At an age when many children are hoping for a cellphone, Lory Carranza’s fourth-grade class at Dan O. Root Elementary School is collecting old ones.
The idea came from the fictional story, “The One and Only Ivan,” which was inspired by a gorilla that spent 27 years in a mall with a circus theme in Tacoma, Washington before finding a home at the Atlanta Zoo. Ivan died in 2012 at the age of 50.
The 2011 book focuses on Ivan, who never knew life in the jungle and spent time watching westerns and romantic shows on a television. He thinks about his friends, an elderly elephant, a stray dog and a new baby elephant.
Fairfield Mayor Harry T. Price visited Anna Kyle Elementary School on March 15, joining the children for some before-school activities.
Jose Rico‘s fifth-grade class invited Price to Anna Kyle to show his support to the “Reading Revolution” that they initiated as a schoolwide activity to help improve reading skills this year among those who attend the school, according to a press release about the day’s activities.
After learning the secrets on how to improve their reading level, 32 out of 33 children are reading above the fifth-grade level, according to the press release. The goal is to have the whole school reading at grade level by the end of May.
The first-grade class from Nelda Mundy Elementary School were a diverse, wide-eyed bunch and like most kids, if you ask them a series of questions that get them to shoot their hands in the air, they’re hooked.
Me: “Who here likes to read?(hands raised enthusiastically)
Me: OK, put your hands down. Now, who loves to read?(more hands raised enthusiastically)
Me: Hands down. Who is gonna raise their hand no matter what question I ask?
If there is one thing that California Teachers Association Vice President Theresa Montano loves, it’s reading.
She got to read Thursday to one of her favorite audiences – two classrooms of young children at Laurel Creek Elementary School.
“I just love this. It brings me closer to the kids,” Montano said just before she started her day of reading.
Montano armed herself with the children’s book, “Creature Features,” by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. She first read to Stephanie Cobb’s second-grade class and then to Lisa Rushing’s first-grade class.
Emojis are more mainstream than ever. The Oxford English Dictionary named the Face With Tears of Joy emoji the word of the year for 2015, presidential candidates are asking for feedback in emojis, and the appearance of new emojis is considered news by major media outlets.
Although looking up emoji definitions is relatively simple, I often turn to my students for more nuanced explanations. After a bit of laughter, my students patiently demonstrate the multiple uses for a single emoji, help me decode emoji-laden Instagram comments, and advise me on murky racial or gender implications.
Good news came for a hoped-for summer internship in India, and Shounak Chattopadhyay was filled with joy. Raised in Vacaville, he would, at last, be returning to the land where he was born 21 years ago.
When he applied for the Tata Social Internship, Chattopadhyay recalled, via email from New Delhi, that he felt “drawn” to his native country, coupled with a desire to “experience the magical chaos of India for myself.”
A graduate of Buckingham Charter Magnet High School and a senior at University of California, Berkeley, he envisioned his weeks in India, helping to improve the quality of children’s literature in Indian languages and access to books in schools and libraries, as a huge opportunity in his still-young life.
Summer is a time for children to have fun without feeling pressured by the copious amounts of school work they received for the previous 10 months. As beneficial as this could be for students’ well-beings, it could have a negative impact on their enthusiasm to learn. Children who opt to forgo any form of reading over the summer might be less likely to read when school starts up again. Thankfully, the Benicia Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is back to make kids want to dive into a book or many during the year’s hottest months.
The Summer Reading Program has been a staple at the library for a long time, and it has gone through several different formats. Previously, kids ages 3 to 14 would get a prize for reading 100 different books over the summer and writing down the titles. In other summers, kids would write down the amount of time spent reading. According to Allison Angell, the library’s head of youth services, the program will be doing Bingo cards which would not only encourage children to read but also go out into the community.
What is reading readiness? The dictionary defines it as the point when a child transforms from being a non-reader to being a reader. But this definition leaves out the concept that reading readiness may actually begin in the womb. Watch Annie Murphy Paul’s TED Talk to learn more about what is called fetal origins.
In another vein, as Maryanne Wolf writes in Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, “We were never born to read.” Getting ready to read takes years of informal exposure to language and print in a myriad of ways. This stage is called early literacy. Talking and interacting with children about daily literacy-based activities that interest them in their everyday lives best accomplishes acquiring these skills. Storytelling, print and book awareness, and playing with words #rhyming, clapping, stomping out syllables, rolling and bouncing a ball# are all great ways to get started at an early age. But even when the stage has been set with all the right components, the special-education child usually grapples with reading and writing.
Its almost a decade overdue, but the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote later today on a bill to replace the No Child Left Behind law.
Since NCLB was signed by President George W. Bush in early 2002, the federal government has played a major role in telling states how to run — and reform — their schools. But this new bill signals a sea change in the federal approach.
Annual tests in math and reading, the centerpiece of the old law, would remain in place. But the consequences of those test scores would no longer be dictated by the federal government. The new law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, significantly shifts responsibility for improving schools back to the states.
Vacaville elementary schools joined others around the world in reading the story of a young boy and his fish friend.
It was part of the 10th annual Jumpstart “Read for the Record” event.
Students in kindergarten, first grade and second grade at Alamo, Browns Valley, Callison, Cooper, Fairmont, Hemlock, Markham, Orchard and Padan elementary schools in the Vacaville Unified School District (VUSD) all read the same book on Thursday morning: “Not Norman: A Goldfish Story,” written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones.
“It’s a global campaign and really the intent is to generate public support for high quality early learning and a love for reading for children,” said Kimberly Forest, VUSD director of instruction, curriculum and assessment.
Creating a culture of sharing and professional dialogue is an essential element for school success. Teachers who read, discuss, and implement current educational research are more engaged and ready to take on the challenges in their classroom. But the reality is that teachers lead busy lives, making it difficult to find time for these valuable discussions. Learn how creating an online book club for sharing ideas can invigorate teachers and encourage professional reading and conversations. One advantage is that a blog is always available anywhere that a teacher has web access.
There are a number of things to consider before you start your online book club. What book or article would you like to discuss? Will you involve the entire staff or a small group of teachers? What site will you utilize to host your online conversation? Who will be the moderator? Setting up a book club is quite simple. Just follow these basic guidelines and make adjustments to best meet the needs of your school community.
Juneteenth is about freedom. And equal rights. And, in honoring the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery, the importance of reading is the theme at Saturday’s Vallejo Juneteenth Celebration at City Park.
Children 8 and under will be given a free book. Two Kindle readers will be won in a drawing during the book fair, with a mural painted at the park helping children focus on literacy, literature and the arts.
“The connection to Juneteenth is basically that slaves weren’t allowed to learn to read,” said Angela Jones, Juneteenth Central Committee president.
It’s reading, added Jones, “that is the foundation of empowerment and success, and that ties into the small business entrepreneurs who promote their businesses at the event.”
“So, how many of you know how old Dr. Seuss would be if he were still alive?”
Kristen Murray, the children’s librarian at the Cordelia branch of the Solano County Library, posed the question to Nelda Mundy Elementary School kindergartners Monday as they prepared to hear some Dr. Seuss tomes from the Cat in the Hat himself.
Plus a few more numbers tossed from the mouths of 5-year-olds.
The answer: Theodor Seuss Geisel, the beloved author of such classics as “Hop on Pop,” Red Light, Green Light” and “The Cat in the Hat” would have been 111 on Monday.
A group of Travis School District teachers are working to put a little more punch and enthusiasm in Shakespeare for the students.
Armed with a $7,300 grant from the Institute for Teaching and knowledge from a workshop at Shakespeare’s famed Globe Theatre in London, Aimee Korynta is leading the way in revolutionizing how Shakespeare is taught at both Golden West Middle School and Vanden High School, beginning this month.
“Not everyone develops a love of Shakespeare,” Korynta said. “The idea is to get the students up and out of their seats. I love Shakespeare. Shakespeare is my passion but I knew I wasn’t doing it right.”
There’s no doubt that the experience of reading online is different than reading in print, but does it affect comprehension? While several studies have found student comprehension and retention are lower on digital devices, could it be that students just need to learn the right tools to enhance their digital reading? Maria Konnikova explores the research and theories behind reading in her New Yorker column. She writes:
“Wolf is optimistic that we can learn to navigate online reading just as deeply as we once did print—if we go about it with the necessary thoughtfulness. In a new study, the introduction of an interactive annotation component helped improve comprehension and reading strategy use in a group of fifth graders. It turns out that they could read deeply. They just had to be taught how. Wolf is now working on digital apps to train students in the tools of deep reading, to use the digital world to teach the sorts of skills we tend to associate with quiet contemplation and physical volumes. ‘The same plasticity that allows us to form a reading circuit to begin with, and short-circuit the development of deep reading if we allow it, also allows us to learn how to duplicate deep reading in a new environment,’ she says. ‘We cannot go backwards. As children move more toward an immersion