Sunday, May 15, 2016

Want to Create a Bookworm? Start Reading Early and Often

Sponsored News - Most parents know the best way to get kids to read later in life is to read to them early and often. But even parents' best efforts to create bookworms sometimes fall flat -- especially in today's world of lights and action best seen from a screen.
Yet, studies continue to suggest that the benefits of reading from an early age not only teach kids the rules of syntax and expand their vocabulary, but, according to one study released last year, also activate the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language.
Because of its interest in closing the reading gap among children in this country, RRKidz Inc., home of the beloved children's brand Reading Rainbow, embarked on a Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2014. Through generous donations by its legions of fans, the company raised more than $6.4 million in 35 days.
As a result, Skybrary Family, the award-winning digital library of books and videos, was released. On the heels of this successful introduction, RRKidz Inc. is proud to announce the launch of Skybrary School, an educator-specific version with features designed to increase reading frequency and build literacy skills.
This new digital library, especially for early elementary school students (K-3) and their educators, offers close to 1,000 fiction and non-fiction books, all in the hopes of creating life-long readers and learners.
"Teachers devote their lives to giving students the tools needed to succeed in reading, and we want to make sure we are doing the same for them," said LeVar Burton. "With Reading Rainbow's Skybrary Family and now Skybrary School, we are offering a comprehensive solution to assist both educators and parents in providing engaging and relevant content to develop children's literacy and learning skills."
In addition, the service features more than 200 educational video field trips hosted by Burton, such as a trip to the White House, peeking inside the Mars Rover at NASA, behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil and other locations. Other benefits to Skybrary School include:
* Working with acclaimed publishers such as National Geographic and Britannica to discover books that meet children's interest and reading level
* Forty standards-aligned, themed lesson plans inspired by books and videos in the library
* Instructional programs with flexible online and offline activities
* A web-based subscription service with on-demand access to read and learn anytime, anywhere
* New books and videos added to the service every week
RRKidz Inc. is also giving Skybrary School to 10,000 classrooms nationwide for free.
For more information, please visit www.readingrainbow.com.

Source - http://about.newsusa.com/article/want-to-create-a-bookworm-start-reading-early-and-often.aspx

Reading Program Is 'Changing Lives One Student at a Time'

While parents may understand the importance of reading to their kids at an early age, not all children are born bookworms.
In fact, according to a report released last year by Common Sense Media, adolescents aren't reading for fun much anymore and their reading achievement hasn't increased for more than two decades.
Among the findings: girls tend to read 10 minutes longer than boys; and adolescents read more than teenagers.
And yet, one high school is challenging and exceeding this research by promoting and using a reading program that is not only helping its students understand and comprehend literature, but motivating them to read more.
Reading Plus (www.readingplus.com) is an online reading program that changes how, what, and why students read, and according to Jayne Ellspermann, the 2015 National Principal of the Year at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla., is helping her students to develop a confidence in reading that wasn't there before.
"We have students who have mastered their basic needs, but what we really appreciate about Reading Plus is the opportunity for students, once they're empowered, to exceed what we would have thought was their potential as they progress through this program," says Ellspermann.
"As they are empowered, as they increase their reading potential, we are able to leverage Reading Plus to allow these students to become college ready, to increase their ACT and SAT scores, so that the possibilities for our students are limitless."
The program targets specific skill gaps and helps to push students to meet their goals. In addition to developing basic proficiency, the program can help students move beyond grade-level reading and advance toward college-readiness.
Ellspermann hopes that through the use of the Reading Plus program, students will be empowered and inspired to pick up a book prior to National Reading Day on January 22 (http://national-reading-day.org).
"Reading Plus is changing lives one student at a time every single day," says Natasha Murphy, the 2014 Florida Reading Association High School Reading Teacher of the Year "I'm able to see this change in my students daily. And it's an amazing thing."

Source - http://about.newsusa.com/article/reading-program-is-changing-lives-one-student-at-a-time.aspx

Saturday, May 14, 2016

College Debt a Big Concern for Millennial Parents

According to the just-released 9th annual national "College Savings Indicator Study" conducted by Fidelity Investments, while more parents than ever before are socking away money to finance their children's college educations -- 69 percent nationwide, up 5 percent from last year -- they're still on track to save just 27 percent of their stated goals by the start of freshman year.
Even non-math whizzes can see what's described as "the challenge ahead" implied by these two numbers: $232 (the median monthly amount parents report saving) and $31,231 (the current average annual cost of tuition and fees at private colleges).
Of particular interest may be the behavior of millennial parents.
This is the generation, born between 1981 and 1997, whose particular revelation from the 2008 recession was how tough it is paying off their own student loans while trying to establish a career (56 percent who graduated with such debt remain saddled with it). So it's understandable, as the study found, that they "appear particularly determined to help their children" avoid the same plight -- specifically, by planning on covering 8 percent more than the 66 percent of their offspring's college costs than parents overall.
"Millennials have weathered challenging conditions for much of their adulthood, and have adopted smart savings habits at a higher rate than their older counterparts," says Keith Bernhardt, vice president of retirement and college products at Fidelity.
Here are some ideas you might not have thought of to keep from underfunding your own kids' higher education:
* Consider opening a 529 Plan. According to the survey, 93 percent of parents using one of these state- or state agency-sponsored, dedicated college accounts say it helps keep them on target. Savings can be used for tuition, books, and other education-related expenses. And the best part? Federal income taxes are deferred on any earnings, and separate state tax deductions may also apply.
* Get with the trend. You've heard of wedding registries set up to help finance a honeymoon in, say, exotic Bora Bora, right? Well, it's the same for college. If you have a 529 Plan through Fidelity, for example, its free 529 Online Gifting Service lets friends and family contribute to your account -- with a private dashboard provided for you to send invitations and track gifts.
* Reallocate pre-school dollars. If your child has aged out of day care and afterschool care, that's an average of $730 in monthly fees that could instead be squirreled away in a dedicated college savings account.
One other finding to emerge from the study: 70 percent of all parents say they need more "guidance" on the whole subject. Among the most popular Fidelity resource is an interactive, online College Savings Quick Check that lets you see how you're progressing.

Source - http://about.newsusa.com/article/college-debt-a-big-concern-for-millennial-parents.aspx

How to Help Your Child Get Over Math Anxiety

Were you a math whiz growing up, or did you struggle and feel anxious at the mere mention of math? As a parent, you surely don't want your child to experience the same thing.
"It's easy to help your child not only excel at math but also enjoy it," says Raj Valli, the founder of Tabtor Math, a tablet-based math learning program for K-8 children personalized by a dedicated tutor. "Create a math-friendly environment, make math a playful language and participate in an ongoing dialogue about math."
Valli offers the following advice for helping your child enjoy math.
Create a positive environment around math. Since children model the attitudes of those around them, speak positively about math (even hiding your true feelings). Say encouraging phrases like, "It's really cool that you can use math every day."
Think about math as a language. Because children begin using language when they are very young, they don't feel the same anxiety about reading and writing as they do about math. To transfer this positive attitude over to math, approach math as a language, rather than as a "problem." Count things together, measure things together and talk about the numbers involved in any activity you are doing together. Don't worry too much about getting answers "right" or "wrong." Instead, help them think through the process of using math aloud, in words.
Hold a math "dialogue" centered on everyday activities. Once your child is comfortable with thinking about math in language terms, ask at the supermarket how many cookies are in a package and how your child calculated this answer. She might refer to the size of the package or the size of the cookies inside. Whether right or wrong, it's important to emphasize the process used in her head to make the guess. This gets her thinking about math as a visual subject involving shape and volume, rather than just as numbers in a line.
You might ask an older child how many slices of bread are in a loaf, how thick each slice is and how long the loaf is. Open the package to see how close the estimate was. He will learn to feel comfortable with estimating and will enjoy a conversation with you using math as a focal point.
If you set the stage correctly, you'll find that your child enjoys math more than you did -- and then you can relax and enjoy your child's future success in the classroom.

 Source - http://about.newsusa.com/article/how-to-help-your-child-get-over-math-anxiety.aspx

 
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