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While lawmakers continue to debate the long-range impact of preschool on participants, 62 percent of parents in a new poll commissioned by a day-care and pre-K provider said they believe the skills gained in early-childhood education programs last a lifetime. Such opportunities were seen as "essential" to learning social and emotional skills — and were rated as just as important as traditional academics, states a national poll released April 7 by the Learning Care Group. The company runs 900 day-care operations and schools in 36 states for children ages 6 weeks to 13 years.
Gallup recently released a major report on the State of American Schools. Their data paints a picture of schools performing as a complex ecosystem, with the wellbeing, engagement, and performance of teachers, students, and principals all intertwined. The Gallup polls ask students, teachers, principals, and other professionals about their levels of hope, emotional engagement, and well-being at work or school. While these qualities may seem like frills, they’ve been demonstrated over time to have powerful correlations with harder metrics, like a company’s profits or a school’s test scores.
School Library Journal
Akron Public Schools is like many public urban school districts in the country — lacking funding to achieve performance goals that need investments in technology. With Ohio’s Race to the Top goal to"“reduce performance gaps by 50 percent in reading," the LeBron James Family Foundation and its Wheels for Education program, started by Akron native and Miami Heat NBA star LeBron James, has given Akron Public Schools one of the largest e-library sites in the country. Completely online, the e-library can be accessed by any Akron student, from elementary to high school, each with his or her own log in information.
Daily Herald (Provo, UT)
Books, books and more books is the best way to describe what you see when you enter Stephanie Buhler’s sixth-grade classroom at Wilson Elementary. It is normal to walk into a classroom and see bookshelves, but in Buhler’s classroom she has more than just a few. There are seven, to be exact, and they are stacked solid with books for her students to read and enjoy. Buhler guesses she has about 1,500 books in her collection, and she continues to keep adding to it. The biggest goal for Buhler is to get her students to love to read by exposing them to high-interest books. She conferences with her students on what they are reading and how they are liking a book, and she offers suggestions to them.
Could e-books actually get in the way of reading? That was the question explored in research presented last week by Heather Ruetschlin Schugar, an associate professor at West Chester University, and her spouse Jordan T. Schugar, an instructor at the same institution. Speaking at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia, the Schugars reported the results of a study in which they asked middle school students to read either traditional printed books, or e-books on iPads. The students’ reading comprehension, the researchers found, was higher when they read conventional books. In a second study looking at students’ use of e-books created with Apple’s iBooks Author software, the Schugars discovered that the young readers often skipped over the text altogether, engaging instead with the books’ interactive visual features.
Sioux City Journal (IA)
For the first time, dyslexia has been officially defined in Iowa law in an attempt to improve literacy among young students across the state. Following passage by the Legislature, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill this week that effectively establishes a definition for the reading disability in Iowa code and offers support for teachers so they can better evaluate student literacy and intervene as necessary. Decoding Dyslexia Iowa, a group of Iowa parents dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities for dyslexic students and reducing the stigma around dyslexia, brought its cause to lawmakers last summer. Members called for the early detection of dyslexia, more focus on struggling readers and the identification of the best practices to better serve them.
Hillsdale Daily News (MI)
Why is poetry great for young kids? One reason is because it helps develop something called "phonological awareness." This is the ability to listen for and identify the differences between various sounds that make up our language. Phonological awareness is a fundamental skill that eventually helps children learn to read, write and use language effectively. Nursery rhymes are the perfect type of beginning poem to share with young children, since ages 3-5 is the perfect developmental age for phonological awareness.
School Library Journal
Late author of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Bernard Waber — who died May 16 of last year at the age of 91 and was the creator of the legendary storybook character Lyle the Crocodile — is being honored with an exhibit of his work "Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile & Friends: The Art of Bernard Waber" at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. The exhibit encompasses 85 of Waber's original picture book art. In celebration of the exhibit, the museum hosted a reception March 29 that brought together authors, illustrators, librarians, and lovers of children’s books. At the event children literature historian and curator of the exhibit Leonard Marcus moderated a discussion with librarian-turned-children’s book author Johanna Hurwitz, 2014 winner of the Sibert Medal for Parrots Over Puerto Rico (Lee & Low, 2013) Susan L. Roth, and Waber’s daughter Paulis Waber.
National Public Radio
Preschool is getting a lot of attention these days. President Obama and mayors across the country are touting preschool as an important investment in the economy. As policymakers weigh the costs and benefits of "preschool for all," they're trying to figure out what actually works in the classroom. One of the places they're looking is Boston. School officials say their system of intensive teacher coaching is a key to classroom success. Boston uses coaches as part of its larger push for preschool quality. The district has installed a rigorous curriculum and requires teachers to get masters degrees. Academics have known for some time that quality matters, but much of the research has focused on small-scale programs. The Boston program is different. Last year, a Harvard University study found big gains in math and vocabulary in Boston, where the preschool system spans 68 schools.
Uriel Torres, 4, is one of nearly 100 children in East Palo Alto who receive free books and private tutoring through the nonprofit 10 Books A Home, in exchange for a commitment from his mother: She reads with him every day. Programs such as 10 Books a Home, which focus on improving early reading skills by engaging parents, are spreading in California. The programs have different approaches. For instance, the statewide Raising A Reader program and San Diego’s Words Alive! both work with child care centers and preschools to connect with children and parents. But all the programs have the same goal: To get children, and parents, excited about reading.
As a small but growing number of states adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, science museums and centers are positioning themselves as a key resource for helping teachers adapt to the vision for instruction reflected in the new guidelines. Some educators say that professional-development sessions held at museums — unlike those at conference centers, universities, or districts — give teachers immediate access to the kinds of hands-on activities that the common science standards call for. In addition, such institutions often bring a wealth of expertise on both content and pedagogy, employing a mix of scientists and professional educators.
Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC)
Recently, J. Patrick Lewis, the U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013, and veteran children’s author and illustrator Douglas Florian co-authored a collection of poetry for children called, "Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems." From start to finish — or accelerating to braking — the collection is a joyous and hilarious exploration of the most whimsical, fantastical vehicles imaginable. Every aspect of the book, right down to the tire treads on the end papers, pays homage to grease and gears. Each poem celebrates a different vehicle — the mini-mini-car, the Dragonwagon, the High-Heel Car, and so on. Each vehicle has its own set of traits — it flies, it swims, it is edible.
Faced with the decision of whether to allow students with dyslexia and other print disabilities the option of having text passages on the common-core tests read aloud to them, the two federally financed consortia responsible for creating the general assessments took a Solomonic approach. Rather than prohibit the so-called "read-aloud accommodation" entirely or allow reading aloud with no restriction, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers decided to permit text passages to be read to students, with a notation on score reports saying no claims can be made regarding the student's foundational reading skills.
The Washington Post
Here is an open letter from the mother of a young boy with autism who is finding school in Louisiana harder than ever because he is being evaluated on standards -- the Common Core State Standards -- that he cannot meet. And the progress that he does make doesn't count. This was written by Rebecca Ellis of Mandeville, a city in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, about her son Jackson. She is the assistant director of a regional resource center for individuals with disabilities and their families.
The Gannon Knight (Erie, PA)
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, 10 percent of college- age students with learning disabilities are enrolled in a four-year institution in the U.S., compared with 28 percent of all college-age students. More and more universities are working to increase retention and long-term success among this minority. Gannon University, in particular, has proven itself to be one of the most supportive for students with learning disabilities.
For the parent of a special-needs child, it's often the small things -- getting her dressed, out the door, starting homework -- that feel like monumental obstacles. Carolyn Dalgliesh had no idea how much her daily life would change when her two-year-old son began showing signs of developmental delays. And while her child received support at the doctor's office and at school, she felt unprepared for the changes she would need to make at home. To get ready for the challenges ahead, Dalgliesh, who had experience in the business world in sales, customer service, and recruiting, focused her business skills on rejiggering life at home.
The New York Times
Between the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012, people across the United States suddenly found themselves unable to get their hands on A.D.H.D. medication. Low-dose generics were particularly in short supply. There were several factors contributing to the shortage, but the main cause was that supply was suddenly being outpaced by demand. The number of diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has ballooned over the past few decades.
A new website for students--and in particular, those with disabilities--is offering free "anytime, anyplace" resources, materials, and information to help schools ensure that their students meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Created by the Center for Technology Implementation (CTI), the website for students with disabilities, PowerUp What Works, links evidence-based practices, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and technology to guide teachers, school leaders, professional development (PD) facilitators, and teacher educators in their professional learning.
The Voice (New Baltimore, MI)
You can't fit a square peg in a round hole, but you can add some corners to the hole so the peg goes in clean. In the same way, children with dyslexia can learn the same things others do, but not in the same manner. According to the Michigan Dyslexia Institute, "the presence of dyslexia does not indicate a lack of intelligence. The core weakness underlying dyslexia is a unique, neurologically based deficit in processing phonetic information. It results in difficulty in decoding words and/or slower reading speed and/or poor reading comprehension."
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham, AL)
Here's quite a list of celebrities: Walt Disney, Whoopi Golberg, Tim Tebow, Agatha Christie, Steve Jobs. All of them struggled with dyslexia. Dyslexia is a language processing disorder that can hinder reading, writing, spelling and speaking. The problem is people with dyslexia are often labeled as dumb or lazy. One in five people have dyslexia. Unfortunately, many cases go undetected and undiagnosed. Thousands of people who have dyslexia have high intelligence. Dyslexia can't be cured, but it can be managed.