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As Ralph Waldo Emerson once (more or less) said, "you are what you read, you guys." If the books we read shape our character, the books we read when we were kids did doubly so, because everyone knows children possess heightened neuroplasticity. It makes sense, then, that the series you devoured under the covers, way past your bedtime, flashlight in hand, offers insight into exactly who you are today, now that you're a real person ("adult").
In another indicator that the Houston ISD hasn't mastered the art of teaching reading, today's release of scores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that while there are some gains in fourth and eighth grade math, average HISD reading scores have not improved since 2007 and, in fact, are below both the state and national average for public schools in large cities. The district's latest chief academic officer, Dan Gohl, said that literacy is a big concern for the district, adding that one problem may be that there is a wide range of reading programs in the district as compared to the math ones.
A few weeks ago, I hosted a chat on writing standards-based individualized education program goals aligned to common core reading and math standards. The guests, Barbara Van Haren and Carol Kosnitsky, did a great job answering questions from our audience, but one inquiry that came up over and over was from educators looking for clear examples of just what a standards-based IEP goal would look like. In the context of an hour-long webchat, we weren't able to link to all the information out there on this topic. I've gathered some resources from educators and my own research for this blog post, with an eye out to resources that offer as many examples as possible.
Arlington Elementary Reading Interventionist Kristen Craig and her students are making every minute count for early learners with a new initiative called Big Brothers, Big Sisters Reading Club. The purpose of the club is for older students, fourth- and fifth-graders, to help the kindergarten through third-grade students with their reading skills. Students arrive early for school every day in order to participate. "We've had tremendous parental support," Craig said. "They've been willing to bring their children to school." Not only are parents committed to bringing their children early to school, but many also attend Family Read nights held every third Thursday of the month.
Librarians are keenly aware of the key role they play in early childhood education; engaging children and involving their adult caregivers in the serious business of introducing books, rhymes, and songs that promote a love of reading and develop early literacy skills. Every Child Ready to Read 2, developed by the American Library Association and the Public Library Association, offers the Five Practices of Early Literacy — talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing — as a structure for planning storytimes and modeling fun ways to strengthen pre-reading skills. This month, we explore the role singing plays in early literacy development and how audiobooks can be used to further this growth.
Estimates show that in North Carolina, two-thirds of children entering the fourth grade are below proficient reading levels, and some advocates believe those numbers could get worse with continued cuts to education spending. In an effort to turn that tide, groups like Reach Out and Read partner with pediatricians to integrate a literacy portion into regular checkups, starting as early as six months old.
Just in time for parents beseiged with images of bouncy seats and potty seats with built-in holders for tablets, the nonprofit research group Child Trends hosted an panel Friday on how parents and early childhood educators can make informed decisions about using digital technology and television with young children. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia; Lisa Guernsey, the director of the Early Childhood Initiative at the New America Foundation in Washington, and Rosemarie Truglio, the senior vice president of education and research at Sesame Workshop, were, unsurprisingly, highly negative on the prospect of placing infants in a bouncy chair in front of an iPad. "Horrible," Truglio said. But when it comes to other uses of digital media, they offered a nuanced view on the often-quoted recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which say "television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and chi...
Now is when the rubber meets the road in Ohio's third-grade reading guarantee. Teachers and principals, especially in big-city and poor rural school districts, have about six months to bring the reading skills of thousands of struggling third-graders up to grade level or else those children will have to repeat the grade. In some Columbus schools, nearly all third-graders are at risk of being held back. Some are only a point or two away from passing; others are years behind in their skills. Bringing them all up to speed is a monumental challenge and daunting task, but it could be the start of an overdue era of progress where stagnation long has reigned.
Forty small and mid-size libraries throughout Wisconsin received grants in late summer to support early literacy projects that encourage reading with young children and their caregivers. The mini-grants are part of a new Growing Wisconsin Readers initiative, coordinated by the Department of Public Instruction's Public Library Development Team. Library staff members are using the grants to develop an early literacy activity area or launch a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program.
Scholastic announced on Monday the release of its new program for K-6 reading instruction aligned with the Common Core State Standards, a collection of nonfiction books and informational texts chosen by Scholastic editors that includes memoirs, photo essays, and more across the topic areas of science, social studies, arts, and math. Guided Reading Nonfiction Focus: Second Edition, which addresses 80 percent nonfiction and 20 percent fiction, aims to help students develop their abilities to read and understand challenging texts through tailored instruction and books that appeal to their interests.

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