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Archive for the ‘Reading proficiency’ Category

 

“I am all butterflies. Every part of my body is shaking,” Jean Fahey said when she found out she had won the Early Childhood Book Challenge sponsored by OpenIDEO and the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation.

OpenIDEO “is part of IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy” that encourages people to tackle a wide range of social problems.

The Early Childhood Book Challenge asked for creative manuscripts that would “inspire children and their caregivers to read together.”

Specifically, the manuscripts had to:

• “Excite and educate caregivers about the opportunities and importance of reading, singing or talking together”

• support early language development by engaging “young children in their earliest years,” and

• “Reflect the lived experience of families living in urban contexts in the U.S., in communities like Philadelphia”

In response, people from five continents submitted more than 500 manuscripts. (more…)

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The award-winning Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative is moving to a brand new and very appropriate home, the Springfield City Library.

Reading Success by 4th Grade is a nationally recognized, community-wide effort to ensure that all the children living in Springfield, Mass., can read proficiently by the end of third grade.

Launched in 2009, the program was run by Sally Fuller, and its home was the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.

Now that Fuller has retired, Davis foundation officials want the initiative to have a home in the community.

Among the initiative’s guiding principles:

• the best interventions begin before kindergarten;

• parents and caregivers are their children’s first and most important teachers, and

• both home and educational environments must support children’s early literacy skills

The initiative has had notable success. It “was recognized at the national Grade-Level Reading Week conference in Denver in 2017 for initiating citywide strategies that raised the level of third-grade reading proficiency from 33 percent to 44 percent,” MassLive reports. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

This year’s MCAS test results have been released.

And while this assessment of Massachusetts students is 25 years old, this year’s results are part of a “new generation” of testing that’s designed “to measure how a school or district is doing and what kind of support it may need,” according to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The next-generation MCAS “is more comprehensive than the previous system and complies with the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act.” This is the second year that the new MCAS has been administered, so this year’s results can only be compared to last year’s – and not to earlier years.

Students’ test scores are sorted into one of four assessment categories:

• exceeding expectations

• meeting expectations

• partially meeting expectations, and

• not meeting expectations

The year’s results are similar to last year’s, the press release notes. In English and math, “approximately 50 percent of the students who took the test scored Meeting Expectations or above.” (more…)

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Members of the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership. Source: Education Trust’s Twitter page.

 

Massachusetts is a great place to get a K-12 education — but not for everyone.

Many students in this state do extremely well on a national standardized test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP. A May 2018 report from the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says:

• “Massachusetts tied for first place on the grades 4 and 8 NAEP reading assessments,” and

• “On the NAEP mathematics assessments, Massachusetts tied for first with five other states at grade 4 and one other state on grade 8.”

But not every student does this well. Massachusetts is also home to “glaring and persistent disparities in opportunity and achievement that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers.”

That’s the finding of a new report called, “#1 for Some: Opportunity and Achievement in Massachusetts,” that has been released by the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership, a growing coalition of nonprofit organizations. Strategies for Children is one of 15 current members. (more…)

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The second of a three-part series on summer learning.

 

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Summer is a great time to learn.

But as we blogged last week, summer learning loss — all the things that students forget when they are not in school — can help fuel the achievement gap.

A National Summer Learning Association report says that high-quality programs can address learning loss, but only “about one-third of young people nationally are enrolled in a summer learning program.”

Fortunately, in Massachusetts, cities are closing the summertime gap in creative ways.

Action at the city level is crucial according to a 2016 report on a workshop’s proceedings. Published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report notes:  (more…)

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Sally Fuller testifying at the State House. 

“Growing up as the ‘whoops child’ for a mother who taught high-school English, Sally C. Fuller could not avoid being engulfed in a world of words. Her siblings were 10 and 12 years older, so Fuller wound up being her mother’s focus.”

“It was in 2005 that Fuller first became associated with the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation when she was named project manager for the Springfield Cherish Every Child initiative. She has most recently overseen the foundation’s Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade community initiative with a goal of ensuring all of Springfield’s children are reading proficiently by the end of the third-grade.”

“Fuller will be feted this week upon the occasion of her retirement with a gathering at the Community Music School.”

“For Sally Fuller and Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative, gift of words enriches children’s lives: Viewpoint,” by Cynthia Simison, MassLive.com, June 17, 2018

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House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

As the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers slug it out in the World Series, playing 10 innings for more than five hours in Game 5, House Speaker Robert DeLeo is once again going to bat for children – using baseball to make the case for early literacy.

DeLeo was speaking at Raising a Reader Massachusetts’ third annual Leadership in Literacy Award Breakfast where he was being honored as the Legislator of the Year.

“Some of you may know that I’m a big baseball fan,” DeLeo said at the breakfast. “So, I was struck by a Strategies for Children report that equated the experience of watching a game at Fenway Park with learning to read.”

That report is “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success,” written by Nonie Lesaux, a Harvard Graduate School of Education professor. It’s on page two that the the report tells the story of two children at Fenway Park.

DeLeo explained it this way:

“The report followed the experiences of two 10 year olds at Fenway Park: one child whose father exposed her to baseball at an early age, explained the rules of the game to her, and sparked her love for the sport. She knows when to cheer, and when to boo.  (more…)

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