The Readers Cup is a tribute to teachers, librarians, principals and school administrators whose work and leadership have paved the way for students to become better readers and good learners. This year, the Readers Cup was given to a number of local educational institutions nationwide including OSJ - Sto. Rosario Academy, OSJ - Holy Family Academy, St. Thomas Academy, Dr. Yanga's Colleges Inc., St. Paul College, Balayan, Iloilo Scholastic Academy, OSJ - Saint Joseph Institute, Saint Mary's Angels College of Valenzuela, OSJ - Saint James Academy, OSJ - Joseph Marello Institute, Sta. Teresa College, Notre Dame of Greater Manila, MGC New Life Academy and Falcon School.
Scholastic is the world's largest publisher and distributor of over 600 titles annually. Wow, if only I could be asked to curate and review a fraction of those books for my children, I would definitely do so! I remember growing up with the Harry Potter series. It was, in fact, on my birthday wish list which my parents gladly bought for me. Thanks, Mom for encouraging me to expand my mind by reading. And thanks to Dad for buying all the books at the bookstore for me and my siblings! It is nice to see the cycle of life alive with me now as I pass the torch of learning by reading to my little ones. Goodnight Moon is a Scholastic book favorite currently in our library for the kids.
Here are my top take aways from our interview:
- Reading is fundamental in learning and nurturing CREATIVITY. I can't help but remember a wonderful quote by Albert Einstein, "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales". There is a study made in Emory University on how reading a novel changes your brain. Atlantic writes about it here.
"Scientists have proven in the past that reading stimulates many different parts of the brain. In a 2006 study, for example, research subjects read the words “perfume” and “coffee,” and the part of their brains devoted to the sense of smell lit up. While these studies have focused on brain activity while a person is reading, a new study suggests that reading doesn’t just make a fleeting impression. It may make long-term changes to to the brain."
- People must read LONGER: To get real depth on topics on news and information, people must learn how to read longer. People nowadays rely on short snippets from the internet to get by. It is shocking to see students graduate from school without having read a single book in their life! Here are some unbelievable statistics from Statistic Brain:
Total percent of U.S. high school graduates who will never read a book after high school 33% Total percentage of college students who will never read another book after they graduate 42%
- READ ALOUD moments matter. This struck home for me. The bedtime ritual that we, parents do each night does make a tremendous positive impact on our children for life. Dr. Aziz says, "This is all about modelling good behavior. The 30-60 minutes that the parent or teacher uses to read to the children shows them what good behavior is all about." And we all know that children learn through imitation. So, it is our responsibility as adults to create that proper image for them to mirror.
- Real books are preferred by all. Both Mr. Frank Wong and Dr. Duriya Aziz agree that technology (Ipads,ebooks, etc) will never top the power of a real book to captivate our minds. Just the same way that the voice of a real mother, her cuddles and loving energy will never replace that of an automated machine.
So, what else is new and exciting at Scholastic?
One of the aims of Scholastic is to build a nation of readers in order to build a nation of learners. One of the ways they want to achieve this is through two key literacy programs they are launching called Literacy Pro and Literacy Pro Library which leverages on the advantages of the internet.
Scholastic Literacy Pro is an online monitoring program which provides teachers with accurate and timely reports on their students' progress and performance, giving them research-based insights to make informed teaching and learning decisions. It promotes the student's growth in reading by developing an individualized reading plan, with corresponding teacher reports.
The Scholastic Literacy Pro Library is an ebook library which gives readers of different proficiency levels unlimited access to more than 650 fiction and nonfiction ebooks. With a guarantee of 150 new titles every three months and LitPro quizzes for all titles. Readers can browse at ebooks of different genres with complementing photos and illustrations. A word-by-word read aloud feature help younger readers master pronunciation while promoting listening comprehension. A glossary feature instantly links readers to the definition of difficult words. There is also an audio recorder which lets students practice fluency and a note pad which promotes writing skills. Students may also receive instant feedback from their teachers through the audio recorder. The Scholastic Literacy Pro Library also has a search and assign feature that helps teachers find the right books for each and every student. The best news is that this one-of-a-kind library may be accessed by students at home, in school, or anywhere with Internet access. Students may thus read to their hearts' delight.
I may personally excel at Reading but I do not fair very well with Math. This has been my weakness since high school. Scholastic also has a new program that aims to solve every student's math conundrum with PR1ME™ Mathematics which is a world-class designed program based on the teaching and learning practices of Singapore, Republic of Korea, and Hong Kong that uses pedadogical in approach and instructional in design. Aha, perhaps I should personally give this a try myself.
While my son attends a Waldorf School which believes in delaying the academics (Reading/Writing, Math) until the ripe age of 7 (or until the falling of their teeth), I do believe that once their faculties are capable of grasping these lessons without overexerting the energy of the body, programs like these may prove to be very useful as well. Read all about how Reading is taught so beautifully in a Waldorf School here.