Just Read This: #Literacy + #Reading News, Feb 2020

monthly literacy reading newsletterWelcome to the second edition of Just Read This, a monthly recap what’s news in family reading and literacy.

Our goal is to bring you content that is relevant to everyday life as an adult raising or working with young readers. We know you’re busy, so this newsletter is short and sweet. Every edition will …

  • Answer a topical question.
  • Share research and best practices.
  • Offer reading and book suggestions.

Sometimes these items overlap and point you to areas of the Reading Tub where we have new information and resources.

What is STEAM?

steam education chartSTEM and STEAM are acronyms for learning processes that integrate science, technology, engineering, arts, and math in school curriculum.

What distinguishes STEM and STEAM is the inclusion of “arts.”  That is, incorporating creative and abstract thinking into the educational process. The important thing to know is that STEAM (like STEM) has an intentional design.

The Institute for Arts Education and STEAM has easy-to-understand explanations of what each program is and how they differ. This chart is from their website. [Clickable link to full-size chart.]

News to Use

Headline: How to Knock Down Five Straw Man Arguments Against Phonics by Timothy Shanahan, Reading Rockets

This argument against teaching phonics is both wrong and inane. The inane part is that it suggests that we shouldn’t teach whatever students might not like … [Independent] studies with a variety of approaches and methods have consistently found that providing [phonics] instruction to children gives them a clear advantage in learning to read.

Impact: After reading scores declined in the last National Report Card, the debate over what is and isn’t working in education has gotten pretty heated. Odds are pretty good that your school district may be rethinking its approach to how it teaches children to read. Front and center in many of these discussions is whether (or not) to teach phonics. Odds are also pretty good that you are going to hear the 5 arguments that Shanahan debunks.

Let’s Read

This month we added 12 new book lists and expanded the collection in three theme areas: STEAM/STEM, new readers, and sports.

Recommendations for STEM / STEAM Books (see all 10 lists)
Recommendations for Beginning and Developing Readers (see all 21 lists)
Recommendations for Books for Sports Fans (see all 40 lists)