reading

reading

98-Year Old Learns to Read and Writes Autobiography

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks had never met Jim Arruda Henry. Henry spent the first 91 years of his life illiterate. However, when he turned 92, Henry decided it was time to learn. Henry said that the tipping point for him was when he heard about George Dawson, another elderly gentlemen who learned to read when he was 98-years old.

“I said if he can do it, I’m going to try,” Henry said.

For many years, Henry hid the fact that he could not read from most of his family and friends. It makes sense that the career fisherman who only had a third grade education would be able to cope with this problem, but some of the ways he did so are quite interesting.

For example, when he went out to eat with his family, “he would wait for someone else to order and say, ‘That sounds good, I’ll have that,'” his granddaughter, Marlisa McLaughlin said. “Or if he had a bill, he’d just requisition the guy and say, ‘So how much do I owe you?'”

Finally, Henry decided it was time to learn to read when he went through a painful family situation. Read the rest of this entry »



President Obama Waives No Child Left Behind Requirements in 10 States

U.S. Department of Educaiton No Child Left Behind SealWhen No Child Left Behind was first created, everyone thought it would be a great thing and would really accomplish its goal of getting every child in the USA up to par in the fields of math and reading by 2014. However, with the deadline drawing closer and closer, it is becoming obvious that many schools are going to fall short. This is the reason why President Barack Obama recently let 10 states off the hook and freed them from the requirements that the program enforced on schools. The states are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

President Obama said that he took action and released the states from their contracts because Congress has not updated the law, even though many agreed that it desperately needed to be fixed.

“If we’re serious about helping out children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone,” Obama said. “Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work.”

These 10 states aren’t the only ones who asked for a waiver to free them from No Child Left Behind. There are 28 other states that have plans on seeking waivers. Under the new waivers, the schools no longer have to prove that every student is proficient in reading and math; instead, the school must prepare students for either a higher education or a career, develop evaluation systems for teachers and principals, and establish new target goals for improvement among all students.

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Children from Military Families Perform Better on Progress Exams

filled out test formAccording to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress testing program, children who attend school on military bases do better academically than students who attend public schools. The test assess fourth and eighth graders in math and reading.

Thirty-two percent of fourth grade students who attend public schools had scores that show them as being proficient in reading. At the military schools, seven percent more (39 percent) students scored the same.

Another impressive finding showed that there is a smaller achievement gap between white and African American students in the military schools, and this gap is shrinking faster than the gaps at public schools.

So how are these military schools preparing their students so well? Is it extra test preparation?

“No,” said Leigh Anne Kapiko, the principal of Tarawa Terrace Elementary, a military school in Jacksonville, North Carolina. “That’s not done in Department of Defense schools. We don’t even have test prep materials.”

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Take a Trip Down Memory Lane with This Summer Reading List

Nobody likes taking an English class in the fall because we all know that this means we will get a long list of books that we have to read during the summer to prepare for the class. Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy reading a good book, but being forced to read some Victorian novel every summer and then answer questions about it in the fall? That’s not nearly as appealing.

So, what if we made our own summer reading list? Sounds like a good idea to me. And since I just graduated from college and am feeling a bit nostalgic for my younger years, I thought a reading list of books from my childhood would be a fantastic way to avoid thoughts of being a grown up. If you are in a similar situation (or just want some fun books to read) check out this Summer Reading List: A Trip Down Memory Lane.

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High School Dropout Rate Strongly Linked to Third Grade Reading Level

If your child isn’t proficient in reading by the third grade, it’s time to worry. According to a recent report, children are four times more likely to drop out of high school if they haven’t mastered their expected literacy level by the third grade.

The study, released by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, also found that roughly 16 percent of children that have trouble reading by the third grade will not graduate on time.

The third grade is an important milestone in reading because in those first three grade-school years the emphasis is placed on learning to read.

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The Best Books of 2010

Winter break is finally here! That means anywhere from two weeks to a whole month of no school, no obligations, and lots of relaxation. This all sounds wonderful, until you are about half-way into the break and realize that the only productive thing you have done during your vacation is catch up with the Kardashians or work on your baseball pitch with your little brother. (Both are worth-while activities, I’m just saying they aren’t exactly “productive.”)

Maybe instead of sleeping in until 1:00pm every day, you could do something slightly productive and that will also prevent your brain from going to mush over the break. Now, let’s not get too crazy here: I’m not suggesting you write a 10-page thesis paper about the economic, political, and social impacts of World War Two, but how about giving your brain a little exercise by reading a book? And not just any book, but one of the best books that were written this year?

Barnes and Noble recently announced the Best Teen Books for 2010. These books range from “nuanced paranormal romance” to “important, more problematic teen issues” to “well-crafted genre fiction.”

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Jimmy Fallon’s Do Not Read Book List

Jimmy-Fallon-show-imageA big percentage of homework consists of reading. Rather than adding books to your reading list, Jimmy Fallon is attempting to help lighten the workload of students everywhere with this comical “Do Not Read” list. Here are the books he suggests you stay away from, just in time for back to school.

If you need a recap, or wish to purchase one of these books for that special frenemy, here’s the list:

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Best Foreign Books

like for chocolateI have had the great fortune of studying abroad this summer. Part of studying abroad is, obviously, taking classes. I decided to take a Spanish literature class. Now, I have never been a fan of literature classes, mainly because I do not like having to memorize the teacher’s opinions about the work and accept them as fact, even if these opinions differ from my own. However, it is very interesting to read literature about a different culture and country. I feel like I know more about Spain and its development as a country from reading these literary works than from what I learned in my Spanish history course.

Here’s my challenge to you: I challenge you to read at least two books this summer by authors who are from a foreign country. These works of world literature will open your eyes to a way of life that is different from your own. Here is my list of the top world literature works to read for summer 2010.

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First Book Combats American Childhood Illiteracy

first bookIlliteracy is a terrible problem in the US, a place where everyone should learn to read in public schools. Michelle Obama recently announced her plan to help students maintain what they have already learned throughout the summer, but another contributing cause to the problem is that 80 percent of preschools and after-school programs – the places where many children learn to read – do not have age-appropriate books for students to practice reading.

How can we expect anyone to learn to read if they do not have the appropriate materials?

That’s the question that plagued Kyle Zimmer in 1994. Zimmer worked as a corporate lawyer during the day, and spent her evenings tutoring inner-city children at a soup kitchen in the Washington D.C. area. Zimmer was deeply upset by the fact that the children she was tutoring were unable to read at an age-appropriate level because they simply did not have any books to read.

Sadly enough, in low-income populations, there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. After seeing the difference that providing children with the correct literary materials, Zimmer decided to quit her day job, joined forces with two friends, and created First Book.

First Book is a nonprofit organization that “provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books.”

First Book accepts monetary donations from across the country, and then provides students with brand new books to read. Every $2.00 donation allows First Book to purchase a new book and give it to a child in need. Since First Book was founded in 1994, they have distributed more than 65 million books to students across the country and in Canada.

“Access to books and educational material is the single biggest barrier to literacy development in the United States and beyond,” said Susan B. Neuman, a member of the Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement. “If we can solve the problem of access, we will be well on the road to realizing educational parity – a goal which has eluded this country for generations.”

If you would like to make a donation to First Book to help combat childhood illiteracy, please visit the First Book website.

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High School Summer Reading List

reading outsideAs you start cleaning out your lockers and spending a couple more hours at Starbucks studying for finals after school, you can’t help but update your Twitter account about how excited you are for the quickly approaching summer vacation.

But before you start planning your beach trips and afternoons basking in the sun, maybe you should stop by your local bookstore and check out their recommended list of summer reading.

Studies have shown that summer reading can boost academic performance by 50-67 percent in high school students, and that those students who don’t read over break tend to fall behind their peers in other subjects in addition to literature and language arts.

Here are some of the most recommend books for summer reading across the country:

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