FEATURE

Beyond School Hours XV: See You in California!

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This week in Burlingame, California, Foundations is holding its fifteenth annual Beyond School Hours (BSH) conference. I look forward to BSH each year because I always meet so many interesting people from across the country working in school, afterschool, and in our neediest communities. As I mentioned in last year’s blog entry, Beyond School Hours is one of the only national education conferences that puts afterschool at front and center, highlighting out-of-school time programs—and the people who make them happen—as critical to kids’ success.

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Fight Monsters and Learn to Read: Literacy through Video Games

by Julianne Grasso June 2, 2011
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As a member of Generation Y, who came of age immersed in computers, television, and mp3 players, Rhonda Lauer’s recent post about learning with and through media makes total sense to me. I’ve got an audiobook on my iPod, a video game that’s supposed to teach me Japanese, and I watch the Discovery Channel (that counts, right?). I’m certainly not alone, considering the seemingly giant market for “edutainment.”

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Reading for Life: Entertainment Media

by Rhonda H. Lauer May 25, 2011
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Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s 2011 Leadership Forum. This year’s Forum – Learning from Hollywood: Can Entertainment Media Ignite an Education Revolution? – was held in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Along with other educators, I joined with leaders from the entertainment industry, technology, research, policy, and philanthropy, to explore new ways to support young people’s learning with and through media.

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Building Pictures in Your Head

by Susan Gleich May 18, 2011
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While the early years of reading instruction are steeped in teaching students to “break the code,” equally important is building meaning from text and shared readings. Too often, comprehension takes a back seat to phonics, while it should be developed concurrently as the student learns to decode.

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Reading Success for Boys

by Michele Rodgers May 11, 2011
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Over the past several years, gaps between girls’ and boys’ reading abilities have been widening. Even when socio-economic background is taken into consideration, far more boys than girls scored below basic on the most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Like many disparities in our classrooms, these gaps become increasingly pernicious if not addressed in early elementary school. By fourth grade, boys lag behind girls by two years in reading.

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Reading for Life: Writing for Life

by Rhonda H. Lauer April 28, 2011
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A few weeks ago I came across a fascinating interview with Keren Taylor, the founder of the non-profit organization WriteGirl that pairs professional women writers with high school girls in Los Angeles. Local English teachers help the organization identify girls who would most benefit from the program, both low and high achievers, from a variety of cultures and family backgrounds.

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Using Coaching and Mentoring to Improve Instructional Quality

by Phyllis Glassman April 20, 2011
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Student achievement is highly dependent on instructional quality, yet many teachers receive few opportunities for ongoing professional development. Instructional coaching deepens, expands, and sustains professional learning. Effective coaching and mentoring initiatives instill a culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing throughout the entire school community.

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Long-Term Connections between Third Grade Reading, Graduation, and Poverty are Found in Casey Foundation Study

by Jennifer Kobrin April 14, 2011
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Earlier this week, a study commissioned by the Casey Foundation found that high school dropout rates for students who were unable to read on grade level by third grade were four times higher than students who read proficiently by third grade. 88% of students who did not graduate from high school were either “below basic,” or “basic, not proficient” on reading tests in third grade. The effects increased significantly when poverty was taken into consideration.

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Reading for Life: What it Means to be Literate

by Rhonda H. Lauer April 6, 2011
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Recently, I’ve been thinking about the meaning of the word literacy. The definition has become a bit muddled lately; these days we talk about computer literacy, cultural literacy, and environmental literacy. Used in this sense, it means “knowledge of a particular subject or field.”

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8 Recommendations to Get All Kids Reading on Grade Level by 3rd Grade: “Do Now’s” for School and District Leaders

by Gail Meister March 30, 2011
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In 2008, Foundations joined the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections initiative, a decade-long effort to improve outcomes for children living in tough neighborhoods. The result of this collaboration is our 8 A’s—specific recommendations we believe will lead to all students reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

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TESOL 2011 Convention: Resources and Links on Teaching Vocabulary and Innovative New Media to Engage ELLs

by Jennifer Kobrin March 23, 2011
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At the annual TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) convention in New Orleans last week, the theme was “examining the E in TESOL.” It’s hard to describe the TESOL experience unless you’ve been there—over 8,000 teachers, linguists, principals, researchers, and administrators from Mongolia to Alabama and everywhere in between, all rushing to hundreds of sessions.

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