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Input Compassion Output Results

The Huffington Post – Regina Jackson

“Imagine a classroom blustering with energy. All hands up in the air. Why are they excited? It’s reading time! The enthusiasm of an engaged, confident reader is infectious. They cannot wait to travel through books, to make discoveries, and to unlock mysteries. Yes, the enthusiastic reader is like finding a pot of gold… Unfortunately, many classrooms in Oakland do not look like this yet. In OUSD, nearly two-thirds of third graders are reading below grade level. For our African American and Latino students, that number is even lower with 30% of African American third graders proficient in reading and only 25% for Latinos. These numbers hit even harder when you realize that politicians use third grade reading proficiency as an indicator of the likelihood of graduating from high school and even being incarcerated. The school to prison pipeline is REAL. These numbers tell us that our classrooms in Oakland are not yet brimming with the enthusiastic, confident readers we hope for.”(more)

Is speed reading a waste of time?

The Guardian – Pete Etchells

“We are constantly surrounded by information, whether it’s emails, Facebook posts, or revision notes. Fluent readers can average a rate of 200-400 words per minute, so there is only so much content that one person can get through in a day. But what if we were able to double, or even triple, that rate? Would a faster reading speed mean that we could learn more? Some people claim that it’s possible. In July last year, six-time speed reading champion Anne Jones sat down to read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Just 25 minutes and 31 seconds later, she was finished – which equates to a reading rate of around 3,700 words per minute. Jones runs training courses teaching speed reading, recall and concentration techniques and there are numerous speed reading apps that have appeared on the market over the past few years. But do they actually work? First, we need to understand how we read.”(more)

This district’s blended learning program is putting struggling readers back on track

E-School News – Judith Culang and Linda Baker

“In Neshaminy School District, northeast of Philadelphia, nearly 20 percent of our struggling K–2 students spend 30 minutes a day, five days a week in small-group reading intervention. To limit the time these students spend in intervention programs, we have an “all hands on deck” approach: With parental involvement and our blended learning model, Neshaminy educators identify and build upon students’ strengths to lay the foundation for reading success. Our blended model starts with an engaging digital curriculum, one-to-one instruction, and small-group work. After we implemented this approach districtwide last year, we saw enormous growth in a majority of our students, especially among struggling or reluctant readers. Ten to 15 percent of students entering the intervention program at the start of the school year were able to “graduate” and transition back to the traditional classroom by January. We have found that by focusing on phonics and the skills needed to decode the English language, our students are able to bring what they’ve learned into the classroom, effectively bridging the gap between intervention and our ELA curriculum.”(more)

Mix a little math into that bedtime story

The Hechinger Report – Chris Berdik

“For many families, reading is as much a part of summer as cookouts and camp. But as the weather warms, math is often banished along with mittens and sweaters. And that’s a problem. Studies of “summer math loss” find that the average kid forgets more than two months of math over the break. The numbers are worse for lower-income students, and those losses pile up, contributing to math achievement gaps. Can education technology help put the brakes on summer backsliding? Early research on summer math-practice apps suggests they come up short. Maybe we’d have better luck using tech that changes how kids and their families relate to math all year round.”(more)

Where Books Are All But Nonexistent

The Atlantic – Alia Wong

Forty-five million. That’s how many words a typical child in a white-collar family will hear before age 4. The number is striking, not because it’s a lot of words for such a small human—the vast majority of a person’s neural connections, after all, are formed by age 3—but because of how it stacks up against a poor kid’s exposure to vocabulary. By the time she’s 4, a child on welfare might only have heard 13 million words. This disparity is well-documented. It’s the subject of myriad news stories and government programs, as well as the Clinton Foundation’s “Too Small to Fail” initiative, all of which send the message that low-income parents should talk and read to their children more. But these efforts to close the “word gap” often overlook a fundamental problem. In high-poverty neighborhoods, books—the very things that could supply so many of those 30 million-plus words—are hard to come by. In many poor homes, they’re nonexistent.”(more)

Summer Reading Tips To Prevent ‘Summer Brain Drain’

The Huffington Post – Stephanie Dua and Keith Meacham

“Summer’s here, and even though school is out, experts recommend that even the youngest children should practice their reading every day. According to the National Summer Learning Association, many children lose ground over the summer. The research shows that low-income students are at particular risk. While gaps in student achievement remain relatively constant during the school year between low and middle income students, those gaps widen significantly during the summer. Some children lose two-to-three months in reading. As moms, educators and the creators of Learn With Homer, the #1 Learn to Read program, we spend our days thinking about how to make literacy learning fun and effective for young children. Here we’d like to offer a few simple tips to keep kids learning even in these lazy days of summer:”(more)