Dear ESHA Friends,
As our President, Elinor Scully, notes in her message below, we had an excellent turnout and lots of fun a few weeks ago at our reception in Long beach in conjunction with the NAIS Conference. Next up are a continuation of our ongoing "connecting flight" calls (contact me if you'd like to join a group), which received strong reviews in our recent survey of participants. And looking ahead, our planning committee is putting together a very stimulating program for our October Retreat in Nashville as explained at the end of the newsletter.
In the meantime, I hope that April brings you good weather and adds a "spring" to your step as you "head" into the final portion of your 2018-2019 school year marathon.
From ESHA President Elinor Scully
Dear ESHA Colleagues,
Late February and early March offered ESHA members a wonderful opportunity to gather in Long Beach, California during the NAIS conference. We are so grateful to the Hess Family Foundation and McCallie School for sponsoring this cocktail reception. We tested the new cocktail party format this year at NAIS and are thrilled so many ESHA members could come for lovely hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and conversation. The vibrancy of our collegial connections was evident in the room that night, so thanks to all who made an effort to attend.
I wish everyone a restful and restorative spring break!
We probably knew all of this, but a quick reminder never hurts...
From the Marshall Memo 778
Why Don’t More Educators Know the Research on Teaching Reading?
“Research has documented what works to get kids to read, yet those evidence-based reading practices appear to be missing from most classrooms,” say Jared Myracle (Jackson-Madison County Schools, TN), Brian Kingsley (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools, NC), and Robin McClellan (Sullivan County Public Schools, TN) in this article in Education Week. “It’s perfectly possible to become a principal or even a district curriculum leader without first learning the key research.” The authors confess that they harbored significant misconceptions on literacy curriculum well into their careers.
They suggest a “No Shame Zone” in which teachers and leaders get up to speed on the latest research without embarrassment. Some key findings to include:
- In the early grades, systematic daily phonics instruction is essential, coupled with plenty of time with authentic texts.
- History and science background knowledge is essential to reading comprehension.
- Grouping students by reading level is not supported by the research.
- Many teachers spend too much time on unproductive “skills and strategies” instruction.
- All students need to work with grade-level texts for at least part of the school day for more-equitable outcomes.
Fortunately, say Myracle, Kingsley, and McClellan, there are high-quality literacy programs on the market today. However, they caution, the “gap between good and mediocre curricula is vast.” Schools and districts must choose carefully, based on a solid understanding of what really works in classrooms.
“We Have a National Reading Crisis” by Jared Myracle, Brian Kingsley, and Robin McClellan in Education Week, March 13, 2019 (Vol. 38, #25, p. 24), https://bit.ly/2ETY7iP
And here are some other suggestions from an article in the Marshall Memo 778...
Books That Build Empathy in Children
“A well-written story can not only transport the reader into new worlds but also affect how elementary-level readers see and participate in the social world around them,” say Stephanie Kozak and Holly Recchia (Concordia University/Montreal) in this article in The Reading Teacher. “Part of what makes human interactions rich is the ability to feel the joy that others feel, to share in sorrow when someone is in need, and to experience a sense of righteous anger when someone is treated unjustly. Equally crucial is the capacity to understand and empathize with others who have very different experiences.” They suggest these storybooks as powerful ways to build empathy in elementary-school children:
- Miss Nelson Is Missing!by Harry Allard
- A Year of Borrowed Menby Michelle Barker
- Those Shoesby Maribeth Boelts
- The Day the Crayons Quitby Drew Daywalt
- Last Stop on Market Streetby Matt de la Peña
- Du Iz Tak?by Carson Ellis
- Red: A Crayon’s Storyby Michael Hall
- Owenby Keven Henkes
- Flora and the Flamingoby Molly Idle
- Lost and Foundby Oliver Jeffers
- The Bad Seedby Jory John
- I Want My Hat Backby Jon Klassen
- The Stamp Collectorby Jennifer Lanthier
- Henry’s Freedom Boxby Ellen Levine
- Virginia Wolfby Kya Maclear
- The Junkyard Wondersby Patricia Polacco
- After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat
- The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!by Jon Scieszka
- Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Taleby Mo Willems
(Middle-grade novels and young-adult fiction next week)
“Reading and the Development of Social Understanding: Implications for the Literacy Classroom” by Stephanie Kozak and Holly Recchia in The Reading Teacher, March/April 2019 (Vol. 72, #5, p. 569-577), https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/trtr.1760
ESHA's Annual Retreat will be in Nashville, Tennessee, from
October 19-22, 2019.
Things to know:
Venue: The Hermitage Hotel
We're in Nashville, so come early, put yourself to work, and learn how to write a song with Grammy nominated singer Jamie Floyd. Then go to the Country Music Hall of Fame for dinner on Saturday.
On Sunday, hear from Ketch Secor, lead singer of the Old Crow Medicine Show. Among other things, he knows how to put a band together and how to put a school together (he's co-founder of The Episcopal School of Nashville).
Monday we'll go to Vanderbilt University's Peabody School to hone our skills under the guidance of Patrick Schuermann, director of their Independent School Leadership Program.
Tuesday's finale will include visits to a couple of Nashville's varied ESHA schools.
Registration will open in late April.