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The key to learning a new skill? Wanting it badly enough

The Guardian – Matthew Youlden

“Imagine I gave you a book full of words, numbers and strange symbols – 150-odd pages of the stuff. Some of the things relate to each other in obvious ways, others not so much. Now suppose I’m going to test you: 50 questions about the contents of that book, how do you think you’d do? Well, if you can drive a car, chances are you’ve already done very well: those of you who passed the theory test recently will have got at least 43 out of 50 questions correct. That’s just one everyday example of the average person’s capacity to learn something that appears complex at first. Despite recently making the questions tougher, the DVLA still reports that the test has a pass rate above 50%.”(more)

5 Heartbreaking Consequences When You Don’t Read to Your Baby

The Parent Herald – Staff Writer

“Should you read to your baby? Many mommies are wondering whether now is the time to start introducing their completely clueless babies to the world of books. Experts have said that it is never too early to start reading to your baby, as doing so, will give him benefits that will last him a lifetime. It is also in the same vein that your baby will be missing out a lot on these benefits when you don’t make reading a part of your baby’s daily routine. Here are five things your baby will miss.”(more)

Study shows the quality of early education programs matter

WLFI – Ali Ingersoll

““Early education is crucial,” Kathy Doody told News 18’s sister station WWLP. She is the early childhood program director at Buffalo State College. She says more and more people are seeing the value in early childhood education and that’s why programs are evolving and expanding. “We know that exposure to good education and early childhood really sets the stage for academic career,” said Doody.”(more)

Between the ears: How music skills may help babies learn language

The Seattle Times – John Higgins

“Music educators cheered after the long-overdue rewrite of the federal education law, which passed last year, specified that music and art are part of a “well-rounded education” – not luxuries to be ditched whenever budgets get tight. While music has value all by itself, researchers have long noticed that musicians also tend to be better at learning languages and show other enhanced reading and math abilities. Much of that research hasn’t determined whether learning to play an instrument should get the credit or if something else explains the association of music instruction and other skills.”(more)

Guide covers how to improve school culture

E-School News – Staff Writer

“Four schools share quick and easy practices to improve attendance, reduce discipline referrals and suspensions, and increase academic achievement. The research is clear: the culture of a school can have a direct impact on student learning and achievement. To help school and district leaders create a more positive culture and kickstart their journey toward improved school performance, Kickboard has published a new how-to guide titled, “Quick School Culture Tips for School & District Leaders.” In this free guide, four school leaders from districts around the country share eight simple strategies to increase attendance, reduce discipline referrals, reduce suspensions, and improve academic achievement. Even better, each of these practices takes 10 minutes or less.”(more)