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Literacy and Reading

Harvard Releases Early Literacy Resources for Policymakers, One Memo At A Time

November 26, 2012

This fall, the Harvard Graduate School of Education is publishing a series of one-page memos for policymakers and early learning leaders on how to improve young children’s literacy. Using evidence from research on reading and its precursors, these Lead for Literacy one-pagers are designed to help leaders avoid common mistakes in their early education programs. Nonie Lesaux, a Harvard education professor and reading expert, leads the research group behind the project.

NewsHour Highlights Pre-K, Kindergarten Disparities and ‘New Breed’ of Pediatrician

November 19, 2012

A recent segment on PBS NewsHour creatively knit together two oft-forgotten elements for ensuring that more children learn to read: the power of the pediatrician and the disparities in access children face not just in preschool but also in full-day kindergarten.  

A Role for Early Ed Tech: Strengthening Connections Among Teachers, Librarians and Coaches

October 10, 2012

Apps on iPads are dominating the ed-tech conversation these days, but last week I had an opportunity to move beyond a trumpeting of the touchscreen and examine how online, digital media could change the early ed workforce. In a presentation for a meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Indianapolis, I talked to early childhood specialists in state education agencies about some untapped areas for enhancing training and forming partnerships among educators , including librarians, via digital technology.

Digital Intersections

October 9, 2012

On October 2, 2012, Lisa Guernsey gave a presentation on technology's role in early education at a meeting in Indianapolis for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The presentation, Digital Intersections: Where and How Digital Technology Should Meet Early Childhood Policy, explored the science of learning via media for young children and charted several areas, such as teacher training, library partnerships and parent engagement models, where state leaders could encourage more thoughtful adoption of technology among early educators. 

Questioning 3rd Grade Retention Policies

October 1, 2012

In yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel, I question the findings of a study that suggests retention improves third graders’ reading scores in Florida. The study didn’t isolate retention from Florida’s other literacy initiatives so we don’t really know what made the difference. Florida’s reading law requires much more than retention.

Jury Still Out Whether Repeating Grades Can Improve Reading

  • By
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • New America Foundation
October 1, 2012 |

Millions of children are not able to read on grade level by the end of third grade. In response, state legislatures are passing new reading policies, many of which require students to repeat third grade if they are struggling readers.

Florida, an early adopter of literacy policies that include this threat — known as retention — has been joined in recent years by several states with similar policies for holding children back. But is retention an important or even necessary part of the solution to children's reading deficiencies? That is a question left unanswered.

Why Third Grade Is So Important: The 'Matthew Effect'

  • By
  • Annie Murphy Paul,
  • New America Foundation
September 26, 2012 |

Take a guess: What is the single most important year of an individual’s academic career? The answer isn’t junior year of high school, or senior year of college. It’s third grade.

Does Minecraft Have a Place in Elementary Schools of the Future?

August 6, 2012

On Thursday this week, the Early Education Initiative and the Future Tense project at Slate magazine will kick off the back-to-school season with an event here in Washington, D.C. designed to shake up typical notions of elementary school. Today's young kids are now using technology to express themselves, make things, and share ideas. What do they have to teach us about the way they learn? 

Getting Schooled by a Third Grader: What Kids’ Gaming, Tweeting, Streaming and Sharing Tells us About the Future of Elementary Education

New Study Shows Volunteer Reading Tutors Get Limited Results

July 20, 2012

A new study by Sarah Miller, Paul Connolly and Lisa Maguire of Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland suggests that while volunteer tutors can be effective at helping students improve their reading speed and ability to read aloud, volunteers with little to no training are unlikely to help a child improve his or her reading comprehension or reading confidence -- skills that may be more effectively taught by professional educators.

Harnessing Technology to Support Young Families: What States Can Do

July 9, 2012
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A red-hot ed-tech marketplace is creating a feeling of urgency among decision makers in state agencies and local school districts – and early education is no exception. In a world of increasing fiscal constraints, state leaders are under pressure to capitalize on new technologies to improve productivity and help children excel. But without thoughtful adoption, leaders are at risk of spending public dollars on products that sit unused, lock districts into specific brands or platforms, or get in the way of promoting the positive, face-to-face interactions with adults that young children need.

To help state leaders see past the hype, I was commissioned to write a policy brief for the Education Commission of the States. It is being released this week at the commission’s annual forum in Atlanta. The brief, Technology in Early Education: Building Platforms for Connections and Content that Strengthen Families and Promote Success in School,  is part of a series underwritten by GE called The Progress of Education Reform. (Other issues in the series have examined digital citizenship, the implications of defining college readiness, and the intricacies of state school funding.)

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