to mimic major news outlets. Check the URL names of pages that look suspect, making sure that it’s not a hoax site that is pretending to be a trusted source.

3.    Check the date and time of publication.

Another common element in fake news is that old articles or events can resurface and lead people to believe they just happened. Checking the publish time stamp is something readers can quickly do to prevent being misled.

4. Who is the author?

Looking at who wrote the article can reveal a lot of information about the news source. Searching through the author’s previous articles can show whether they are a legitimate journalist or have a history of hoaxing.

5.    Look at what links and sources are used.

A lack of links or sources for claims in an article is an obvious warning sign. Fake sites may also provide numerous links to sites that appear to back up their claims, but are themselves spreading misinformation. Check to see that claims supported by links actually come from reliable sources.

6.    Look out for questionable quotes and photos.

It’s incredibly easy for fake news writers to invent false quotes, even attributing them to major public figures. Be sceptical of shocking or suspicious quotes, and search to see if they have been reported elsewhere.

Likewise, it’s easy to take a photo from one event and say it’s from another. Images can also be altered for a certain story. Reverse image searches, either through Google or tools like TinEye, can help you find where an image originated.

7.    Beware confirmation bias

People are often drawn to stories that reinforce the way they see the world and how they feel about certain issues. Fake news is no exception, and many of the articles that fall under its umbrella are designed to stir up emotion in readers and prey on their biases.

It’s important to check that news stories are based in fact, rather than sharing them because they support one side of an argument or bolster pre-existing political beliefs.

8.    Search if other news outlets are reporting it

If a story looks suspicious or claims to reveal major news, search to see if other news outlets are also reporting the story. A single article from a suspicious source making a grand claim should be viewed with heavy scepticism. If no reliable news outlets are also reporting the story, then it’s likely fake.

Perhaps the most practical piece of advice is: Think before you share. That’s because fake news sites rely on readers to share and engage with their articles in order for them to spread. In extreme cases, these fake articles can balloon out of control and have unintended consequences for those involved in the stories.

With dwindling newsroom staff and shrinking financial resources, journalists increasingly rely on online sources for stories and breaking news. As such, there’s an even greater imperative for all editors to follow this exhaustive checklist to avoid falling victim to “fake journalism”.  By Suthichai Yoon

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Speed Reading Plus Blog!

One of my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions is to be much better at posting blogs. I have been very negligent. This summer I got Lyme Disease which turned me into a very lazy person for a while. Blogging was something I got lazy about. Not any more! We did some exciting things last year, changed some lives and have found interesting and helpful articles to share with you.

I just thought a fun way to get going again was to go to our very first blog and share it again. 

Here it is:
I started this blog to share some of the insights and experiences from my thirty plus years of teaching speed reading–the little successes of my students that add up along with their major victories have fueled my passion for what we do here–and are worth sharing.  I’ve had the good fortune to meet some extraordinary and interesting…

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