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Today's Reading News


Each weekday, Reading Rockets gathers interesting news headlines about reading and early education. Please note that Reading Rockets does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside websites.

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Education Week
July 26, 2016

U.S. elementary-grade teachers get far less training than teachers in high-achieving countries for deep understanding of the foundational math, reading, and science content they teach. A new report on primary school teacher quality released this morning by the Center on International Education Benchmarking finds high-performing education systems in Japan, Finland, Hong Kong, and Shanghai have very different approaches to elementary-level teacher training. But all of their teacher-education systems focus more than U.S. programs do on pedagogical content knowledge -- deep foundational understanding of both basic concepts and how people understand them at different ages and developmental levels.

International Literacy Association Daily
July 26, 2016

My first graders and I embarked on a four-week journey into the unknown world of producing an iMovie together. I asked them: “What makes real reading?” To answer that question, we viewed videos of students demonstrating reading strategies. We evaluated these “texts” as an audience to see what worked and didn't work. These young learners identified that students who talked directly to the camera were easier to learn from than those who read from a script. They noticed showing examples of reading strategies was more informative than singing a catchy song. They thought deeply about the way others communicate through video.

School Library Journal
July 26, 2016

Outreach services can help you grow your patron base beyond the bread and butter of any library—the regulars. Because of staffing logistics, though, leaving your building, for however noble a cause, is challenging. But what children’s librarian doesn’t love a challenge? The proof: these library teams going above and beyond in innovative ways to reach new users.

Ed Central
July 25, 2016

A new study out this month from the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education suggests that positive results of the initiative may have been previously misinterpreted. The IES report found that while on average school reading performance improved among the lowest performing schools in the state, the size of the increase was not greater than would be expected for typical year-to-year variations. This result calls into question a number of elements of Florida’s extended school day initiative: the quality of the interventions, the fidelity with which they have been implemented, and the structure of the extended hour.

School Library Journal
July 25, 2016

In a time when babies and toddlers often lounge in strollers while glued to electronic devices, what’s a librarian to do? Proclaiming “No electronics in early learning land!” isn’t practical — or advisable. Better to purchase ebooks and iPads, and select age-appropriate, high-quality apps to share with tots. Here are some questions you can ask yourself and discuss with parents: Is the app age appropriate? Is it intuitive for young learners? Is it free of gender or cultural bias? Are there multiple language options for dual-language families? Can the young user control the music or turn it off?

The New York Times
July 25, 2016

Kids who read over the summer lose fewer skills than kids who don’t. This is especially important for children from low-income families and those with language problems, like my younger daughter. When reading is difficult, so is almost everything else. As new readers move from decoding text to fluency, every subject from math to history becomes more accessible, but practice is the only way to get there. My kids (15, 12, 10 and 10) have an enviable amount of time to read, and plenty of books to choose from. Yet it’s already clear that beyond a late August dash to fulfill their assignments, very few pages are likely to be turned unless I do something. But what?

The New York Times
July 25, 2016

If we really cared about improving the education of all students, we would give teachers the autonomy to tailor instruction to meet the needs of the children in front of them and to write their own tests. We would insist that students in every school had an equal opportunity to learn in well-maintained schools, in classes of reasonable size taught by expert teachers. Anyone who wants to know how students in one state compare with students in other states can get that information from the N.A.E.P., the existing federal test.

National Public Radio
July 22, 2016

For this week's long listen, I sat down with my Ed Team co-conspirator, Anya Kamenetz, to talk about one of my favorite subjects: brains. Specifically, how children learn to read and what can be done to help struggling readers. It turns out, two of my all-time favorite literacy stories (at least from the past two years) began with the work of one researcher: Northwestern University neurobiologist Nina Kraus. First, Kraus found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn't just get better at playing the trombone or violin; playing music also helped their brains process language. Consonants and vowels became clearer, allowing the brain to make sense of them more quickly.

Baby Center
July 22, 2016

Programs such as Camp Dunnabeck build bridges for dyslexic kids. Programs geared to the teaching of language-based differences provide academic strengthening to kids who have almost always grown to doubt their capacity to succeed. In such programs, children discover each other. They learn that they are less alone than they feel. They discover that they are smart and capable, both. That they can succeed. Dyslexic kids grow up to be writers, scientists, artists. The secret powers that come with dyslexia are not immediately apparent. Learning is a frustrating endeavor. It is for this reason in particular that programs that cater to dyslexic children have lasting and powerful impact.

School Library Journal
July 22, 2016

The SLJ Reviews team took a look at this season’s crop of board books and decided which ones to highlight. They run the gamut in terms of content, themes, and style so we’ve arranged them topically to aid in your collection development decisions.

eSchool News
July 21, 2016

In Neshaminy School District, northeast of Philadelphia, nearly 20 percent of our struggling K–2 students spend 30 minutes a day, five days a week in small-group reading intervention. To limit the time these students spend in intervention programs, we have an “all hands on deck” approach: With parental involvement and our blended learning model, Neshaminy educators identify and build upon students’ strengths to lay the foundation for reading success. Our blended model starts with an engaging digital curriculum, one-to-one instruction, and small-group work.

International Literacy Association Daily
July 21, 2016

A good app, in our definition, provides opportunities for pedagogically sound literacy instruction and provides adaptability to meet the needs of learners. It also, as Richard Beach and Jill Castek noted in "Use of apps and devices for fostering mobile learning of literacy practices,” is supported by research demonstrating its effectiveness and addresses “individual differences.” Given this need, we began to explore literacy apps, literacy app integration in the classroom, and the ways in which literacy educators are introduced to apps. In the winter of 2016, we observed a second-grade teacher from a local elementary school

Hechinger Report
July 21, 2016

For many families, reading is as much a part of summer as cookouts and camp. But as the weather warms, math is often banished along with mittens and sweaters. And that’s a problem. Can education technology help put the brakes on summer backsliding? Early research on summer math-practice apps suggests they come up short. Maybe we’d have better luck using tech that changes how kids and their families relate to math all year round. That’s Laura Overdeck’s vision. She’s the founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation, which offers a free app to help families “make nightly math as common and beloved as the bedtime story.” The Bedtime Math app, launched in 2012, spurs family math talk by sending parents daily word problems prefaced by a paragraph of story – about everything from subway-riding dogs to galactic travel – illustrated with a photo or video.

Omaha World-Herald
July 21, 2016

The students craned their necks from their books and tablets as the visitors entered each classroom Tuesday morning at Longfellow Elementary School. But, before long, the children were nose deep reading once more, only chancing the occasional glance at their guests. The group was checking on the students, mostly third-graders, to see how their reading skills were coming along. Students were reading or working on assignments to strengthen their reading abilities, comparing notes from differing stories with classmates, testing their comprehension, grammar and vocabulary. They used tablets and plain old children’s books to see which approaches worked the best to strengthen their skills.

Star Press (Muncie, IN)
July 19, 2016

Each week, Muncie Public Library employee Katie Lehman travels to the neighborhoods that surround Sutton, Grissom and South View elementary schools to take books and literacy activities to families. This is the first step in the library’s plan to help children ages 1-9 learn the reading skills that will help them be successful in school, according to a release. Muncie Public Library’s new Early Literacy Program grew out of the citywide initiative to improve and expand early childhood education opportunities in Muncie. The program’s goal is to work with families in their homes to help their children, or the children they care for, develop the reading skills they will need to be successful.

National Public Radio
July 19, 2016

Both our current president and the presumptive Democratic nominee have talked a lot about expanding early childhood education. President Obama has backed up his rhetoric by creating Preschool Development Grants. In late 2014, the Department of Education announced 18 grants totaling $226 million to states, which have so far reached 33,000 children. The latest budget, not yet finalized, would add $250 million more. Dale Farran, a researcher at Vanderbilt University, has been watching closely how that money is spent in Tennessee. She argues the programs there are flawed, and unlikely to move the needle for the poor kids who need them most.

Statesman Journal (Salem, OR)
July 19, 2016

For years, summer school has been thought of as remedial. But according to Matthew Boulay, founder of the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and resident of Salem, summer learning is actually crucial for students' academic growth. "Growing up, learning is a 12-month endeavor," he said. Earlier this month, Boulay published his book, “Summers Matter: 10 Things Every Parent, Teacher, & Principal Should Know About June, July, & August.” He said the purpose of the book is to provide tangible, easy-to-follow activities and ideas to parents and educators to continue learning during the summer.

National Public Radio
July 18, 2016

When the school year ends, some kids go to camp, summer school or daycare. But a lot of these options are expensive for families who have to come up with creative, cheaper alternatives, whether that means sending kids off to the city's rec center, or to stay with grandparents. NPR's Lynn Neary spoke about the economic hardships of summer with KJ Dell'Antonia, who's written about the topic for The New York Times. Dell'Antonia says research shows that children from lower-income families tend to fall behind over the summer, especially in reading.

Ed Surge
July 18, 2016

Standards based visual instructional tools can take on many forms, depending on the standard. They can be a multi-column/row table, an example guide, a flow chart or Venn diagram. The power of visual learning is unleashed if the tool dovetails with standard. For example, if a teacher is teaching a reading analysis standard, such as “compare and contrast,” a Venn diagram would be the best tool to use because it naturally points the mind to the task of comparison.

School Library Journal
July 18, 2016

On August 5, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will become the first South American city ever to host the Olympics and the Paralympics to follow. Athletes and fans will travel from 206 countries to compete for 4,924 medals in 42 sports. There will be so many exciting things for our students and patrons to learn, explore, and cheer. Information streams can be found by using the Twitter hashtag #RIO2016 or simply by following TeamUSA, USATF, USA Gymnastics, and more. Many of the athletes and coaches are also on Facebook and now even Periscope and Snapchat. Of course, students can watch all the events thanks to the NBC live stream link.

"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase