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Picture overload hinders children’s word learning from storybooks

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“While publishers look to produce ever more colourful and exciting texts to entice buyers, University of Sussex psychologists have shown that having more than one illustration per page results in poorer word learning among pre-schoolers. The findings, published in Infant and Child Development, present a simple solution to parents and nursery teachers for some of the challenges of pre-school education and could help in the development of learning materials for young children.”(more)

Summer Reading For The College-Bound

NPR – Julie Depenbrock

“Luckily, she and other Duke freshmen have a built-in conversation starter: the reading they’ve all been assigned — Richard Blanco’s Prince of Los Cocuyos. “I’m excited about it. It gives us something extra to talk about — common ground we might not otherwise have,” says Catrett. And that’s what many colleges and universities across the country are going for. Schools often call it their common reading program; some are just for freshmen, and for others, the entire campus or local community joins in.”(more)

Oral storytelling skills impact reading differently for African American boys and girls

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“The oral storytelling skills of African American preschoolers make a difference in how quickly their reading skills develop, according to a new study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Researchers say the effect is much different for girls and boys. “Knowing how to tell a clear and coherent story is an important skill for helping young children to develop strong reading skills, which, in turn, can help them to be successful across a number of different subjects in school,” said FPG advanced research scientist Nicole Gardner-Neblett. “Prior research suggests that historical and cultural factors foster strong storytelling skills among African American children, which has implications for their development as readers.'”(more)

Reading and Math Scores: ‘Handle with Care’

Education Next – Frederick Hess

“Just how much do gains on reading and math gains on state tests tell us about school quality? This week, Stanford University’s CREDO released its authoritative new study of charter school management organizations. Using its highly regarded “matching” technique in which each charter student is paired with a district-based “virtual twin,” CREDO consistently provides the best, most deliberate analysis we have of reading and math performance in charter schools. So, what should we take from CREDO’s findings?.”(more)

Reading for pleasure falls after primary school years

BBC – Katherine Sellgren

“Only one-third of teenage boys in the UK say they enjoy reading, a study by the National Literacy Trust suggests. The Trust found a significant drop in boys’ reading enjoyment between the ages of eight and 16 – from 72% at ages eight-to-11 to 36% at ages 14-16. Girls’ pleasure in picking up a book also dropped off in the teenage years, though not quite as markedly. At ages eight-to-11, 83% of girls said they enjoyed reading, but this dropped back to 53% at ages 14-16. Director of the NLT Jonathan Douglas said: “Young people’s love of reading steadily declines from the day they leave primary school to the day they leave secondary school – particularly when it comes to boys. “This is a trend we must reverse.” Mr Douglas said an increasing number of academic, social and leisure priorities, as well as a curriculum that puts more emphasis on homework and study, all played their part.”(more)

4 ways to tie summer reading to the real world

E-School News – Kathy Powers

“Want to hear the story about the most embarrassing moment of my life? My students sure did. I tell that story, much to the delight of my fifth graders, to teach a way to approach plot in narrative writing. Stories are powerful instructional tools, and as humans, our brains are wired to respond to them. Storytelling, which can teach us about ourselves, about possibilities, and about culture, is such a powerful learning tool that it is even being used to teach robots. Though cultural literacy is tricky to teach to middle schoolers, cyber resources—perfect for summer—are now available to help; and nothing tells the story of our culture better than the Smithsonian Institution. I cannot bring all of my students to the museums in D.C., but now, through technology, I can bring the Smithsonian to them through the Smithsonian Learning Lab. The Lab offers more than a million digital images, recordings and texts from across the Smithsonian along with interactive tools to collect, customize and augment them.”(more)