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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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The Washington Post
April 24, 2015

If we want sage advice on how to improve teaching and learning — which requires strong curriculum, well-prepared teachers, and adequate resources to support learning — then we would be wise to turn to our nation’s teachers for suggestions. The NCTE English Assessment Story Project has endeavored to do just that

Publishers Weekly
April 24, 2015

On April 15, authors and librarians affiliated with We Need Diverse Books addressed a room of MFA students to talk both about the state of diversity in publishing.

School Library Journal
April 24, 2015

A recent op-ed article by Craig Seasholes, president-elect of the Washington Library Media Association and Sharyn Merrigan, WLMA president, emphasizes the connection between schools with certified teacher librarians and student achievement—and urges the public to take notice.

New York Times
April 24, 2015

The anti-testing movement is targeting districts that require students not taking the exams to remain quietly in their classrooms and, as opt-out advocates have labeled it, “sit and stare.”

The Hechinger Report
April 24, 2015

The latest letter in a series between Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, New York, and Jayne Ellspermann, principal of West Port High School in Ocala, Florida, about how the Common Core standards are impacting kids, for better or worse.

KQED Mindshift
April 23, 2015

Cultivating creativity is one of the most interesting challenges for any teacher. It involves understanding the real dynamics of creative work. The driver of creativity is an appetite for discovery and a passion for the work itself. When students are motivated to learn, they naturally acquire the skills they need to get the work done. Their mastery of them grows as their creative ambitions expand. You’ll find evidence of this process in great teaching in every discipline from football to chemistry.

New York Post
April 23, 2015

A copy of the state's English Language Arts test that students took last week was leaked online Wednesday in an apparent act of sabotage by anti-testing activists.

Real Clear Education
April 23, 2015

There is no question that many people believe early childhood education is a smart investment — that a dollar spent on a high quality early childhood education can yield a high rate of return. The key, however, is that it’s not about just providing early childhood education — it’s about delivering high quality education.

EdCentral
April 23, 2015

A new study provides evidence on why it's important to enroll DLLs in high-quality early education programs from an early age.

Vanderbilt Research News (TN)
April 22, 2015

A common reading disorder goes undiagnosed until it becomes problematic, according to the results of five years of study by researchers at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development in collaboration with the Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Results of the study were recently published online by the National Institutes of Health. Dyslexia, a reading disorder in which a child confuses letters and struggles with sounding out words, has been the focus of much reading research. But that’s not the case with the lesser known disorder Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits or S-RCD, in which a child reads successfully but does not sufficiently comprehend the meaning of the words, according to lead investigator Laurie Cutting, Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair at Peabody.

PBS NewsHour
April 22, 2015

A growing number of states are promising to stop promoting students who haven’t learned to read by the end of third grade. It’s a controversial idea we first reported on two years ago. Two years ago, the city of Cincinnati and others across Ohio faced a major problem. On a national reading test, 60 percent of fourth-graders were failing, a gap that many we spoke with then feared would just grow wider. So, two years ago, Republican State Senator Peggy Lehner put a wall around fourth grade, passing legislation that promised to hold back any third grader who failed the state’s reading test. Ohio called it the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Special correspondent John Tulenko of Learning Matters Television, which produces reports on education for the NewsHour, returned to Ohio to see how that’s working.

Fountain Hills Times (AZ)
April 22, 2015

A recent national study shows there’s good news and challenges when it comes to families reading daily with infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The good news is parents recognize that reading with young children is important in developing language and literacy skills. The challenge is families aren’t starting early enough. First Things First reminds Arizona families that 90 percent of a child’s critical brain development happens by age 5 and daily interactions with caregivers have a huge impact on building vocabulary and language. When infants hear and use language, their brains develop the connections needed to learn how to read.

Des Moines Register (IA)
April 22, 2015

Kindergartners at Hubbell Elementary School in Des Moines no longer have time set aside to play — or to take a nap. Recess, too, has been shortened to 30 minutes a day. Like many schools across Iowa, the state's push for education reform has set higher expectations that are placing more pressure on teachers and students. Now, 5- and 6-year-olds are expected to know their letters and numbers before they start kindergarten. And by the spring, they are supposed to be able to add and subtract numbers up to 10 and read words such as "school" and "food." This year's kindergarten and first-graders are garnering special focus because of a key part of Iowa's education reform law: third-grade retention. Starting in May 2017, students who are below grade level in reading by the spring of third grade will be required to repeat the grade.

Education Week
April 21, 2015

A growing number of American schools are ditching the 19th century — when it comes to the school calendar that is. Twice as many schools today have a longer school day or year than just two years ago and, for the first, more of them are traditional public schools than charter schools, according to a joint report released Thursday by the Boston-based National Center on Time and Learning (NCTL) and the Denver-based Education Commission of the States. Of the 2,009 schools that had expanded learning time last year, 1,208 — or 61 percent — were regular public schools.

School Library Journal
April 21, 2015

A recent op-ed article by Craig Seasholes, president-elect of the Washington Library Media Association (WLMA) and Sharyn Merrigan, WLMA president, emphasizes the connection between schools with certified teacher librarians and student achievement — and urges the public to take notice. The article, “Look in School Libraries for Graduation Rates,” cites a recent WLMA impact study “The Washington State School Library Impact Study: Certified Teacher-Librarians, Library Quality and Student Achievement in Washington State Public Schools.” The op-ed piece highlights the study’s findings, which show a correlation between graduation rates and students attending “schools with certified teacher-librarians and quality library facilities.”

iDigitalTimes
April 21, 2015

There are few parenting techniques more controversial than letting your toddler or child play with your smartphone or tablet for endless hours. But according to a new study from New York University, certain children may benefit from increased smartphone usage. Specifically, researchers at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development found that low-income children who used learning apps in preschool classrooms were better prepared for school and improved in early literacy skills. "Guided use of an educational app may be a source of motivation and engagement for children in their early years," said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study's author, in a statement.

Hattiesburg American (MS)
April 21, 2015

Literacy boost camps, computer tutorials, after-school tutoring — these are some of the ways local school districts have helped third- graders prepare for the state's first third-grade reading test. The stakes are high. Mississippi's Literacy-based Promotion Act requires third-grade students to show they can read at or above grade level to move on to fourth grade. Lamar County School District federal programs director Teresa Jenny said the district has been working with the children who have reading difficulties for years because cramming doesn't really help on this test.

Education Week
April 20, 2015

Digital reading and early literacy were among the hot topics at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, held here last week. Following is a round-up of four pending papers and studies to keep an eye on. The common threads among them: It's important to look at how digital devices, apps, and e-books are actually being used in classrooms, and the most promising literacy practices with these new tools involve lots of human-to-human interaction.

Education Next
April 20, 2015

“What’s going on at Success Academy?” Lots of folks are asking that question, thanks to the eye-popping test scores achieved by students at Eva Moskowitz’s network of New York City charter schools. Last year, 29 percent of New York City kids were considered proficient in English and 35 percent in math on the state’s challenging Common Core–aligned exams. For Success students, the proficiency rates were 64 percent in English and an astonishing 94 percent in math. Success students in the city’s poorest communities outperformed kids in the wealthiest suburbs. So what’s going on? Outwardly, Success is similar to other “no excuses” (Moskowitz dislikes that term) charter schools: students are called “scholars” and wear uniforms; a longer school day and year allow for about one-third more instruction time than district schools provide; rooms are named after the teacher’s alma mater; a culture of discipline and high expectations reigns. What separates Success, in my opinion, is a laser focus on what is being taught, and how.

The Washington Post
April 20, 2015

A third-grade teacher at a Denver elementary school decided to try to get to know her students better — most of whom come from low-income families — and gave them a writing assignment in which she hoped they would reveal something about themselves. Kyle Schwartz called the activity “I wish my teacher knew” — and she wound up learning more than she thought. According to this story by ABC News, Schwartz, who teachers at Doull Elementary School, said: “Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students’ lives and how to best support them. I just felt like there was something I didn’t know about my students.”

"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney