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How to support literacy in the classroom, part 1

E-School News – Alicia Levi

“Today, 25 million children in the United States are not proficient readers. While this is, indeed, a crisis, it’s one that I firmly believe we can solve. Reading is the fundamental building block required for life’s journey. From being college ready to launching a successful career or even managing personal finances, every child must first learn to read.” (more)

Dolly Parton Gives The Gift Of Literacy: A Library Of 100 Million Books

NPR – Maureen Pao

“The Library of Congress hosted a very special guest at story time this week: Dolly Parton. The country music legend is also a champion of early childhood literacy, through her Imagination Library. Every month, the nonprofit program mails a free book to more than a million children — from infants to preschoolers. Parton visited the Library of Congress on Tuesday to celebrate a major milestone in the Imagination Library’s history: delivery of its 100 millionth book. Not bad for a program Parton founded more than two decades ago as a small, local effort to help kids in her native Sevier County, Tennessee.” (more)

A Powerful Approach to Reading Instruction

Edutopia – Jessica Hamman

“Structured Literacy is a term coined in 2016 by the International Dyslexia Association to unify the many names for this research-based approach. Also known as Orton-Gillingham, phonics-based reading instruction, systematic reading instruction, and synthetic phonics (among others), this method has been around for nearly a century. In the late 1920s, physician Samuel T. Orton partnered with Teacher’s College educator Anna Gillingham to create a method of reading instruction that would better support the needs of his patients with reading difficulties. He believed that these difficulties were brain-based and not supported by the popular rote memorization method used to teach reading at the time.” (more)

Don’t knock kids for rereading books. Encourage them to read, full stop

The Guardian – Andrew McCallum

“The report comes from Renaissance Learning, which runs the Accelerated Reader programme in schools. This directs pupils to choose books based on their assessed reading age. It has a vested interest in constructing reading as a linear process to be tracked and measured. Is reading development really this simple though? I would argue that it’s much more complicated, particularly in the early teenage years. Of course we want children to tackle more challenging material as they grow older. But there are good reasons not to worry if your 13-year-old is yet again reading Walliams’s Billionaire Boy, so long as they still enjoy reading, do it regularly, and have teachers who can gradually nudge them towards new material.” (more)

Progress in reading stalls at secondary school. It should be a priority

The Guardian – Keith Topping

“We have a persistent problem encouraging secondary school pupils to read challenging and age-appropriate books. The tenth annual What Kids Are Reading Report, which analysed the reading habits of almost one million school pupils from 4,364 schools that use the Accelerated Reader assessment programme, found that this is true across Britain and Ireland. The report revealed that progress made by pupils in primary school halts when they transfer to secondary school and, from then on, the gap between students’ reading ability and their age grows wider each year. Worryingly, by the later years of secondary school many students are reading books that are no harder than those in primary school.” (more)

Eye exams linked to kids’ reading levels

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Elementary school children who read below grade level may have challenges with their eyesight even if standard tests show they see 20/20, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo. The study showed that children with reading challenges may have lower than expected binocular vision test results, something a standard eye exam may overlook.” (more)