Gene Luen Yang, U.S. National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, kicked off SLJ’s Day of Dialog on June 1 in New York City with a witty, dynamic presentation about superhero comics, computers, reading, and his life as a nerd. The multiple award-winning author of American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, (both First Second; 2006, 2013) and the "Secret Coders" series (First Second), illustrated by Mike Holmes, fired up the crowd and touched on "Reading Without Walls," his chosen theme as Ambassador.
Washington has one of the nation's highest-quality preschool programs, experts say. It's also one of the most segregated. In the 2013-14 school year, 86 percent of the city's black pre-K students attended what experts call "racially isolated" schools where fewer than 10 percent of students are white. But a new generation of parents, including young middle- and upper-class families descending on the city, could herald an end to the city's entrenched segregation.
These refugee and immigrant narratives teach readers about language, culture, history, geography, and politics while providing insight into the human experience. The books reviewed in this column follow the journeys of young people and their families as they leave different parts of the world in pursuit of happiness and security.
Angel Vazquez is 9 years old, has hearing loss in both ears, has trouble speaking and struggles to concentrate in class. He's a year behind in school, just learned how to read and is still learning English. For nearly two years, his mom, Angeles Garcia, tried to get him evaluated for special education at his elementary school in Houston. A major investigation by The Houston Chronicle recently revealed that districts in Texas were pressured by the state to provide fewer students with special education services, which can be expensive.
Language immersion education is a relatively new field, so how can educators know if a program is effective? Shuhan Wang and Joy Kreeft Peyton, of Asia Society's Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network (CELIN), consider this question and offer a checklist tool to allow program staff to engage in review of their programs and make plans for program improvement.
School will soon be out, and that means that public libraries will be planning their storytime programs for the fall. Teacher librarians will also be looking for new material to purchase and share with their students when school starts again. It’s a perfect time to launch a Spanish-language or bilingual storytime. Here are a few themed storytime ideas for use in school and public libraries, complete with rhymes, finger plays, and craft activities.
Often, when we talk about the city of Chicago — and its school system — we hear about too much violence and too little money. Jeffrey Brown talks to poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera about his new project, which gives Chicago students the opportunity to create meaningful works about their lives and the challenges they face. "We have got to let our students' lives, all their lives, not just part of their lives, express itself in as many ways as possible. And where else are they going to get that openness and freedom? In what other area in school? Maybe there's other areas, but, for sure, poetry," says Herrera.
Reyna Gordon was an aspiring opera singer fresh out of college when she began contemplating the questions that would eventually define her career. Today, Gordon is director of the Music Cognition Lab in the Department of Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She studies the connections between rhythm and grammar, and how rhythm and music training might help children with atypical language development.
The California sixth-grader who won the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word "marocain" said she was not nervous because she knew as soon as she heard the word that she would win. "I was thinking I knew it and I knew that I was going to win," Ananya Vinay, 12, said today on "Good Morning America" when asked what was going through her mind as she faced off in the final against just one other competitor. The middle school student said she has spent the past year studying "a couple of hours" each day for the bee. Ananya attributed her spelling prowess to a love of reading. "I just had a love of reading when I was little and then eventually that became a love of words and then competing in spelling bees," she said.
The growing population of English learners (ELs) in U.S. schools has left teachers underprepared to effectively support their unique linguistic and academic needs. As noted in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) standards and Diane Staehr Fenner’s Advocating for English Learners, technology can provide meaningful adaptations to support content instruction and language development for ELs. Tools such as infographics, digital word walls, and digital storytelling are all effective for building background, deepening understanding of language and content through multiple and varied interactions, and promoting collaboration and communication — all important indicators of ELs’ success in mainstream classrooms.