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Guest opinion: Reading before age 5 makes all the difference

The Post-Independent – Rick Blauvelt

” Learning to read is an amazing achievement. Children enter the world with no knowledge of language, and within six or seven years, they are readers. For most children, the process begins long before kindergarten or primary school as they learn language, gain verbal skills, and build basic knowledge about words, sentences and the alphabet. A large body of research confirms positive correlations between language development during the first five years of life and reading success later in life. A recent study at Stanford found that toddlers with more vocabulary – those who could immediately point to the correct item when asked – developed brains that literally processed information faster. It is easy to imagine a compounding impact. When a child hears more language and recognizes more words, her brain begins to process information faster and her learning accelerates. Similar studies have shown that children in low-verbal households can enter school two years behind in their language development, and that this lack of language starts to harm the child’s IQ.”(more)

First-day fear? The countdown to September starts here

The Telegraph – Susanna Pinkus

“Your child’s primary place may not long have been confirmed and you may feel you can relax, as that start in the autumn term still seems far away. But starting school is a daunting prospect for any five-year-old, and many children can struggle to make the transition happily. Preparing your child for the move this term can go a long way to securing a successful start in September. Starting “big school” can often feel overwhelming – for both children and parents. And when there is little communication in advance with the school, apart perhaps from a last-minute visit by school staff to your home, school itself can seem an unknown and daunting prospect.”(more)

Parents now bribe children to get them to read, study finds

The Telegraph – Javier Espinoza

“Parents now need to bribe children in a bid to make them read at bedtime rather than use iphones and other gadgets, a new survey has revealed. Rewards include late bedtimes, sweets and chocolate, screen time, money and trips to these parks and zoos. Teachers are also offering incentives with nearly eight in ten saying they give stickers and three in ten promise creative activities, such as drawing or painting in exchange for extra reading time.”(more)

14 Books That Connect Students With Valuable Scientists’ Struggles

KQED News Mind/Shift – Deborah Farmer Kris

“TTeens who read about the personal and intellectual struggles of scientists feel more motivated to learn science. That was the finding of a recent study out of Teachers College, Columbia University and the University of Washington. Why? Many high school students view scientific ability as a fixed trait that is not responsive to effort. As the researchers wrote: “When students struggle in science classes, they may misperceive their struggle as an indication that they are not good at science and will never succeed.” When students learn about how even famous scientists struggled, they began to see that learning and growing from setbacks is part of a successful professional journey.”(more)

Lesson Study: When Teachers Team Up to Improve Teaching

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“This kind of detailed observation of student work is the focus of a kind of professional development called lesson study. Wolak can better understand how her students are thinking by having other teachers in her classroom focused on the students (as opposed to evaluating her performance). The teachers are looking for misconceptions, but also interesting ways students approach problems and how well they can talk through what they did.”(more)

Op-Ed: Underrepresented Groups Need Hand Up, Not Handout, in STEM Education

The U.S. News and World Report – Vince Bertram

“About 100 middle-school boys in the nation’s capital are set to take part in a new technology-education program in late June that will teach them, among other things, 3-D modeling and app development. In so doing, the black and Hispanic youths chosen for the Verizon Minority Male Makers Program will be exposed to future career opportunities in the technology sector, a field where minorities have traditionally been underrepresented.”(more)