Article on books and learning.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2008
Article on books and learning.
49
Sun, 08-15-2010 - 10:30pm

Considering how many times we have the have vs have not debates, I thought this was rather encouraging to me and hopefully to others. You don't have to have much to give your child a good head start and a good learning base.
For the record, I voted for both Lugar and Daniels, both Republicans, and I am sure I made a good choice..if for no other reason than this.
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20108150337
In classrooms across Indiana, students are increasingly coming to school on unequal footing. Parents, educators, community leaders and policymakers are looking for answers to a complex and difficult set of challenges commonly termed as the achievement gap.

The good news is that there are some simple steps we can take to help close that gap for many of our children.

Over the past 15 years, research has shown that exposure to books in large quantities sets the stage for success, and that children's early language experiences vary widely depending on the income and education level of their parents.

A recent study led by Richard Allington of the University of Tennessee had 852 disadvantaged students choose 12 books to take home at the end of the school year for three successive years. The results found that the students who were given books returned to school with significantly higher reading scores than the students who were not given books. In fact, simply having the books had the same positive effect as if the students had attended summer school.

Other studies show similar results. One study spanning 27 countries showed that children who grow up in households where books are present are likely to attend school three years longer than children who come from homes where books are not present. It holds true in both rich and poor nations -- regardless of form of government or ideology.

Another important research study by Betty Hart and Todd Risley at the University of Kansas found that children who hear more language from early infancy through age 3 develop substantially larger vocabularies, fluencies and comprehension skills than those who do not, ultimately resulting in higher academic achievement.

It can be difficult to know how best to help our children reach their highest potential. Reading and talking to your children are simple tasks and also a treasured educational opportunity. Have books at home as an early education resource. Visit the library. Invest your time by reading books together and talking about the characters, the pictures and the stories.
Let's make a commitment to talk and read with our children and take that first step to closing the achievement gap.

We hope you will join our statewide book drive to help Indiana's youth. Since 2008, we have collected and distributed more than 60,000 books to children and to local schools, community organizations and health-care facilities. We collect these important educational items and distribute them within the local communities to those with the greatest need.
For further information on receiving or donating books, please visit: www.lugar.senate.gov/bookdrive or email georgiana_reynal@lugar.senate.gov.

For free items in English and Spanish on conversation starters and early learning tips, please call or e-mail The Indiana Partnerships Center at: (866) 391-1039 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (866) 391-1039 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or lsilvey@fscp.org.

Additionally, Gov. Mitch Daniels has declared Aug. 15-21 "Parents as Partners in Education" Week. Celebrate by honoring parents for their contributions this school year. Go to www.fscp.org or call The Indiana Partnerships Center for more information.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2008
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 3:12pm

Your right we all learn in our own time. Like I said its that Mommy worry that all Moms get at some point.

I really think she is focused on her problem solving skills. Though she has learned to growl like I do when I'm frustrated. So I'm sure her hearing is fine.

And now its time for us to go swimming!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2008
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 3:13pm
I'm surprised Carolynn isn't barking. The dogs, whom I swear I love, bark at a leaf blowing by the window. drives me insane.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2009
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 3:21pm

Yeah, I

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 3:37pm

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I disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2007
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 4:02pm

Yes, thanks for posting that!


I get that all the time about my 3 year old.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2009
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 4:22pm

Agree, agree.

"Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."


       Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2010
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 4:28pm

Kids today don't stand a chance!

Does the Internet Make You Dumber?
The cognitive effects are measurable: We're turning into shallow thinkers, says Nicholas Carr.

By NICHOLAS CARR

The Roman philosopher Seneca may have put it best 2,000 years ago: "To be everywhere is to be nowhere." Today, the Internet grants us easy access to unprecedented amounts of information. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the Net, with its constant distractions and interruptions, is also turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers.
Journal Community

The picture emerging from the research is deeply troubling, at least to anyone who values the depth, rather than just the velocity, of human thought. People who read text studded with links, the studies show, comprehend less than those who read traditional linear text. People who watch busy multimedia presentations remember less than those who take in information in a more sedate and focused manner. People who are continually distracted by emails, alerts and other messages understand less than those who are able to concentrate. And people who juggle many tasks are less creative and less productive than those who do one thing at a time.

The common thread in these disabilities is the division of attention. The richness of our thoughts, our memories and even our personalities hinges on our ability to focus the mind and sustain concentration. Only when we pay deep attention to a new piece of information are we able to associate it "meaningfully and systematically with knowledge already well established in memory," writes the Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel. Such associations are essential to mastering complex concepts.

When we're constantly distracted and interrupted, as we tend to be online, our brains are unable to forge the strong and expansive neural connections that give depth and distinctiveness to our thinking. We become mere signal-processing units, quickly shepherding disjointed bits of information into and then out of short-term memory.

In an article published in Science last year, Patricia Greenfield, a leading developmental psychologist, reviewed dozens of studies on how different media technologies influence our cognitive abilities. Some of the studies indicated that certain computer tasks, like playing video games, can enhance "visual literacy skills," increasing the speed at which people can shift their focus among icons and other images on screens. Other studies, however, found that such rapid shifts in focus, even if performed adeptly, result in less rigorous and "more automatic" thinking.
56 Seconds

Average time an American spends looking at a Web page.

Source: Nielsen

In one experiment conducted at Cornell University, for example, half a class of students was allowed to use Internet-connected laptops during a lecture, while the other had to keep their computers shut. Those who browsed the Web performed much worse on a subsequent test of how well they retained the lecture's content. While it's hardly surprising that Web surfing would distract students, it should be a note of caution to schools that are wiring their classrooms in hopes of improving learning.

Ms. Greenfield concluded that "every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others." Our growing use of screen-based media, she said, has strengthened visual-spatial intelligence, which can improve the ability to do jobs that involve keeping track of lots of simultaneous signals, like air traffic control. But that has been accompanied by "new weaknesses in higher-order cognitive processes," including "abstract vocabulary, mindfulness, reflection, inductive problem solving, critical thinking, and imagination." We're becoming, in a word, shallower.

In another experiment, recently conducted at Stanford University's Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab, a team of researchers gave various cognitive tests to 49 people who do a lot of media multitasking and 52 people who multitask much less frequently. The heavy multitaskers performed poorly on all the tests. They were more easily distracted, had less control over their attention, and were much less able to distinguish important information from trivia.

The researchers were surprised by the results. They had expected that the intensive multitaskers would have gained some unique mental advantages from all their on-screen juggling. But that wasn't the case. In fact, the heavy multitaskers weren't even good at multitasking. They were considerably less adept at switching between tasks than the more infrequent multitaskers. "Everything distracts them," observed Clifford Nass, the professor who heads the Stanford lab.

Amid the silly videos and spam are the roots of a new reading and writing culture, says Clay Shirky.

It would be one thing if the ill effects went away as soon as we turned off our computers and cellphones. But they don't. The cellular structure of the human brain, scientists have discovered, adapts readily to the tools we use, including those for finding, storing and sharing information. By changing our habits of mind, each new technology strengthens certain neural pathways and weakens others. The cellular alterations continue to shape the way we think even when we're not using the technology.

The pioneering neuroscientist Michael Merzenich believes our brains are being "massively remodeled" by our ever-intensifying use of the Web and related media. In the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. Merzenich, now a professor emeritus at the University of California in San Francisco, conducted a famous series of experiments on primate brains that revealed how extensively and quickly neural circuits change in response to experience. When, for example, Mr. Merzenich rearranged the nerves in a monkey's hand, the nerve cells in the animal's sensory cortex quickly reorganized themselves to create a new "mental map" of the hand. In a conversation late last year, he said that he was profoundly worried about the cognitive consequences of the constant distractions and interruptions the Internet bombards us with. The long-term effect on the quality of our intellectual lives, he said, could be "deadly."

What we seem to be sacrificing in all our surfing and searching is our capacity to engage in the quieter, attentive modes of thought that underpin contemplation, reflection and introspection. The Web never encourages us to slow down. It keeps us in a state of perpetual mental locomotion.

It is revealing, and distressing, to compare the cognitive effects of the Internet with those of an earlier information technology, the printed book. Whereas the Internet scatters our attention, the book focuses it. Unlike the screen, the page promotes contemplativeness.

Reading a long sequence of pages helps us develop a rare kind of mental discipline. The innate bias of the human brain, after all, is to be distracted. Our predisposition is to be aware of as much of what's going on around us as possible. Our fast-paced, reflexive shifts in focus were once crucial to our survival. They reduced the odds that a predator would take us by surprise or that we'd overlook a nearby source of food.

To read a book is to practice an unnatural process of thought. It requires us to place ourselves at what T. S. Eliot, in his poem "Four Quartets," called "the still point of the turning world." We have to forge or strengthen the neural links needed to counter our instinctive distractedness, thereby gaining greater control over our attention and our mind.

It is this control, this mental discipline, that we are at risk of losing as we spend ever more time scanning and skimming online. If the slow progression of words across printed pages damped our craving to be inundated by mental stimulation, the Internet indulges it. It returns us to our native state of distractedness, while presenting us with far more distractions than our ancestors ever had to contend with.
—Nicholas Carr is the author, most recently, of "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains."Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page W1



>>Luck is what you call it when preparation meets opportunity<<
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 5:11pm

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My older dd was

 


 


I disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 5:14pm
I see no reason not to talk "in front of" her. She can't always be part of every single conversation, and it won't hurt her to hear what you talk about. Besides, I remember once having a conversation, long after dd's bedtime, about the economy with dh. Well, that danged kid never seemed to sleep, so suddenly I hear from her room, "mommy, what is inflation?" At 11PM, kiddo? No way!

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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
– George Orwell
Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 08-16-2010 - 5:20pm

I ran into that when dd started school. She came from the US with English as her native language, and went into a Greek only K class. I was a little worried. She knew some Greek, but really very little compared to Greek age peers.

At around Christmas time, I asked to speak to one of the people at the school, to check on the language thing. The woman told me that dd would clearly be fine, because even if she did not know much Greek it was clear that her language was otherwise well developed, and therefore she was catching up really fast.

Then the woman confessed that their biggest problems, language-wise, were not with bilingual kids, but with completely Greek kids who had been brought up by an endless succession of non-Greek speaking live-in sitters. Those kids had been through years of extremely limited communication in a variety of random languages, with the result that they did not speak much of anything.


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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
– George Orwell