Worried about kids and summer reading? Three Experts are here to help.

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old son said to me matter-of-factly, “Mom, if you need me, I’ll just be in my closet.” I was thrilled. Because in his closet he has set up a little nest of sorts. A sleeping bag squished into a small space on the floor, two flashlights sitting on the shelf and, most exciting for me, a book or two tucked in there among his shoes. This is his hideaway reading spot, and since he’s a kid who is more interested in throwing a baseball in the front yard for hours than tucking in with a good story, it makes me think that perhaps this reading thing might catch on after all. That said, summer is here. And that little dark closet might be a tough sell for a boy who will be tempted by sprinklers and ballgames, swimming pools and bikes. Oh, I want summer to be filled with those things and more. But with school out of session, that means no silent reading in a classroom every day or book reports and library time built into the schedule. How do we encourage our kids to keep up with their reading over the summer when it’s not part of the curriculum? For some, that’s easy, and in fact they might have to be shooed out of the house and away from the books to get a little fresh air. But for others, it can be more of a challenge. Read on for a few tips and suggested reads from the people who get it: a children’s author, a middle school librarian and the book...

School- and District-Level 3rd Grade Reading Test Results Available for First Retest

JACKSON, Miss. – Cumulative school- and district-level passing rates for the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment are now available to the public. Passing rates can be found here. Statewide, an estimate of 91 percent of 3rd graders have achieved a passing score on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment. The passing rate incorporates the results of the first test administration in April and the first retest in May. The statewide passing rate for the April test was 85 percent. Students need to score at least 926 on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment to be eligible for promotion to the 4th grade. The number of students who have not passed the test is currently 3,415. These students will be given a second retest opportunity during the assessment window of June 29 through August 7, 2015. Local school districts will determine which of their students who did not pass qualify for one of the good cause exemptions for promotion to 4th grade. Mississippi’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires that a student scoring at the lowest achievement level on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment be retained in 3rd grade, unless the student meets the good cause exemptions specified in the law. This school year is the first year that a reading test is required for 3rd graders to be promoted to 4th grade. For information about summer reading programs, contact local school districts. For more information about the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, visit www.mde.k12.ms.us/literacy. Resources: LBPA Next Steps Parent Guide to Understanding 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment Score Report Strong Readers=Strong Leaders...

Early literacy key ingredient

By Sharon Kelly Youth and public services librarian Posted Jun. 2, 2015 at 5:13 PM Parenting – it’s said, “is the toughest job you will ever love!” From the moment children are born, the age old process of worrying begins. Are they eating enough? Are they getting enough sleep? Are they developing normally? Will they be ready for school? These are all valid and important concerns, some of them easier than others to overcome, but when it comes to early literacy and helping children get ready to read, we at the library are here to help. Last week, York Public Library hosted Shannon Schinagl, Maine State Library’s new Early Literacy Consultant, for an interactive presentation on early literacy. This workshop brought librarians, teachers and daycare providers together for an informative session about what all of us, including parents and caregivers, can do to help every child get ready to read. After all, the cornerstone to early literacy is what children learn about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write. Schinagl broke this process down into six easy steps, with FUN as the main focus! Here is what she recommends. Step one: Print Motivation, which is best thought of as a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books. This can be as simple as reading to your child, or having them tell you about a book you have read together. Make books part of play time – keep books in the toy box! Step two: Print Awareness, is knowing how a book works and how to follow the words on the page. Let your child turn the pages themselves when...

Mississippi: Set Expectations, Force Actions and Celebrate Reading Success


                      By Cari Miller If you knew teaching a child a basic skill would significantly improve his or her success in life, you would do everything in your power to make that happen, right? A few years ago, the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported that 88 percent of students who fail to graduate from high school were struggling readers in third grade. By simply teaching students to read by fourth grade, schools can help put students on a path to a lifetime of success. This is exactly what Mississippi is working toward. In 2013, the state established the Literacy-Based Promotion Act to make sure all students enter fourth grade with the foundational reading skills they will need to learn and succeed. The policy starts early. Beginning in kindergarten, screenings help identify students with potential reading difficulties. When at-risk students are identified, educators monitor progress and work with parents to create individual reading plans and find the right interventions to help students learn. Earlier this month Mississippi’s State Board approved the “cut score” on the state’s third grade reading assessment. Cut scores are selected points used to determine whether a particular test score is sufficient for some purpose; in this case, the score determines whether a third grader has sufficient reading skills to move on to fourth grade. On the first of three attempts to take the test, roughly, 85% of Mississippi third-grade students demonstrated the required reading skills for promotion to fourth grade. As a result, Mississippi schools have lots to celebrate. In the Pearl River County district, 99.5...

Our Opinion: Establish summer reading routine with young children; it could be life-changing

As the school year ends, parents and guardians can do their kids a big favor by insisting they not shelve away books for the summer. Encourage the elementary-age child in your life to read daily. Better yet, snuggle up and read with him or her. The same goes for preschool children – whose future success in the classroom and in life, many people believe, could hinge on early and frequent exposure to reading. “Science tells us that 90 percent of a person’s brain is developed by age 5,” Bill Jones, president of the United Way of Wyoming Valley, recently told a Times Leader reporter. “Reading to and with young children is the most effective way to increase their intellectual capacity, and its results affect their entire lives.” Youngsters who fail to master appropriate reading skills by the third grade tend to encounter problems over the long haul and in many cases land in the social-services safety net or in prison, according to early childhood education advocates. Here’s the logic behind that theory: Lacking an ability to read on par with their peers, children are more likely to fall behind academically and become more prone to ultimately drop out of high school. No diploma, no job. No job, few good options. For those and other reasons, not the least of which is family bonding, be a positive influence in your child’s or grandchild’s formative years. Make weekly trips with him or her to one of Luzerne County’s public libraries. At the Osterhout Free Library’s main branch in Wilkes-Barre, for instance, you’ll find the Pollock Children’s Wing packed with age-appropriate titles. Plus, the library routinely...