Monday night’s School Reform Commission meeting on strategy, policy, and priorities brought together teachers, partner organizations, and District officials working on a new citywide campaign. They were all looking for answers to the same question: How do we get kids to read?
The common answer that night: Parents need to be involved, preferably from their children's early stages of development. Parents at the meeting, however, represented a small minority of attendees.
The campaign, called READ! by 4th, stands for Ready, Engaged, Able, and Determined, and aims for reading proficiency for all Philadelphia 4th graders by 2020. The program launched in August.
Holding a brand-new book and poster freshly autographed by Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin, young Kazir got to talking Wednesday morning about why he loves reading.
Among two dozen students in the Prince Hall Elementary School library for the "READ! By 4th Campaign" literacy event, the youngster said that good books often offer quality life lessons.
"Dictionaries. Other large books," he mentioned of things he's read. "One book taught me how to drive a car."
That's when Kazir's second-grade friend Jeremiah had heard enough.
Amarii Simpson, 9, was sitting up front, a copy of My First Dictionary on the table before him in a room at the McVeigh Recreation Center at D and Ontario Street in Kensington.
Why was he reading a dictionary?
He gave a "duh" look in response to the question.
"So I can learn more words!"
April is National Poetry Month, but after reading the contributions of 90 teachers and educational thought leaders in the anthology Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach, I think every month should be National Poetry Month.
This collection, edited by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner, celebrates the “magic and messiness” of teaching. A sequel to Teaching with Fire, published over 10 years ago, Teaching with Heart provides stories, reflections, and poems that, at their core, marry the muse from treasured poets like Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou with the voices of novice and seasoned educators. The words that flow on the pages will inspire and sustain teachers and lovers of language and stories.
by Dan Hampton
Philadelphia High School for Girls and Kensington High School for International Business, Finance & Entrepreneurship have been chosen to pilot a Flash Media Lab program launched by WHYY.
Students in the program, which provides on-site, hands-on training, will learn video production skills, as well as research, storytelling, and interviewing techniques. Teachers at each of the participating schools will also receive training on the equipment.
“They will be producing original videos,” said Craig Santoro, director of media instruction at WHYY. “That includes all aspects of the production process from planning to editing.”
by Dan Hampton
Most students in the United States lack the essential reading skills needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive society, according to a report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The report is an update to the data reported in two earlier Casey Foundation studies – Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters and Early Warning Confirmed. Data in those documents indicated that children who read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade are more likely to graduate high school and succeed as adults. The end of 3rd grade is about the time when children move from learning how to read to using reading to learn other subjects.
A newly formed coalition in Philadelphia is joining the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, an effort to make sure that as of the year 2020, all city students read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
Children who enter District schools after having a District-affiliated preschool experience have better literacy skills when they start school and through 2nd grade, but much of that advantage "fades" by 3rd grade, according to the latest report from the Accountability Review Council (ARC).
The ARC, a watchdog group created during the state's takeover of the city schools, did a statistical analysis of students in 2011-12 who had attended one of four different preschool programs in 2007-08.
Preschool "seemed to have narrowed the reading gap for their students when compared with their peers [who didn't attend] in the year or two immediately following the pre-K services," the report concludes. "By the time students took the PSSA in third grade, the benefits of [preschool] in reading proficiency tended to fade."
Interested in improving your computer skills? As part of Comcast Cares Day and Philly Tech Week, the School District of Philadelphia, Comcast, and KEYSPOT are co-sponsoring a free Digital Resource Fair tomorrow, April 27, for students and families.
Girls will read books about boys. Boys will not read books about girls. Yes, that is a generalization, but any astute educator will agree with me. We need to understand that boys can be fickle readers, and one of the best ways to attract a boy to a book is to put a corpse on the cover or 'diarrhea' in the title.
- Danny Brassell, “Ten Ways to Get Boys Reading"
Join me for an #engchat conversation at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, on the theme of getting reluctant adolescents to read.