Brightly lit and slightly sterile, 826DC is not your average tutoring center. It is a place with a green iguana named Alvarez, a taxidermied coyote and a strange and whimsical skeleton built out of bones from a horse, an ape, a bat and an unidentified ungulate. The tutoring center is one of eight 826 locations across the country honored this month with the Library of Congress' first-ever Literacy Award, meant to recognize organizations working to address illiteracy in America.
Alphabet rhymes, counting rhymes, frankly cautionary ditties like "Jack and Jill" — the pragmatic agenda of the Mother Goose canon ranges widely. "Marc Brown's Playtime Rhymes" showcases yet another possibility: the traditional rhymes that come with a component of physical play that affords young children the chance to wiggle and unwind as they act out amusing, easy-to-master mini-dramas like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," "I'm a Little Teapot," or the one whose rhyme starts: "This little pig went to market." Here is interactivity pure and simple, with no batteries required, and learning the games from this well-designed book is itself surprisingly easy.
We are pleased to be three of 10 private sector executives leading the efforts of the Maine Early Learning Investment Group, a group of business leaders who know the success of Maine's economy depends on well-educated, skilled and innovative workers. Scientists have shown us that children's early experiences provide the foundation for success in school and work. That's why we have chosen to invest in the healthy development of Maine's youngest children and their families as the surest way to improve student achievement and the quality of Maine's workforce. And now we have concrete Maine data to guide our investment.
Fifteen years after Idaho laid the groundwork for all students to be good readers by third grade, results have been tepid. But fueled by Gov. Butch Otter's recent education reform task force and by Idaho students' lackluster reading skills, business and education groups are pushing for a new emphasis on reading.
American fourth and eighth graders showed incremental gains in reading and math this year, but achievement gaps between whites and blacks, whites and Hispanics, and low-income and more affluent students stubbornly persist, data released by the Education Department showed. The results of the tests — administered every two years as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation's report card — continued an upward trend in both areas over the past two decades. But still, far less than half of the nation's students are performing at a level deemed proficient in either math or reading.
The transfer of top elementary teachers to low-achieving schools can help boost students' performance, but there's a catch: getting them to agree to move. A new study, seven years in the making, finds that elementary teachers identified as effective who transferred to low-achieving schools under a bonus-pay program helped their new students learn more, on average, than teachers in a control group did with their students. They also stayed in the schools at least as long as other new hires. But despite a large financial reward, only 5 percent of eligible teachers made the shift, the report concludes.
A growing body of research shows that play is fundamental to kids' development by promoting social interaction, exploration and creativity. Data from the 2005 Education Department survey and a 2006 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 9 in 10 elementary schools regularly schedule recess, with times ranging from 24 to 30 minutes a day. Still, many districts report that they are under continued pressure to add instructional time to the day — and recess minutes are often the first place administrators look. But some schools, many with help from Playworks, are pushing back against those cuts.
Blazers center Robin Lopez stopped by the North Portland building to help kick off the "READ BIG" campaign, an effort to get all first graders to literacy by third grade. The campaign is co-sponsored by the district, the Blazers and Knowledge Universe, an early childhood education provider. The effort includes a city-wide book collecting campaign, classroom posters, reading logs and a public service campaign. Kids in select elementary school classrooms will also be enticed to meet reading goals with several Blazer-related rewards, including special classroom visits, basketball tickets and a reading celebration with the team at the Moda Center in March.