Advocacy

July 24, 2017

When I talk with teachers, I often find them flummoxed by my descriptions of "unexpected" schools. That’s the term I use to describe high-performing and rapidly improving schools with large populations of children of color and children living in poverty. These schools don’t fit the well-worn pattern of academic achievement tightly correlating with family income and ethnicity, a connection...

April 3, 2017

In 1987 then-U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett flew to Chicago and pronounced its schools “the worst in the nation.”

“I’m not sure there’s a system as bad as the Chicago system,” he said.

Detroit and a few other cities were clear rivals, but...

February 22, 2017

On one of her first days on the job, Betsy DeVos did what any U.S. Secretary of Education might do: She visited a public school.

Such an event might have gone relatively unnoticed if not for widespread worries that she neither understands public schools nor appreciates their central importance in building a civic community.

So, good for her.

She needs to see how public...

October 17, 2016

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.

That is the rather surprising finding of...

April 11, 2016

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...

March 31, 2016

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...

March 15, 2016

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...

March 7, 2016

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...

March 2, 2016

"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...

February 4, 2016

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

DCMP partners with the ...

January 7, 2016

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...

January 4, 2016

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...

August 7, 2015

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. 

AT can be any item, piece of equipment or product system from...

August 6, 2015

A free e-book and guide from an expert on dyslexia, Kelli-Sandman-Hurley, aims to dispel myths about dyslexia. It also cautions parents to be less trusting of school personnel if they suspect their child's reading difficulties stem from this particular reading difficulty. She gives specific advice on how parents can advocate for their child during an Individualized Education Program (IEP)...

July 22, 2015

Their peers often know how much students with dyslexia dread reading aloud in front of others, and hopefully teachers do, too. If not, many experts in dyslexia advise educators across the curriculum to avoid putting these students on the spot and, moreover, to give them opportunities to rehearse if they accept the challenge or volunteer to read in front of a partner or group. Sample some of...

July 15, 2015

Understood.org experts convened July 14 in Washington, D.C. at the Newseum broadcast studio to help inform parents and build their confidence about raising children and youth with learning and attention issues. Panelists included:

July 8, 2015

Waves of advocates for dyslexia are coming to Capitol Hill next week to meet with legislators. Parents from Decoding Dyslexia are convening on July 14-15 to get the attention of their legislators.

Evidence-Based Instruction

The message, according to the parent-led grassroots movement, is that their children's educational needs are being overlooked or...

May 19, 2015

Get in the groove for Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 21st! Events, both virtual and live, are scheduled around the world for this annual event on the third Thursday of May.

Educators, designers, developers, usability professionals, and...

February 23, 2015

The website "Understood.org" and Ben Foss, the founder of Headstrong Nation and a popular author-public speaker with dyslexia, has a deal for parents. Right now, there is a 100-book give-away made as part of Foss's interview last week with the Understood staff, "...

February 17, 2015

Short videos can go a long way to tell a promising story of how students with dyslexia and other special needs who learn differently can succeed in school. The videos chosen here run less than seven minutes. Each can be a resource to raise community awareness or to impart the latest thinking to aid professional development.

From AIM-VA Partners:

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