Tag Archives: education

Free Books = Summer School

This is interesting

Such high-level attention to summer reading is welcomed by educators concerned about the way summer tends to sap learning gains. Two-thirds of the reading achievement gap between low-income 9th-graders and their higher-income peers can be attributed to different levels of reading in the summers, according to research cited by the National Summer Learning Association in Baltimore.

Giving away books is a good first step, “and it also helps if a parent or a teacher is working with the child … asking questions [about the books],” says Jeff Smink, the association’s vice president of policy.

Here is how to do it

In a study that compares students who received free books over the summer with students who didn’t, Richard Allington, an education professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, found encouraging results. He tracked low-income first- and second-graders in Florida who chose a dozen free books at their reading level for three summers in a row.

“The effect was equal to the effect of summer school,” Professor Allington says. “Spending roughly $40 to $50 a year on free books for [each kid] began to alleviate the achievement gap that occurs in the summer.”

The study couldn’t show how many of the books the students actually read, but the students who sent in reading logs answering brief questions about the books showed even stronger achievement gains.

If I was a local church pastor, I would put together a proposal for local companies to sponsor this next summer and run this out of your church.  Some computers, some reading stations, parent volunteers, and a lot of Hardy Boys, Harry Potter, and Diary of a Wimpy books to give out.  via

Christmas Gifts Ideas for Boys Under Two Year of Age | 2009 Edition

Who would have thought that Oliver would be so hard to shop for.  I don’t remember Mark being so hard to shop for when he was a year and a half but then I realized that so many things I wanted to get Oliver are still sitting in storage because we already bought them for Mark.  In case you are struggling to find out what to buy a toddler, here is a short Christmas Gift Guide to give you some ideas.

Wooden Sleigh :: We bought on of these for Mark, used it for a couple of years and it still looks like it is brand new.  This could conceivably last for 12 kids, even if your marriage couldn’t.  While I linked to the cheapest one I could find on Amazon.com, I am pretty sure you can get them a lot cheaper at your local big box outlet.  I know quality is important but it’s not as if you are letting your kids go down K2 in one of these things.

Calgary Flames Mini Stick :: Ollie is about the age where hitting things is a lot of fun.  The secret it to teach him that it is more fun to hit a ball and a puck than it is to hit Mark and myself.  Since we have a dog that loves to fetch, this could be more fun than what we are bargaining for.7

Toy Tool Set :: With the cost of getting repairmen into your home, it’s never to early to teach a child how to fix a furnace or a hot water heater.

Fisher Price Parking Garage :: Right after Henry Ford started to ship the Model T, Fisher Price started to ship the Fisher Price Parking Garage.  I had one, Lee had one, I am sure my grandparents had one.

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Puppy :: Lee gave Oliver one of these for his birthday.  It sings, it laughs, it tells jokes, it teaches him things, it drives me crazy.  It is currently teaching Oliver the A-B-Cs, 1-2-3’s and parts of the body, plus sing along to ten favorite songs and games.  It is also giving him investment tips and putting together a retirement plan for him.

I have a digital camera, Wendy has a digital camera, Mark has a digital camera.  Oliver can now have a play camera where he can obsess over the backlighting and the shot as we do with this Playskool play camera.  Now of course he is going to find out that the camera we gave him is a toy when his Flickr account doesn’t get that popular but that won’t happen until he is at least three.  If you want to spend even more money on a fake video camera, there is this one with Elmo.  It doesn’t actually do much but it does it with you kid’s favorite Sesame Street character.
Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.