How to Jump Start Early Reading and Innovation

[ 0 ] July 8, 2010 |

A recent article by Esther Wojcicki (Creative Commons Board Chair) and Micheal Levine (Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop) raised some interesting issues on the very basics of teaching children to read in the digital age. 

The system and programs in place to teach children to read are antiquated and bloated at best, leaving children in the lurches and left behind when it comes to reading and comprehension skills.

Because children who are below grade level by age ten tend to stagnate and eventually give up and drop out in high school. Harvard educational psychologist Jeanne Chall famously called this phenomenon the “fourth grade reading slump,” where children cannot make the transition from learning to read to “reading to learn,” which hinders their learning in all other subjects. International comparisons show that because of these early literacy setbacks America is losing the global race in science and math, areas central for 21st century skilled jobs.


Unless the American education system changes course quickly to integrate literacy and digital culture into our current educational paradigm, academic achievement gains will continue to stagnate.

Children need to be exposed to a wide vocabulary at an early age the article points out – a fact we know and recognize as one that low-income students will not always have in their households.  Digital media used in a way can teach kids not only to read, but to write, tell stories, participate in teams and engage with others from all walks of life – to read, learn and share.

The article calls for

  • Establish a digital teacher corps
  • Provide incentives for schools of education to update curriculum
  • Design alternative assessments and include project based learning in standards
  • Support after-school programs and create a “Digital Hangout for Kids” in every community
  • Establish model digital schools in every state
  • Modernize public broadcasting

Related posts:

  1. Pearson, Intel Capital and Ascend Venture Group Invest in Innovative Educational Game Designer, Tabula Digita
  2. Ten Early-Stage Education Companies Selected for “Educators Innovators Showcase” at VC in Education Summit
  3. Startl Announces 10 Teams for November 2010 Mobile Design Boost
  4. iPods and iPads in the Classroom
  5. Toontastic, a Creative Learning tool for the iPad from Launchpad Toys

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Category: K-12

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