Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Grateful Heart

I’m writing to you from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.  
We’re in the waiting room (my dad, two sisters, brother and I) waiting on my mom...she has cancer, again, and is in surgery.  
My mom has already survived pancreatic cancer.. the survival rate for this cancer is extremely low… about 95 percent of people with pancreatic cancer die from it (think Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze).  But she has been a survivor for 14 years!
Some years after her diagnosis she had a stroke and now she is having surgery for lung cancer.  
I know that many of you reading this can relate and have your own family stories.  

I am sharing mine because I’m often amazed at the most wonderful attitude and outlook on life that my mom has!  She truly has a grateful heart.

Most people would never know she has experienced even half of what she has.  She never complains or whines.  How many people do we know who complain and whine over the silliest situations?

Really puts things in perspective!  

Right before surgery she said to me, “I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had.  I’ve been able to see my kids grow up and now i’m watching their babies grow.”

My mom was expressing an attitude of gratitude right before heading into SURGERY!

For years, I have spent each morning and each night thanking the Universe for all the amazing things/people/experiences I have in my life.  Having a grateful heart is not just important to’s truly a way of life.  And without realizing it my mother was always modeling this behavior for me… for all of her children.

As parents (or teachers or aunts...) there are SO many ways to model gratitude.  PBS Parents shares 10 Ways To Raise A Grateful Child, read it here. There are also many ways to show how truly grateful you are for your child… get some ideas here.  Expressing gratitude is not a once a year thing… it should be practiced daily.

If you don’t already do so, I suggest taking time each night before bed, to let your little one know 3 things you were grateful for that day.  Then let them share with you what 3 things they were grateful for that day.  A great segway into this would be to read aloud a book that betters explains and teaches them about giving thanks and being grateful!  Check out some awesome books on this topic, here.

I know that right now, in this moment, I am extremely grateful for my family, friends, health, happiness a career I love and am passionate about and for all of you for allowing me to be a part of your child’s reading journey!

I wanted to thank you with a coupon for a FREE Assessment and Evaluation.  

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Is your child already in the Preschool Readers accelerated reading program?  Then pass this coupon on and if your referral signs up then YOU receive one free session!

Contact us here to redeem your coupon and in the ‘Questions/Comments’ box write in, FREE ASSESSMENT.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful, happy and healthy Thanksgiving,

Playing cards to keep busy in the waiting room!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Sharing is Caring!

Happy November!

I’m writing from New Jersey where I’ve had the most wonderful long weekend with family and friends!  

Fall is my favorite time of year and there really is nothing quite like fall in the northeast where the leaves burst into various shades of yellow, red, and orange and the air is crisp and cool.  

This morning as we sat around the breakfast table (my mom, dad, grandmother, two nieces and I) we watched, sang and danced along to some of my nieces favorite educational Youtube videos.  

And then it dawned on me...after so many years of teaching in the kindergarten classroom I have a long list of some wonderful free educational Youtube videos, videos I know so many of your children will love as much as my niece.   

So I’m here to share!  Here you go... some of my students’ FAVORITE videos!  

Favorite Letter Sound Videos:

Favorite Vowel Sound Videos:

Favorite Sight Word Videos:

Favorite Phoneme Substitution, Deletion, and Blending Videos:

Favorite Rhyming Videos:

Favorite Days of the Week & Months of the Year Videos:

Do you find these videos are too easy for your preschooler?  They may be ready to read!  Contact us today for details about our accelerated reading program.  

Happy reading,

P.S. Sharing is caring so show how much you care by forwarding this email on.

P.P.S Have your own fun videos you’d like to share?  Head over to my blog and let us know!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Are you lucky?

It’s no secret that I absolutely LOVE what I do!  
How LUCKY I am to be able to call this work… I’m truly blessed and am extremely grateful!   
I’m often asked how I ‘came up with it.’  
I can understand where that question comes from.  After all, I don’t have preschool age children and I’ve never taught in a preschool classroom.
Before Preschool Readers I was a special needs kindergarten teacher.  For nine years I instructed students in all subject matter.  
I LOVED it!  To them, every day was exciting and fun… their attitude was contagious!  
As I taught I kept my favorite Maya Angelou quote close to my heart, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  
More than anything I wanted my students to feel safe, and cared for.  I wanted them to feel smart, sure of themselves, and like they could do and be anything!
However, year after year I saw them struggle with reading.  
I watched as their confidence diminished.  
They didn’t want to try anymore.  
In essence, they stopped feeling good about reading.  
And as the standards increased, becoming more rigorous and demanding, I realized I had to change the way I taught my reading lessons.  
That same Maya Angelou quote was behind the first change I made...
I knew that if I could only help to make them feel good about their reading abilities, then I’d quickly see a change in their attitude towards reading.  You see, confident children are eager to learn new skills and face new challenges.  
Once I built up their CONFIDENCE I saw a HUGE change in their DESIRE to learn!
And from that simple quote...from that simple idea of wanting them to remember how I made them feel about reading and their reading ability...Preschool Readers was born!
Words really can’t describe how wonderful it is to see children fall in love with reading!  It’s not only amazing to see them enjoy it so much but to see how PROUD they are of themselves...that is priceless!
How truly lucky I am to be able to call this work!  
Happy reading,
P.S. Receiving these notes never gets old ❤

Saturday, October 4, 2014

On the fence?

Do you find yourself on the fence about the reading and consulting services we offer at Preschool Readers?

Maybe you’re wondering, “can my preschooler really learn to read?” “My child is so young, will he actually enjoy learning to read?”  “Will my child truly benefit from these reading services?”

What you may not know is that children actually WANT to learn and are HARDWIRED to do so (read more about their natural desire to learn, here).

And YES! They enjoy it...check out my FAVORITE ‘testimonials’ below.  These come unasked for and are seen and heard on social media and in email.  These testimonials are the ones that genuinely make my heart smile!

Seen and Heard on Social Media & In Email….

  • “It’s the best thing we ever did for both kids!”
  • “We adore you and the connection you’ve built with (our daughter) in such a short amount of time is amazing.  Thank you for everything!”
  • “She loves her reading sessions and is becoming much more confident.”
  • “We miss you! (Our daughter) loves when u come 😃”
  • “My kids ❤️❤️ Seeing you every week😘”
  • “You are awesome- Magical reader!”
  • “We are very pleased with her progress and she has really developed a love for reading.”
  • “She LOVES to read.  She is REALLY excited about starting chapter books.”
  • “My son is loving his books and words!”
  • “On our car trip today, our son asked to practice sight words all on his own on our 6+ hour trip!!!”
  • “She is loving it!!!”
  • “She can really tackle any book and this is wonderful.”

And yes, they greatly benefit from it as well! Let's take a look at the NUMEROUS neurological, psychological, educational, social and linguistic benefits that teaching your child to read early has...  

Neurological reasons: A baby is born with approximately 200 billion active brain cells or neurons.  Given appropriate stimulation, each of these brain cells is capable of sprouting up to 20,000 different connections between them which store additional information.  These  connections are a DIRECT RESULT of STIMULATION the child receives through early experiences and forms the basis of all future learning and intellectual ability!  

Psychological reasons:  Learning to read at an early age with supportive, encouraging parents, tremendously affects a child’s self-confidence and independence.  Their self-confidence is sure to soar when they are NOT struggling to read, being placed in the ‘low’ reading group, or being pulled out of the classroom for extra help

(to continue reading about the educational, social and linguistic benefits, click here).  

Still on the fence?  We’re here to answer any questions you have.  Contact us today!

Happy reading,

P.S I know that trying to figure out  where to begin working with your child can seem daunting, so I wanted to gift to you our eBook, 20 Interactive Sight Word Games.  These games are simple and easy to implement at home.  Don’t let the title fool you, these games are PERFECT for letter recognition as well!  Click here to download it now.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Need Help? Successful Reading Strategies!

Learning to read can either be an exciting time or a point of frustration in a child’s, as
well as parents’, life.

I can’t tell you how many times I am exasperatedly told, “she won’t read for me,” “he gets so frustrated and just gives up,” “she hates reading and I don’t know how to make it enjoyable for her,” or “he thinks he is a bad reader and has such low self-confidence about it.”

These comments are all too common!

Parents want so badly to instill a love of reading within their child but are unsure where to begin.

As a preschool reading specialist I work closely with parents educating them in the various ways to support and foster their child’s early literacy development.

So Im here to share with you the two most common misunderstandings I see made when it comes to encouraging beginning readers along with successful suggestions on how to aid them.
Mistake #1- “Just sound it out”- This is where I see the biggest frustration come into play.

Your child is stuck on a word and you ask them to sound it out.

In all fairness this is what you have been taught. This is all you really know!

But guess what? You cannot always sound out a word (try sounding out the word, ‘what’ or ‘one’)!

So,  in an effort to avoid unnecessary frustration simply read the word for your child. That’s it! It’s as simple as that! If you are following along and notice a word up ahead that you
know your child will not recognize or won’t be able to sound out then just read it for them….it’s ok!

This keeps your child reading fluently and makes reading much more enjoyable for them (who wants to be stuck sounding out a word for 5 minutes?).
Mistake #2- “That’s not right”- Think helicopter parent.

You are standing over your child as they read each and every word, pointing out what was read wrong, or asking them to either read faster or slow down.

This is sure to dim your child’s desire to read!

Just for a minute, imagine your boss hovering over you at work, commenting on everything you say, everything you do, every word you type.  

How would you feel?  

I’m thinking you’d feel extremely uncomfortable and anxious!  You’d probably just want to quit!

So NOT fun!

And the thing is, often times when a child reads a word incorrectly, they are aware of their mistake and given a couple of seconds will self-correct.

However, if  you are correcting them before they even have a chance to recognize
their mistake, they will become frustrated.

So just give them some space to make mistakes! Let them read a sentence or a word incorrectly. Then when they are finished ask them, “did that make sense?” Or, “let’s look at
that sentence/word again.”
I truly hope that these reading strategies are helpful for you and your beginning reader!

Remembering to always stay positive, supportive and encouraging in addition to applying these strategies will help ensure you are nurturing your child’s early literacy development.

Happy reading,
Lisa Vodola,

P.S Were these reading strategies helpful?  Let me know by leaving a comment!