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Today’s Literacy Headlines

Each weekday, Reading Rockets gathers interesting news headlines about reading and early education.

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Note: These links may expire after a week or so. Some websites require you to register first before seeing an article. Reading Rockets does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside websites.


Including young learners in the push for reading reform (opens in a new window)

Hechinger Report

February 22, 2024

The effort in New York is an anomaly for even attempting to incorporate children younger than 5 in a meaningful way, said Susan B. Neuman, a professor of childhood education and literacy development at the Steinhardt School at New York University. “For the most part, early childhood education and literacy reform are seen as very separate entities, and it’s very discouraging to me, frankly,” Neuman said. In prekindergarten and at the start of kindergarten, the emphasis should be on encouraging kids to talk and develop their oral language skills, engaging teachers in responsive talking and listening to children and helping kids recognize letters and begin to understand the relationships between letters and sounds. 

A Strategy to Help Young Students Learn to Use Technology (opens in a new window)

Edutopia

February 22, 2024

Adding icons to a rubric can help early elementary students as they learn how to use tech tools in the classroom. “Adding these icons was essential—it linked what my students needed to navigate these digital learning environments to what they needed to do to demonstrate understanding of the instructional content shared.” This is a free strategy. You simply create a table with icons that students need to navigate the digital learning environment on the left with the criteria for success on the right.

Alabama Educators Earn Grant for Trip to Scotland to Spark Students’ Reading and Writing (opens in a new window)

School Library Journal

February 22, 2024

School librarian Holly Whitt and her third grade classroom teacher colleague Lori Alexander had tried everything to get their students at Walnut Grove Elementary School in New Market, AL, to read more. Battle of the Books. Reading challenges. Rewards of pizza and ice cream. But nothing succeeded in sparking the students’ interest in reading or bettering their reading comprehension. And reading wasn’t the only struggle. “Our kids are really good at telling stories,” says Whitt. “They talk and tell stories all day long. But if you put a piece of paper in front of them, and you ask them to write a story for you, or write about something they learned about in class, they freeze, and they can’t do it. They won’t write more than a sentence or two.”

How ‘Bright Spot’ Schools in D.C., Delaware Are Getting Their Students Reading (opens in a new window)

The 74

February 20, 2024

What sets these districts apart? Both have been influenced by the science of reading and created consistency across all aspects of teaching and learning. That is, they use high-quality curricula well matched to student assessments, and all professional learning trains teachers in how to use both well. Research by RAND finds this degree of consistency is not common in most states and districts. A large majority of teachers do not work in coherent systems.  

How to Go Beyond Finding the Main Idea in ELA Classrooms (opens in a new window)

Edutopia

February 20, 2024

Focusing on activities such as summarizing, analyzing textual features, and paraphrasing drives deeper reading comprehension. Literacy expert Timothy Shanahan says that finding the main idea isn’t a problem in-and-of itself — teachers can continue to ask students to do that — but focusing too narrowly on the main idea limits the discussion of other critical textual features, like broader issues of narrative structure, information hierarchy, tone, and the use of figurative language.

What Is Age-Appropriate Use of AI? 4 Developmental Stages to Know About (opens in a new window)

Education Week (subscription)

February 20, 2024

Education Week consulted four teachers and two child-development experts on when K-12 students should start using AI-powered tech and for what purposes. They all agree on this central fact: There is no avoiding AI. Whether they are aware of it or not, students are already interacting with AI in their daily lives when they scroll on TikTok, ask a smart speaker a question, or use an adaptive-testing program in class. All this makes it essential that students learn about AI in school, experts say. But when, and how, exactly? We’ve got answers.

A Feminist Retelling of the Medusa Myth, for Middle Graders (opens in a new window)

The New York Times

February 20, 2024

In Katherine Marsh’s new novel, the girl with the snaky curls loses neither her head nor her wits. Ava is a seventh grader coping with wild brown curls; an older brother, named Jaxon, who always seems to outshine her; childhood friends turned mean girls; and flares of anger her mother urges her to control. When a classmate pushes her too far, the intensity of Ava’s rage literally freezes the boy in place and sets in motion an unexpected journey for Ava and Jax.

Brief But Spectacular: Future of Education (opens in a new window)

PBS NewsHour

February 14, 2024

Young people are changing up the ways they prepare for college, career, and the uncertainties of adult life. This collection explores through students’ eyes what’s possible when they get deeply involved in their learning and help shape their school experiences. Educators, parents, and community members in cities across the country also share why they’re reimagining the future of education.

How your school’s design can promote equity through access (opens in a new window)

eSchool News

February 14, 2024

For generations, school facilities have been designed for the average student, leaving neurodiverse individuals to struggle in environments that don’t meet their needs. Recently, however, the growing awareness of neurodiversity has started to shift the school design narrative for students with unique learning styles. Using the built environment to promote equity in the classroom starts with understanding each student’s needs, whether in the classroom or on the playground.

Hillsborough has a new way of teaching kids to read. Inside one classroom (opens in a new window)

Tampa Bay Times

February 14, 2024

After years of disappointing results, the school district has turned to a method based on phonics that is said to show promise. One key problem the program addresses is a prior weakness in kindergarten through second grade instruction. Schools were so focused on state tests, which begin in third grade, there was no systematic way to make sure younger children acquired foundational skills.

At 93, Joy Hakim Is Still in the Fight for Better Children’s Textbooks (opens in a new window)

The 74

February 14, 2024

By turns raw, thrilling and eye-opening, Joy Hakim’s writing offers young people a look at history that they rarely get between the covers of mass-produced textbooks. Her most well-known work, a 10-volume history of the United States that began appearing in the early 1990s, remains in print. Her newest series on biology debuted in September, continuing her tradition of wrestling with complicated ideas and difficult historical and scientific questions. 

Teacher training programs don’t always use research-backed reading methods (opens in a new window)

National Public Radio

February 13, 2024

A dozen college students are saying the word “pat” and jotting down notes about the sounds being made. “Puh - AH - tt.” Pay attention to the shapes your mouths make as you pronounce the word, instructs Robin Fuxa, their education professor at Oklahoma State University. She asks her students if they can feel the way the words sound as they speak. Fuxa is trying to get her students to pay attention to phonics, the reading method that links a sound to a letter. Extensive research has shown phonics is an effective way to teach kids to read.

A Collaborative Strategy to Increase Reading Comprehension in World Language Classes (opens in a new window)

Edutopia

February 13, 2024

 The Quote, Quote, Mingle strategy helps students gain knowledge by having conversations with their peers based on what they’ve read. The more people you talk to, the more information you get to help you develop a fuller picture of the topic. Quote, Quote, Mingle requires students to hypothesize about a text while posing questions and drawing inferences about it based on reading a small part of it.

Civics education to come to the earliest grades under Indiana proposal (opens in a new window)

Chalkbeat Indiana

February 13, 2024

While Indiana has made progress in civics education through new standards requiring a semester of civics in sixth grade, advocates say there’s still work to be done, especially as the state faces a “concerning” drop in voter participation, according to one report. House Bill 1137 and Senate Bill 211 would each establish a civics seal to recognize students, teachers, and schools for excellence in civics education — which could look like offering civics-minded lessons and field trips to students. The bills also seek to increase access to civics material in the earliest grades as part of the state’s push to provide young students with high-quality reading curriculum. And by introducing basic concepts of citizenship and fairness early, advocates hope to build a foundation for improved civic engagement later in life.

Where the Need for Bilingual Teachers Has Changed Over 20 Years (opens in a new window)

Ed Surge

February 13, 2024

Back in 2000, the concentration of English learners was strongest in the Southwest and other Western states, where nearly one-in-four California students was classified as an English learner. By 2020, the English learner populations had shifted away from just border states and major cities. Delaware had the largest increase of any state in its proportion of English learners, growing from 1.8 percent to 10.7 percent over the 20-year period. The three states that lost the highest percentage of English learners were California, Arizona and New Mexico — though the number of English learners they serve is by no means small.

How Much Time Should Teachers Spend on a Foundational Reading Skill? Research Offers Clues (opens in a new window)

Education Week (subscription)

February 12, 2024

A reading block in an elementary school classroom can feel like a carefully choreographed 120-minute dance. Time is a finite resource, and it often falls to teachers to make decisions about how much instructional time to devote to the many interrelated components of reading. What’s the dosage of each that will ensure kids get it? A new study offers insight into that question for one key component of early reading development: phonemic awareness. It finds, in essence, that you can have too much of a good thing.

As NYC overhauls literacy approach, one public school gets phonics help from nearby private school (opens in a new window)

Chalkbeat New York

February 12, 2024

For the first time, the private Stephen Gaynor School is offering a free 15-week course to nine public school educators to help refine their lessons on phonics, which explicitly teaches the relationship between sounds and letters. The small pilot program comes as elementary schools across the city are under a new mandate to emphasize phonics, part of a sweeping plan to overhaul the way New York City public schools teach reading.

K-12 students learned a lot last year, but they’re still missing too much school (opens in a new window)

National Public Radio

February 12, 2024

It’s going to take aggressive interventions to repair the pandemic’s destructive impact on kids’ schooling. That’s the takeaway of two big new studies that look at how America’s K-12 students are doing. There’s some good news in this new research, to be sure – but there’s still a lot of work to do on both student achievement and absenteeism. Here’s are 7 things to know.

What Michigan parents need to know about the ‘science of reading’ (opens in a new window)

Chalkbeat Dteroit

February 08, 2024

When Michele Maleszyk’s daughter came home from kindergarten last year, Maleszyk noticed she brought home reading material with letter patterns she hadn’t been taught yet. “I thought it was odd she was expected to read books with patterns she didn’t know,” Maleszyk said. “I thought, ‘How can a kid sound out what they don’t know?’ The only way would be by looking at the pictures.”

New Study Highlights Potential Missed Diagnoses of Dyslexia in African American Students (opens in a new window)

Yale School of Medicine

February 08, 2024

A new study reported by Sally Shaywitz, MD in the journal Science of Learning, finds that African American students with dyslexia may be overlooked in schools. For the study, children in grades K-2 in two public charter schools in New Orleans, Louisiana were screened using the teacher completed, evidence-based Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen and then tested for dyslexia. Upon being screened, almost half (49.2%) of the children were deemed at-risk for dyslexia. Further testing confirmed that most of those who were screened had dyslexia.

The latest on Oregon’s race to improve reading (opens in a new window)

Oregon Public Broadcasting

February 08, 2024

Oregon’s effort to overhaul reading instruction is reaching a critical point as educators await allocations and final guidelines from the state. Last year, Oregon launched its new vision for how to teach the state’s youngest learners to read and write. The Early Literacy Success Initiative reoriented efforts around research-backed approaches to reading. The initiative has four main funding buckets: one to support K-12 school districts, a birth-through-five literacy fund, grants for community-based groups and funds for tribal organizations.

Building Oral Language Skills and Equity Through High-Quality Reading Curriculum (opens in a new window)

The 74

February 07, 2024

Picture this: kindergarten students are excitedly discussing the life cycle of a tree. In a whole-class discussion, paired “turn and talk” chats with a partner, and responses to sentence stems, they describe bare limbs, falling leaves, and a tree’s dormant winter season. They compare evergreens and deciduous trees, using vocabulary that reappears in related texts. In this joyful learning community, students at all reading levels practice grade-level oral and literacy skills, grow vocabulary, and gain access to a common base of information. This is what reading lessons look like today in the Roswell Independent School District, where I oversee elementary education. It’s a major difference from the not-so-distant past.

Angela Duckworth on What the Research Says About Active Learning (opens in a new window)

Education Week (subscription)

February 07, 2024

Years of experience suggested that students learn best when assigned hands-on laboratory activities, weekly problem sets, in-class opportunities to discuss material with fellow students, and frequent short quizzes. This active approach seemed far superior to the more traditional—and more passive—approach of sage-on-a-stage lectures. Do teach actively. And spread the word that new scientific evidence affirms the old adage: Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.

States rethink reading (opens in a new window)

Axios

February 06, 2024

Dozens of cities and states across America are overhauling the way their schools teach reading — attempting to close gaps exacerbated by the pandemic. The ability to understand language and stories develops naturally in kids, just like walking and talking, but reading does not, says Tiffany Hogan, director of the the Speech and Language Literacy Lab at MGH Institute in Boston. So the balanced literacy approach, which relies on kids’ intuition to pick up reading, only works for some students. Studies have shown that phonics-based instruction, however, is effective at raising test scores across the board.

18 Books for Reluctant Middle School Readers (opens in a new window)

Edutopia

February 06, 2024

We asked teachers to recommend their top book picks for students who say they “just aren’t that into reading.” Before recommending a book, “I would have to talk with the child first to get an understanding of who they are and what they like,” comments educator Nikilia Lorraine Reid. Sometimes audiobooks and graphic novels can also help bridge the gap for kids who aren’t up for full-length books.

Missouri is Trying to Overhaul Reading Instruction. KIPP Got There First (opens in a new window)

The 74

February 06, 2024

As states launch a raft of new literacy laws, the charter network is rolling out more testing and training in schools nationwide. The largest charter management organization in the U.S., enrolling roughly 120,000 students across nearly 300 campuses, KIPP is completing a gradual overhaul of its literacy instruction, which will take effect for all of its schools by 2025. According to research from Saint Louis University’s Policy Research in Missouri Education Center, KIPP Victory Academy (Wisdom’s sister school) posted the best scores for reading growth of any elementary school on Missouri’s 2021 state standardized testing. 

Maurice Sendak delights children with new book, 12 years after his death (opens in a new window)

National Public Radio

February 06, 2024

In Ten Little Rabbits, a new posthumous picture book by Maurice Sendak, Mino the Magician waves his wand and, poof, a rabbit appears. Another wave and out springs a second and then a third. By the forth rabbit, Mino yawns. By the sixth, he’s annoyed. Ninth, he’s exasperated, as the rabbits crawl all over him. So back they go, one rabbit at a time, giving readers the chance to count up and back again by the time Mino is done. Once again, Sendak’s knack for capturing just about every kind of emotion is on full display, 12 years after his death, in this book being brought to the public for the first time.

6 Tech Strategies to Create Stronger Readers (opens in a new window)

Edutopia

February 05, 2024

Tools and strategies to motivate reluctant readers, facilitate deeper comprehension, and level the playing field among students of differing abilities. We collected a handful of the best classroom strategies to boost literacy skills, differentiate your instruction, and promote a love of the printed word.   

A Bilingual Path to Literacy Success (opens in a new window)

Language Magazine

February 05, 2024

Dual immersion programs allow English language learners to continue their journey in their native language—Spanish, at our school. The more proficient students are in their primary language, the faster they are able to transfer those skills to a second language. Our English speakers have the opportunity to learn a new language. In the 2022–2023 school year, 95% of kindergarten, 72% of first-grade, and 68% of second-grade students were reading at or above grade level. Here’s how we did it.

How Maurice Sendak Lived With His Own Wild Things (opens in a new window)

The New York Times (gift article)

February 05, 2024

For decades, the author of “In the Night Kitchen” and “The Nutshell Library” fortified himself with art and words. Sendak died almost 12 years ago, but his studio is exactly as he left it. There are his pencil cups and watercolor sets; there’s his final manuscript, for a book called “No Noses.” And there, glowing like a ripe tomato, is his red cardigan, draped over the back of an empty chair. 

Summer learning is a top ESSER spending priority for academic recovery (opens in a new window)

K-12 Dive

February 05, 2024

Factors driving COVID-19 relief spending include mental health needs, lagging test scores and the desire for financial stability, an Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) survey finds. Regarding spending for student academic recovery needs, ASBO survey respondents said the most popular strategy focused on expanding summer learning and enrichment programs. 

How to fix chronic absenteeism in America’s schools (opens in a new window)

WBUR Boston

February 01, 2024

About a third of students are on track to miss at least 10% of school days this year. Why are students missing school, and how can we bring them back? This On Point discussion features Scott Hale, principal of Johnstown High School, Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Work, Todd Rogers, professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and co-founder of Everyday Labs, and Aaris Johnson, director of home visits and re-engagement at Concentric Educational Solutions.

Grading New York’s “back to basics” reading plan (opens in a new window)

Flypaper (Fordham Institute)

February 01, 2024

Better late than never, New York state has stirred itself to change the way reading is taught in its 800-plus local school districts. Last month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a plan to spend (an admittedly paltry) $10 million to train 20,000 teachers in the “science of reading,” including a “microcredentialing” program via the state’s public universities. Hochul’s proposed “Back to Basics” initiative will, she insists, return the state’s classrooms to scientifically proven techniques. The Reading League, a national educator-led advocacy organization that happens to be based in upstate New York, is “cautiously optimistic” about the plan and is offering Hochul some good advice in rolling out the initiative. For starters, they suggest dropping the “Back to Basics” branding, which might be good politics, but is instructionally tone-deaf.

How can we close the digital divide? (opens in a new window)

Hechinger Report

February 01, 2024

Students from historically marginalized backgrounds are more likely than their advantaged peers to be treated as passive users of technology. While they are completing digital worksheets, their peers in better-resourced schools are coding, collaborating, and designing and building tech tools. The newly released National Education Technology Plan from the U.S. Department of Education aims to highlight that disparity and many other inequities in the use and design of ed tech, as well as access to it. The report also offers ways that those digital divides can be mitigated. 

Students Are Making a ‘Surprising’ Rebound From Pandemic Closures. But Some May Never Catch Up. (opens in a new window)

The New York Times (gift article)

January 31, 2024

Overall in math, a subject where learning loss has been greatest, students have made up about a third of what they lost. In reading, they have made up a quarter, according to the new analysis of standardized test score data led by researchers at Stanford and Harvard. The findings suggest that the United States has averted a dire outcome — stagnating at pandemic lows — but that many students are not on pace to catch up before the expiration of a $122 billion federal aid package in September. Still, the gap between students from rich and poor communities — already huge before the pandemic — has widened.

A diverse classroom library includes and respects fat characters, too (opens in a new window)

KQED Mindshift

January 31, 2024

Many teachers excel at stocking their shelves with books featuring characters of diverse abilities, races and socioeconomic statuses. However, representation of size diversity, particularly with regard to fat main characters, is often overlooked. The absence of differently sized characters has far-reaching implications for students because students’ engagement and motivation in reading are influenced by the presence of relatable protagonists. Rudine Sims Bishop’s “windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors” framework underscores the roles books play for learning about others, reflecting aspects of oneself, and facilitating exploration.

To help students deal with trauma, this school holds mindfulness lessons over the loudspeaker (opens in a new window)

KQED Mindshift

January 31, 2024

Sullivan Elementary School is the smallest public school in the Hillsborough County school district, with 76 students and one teacher per grade level. It operates in partnership Metropolitan Ministries, a local nonprofit that supports families at risk of homelessness in Tampa Bay. Principal McMeen says many of the students come from the homeless shelter next door and are dealing with serious stressors outside of school. For the past few years, the school has been experimenting with a new tool to help kids deal with their stress: a daily mindfulness program called Inner Explorer. An app created for schools, it involves daily lessons in observing sensations and emotions. It’s part of a new approach to delivering mindfulness, an increasingly popular, evidence-based mental health practice, in more accessible ways to vulnerable populations.

What’s driving a special education teacher shortage and how schools are responding (opens in a new window)

PBS NewsHour

January 31, 2024

More than 7.5 million American students have disabilities that qualify them for individual education plans. But teachers trained in this critical area are in short supply. Special education teachers and administrators share how the shortage is affecting them, and John Yang speaks with Kimber Wilkerson, professor of special education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to learn more.

Why so many kids are still missing school (opens in a new window)

Vox

January 25, 2024

Despite increased attention to the topic, chronic absenteeism is not exactly new — until recently, it was considered a “hidden educational crisis.” What’s new about chronic absenteeism is that it now affects students from a variety of demographic backgrounds, from those in the suburbs and rural areas to those in cities. The evidence has long been clear that absences contribute to lower achievement and worsen long-term economic outcomes for individual students and the country. Poor attendance influences whether a child can read proficiently by the end of third grade. By sixth grade, chronic absenteeism signals that a student might drop out of high school.

Growing Number of Parents Looking to Change Kids’ Schools, New Survey Shows (opens in a new window)

The 74

January 25, 2024

Parents are increasingly considering new schooling options for their kids, according to a survey released this month. After exploring available choices, a smaller number of families ultimately selected new schools but a majority reported wanting more information about school choice. Both local and out-of-district traditional public schools remained popular among school-searching families, followed by charter schools, private and religious schools and homeschooling.

Vashti Harrison’s Caldecott Win: Kind of a ‘Big’ Deal (opens in a new window)

Publishers Weekly

January 24, 2024

Author–illustrator Vashti Harrison happened to be in Miami to celebrate her father’s 89th birthday when—at 9:30 p.m., while sorting laundry—she received the news of her Caldecott win. “It’s a little bit of a jump scare when you realize there’s a whole room full of people calling to say congratulations to you,” Harrison said. The Caldecott news wasn’t her first artistically affirming call of the day: “I had received a call from the Coretta Scott King award committee around 1 in the afternoon,” with the happy information that Big had received both the King Author Honor and the King Illustrator Honor.

A Critical Thinking Framework for Elementary Students (opens in a new window)

Edutopia

January 24, 2024

Here are five instructional approaches educators can incorporate into their instruction to nurture deeper thinking. Some of these approaches, such as reason with evidence, will seem similar to other “contentless” programs professing to teach critical thinking skills. But others, such as say it in your own words or look for structure, are targeted at ensuring learners soundly understand content so that they can engage in complex thinking. You will likely notice that every single one of these approaches requires students to talk — to themselves, to a partner, or to the whole class. Dialogue, specifically in the context of teacher-led discussions, is essential for students to analyze, evaluate, and judge (i.e., do critical thinking). 

What Will It Take to Align Teacher Prep to the Science of Reading? California Offers Clues (opens in a new window)

Education Week (subscription required)

January 24, 2024

The most populous state in the nation is revamping how it credentials teachers to teach reading, replacing a test that has served as a controversial gatekeeper for teacher-candidates for more than 25 years. This shift in California comes as dozens of states are attempting to align their teacher-preparation programs to the research behind how kids learn to read. The debate around this decision in the Golden State is a microcosm of the issues arising from this process across the country.

2024 ALA Youth Media Awards Winner Round-Up! (opens in a new window)

School Library Journal

January 23, 2024

I’ll be honest. I can’t remember an ALA YMA announcement day that pleased me half as much as the one we had on Monday, January 22, 2024. With very few exceptions I pretty much adored every single book listed (that I knew about). It was humbling to see a couple titles that I didn’t even read in 2024 (my apologies to The Truth About Dragons which currently has LOADS of holds in my library). There were books that won that I didn’t even think had a chance but was delighted to see, and books that didn’t get bupkiss (more on those at the end of this post).

New America and SEAL to Co-host Webinar about Science of Reading and ELs (opens in a new window)

Language Magazine

January 23, 2024

Concerns have been raised that methodologies based on the Science of Reading may negatively impact English Learners (ELs). On February 8, New America and SEAL will co-host a webinar that will unpack the relationship between the Science of Reading and ELs, including the misconceptions about this much debated topic, best practices for EL-identified students, and implications for dual language programs. The first panel of experts will discuss the policy implications of the Science of Reading for ELs, and the second panel will feature state, district and instructional leaders at the forefront of Science of Reading implementation.

St. Louis NAACP Marshals Local Nonprofits to Help Make Sure Every Child Can Read (opens in a new window)

The 74

January 23, 2024

After more than a decade of struggles, nonprofits are leading the charge to help more Black students in St. Louis read at grade level. The St. Louis NAACP recently launched the “Right to Read” campaign, which focuses on improving proficiency and educational equity for students of color. Its mission: By 2030, all children in the city and county of St. Louis will receive the materials and support they need to help get them reading well by third grade.

The US Is the Fifth-Largest Spanish-Speaking Country. Where Are Our Bilingual Teachers? (opens in a new window)

Ed Surge

January 23, 2024

At the beginning of her now nearly 30-year career, Leslie M. Gauna was given a warning: Bilingual education wouldn’t be a viable career option in the long term. Yet nowadays the need for Spanish-speaking teachers in the United States is as strong as ever, with districts around the country struggling to hire them fast enough. The dearth of bilingual teachers is especially counterintuitive in Texas, where Gauna is a professor and where she conducted a qualitative research study on what she calls the “The Leaking Spanish Bilingual Education Teacher Pipeline.”

Eggers, Harrison, King Win 2024 Newbery, Caldecott, Printz Awards (opens in a new window)

Publishers Weekly

January 22, 2024

Dave Eggers has won the 2024 John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature, for his novel The Eyes and the Impossible (McSweeney’s/Knopf), illustrated by Shawn Harris, edited by Taylor Norman and Melanie Nolan. Vashti Harrison has won the 2024 Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children, for Big (Little, Brown), edited by Farrin Jacobs. And The Collectors: Stories, compiled by A.S. King (Dutton), edited by Andrew Karre, has won the 2024 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults. The Youth Media Awards were announced Monday morning, January 22, during the American Library Association’s LibLearnXconference in Baltimore.

Supporting Newcomer English Learners as a General Education Teacher (opens in a new window)

Edutopia

January 22, 2024

Newcomer ELLs, especially students with interrupted formal education (SIFEs), typically need one-on-one attention throughout their school day. Without such attention, general educators need to use alternate methods to address the needs of this special demographic. Even without a dedicated specialist, there are steps that teachers can take to support the success of this growing group of students in school. Here are some ideas. 

Two groups of scholars revive the debate over inquiry vs. direct instruction (opens in a new window)

Hechinger Report

January 22, 2024

Educators have long debated the best way to teach, especially the subjects of science and math. One side favors direct instruction, where teachers tell students what they need to know or students read it from textbooks. Some call it explicit or traditional instruction. The other side favors inquiry, where students conduct experiments and figure out the answers themselves like a scientist would. It’s also known as exploration, discovery learning or simply “scientific practices.”

Study: ‘Short Burst’ Tutoring in Literacy Shows Promise for Young Readers (opens in a new window)

The 74

January 18, 2024

Small, regular interactions with a reading tutor — about 5 to 7 minutes — are making a big impact on young students’ reading skills, new Stanford University research shows. First graders in Florida’s Broward County schools who participated in the program, called Chapter One, saw more substantial gains in reading fluency than those who didn’t receive the support, according to the study. They were also 9 percentage points less likely to be considered at risk on a district literacy test. The model — less costly than other programs — combines one-on-one instruction with computer-based activities.

Reading Comprehension Hinges on Building Knowledge. New Curricula Aim to Help (opens in a new window)

Education Week

January 18, 2024

Unlike other ELA curricula, which often give teachers choices of books or allow students to pick their own, knowledge-building programs feature tightly constructed sequences of text that are all thematically related. And while students still practice comprehension strategies—such as summarizing or inferring—the curriculum prioritizes deeply understanding the content, rather than isolated skill exercises. These programs stem from the idea, backed by research, that having a broad array of background knowledge makes individuals better readers. General world knowledge is correlated with reading-comprehension ability.

6 Evidence-Based Instructional Practices Drawn From Cognitive Science (opens in a new window)

Edutopia

January 18, 2024

Learning is complex. It depends on a myriad of cognitive skills, emotions, and behaviors alongside prior knowledge. Fortunately, the field of cognitive science has accumulated a rich body of evidence of how we learn (science of learning) and how to teach to promote learning (science of teaching). These research-backed strategies have the capacity to help students learn and retain more information.

A groundbreaking study shows kids learn better on paper, not screens. Now what? (opens in a new window)

The Guardian (UK)

January 17, 2024

A soon-to-be published study with children aged 10-12 from neuroscientists at Columbia University’s Teachers College indicates that for “deeper reading” there is a clear advantage to reading a text on paper, rather than on a screen, where “shallow reading was observed”. “Reading both expository and complex texts from paper seems to be consistently associated with deeper comprehension and learning” across the full range of social scientific literature. What does it mean when schools are going digital?

How ‘reading captains’ are fueling Philadelphia’s push to improve early literacy (opens in a new window)

Chalkbeat Philadelphia

January 17, 2024

Armed with a crash course of expert training in the science of reading, phonics, and other early literacy techniques, reading captains help prepare parents and guardians to reinforce the lessons kids are learning in the classroom. They fan out into neighborhoods with one goal: Make sure the children on your block have the support they need to read on grade level. Because right now, many of those children cannot. They are also plugged into a volunteer network that spans the city.

Mop-mop-swoosh-plop it’s rug-washing day in ‘Bábo’ (opens in a new window)

National Public Radio

January 17, 2024

A whole book about a bunch of kids washing rugs with their grandmother? Author Astrid Kamalyan says she’d understand if you heard that pitch and thought, “Huh?” But — of course — it is so much more than that. “It’s actually a book about Armenian joy and the beauty of Armenian family,” says Kamalyan. “It has so much of what made our childhoods so happy.” In Bábo: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day, a little girl named Tato steals some cherry plums before grabbing a brush. She joins friends and siblings outside, where they soak, soap, and wash the rugs.

Amid Literacy Push, Many States Still Don’t Prepare Teachers for Success, Report Finds (opens in a new window)

The 74

January 16, 2024

Too many states aren’t giving teachers the skills to teach reading effectively, according to an analysis by the National Center on Teacher Quality. The report, released by the nonprofit National Center on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), identifies five key areas where education authorities can arm teachers with better skills to teach the fundamentals of literacy — from establishing strict training and licensure standards for trainees to funding meaningful professional development to classroom veterans. While a handful of states were singled out for praise, others were criticized for inaction or half-measures. 

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