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Four-year-olds’ name-writing ability predicts their later achievement, research finds

TES – Kaye Wiggins

“Children who can write their name well when they start school perform better than other children at reading and maths later in life, research has found. The study, by Durham University and published today, shows name-writing ability is a “robust predictor” of later academic ability. It says that teachers should look at children’s name-writing skills as a way to identify underlying difficulties and offer extra support to those who are struggling. But it also finds that although there is a correlation, there is no evidence of a causal relationship between children’s ability to write their names and their later academic achievement…”(more)

To Teach Kids To Read And Write, Sometimes You Have To Get Creative

NPR Ed – Beth Fertig, Stella M. Chávez & Jonna McKone

“Take a look at your hand, right or left, it doesn’t matter. Now imagine every finger represents a word. How many sentences can you come up with? I think therefore I am. Don’t sweat the small stuff. All you need is love. Ximena Martinez, from Texas, thought this one was good: “Las naranjas son muy ricas.” Translation: The oranges are very delicious. She’s a native Spanish-speaker and preschooler at Kramer Elementary School in Dallas. Her teacher, Jorge Ruiz, always asks his young students to speak in complete sentences. That’s because research shows that if children aren’t reading proficiently by third grade, they’re four times more likely to drop out of high school. “We’ve known for quite some time in education that there’s an incredibly strong link between oral language development and future reading abilities” — no matter what language kids speak, says Alan Cohen. He’s the brains behind this seemingly simple effort by the Dallas Independent School District to improve literacy by getting preschool through second-grade students to express themselves in full sentences.”(more)

World Bank Study Shows Shanghai’s #1 Global Ranking in Reading, Math, & Science Rests on Strong Education System with Great Teachers

The World Bank – Staff Writer

“A new World Bank report shows that Shanghai’s stellar performance on international tests of student learning is linked to a strong education system with efficient public financing. Shanghai’s policies and investments have created a great teacher workforce, established clear learning standards and regular student assessments, and struck a balance between autonomy and accountability in school management. The comprehensive evaluation was conducted using SABER, the World Bank’s global platform for benchmarking education systems, and complemented with detailed school surveys. Released today, “How Shanghai Does It,” notes that the city’s education system stands out as one of the strongest in the world because it translates smart education policies into excellent learning results. Backed by this dynamic system, Shanghai has topped two consecutive rounds of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests in reading, mathematics and science. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) administers these tests to assess how well 15-year-olds have acquired the knowledge and skills needed to fully participate in knowledge-driven societies.”(more)

School Choice Boosts Test Scores

Education Next – Patrick J. Wolf

“Private school choice remains a controversial education reform. Choice programs, involving school vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, or Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), provide financial support to families who wish to access private schooling for their child…there are now 50 private school choice programs in 26 states plus the District of Columbia…But does it work?…The sum of the reliable evidence indicates that, on average, private school choice increases the reading scores of choice users by about 0.27 standard deviations and their math scores by 0.15 standard deviations. These are highly statistically significant, educationally meaningful achievement gains of several months of additional learning from school choice.”(more)

How Teens Benefit From Reading About the Struggles of Scientists

KQED News Mind/Shift – Deborah Farmer Kris

“What kind of people can become scientists? When a group of researchers posed that question to ninth- and 10th-graders, almost every student gave empowering responses, such as “People who work hard” or “Anyone who seems interested in the field of science.” But despite these generalized beliefs, many of these same students struggled to imagine themselves as scientists, citing concerns such as “I’m not good at science” and “Even if I work hard, I will not do well.” It’s understandable that students might find imagining themselves as scientists a stretch — great achievements in science get far more attention than the failed experiments, so it’s easy to see a scientist’s work as stemming from an innate talent. Additionally, several science fields have a long way to go to be more inclusive of women and underrepresented minorities.”(more)

Through The Looking Glass: How Children’s Books Have Grown Up

NPR – Byrd Pinkerton

“It might seem totally obvious: Children should read fun, fantastical books in the classroom and outside of it, so they can learn to love to read. But it turns out that this particular view of children’s books is relatively new. American classrooms have had some form of children’s books since the 17th century, but the books teachers have used, and the way they use them, have changed dramatically. For our Tools of the Trade series, we decided to go back to the beginning.”(more)