Menu

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.

To receive these headlines in a daily or weekly e-mail, sign up for our free Rocket Blasts service. These headlines are also available as an RSS feed.

Note: These links may expire after a week or so. Some websites require you to register first before seeing an article.

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.

Education Week
July 15, 2016

A coalition of government agencies, private companies and nonprofits is offering a $2 million grant for "moonshot" ideas to enrich early childhood STEM education. Following a series of engineering-focused grants awarded last year by its partners, 100Kin10 is providing the "Early Childhood STEM Learning Challenge Grant" for a team of organizations that will develop a project to provide active learning environments for younger students in science, technology, engineering and math. The coalition of more than 230 partners was created with the "moonshot" goal of bringing 100,000 qualified STEM teachers to classrooms across the nation by 2021.

Ed Central
July 15, 2016

A new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) finds that pre-K teachers earning a bachelor’s degree arrive in the classroom poorly equipped to educate young children. For the study, NCTQ examined 100 teacher prep programs in 29 states that certify pre-K teachers, mostly programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In order to understand exactly what sort of training teacher candidates receive in each program NCTQ examined course requirements and descriptions, course syllabi, student teaching observation and evaluation forms, and other course materials. A well-prepared pre-K teacher should understand the importance of building children’s language skills by encouraging and engaging children in lots of back-and-forth interactions. Teachers should also be skilled at reading books aloud in a way that encourages children to ask meaningful questions and think critically.

School Library Journal
July 15, 2016

Featuring concise narratives, vivacious artwork, and page-turning comic book formats, these new graphic novels make compelling choices for encouraging and empowering young readers. In each of these offerings, the interplay between words and images adds greatly to the storytelling, augmenting the impact and understanding of the events, ideas, and concepts presented. These engaging books can nurture readers who are reluctant to embrace traditional texts, cultivate critical reading skills, and engender a lifelong love of reading.

The Atlantic
July 14, 2016

Efforts to close the “word gap” often overlook a fundamental problem. In high-poverty neighborhoods, books—the very things that could supply so many of those 30 million-plus words—are hard to come by. In many poor homes, they’re nonexistent. A new study, published this month in the journal Urban Education, helps paint a clearer picture of the nation’s “book deserts,” finding intense disparities in access to children’s reading resources in Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.—even between a very poor neighborhood and a slightly-less-poor one within a given city.

Education Week
July 14, 2016

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia need some degree of support in meeting the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, according to the U.S. Department of Education's most recent evaluation of state performance. For the third year in a row, the Education Department evaluated states on the academic outcomes of students 3-21 with disabilities—so-called "results" data—in addition to how well the states met the rules and regulations spelled out in the IDEA.

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald