December 10th, 2012 No Comments »
Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators, a new report from The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, is a must read for educators and community leaders.
It examines the role technology can play in improving children’s reading proficiency, how technology can support parents and educators, what matters most for early literacy innovation with technology and recommendations for supporting technology pioneers in digital information. We all agree that technology is a critical tool for leveraging learning. The question is how?
This report provides context, identifies challenges and opportunities, and gives recommendations for how families, schools and communities can amplify learning through technology.
Wonderopolis®, created by NCFL and funded by Verizon Foundation, is cited as one of six pioneering projects that support families and communities (page 12). Its emphasis on social media and multimedia learning was cited as a way to inspire conversation, vocabulary building and further exploration.
One of the report’s key recommendations is to create a place in every community where children, parents and educators can experiment together with online and offline literacy materials. Wonderopolis is truly accomplishing that goal.
Just last week, NCFL visited a classroom in Dublin, Ohio, and spent time with educators and young students who used Wonderopolis to energize and inspire learning in the classroom and at home. This is just one example from a mother in her own words:
Good morning, Mr. Prosser! Just wanted you to know that (my son) came bouncing home about the seahorse wonder you showed in library yesterday. He told me all about it. So, he woke me up at the crack of dawn so we could watch the wonder and look up some other ones. We have spent the early hours watching and reading together. I can’t think of a better way to spend our time together. He thinks Wonderopolis (and Mr. Prosser) are just way cool.
If you aren’t visiting Wonderopolis.org on a regular basis, check out today’s Wonder of the Day and find out what you’ve been missing.
And, for the full report, which gives instructive ideas on how to leverage the power of technology can boost a child’s reading skills, click here.
The Campaign for Grade Level Reading is a nationwide effort founded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and supported by efforts from nonprofits and communities. The report’s authors include Lisa Guernsey of New America Foundation and Michael Levine of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.
November 20th, 2012 No Comments »
Sydette Watlington is the mother of first grader Syerra Watlington who attends Brooks Global Studies in Guilford County Schools. She believes reading as a family is crucial to the long-term success of our children. She is an ardent supporter of Guilford County Schools’ 3 Million Books Challenge and reads with Syerra to promote lifelong learning.
Reading is the fundamental building block of success in and out of the classroom. In Guilford County Schools (GCS) – North Carolina’s third largest school district – we embarked on a lofty reading campaign at the beginning of 2012 called the 3 Million Books Challenge. As the name suggests, our students have been challenged by Superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green to read 3 million books by the end of this year. Last year’s goal of 2 million books was shattered by more than 600,000 and we’re on track this year to break the 3 million mark. What’s most interesting is how our entire community is working and learning together about the importance of reading as a family.
Personally, this challenge Read the rest of this entry »
November 8th, 2012 No Comments »
NCFL shares a common vision with our partner, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy — making families strong through literacy. Here are some thoughts from Mrs. Barbara Bush as we celebrate National Family Literacy Month®:
Americans reacted with shock and sadness when they learned of the Taliban’s attempted assassination of young Malala Yousafzai, a brave, visionary 14-year-old Pakistani girl whose only so-called offense was to advocate for the education of girls and women in her home country. The outrage is justified and has resulted in Malala becoming the central figure in an international demand for the educational rights of women and girls.
For idealistic Americans, the pursuit of excellence, diversity and equality is a part of our national DNA. The Taliban’s crime is unquestionably foreign to our values and contradictory to the importance Americans place on educating all children. That’s why National Family Literacy Day® and Month is so vitally important. It’s a time to set an example for ourselves and the world – as Malala has done – and to redefine family literacy, a high school education, and the chance to succeed, as fundamental rights, regardless of age.
It’s a time to Read the rest of this entry »
November 1st, 2012 No Comments »
“Education is much more than schooling. It is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions…”
“Because parents are a child’s first teachers, we support family literacy programs.”
“We also recognize there is no substitute for a parent’s involvement in their child’s education.”
These aren’t excerpts from speeches at NCFL’s annual conference delivered by education professionals.
Rather, these fundamental truths have been incorporated as important components of the Republican and Democratic party platforms approved at their respective national conventions. Regardless of who wins the election on Tuesday, families are recognized as an integral factor in achieving academic progress.
The election season has been dominated by three major concerns ¾ the economy, the economy, and the economy. There is no better short-term or long-term solution than education ¾ education that centers on the family and includes lifelong learning.
These principles led to NCFL’s founding more than 20 years ago, and these principles guide our innovations today. We continue to create opportunities and solutions in support of family learning and engagement for teachers and parents.
With that in mind, we have four exciting developments to share with you as we celebrate National Family Literacy Day® today and National Family Literacy Month® throughout November. Our thoughts are with the families impacted by Hurricane Sandy. In light of the recent weather-related disaster that has affected many communities across our nation, we plan to announce the following to a broader audience in the weeks to come:
- Toyota Teacher of the Year: Now in its 17th year, this program awards the winner a $20,000 grant for his or her program as well as a free trip to the 2013 National Conference on Family Literacy. The runner-up will receive $2,500 and a scholarship to attend the conference. For more details and to apply, visit: http://www.famlit.org/toyota-teacher-of-the-year-award/.
- Litera-Seeds is a mini-grant opportunity also sponsored by Toyota. There will be 10 to 20 mini-grants of $500 each awarded for educator-led programs and events that emphasize intergenerational participation and learning. NCFL recognizes the important work that is happening across the nation and therefore welcomes teachers, family literacy professionals, librarians, homeschool consortiums and other family literacy and learning advocates to apply for this one-time opportunity for 2013. Visit www.famlit.org/litera-seeds to apply.
- Cultivating Readers (Cultivando el hábito de la lectura), available in print and online in English and Spanish, is a parent guide to building reading skills in children ages birth to 8. The guide gives tangible tips for parents to implement and also includes a calendar of monthly language activities to stimulate learning throughout the year. The publication, funded by Toyota, is available for download at NCFL’s website starting Nov. 12 or can be ordered free of charge for a limited time.
- Wonderopolis® continues to be enhanced and now has the capacity for greater interaction and improved navigation thanks to a redesigned website. We also have aligned the Wonders of the Day® to meet Common Core State Standards, which emphasize the need for students to read more informational text. Check out today’s Wonder of the Day by our guest-writer Monica Holloway, best-selling author of Cowboy & Wills.
By giving educators and parents the support they need and deserve, we can ignite a love of lifelong learning in our children today and create strong communities and economies for the future.
October 15th, 2012 3 Comments »
Education advocates around the nation celebrate National Family Literacy Day® and National Family Literacy Month® by organizing and conducting literacy events that promote family literacy and learning. The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) leads these efforts by providing special programming, award opportunities, and materials to build awareness and engage families in celebration of the day and throughout the month of November.
On November 1, 2012, NCFL celebrates National Family Literacy Day and ushers in National Family Literacy Month with the announcement of two grant opportunities and the release of the publication Cultivating Readers.
NCFL will soon be accepting applications for the 2013 Toyota Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding teachers demonstrating exemplary educational practices in family learning and parent engagement. The winner will receive $20,000 for his or her program as well as a trip to the 2013 National Conference on Family Literacy, which will be held from April 28 through April 30 in Louisville, KY. This will be the 17th year for the annual award.
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October 11th, 2012 No Comments »
Best-selling memoir author and NCFL Advisory Board member, Monica Holloway, will spend the month of October speaking at various venues about ‘overcoming adversity with grace’ and ‘letting shame go’. Monica’s work is meaningful, humorous and deeply touching and includes her memoir, Driving with Dead People (Simon Spotlight Entertainment), Cowboy & Wills (Simon & Schuster) and contributions to Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the stories that kept us small (Seal Press).
One stop on her speaking tour will be the Riverside California Barnes & Noble. Monica has generously chosen to designate NCFL as a beneficiary for a portion of all sales made at the Riverside store location between October 15-20. Additionally, the opportunity will also be available October 15-20 all over the country through Barnes & Noble online. Simply enter voucher # 10907632 at checkout and NCFL will receive 10% of your purchase. We thank Monica Holloway and Barnes & Noble for including NCFL in this opportunity!
September 6th, 2012 No Comments »
The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) has joined the National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) to help educators nationwide provide enriched literacy learning experiences for every student and sustain school improvement efforts. As a part of NCLE, NCFL and other leading education associations, policy organizations, and foundations are sharing resources and expertise for free. Using research and guidelines generated by NCLE, educators can support sustained literacy learning in schools and inform administrators and elected leaders about policies that will advance their work.
To learn more, check out the new NCLE brochure. To view a sample of and subscribe to NCLE’s twice-weekly SmartBrief newsletter, click here.
July 2nd, 2012 2 Comments »
NCFL Fights Summer “Brain Drain” With Toyota-Supported Camp What-a-Wonder and Verizon Foundation-Supported Wonderopolis
- The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) announced today the launch of the second annual Camp What-a-Wonder — a free, national online program that provides families with interactive activities based on weekly themes to help negate summer learning loss.
- Camp What-a-Wonder stems from NCFL’s Wonderopolis®, an online destination where children can learn through discovery, creativity and imagination. Wonderopolis features a “Wonder of the Day®,” a fun, daily post that explores an everyday mystery.
- Camp What-a-Wonder kicks off on July 2 and runs through July 27.
- The camp will provide a downloadable audio explore guide based on the Wonder of the Day that will take families offline for fun, interactive activities.
- Families can participate in live, weekly Campfire Chats over Twitter (hashtag #WonderChat), hosted by celebrities/experts including Zach Slavin of the Audubon Foundation’s TogetherGreen Initiative, Jeni’s Ice Cream, and craft specialists Kathy Cano-Murillo and Angela Daniels.
- Each week’s activities are based on a different theme related to the Wonders of the Day, including Spooky Stories, Campfire Cooking, Creepy Crawling Critters and Craft-A-Palooza.
- The first week’s theme, Spooky Stories, features a Campfire Chat with L.A.-based author of “Cowboy and Wills” Monica Holloway
- Each week’s Wonder of the Day will be posted on Wonderopols.org/camp-what-a-wonder/.
- Recent studies have shown that summer “brain drain” can cause kids to lose up to two months’ worth of skills learned during the school year. NCFL is providing Camp What-a-Wonder in order to continue combating this trend by encouraging kids to explore and learn throughout the summer.
- 2012 Camp What-a-Wonder is a special summer program of Wonderopolis and is generously supported by Toyota. Ongoing support for Wonderopolis.org and its content is provided by the Verizon Foundation.
- “Once that last bell rings for summer, parents’ busy schedules and a surge of free time can make kids check out completely for a few months. The Camp What-a-Wonder program gives kids an opportunity to have fun with their families while also stimulating their minds — so they haven’t lost any of what they’ve learned once they re-enter school in the fall.” – Emily Kirkpatrick, NCFL vice president
The National Center for Family Literacy, founded in 1989 and based in Louisville, Ky., is the worldwide leader in family literacy. More than 1 million families have made positive educational and economic gains as a result of NCFL’s work, which includes training more than 150,000 teachers and thousands of volunteers. For more information, contact1-877-FAMLIT-1 or visit www.famlit.org.
June 25th, 2012 No Comments »
A U.S. Department of Treasury report released last week includes interesting statistics about the importance of higher education for intergenerational mobility.
Without a degree, children born to parents in the bottom income quintile have a 45 percent chance of remaining there as adults. With a degree, they have less than a 20 percent chance of staying in the bottom quintile of the income distribution.
That’s why NCFL, through the generous support of MetLife Foundation, created a set of multi-media resources for first generation college students. Five distinct resources are available free of charge at www.famlit.org/myfamilygoestocollege to help adult students transition into postsecondary education as well as create a path toward higher education for their children. The materials are designed for Hispanic parents who are learning the English language, first generation college students, as well as community and college leaders and policy-makers.
Higher education is crucial for the well-being and stability not only of families, but also entire communities. Parents are a key to our nation reaching its educational goals. In order to produce five million new degrees in a decade, we need to ensure that more nontraditional adults are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education and that parents are well prepared to inform and nurture the educational aspirations of their children.
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April 18th, 2012 No Comments »
There’s a new way to Wonder! The official Wonderopolis® app, supported by the Verizon Foundation, was released today for free and is available now for download in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
You can now explore the Wonder of the Day®, browse past Wonders, and easily share on Twitter and ‘Like’ on Facebook, all on the go. We are so excited about this great addition to the Wonderopolis learning experience and hope that it becomes a conversation starter in your classroom and with your family at home.
Apple iPhone and iPad users can download the app at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wonderopolis/id505247028?mt=8.
Android users can download it at http://bit.ly/IlOsNZ.
Be sure to tell your friends, family, teachers and fellow Wonderers to download the Wonderopolis App today!
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