Esther Jantzen (Esther A. Jantzen, Ed.D.) is an educator, children’s literacy advocate, writer, and info-preneur. Here’s what she says:

There IS an elephant in the living room!

During the twenty-five satisfying years I spent in urban public school districts as a high school English teacher, a program developer, and as district office staff, I read, thought, and worried about how we could improve education and schools. As a single parent raising a daughter, watching her learn to read and develop academic skills, I thought about how we could improve literacy in this country.

But it wasn’t until I left my school district for other adventures that I finally saw the “elephant in the room”—the opportunity we all know about which goes largely unaddressed—in education.

It’s a huge, overlooked opportunity that exists in the real living rooms of real families. It is the opportunity to show, teach, encourage, and support parents in doing things with their children that help the kids become better readers and learners.

Moms and Dads, caregivers, grandparents—we know YOU are really the main teachers of children. It’s YOUR time, relationships, and activities with kids that provide the blueprint, foundation, and building blocks that develop children into educated, competent, productive, creative adults.

So I’ve changed directions a little. My passion now is parenting education and
family literacy. I think the home is more important than the school.

The Los Angeles Times on-line carried an article I wrote about this:

“Literacy begins at home”

Nowadays, taking many deep breaths, I’m re-inventing myself as a writer, a publisher, a marketer, a speaker, a staff-development specialist in family literacy for schools and preschools, and a seminar/workshop facilitator.

My most recent book (and the subject of this website) is about things parents can do to help kids succeed. Plus It: How to Easily Turn Everyday Activities into Learning Adventures for Kids was enjoyable to create because my two grandchildren were both inspiration and laboratory.

Another thing I’m interested in is how fathers can help kids, especially their
boys, become good readers and learners. Dads are oh-so-important whether they live with their children or not.

One article I wrote that Dads might appreciate is “How Fathers Can Help Kids Succeed in School—Two Easy Ways That Won’t Cost a Cent” .

Another one for fathers is “Dads, What Your Kids Need to Hear from You—Five Powerful Sentences”

Also, I published a family literacy activities system for elementary schools and preschools to use with the families of their students. It’s beautiful, and the credit for that goes to the graphic designer, Cindy Wilson Designs in Florida. It’s called the Way to Go! Family Learning Journal. It provides two-years-worth of monthly things parents and caregivers can do to support kids’ growth in language, reading, thinking, and knowledge of the world. Check it out at www.familylearningjournal.com.
Most things on that website are FR*EE, including materials in Spanish.

In my personal life, I do my best to practice living a life of balance, adventure, and joy. A rewarding, actually thrilling, recent experience was walking the 480-mile famous ancient pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James), in Northern Spain in fall 2008. I’m working on a children’s book about that.

Finally, I want to say that I am open to partnerships with like-minded educators, entrepreneurs, and parents.There are lots of great things we could do together to promote literacy, learning, and loving in families worldwide.

Publications in addition to those listed above:

In the 1970s and ‘80s, I published articles in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Education Digest, Basic Education, Delaware Valley Parent; Gray Panther Network, Women’s Study Quarterly, Peace and Freedom, Germantown Courier, and Today: The Inquirer Magazine.

Recently I joined the Advisory Board of the National Effective Parenting Initiative. One thing this organization promotes is the establishment of a federal level Office of Parenting Education, which I think is a great idea that could contribute substantially to supporting parents and children.


Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

M.A. in Applied Psychology • University of Santa Monica, Santa Monica, CA

M.Ed. in Psychology of Reading • Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

B.A. in English • Bethel College, North Newton, KS

How I came to write this book . . .