Reading the words isn't enough — you have to understand and organize them, too. While this second step sounds like a no-brainer, its underlying cerebral mechanism is not well-understood, and scientists have long wondered how it differs from the first. Now, researchers from Northwestern University believe they have found a way to isolate and monitor the brain activity underpinning this higher-level comprehension process. Aside from broadening our current understanding of the brain, their findings may inspire new ways of diagnosing and treating reading disorders.
A 2011 survey of teachers and school administrators by Staff Development for Educators, for example, found that 86 percent of respondents cited classroom management as one of the biggest challenges facing new teachers. Perhaps not surprisingly, instructional experts and teacher-coaches see it as major problem area as well, with some lamenting that schools of education tend to focus far more on curriculum issues and developmental psychology than on the mechanics of running a classroom. But instructional leaders also say that in most cases teachers can develop their classroom-management capacities — assuming they're willing to re-examine their practices and attend more closely to the details of their interactions with students.
The e-reader screen looks simple — white text on a black backdrop, four words per line, four lines per page — but it has potential to open up a world of previously inaccessible texts for millions of Americans with dyslexia, according to a recent study from researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dyslexia, a learning disability that impairs reading fluency, affects about 15 percent of Americans. The new research found that a certain subset of students with dyslexia read better on an iPod Touch screen than a printed page — a discovery that may be related to the technology's boundless options for personalization.
Chicago schools by themselves can never close the academic gap between poor black and Latino students and their more affluent white and Asian counterparts. Schools cannot eliminate the racial academic achievement gap because schools did not create it. This gap comes to schools with children from their homes, families and communities.
The Success for All program, a school improvement effort funded with federal Investing in Innovation (i3) dollars, seems to be a success. A new evaluation of the program conducted by MDRC,The Success for All Model of School Reform, found that kindergarteners who went through the program demonstrated about 12 percent higher average annual growth in reading achievement than their average peers.Success for All (SFA) received a five-year grant in the first i3 competition funded by the Department of Education in 2010 to help struggling elementary schools. The new federal dollars enabled SFA to expand its program to another 1,100 schools.
Last Friday morning in Karry Reicks classroom was exciting for the 14 kindergartners who sat perched at her feet at West Side Elementary School in Mauston, eagerly waiting to learn more about a new character they had met just moments before — a boy named Sal. Sal is one of 14 characters students in every classroom at West Side Elementary School become familiar with as a part of the Superkids Reading Program. The program starts by "moving from reading readiness in pre-kindergarten, into emergent reading in kindergarten and then stepping into being strong decoders and fluent readers in first and second grade," said Emily Larsen, a Superkids coach who helped implement the program at West Side and continues to assist educators with it.
At most ed-tech related meetings and conferences, the focus is on adults: how teachers need to be trained to use technology in classrooms, what administrators should do to secure funding for tech projects, and how policymakers need to keep pace with advances in technology. Rarely is the focus squarely on students. But this week attendees at the State Educational Technology Directors Association 2013 Leadership Summit got to hear directly from students about a program that could change how educators develop ed-tech initiatives. The summit highlighted a program at the Raleigh Hills K-8 school in Beaverton, Ore. in which students are creating online, game-based lessons for their peers.
With Amtrak reporting a record 31.6 million passengers, families will welcome this year's trainload of picture books about locomotives. And from factual to fanciful, many of them are excellent.