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Archive for the ‘Literacy’ Category

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Want to spread early literacy? Send in a parent. Moms and dads who talk, sing, and read out loud can fill their children’s worlds with engaging, enriching language.

But the challenge for Springfield, Mass., and other cities is figuring out how to reach parents and engage them in sharing a love of language and learning with their children.

To find good ideas on family engagement, the Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative (RS4G), which is backed by The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, did a simple thing: It asked parents.

“Focus groups of parents, and largely moms who participated in one of our three sessions, revealed what we knew: that parents have clearly moved into the digital age,” Sally Fuller writes in a blog post on the Davis Foundation’s Read by Fourth Grade website. “Email, for anyone who has children, is almost recognized as a thing of the past. Moms told us almost universally that their primary engagement with the world comes through social media and texting. The smartphone serves as the communications tool of choice.” (more…)

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Image: New America

Image: New America

 

It’s too late to take technology away from young children. They’re already pros at using cell phones and tablets. So instead of asking if technology should be used in early education, a report from the national think tank New America looks at how best to use technology to promote early literacy.

Children do still need human interactions. Positive relationships with adults help them develop strong language and learning skills. However: “Digital tools can be used to help support these positive interactions,” according to New America’s recent report, “Integrating Technology in Early Literacy: A Snapshot of Community Innovation in Family Engagement.”

“Programs across the country are beginning to use technology to engage families,” the report’s author, Shayna Cook, told us in an email. “Over the past year and a half, we analyzed how early learning and family engagement programs have begun to experiment with innovative tools to reach families and help young children develop early language and literacy skills.” (more…)

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Boston Public Schools preschool teacher Mary Bolt watches Jason DePina Jr., 5, draw a picture of Batman for his book about superheroes in the classroom’s writing section. Photo by Lillian Mongeau/Hechinger Report

Boston Public Schools preschool teacher Mary Bolt watches Jason DePina Jr., 5, draw a picture of Batman for his book about superheroes in the classroom’s writing section. Photo by Lillian Mongeau/Hechinger Report

A new article in the Atlantic (courtesy of the Hechinger Report) — “What Boston’s Preschools Get Right” — looks at how Boston is building high-quality programs — and how some cities are pushing ahead on pre-K even though state and federal governments are lagging behind.

At Dorchester’s Russell Elementary School, a day in a pre-K classroom “could be a primer on what high-quality preschool is supposed to look like,” the article says. “Children had free time to play with friends in a stimulating environment, received literacy instruction that pushed beyond comprehension to critical thinking and communication, and were introduced to complex mathematics concepts in age-appropriate ways. All three practices have been shown to go beyond increasing what children know to actually improving how well they learn in kindergarten and beyond.” (more…)

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“How can we use this? How can we get this in the hands of parents, especially when children are little?”

That’s the question education officials in Burlington, Mass., asked about the book “Make Time for Reading,” — by author and early literacy expert Jean Ciborowski Fahey — in a news story produced by local television station BCAT TV. The story features interviews with Burlington School Committee member Kristin Russo and Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce president Rick Parker.

This book was chosen for its unique qualities and design. The pages alternate. The left hand-pages have tips for parents and caregivers about reading to children. And the right-hand pages feature a story that adults can read to children.

The Burlington School Committee is teaming up with the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce to distribute the books to families, according to Superintendent of Schools Eric Conti. Parents of new babies will receive the book while at the hospital or in the mail. So far, roughly 1,000 copies have been given to families. The goal is to distribute a total of 1,500.

It’s a great fusion of books, adults, children, and community action around early literacy.

 

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malcolm-mithcell

Photo: Read with Malcolm Twitter page

“You know, I had no idea how to become a better reader,” football player Malcolm Mitchell says in this NFL Network video about his experiences as a college player at the University of Georgia. Last month, Mitchell was drafted by the New England Patriots.

In college, Mitchell knew his reading skills were behind those of his college peers. And he knew that to get better at football, “you practice,” so he decided to practice so he could get better at reading.

Because of an injury in 2013, an ACL tear, he was forced to miss a number of games, which gave him time to read more, the Boston Globe reported last month.

The Boston Herald says that Mitchell’s desire to read “led him to a Barnes & Noble in Athens, Ga., in May 2014. Kathy Rackley was in the same aisle looking for her book club’s newest assignment when Mitchell asked for a recommendation. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are teaming up to boost the reading skills of children who live in public housing.

“Housing is a critical platform for a child’s success and nearly four million low-income children are living in HUD-assisted housing,” according to a HUD press release.

A Memorandum of Understanding between HUD and CGLR will “highlight the work being done in up to 25 Public Housing Agencies” to “improve educational outcomes for children…” In addition, HUD will encourage other housing authorities to join this effort. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On April 27, 2016, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $39.56 billion state budget for fiscal year 2017. The budget will now move to the Senate.

During budget debate in the House, several amendments for early education were filed by representatives and successfully passed, adding an additional $8 million to support high-quality early education and care. The additional funding is targeted to the workforce rate reserve, quality improvement, services for infants and parents, Head Start, Reach Out and Read, and preschool planning.

Massachusetts residents, please take a minute to thank your state representative for prioritizing young children, families, and the early education workforce in FY17. 

For a full listing of line items in the final House budget, visit our website. And visit the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center’s website for additional House budget analysis. 

The Senate Committee on Ways and Means is expected to release its FY17 proposal in mid-May. Stay tuned for updates!

For more information on early education in the state budget, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, or (617) 330-7387.

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