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The Best Ways to Build Strong Early Reading Skills

The Huffington Post – Merete L. Kropp

“Filled with good intentions, some parents employ popular strategies with the goal of building strong readers from infancy in the years leading up to their child entering school. A number of adults mistakenly assume that drill and practice techniques or memorization are the most effective ways for their young child to learn to read. Alphabet puzzles, flashcards and leveled readers are introduced and rehearsed as though children are computers that can be fed bits of information that the brain will synthesize and spit out as reading ability. Research on reading acquisition tells a different story.”(more)

Kids Who Believe They Can’t Sing Tend to Quit Music Education

Psych Central – Traci Pedersen

“Elementary school children who have confidence in their own musical abilities are more likely to continue their music education through middle school, while those with poor musical self-concept are more likely to opt out of music class — regardless of their true talent for singing or even their love of music, according to new research at Northwestern University. For the study, the researchers took a close look at the attitudes and beliefs that help determine whether children will continue to take music classes in middle school and how these factors relate to their actual singing ability.”(more)

The Top 10 Higher Education Issues We All Agree On

Forbes – Ama Nyamekye

“It’s easy to see how extreme partisanship could extend beyond for-profit colleges into core higher education. Raucous debates about immigration and freedom of speech are highly relevant to colleges and universities. So as we witness today’s inauguration of President Trump, it’s important to recognize that the many challenges and opportunities facing higher education lend themselves to bipartisan consensus – perhaps more than any other area of public policy. Because areas of agreement in higher education far exceed areas of disagreement, both sides of the aisle ought to be able to support a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that will materially improve outcomes – particularly for the nearly half of working adults (and especially young adults) who feel that no matter what they do, they’re unable to get ahead and, in fact, are falling behind, and whom traditional colleges and universities are not adequately serving. One area of agreement is that rankings are far too important in setting direction for America’s colleges and universities. To draw attention to this fact (and, cravenly, to draw rankings-obsessed readers), what follows is a ranking of what we all agree on as President Trump takes office.”(more)

Teachers want to partner with policymakers to help students

Ed Source – Ama Nyamekye

“As California lawmakers settle in for a new legislative session, we want to share policy ideas for how they can best support teachers, students and education equity. As a teacher-founded nonprofit, Educators 4 Excellence works to ensure that classroom teachers are included in the policy discussions that affect their students and their profession. Our Los Angeles chapter worked with more than 50 public school teacher-leaders from across the city to identify five ways our teachers want to partner with policymakers to make meaningful changes for students.”(more)

We must teach children about life online if they are to thrive in the real world

The Telegraph – Douglas Lloyd

“Last week the Children’s Commissioner issued a report, prepared by the Growing Up Digital Taskforce, which highlighted how childhoods are being dramatically affected because of what children access on the internet. Combined with a survey by Mumsnet, which found that 73 percent of parents are worried about their children accessing inappropriate content online, the Commissioner’s report states that children are not being educated or supported for their life online in the same way that they are prepared for life offline.”(more)

Five Compelling Reasons For Teaching Spatial Reasoning To Young Children

KQED News Mind/Shift – Staff Writer

“Our journey began when we conducted an extensive literature review at the outset of the project (Bruce, Flynn, & Moss, 2012) and learned about the crucial importance of spatial reasoning. This theme was consistent across many research disciplines, including biology, cognitive sciences, psychology, developmental sciences, education, as well as educational neuroscience—an emerging transdisciplinary field which sits at the intersection of these other disciplines and aims for a collaborative approach in which educational theory and practice are informed by new findings in the cognitive sciences, and vice versa (Fisher, 2009). We also learned—and have experienced in our careers as mathematics educators and researchers—that spatial reasoning is a curiously unacknowledged and neglected area of the curriculum. During our involvement with the M4YC project, we have become more and more convinced of reasons why we should pay attention to spatial reasoning in early years mathematics. Below we offer our Top Five reasons why, as educators, we should care about spatial thinking when we plan, observe, and assess mathematics in our classrooms.”(more)