By the Numbers: The Importance of Reading

Have you ever said (or heard someone say), “I’m so bad at math?”

I’m sure you’ve heard it from a bunch of people. It easily rolls off the tongue when you’re trying to figure out how much to tip, estimate the square footage of your living room, or when your kid wants to know how many minutes there are in eight years for some reason. While the numbers bump around in your brain, you say the almost automatic disclaimer: “I’m terrible at math.”

Now let’s say someone gives you a challenging piece of text. Maybe it’s from an advanced textbook, some hardcore classic liturature, or a professional journal with a bunch of field-specific jargon that you’re not familiar with. Would you ever say, “Ugh, I’m so bad at reading.”?

No? Yeah, me either.

This question was posed to me a few months ago, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. No one I know would easily admit they have difficulty reading anything; they’d never laugh and make jokes about how much they struggle. Spelling, maybe, but not reading. It shows how deeply ingrained it is in our culture that Reading Struggles = Very Bad.

It doesn’t matter if it’s actually true.

It’s true because nearly everyone buys into it.

This belief, or ideology, is so deep, that people with reading challenges are stigmatized by society and have long-lasting emotional issues. To illustrate this point, let's look at a few facts:

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Living Life Online

 

Guest blog post by Scott Christensen, Learning Ambassador

 

Using the internet has become second nature. We expect access 24/7, in our homes, while we travel, in our cars and in the air. Without the ability to text, snap, post, map, check in, or log in we feel lost. We now shop, do our banking, manage our credit cards, and connect via social media while at home and on the go. With this constant connectivity, we as consumers need to be sure we keep our personal data private and secure. Identities are stolen, data hacked, servers compromised, and passwords are stolen almost every minute of the day. In fact, reports of these events are becoming commonplace on the nightly news. As we live more of our life online, what can, and should we be doing to keep our information safe?

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#SingASong: The Power of Singing

Guest blog post by Claudio Zavala, Learning Ambassador

 

I have to make a confession.  I’m a news junkie!  I listen to stay informed and to see what's happening in our country and around the world.  To be honest, a lot of what’s on the news radio and talk shows isn’t always upbeat.  One group is upset at another group for many reasons.  Other parties are not pleased at the progress of others.  If I’m not careful, it can make or break my day.  On Monday April 10, I decided to change the “channel’ on my drive to work.  I switched off the news station and chose to listen to music from my iTunes catalog.  My truck was blasting with some hits from Michael Jackson, rock anthems from AC/DC, cool melodies from Steely Dan, funk jams by Earth, Wind, and Fire, and I threw in some recent hits from Bruno Mars.  I’m sure I’m not alone in confessing that I do sing at the top of my lungs in the safe confines of my cabin.  I bet you're nodding your head at the last sentence.  When I got to work, my mood was a lot more upbeat.  There was pep in my step all because of a song!

The thought came to me as I got to work. “What would happen if we all broke out in song?”  The song Sing A Song by Earth, Wind, and Fire prompted my thoughts.  If you’re unfamiliar with the lyrics of the tune, here they are:

Making Room for Makerspaces

 

Guest blog post by Jeannine Shields, Learning Ambassador

 

You may have heard educators and creative folks discussing the #MakerMovement and the establishment of #makerspaces. What is a makerspace? It is a place for people to share resources, materials, and ideas to collaborate on projects together. Harnessing the power of this movement can enhance any classroom. There is an old Chinese proverb, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Letting our students approach a problem with trial and error embraced while problem solving will create lasting memories and much deeper understandings.

 

But I can’t afford a 3D printer!? That’s okay. Not every classroom can. The Maker Movement is not just 3D design through a printer. Students can create in 3D using clay, paper, pipe cleaners, pasta and so much more. Unleash their creativity. Three-dimensional merely refers to having a length, breadth, and depth. This can be accomplished through many inexpensive options. A 3D printer is fantastic, but please do not feel that you can’t begin without one.

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