Literacy and Reading

Screen Time and Literacy: Worry, Hope and New Ideas

October 26, 2011

Since 2005, the amount of time that young children from 6 months to 6 years old spend reading or being read to has dropped by 10 minutes, according to new data released yesterday. The number of minutes those children spend with screen media has increased by 42 minutes.

K-12 Groups Call for Federal Policies Embracing PreK-12 Education

October 11, 2011

A group of seven large education associations came together last week at the U.S. Capitol to call on Congress to reshape education policies to embrace early education. The group – known  as the Pre-K Coalition – wants to see pre-K included more robustly in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act coupled with policies that support a stronger more seamless education for students from pre-kindergarten through third grade.

Their report, Ensuring America’s Future, is an important signal of support for early education from groups that are not typically seen as early childhood advocates. 

Early Ed: Building Better Homework

October 3, 2011

Educators have long gone to battle over homework. Mostly, their debate revolves around the amount of homework schools assign to kids and whether or not they gain anything from completing it. But what if we could actually boost the effectiveness of homework without making it any longer, harder or more tedious for kids?

Podcast: Building Better Homework

October 3, 2011

Educators have long gone to battle over homework. Mostly, their debate revolves around the amount of homework schools assign to kids and whether or not they gain anything from completing it. But what if we could actually boost the effectiveness of homework without making it any longer, harder or more tedious for kids?

Linking Early Grades to Pre-K in the Continuum of Learning Act

September 20, 2011

Political observers say there is little chance of Congress passing a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this year, but some legislators are forging ahead anyway. In the past month, Republicans and Democrats have put forward bills designed to be part of a redesigned ESEA, known to most as No Child Left Behind. 

6 States Win Funds for Birth-to-12th-Grade Literacy Programs

September 16, 2011

The state of federal literacy funding is in flux these days, but a little-noticed announcement from the U.S. Department of Education last week showed that there are still a handful of states receiving new federal dollars to promote programs to help children learn to read.  The department declared six winners of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program: Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Already Ahead: Top Contenders in the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge

August 26, 2011

By the end of this year, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services will award grants of between $50 million to $100 million to states to improve early childhood education. The grants are part of a new competition called the Early Learning Challenge, a version of the Race to the Top education-reform competition launched in 2009. 

Poverty, Reading Scores, and Resilient Schools

July 29, 2011

Countless studies have linked poverty and low socioeconomic status to low test scores, but some schools with children in poverty still do better than others. Resilient schools, as they are called, have better reading scores and higher poverty levels. New research in the July issue of American Behavioral Scientist looks carefully at factors that correlate with poverty, as well as school resiliency among 270,000 students in over 250 schools in Broward School District in Broward County, Florida. The author, Sara Ransdell, a professor in the Department of Health Science at Nova Southeastern University, had a twofold mission: tease out some of the conditions correlated with poverty to see how much they affect student performance, and target resilient schools and try to determine why they are outperforming their counterparts.

The results of the first part of study are almost disappointingly straightforward: Poverty was, by far, the biggest predictor of whether a child could read in the Broward School District at large.

Other factors, such as a child’s English Language Learner status or whether the child engaged in risky behavior, made “minor and often redundant contributions” to how a child performed in Ransdell’s analysis. After controlling for a myriad of different school- and child-related factors, including class sizes, teacher resources, and student ethnicity, the author was pointed back to the simplest explanation for why some children read better than others in school.

Of Two Minds on When and How to Fix ESEA

June 8, 2011
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Once again, Secretary Arne Duncan is calling for Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known as No Child Left Behind, by the end the summer. During a visit to St. Paul with Senator Al Franken (D-MN) last week, Duncan called the law an “impediment” to academic success.

New Ideas for Early Learning

June 2, 2011

On May 5, 2011, Lisa Guernsey gave a keynote presentation to attendees of the annual international conference of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation in Ypsilanti, MI. The presentation provided an overview of trends in early learning from both the research and policy perspectives.

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