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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)