Did you get a chance to check out the TVO program called Empire of the Word? It was a four-part series on the history of the written word (that Oxford Learning sponsored).
To watch all four episodes online visit the TVO website.
From the TVO website:
Eight years in the making, Empire of the Word is a compelling look inside the act of reading and traces its impact on more than five thousand years of human history. Introduced and narrated by one of the world’s great readers, Canadian writer Alberto Manguel, the series traces reading’s origins; examines how we learn to read; exposes censors’ attempts to prevent our reading; and finally, proposes what the future might hold for this most human of creative acts.
Read More »
Face it…anything worth achieving takes work. A lot of work. It takes sweat, time, commitment, and mental muscles. Whether learning to read or whether completing a really challenging essay, when something that you’ve been working on finally comes together—when the light bulb goes on—it’s really exciting. It’s worth celebrating!
In fact, you might even feel like dancing!
For over twenty-five years, Oxford Learning has been helping students of all ages have get-up-and-dance moments. Our programs help students ditch bad learning habits, develop confidence in their abilities, and get excited about learning.
Want to see it in action?
Find a center near you and help your child have learning experiences worth celebrating.
Read More »
One of the easiest ways to keep young minds active during breaks from school is by reading.
Reading books—in the old-fashioned, alone and quiet sense—does more than simply help to develop a strong vocabulary. Reading helps today’s media-saturated children learn how to unwind and slow down.
Spending quality time with a good book helps children develop skills that pay off in the classroom. Here’s how:
- Reading helps children learn how to be patient and how to focus. There is ramp-up time involved in reading books—sometimes, it can take two or three chapters to get hooked, which teaches perseverance and patience.
- Regular reading is one of the best-known ways to expand vocabulary and learn how to use words correctly, and in the right context.
- Reading teaches the importance of seeing connections and new meanings, which is vital to active learning.
Getting your child to unplug a video game and read a book isn’t always an easy task, but it can be done! Here are some tips:
- Read together as a family, even if it is a comic book.
- Let your child choose the book.
- Take turns reading paragraphs or chapters out loud.
- Discuss subjects such as characters and setting.
- Ask if children can relate a situation in a book to an experience that they’ve had.
Read More »
For many students, school breaks are an opportunity to relax, socialize, and sleep in. However, for parents, the time off from school may cause concern about how children will be filling their days.
School breaks can be very disruptive to a family’s schedule—filling the hours is often a source of worry for parents. While most families welcome the holiday breaks as an opportunity to spend quality time together, the disruption to the normal routine can cause children to get off-track. The academic consequences for spending an entire holiday in extreme brain-break mode are not good.
In as little as a couple of weeks, students can lose their learning momentum and slip behind in school. That’s why it’s important for families to incorporate academic-style activities into their holiday break planning.
This doesn’t mean hitting the books for hours on end—it’s the holidays after all! Students of all ages can keep their minds sharp and have fun by participating in a little structured learning time, whether it is to simply by reading or by playing board games.
While some students may not have any assigned work, many students will be assigned some sort of schoolwork over the holidays. Homework can be easily forgotten this during the holiday excitement—that’s why families should plan on having a “learning hour”—one hour a day to chip away at schoolwork, to review notes, and to maintain learning momentum.
The hour set aside for learning doesn’t have to be all about schoolwork—kids can work on special projects such as a holiday scrapbook, or crossword puzzles—anything to keep them mentally engaged. By keeping the learning hour short, sweet, and fun, maintaining academic momentum can become as much a part of holiday break activities as sleeping in and visiting with family.
Read More »
Looking for board games to play over the holidays that won’t strain your pocket book? “What Did You See?” is a fun game that uses everyday objects from around the house. This game is a lot like Memory, but doesn’t use purchased cards with childish images, so it’s great for all ages. And, you can select objects in the house that match the ages of the players.
As an added bonus, this game develops memory and concentration skills, and it’s fun to boot!
- A timer
- Paper and pencil for each person playing
- 7-10 small items from around the house that will fit under a tea towel (or other sized towel), such as a pen, a battery, lip balm, a hairbrush, a tree ornament, etc.
How to Play:
- Place all items randomly on a table top
- Cover with a tea towel
- Set timer for one minute and reveal items
- Have a participants study the items intensely
- Cover the items with the towel and have players write down everything that they saw
- When the round is done, discuss what strategies you used to help remember the items
- Take turns choosing the items to reveal
- Whoever remembers the most items wins
Puzzles are great activity to undertake over the holidays. Not only are they fun, but they also give a sense of accomplishment when complete. Puzzles help children and parents alike hone their mental abilities.
Here’s why: a puzzle is but a jumble of mixed-up pieces, until a plan of action is developed. Sort the pieces by color groupings, or work on the outside frame first. Whichever way the puzzle is sorted, the puzzler uses organization: moving through chaos to order.
When working on puzzles as a family, discuss the strategies used to sort the pieces—this is the key to developing a solid game strategy. Known as Cognitive Awareness, it’s a learning technique that helps you to become aware of the process that you use to reach a solution, and un-puzzle the puzzle. And, it’s what makes game playing a fun way to keep the brain sharp.
Read More »
School downtime is often the time when good school habits start to slide. That’s why it’s important that students maintain their academic momentum during school breaks. Students can stay sharp with these five easy tips:
- Read a book together. Parents can help young children develop better reading comprehension skills by reading and discussing books together.
- Play board games. Board games can help children learn to be organized, to plan, to be persistent, and to think strategically. Children can also develop problem-solving abilities and memory skills. Games that use money can teach essential mathematical skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even concepts like estimation.
- Set a work schedule. Agree to a time when everyone can come together to work on projects—school or otherwise. Children are used to following a routine during the school day, so sticking to a routine during vacation time is natural.
- Hit the Books. Upcoming projects, essays, assignments, and readings can be easily chipped away at during the break. Students should take advantage of the spare time afforded by the break to make some headway into upcoming schoolwork.
- Avoid the Slip-Slide. Days have a way of blending into one another, especially during school breaks, so students should continue to use a school agenda, calendar, or day planner. Agendas are a great way to practice time management skills and remain focused.
Read More »