Monday, May 19, 2014

Good News, Bad News on the Reading Habits of Children and Teens

A widely reported study by Common Sense Media suggests that reading for pleasure among children and teens has decreased significantly over the past three decades. According to the research, with 45 percent of 17-year-olds say they read by choice only once or twice a year.

Equally troubling is the finding that parents are reading to and with their children less often, according to this organization, which provides online reviews for families of movies, TV shows, video games—and, yes, books.

At the same time, we don’t need to go far to find good news (and anyone who knows me knows that I prefer to accentuate the positive!): The young adult genre of fiction is booming, and a 2013 Pew Research Study reports that young people ages 16 to 29 are regular library patrons.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Our Latest Edutopia Post: Brain Movies

The images in your mind can be more exciting and memorable than any Hollywood film! That's the theme of our latest blog post on the Edutopia website, "Brain Movies: When Readers Can Picture It, They Understand It."

In this post, we share with teachers the importance of guiding your students to visualize as they read, which makes for an engaging and enjoyable way to boost comprehension and retention.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

"Learning to create brain movies can help students make sense of complex nonfiction subject matter and 'see' the characters, setting, and action in stories. Teachers who use our strategy tell us their students seem to have more fun—and success—as they read. These anecdotes are supported by research showing that students who are taught to develop mental imagery of text do better than control groups on tests of comprehension and recall."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness

One of the basic tenets of human existence is the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness often comes concurrently with the pursuit of knowledge. We have all heard the saying that “ignorance is bliss,” but I’m of the opinion that bliss actually comes from learning and acquiring new skills.

Think of your childhood and how happy you were when you learned to ride a bike or mastered the multiplication tables. If you are a parent or a teacher, think how happy you are when you impart your knowledge to a child. Seeing a child’s face light up with the joy of learning is one of the happiest feelings of all.

In the field of psychology, five components are important in order to achieve a state of happiness: self-esteem, sense of control, optimism, relationships, and extroversion. Just think how many of those components are related to learning and education.