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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Updated 11:28 a.m.:

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill R...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Encourage children to read

Photo Town Crier File Photo Encouraging a love of reading in children helps in all areas of study, including critical thinking and vocabulary.

 

One of the most frequent comments I hear from parents is that their children, for whatever reason, do not like to read. With so many technological innovations and distractions at their children’s fingertips, these parents often resign themselves to believing that there is little that can be done to change their children’s aversion to reading.

Not so! Over the past decade, I have seen numerous students – from sixth-graders to high school seniors – discover a new appreciation for reading. There is no doubt that increased reading helps them develop vocabulary, critical-thinking skills, language development and processing abilities. Reading actively and critically not only helps students with writing papers, taking standardized tests and feeling academically confident, but also it enables young adults to develop the thinking and communication skills necessary to feel personally and professionally confident in college and beyond.

Suggestions for encouraging more reading in your home follow.

 

Be subject sensitive

A few years ago, I worked with a student who loved basketball and hated to read – in fact, his parents openly thought I was crazy to suggest that he read for 20 minutes a day. Because I knew about his passion for basketball, I got him a copy of Darcy Frey’s “The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams” (Mariner Books, 2004). Exceptionally well written, the book is engaging and engrossing – and the young man was quickly hooked.

Many students who don’t enjoy reading have never had the experience of reading a book on a subject they are personally interested in. There are wonderfully written books out there on almost every subject.

 

Make it a family affair

For high school students preparing to take standardized tests, I generally recommend that reading an article a day in one of several magazines like Scientific American or The New Yorker (or other newspapers or magazines, depending on the student’s age and reading level) can be helpful in developing critical reading skills. I know families that read the same designated article three nights a week and discuss it over dinner – a great way to start an interesting dinner conversation and work on everyone’s debating skills (though some teenagers clearly need little help in developing debating techniques).

 

Use technology

Many educators, myself included, worry about the increased technological distractions available today. Using technology, however, can also encourage children to read more. A recent New York Times article revealed the growing number of young-adult titles sold for the Kindle and iPad. More and more young readers, it seems, are enticed to read books via e-readers.

While e-readers linked to the Internet may prove distracting, they also may be a worthwhile way to encourage reading. Most e-readers have functions to turn off technological distractions. For students with processing challenges and learning differences, audiobooks are among the numerous technological innovations that make reading more pleasurable and less overwhelming.

 

Seek outside resources

A few years ago, a high school student with ADHD came into our office with the seemingly impossible task of having to read Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” as part of his school’s summer reading list. He didn’t like to read but was willing to give it a shot, especially after we read the first five chapters aloud together and he started to understand the witty dialogue and multiple meanings throughout the book. He quickly became engrossed. Sometimes, using an outside resource such as a tutor or a summer reading group can be an effective way to motivate students.

 

Carve out time

Many students and parents lament that between school assignments, sports schedules and extracurricular activities, the idea of increased reading falls by the wayside. Simply setting aside 20 minutes three times a week for everyone to read can make an enormous impact in less time than they devote to watching a television sitcom.

With summer just around the corner, using a few of these tips may help your children expand their literary horizons – both in and out of the classroom.

Ana Homayoun is founder of Green Ivy Educational Consulting (www.greenivyed.com) and the author of “That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life” (Penguin, 2010).

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