Teachers learn how to teach reading in teacher preparation programs ꟷ maybe

One in five elementary school teacher preparation programs in the United States are addressing one or none of the five components that teachers must know to teach reading to children: phonemic awareness, phonics (alphabetics), fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. This is serious business. “Teaching children how to read is “job one” for elementary teachers because reading proficiency underpins all later learning.” (The National Council on Teacher Quality) Unfortunately, many teachers are not prepared well in their preservice programs to teach reading. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s evaluation of more than 800 undergraduate programs for elementary teacher education determined that less […]

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Is picting replacing words in our digital age – is this the new literacy?

Is technology changing our definition of literacy? That’s the question posed by Cathie Norris and Elliot Soloway, university professors studying how much time today’s youth spend with text-based materials vs. image-based materials.(1) They estimate that 90 percent of K-12 classroom time in the U.S. is spent with text-based materials, and 10 percent with image-based materials; but outside the classroom, 90% is spent with image-based materials and 10 percent with text-based materials. The bottom line from their provocative article, Picting, not Writing, is the Literacy of Today’s Youth (May 8, 2017) hits the literacy question head on: “No question about it: […]

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Storyline Online: As Fast As Words Could Fly

Check out the video of Dulé Hill reading As Fast As Words Could Fly at Storyline Online. The book is written by Pamela M. Tuck, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, and published by Lee & Low Books Inc.. The story features Mason Steele, a high school boy who teaches himself to type on a typewriter given to him by his father’s civil rights group. His growing typing skills play out in an important story about prejudice and racial barriers. A thoughtful piece that would be great to talk about with your children. Important for adults too.

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What you might not know about readability testing

There’s a lot to know about tests that measure the difficulty of reading passages. First, these tests have something in common: they count syllables, words, and sentences in reading passages to come up with an average word and sentence length. These core factors then are used to develop a score that indicates how difficult (or easy) it may be for a reader to comprehend a piece of reading. I say, “may,” because this is not an exact science. But “the application of a useful readability test protocol will give a rough indication of a work’s readability.” Second, these tests are […]

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Book-Rich Environments Initiative to benefit children

One phrase pulled out of context says so much: “zip codes will not decide our children’s future and fate.” These words come from Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, in a letter of commendation to the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Education. This week the two federal agencies jointly launched the Book-Rich Environments Initiative with the aim to boost educational outcomes for children living in public and HUD-assisted housing. Smith notes: “Today’s launch … serves as a powerful affirmation … to leveling the playing field so that zip codes will not decide our children’s future and fate.” [1] […]

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