Tag Archives: Literacy and Your Child

University of Buffalo study: Phonics is a useful tool in learning

30 Jan

PBS Parents has a very good primer on phonics:

What is phonics?
Phonics is simply the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language. When your kindergartener learns that the letter B has the sound of /b/ and your second-grader learns that “tion” sounds like /shun/, they are learning phonics.

Why is phonics important?
Learning phonics will help your children learn to read and spell. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of letters and letter combinations will help your child decode words as he reads. Knowing phonics will also help your child know which letters to use as he writes words.

When is phonics usually taught?
Your child will probably learn phonics in kindergarten through second grade. In kindergarten, children usually learn the sounds of the consonant letters (all letters except the vowels a, e, i, o, and u). First- and second-graders typically learn all the sounds of letters, letter combinations, and word parts (such as “ing” and “ed”). They practice reading and spelling words containing those letters and patterns. Second-graders typically review and practice the phonics skills they have learned to make spelling and reading smooth and automatic…. http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-tips/phonics-basics/

See, Phonics Instruction http://www.readingrockets.org/article/phonics-instruction and Understanding Phonics http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understand-phonics

Science Daily reported in Concentrating on word sounds helps reading instruction and intervention:

A neuroimaging study by a University at Buffalo psychologist suggests that phonics, a method of learning to read using knowledge of word sounds, shouldn’t be overlooked in favor of a whole-language technique that focuses on visually memorizing word patterns, a finding that could help improve treatment and diagnosis of common reading disorders such as dyslexia.

“Phonological information is critical for helping identify words as they’re being read,” says Chris McNorgan, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, whose study, “Skill dependent audiovisual integration in the fusiform induces repetition suppression,” used MRI scans to observe how parts of the brain responded to audio and visual word cues. The results are published in the most recent edition of Brain & Language.

A better reader is someone whose visual processing is more sensitive to audio information, according to the study’s results.

“There are applications here not just for reading disorders, but also for how children are taught to read in the classroom,” he says.

Barring injury, McNorgan says, all parts of the brain are working at all times, contrary to the myth that it functions at only a fraction of its capacity. However, different parts of the brain are specialized for different types of activities that trigger some regions to work harder than others.
With reading, the Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) is excited when it encounters familiar letter combinations. But most activities require communication between different brain regions and coordination with sensory systems, like an outfielder watching a baseball while the brain programs the motor system to catch it…..
Concentrating on word sounds helps reading instruction and intervention
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150128141425.htm

Citation:

Concentrating on word sounds helps reading instruction and intervention
Date: January 28, 2015

Source: University at Buffalo
Summary:
A neuroimaging study by psychologist suggests that phonics shouldn’t be overlooked in favor of a whole-language technique, a finding that could help improve treatment and diagnosis of common reading disorders.
Brain Lang. 2015 Feb;141:110-23. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2014.12.002. Epub 2015 Jan 9.
Skill dependent audiovisual integration in the fusiform induces repetition suppression.
McNorgan C1, Booth JR2.
Author information
Abstract
Learning to read entails mapping existing phonological representations to novel orthographic representations and is thus an ideal context for investigating experience driven audiovisual integration. Because two dominant brain-based theories of reading development hinge on the sensitivity of the visual-object processing stream to phonological information, we were interested in how reading skill relates to audiovisual integration in this area. Thirty-two children between 8 and 13years of age spanning a range of reading skill participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment. Participants completed a rhyme judgment task to word pairs presented unimodally (auditory- or visual-only) and cross-modally (auditory followed by visual). Skill-dependent sub-additive audiovisual modulation was found in left fusiform gyrus, extending into the putative visual word form area, and was correlated with behavioral orthographic priming. These results suggest learning to read promotes facilitatory audiovisual integration in the ventral visual-object processing stream and may optimize this region for orthographic processing.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Here is the press release from the University of Buffalo:

Press Release
Concentrating on word sounds helps reading instruction and intervention

UB researcher’s findings point to the value of word sounds over visual processing during reading instruction or when diagnosing and treating reading disorders
By Bert Gambini
Release Date: January 26, 2015

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A neuroimaging study by a University at Buffalo psychologist suggests that phonics, a method of learning to read using knowledge of word sounds, shouldn’t be overlooked in favor of a whole-language technique that focuses on visually memorizing word patterns, a finding that could help improve treatment and diagnosis of common reading disorders such as dyslexia.

“Phonological information is critical for helping identify words as they’re being read,” says Chris McNorgan, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, whose study, “Skill dependent audiovisual integration in the fusiform induces repetition suppression,” used MRI scans to observe how parts of the brain responded to audio and visual word cues. The results are published in the most recent edition of Brain & Language.

A better reader is someone whose visual processing is more sensitive to audio information, according to the study’s results.

“There are applications here not just for reading disorders, but also for how children are taught to read in the classroom,” he says.

Barring injury, McNorgan says, all parts of the brain are working at all times, contrary to the myth that it functions at only a fraction of its capacity. However, different parts of the brain are specialized for different types of activities that trigger some regions to work harder than others.

With reading, the Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) is excited when it encounters familiar letter combinations. But most activities require communication between different brain regions and coordination with sensory systems, like an outfielder watching a baseball while the brain programs the motor system to catch it.

How this communication happens while reading – which requires visual and auditory knowledge – and to what extent is less clear. So McNorgan’s study looked for what’s known as top-down influence of auditory knowledge in the VWFA.

Think of a bottom-up process as a flow of information that begins with the visual system feeding neurons that detect basic features in words such as line orientation that eventually leads to word recognition. A top-down process implies that some other information enters that flow of visual recognition – information like the knowledge of the word sounds.

“This auditory knowledge can be used to help rule out some letter combinations. For example, many words end in ISK or ASK. For a few milliseconds there may be some ambiguity among the neurons trying to figure out whether that last letter is a K or an X,” said McNorgan. “Since you don’t have any words ending in ISX in your verbal repertoire, this helps rule out the possibility that you read the word DISX and instead read the word as DISK.”

To find evidence of this top-down input, researchers presented subjects with wide ranges of reading abilities between the ages of 8 and 13 with word pairs. The subjects had to determine if the words rhymed while an MRI scanner monitored their brain activity.

The experiment used three sets of conditions when presenting the word pairs: subjects first read the word pairs (visual-only); then heard the word pairs (auditory-only); and lastly, a combination of sight and sound, hearing the first word but reading the second (audio-visual). The MRI scanner determined which parts of the brain were most active during each condition by displaying a three dimensional representation of the brain, made up of what look like a series of cubes, called voxels.

“Think of the voxels as LEGOS assembled together to make a 3D model of the brain. Each cube has a measurement of activation strength that allows us to understand of what’s happening in each area under all three of the conditions,” said McNorgan.

The resulting images, he said, comprise something like a movie reel, with approximately one frame passing every two seconds. Signal strength is then measured in each voxel under all the condition across all the snapshots in time.

“Looking at the voxels in a particular brain area, if the signal strengths associated with two different conditions differ, then you have some evidence that brain area processes information about the two conditions differently,” says McNorgan.

To make sense of the results through all the conditions, researchers take the sum of the auditory-only and visual-only signals and compare that to the strength of the audio-visual condition. This helps them distinguish between multisensory sensory neurons, which become excited by audio-visual information, and collections of heterogeneous unisensory neurons, a mix of visual-only and auditory-only that respond excitedly to one or the other.

“If the audio-visual response is greater than the sum of the auditory-only and the visual-only, this suggests that getting both types of inputs causes these neurons to fire for longer periods of time. This is a superadditive effect,” says McNorgan. “An audio-visual response less than that sum suggests that getting both types of inputs causes these neurons to fire for less time. This is a subadditive effect.”
This subadditivity is associated with higher reading scores and faster responses to similarly spelled words, the reading equivalent to having a head start in a race.

“As you learn how to read, your brain starts to make more use of top-down information about the sounds of letter combinations in order to recognize them as parts of words,” says McNorgan. “This information gives your word-recognition system a leg-up, allowing it to respond more quickly. The multisensory neurons are getting the job done sooner, so they don’t need to fire for as long. Better readers seem to have more of these neurons taking advantage of auditory information to help the visual word recognition system along.”

Early intervention and basic instruction would counterintuitively involve this auditory information, “thinking more about the sounds of different words instead of concentrating on recognizing words,” says McNorgan.
Media Contact Information
Bert Gambini
News Content Manager, Economics, Media Study and Psychology
Tel: 716-645-5334
gambini@buffalo.edu
– See more at: Concentrating on word sounds helps reading instruction and intervention – University at Buffalo
http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2015/01/028.html

This study shows that there are many things to be learned about how to effectively teach reading skills to those who are struggling.

Related:

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum

https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement

https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important

https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

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Common Sense Media report: Raising more ‘useful idiots,’ children don’t read enough and well

12 May

Moi wrote in High – low books: Custom reading texts may help challenged readers:
This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.
The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.
As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy. http://education-portal.com/articles/Illiteracy_The_Downfall_of_American_Society.html

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read…. https://drwilda.com/2014/05/04/high-low-books-custom-reading-texts-may-help-challenged-readers/

Andrew M. Seaman of Reuters reported in the article, Reading Report Shows American Children Lack Proficiency, Interest:

Although American children still spend part of their days reading, they are spending less time doing it for pleasure than decades ago, with significant gaps in proficiency, according to a report released on Monday.

The San Francisco-based nonprofit Common Sense Media, which focuses on the effects of media and technology on children, published the report, which brings together information from several national studies and databases.

“It raises an alarm,” said Vicky Rideout, the lead author of the report. “We’re witnessing a really large drop in reading among teenagers and the pace of that drop is getting faster and faster.”

The report found that the percentage of nine-year-old children reading for pleasure once or more per week had dropped from 81 percent in 1984 to 76 percent in 2013, based on government studies. There were even larger decreases among older children.

A large portion rarely read for pleasure. About a third of 13-year-olds and almost half of 17-year-olds reported in one study that they read for pleasure less than twice a year.

Of those who read or are read to, children tend to spend on average between 30 minutes and an hour daily with that activity, the report found. Older children and teenagers tend to read for pleasure for an equally long time each day.

Rideout cautioned that there may be difference in how people encounter text and the included studies may not take into account stories read online or on social media.

The report also found that many young children are struggling with literacy. Only about one-third of fourth grade students are “proficient” in reading and another one-third scored below “basic” reading skills.

Despite the large percentage of children with below-basic reading skills, reading scores among young children have improved since the 1970s, according to one test that measures reading ability.

The reading scores among 17-year-olds, however, remained relatively unchanged since the 1970s.

About 46 percent of white children are considered “proficient” in reading, compared with 18 percent of black children and 20 percent of Hispanic kids.

Those gaps remained relatively unchanged over the past 20 years, according to the report.

“To go 20 years with no progress in that area is shameful,” Rideout said…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/12/reading-report-_n_5307509.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

Citation:

Children, Teens, and Reading
A Common Sense Media Research Brief
May 12, 2014
Download the full report (1.02 MB)
This research review charts trends in reading rates and reading achievement over time among kids and teens in the U.S. We focus on national surveys and databases for data on children’s reading habits and reading scores, looking at differences across time, and between demographic groups. We also examine the growing literature on ereading among young people, which has largely studied attitudes toward ebooks and ereading. We conclude with a discussion of key future areas of research on reading and ereading. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/children-teens-and-reading

Here is the Common Sense Media press release:

Press room
New Report from Common Sense Media Reveals Dramatic Drop in Reading Among Teens
Report highlights how the nature of reading is changing; addresses a critical need for more research to understand new media platforms’ impact on reading
For immediate release
Monday, May 12, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Common Sense Media today announced the release of “Children, Teens, and Reading,” a research brief that offers a unique, big-picture perspective on children’s reading habits in the United States and how they may have changed during the technological revolution of recent decades. The report brings together many disparate studies on children’s reading rates and achievement for the first time, summarizing key findings and highlighting where research is scarce, incomplete, or outdated, as well as offering suggestions for new areas of study.
Society has reached a major transition point in the history of reading. From children’s earliest ages, “reading” used to mean sitting down with a book and turning pages as a story unfolded. Today it may mean sitting down with a device that offers multimedia experiences and blurs the line between books and toys. At the same time, for older children, much daily communication is now handled in short bursts of written text, such as text messages, emails, Facebook posts, and tweets. All of this has led to a major disruption in how, what, when, and where children and teens read, and there is much we don’t yet know.
Though the report finds that reading is still a big part of many children’s lives — and reading scores among young children have improved steadily — achievement among older teens has stagnated, and many children don’t read well or often.
Among the key findings:
o Reading rates have dropped precipitously among adolescents.
The proportion of children who are daily readers drops markedly from childhood to the tween and teenage years. One study documents a drop from 48% of 6- to 8-year-olds down to 24% of 15- to 17-year-olds who are daily readers; another shows a drop from 53% of 9-year-olds to 19% of 17-year-olds. According to government studies, since 1984, the percent of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70% to 53%, and the percent of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers went from 64% to 40%. The percent of 17-year-olds who never or hardly ever read tripled during this period, from 9% to 27%.
o A significant reading achievement gap persists between white, black, and Hispanic children.
Government test scores indicate that white students continue to score 21 or more points higher, on average, than black or Hispanic students. Only 18% of black and 20% of Hispanic fourth graders are rated as “proficient” in reading, compared with 46% of whites. The size of this “proficiency gap” has been largely unchanged over the past two decades.
o There is also a gender gap in reading time and achievement.
Girls read for pleasure for an average of 10 minutes more per day than boys, a gap that starts with young children and persists in the teenage years. It’s also reflected in achievement scores, with a gap of 12 percentage points in the proportion of girls vs. boys scoring “proficient” in reading in the eighth grade in 1992 and 11 points in 2012.
“Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in kids’ lives, and it’s changing the nature of how kids read and our definition of what is considered reading,” said Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. “Used wisely, technology such as ereaders could help support ongoing efforts to reduce disparities, promote reading achievement, and fuel a passion for reading among all young people, but we need more research to better understand the impact of technology on kids’ reading.”
“Children, Teens, and Reading” is part of a research effort directed by Vicky Rideout, a senior advisor to Common Sense Media, head of VJR Consulting, and director of more than 30 previous studies on children, media, and health.
“This review brings together many different government, academic, and nonprofit data sets to reveal some very clear trends,” said Rideout. “There has been a huge drop in reading among teenagers over the past 30 years, and we’ve made virtually no progress reducing the achievement gaps between girls and boys or between whites and children of color. The bottom line is there are far too many young people in this country who don’t read well enough or often enough.”
This research brief reviews national surveys and databases for trends in children’s and teens’ reading and reading achievement. Studies covered include the National Assessment of Educational Progress by the National Center for Education Statistics, The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds, Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report (4th Edition), Northwestern University’s Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology, Common Sense Media’s Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America 2013, and The Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America. For the full white paper with details on studies reviewed, the methodology of the review, and other findings, visit: http://www.commonsense.org/research
About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to: http://www.commonsense.org.
Press Contact:
Amber Whiteside
awhiteside@commonsense.org
415-269-8127
Alexis Vanni
avanni@commonsense.org
415-553-6728
###
Topics
Research/Survey Kids & Teens Media

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time.

Resources:

National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) http://nces.ed.gov/naal/lit_history.asp

Illiteracy: An Incurable Disease or Education Malpractice?
http://www.nrrf.org/essay_Illiteracy.html

Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America http://abcnews.go.com/WN/LegalCenter/story?id=4336421&page=1#.Tt8XMFbfW-c

US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments http://mathandreadinghelp.org/how_can_parents_help_their_child_prepare_for_school_assignments.html

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn http://www.classbrain.com/artread/publish/article_37.shtml

General Tips for Preparing for Kindergarten http://www.education.com/topic/preparing-for-kindergarten/

Classroom Strategies to Get Boys Reading http://gettingboystoread.com/content/classroom-strategies-get-boys-reading/

Me Read? A Practical Guide to Improving Boys Literacy Skills http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/meread/meread.pdf

Understanding Gender Differences: Strategies To Support Girls and Boys http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/PDFpubs/4423.pdf

Helping Underachieving Boys Read Well and Often http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-2/boys.html

Boys and Reading Strategies for Success http://www.k12reader.com/boys-and-reading/

Related:

More research about the importance of reading https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/reading-literacy-and-your-child/
The slow reading movement https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

High – low books: Custom reading texts may help challenged readers

4 May

Shannon Maughan wrote in the 2012 ALA article, ALA 2012: What’s Up with Hi-Lo?

Many librarians, teachers, parents—and even students—are aware of the grim, oft-cited statistic: only one-third of eighth-grade students in the U.S. read at or above the proficient level (source: the Nation’s Report Card/National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2009). While solutions to the problem are always being debated, those who work with struggling and reluctant readers every day want tools they can use right now. Hi-lo books frequently fit the bill.
A hi-lo book, broadly defined, is a title that offers highly interesting subject matter at a low reading level. A number of publishers have focused on producing these books, though they often take slightly different approaches to creating the products that best fit a particular market. The abiding goal, says Arianne McHugh, president and co-owner of Saddleback Educational Publishing, “is to offer age-appropriate content—something that will grab [readers’] interest—at a readability level that is accessible.” As examples, McHugh notes that for a struggling reader in middle school or high school, although The Hunger Games would generate enormous interest, it would be a discouraging undertaking. On the other hand, “You can’t give them Clifford; we don’t want to embarrass them,” she says. Somewhere in the middle is the book that’s just right, she says…. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/52124-what-s-up-with-hi-lo-ala-2012.html

This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.
The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.
As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy. http://education-portal.com/articles/Illiteracy_The_Downfall_of_American_Society.html

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read.

Christina A. Samuels reported in the Education Week article, For Challenged Readers, Custom-Tailored Texts:

The challenge is to work out a balance of engaging older readers while leading them to books that will stretch their skills, said Troy Fresch, the assistant principal of 2,200-student Tustin High School in the Los Angeles area, another school that uses these “high-low” books.
“When [students] can discuss a book and they have comprehended it, it really just boosts their self-esteem,” Mr. Fresch said. “And it allows them to get full credit for their assignments.”
Barbara Stripling, the president of the American Library Association, based in Chicago, said that “picking books that appeal to an older audience and use lower-level vocabulary is a really sound concept for teen readers. They don’t want to be reading about dogs and cats, they want to be reading about Beyoncé…”
“A lot of kids, they learn to read by reading, not so much by the instruction in the classroom,” Ms. Stripling said. “The more we can provide in the library that can appeal to their interests, the more we are contributing to reading instruction.”
Questions of Complexity
But do the books offer enough to move students to more complex works? They’re only useful if they are coupled with appropriate instruction in grade-level literacy, said Michael L. Kamil, a professor of education at Stanford University and the chairman of a federally created panel that examined interventions for struggling adolescent readers.
The problem, Mr. Kamil said, is that students are not just expected to read fiction. They have to grapple with reading in mathematics, science, history, and other subjects, and books for emergent readers don’t have the vocabulary students need to understand information written in those subjects. The common core expects that 70 percent of the texts a student reads will be informational.
“It’s almost a thought that everything on a topic is good, and that’s just not true,” Mr. Kamil said. “It’s got to be something that moves students beyond their own knowledge to a more sophisticated level of knowledge.”
And with struggling teen readers, it’s important to move quickly, simply because instructors don’t have very much time, Mr. Kamil said. “This isn’t Band-Aid care, it’s trauma care,” he said. Students reading at a very low grade level in high school “are not going to make that up in any kind of normal or easy way. The older the student is, the more critical it is that we get in there and do something that’s actually targeted to the difficulty they’re having.”
Specific Strategies
The panel that Mr. Kamil led produced a practice guide for teachers in 2008, “Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices.” Its suggestions included offering explicit vocabulary instruction, directing instruction in reading-comprehension strategies, and extending opportunities for discussing a text. Catherine E. Snow, a literacy expert and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who served on the validation committee for the common standards, said that such books provide useful practice for students.
“Kids do get better at reading from reading, and they don’t read much if the texts are way too hard,” Ms. Snow said. “Of course, such texts do not by themselves solve the problem of bringing kids up to grade level. That takes well-planned instruction,” including figuring why the students aren’t reading well, and offering scaffolds that allow them to work with harder books, she said.
But teachers need to be careful about how hard students must be made to struggle. One concern Ms. Snow mentioned is the common core’s focus on “close reading,” a teaching approach that requires students to derive meaning from text by careful examination of language. Close reading is being turned into a thought that students need to work hard to comprehend a text, she said.
“The new lesson plans and the new curriculum guidelines often run the risk of overemphasizing the need for kids to struggle and underemphasize the need for adaptation,” Ms. Snow said…. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/04/23/29books_ep.h33.html?tkn=RXYFZwJw5L09q3rjssoTzhtGtDr2X4WBvPx8&intc=es

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time.

Resources:

National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) http://nces.ed.gov/naal/lit_history.asp

Illiteracy: An Incurable Disease or Education Malpractice? http://www.nrrf.org/essay_Illiteracy.html

Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America
http://abcnews.go.com/WN/LegalCenter/story?id=4336421&page=1#.Tt8XMFbfW-c

US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments http://mathandreadinghelp.org/how_can_parents_help_their_child_prepare_for_school_assignments.html

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn
http://www.classbrain.com/artread/publish/article_37.shtml

General Tips for Preparing for Kindergarten http://www.education.com/topic/preparing-for-kindergarten/

Classroom Strategies to Get Boys Reading
http://gettingboystoread.com/content/classroom-strategies-get-boys-reading/

Me Read? A Practical Guide to Improving Boys Literacy Skills http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/meread/meread.pdf

Understanding Gender Differences: Strategies To Support Girls and Boys http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/PDFpubs/4423.pdf

Helping Underachieving Boys Read Well and Often http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-2/boys.html

Boys and Reading Strategies for Success http://www.k12reader.com/boys-and-reading/

Related:

More research about the importance of reading https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/reading-literacy-and-your-child/

The slow reading movement
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Reading comprehension is important for critical thinking skills and learning

9 Mar

Moi discussed the importance of reading in Reading is a key component of learning:
The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn. See, Illiteracy in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/

The University of Michigan Health Center explains why reading is important in the article, Reading, Literacy and Your Child:

What is literacy?
Literacy means being able to read and write.
Why is reading important?
A child’s reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate.
How do reading and language skills develop?
For an answer to this question, check out the following link:
• Language and Literacy Development from birth to three years—this helpful brochure tells you what to expect and how to help.
Research has identified five early reading skills that are all essential. They are [1]:
• Phonemic awareness—Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.
• Phonics—Being able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language.
• Vocabulary—The words kids need to know to communicate effectively.
• Reading comprehension—Being able to understand and get meaning from what has been read.
• Fluency (oral reading)—Being able to read text accurately and quickly.
How can we make reading part of our family’s lifestyle?
Parents play a critical role in helping their children develop not only the ability to read, but also an enjoyment of reading.
• Turn off the tube. Start by limiting your family’s television viewing time.
• Teach by example. If you have books, newspapers and magazines around your house, and your child sees you reading, then your child will learn that you value reading. You can’t over-estimate the value of modeling.
• Read together. Reading with your child is a great activity. It not only teaches your child that reading is important to you, but it also offers a chance to talk about the book, and often other issues will come up. Books can really open the lines of communication between parent and child.
• Hit the library. Try finding library books about current issues or interests in your family’s or child’s life, and then reading them together. For example, read a book about going to the dentist prior to your child’s next dental exam, or get some books about seashore life after a trip to the coast. If your child is obsessed with dragons, ask your librarian to recommend a good dragon novel for your child.
There are many ways to include reading in your child’s life, starting in babyhood, and continuing through the teen years. Focus on literacy activities that your child enjoys, so that reading is a treat, not a chore. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/reading.htm

Reading skills are particularly important in academic success because of “Common Core Standards Initiative.” The “Common
Core State Standards Initiative” is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/english-language-arts-standards https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/reading-is-a-key-component-of-learning/

Samantha Cleaver wrote the article, 11 Tips to Turn Every Student Into a Close Reader:

Nurturing these higher-level skills takes time and many different techniques. You can begin to strengthen close reading in your classroom with these eleven expert tips.
1. Be a Close Reader Yourself
As you teach close reading, it’s important that you know the text backwards and forwards. Every time you raise an issue or ask a question for discussion (e.g. “How do we know that Macbeth feels guilty?”), you’ll know how to help your students find the textual evidence and where it’s located in the text. Modeling close reading through your class discussion is as important as direct instruction in close reading.
2. Teach “Stretch Texts”
The purpose for having students learn close reading skills, says Gillingham, is to enable them to read increasingly complex texts over time. As you choose texts to use with your students, think about your purpose behind each text. Look for stories or articles that raise authentic questions and could be interpreted differently depending on each student’s background knowledge or prior reading. If you’re working with a novel, focus on a section that lends itself to ambiguity and interpretation. And be sure to occasionally assign “stretch texts” in class. These are texts that you wouldn’t expect students to read independently, such as a critical essay or short piece of philosophy. “It’s a text that’s meant to be difficult,” says Gillingham, “and may require up to a week of study.”
3. Teach Students to Look for the Evidence
If your students leave your class understanding how to provide evidence from the text, consider your year an unqualified success. It’s the most central skill of the Common Core standards, says Elfreida Hiebert, President and CEO of Text Project. “The Common Core,” says Hiebert, “focuses our attention on what content the text is helping us gain.” Push students to go beyond recounting facts and plot points. As you’re planning, think about what higher order questions you can ask in class discussion and written assignments.
4. Always Set a Purpose for Reading
After your students have read a text through once, help them dig deeper by setting a specific purpose for reading it again. That purpose could be to track a concept or theme, or to analyze how an author uses a literary element or creates tone. Giving students something specific to focus on requires that they return to the text and really focus.
5. Differentiate Your Instruction
Even if students aren’t able to close read a novel independently, they can still apply strategies to a passage. Students may listen to an oral reading of the text, work in a small group with teacher support, or work with a partner to reread a text and prepare for discussion. If the majority of your class is not ready for independent close reading, keep in mind that the overarching idea is to get students to think about different ways that people can interpret text and build their own arguments around text, which can be done with picture books or read alouds as well as novels and short stories.
6. Focus on Making Connections
Rather than asking students a myriad of comprehension questions, focus their reading experiences around connecting with and remembering the text. Plan and ask questions that help you understand if students understand the text, and where they need to dig deeper into the big ideas. Hiebert suggests focusing on how the text relates to what the student has previously read, and what else they might learn about the topic after reading this selection.
7. Model it First
If students are new to close reading, spend time modeling how to think about a prompt and how to annotate the text. You might want to use a document camera to project pages of the text and read through and annotate a passage around a central question, modeling your thinking. After you do a few pages, release the work to students and have them take the lead.
8. Let Them Make Mistakes
If some of your students have clearly misinterpreted the text, ask them to explain their thinking or help you see the connection they’ve made. This gives them a great opportunity to practice finding textual evidence. Students may also chime in with other interpretations. The important thing is that students clarify and refine their thinking strategies, not that everyone has the same “right” answer.
9. Close Read Across the Curriculum
Once students are familiar with close reading in one content area, expand the process to other texts and content areas. Close reading can happen in science, social studies, math, and other subjects. Students can spend time delving into charts and graphs in science, discussing a math concept, or working to truly understand the various interpretations of a speech in social studies.
10. Use Student Questions to Drive Discussion
Here’s one technique to consider. During Great Books discussions, teachers start by compiling student and teacher questions that come from the text. Once the questions are compiled in a list, the teacher supports the students in reviewing all the questions, identifying ones that are similar and answering some of the factual questions that only require a short answer. Together, the class discusses the questions and decides which are the most interesting and worthy of further exploration. This is a great way to help your students learn to ask higher-order questions and to write good thesis statements.
11. Listen to Your Students
Along with close reading the text, you need to close read your students. When you begin to let students’ questions and ideas about the text take the lead, you’ll find your class will be much more invested in the reading. Your role will be to keep them grounded to the close reading process. If a student makes an assertion, can the class find the textual evidence for it? If not, why not? Is a new theory needed? As you probe into your students’ questions, you’ll learn more about where your students are and give them opportunities to engage deeper with the text. Ultimately, says Gillingham, “you are learning everything you can from your students.” https://fs24.formsite.com/edweek/images/WP-Great-Books-11-Tips-to-Turn-Every-Student-Into-a-Close-Reader.pdf

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time.

Resources:

US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments http://mathandreadinghelp.org/how_can_parents_help_their_child_prepare_for_school_assignments.html

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn http://www.classbrain.com/artread/publish/article_37.shtml

General Tips for Preparing for Kindergarten http://www.education.com/topic/preparing-for-kindergarten/

Classroom Strategies to Get Boys Reading http://gettingboystoread.com/content/classroom-strategies-get-boys-reading/

Me Read? A Practical Guide to Improving Boys Literacy Skills http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/meread/meread.pdf

Understanding Gender Differences: Strategies To Support Girls and Boys http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/PDFpubs/4423.pdf

Helping Underachieving Boys Read Well and Often http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-2/boys.html

Boys and Reading Strategies for Success
http://www.k12reader.com/boys-and-reading/

Related:

More research about the importance of reading
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/reading-literacy-and-your-child/

The slow reading movement
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Parent homework: Make friends with your local library

6 Jan

This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.
The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.
As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy.
http://education-portal.com/articles/Illiteracy_The_Downfall_of_American_Society.html

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read.

ProLiteracy provides basic facts about illiteracy in the article, Basic Facts about Literacy:

Literacy is the ability to read, write, compute, and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee, and community member.
• There are 759 million adults–approximately 16 percent of the world’s population–who have only basic or below basic literacy levels in their native languages.
• Two-thirds of the world’s lowest literate adults are women (640 million women have basic or below basic literacy skills).
• In the U.S., 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
• An additional 30 million — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
• Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
• The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
• Adult low literacy can be connected to almost every socio-economic issue in the United States:
o More than 65 percent of all state and federal corrections inmates can be classified as low literate.
o Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $236 billion each year in the U.S.
o Seventy-seven million Americans have only a 2-in-3 chance of correctly reading an over-the-counter drug label or understanding their child’s vaccination chart.
o Low literacy’s effects cost the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
• Globally, illiteracy can be linked to:
o Gender abuse, including female infanticide and female circumcision
o Extreme poverty (earning less than $1/day)
o High infant mortality and the spread of HIV/Aids, malaria, and other preventable infectious diseases http://www.proliteracy.org/page.aspx?pid=345

Many of those who are illiterate are successful in hiding the fact that they cannot read.

The University of Michigan Health Center explains why reading is important in the article, Reading, Literacy and Your Child:
What is literacy?

Literacy means being able to read and write.
Why is reading important?
A child’s reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate….
There are many ways to include reading in your child’s life, starting in babyhood, and continuing through the teen years. Focus on literacy activities that your child enjoys, so that reading is a treat, not a chore. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/reading.htmhttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/reading-is-a-key-component-of-learning/

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time.

Related:

More research about the importance of reading https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/reading-literacy-and-your-child/

The slow reading movement https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

Resources:

Kathryn Schwartz of IPL2 wrote in Learning to research in the library:

Get to know your library
The resources available to you will vary a lot depending on whether you’re using an academic library at a large university, a public library in a large (or small) community, or a high school library. Find out early in your research project what resources your library has, by visiting and taking a tour, if possible. Some college libraries offer an online tour of the library or a self-guided tour using handouts in addition to tours guided by librarians.
Many people who use libraries don’t make full use of the reference collection except for the encyclopedias, while reference librarians have spent large amounts of money and time in developing wonderful reference collections for research. See Reference Sources in Libraries to see a small sample of the kind of information may be hiding in your library’s reference room.
Libraries build their collections based on what they think their patrons will need, so the collections of reference materials, fiction and non-fiction will differ between a public and an academic library. Be aware of what kind of collection you’re working with, and make arrangements to visit a different library if necessary.
Learn to browse – understand the classification scheme in your library
A library’s classification scheme is a system by which books are organized to be placed on the shelves. Browsing the shelves is an important step when you’re trying to get ideas for your research project, so it’s worth the effort to become familiar with your library’s system.
Most libraries in the U.S. use either the Dewey Decimal system or Library of Congress system, while Britain uses the UDC and other countries use various systems. All of the systems attempt to “co-locate” books with similar subject matter. In a smaller library, many times you can bypass the catalog as a starting point and go directly to the shelves for a first look at your topic, so long as you have a chart of the classification scheme as a guide.
Remember, though, that a book can have only one location in a library. Some books cover more than one subject and the cataloguer has to choose one place to locate the book. Also, non-book materials such as videos and films, will be located in a different section of the building and could be missed by simply shelf-browsing the book collection.
See our charts summarizing the Dewey Decimal Classification System and the Library of Congress Classification System.
Learn how online library catalogs work
A library catalog is a listing of all the items held by a particular library. A cataloguer examines the item (book, video, map, audio tape, CD, etc.) and decides how it will be described in the library’s catalog and under what subject it will be classified. When the item is entered into the library’s online catalog database, information is entered into different fields, which are then searchable by users.
Library catalogs usually treat a book as a single “item” and catalog it that way, even if it might be a book of poetry or a book of essays by different authors. You can’t find a reference to a particular poem in the library catalog, nor to a particular essay within a book of essays. The same is true of magazines, journals and newspapers. The library catalog will tell you if the library keeps a particular periodical in its collection, but will not list all the articles within the periodical, nor will it necessarily even list all the issues of the periodical which are kept. There are other publications in the reference room which will help you retrieve these individual items, but usually not the library catalog (see Reference Sources in Libraries for examples, as well as the Find out how to search for journals and newspapers section below).
Most catalogs are searchable by author, title, subject and keyword. Some of the important things you need to know about the information in those fields is discussed below.
Searching the catalog by subject and keyword
The subject field of a catalog record contains only the words or phrases used by the cataloguer when assigning a subject heading. If the library is using Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), for example, the subject heading for a book about how playing football affects the players’ bodies would probably be assigned the subject heading “Football—physiological aspects.” Unless you type in that entire phrase as your search term, you won’t find the book by searching the subject field.
Subject field searching can be very helpful, but you must find out how the subject you’re looking for is worded by using the subject manuals or getting help from the reference librarian. Once you zero in on an appropriate subject heading, a search in the catalog will give you a list of all the items in the library’s collection categorized under that heading, so you can browse the collection online. Note also that most items are classified under one or two very specific subject headings, rather than under many subjects.
The keyword field of a library catalog generally searches several fields in the database record—the author, title, and description fields. The description is any information about the catalogued item which may have been entered by the cataloguer. This is not the full text of the book, nor is it an abstract (summary) of the book but rather a short paragraph containing information the cataloguer thought would be helpful to a user. This is not like searching for keywords in an indexed database like Alta Vista on the internet, where every word in a document has been recorded.
For this reason, keyword searching alone could miss an item pertinent to your research project if the keyword you use was not included in the short paragraph written by the cataloguer. It’s best to use a combination of keyword searching and subject-field searching to make a comprehensive search of the library catalog.
Searching other libraries’ catalogs
There are lots of library catalogs on the internet—but so what? You can search the catalog of a library in Timbuktu, but that doesn’t get you the book. Remember that library catalogs do not have full text of books and documents but are just a database with descriptions of the library’s holdings. There are a few, and will be more, actual online libraries where you can go to read or search full text documents. Just don’t confuse these special resources with a library catalog, which is very different. See Reference Sources on the Web for links to online books.
Find out how to search for journals and newspapers at your library
Most libraries have either print, CD-ROM, or online (either in the library or sometimes on the Web) indexes of magazine, journal and newspaper articles (referred to as periodicals) available for users. Some of these are abstracts of the articles, which are short summaries written to describe the article’s contents in enough detail so that a reader can decide whether or not to seek out the full text. Some of these sources may be in the form of full text, where the entire articles have been entered into the database.
The databases will include particular periodicals published within a span of time (for example, a popular newspaper index goes back 36 months for certain major newspapers). Know what the database you’re searching contains and whether it’s represented as abstract or full text. Get some pointers from the reference librarian about how to search that particular database, and build on what you’ve learned about search syntax and search techniques from Skills for Online Searching.
Note that these resources, whether print or digital, contain information about periodicals which may not be held by your library. If the database does not have full text articles, you may find an article right on point to your topic, but that particular newspaper or journal may not be in your library’s collection. There are ways to get these articles, the fastest ways involving paying a fee to a company in the business of providing articles to researchers! Check out your options with the reference desk if you need an article that’s not in your library’s collection.
Bibliography surfing
Web surfing is finding an interesting Web page and then using the hyperlinks on that page to jump to other pages. If you find the first page interesting, chances are you’ll also be interested in the pages the author has chosen to link to.
Librarians and researchers have been doing this for a long time, in the print medium. It’s a valuable tool for identifying sources on your chosen topic.
What you do is use the bibliography provided at the end of an encyclopedia article, journal article or book that you’ve found particularly pertinent to your topic and follow the bibliographic references much as you would hyperlinks on the Web. Since you’re locating items which influenced the author of the original article and to which he or she referred, they’re likely to be “on point” to your topic. Then use the bibliography at the end of those cited articles to find even more items, and so on.
Consult the reference librarian for advice
Several times above, you’ve been advised to consult the reference librarian. Reference librarians can help save you a lot of time because they know their library’s collection very well—both the reference collection and the nonfiction collection—and can often tell you “off the top of their heads” whether or not the library has a particular item you’re looking for. They are also skilled searchers, both of the library’s catalog and of online resources such as CD-ROM, online databases and the internet. In addition, they’re trained in teaching others to use these resources and are glad to do so.
Learn about search syntax and professional search techniques
To be successful at any kind of online searching, you need to know something about how computer searching works. At this time, much of the burden is on the user to intelligently construct a search strategy, taking into account the peculiarities of the particular database and search software. The section on Skills for online searching will get you started. http://www.ipl.org/div/aplus/library.htm

The American Library Association recommends:

Online Resources for Parents and Children
America Links Up
America Links Up was a broad-based public awareness campaign to ensure that every child in America has a safe, educational and rewarding experience online. The site is no longer active and is being hosted here by GetNetWise for archival purposes. http://kids.getnetwise.org/americalinksup/index.shtml
Child Safety on the Information Superhighway
Larry Magid, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, gives tips for becoming street smart on the Web. His “Guidelines for Parents” explains how to deal with everything from suggestive or misleading content to the danger of online-arranged meetings with strangers. http://www.safekids.com/child-safety-on-the-information-highway/
Especially for Young People and Their Parents
This page includes links to online safety rules and suggestions, designed-for-children search engines, all ALA great sites, and other great sites for parents and young people. Also includes links to privacy pages.
GetNetwise
An online service of companies and non-profit groups concerned about child safety on the Internet. The Web site provides a comprehensive “Web-wide” resource with safety tips, ways to report online trouble, tech tools for families, great Web sites for kids and a glossary of Internet terms.
Great Web Sites for Kids
Links to Web sites for fun and learning. Recommended and organized by topic by children’s librarians. Sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA. http://gws.ala.org/
Kids’ Safety (GetNetWise)
Learn about the risks kids face online, based on age levels or types of activities. Concerns about privacy are addressed as well. Quick tips for kids, teens, and families.
The Librarian’s Guide to Cyberspace for Parents & Kids
See The Librarians Guide to Great Sites for Kids below.
The Librarians Guide to Great Sites for Kids http://www.kids.getnetwise.org/
Formerly titled The Librarian’s Guide to Cyberspace for Parents & Kids. Telephone: 800-545-2433. ext. 5044/5041 or e-mail pio@ala.org for more information.
The Parents’ Guide to the Information Superhighway
Rules and tools for families online from The Children’s Partnership. Comprehensive look at the information superhighway and what parents should know to help their children use it safely and wisely.
Parents’ Guide to the Internet
From the U.S. Department of Education (archived information; 1997), this guide suggests how parents can help their children tap into the wonders of the Internet while safeguarding them from potential hazards. http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/parents/internet/index.html
Privacy (GetNetWise)
As the Internet has grown in complexity, many consumers feel they may be disclosing information about themselves and their online travels that they’d rather keep private. GetNetWise provides information about tools and techniques to better control how much personal information you share with online stores, Web sites, emailers, chatters and other people who may use your computer. http://privacy.getnetwise.org/
Privacy Resources for Librarians, Library Users, and Families
This resource is intended to help librarians and all library users understand the issue of privacy and confidentiality.
Safety Tips for Kids on the Internet from the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Site focuses on online safety and ways to report abuses. http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety
A Safety Net for the Internet: A Parent’s Guide http://www.nypl.org/help/finding-things
What parents should know about the Internet from the New York Public Library. http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=litoolkit&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=50662

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better

16 Jan

Moi discussed the importance of reading in Reading is a key component of learning:

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn. See, Illiteracy in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/

The University of Michigan Health Center explains why reading is important in the article, Reading, Literacy and Your Child:

What is literacy?

Literacymeans being able to read and write.

Why is reading important?

A child’s reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them.  Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate.

How do reading and language skills develop?

For an answer to this question, check out the following link:

Research has identified five early reading skills that are all essential.  They are [1]:

  • Phonemic awarenessBeing able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.

  • PhonicsBeing able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language.

  • VocabularyThe words kids need to know to communicate effectively.

  • Reading comprehensionBeing able to understand and get meaning from what has been read.

  • Fluency (oral reading)Being able to read text accurately and quickly.

How can we make reading part of our family’s lifestyle?
Parents play a critical role in helping their children develop not only the ability to read, but also an enjoyment of reading.

  • Turn off the tube.  Start by limiting your family’s television viewing time. 

  • Teach by example.  If you have books, newspapers and magazines around your house, and your child sees you reading, then your child will learn that you value reading.  You can’t over-estimate the value of modeling. 

  • Read together.  Reading with your child is a great activity.  It not only teaches your child that reading is important to you, but it also offers a chance to talk about the book, and often other issues will come up.  Books can really open the lines of communication between parent and child. 

  • Hit the library.  Try finding library books about current issues or interests in your family’s or child’s life, and then reading them together.  For example, read a book about going to the dentist prior to your child’s next dental exam, or get some books about seashore life after a trip to the coast.  If your child is obsessed with dragons, ask your librarian to recommend a good dragon novel for your child.

There are many ways to include reading in your child’s life, starting in babyhood, and continuing through the teen years.  Focus on literacy activities that your child enjoys, so that reading is a treat, not a chore. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/reading.htm

Reading skills are particularly important in academic success because of “Common Core Standards Initiative.” The “Common Core State Standards Initiative” is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/english-language-arts-standards

https://drwilda.com/2012/01/18/reading-is-a-key-component-of-learning/

Dian Schaffhauser reports in The Journal article, Word Variety Helps Early Learners:

Exposure to word variation for early readers may boost their abilities, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Iowa to be published in the January issue of Developmental Psychology. To test out the hypothesis, the researchers used Access Code, an online application from Foundations in Learning that applies the “Varied Practice Model” in helping students with word recognition. With varied practice, tasks are changed so that the student is continually exposed to new things to learn. Access Code attempts to help “struggling” readers improve fluency and comprehension of the material.

Although Access Code is intended for students in grade two and above, in this study, U Iowa doctoral student Keith Apfelbaum and Associate Professors Bob McMurray and Eliot Hazeltine of the Department of Psychology worked with 224 first-grade students in the West Des Moines Community Schools system. Some students learned words organized by traditional phonics instruction, which uses similar word sets to help illustrate the rules, the idea being to simplify the school work for learners. A second group of students used curriculum in Access Code, which pulls together sets of words with variation, appearing to make the lesson more difficult.

After a few days of phonics instruction through Access Code, including spelling and matching letters, all of the students were tested to see if they could read words they’d never seen before, read made-up words, and apply their new skills to work they hadn’t done before. http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/01/15/word-variety-helps-early-learners.aspx?admgarea=News1

Here is the press release from the University of Iowa Magazine:

Rethinking reading

UI study breaks new ground in reading development research

By: 

Kelli Andresen | 2012.11.01 | 10:29 AM

A recent University of Iowa study indicates that variation in words may help early readers learn better.

Many educators have long believed that when words differ on only one sound, early readers can learn the rules of phonics by focusing on what is different between the words. This is thought to be a critical gateway to reading words and sentences.

But scientists at the University of Iowa are turning that thinking on its head. A recent study published in Developmental Psychology shows certain kinds of variation in words may help early readers learn better. When children see the same phonics regularities, embedded in words with more variation, they may learn these crucial early reading skills better. What might appear to make learning a more difficult task—learning about letter-sound relationships from words with more variation—actually leads to better learning.

Doctoral student Keith Apfelbaum and associate professors Bob McMurray and Eliot Hazeltine of the Department of Psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) studied 224 first-grade students in the West Des Moines, Iowa school system over a period of three months. The group used a version of an online supplementary curriculum called Access Code.

Access Code was developed by Foundations in Learning, a company founded by Carolyn Brown and Jerry Zimmermann. Brown and Zimmermann earned their doctorates from and are now adjunct faculty in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, also in CLAS. Based on the Varied Practice Model, which helps children master early reading skills like phonics, the research team used Access Code to conduct the study directly in the classroom.

During the study, one group of students learned using lists of words with a small, less variable set of consonants, such as maid, mad, paid, and pad. This is close to traditional phonics instruction, which uses similar words to help illustrate the rules and, presumably, simplify the problem for learners. A second group of students learned using a list of words that was more variable, such as bait, sad, hair, and gap, but which embodied the same rules.

After three or four days of training on phonics skills, partaking in activities such as spelling and matching letters, the students from both groups were tested to see if they could read words that they had never seen before, read novel non-words, and apply their newly-learned skills to tasks they hadn’t done before.

We were interested in not just whether they could do exactly what we were teaching, but whether they could learn something more robust that would enable them to apply what they had learned to new tasks and new words,” McMurray says. “Critically, we wanted to know if variability or similarity would impact this ability to learn and generalize.”

Results surprised even the research team.

We were expecting a very subtle effect, maybe similar words would help students learn the words they were trained on but maybe not generalize as well, or maybe similar words would help them learn the more difficult rules but variability might work for the easier ones, but in no case was similarity helpful,” McMurray says. “This suggests a powerful principle of learning. While we’ve known about this in a variety of laboratory tasks for a while, this study shows for the first time that this principle also applies to early reading skills.”

Overall, variation led to much better learning. Students experiencing more variation in words showed better learning when tested on the words and tasks they encountered in training. More importantly, it helped them generalize these new skills to new words, and to new tasks.

Variability was good for the low-performing students, it was good for the high-performing students. It was good for the boys, it was good for the girls. It was good for the words, it was good for the non-words,” Apfelbaum says. “Among the students who struggled the most, the kids who weren’t exposed to variation didn’t show any learning at all, while the kids who were exposed to variation did.”

Robert Davis, an educator for 36 years and principal of Hillside Elementary, which was one of the schools that participated in the study, says he is eager to work with his teachers on ways to apply varied practice to the classroom.

If we really look at what happened with the research, there is a multitude of applications that could go forward with this,” Davis says. “We could certainly look at varied practice as a method for learning new vocabulary, as a new method for learning basic math facts, maybe even something involved with music. As educators, we need to figure out how to take that model and apply it to the umbrella of learning for a variety of things that kids struggle with.”

Brown, whose research has focused on child development, language acquisition, and reading for more than three decades, says she looks forward to continued collaboration with the UI research team.

We hope this collaboration is only the beginning to bringing the science of learning to the art of teaching children to read,” Brown says. “We have missed many children because reading pedagogy has been driven by systems of belief in how reading should be taught rather than by how children learn. The importance of variation in this process will be a surprise to many educators and a help to many children.”

Contacts

Kelli Andresen, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0070

Bob McMurray, Psychology, 319-335-2408

John Sims, Foundations in Learning, 214-497-3231

The program used by the researchers comes from Foundations in Learning.

Foundations for Learning describes the Access Code program:

Access Code: Varied Practice Model


Access Code, driven by the Varied Practice Model, is a web-based, supplementary curriculum for struggling readers in Grades 2 and above to acquire/strengthen, apply, and generalize phonics rules for improved fluency and comprehension.

Who can it help?

As many as 15-20% of elementary and middle school students struggle with reading because of poor word recognition skills. These students:

  • Have difficulty breaking words into syllables
  • Cannot apply/generalize phonics rules to connected text
  • Struggle with comprehension
  • Have a particular challenge with vowels
  • Have not responded to other intervention programs and need remediation year after year

What are the benefits?

  • Varied Practice has been shown to increase a learner’s ability to apply/generalize skills and Access Code is the only program that uses this approach.

  • Access Code helps ensure that students understand how vowels and syllables work in words.

  • Truly individualized instruction for each student.

  • Does not require that a teacher discard other approaches and programs. Rather, Access Code can help ensure that students get maximum benefit from those other programs. http://www.foundations-learning.com/accesscode.html

This study shows that there are many things to be learned about how to effectively teach reading skills to those who are struggling.

Related:

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum                                                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement                                                https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important                     https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

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Is holding kids back a grade the answer to some learning problems?

15 Feb

In Reading is a key component of learning https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/reading-is-a-key-component-of-learning/ moi said:

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn. See, Illiteracy in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/

The University of Michigan Health Center explains why reading is important in the article, Reading, Literacy and Your Child:

What is literacy?

Literacy means being able to read and write.

Why is reading important?

A child’s reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them.  Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate.

How do reading and language skills develop?

For an answer to this question, check out the following link:

Research has identified five early reading skills that are all essential.  They are [1]:

  • Phonemic awareness—Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.

  • Phonics—Being able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language.

  • Vocabulary—The words kids need to know to communicate effectively.

  • Reading comprehension—Being able to understand and get meaning from what has been read.

  • Fluency (oral reading)—Being able to read text accurately and quickly.

. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/reading.htm

Regan Mc Mahon of Common Sense Media has written the article, How to Raise a Reader which gives advice about how to raise a child who loves to read. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/new/how-raise-reader?utm_source=newsletter01.12.12&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=feature1

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time. Children who do not arrive at school ready to learn will not only face learning challenges, but in some states may face the prospect of being held back in the third grade.

Stephanie Banchero is reporting in the Wall Street Journal article, Bills Prod Schools to Hold Back Third-Graders:

Lawmakers in at least four states are considering legislation that would make students repeat third grade if they can’t pass state reading exams, reviving debates about whether retaining students boosts achievement or increases their odds of dropping out…

“The goal is not to retain students, but to get parents, teachers and students all working collaboratively to address the literacy problems when they first show up,” said Colorado state Sen. Mike Johnston, a Democrat who is a sponsor of the bill. Iowa, New Mexico and Tennessee also are considering bills on the issue.

All the bills, as well as similar ones that passed recently in Oklahoma, Arizona and Indiana, aim to address literacy deficiencies that exist nationwide. Only one-third of U.S. schoolchildren had proficient scores on the most recent national reading exam, and scores have barely budged in two decades. That comes as children have made steady gains in math.

A recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that children who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times as likely to drop out of school. Third grade is seen as so important for reading because many other subjects begin in earnest the following school year. Also, third grade is the year that federal law mandates all states must begin testing reading and math.

The country has spent billions on failed reading strategies. Now, states are taking a different tack: push individualized reading instruction in the early grades and hold back kids who don’t pass muster by third grade.

But the evidence is mixed on whether retention helps or hurts kids. Chicago made national headlines in the late 1990s by holding back tens of thousands of students who were deficient in math and reading. But a series of studies by the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago found that, in general, retained students did no better in later years than students who had nearly identical academic achievement but were promoted. Retained students also were more likely to have dropped out.

“These children would have been just as well off if they had not been retained. It didn’t solve anything,” said Jenny Nagaoka, associate director at the consortium, who did some of the research. Chicago has quietly relaxed the promotion rules, making it easier for low-performing students to move ahead.

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052970203920204577197341228039310-lMyQjAxMTAyMDEwNDExNDQyWj.html?mod=wsj_share_email

There is no guarantee that holding students back in the third grade is the answer.

Emily Richmond writes in the Atlantic article, Third Grade Again: The Trouble With Holding Students Back:

But, as the Wall Street Journal’s Stephanie Banchero points out, the findings on whether retention is good for students is more of a mixed bag. Florida implemented a third-grade retention initiative in 2002, and saw its fourth-grade reading scores soar. But reading scores for the state’s eighth grader have flatlined.

Arizona, along with Indiana and Oklahoma, recently passed legislation to hold back third graders who are not reading at grade level. When asked where he stood on his state’s initiative to hold back third graders, educational psychologist David Berliner — the Regents Professor of Education at Arizona State University — was blunt in his assessment.

“It seems like legislators are absolutely ignorant of the research, and the research is amazingly consistent that holding kids back is detrimental,” Berliner said. “Everybody supports the idea that if a student isn’t reading well in third grade that it’s a signal that the child needs help. If you hold them back, you’re going to spend roughly another $10,000 per child for an extra year of schooling. If you spread out that $10,000 over the fourth and fifth grades for extra tutoring, in the long run you’re going to get a better outcome.”
Retention rates vary widely from state to state, and recent national statistics are hard to come by. Researchers have estimated that 15 percent of the nation’s K-12 students are retained each year. (The National Association of School Psychologists put the figure at 2 million in 2004.)

Research has shown that minority students attending inner-city campuses are more likely to be held back a grade than their white peers at more affluent neighborhood schools. Boys are also more likely to be retained than girls.

Berliner believes that for the overwhelming majority of students who are held back, it was the wrong decision.
“There are stories where it was clearly the right thing, and the student moves up to the next grade more confident — I don’t want to negate that,” Berliner said. “But it’s the wrong move for the vast majority of students. And since we don’t know in advance which kids won’t benefit, it’s simply the wrong policy decision.”

There’s plenty of evidence that the nation’s students are struggling with literacy. On the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as “The Nation’s Report Card,” reading scores had stagnated….

While lawmakers wrangle over whether to hold back struggling students, the Campaign For Grade-Level Reading is focusing on three key factors aimed directly at improving the next set of NAEP scores — readiness, attendance, and summer learning. The overarching goal is to have students arrive at school with the fundamental reading readiness skills they need to be successful from the outset. 

Many younger students miss too many days of class and never develop what Smith called “a culture and habit” of regular attendance. Investments in early childhood education and literacy programs have long-term benefits for society as a whole, Smith said, and not just individual students. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/02/third-grade-again-the-trouble-with-holding-students-back/253065/

One of the mantras of this blog is there should not be a one-size-fits- all approach to education and that there should be a variety of options to achieve the goal of a good basic education for all children. One of the themes that has run through education is the “bandwagon effect” which means that an idea or study result gains traction and that the idea or procedure is replicated and promoted as “the answer.”

Sarah D. Sparks reports about an OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) study in the Education Week article, OECD: Holding Back, Expelling Students Weakens Ed. Systems:

Countries in which schools frequently hold back or kick out students with low academic performance tend to have weaker, more expensive, and more socially inequitable education systems overall according to a new analysis by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In comparing the results of the Program for International Student Assessment in 65 member and partner countries, OECD researchers found that differences among countries’ grade-retention trends could explain as much as 15 percent of the difference among their average scores on the 2009 PISA.

While fewer than 3 percent of students in 13 countries—including Japan, Norway, and the United Kingdom—reported ever repeating a grade, more than 25 percent of students repeated at least once in France, Spain, Brazil, and a dozen others studied. The United States reported more than one in 10 students repeating a grade, higher than the OECD average, while the top-performing countries, Finland and Korea, do not allow grade retention.

Researchers also found lower PISA scores for countries in which more schools reported they would transfer a student out of the school for low grades, special needs, or behavior problems. Ten of the countries studied reported about two of every five students attended a school “very likely” to transfer based on academics, while another 10 reported fewer than 3 percent of students attend schools that transfer for those reasons.

The OECD found that both high rates of grade retention and transfer happened in countries in which a child’s socioeconomic status was more likely to predict that child’s academic performance.

“This suggests that transferring students tends to be associated with socioeconomic segregation in school systems, where students from advantaged backgrounds end up in better-performing schools while students from disadvantaged backgrounds end up in poorer performing schools,” the report noted.

The OECD analysis comes as a number of states are debating whether and when to hold back a student who has not met grade-level proficiency standards. Chicago and North Carolina recently ended bans on social promotion, while Arizona and Florida have required schools to retain students who cannot meet 3rd grade reading benchmarks. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2011/07/holding_back_kicking_out_stude.html?intc=es

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©