Best of the Web: Reconnecting on a Rollercoaster, Social Media Not All Bad, and Phonic Wars

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

How I Became That Weird Theme Park Mum

(Elizabeth Alterman, The New York Times)

She is the mother of three sons, 14, 11, and 9 – ‘growing up, growing away from me’. How can she stay connected? The answer was found in a theme park only an hour away from home, where mother and sons could share the thrills of roller coasters and crazy, scary rides. At the park, a sense of peace and camaraderie washes over them. ‘I’m not the nagging shrew and they’re no longer sulky, sullen adolescents.’

When it comes to kids and social media, it’s not all bad

(Joanne Orlando, The Conversation)

It’s not all bad news when children use social media – in fact, far from it. Children use it in many ways, some of which are adding value to their lives. ‘There are risks associated with social media use. But it’s also important to understand where the value is, and how to guide children to get the most of their time online.’ This article looks at where social media is doing good.

Literacy wars: the proposed reading test dividing schools

(Henrietta Cook, The Age)

How do you pronounce ‘splue’, ‘meve’ or ‘zued’? This article reports that these are some of the made-up words that Year 1 students might soon have to pronounce in the Australian Government’s proposed phonics screening check. This article canvases the differing views among principals and educators, with the discussion around decoding words using phonics, and the importance of reading words in context.

How to talk to teens about computer game

(Michelle Ransom-Hughes for Earshot, ABC)

Forget fresh air and outdoor adventures. The author’s son spent as much of his six-week summer break as possible bunkered down in his bedroom playing computer games. What was so fascinating – and was his son safe? The author decided to have a meaningful conversation with his son, and it worked. He gives his tips for talking to a ‘gamer kid’.

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