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Seven ways to boost your child’s literacy without spending a cent

Stuff – Rachel Browne

“Parents wanting to polish their preschooler’s literacy and numeracy skills are better off asking them to try writing out a Christmas wish list rather than buying every item on it. That’s the verdict from new research from Sydney’s Macquarie University, which found an improvement in the skills of young children who used writing and counting in practical ways such as making lists or composing letters. Lead study author and lecturer at Macquarie University’s Institute of Early Childhood Dr Yeshe Colliver said parents often felt pressured to buy pricey apps and educational toys in the belief they would boost brain power.”(more)

Young children’s spatial talk predicts their spatial abilities

Medical X-Press – Chris Barncard

“It’s not how many words a kid knows; it’s how they choose them that tells Hilary Miller the most about their spatial skills. That grasp of the layout of their physical word—understanding where they are relative to a friend, imagining how to rotate puzzle pieces to fit them together, conjuring a mental map of the park—is important.”(more)

Sedentary lifestyle may impair academic performance in boys

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A sedentary lifestyle is linked to poorer reading skills in the first three school years in 6-8 year old boys, according to a new study from Finland. The study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland in collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Cambridge was recently published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. “Low levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and high levels of sedentary time in Grade 1 were related to better reading skills in Grades 1-3 among boys. We also observed that boys who had a combination of low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary time had the poorest reading skills through Grades 1-3,” explains Eero Haapala, PhD, from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyväskylä.”(more)

State’s teacher shortage hitting ‘alarming rates’ for 2016-17, new survey says

Ed Source – Fermin Leal

“California’s teacher shortage is worsening, with many districts struggling to find enough qualified teachers to fill vacancies, according to a new statewide survey by the Learning Policy Institute and the California School Boards Association. Among the 211 districts that participated in the survey – about a fifth of all the state’s districts – 75 percent indicated having a shortage of qualified teachers for the current 2016-17 school year, with the greatest needs in large cities and for those seeking special education teachers.”(more)

How Science Is Rewiring The Dyslexic Brain

NPR – Gabrielle Emanuel

“Learning to read requires co-opting parts of the brain and training them to recognize letters, clump those letters together into small units, relate those units to sounds and, eventually, blend those sounds together into a word. For millions of people with dyslexia — the most common learning disability in the U.S. — that process doesn’t come easily.”(more)