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Last updateTue, 21 Feb 2017 4pm

Food & Wine

'Galentine's Day' celebrates romance of truly great pals

'Galentine's Day' celebrates romance of truly great pals


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Champagne Moutard Rosé de Cuvaison Brut screams “Valentine’s Day,” with pink bubbles fit for an evening with chocolate and loved ones.

I didn’t plan to have the incredible female friendships I have. As ...

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Your Health

Mountain View teen won't let diabetes sink her fun

Mountain View teen won't let diabetes sink her fun


Courtesy of the Sorenson Family
Cipriana Sorenson, right, with brother Kai and parents Holt and Beth, maintains an active lifestyle despite her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

Studies show that approximately 1.25 million Americans are living with Typ...

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Your Home

Keeping rainwater in the garden

Keeping rainwater in the garden


Tanya Kucak/ Special to the Town Crier
The maroon flowers of spicebush boast an interesting winey fragrance. Native to moist places, spicebush is a large, deciduous shrub that provides good wildlife cover.

Native plants can handle lots of rain ...

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On The Road

Tips to keep dogs from getting carsick

Tips to keep dogs from getting carsick


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Having a dog face forward in a car can help with car sickness.

With winter travel in high gear, many people plan to hit the road with their pooches. However, for some four-legged family members, road trips can mean up...

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Senior Lifestyles

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Lloyd Lettis, 96, of Mountain View plays tennis three days a week at Los Altos High School.

Ninety-six-year-old Mountain View resident Lloyd Lettis seems to have a gene for longevity. And one for farming. And another for t...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Encourage children to read

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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