Expanding Our Notion of Success

A-B Challenge Success Newsletter - October-November 2017

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How Families Nurture Lifelong Readers

Our October-November newsletter focuses on supporting our students to be lifelong readers. Author Donalyn Miller shares Eight Ways for Parents and Teachers to Foster Wild and Lifelong Reading Habits, which we encourage you to check out.

Additionally, the District's revised homework policy speaks to independent and choice reading and the role our families play in developing lifelong readers:

Research supports independent choice reading as a powerful tool for learning and well-being. When students read for pleasure and hear conversations relating to text, they engage in deep learning. Such powerful activities foster profound academic growth and well-being, according to research. Independent choice reading happens best when schools and families partner together. Encouraging students to be self-motivated readers does not solely rest on the District, but also on families. The District strives to help students become independent readers alongside families.

Families play an important role by creating environments that nurture the desire and motivation to read for pleasure. Because research shows that intrinsic motivation is most effective in fostering a lifelong love of reading, the District will not assign independent choice reading.

Yours is a critical role in supporting our children to be lifelong readers!

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What Does Literacy Look Like for Students Today?

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What IS Independent Choice Reading?

We want to partner with you as a family to encourage your child to be lifelong readers through independent choice reading (sometimes called “pleasure reading”), which has two distinct aspects:

  • Independent reading is not connected to any specific school curriculum, nor are students required to take any actions because they’ve engaged in the reading (such as filling in a reading log).

  • Choice means allowing students to choose whatever interests them.

Our goals include working together with you to create an environment for and a disposition toward reading that instills a lifelong love of reading in each student. There are many ways to do this - read with and aloud to your child, read next to your child, create time and space for reading, read as a family, talk about what your child has read, and model the pleasure of reading.

We will continue to assign reading, and may even include choice within these assignments, for many reasons - to prepare for a class discussion, to learn content, to study for an assessment, to answer questions about a book, to journal about a book, or to complete a project connected to the reading – the difference is that this reading is intentional for some other action back in the classroom.

Statistics Show:

  • Kids read for fun less and less as they get older, with 45% of 17-year-olds saying they read by choice only once or twice a year.

  • Reading rates decline as kids get older, but they've also dropped off significantly in the past 30 years. In 1984, 8% of 13-year-olds and 9% of 17-year-olds said they "never" or "hardly ever" read for pleasure. In 2014, that number had almost tripled, to 22% and 27%. Girls also tend to read more than boys, as 18% of boys say they read daily, while 30% of girls do.

  • Parents are also reading to their kids less than ever. In 1999, children ages 2 to 7 were read to for an average of 45 minutes per day. In 2013, that number had dropped to an average of just over 30 minutes per day.

A Common Sense Media Brief, 2014

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Dr. Steven Layne: What Parents and Caregivers Can Do to Nurture Lifetime Readers

Tuesday, Nov. 7th, 7-8:30pm

ABRHS Auditorium

In an age where children have far more choices of what to do with their time than they once did, what can parents do to instill a love of reading? How can you keep those same kids reading throughout the grades, and how do you reignite interest in reading for a child who seems to have forgotten all about books? These questions and more are addressed with practical suggestions and solutions in this parent/caregiver education workshop.

Dr. Steven Layne

Dr. Steven L. Layne serves as full time Professor of Literacy Education at Judson University in Elgin, IL. His vast array of experience working at multiple grade levels in the public schools allows him a unique camaraderie with teachers and librarians and his award-winning books for children and young adults add another appealing element to his dynamic presentations. He is a frequent keynote speaker at large conferences and gatherings of literacy educators and librarians throughout the world. In addition, Steve continues to do a few school appearances each year as a guest author and provides professional learning for schools throughout the nation.

Steve has been honored with numerous awards for his work as an educator and researcher. In 2001, he received one of the Milken Foundation's National Awards for Teaching Excellence in the amount of $25,000.00. He was also named to the 2001 All-Teacher Team by USA TODAY newspaper and was chosen as the Edwin A. Hoey Award Winner for U. S. Outstanding Teacher at the junior high level by NCTE in 2001. Steve was the 2000 ICARE for Reading Award winner and the 1999 Reading Teacher of the Year in Illinois. In addition, his doctoral dissertation research garnered the Outstanding Researcher Award from Northern Illinois University's College of Education Alumni Council as well as the Winn Research Award given by the State of Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development in 1997.

Steve's interest in state and community literacy organizations has led to active leadership positions on the boards of the Northern Illinois Reading Council and Literacy Volunteers of America's Fox Valley Affiliate. He has also served as a reader for the Rebecca Caudill Young Reader Award Committee and been active in the DuPage Literacy Roundtable. Steve has been a member of several committees for the Illinois Reading Council throughout his involvement with the organization and currently serves as its past president.

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A-B Wellness Website

Over the last few years, our district has engaged in work in the area of health and well-being for all members of our learning community, including social emotional learning (SEL).

We are excited to launch a website with a variety of resources for families, teachers, students, and the greater learning community: http://abschoolswellness.weebly.com. Here you will find a variety of pages and resources to support our mission to develop engaged, well-balanced learners through collaborative, caring relationships.

Partnership with Stanford University's Challenge Success Organization

In the spring of 2016, ABRSD entered into a partnership with Challenge Success, out of Stanford University. Challenge Success aims to "provide schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids." The team at Challenge Success partners with educators, parents, and students to implement best practices and policies in areas such as assessment, homework, and schedule.

Challenge Success Mantra

At Challenge Success, we believe that our society has become too focused on grades, test scores, and performance, leaving little time for kids to develop the necessary skills to become resilient, ethical, and motivated learners. We provide families and schools with the practical, research-based tools they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for kids. After all, success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of a semester.

“Our current fast-paced, high-pressure culture works against much of what we know about healthy child development… our largely singular focus on academic achievement has resulted in a lack of attention to other components of a successful life – the ability to be independent, adaptable, ethical, and engaged critical thinkers.” (Pope, et al. , 2015)