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How To Talk With Kids About Terrible Things

NPR – Cory Turner

“For the more than 3,000 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday’s mass shooting was terrifying and life-changing. But what of the tens of millions of other children, in schools across the country, who have since heard about what happened and now struggle with their own feelings of fear, confusion and uncertainty? For their parents and teachers, we’ve put together a quick primer with help from the National Association of School Psychologists and Melissa Reeves, a former NASP president and co-author of its PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention curriculum.” (more)

Back-and-forth exchanges boost children’s brain response to language

Medical X-Press – Anne Trafton

“A landmark 1995 study found that children from higher-income families hear about 30 million more words during their first three years of life than children from lower-income families. This “30-million-word gap” correlates with significant differences in tests of vocabulary, language development, and reading comprehension. MIT cognitive scientists have now found that conversation between an adult and a child appears to change the child’s brain, and that this back-and-forth conversation is actually more critical to language development than the word gap.” (more)

The Key To Raising A Happy Child

NPR – Cory Turner

“For much of the past half-century, children, adolescents and young adults in the U.S. have been saying they feel as though their lives are increasingly out of their control. At the same time, rates of anxiety and depression have risen steadily. What’s the fix? Feeling in control of your own destiny. Let’s call it “agency.” “Agency may be the one most important factor in human happiness and well-being.” So write William Stixrud and Ned Johnson in their new book, The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. Feeling out of control can cause debilitating stress and destroy self-motivation.” (more)

What to do if your child hates reading

News.Com.Au – Lisa Mayoh

“HOW do you turn a child who hates reading into a little bookworm? Much of it begins at home and experts say even the most reluctant little reader can learn to love books if parents and caregivers follow a few simple steps. Start by making it part of family life, every single day. And that doesn’t just mean reading to your child: it means discovering the magic of books and the printed word together.” (more)

Are We Committed to Raising School Standards?

Education Next – Chester E. Finn, Jr.

“In an important and mostly depressing New Year’s Day column in The Washington Post, veteran education journalist Jay Mathews describes the on-again, off-again “carnival ride” to “raise school standards” that he’s observed over the past half century. “We love making schools more accountable,” Mathews writes. “Then, we hate the idea.” He cites a pair of recent setbacks. First, the striking decline in states that require high school students to pass a statewide exit test before receiving their high school diplomas.”(more)

Finally, a guide to parent engagement that works every time

E-School News – Meris Stansbury

“Parent engagement in their child’s education is key to successful growth, but consistently engaging parents is at the top of the list of teacher frustration. Teachers must establish communication with parents by figuring out what works best for them and showing that they are a team when it comes to their child.”(more)