National Library Card Sign-up Month

September is Library Card Sign-up Month. The event serves as a reminder that our public libraries continue to celebrate and encourage the act of reading, particularly among young people.

Libraries regularly offer readings for toddlers and preschoolers. Reading aloud to children is an activity that groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have long recommended. Now, a recent study has offered biological evidence of the positive effects of early exposure to reading, including increased ability to form mental images.

Reading to the very young also correlates with increased reading later in life. However, reading for pleasure usually declines as children enter their teens, due to increased demands on their time. For those without the time to wander the stacks, peering at miniscule numbers taped to the spines of books (a ritual many of us still enjoy), library websites now allow digital texts to be downloaded directly to e-readers.

Modern libraries are more than inexpensive book delivery systems.  Patrons are often unaware of all that libraries have to offer, including Internet services and educational events. September is the time to find out.  And, should students need book recommendations before they sign up, the free, Lexile-based “Find a Book” search tool helps readers discover titles that match both their interests and reading abilities.

Sign up for a card at your local library. Tell them Snoopy sent you.

The New Reading

The experience of reading is expanding and the idea that only the act of processing words on the printed page (or screen) qualifies as ‘reading’ has been upended in the face of interactive technology that blurs the distinction between reading and other modes of processing information.   Greg Toppo writes in The Atlantic how new technologies are allowing students a more immersive experience.

Today, publishers are opting for works that combine video and audio components as part of the reading experience.  Rich graphics and embedded URLs are as much a part of the reading experience as the printed words on the page.  The most compelling example of the way new technology is transforming the reading experience is Inanimate Alice:

Created by the British novelist Kate Pullinger and British-Canadian multimedia artist Chris Joseph, Alice is a book that blinks, buzzes, hums, sings, jitterbugs, plays games, and, on occasion, rains and snows. Using her laptop, Fleming projected the first Alice story onto a library whiteboard … and her fifth-graders went nuts. The story was immersive like little else, the first piece of fiction that helped them see life through a character’s eyes. A few students approached her afterwards to thank her, tears glistening in their eyes.

Welcome to the brave new world of reading: the clickable, interactive future of books. Just as digital technology is transforming people’s work, social lives, and family ties, it’s naturally transforming the slow, solitary act of reading. Think beyond paper versus pixels—this technology cuts to the very core of what it means to read a book.

There is still much debate on whether such enhancements actually support the text or simply serve as flashy distractions.  But as more research emerges on the specific features that best support a text, we’re more likely to see an increase in the number of interactive texts.  That’s a good thing.  For reluctant readers, anything that brings them to the page and keeps them there is likely to do more good than harm.  And these new text types may just help reluctant readers become passionate about books, or more precisely, information.

The 2015 Summer Math Challenge Added Up to Success

The 2015 Quantile Summer Math Challenge drew to a close at the end of last week. The Summer Math Challenge is a free math-skills maintenance program developed by the team behind the Quantile® Framework for Mathematics. For six weeks each summer, registered parents receive daily emails with fun activities and links to resources designed to help their students retain the math skills learned during the previous school year. This year’s Summer Math Challenge was a huge success and saw the greatest number of participants so far, with a 30% increase in registration over last year. Thousands of parents and children from all 50 states participated. We are truly grateful for all the support.

As a reward for those who completed the challenge, a personalized Summer Math Challenge Award Certificate is offered for download. The certificate celebrates students’ hard work and summarizes the concepts reviewed during the Summer Math Challenge. Additionally we provide a Summer Math Challenge Teacher Letter to pass along once school starts back. This letter provides your child’s teacher with additional information about the Summer Math Challenge, the Quantile Framework, and how to use the tools available on

Missed out on the Summer Math Challenge this year? Registration for the next challenge is always available. We’ll be working all year to make the 2016 Summer Math Challenge even better! Until then, please visit to explore the many other free resources available to parents and educators. If you have any questions about the Summer Math Challenge or the Quantile Framework, please contact us by visiting

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