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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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International Literacy Association Daily
June 23, 2017

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of their interactive Family Media Use Plan tool, which takes a step-by-step approach to creating a personalized media use plan for families. Users are asked to consider each family member’s individual needs as they work through questions related to screen-free zones and times, device curfews, digital citizenship topics, and more. Once a plan is completed, it can be printed and shared.

Texas Tribune (Austin, TX)
June 23, 2017

Jill Allor is a professor with the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University. In this interview, Allor talks about the most important aspects of her research as it relates to kids with disabilities and struggling readers. Allor says, "One of the things that’s really interesting about kids with disabilities is the things we know that are effective for teaching kids in general are also effective for them. The differences are in how explicit we need to be and how much repetition is needed. A child with a disability needs more intensive instruction — they need more practice and they need every step laid out very carefully. Research shows if you start out with explicit instruction in kindergarten and first grade, you can address reading problems extremely early. You can prevent many problems and prevent some kids from even needing a diagnosis."

WAMU (Washington, D.C.)
June 23, 2017

The Simon and Schuster imprint, Salaam Reads, was founded in 2016 to introduce readers to Muslim characters in children’s books. Earlier this year, Salaam Reads published its first book, “Amina’s Voice,” by Rockville, Md., author Hena Khan. How are children’s books becoming more representative of their readers? Kojo Nnamdi explores the approach to these stories with local book lovers and writers.

International Literacy Association Daily
June 22, 2017

Preschool should be a time of learning through varied experiences that expose all children to rich content as well as integrated and relevant curriculum. Preschool should not be a period of frustration, where fears are created and abound in young minds and where their cries for help are misconstrued as acts of defiance. However, children of color, especially boys, often experience repeated failure during the preschool years. Thus, the achievement gap starts early. We can combat this early-onset issue by following the three Es: (1) experience and expose; (2) engage and integrate; and (3) evaluate and inform.

Education Week
June 22, 2017

Can project-based learning help close the achievement gap? New research focused on young elementary schoolers suggests that a well-designed and well-taught project-based-learning curriculum can help make a difference for students living in poverty. Researchers Nell K. Duke, a professor at the University of Michigan, and Anne-Lise Halvorsen, an associate professor at Michigan State University, investigated whether a project-based social studies curriculum could help improve the literacy and social studies skills of 2nd graders. They wrote about the findings of the project, which they called Project PLACE: A Project Approach to Literacy and Civic Engagement, for Edutopia.

Wicked Local (North Andover, MA)
June 22, 2017

This summer at the Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover, it’s all about keeping kids reading and having fun. It’s not about having something for library staff to do with the kids while school’s out, but rather it’s about keeping kids reading during a two-month gap so they don’t fall behind come September. The library has partnered with North Andover Superintendent Jennifer Price in crafting a summer reading theme based on the schools’ RAISE (Respect, Achievement, Inclusion, Service, Empathy) initiative. There’s a reading list – organized by grade level – full of RAISE-related books, and kids are invited to read them and then go to the library to discuss them. It’s not all about reading books. It’s also about getting kids into the library daily so that it’s part of their everyday life all year.

School Library Journal
June 22, 2017

How are your students/patrons building a better world this summer? Many public libraries are using the Collaborative Summer Library Program “Build a Better World” theme this year, which offers opportunities to emphasize the many ways that children can make a difference in their world—be it on the local or global level. The following books are about kids building character and/or working to make their communities stronger. Each one is paired with lesson plan tie-ins, ideas for educators, and empowering activities that kids can do this summer and fall.

Education Week
June 21, 2017

Norway and Sweden spent nearly 2 percent of their gross domestic product on early-childhood programs and education in 2013, while the United States spent 0.3 percent—well below the 0.8 average of all of the countries included in an analysis released Wednesday from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Starting Strong 2017 presents an overview of the early-childhood systems in 30 counties, along with trend data and recent reforms. It's the first time OECD has published. Starting Strong V: Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education focuses on how children can move to primary education in a way that maintains the positive impacts of early learning.

International Literacy Association Daily
June 21, 2017

Getting students to read during the summer months can be a challenge. Our aim should not be to force them to read; it should be to develop their motivation to read. Voracious readers are almost always the highest performing achievers in school. Reading, like any other hobby, must be a year-round activity for optimal academic development and eventual career success. A number of strategies can be used to capitalize on students’ existing attitudes and interests and to promote summer reading.

School Library Journal
June 21, 2017

The new generation of science graphic novels is designed as much to entertain as to educate. “We certainly hope science comics will find their way into classrooms and be useful,” says Dave Roman, editor of First Second’s Science Comics line, “but not as replacements for traditional texts or lessons so much as the most fun supplement possible.” Roman, the creator of the “Astronaut Academy” fictional graphic novels, remembers his own childhood experience of watching a cartoon called Donald in Mathmagic Land, starring Donald Duck. “[It] not only visually explained difficult concepts for my brain to keep up with, but also incorporated a lot of humor that helped keep me from stressing out,” he says. Many of the new breed of science graphic novels wrap the science into a story, and Natalie Layne, supervisor of children’s services at the Public Library of Brookline, MA, says the most popular science comics in her collection are story-driven titles such as Maris Wicks’s Human Body Theater; Primates (Square Fish, 2013) by Jim Ottaviani and Wicks; and Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes’s “Secret Coders”.

Hechinger Report
June 21, 2017

Traci Chun, a teacher-librarian at Skyview High School in Vancouver, Washington, is all done with shushing. “When my library is quiet, that’s a red flag,” said Chun. In fact, the busier it is, the better—whether it’s kids experimenting with the Makey Makey circuitry or uploading designs to a 3D printer, or a class learning media literacy or a student seeking advice on a video she’s editing at one of the computer workstations. Chun’s district is at the forefront of a national movement to turn K-12 librarians into indispensable digital mavens who can help classroom teachers craft tech-savvy lesson plans, teach kids to think critically about online research, and remake libraries into lively, high-tech hubs of collaborative learning — while still helping kids get books.

Forbes
June 20, 2017

As parents and grandparents, you want your kids to succeed and thrive, but you can also get really sick of constantly nagging them. “Put down the cell phone; turn off the TV, stop texting, read your book.” You may need some extra support to avoid the summer slide. Keep the kids active and thinking and to avoid the “couch potato syndrome.” A great way to prevent the “slide” is turning your kids into summer entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is not only an opportunity to encourage learning, but possibly earn a little money, too. Here are three creative possibilities to engage kids in learning for the summer.

Watertown Daily Times (NY)
June 20, 2017

“Summer slide,” or “summer learning loss,” refers to the knowledge a child forgets or loses during the summer vacation. It’s a phenomenon first thoroughly documented in a 1996 study analysis led by a University of Missouri professor. The analysis found that students are most at risk of losing math and spelling skills over their summer break, though the extent of this loss and the subject areas affected vary greatly by socioeconomic background. Instilling a lifelong love of reading and exploration is something parents can do to make sure children are always learning.

The 74
June 20, 2017

For years, my school, Washington Elementary in Big Spring, Texas, struggled to meet all our students’ literacy needs. We group students in tiers, as in the “Response to Intervention” model, but each year we were still left with extremely large groups in Tier II and Tier III — struggling students and chronically struggling students. Each year, we tried to reinvent the wheel to increase our student success, but to no avail — until last year. That’s when I saw the value of my new role as a multi-classroom leader. As an MCL, I no longer had my own classroom all day; instead, with the time to co-plan, collaborate, co-teach, and track and analyze students’ data, I could lead my teaching team in using strategic student placement and monitoring to finally find success.

School Library Journal
June 20, 2017

How are your students/patrons building a better world this summer? Many public libraries are using the Collaborative Summer Library Program “Build a Better World” theme this year, which offers opportunities to emphasize the many ways that children can make a difference in their world—be it on the local or global level. The following books are about kids building character and/or working to make their communities stronger. Each one is paired with lesson plan tie-ins, ideas for educators, and empowering activities that kids can do this summer and fall.

Education Week
June 19, 2017

An education advocacy group based in Connecticut has profiled five early childhood education providers around the country in an effort to learn how to improve ECE in its own state. The study found four common threads among the programs it studied, including effective strategies for recruiting and retaining a high-quality workforce, an intentional focus on learning and development, a wide variety of structures, and a reliance on data to help drive continuous improvement. Based on these case studies, ConnCAN is making several policy recommendations, including that the state provide more funds for early childhood education programs so that teacher salaries become competitive and that the state create alternative pathways for teachers with bachelor's degrees to earn early childhood credentials.

School Library Journal
June 19, 2017

With talk of “fake news” most everywhere and lots of great media literacy resources for students of all ages, practitioners may be asking: How young can kids be to start learning about news media? The good news is that it is never too early to start teaching students how to evaluate, analyze, and create media. However, there are some specific considerations for younger learners, especially given the complex and often frightening current events that children may be exposed to. I hope some of these tools and frameworks will help librarians, educators, and others working with younger children, as they confront fears of bringing the world to school—and engage in digital and media literacy practices to evaluate, analyze, and make media related to current events and pop culture.

National Public Radio
June 19, 2017

Positive Tomorrows is a small, privately-funded school in the heart of Oklahoma City, designed to meet the needs of homeless children. The future of these students hinges on the one constant in their lives: the school, which addresses both education and basic needs. The educational challenges associated with homelessness are broad and extend to every corner of a child's life. Without consistent access to adequate food, shelter and safety, students are often too hungry, tired and stressed to keep up in the classroom. "It is sort of like trying to change your tire on I-35 and I am trying to teach you how to read while that is happening," says Amy Brewer, the school's director of education. "Obviously that does not go very well."

International Literacy Association Daily
June 19, 2017

Two years ago, my nephew was disengaged and struggling academically as a sophomore in high school. After failed attempts to turn things around, his parents reached out to me for help. Using our iPads and Zoom, a free video conference service, I e-mentored my nephew twice a week. We referred to our own copies of required readings to virtually read aloud unclear passages, to critically infer authors’ messages, and to discuss unfamiliar terms. Zoom’s screen share option allowed us to view Khan Academy algebra videos simultaneously and to work through the problems together. Most important, e-mentoring gave me the opportunity to serve as a positive role model for my nephew, to build his self-confidence, and to cheer him on as he hurdled over an academic slump. Following are more examples of how to use e-mentoring to improve students’ academic performance.

WPIX-TV (NY, NY)
June 16, 2017

Getting a trim is a treat for six-year-old Demitri and here at Denny Moe's Superstar Barbershop in Harlem, a trip to the barbershop comes with a fresh cut and a fresh mind. In the back, past all the chairs, razors and adults is a refuge for reading. “It makes me feel happy because you can learn information all about anything you want to read," Dimitri said. The small shelf of children’s books was donated by a local nonprofit founded by Alvin Irby. “What Barbershop Books is about is really helping kids to fall in love with reading," he explained. He began collecting and making community connections. The first location launched here three years ago. Now, Barbershop Books is in 50 shops across 12 states. Alvin recently won a Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation, a that prize comes with a $10,000 grant and he hopes to continue sparking a love of learning in all kids but he’s focusing on boys of color.

"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln