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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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PBS NewsHour
July 2, 2015

Thousands of teachers around the country are learning about an alternative teaching program that aims to use scientific discoveries about the brain to improve the way children learn in the classroom. A study on the effect of whole brain teaching in one California elementary school found test scores in math and language arts rose by an average of 11 percent.

KATV (Little Rock, AR)
July 2, 2015

For the first time, Arkansas schools will have a resource guide in hopes of leveling the playing field for students with Dyslexia. As of Wednesday, The Arkansas Department of Education has fulfilled its promise and completed the final issue of a Dyslexia resource guide that is expected to be used in all schools. According to the Arkansas Department of Education’s Director of Curriculum Instruction, Stacy Smith, the resource guide will have the steps schools should take. "It defines what a Dyslexia program is. It defines what steps and how to determine if a student actually shows the characteristics of Dyslexia,” Smith said. “We’ve got to get to the point where it’s statewide. We have all schools who understand exactly what their responsibility is and that they are serving all students.”

School Library Journal
July 2, 2015

Jack Gantos was in New York last week to record the audiobook of his upcoming release, The Trouble in Me (Farrar, Sept. 2015). The “autobiographical novel” features 14-year-old Jack Gantos and is set in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The author shared that he loves bringing his own books to life because he knows exactly how all of the characters should sound, but can’t imagine ever doing the same for other authors’ books. He credits his teaching experience with helping him succeed as a narrator, since he’s accustomed to—and enjoys—people listening to him talk. His teaching experience is also informing his current work in progress: a how-to-write guide for kids that will have video and audio components and will be available in spring 2017.

KSL.com (Salt Lake City, UT)
July 2, 2015

Before the parades, barbecues and fireworks, pull out one of these picture books to help children understand the reasons we celebrate the Fourth of July. Each book offers history, fun facts, beautiful pictures, stories and more.

School Library Journal
July 1, 2015

Last fall, the Queens Library in New York City became what is thought to be the first library in the country to open a pre–K class, in its Woodhaven branch. Teachers Andrea Clemente and Lisa Bohme meet with their students in a spacious room on the ground floor and are taking full advantage of the library’s resources. The children’s librarian visits the students frequently, playing his guitar and teaching them how to use iPads. The students have also had visits from subject-area experts, such as the science exhibit supervisor for the library system. Of course, they also have access to books, lots of books. The Queens program is a bold example of how libraries are showing leadership in the national movement to bolster early learning. As studies increasingly show that early learning supports later student achievement, financial investment on the national, state, and local level has increased. Libraries are showing that they can be ideal partners in this effort.

Time
July 1, 2015

Our study results provide support for creating opportunities for children to learn through playful interactions. These findings also acknowledge that some children may enter school with limited social-emotional and play skills that are needed to form friendships. These children need teacher support and repeated classroom opportunities to master those skills. We believe that the structure of the science-based cooperative learning groups in our study may have served an important role in supporting the development of close friendships, especially for children with disabilities. We also believe that social-emotional skill development, and the development of friendships, can occur across the school day depending on how teachers structure their classroom environment and schedule, and support learning outcomes.

Roanoke Times (VA)
July 1, 2015

Six-year-old Rayjon Johnson is thrilled about Roanoke’s new “Books on Buses” initiative. “I like it because I get to read books to everybody and I get to get on the bus,” he said. As part of the Star City Reads program, Mayor David Bowers announced the launch of Books on Buses in front of a group of young children and day care teachers at the city’s Main Library on Monday. The program is designed to encourage grade-level reading by providing free books for parents and children on their daily commute on Valley Metro buses.

Nevada Appeal (NV)
July 1, 2015

Sadly, for many low-income kids, summer means time spent without books. Researchers found that providing low-income kids with as few as 12-15 self-selected books for summer reading produced as much or more reading growth as summer school. For the poorest kids, the effect was twice as large as attending summer school. Talk about cost effective! Let’s think of ways to put more books in the hands of our poorest kids during the summer. Not a reading list, mind you, nor a pre-packaged set of “books every eight-year-old should read.” Let them read about dinosaurs or disasters. Princesses or presidents. Killer whales or kittens. Children who enjoy reading, read more and become more proficient at the same time. Librarians are uniquely qualified to help in this effort. And with a library card, every book at the Carson City Library is available. For free.

The Washington Post
June 30, 2015

A traditional curriculum (lists of facts to be memorized and skills to be practiced) and a traditional approach to pedagogy (lectures, textbooks, worksheets) make it much easier for a teacher to maintain control over students. Just compare that sort of classroom to one in which kids are encouraged to construct meaning and understand ideas from the inside out — an approach that’s collaborative, open-ended, project-based, and driven by students’ interests. If the first model suggests a rehearsed solo performance by the instructor, the second offers instruments to everyone in the room and invites them to participate in a kind of jazz improvisation.

Time
June 30, 2015

Whether you love it or loathe it, the Common Core State Standards Initiative has officially arrived in American classrooms, shifting emphasis to understanding over rote. This article sheds light on things the Common Core assessments teach us about the future of testing: contextual learning, new testing directions, and critical thinking and fluency – understanding information thoroughly – inside and out, backward and forward.

Monterey Herald (CA)
June 30, 2015

After taking all the coursework needed to finish her teacher’s credential, Carrie Freeman still had another requisite to meet: practice teaching students in third grade or higher. The CalTEACH Summer Reading Lab held at the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District gave her that opportunity. The program matches teachers in training with children who are behind in their reading abilities to give them a needed boost. For the summer lab, teachers in training are matched with a small group of students — three to five — for two hours of reading and practice of high-frequency words and other skills.

School Library Journal
June 30, 2015

James Patterson and the Scholastic Reading Club revealed the names of the first 127 schools to win Pledge to Libraries Grants, announced by the author and the publisher earlier this year. Each school earned between $1,000 and $10,000, totaling $500,000. The author also announced that he will increase his overall pledge to school libraries, from $1.5 million to $1.75 million. More than 28,000 private and public schools submitted grant applications online. In order to apply, they answered one question: “What would your school library do with $1,000 to $10,000?” The responses varied, but school representatives often wrote about budgets that could no longer pay for staffed librarians, shelves, books, and other materials. Many also expressed the hope that the continuing needs of students would be met.

KQED Mindshift
June 29, 2015

In a fast-moving field like education technology, it’s worth taking a moment to take stock of new developments, persistent trends and the challenges to effective tech implementation in real classrooms. The NMC Horizon 2015 K-12 report offers a snapshot of where ed tech stands now and where it is likely to go in the next five years, according to 56 education and technology experts from 22 countries. Notable trends include: project-based learning, global collaboration, competency-based models, collaborative social learning, blended learning, personalizing learning and reevaluating the role of teachers in education, maker spaces, 3-D printing, adaptive learning, badges and wearables.

The Hechinger Report
June 29, 2015

In a riotous classroom filled with budding thespians and English language learners, the goal of a lively theater exercise was to teach literacy, boost vocabulary and help students master the new Common Core language arts curriculum. It has proved popular with most of Edison’s more than 430 students, but principal Ivan Tolentino says it is particularly beneficial to the 40 percent of the student body who are English learners (as many as 95 percent of Edison pupils speak another language at home). Historically, English language learners, or ELLs, have been low-income, immigrant students who struggle with statewide assessment exams. Given the tougher requirement of Common Core-aligned tests, Tolentino hopes the new theater instruction will improve their proficiency in written and spoken English.

School Library Journal
June 29, 2015

What happens when a public library, an elementary school, a university, and an architect collaborate in a mini-grant project? Sparks fly, imaginations soar, creativity blossoms, and the sky’s the limit. Why not look at the buildings and elements that make up a community while emulating the perspective of children’s author Ezra Jack Keats? The idea for the In My Neighborhood project was born.

Boston Globe
June 29, 2015

School is finally out and summer has arrived, and that means it’s time to head to the library to stock up on children’s books, which deserve a place in the beach bag right next to the sunscreen. So what should your kids be reading? We’ve enlisted the help of seven local children’s librarians to offer recommendations of sublime summer reads for all ages. Their picks are page-turners that will delight and entertain kids whether they’re reading in a tent by flashlight, in the back seat on a long road trip, or in bed after a long day outdoors.

University of Alabama at Birmingham
June 26, 2015

Ten weeks of intensive reading intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder was enough to strengthen the activity of loosely connected areas of their brains that work together to comprehend reading, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have found. The children showed increased activation of the brain regions involved in language and visual/spatial processing in the left hemisphere of the brain — where language abilities reside — and also compensatory recruitment of some regions in the right hemisphere and regions of the brain beneath the outermost cortex. At the same time, the reading comprehension of those 13 children, whose average age was 10.9 years, also improved.

TIME
June 26, 2015

Fond of Goodnight Moon but looking to mix things up a bit? 8 beloved children’s book authors give their thoughts on which page-turners deserve a place in the read-it-again stack.

The Mirror (UK)
June 26, 2015

A dyslexic 11-year-old's heartbreaking diary offers a poignant insight into the academic struggles of a bright child desperate to leave his mainstream school. Asked to describe how his week in the classroom makes him feel, Alex Walker, writes the same word against every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning: "Sad."

The Huffington Post
June 26, 2015

Beloved children's book author Judy Blume released a new book this month. All hail Judy! Except, unlike her 1970 masterpiece Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, her recent work, In the Unlikely Event, is being marketed toward adults. Blume's decision -- or, perhaps, her publisher's decision -- to release another book specifically for adults brings us back to a much blogged about debate in the book world: What is the difference between children's books, YA novels and adult fiction?

"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo