Podcast 76 Reading & iPods

  1. Nominate an outstanding teacher for the John Lounsbury AwardDeadline:  June 1, 2009
  2. The National Middle School Association is looking for an editor for their Research in Middle Level Education Journal (RMLE).
  3. NMSA’s Annual Conference:  NMSA ‘08 Technology Focus VideoNMSA ‘09 Invitation Video:  Indianapolis, IN Conference  November 5-7, 2009.  Individual Registration is now open.
  4. ATTENTION Michigan Association of Middle School Educators & Friends: MAMSE is putting together a bus for the trip to the National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference in Indianapolis, IN this fall.  Ride down to the conference in a luxury bus.  With all the conversations with middle school teachers on the bus, I wonder if we could call this a mini-MAMSE conference?  There’s nothing like getting together with people who love the people we love:  our students.  Getting together with folks like that is energizing and priceless.  Email Teresa Sutherland for information and details.  Don’t forget to mention you heard about it on Middle School Matters.
  5. NMSA 09 Conference Connection:  Stay connected before, during, and after the conference!  Start your packing lists for the conference using packwhiz.com!
  6. Keynote speakers for NMSA ’09 have been announced:  Daniel Pink (political connections) opens and Rick Wormeli closes.
  7. Schools to Watch Conference June 25-27, Washington D.C.  Conference registration info.
  8. Educational Technology Leadership Conference, June 24th at Holt High School, Holt, MI. Register for the event.
  9. ISTE Eduverse Talks are the recorded sessions held on ISTE Island every week.  Join ISTE in their Second Life conference location for their weekly talks on education.
  10. The Michigan Association of Middle School Educators Annual Conference is coming up March 4-5, 2010 in Dexter, MI.  MAMSE will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary!
  11. Brainyflix extends their “video vocabulary” contest to May 22, 2009.
  12. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
  13. Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog:  This week’s discussion is on “Mathcasts” for Teachers.  Archived content is available.
  14. Second Life:
    • No Events specified.  Regular Tuesday meetings are scheduled.  See the board on the ISTE Island for up to the minute details.
    • Video:  Educational Uses of Second Life
    • There is a conference being held by ISTE in Second Life, wander over to the auditorium behind the Headquarters to check it out.
    • Training on Presentation Tools (part 1) May 16, 2 to 4 pm.

Advisory!  Advisory!  Advisory!

  1. Duct tape a kid to the wall . . .
  2. What’s in a cigarette? http://middleschooladvisory101.blogspot.com/
  3. The Quiz: http://www.quizmoz.com/quizzes/Quotation-Quizzes/h/Humorous-Quotations-Quiz.asp

From the Twitterverse:

Shout Outs:

  1. Thanks to Jenny Anteau for the mention in her PLN presentation!

Web Sitings:

http://etymonline.com/ Dean Shareski’s blog.

A CRITICAL MISSION:  Making Adolescent Reading an Immediate Priority in SREB States

Nationwide, students in the middle grades and high school are failing to develop the
reading and writing skills they need in order to meet higher academic standards later
in their educational careers.

While most of the 16 Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) states have seen
recent gains in reading achievement in the early grades, the same cannot be said
of achievement in the middle grades and high school. There is also evidence that
students who struggle to meet academic standards in subjects such as science and
mathematics have poor reading skills.
The good news is clear: We now know how to solve this problem.

Too many students begin to fall behind in reading after they leave the early grades.
By ninth grade, many struggling readers are destined to become high school
dropouts. By college, one in four freshmen must take remedial reading classes —
and few of these students finish a degree.

Students who leave eighth grade with weak reading skills quickly fall behind in
high school. More students in SREB states repeat ninth grade than any other grade,
swelling ninth-grade enrollment by 14 percent in the SREB median states in 2005.
Students who falter in ninth grade are likely to become high school dropouts.

Although formal reading instruction stops after the early grades for most public
school students, many researchers and educators now realize that it should continue
through high school. Reading skills do not advance automatically, even for students
who read at grade level when they begin the middle grades. While most students
continue to develop speaking skills naturally, they do not develop advanced reading
skills on their own — particularly the ones they need for success in high school and

“Most [teachers] devote little, if any, class time to showing students, explicitly, what
it means to be a good reader or writer in the given subject area. And most students
engage in very little discussion of what they have read,” according to a 2007 Alliance
for Excellent Education report.

Across the country, states have an obligation to take immediate action to improve
students’ reading and writing skills. Accordingly, the Committee recommends that
each state set policies that will lead to improved practices at the state, district and
school levels. These policies should call for each state to:

  • define the specific reading skills students need in order to master each key subject.
  • identify the best teaching strategies to help middle grades and high school students develop their reading comprehension skills in each subject.
  • ensure that these strategies are applied statewide in all public schools by including them in professional development for current teachers and in preparation and licensure for new teachers.
  • provide the extra help that struggling readers need, so that all students read at grade level in the middle grades and high school.


Reading Programs Found Ineffective

A federal study intended to provide insight on the effectiveness of programs for reading comprehension has found that three such programs had no positive impact, while a fourth had a negative effect on student achievement.

In other words, the conclusion is that none of the four programs studied—Project CRISS, ReadAbout, Read for Real, and Reading for Knowledge—is effective.

They concluded that Project CRISS, developed by Creating Independence Through Student-Owned Strategies; Read About, produced by Scholastic Inc.; and Read for Real, created by Chapman University and Zaner-Bloser, had no effect on reading comprehension. In addition, they found that Reading for Knowledge, created by the Success for All Foundation, had a negative impact on the composite test scores and the science-comprehension test scores for students using that curriculum.