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Advocacy

Tackling Achievement Gaps From Summer Learning Loss

A well-designed summer program can help low-income students read and do math better. In fact, attending a summer program regularly for as little as five weeks for two years in a row could result in about a quarter of a year’s gain in both reading and math for students from low-income families.

Opting Your Kid Out? It Means Opting Out of Being a More Informed Parent

Some kids tell their parents everything that goes on in school.

At least, that’s what I’ve heard. My kids certainly never did. My older daughter, in particular, considered school to be her domain.

She established my outsider status her first day of nursery school, when I went to pick her up. Excited to hear about everything she had done, I asked her how her day went. Her response: “None of your business,” or something to that effect.

Schools With Large Concentrations of Poverty Can Be High-Performing, But Not Because They Concentrate Poverty

I recently learned that my work has been used as justification by school officials who advocate deliberately concentrating poverty in a few schools.

My reaction is dismay.

The high-performing, high-poverty schools I write about hold many lessons, but none of them is that we should deliberately create more high-poverty schools.

Leadership and the Power of School Relationships

In the last few weeks I've visited five schools in four states. Each of them educates large numbers of students from low-income homes and students of color, and each is either high-performing or on an impressive improvement trajectory.

The schools are different in lots of ways, but one thing characterizes them all: Teachers, principals, and other administrators work hard at building trusting relationships that help create a sense of agency and purpose.

Here are three examples of what I mean:

"Falling Letters" Animated Short Depicts Learning Differences

The Swedish animated short, "Falling Letters (Bokstavsbarn)," (4:14 min) by Erik Rosenlund depicts a child who learns differently. In this case, some of the character's everyday actions turn out awkwardly or set them apart socially from peers.

The ending offers a heartwarming reminder of the power that parents, guardians, and teachers or helping personnel can have when simple support is needed for reassurance in trying times. The imagery can be especially valuable for young children who compare themselves with others and are saddened by their personal differences.

For a Boost of Optimism, Read (and Watch) This

"I don't think there's a child out there who doesn't want to learn and be the best they can be."

Those are the words of Barbara Preuss, a veteran educator with more than 30 years of experience.

That is to say, she is no bright-eyed novice about to be confronted by reality. She is confronted by plenty of reality, every day. And yet she retains her belief that even the kids who act out and misbehave still want to learn and still need to learn.

She retains this belief because she has seen it again and again, in all the schools where she has worked.

Captions Support Readers Across America: Free Resources from DCMP Celebrate Dr. Seuss!

Teachers get ready to contribute in your own way to the literacy festivities ahead. Join the Defined and Caption Media Program's (DCMP) 11th annual Read Captions Across America (RCAA) event!

NEA Partner

Gene Luen Yang, New LOC Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Supports Diversity, Technology

Gene Luen Yang will be inaugurated Thursday, Jan. 6 as the 5th National Ambassador for Young People's Literature at a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. I plan on being there!

Teacher, Graphic Novelist

Banner Year for Dyslexia in 2015 Will Fuel Progress in 2016, Says Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

2015 was a banner year for all who care about what happens to dyslexic boys, girls, men and women, according to Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (YCDC) Co-Directors Bennett Shaywitz, MD and Sally Shaywitz, MD.

Open Doors

"Truly, the door has opened and light is beginning to come in for dyslexia," writes the YCDC team in an email. The doctors are referring to a changing landscape for dyslexics thanks to efforts from many people. These include researchers, educators, parents and legislators.

Confused About Assistive Technology? These Guides to AT Offer Answers, Resources

Assistive technology (AT) helps students with disabilities access their curriculum and close achievement gaps. Just who gets AT is a decision made by educational teams that operate differently across school systems nationwide. Some districts have AT specialists on staff with an inventory of supports, while others do not. 

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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx