Attention Middle-School Parents: We Still Have to Push Reading

by Denise Granniss There are many things we parents know we should be doing for our children’s well-being and success in life – some more easily said than done (six servings of fruit and vegetables?). One of those is reading. We know how important it is to develop reading skills, and it’s likely that when our children were tiny we read to them dutifully each night (even in utero!). But as the parent of a middle school boy, I can state with certainty that it was much easier reading Good Night … [Read more...]

Why Reading Really Matters

by Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. North Shore mom, Brooke Carnap, was shocked when her daughter, Mattie, came home with a grade of 59 on her 6th grade Social Studies test. “But I know Mattie studied. I saw her reading her textbook and looking over her notes. I can’t understand why she wasn’t ready for the test. In elementary school, Mattie was considered a good reader. In middle school, her grades are slipping and it’s hard to figure out why.” Does your child know how to read? What a stupid … [Read more...]

What Makes Learning Exciting?

What makes learning exciting? The Question. If you start with the question, you can never go wrong. There are three basic steps to the learning process – any learning process. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about students in a school; the scientists in the laboratory; or the parent and child at the baseball game. It’s all about asking and answering questions. Step 1: The Question It all starts with the question. Ask questions. Then ask more questions. And then, perhaps, consider … [Read more...]

How to Make Children Care about Learning

By Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D. It’s summer. It’s the time to take time off from learning! Why should I care about how to make my children care about learning? We learn what we do. Period. What does this mean? Question: When are we not doing something? Answer: We are never not doing something. We are always doing something. If this is true, then we are constantly learning. Every action is a source of learning. There is no such thing as a time for learning and a time off from learning. … [Read more...]

The Noble Craft of Self-Perfection: It’s Not Perfectionism!

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. — William Faulkner Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis. — Brené Brown At its root, perfectionism … [Read more...]

Making Learning Fun

by Michael F. Mascolo, PhD There have been some interesting Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times recently about the process of learning. Here are two opposing positions on our recent penchant for “making learning fun”. In Building Self-Control, The American Way (New York Times, February 17, 2013), Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang respond to recent books that offer a critique of American styles of teaching, learning and parenting. For example, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Chau, 2011) provided an … [Read more...]