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Archive for the ‘Literacy’ Category

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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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

One way to help young children achieve more success, some research suggests, is to provide their teachers with coaches and mentors.

“Mentors and coaches serve as guides and role models who talk openly and directly with teachers about their work, help them improve their skills in interacting with children and families, and provide information and feedback,” Marcy Whitebook writes in an article called “Mentoring and Coaching: Distinctions in Practice,” which was published in the quarterly newsletter of the Preschool Development Grants Technical Assistance (PDG TA) Program.

Whitebook, whom we’ve blogged about several times before, is the director/senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment in the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.

Her article distinguishes between “coaching” and “mentoring,” explaining that while they “are often used interchangeably, there can be significant distinctions between these two roles. Mentors tend to focus on the development of an individual teacher… coaches may work either with individuals or with classroom teams as a group…” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

For the fourth year in a row, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) has honored communities for being “Pacesetters” that promote early literacy among children from low-income families.

Thirty-eight communities earned this honor, including Springfield, Mass.

A CGLR press release explains that these communities lead by example as they “solve one or more of the challenges that can undermine early literacy – school readiness, school attendance and summer learning.”

“Pacesetters are part of a nationwide network of more than 240 Campaign communities, representing 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with 2,100 local organizations (including 130 United Ways and 250 state and local funders). The Campaign communities are dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers.”

Ralph Smith, CGLR’s managing director, adds, “We are very proud of these communities and the numerous organizations and individuals behind them for joining forces and working tirelessly to uplift children and families. They remind us that we are seeing great progress and real results all across the country.” (more…)

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