As we hit heat in the triple digits, summer can seem innervating. Unfortunately, just as kids set into the casual routine of vacation, an insidious truth emerges: some students often return to school with a lower reading aptitude than when they finished school. Among the first to note this phenomenon in 1978, Barbara Hayns determined that different rates of summer learning among students may have a persistent effect over how their educational career develops. In other words, when a student loses skills in summer, it takes her/him a considerable time to catch back up while her/his fellow students continue to improve.
Summer reading loss affects those of lower socioeconomic status, and those of color, disproportionately. In what eminent sociologist Karl Alexander called “turning off the tap,” during the school year schools provide resources that are not available to many people in the summer months. Those with more resources (usually those of higher socioeconomic status or whose parents have more education) tend to do better while the tap is off. Meanwhile, those with fewer resources often feel the strain and suffer disproportionate losses.
However, one solution is to keep reading, either through a formal summer reading program or through a self-directed program. In an effort combat summer reading loss, we’ve created the Summer Reading Pledge on “Find A Book”. Here parents and students can select books that match their Lexile Reading Levels. With the simple Summer Reading Log, parents and students can track a student’s reading progress. It is hard to fathom that the halcyon summer holidays help contribute to an increasing achievement gap among students. Yet, just keeping students engaged with the right books can go along way to narrowing the gap and curtailing summer loss.
In partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), MetaMetrics freely provides the annual “Chief’s Summer Learning Challenge” to state education agencies to develop and sustain their summer reading programs. Led by CEO and President Malbert Smith, Ph.D., who serves on the National Summer Learning Association’s Board of Directors, the summer learning challenge is a favorite project among the MetaMetrics staff. It is fulfilling work that relies on the collaboration and dedication across the MetaMetrics team—from engineering to government relations to the marketing department. This year MetaMetrics celebrates its 5th year of leading the fight against summer learning loss.
This summer, MetaMetrics collaborated with 21 state departments of education to combat the negative effects of summer reading loss. Among the 21 states participating in the Chief’s Summer Learning Challenge, the Lexile “Find a Book” search tool, Summer Reading Log and Summer Reading Pledge were promoted to encourage targeted reading practice. These promotional efforts have not gone unnoticed! For example in Kentucky, with many thanks to the tireless efforts of Kathy Mansfield at the KY Department of Education, over 7,200 summer reading pledges have been submitted. The Summer Reading Pledge is available until August 31st, and so far more than 120,000 books have been pledged to read nationwide.
MetaMetrics also leads a charge against summer math loss. The Summer Math Challenge launched in 2013, and has gained great momentum and popularity over the years. Participants have reported:
“I think that this is a great COST-EFFECTIVE activity for ALL parents. I look forward to each activity so that I have “scheduled learning” time for the summer with my daughter.”
“The summer math challenge was great…the exercises were right on target and fun.
This summer, 19 state education agencies have promoted the Summer Math Challenge through press releases, listserv emails and social media outreach. To see which states particpated this year, and past years, visit: https://www.quantiles.com/content/summer-math-challenge/state-participants/. Like the resources for the Chief’s Summer Learning Challenge, the Summer Math Challenge is made freely available to all participants. For more information about the summer math and reading initiatives, visit: https://www.quantiles.com/content/summer-math-challenge/ and https://lexile.com/chiefs-challenge/.
Today, July 14th, marks National Summer Learning Day, an annual advocacy day created by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to bring attention the importance of keeping kids learning over summer break. Each year students grow in their reading and mathematics abilities during the academic school year. However, some of that learning can fade away over the summer months. This phenomenon is called “summer learning loss” and is well documented by researchers. Here at MetaMetrics, we strive to fight summer learning loss by providing free online tools designed to promote reading, maintain math skills and inspire summer learning.
Jump start summer reading with “Find a Book“. The Lexile “Find a Book” tool lets you search our extensive database for books within your reader’s Lexile range. Enter your Lexile measure, then narrow your search by selecting topics that interest your reader. You can also use the tool to check the availability of books at your local library or purchase titles from major booksellers. When using “Find a Book”, don’t forget to submit your Summer Reading Pledge and download our new Summer Reading Log.
Keep math skills sharp with the Quantile Summer Math Challenge, a math skills maintenance program based on grade-level standards that help prepare students for college and careers. The program is targeted to students entering grades 2-8 next fall and is designed to help students retain math skills learned during the previous school year. The Summer Math Challenge lasts for six weeks and focuses on one math concept per week. From June 20th through July 29th this year parents will receive daily emails with fun activities and links to educational resources. Missed the Summer Math Challenge this year? Register any time and receive reminders for next year.
We are pleased to announce the expansion of our partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education. For five years, students in grades 3 through 8 and 10, have received Lexile® measures from the Kansas Reading Assessment. Beginning in the fall of 2016, students will receive both Lexile and Quantile® student measures from the Kansas Assessment Program (KAP).
To report a Quantile measure from the KAP, MetaMetrics will complete an initial research study to link the Kansas test to the Quantile scale. Over the past twenty years, MetaMetrics has engaged in more than 100 studies in 25 states and 24 countries to link assessments to the Lexile or Quantile scale. The KSDE’s reporting of Quantile measures also connects students and teachers with free resources like the Find Your Textbook tool,Math Skills Database, Math@Home® and the Quantile® Teacher Assistant. Kansas continues to use Lexile and Quantile tools in their summer learning efforts year after year. This summer marks the first year that the state has used the Quantile Summer Math Challenge to encourage mathematics practice during the summer months.
Kick start summer reading with our new downloadable Summer Reading Log and Lexile “Find a Book”. Search our extensive database for books within a child’s Lexile range. Enter the child’s Lexile measure, then narrow the search by selecting topics of interest. You can also use “Find a Book” to check the availability of books at local libraries or purchase titles from major booksellers. When using “Find a Book”, don’t forget to submit your Summer Reading Pledge. Track a child’s reading with our summer reading log and when summer is over; share it with the child’s teacher to show his or her dedication to reading.
For many children, reading aloud in the classroom can be seen as a daunting task. Fortunately for those struggling to read in front of their peers, animals may be able to help. Across the country, programs such as Therapy Dogs International (TDI), and Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.), have been implementing the use of trained therapy dogs to help children gain confidence in their reading skills. The participants of these, and similar programs, enjoy reading to a calm pooch in a quiet environment, while they practice their reading skills with no fear of embarrassment or harassment. By associating the act of reading aloud with a pleasant experience with the animal, kids are learning to love reading in the process.
Encouraging children to spend time reading aloud to pets at home could similarly help strengthen the reader’s abilities. Utilizing resources like the Lexile® Framework for Reading and Lexile “Find a Book”, can help the reader choose a text at the appropriate level of difficulty to practice reading aloud with.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Babies learn to walk in this way. Preschoolers learn to button, tie, and zip to dress themselves in this manner. However, the idiom can now apply even after children enter school. In the article, “How ‘Productive Failure’ In Math Class Helps Make Lessons Stick,” Katrina Schwartz explains that productive failure is not just the idea that persistence pays off. Rather productive failure is an effective teaching strategy that involves “careful lesson design, a strong classroom culture and an instructor trained in getting results from small failures so his or her students succeed when it matters.”
The idea is that teachers are trained to develop math tasks that students will not be able to solve but that evoke a students’ prior knowledge relating to the task. Teachers also receive training to gain deeper content knowledge to assess student ideas and misconceptions as well as learn how to set the classroom environment to foster failure as a natural part of learning and not an embarrassment.
The Quantile Framework can help teachers to develop tasks that promote productive failure. Using the tools available on Quantiles.com, teachers can select activities to both develop challenging tasks and tasks that ensure prior knowledge. Here’s how:
- Go to Quantiles.com.
- Click “Use the Quantile Framework” at the top of home page.
- Select “Math Skills Database.”
- For the State Standards search, select the state in the dropdown list.
- Select the grade level or name of the math course in the Course dropdown list.
- Select the specific standard in the Standard dropdown list. Click “Search.”
- A list of Quantile Skill and Concepts (QSCs) targeted to the standard will appear.
- Click a QSC to view more details including its Knowledge Cluster. The Knowledge Cluster provides insight into Prerequisite, Supporting and Impending Quantile Skills and Concepts.
- To help create challenging tasks, click a QSC number for a Supporting or Impending QSC to see free challenging resources.
- To access resources to build prior knowledge, click a QSC number for a Prerequisite QSC to see free resources calibrated to a prerequisite skill or concept.
To learn more about productive failure, read the research of Manu Kapur, Professor of Psychological Studies at The Education University of Hong Kong.
By reading and discussing stories with children, you can gain some insight to how they think. Herbert Ginsburg, a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College Columbia University suggests that reading and discussing math storybooks with your child can help set the stage for meaningful mathematical achievements in school.
Certain books, such as counting and shape books are centered on learning math. However, there are also many books that have embedded mathematical ideas in the stories. For example, when Goldilocks sees Baby Bear’s bed and realizes it is too small, she compares the size of the beds to the bears. By doing this, she then realizes that there is a simple correlation between the two: the smaller or larger the bear, the smaller or larger the bed.
Storybooks deal with mathematical information informally with patterns, spatial relations, measurements, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. When reading books with your child ask questions about what’s happening in the story, make predictions of what will happen next, and try to find the embedded mathematical skills.
The following ideas may promote your child’s math learning:
- Read books that you both find interesting.
- Talk with your child about what is happening in the story.
- Use mathematical language to describe and explain events in the book, (this square has four sides and they are all the same length, this is the biggest, which weighs the most) this should also keep your child engaged.
- Think about your own math experiences and if they are negative, try not to transmit those feelings.
Reading stories is a wonderful way to help your child understand new mathematical skills. To help you along, we have math literature guides on Quantiles.com that can be used to introduce new mathematical skills. Literature guides are provided as a resource for the Quantile Skill and Concept (QSC) they are associated with.
Ginsburg, H. P. (2016, February 2). Finding the Math in Storybooks for Young Children. KQED News. Retrieved from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/02/02/finding-the-math-in-storybooks-for-young-children/
We’d like to share a newly released Lexile analyzer professional tool, the Lexile Analyzer® Editor Assistant™. In response to the rising demand to produce text to specific reading levels, we developed this tool to help you do just that.
The Lexile Analyzer Editor Assistant has many exciting features including an enhanced interface to help more efficiently and effectively develop leveled text at a particular Lexile level by allowing you to combine the analyzer within your working document for quick and easy analysis of your text.
The Lexile Analyzer Editor Assistant can be licensed from MetaMetrics for a variety of usages such as:
– Determining the Lexile measure of a particular text
– Targeting content to receive estimated Lexile measures
– Rewriting and editing text directly within the tool while receiving Lexile measures on demand
Learn more about the Lexile Analyzer Editor Assistant by viewing our overview video.
Want to learn about the Quantile® Framework for Mathematics? View our brand new Quantile Infographic to find everything you need to know about the Quantile Framework in one easy to understand graphic. Learn the basic concepts of the Quantile Framework, find out how students receive Quantile measures, where you can find Quantile measured content, and see an overview of the free math resources available on Quantiles.com. View the full infographic and download a printer-friendly version of your own.
While you’re visiting Quantiles.com please take some time to explore all the wealth of information and mathematics resources made available for your use. And don’t forget to sign up for the 2016 Quantile Summer Math Challenge!