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Stories tagged: literacy

Resources to improve early literacy skills


staff at The Free Library of Philadelphia 

on Feb 13, 2015 10:18 AM

A big part of dealing with the problem of early literacy is knowing where to turn for helpful information. The Free Library of Philadelphia has many user-friendly resources, programs, and trainings available to parents and teachers. They have compiled this list of some of those programs, plus other literacy resources throughout the city.

In teaching literacy, assessments are in real time


Connie Langland

on Feb 9, 2015 11:48 AM

Mentioning the term “assessment” at this time of year conjures thoughts of the PSSA, the annual state test – controversial for the amount of time that is eaten up in preparation and the pall that poor showings can cast over a school.

But when literacy experts use the term “assessment,” they’re more likely to be referring to the real-time assessment tools that are now viewed as vital in efforts to ensure that children stay on track learning to read.

Bulking up on phonics


Connie Langland

on Feb 9, 2015 11:47 AM
At Belmont Academy Charter School, kindergartners are learning their letters and their sounds. (Photo: Connie Langland)

At Belmont Academy Charter School, the ongoing use of assessments has resulted in parents getting early warning if their child is straying off track, weeks prior to issuance of report cards.

And when review of data showed numerous 2nd- and 3rd-grade students stumbling in phonics, the solution was to bulk up programming in kindergarten and 1st-grade classrooms.

Now for about 20 minutes a day, children practice letter and word recognition and also, in unison, say aloud the discrete sounds of oral English in a program called Fundations. School leader Jennifer VanZandt described it as “scripted, repetitive, focusing on one letter at a time.”

The state of literacy in Philly schools, by the numbers

By the Notebook on Feb 3, 2015 11:26 AM

Only 40 percent of District 3rd graders score proficient or better in reading

In 2014, only two in five District 3rd graders met state standards for reading proficiency, based on the PSSA. Statewide, 70 percent of students score proficient. 

Citywide data for charter schools were not available. See here for proficiency rates for individual charter schools.

State of the art in literacy instruction


Dale Mezzacappa

on Feb 2, 2015 10:49 AM

On a January morning at the Ziegler Elementary School in the Lower Northeast, art teacher Regina Feighan-Drach was dressed like a Native American shaman. For an hour and a half, two classes of 30 kindergarten students were magically transported to another era and culture.

How can this be?

It has to do with teaching kids to read.

And with local restaurateur Rob Wasserman.

Hite, District make literacy crusade a priority


Dale Mezzacappa

on Jan 30, 2015 11:35 AM

Important changes are starting to ripple throughout the District as a result of Superintendent William Hite’s focus on making all students proficient readers by the time they are 8 years old.

The literacy crusade is one of four key “anchor goals” of Hite’s action plan to overhaul schools and improve educational outcomes.

We need this campaign

By the Notebook on Jan 30, 2015 10:09 AM

No skill is more fundamental to learning throughout life than reading. Students who don’t develop a love for and proficiency in reading by 3rd grade are likely to struggle in their future lives.

In Philadelphia, that’s a large group. Last year, 60 percent of District 3rd graders failed to meet proficiency standards on the state reading test. Among Blacks and Latinos, only one in three was proficient.

By 4th grade these students’ learning challenges are likely to extend across the curriculum. Ultimately, they are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school. As they fall further behind, the effects spill over to their classmates.

Muchos no pueden leer y es por muchas razones


Paul Jablow

on Jan 29, 2015 11:10 AM

Durante su esfuerzo para entender por qué algunos de sus estudiantes de escuela elemental batallan con la lectura, Daun Kauffman a veces ha aprendido mucho tanto en las visitas a los hogares como en su propio salón de clases.

Kauffman ahora enseña 2do grado en la Escuela elemental Juniata Park, pero por más de una década fue maestro en su propia comunidad en Hunting Park, donde las familias luchan para balancear muchos problemas cotidianos.

“Los retos de los estudiantes en Hunting Park se me hicieron rápida­mente claros en persona”, dice él.

From reading to community


Bill Hangley Jr.

on Jan 29, 2015 10:37 AM

It’s family storytime at the Lucien E. Blackwell public library on 52nd Street, and the bushy-haired toddler named Rio isn’t just here to learn to read.

He’s here to join the world.

“Look at this – red!” says Jennifer Walker, the librarian, as she holds open a picture book about colors. “Just like this scarf!”

A child language expert talks about the literacy gap and the '6 Cs' of learning


Paul Jablow

on Jan 28, 2015 11:01 AM

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek is a psychology professor at Temple University, where she is also the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow and director of Temple's Infant & Child Laboratory.

Hirsh-Pasek said research showing that children in poverty usually hear far fewer words than their better-off counterparts is important. But she said this issue has been viewed too simplistically. Quality counts just as much as quantity, she said.

The Notebook interviewed Hirsh-Pasek about early literacy and the challenges facing children who are learning to read.  

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